The name is now that of a modern electoral ward, but traditionally it applied to the whole of the area west of Hill Lane and the Sports Centre and south of Aldermoor Road as far to the south and west as the Test River. It comprised a number of tithings such as Shirley, Hill-with-Sidford, Wimpson, Redbridge and Millbrook proper. The name probably derives from a mill on Tanner’s Brook and was in use in pre-conquest times. Millbrook Ford is mentioned in a Saxon land charter of 956 and the land called ‘Melebroc’ was granted to the Bishop of Winchester in a charter of 1045. Domesday records ownership of the manor by the Bishop of Winchester, but the villagers themselves claimed it had always been held by the monastery of St Swithun’s, a dispute that continued for centuries.

From the 16th century the Mill family (and later the Barker-Mill family) held the manor and owned much of the land in the area, until the 19th and 20th centuries. Parts of the estate were sold off in the 19th and 20th centuries for housing development. Millbrook became part of Southampton in 1895 when Shirley and Freemantle were absorbed into the borough.

Millbrook Shore
Before land reclamation and the construction of the New Docks in the 1930s, the shore line reached to the railway and nearly to Millbrook Road.

Further reading:

Millbrook: The Hidden Past, by Rosaleen Wilkinson. (HS/h)
‘Late Saxon Boundaries Near Southampton’, by Alan Morton in Hampshire Field Club Newsletter (new Series), No. 25, Spring 1996, p2-3. (H/h)

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