Today Hatch Grange is a public open space and parkland in our village of West End near Southampton but it was the home of John de Hache in 1320. Around 1863 there was a farm called Grange Farm at the site which had been purchased by the Caleb Gater family who owned the Water-Mill at Gater’s Hill on the River Itchen. The family created the Hatch Grange Estate of 300 acres. A house was built in 1863 on the site of Grange Farm.
In 1872, it was acquired for Warnford Fletcher who lved in the house from around 1874. Fletcher planted an avenue of Limes Tree’s and as keen gardener created extensive gardens, including a rockery and pond. The house was approached through the row of Limes’ it was concealed behind an ornamental woodland.
On the death of Warneford Fletcher in 1928, the estate was split up and sold. The House with 4 cottages in a 35 acres plot with the carriage avenue, formal gardens and grounds, It was bought by Commander A Thurlow and Basil Underwood, who were developers and builders. In the late 1930s the house was destroyed by fire. I recall a story from an elderly gentleman who lived in Lower New Road who was a member of West End’s Volunteer Fire brigade and being the youngest at the fire was ordered up the ladder with the hose to tackle the fire with little effect.
In 1938,The ruin and 30 acres of estate were purchased by West End Parish Council. The house was demolished there remains a flat area where the house once stood and the drive with the Lime tress can still be seen.