How would you like to view this page?  
Home colours (striking white on navy) Away colours (bigger navy text on a white page - easy read version)

Jump To:

See Also:


Odds and ends and interesting tit-bits about Netley Abbey and it's environs. This is the place for the inside info on what really goes on - just check out the anecdotes (more of these will be added in due course). There are three sections to this page:

Back to top

Netley Guide Menu:

Netley Guide Index

Getting There

Do & See

This & That

Netley Pubs

Netley Photo Gallery

Did you know?

  • Howard's Way (a dodgy mid-80s yachting soap opera) was filmed in the neighbouring village of Hamble-le-rice (Paul, Rich and The Wee Man all went to Hamble Comprehensive School). The pub The Jolly Sailor is just down the river in Bursledon.
  • The name "Netley" derives from "Latelie", as featured in the Domesday Book. And although the abbey dates back to the Thirteenth Century, "Netley Abbey" wasn't used as a place name until 1861 (these facts and figures come from an excellent site devoted to Netley Abbey that you can reach here)
  • The ITV Police drama "Inspector Wexford Mysteries" once filmed part of an episode in the middle of Netley. The rest was filmed in the Hampshire market town of Romsey.
  • Hampshire Police have based their Training HQ in the old Asylum building of the Royal Victoria Hospital (the only other building besides the Chapel to survive the fire)
  • The Royal Victoria Country Park is home to the annual Hampshire Show each summer. Despite it's grand title, this pales into insignificance compared to the gargantuan New Forest Show in Brockenhurst a few weeks later.
  • Netley lays claim to at least two ghosts. One "lives" in the Abbey - a ghostly treasure-guarding monk; the other is the obligatory Grey Lady, who haunts the RVCP Chapel. Some even claim that this is the ghost of Florence Nightingale, who criticised the hospital back in the 19th Century.
  • Despite being one of the giants of Hampshire League football in the 1980s, Netley Central Sports FC were (and still are) prevented from entering the FA Cup, FA Vase or FA Trophy as they do not play on an enclosed ground and therefore cannot charge admission fees. That's why you've never seen them at Wembley. The club are currently languishing in the lower reaches of Division Two (the bottom league).

Back to top

Famous Netley Residents

Iwan Thomas - The Welsh 400m runner actually lives in Netley Abbey, and is probably the most famous current resident (and certainly the one most referred to on the local news), apart from Rich and The Wee Man. Visit his official website - you can leave a message on the guestbook saying we sent you!.

The Men They Couldn't Hang - Well, two members at least. The seminal 80's punk-country-folk-crusty-rock band did sing a lot of songs about Southampton (and the song "Island in the Rain" mentions "Netley Bay"), and apparently I even unwittingly served two of them whilst working as a barman in the Station. Yes, they were that famous even then!

Mungo Jerry - Just the one member this time, the keyboard player from the hit "In The Summertime" was a regular white wine spritzer demon at the Station, and even did some appearances with his keyboard, sadly belting out Take That cover versions.

Petula Clark (?) - Possibly - I think I delivered papers to her! Around the time of the re-release of "Downtown", my paper round took me to the really posh houses behind the Abbey (an exclusive area know as Fountains Park), and a woman who was the absolute double of Petula was one of the daily recipients of The Echo. You never know...

Dr Watson - Sherlock Holmes' mate did his medical training at the Royal Victoria Hospital - one of the Sherlock Holmes books starts off with his sidekick in action in the hospital. Can't remember which one though.

Dorcas Henry - BBC South Today's oddly monikered weather girl (courtesy of Chris)

Barbara Cartland - The famous novelist attended Finishing School in Netley (thanks to Jason)

Back to top

Anecdotes about Netley life

These are mainly stories from Paul's, Rich's and the Wee Man's younger days, growing up in the village. They are purely subjective accounts and for entertainment purposes only - some of these stories may offend, but you don't have to read them! Also, some of these stories are being recalled from some time ago, so apologies if they seem a little vague in places.

Back to top

A tale of Two Villages

Once upon a time, before Ingleside was built in the late 1970s, Netley Abbey and Butlocks Heath were two distinct villages within the Parish of Hound (served by the ancient Hound Church on Hound Lane). Many of the signs of this are still in existence: both were distinguished by separate Recreation grounds, different village halls (Netley's Jubilee Hall was demolished, but a brand new Abbey Hall went up in the early 1990s) and separate Post Offices.

The first sign of the amalgamation of the villages was the combining of the separate primary schools, ostensibly to accommodate the influx of children from the newly-built Ingleside. Netley Abbey Primary school was saved and converted into the village library (corner of New Road and Victoria Road, facing the bank), however Butlocks primary was demolished and more houses built in its place (School Close, of Woolston Road, next to the Cottage Inn).

Over time, the distinction between the two became blurred, and over the past few years the road signs also began to change, causing confusion between Hound, Butlocks Heath and Netley Abbey, until recently the residents of Butlocks Heath were informed that the village no longer exists and they all now officially lived in Netley Abbey. Despite this, a Butlocks Heath sign can still be seen on the road from Weston (past the tip).
Incidentally, Old Netley, which is sometimes attributed to Netley Abbey, in truth belongs more to the separate and larger village of Bursledon (home to Junction 8 of the M27).

Back to top

The day the Chapel almost burnt down (again)

The Royal Victoria Hospital burnt down in suspicious circumstances in 1966, leaving the Chapel as the only remaining piece of the original hospital building.

Many years, and several cans of cheap cider and lager, later, a few of us were messing about down the Vicky Park (aged around 16). It was definitely a Saturday evening, as one of the boys had a Sports Echo. After telling each other ghost stories, in particular about the Grey Lady that haunts the Chapel, we went for a nose around. As you look at the front of the chapel there is a small flight of stairs to the right hand side, leading down to a door with a metal grille above it. Winding each other up that this was the door to the crypt, and where the grave of the ghost lay, we all crammed down the stairway to look in. As dusk was closing in, and the view through the grille was of pitch black, we decided in our wisdom to make the Sports Echo newspaper into a lighted spill and use it as a torch. On holding it up to the grille we were shocked to hear a loud whooshing, and even more terrified when the lighted newspaper practically exploded. Beating a hasty retreat, after stamping out the burning paper, we fled up the hill behind the Chapel, convincing ourselves that there must have been some kind of gas leak down there.

The night's entertainment didn't end there, as boosted by the adrenaline rush, Mark had bounded up on to the roof of the train shack (the Vicky has wee model trains that run around), suggesting that the rest of us join him on the roof to enjoy the view. No sooner than he had stood up straight than a woman in the adjoining caravan site shrieked "Arghhh, there's a man on the roof", and then a bloke shouted "right, let the dogs out". Mark dropped like a stone to lie flat on the roof while the rest of us sprinted back down the hill and climbed up on a low wall next to the Chapel, laughing and buzzing with adrenalin. Mark joined us around half-an-hour later, visibly shaking but still cracked up at the look on the screaming woman's face.

All good, clean fun. As you will know from elsewhere in the guide, NATA does not condone underage drinking, as it sets a bad example. Now you know.

Back to top

Netley New Years

New Year's Day in Netley always managed to be a wee bit chaotic. As Billy Connolly once said, "New Year is to the Scots as Christmas is to the English, but without God to knacker up the proceedings" - and this was the philosophy my family adhered to - Christmas for the family, Hogmany for my father. With my Mum working Hogmany in The Roll Call, and my father more than paying her wages from the other side of the bar, the potential for catastrophe was always there.

One memorable New Year involved me walking down the pub around 12.30am, "to help my Mum get Dad back home". We made it back around 6am, with me having been introduced to the twin pleasures of Tia Maria and stubby bottles of lager, my Mum cut her finger on the door key, and the next morning our white front door looked like a scene from the Passover. Later on New Year's Day my father and I had gone to a Saints game, my dad baffling the bus driver by asking for a return, "Where to?" asked the driver, "Back here, of course" came the reply, with my father claiming to have regained consciousness at half-time, having no recollection of getting there, or what he was doing with a cup of Bovril in his hands.

The following year the landlord of The Roll Call had moved further into deepest, darkest Hampshire, taking on a pub called Sam's Hotel in the Meon Valley. A coach was laid for the old regulars to take the 30-minute journey, and being 17 it was decided that I was invited along with my parents. Taking along a then-female acquaintance (not at the time a girlfriend) called Sally, we had a pretty good evening, in a olde country pub style. However, when the bus dropped us back at 2am we both still had some reserves of energy, and leaving my parents to go to bed, we grabbed the 3-litre bottle of cider and a bottle of very cheap and nasty white wine (fizzy vinegar), and off to The Wee Man's we went. Knocking the door at around 2.30am, the Wee Man and his step-brother Chris were dozing in front of the telly, babysitting the younger siblings. It didn't take us long to tear into the cider, and when the Wee Man's folks came back we simply took the party back to mine.

On hearing the racket downstairs at 4am, my Mum came down to crack open the Twiglets and crisps (like I said, we took New Year seriously). By now, Sally and Chris were flagging, and the cider finished. Not a problem, as the Wee Man and I moved on to the wine, downing it by the half-pint. My downfall came after I had popped out to the garden for some air. A storm a week previously had blown down our back fence, leaving us open to the Ingleside main road, and as I was kneeling over a low patio wall, a lad draped in a duvet wandered past and bade me a "happy new year". My father was in the loo at the time, and promptly returned to bed to send my mother down to end the party. By the time she made it downstairs (around 5.30am) I was lying unconscious under the dining room table. As the Wee Man and Chris made their way to the front door, the Wee Man downed the last remaining half-pint of wine, later reasoning that if I had seen it, it would have killed me.

The fun didn't end here, however, as my mother had to put me to bed. As Sally was the guest, she had my room and I was to sleep on cushions on the living room floor. The chain of events that follow are based largely on deduction and on the evidence left in my wake:

  • Some time in the middle of the night (or morning, depending on your interpretation), I've felt too hot, and after struggling with the double glazed windows (knocking over a lampshade), I've gone for the easy option and thrown open the front and porch doors.
  • This being January 1st, I've quickly got cold and stormed up the stairs, collapsing into the bed that Sally is occupying, announcing "I'm cold" and falling asleep. Sally, terrified that she's going against my parents wishes that we don't sleep in the same room, climbs out of bed and sits on the floor.
  • My father wakes up mid-morning, walks downstairs, witnesses a scene of devastation - lampshades knocked asunder, bedclothes tussled, curtains half open - sees the empty bed and the wide-open front door, and runs back up the stairs to wake my Mum with "Paul's run away".
  • He then walks back down the stairs, sees the pile of clothes I had thrown in the corner before going to bed, and runs back up the stairs again "He's run away, and he's naked!"
  • A frantic but fruitless search of the local footpaths and ditches around Ingleside takes place, before deciding on the last possible option - disturb Sally and ask if she knows anything.
  • As the door is pushed open just a crack, revealing my bloated sleeping mass, my mother sighs with relief "Thank God, he's here", then "Oh no, Sally's missing!". Sally then pipes up from behind the door.

End result - a very expensive taxi fare to send Sally back to Chandlers Ford on New Year's Day, and years of ridicule from my family. At least the Wee Man and Chris say that they had a great night. I've never been able to eat Twiglets since.

Back to top

Looking for the end of the tunnel?

(Thanks to an anonymous source for this one)

Since the closure of the "cottages" (toilets) in Beach Lane and Archery Grove, the Conker Field has become the mecca for gay sex. You will often see camp men mincing around in tight little shorts!! Following the usual preliminaries the actual business is done in the bushes on the castle side of the field.


As you probably know there is an underground tunnel carrying the stream through the Abbey, the monks were said to use it as an escape route. With a length of rope you can get down into the tunnel and armed with a torch and wellies make your way down the conduit it goes under the road and into the castle where it fills the pond. However the conduit becomes too small just before the pond, at this point there is a large steel plate like a manhole cover on the ground in the woods.

One evening at dusk I was in the woods trying to find the steel plate that marks the end of the tunnel, I needed a leak and availed myself of a nearby tree, suddenly I was startled by a man appearing from the bushes, in fact I was so startled (knob in hand) that my opening words were "Are you looking for the end of the tunnel?" I then realised that my comment may have been dangerously misconstrued as his very camp looking mate emerged too!! I disappeared quickly clenching my cheeks!

Back to top


Search NATA Online: powered by FreeFind

Copyright notice: All photographs on this site are the property of individual members of the Netley Abbey Tartan Army unless otherwise stated. The copyright of these images remains with the individual possessing the photographic negatives, and permission should ideally be sought before copying them. We are keen to prevent anyone from making financial gain from our copyrighted images, or bringing the reputation of the Netley Abbey Tartan Army into disrepute (as we are more than capable of doing this ourselves).
If anyone does wish to use these images and would like express written consent to do so, please e-mail Paul Allison using via the contact page.
© Netley Abbey Tartan Army, 2001-2008 (and beyond...)