• Sue Lowday

1729 Maps of Bonchurch researched by Peter Brett

With many thanks to Jane Ashe for passing on her father, Peter Brett's research. I shall be adding more of his information.


The Brett family owned Cliff Cottage in the Pitts in the 1970's. Clearly Peter Brett was a very meticulous researcher into Bonchurch and its history.

He was a member of the Parish Council and wrote the lovely Bonchurch Book available in the churches today passing on the copyright to the church to help raise much needed funds.

Kath Johnston, who also lived in the village was the illustrator of the booklet.

Peter clearly was fascinated by the development of the village. The area that we know as the main part of Bonchurch today, was three farms; Bonchurch Farm, Macketts Farm and Marepool Farm.


The map below is based on the W. Dodge map of 1729, prepared for F. Popham Esq. of Shanklin. Francis White-Popham, (born 1829 - 1894) was Lord of the Manor.


The Popham and Hill families were connected and estates became split between the two families.

John Popham, died in 1816, his only son John having predeceased him. Therefore the manor passed to his daughter Mary, wife of the Rev. Richard Walton White. I am going to research if the Rev. Richard Walton White is related to the Bonchurch Rev.James White who married Rosa Hill.

Interestingly Francis assumed the name Popham in 1852 under the terms of his grandfather's will.


The first map has the areas marked

B - Bonchurch Farm, marked in pale yellow

M - Macketts Farm, marked in pale green

MP - Marepool Farm - marked in pale orange


The red line indicates Shepherds Lane, now known as Bonchurch Village Road. Note that the road drops down to the Old Church via the road that now leads into Winterbourne and across the area now known as Spring Cottage. You can still make out the old access in the stonework of the wall at the church yard.


Part of the land belonged to the church and is marked as Church Glebe.


Peter has also marked the spot where Bonchurch Shute joins Leeson Road.

Peter spent some time working from various maps to work out the positions of roads and tracks.

Below you can see he has taken a tracing from the map above to mark out the different farm lands and the positions of some of the major houses and the roads. Leeson Road was added at a later date.

The road from the old church up the Shute was positioned by Peter using the first Ordnance Survey map known as the Mudge Map.

Below Peter has marked out the different farm areas onto a tracing from the 1939 edition of the Ordnance Survey Map sketching out the properties that developed within each farm field as indicated in the first map.


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