Bugle Hall, or Bull Hall, was a name attached to a succession of houses from an early medieval date, standing at the south west junction of Bugle Street and Westgate Street. A plan of 1773 (image 2) shows a house quadrangular in form with a central square court-yard and a large garden to the south and west. A coach house occupied the north-west angle of the garden. According to Leland, writing in 1546, it was the finest house in the town. It was particularly noted for its handsome wainscoting and stained glass windows.

The 1454 terrier records the ownership of John Searle and the tenancy of Galeazzo di Negro, an Italian merchant. In the early 16th century, wealthy merchant and collector of the King’s customs, Henry Huttoft, acquired the property, which he completely rebuilt or substantially reconstructed. It was later occupied by the Earls of Southampton, including the third earl, Henry Wriothesely, William Shakespeare’s patron, although there is no evidence that Shakespeare ever stayed here.

In the 18th century it was converted for use as a poor-house, before being destroyed by fire in 1791. It was subsequently replaced by a smaller house, also called Bugle Hall, on the same site which was at one time occupied by the Russian Ambassador, Count Woronzew. In 1818-9 the free Grammar School was temporarily housed here while its premises in French Street were rebuilt. In 1844 it was owned by Abel Rous Dottin who put it up for sale in that year (clipping 1 below). Sales particulars (image 1) show the house to have been a large, handsome structure with stables and carriage houses. After Dottin's death the house was considered as a site for the new gaol (clipping 2 below). This plan came to nothing and subsequently the house fell into poor state of repair and seems to have been demolished at some date in the 1880s. Two pillars that originally formed a gateway to its garden can still be seen in Cuckoo Lane (image 3).

1. Bugle Hall

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Drawing of the building from sales particulars, 1844.

2. Bugle Hall

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The plan was in the collection of Harold Lankester and reproduced in Townsman’s Occasional Notes.

3. Bugle Hall Gate Posts

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Photograph, 1941


Newspaper clippings:

*1. 'Southampton, important sale by auction' (Hampshire Independent 20/07/1844)
*2. 'Sale of Bugle Hall' (Hampshire Advertiser 11/10/1851)


Further reading:
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p13. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, 2nd series, by ‘Townsman’, p28. (HS/h)
Excavations in Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt (ed), p317-322. (HS/f)
Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt, p43, 47, 52, 267-8. (HS/h)
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, 38. (HS/k)


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