Southampton played an important part in the wine trade with Normandy in the 11th and 12th centuries, Gascony in the 12th to 14th centuries, and the wool trade with Genoa and Venice in the 14th to 16th centuries. In consequence many storage vaults survive, which in most cases have served differing uses in successive generations. Some of the more important are as follows:
No.36: Situated on the east side of the street, north of Vyse Lane and known as the Duke of Wellington cellars. They are perhaps 12th century.
No.59: On the west side of the street, under the janitor's residence adjoining Tudor House museum. It is possibly 14th or 15th century.
Upper Bugle Street
No.25: This vault is known as The Undercroft. It is situated on the east side of the street, at the north corner of Simnel Street. It is early 14th century, with fine carvings, including a large fireplace and decorative roof bosses. The terrier of 1454 records ownership by the funerary chapel of St. Mary's Abbey, Winchester.
Nos 46-48: On the west side of the street, several blocks north of Vyse Lane, there are two interconnected vaults of the 14th and 15th centuries.
No.58: On the west side of the street, on the south corner of Vyse Lane. It is part of the most complete medieval house surviving in Southampton and which is sometimes referred to as the Medieval Merchant’s House. The house and vault are probably early 14th century, although much adapted.
Weigh House Vault: On the east side of the street between Brewhouse Lane and Broad Lane. It is one of the best preserved vaults and is probably 14th century.
No.55: On the east side of the lower High Street and underneath the Red Lion public house. It is perhaps 12th century.
General Post Office: situated under the old Post Office on the east side of the street. It is mostly 12th century with later additions.
Canute’s Palace Vault: On the west side of the High Street just north of Porter’s lane and connected to Canute’s Palace at its western end.
No.88: On the west side of the High Street just south of Quilters Vault and built close against it, although separate and probably of a later date.
No.89. Quilter’s Vault: On the west side of the street, between Porter’s Lane and Broad Lane. It dates from the 13th century and was named ‘The Dame Isabell vault’ in the 1454 terrier. It was later referred to as Quilters Vault after the ‘Quilters’ public house which formerly stood above it (image 4).
No. 94: On the west side of the street, a few doors north of Quilters vault. It is probably early 15th century (image 1).
No.104: On the west side of the street, at the south corner of West Street. It is known as ‘Lankester’s Vault’ presumably because the engineering and ironmongery firm Lankester & Son once owned the building. It is probably late 14th century (image 3).
No.106: An unusually wide and square shaped undercroft on the west side of the High Street.
No.111: The undercroft formerly at the corner of the High Street and Brewhouse Lane and now destroyed.
No.137. A pair of connected undercrofts situated at the south corner of West Street and High Street. They were previously situated under the original Queen’s Hotel which was destroyed during World War Two. The new Queen’s Hotel built in 1958 was constructed as an L shape as they were not allowed to build over the vaults. The building is currently occupied by a restaurant.
Nos.169-170: A group of three parallel undercrofts on the west side of the High Street opposite East Street.
St. Michael's Square
North side: There are three vaults on the north side of the square. They were previously situated under numbers 11, 13 and the parish hall. The old buildings have been demolished and replaced with modern flats. One vault is situated near the west end of the north side of the square and is probably of a late date, possibly 15th century. The other two are probably 14th century.
North corner of the square and Castle Way: This vault is on the site of St Michael's prison and is probably 14th century.
Tudor House cellars: The cellars are late medieval and probably earlier than the mostly 16th century house.
Corner with Simnel Street: A single undercroft similar to those in St Michael’s Square.
Corner of West Street: A group of four small undercrofts around the bend of West Street. They are of varying dates and probably not connected.
Castle Vault (image 2): This is situated on the north side of Castle Quay and has been dated to the 12th century.
Excavations in Medieval Southampton Volume I, by Colin Platt (ed), passim. (HS/f)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p6-9. (HS/h)
Historic Buildings of Southampton, by Philip Peberdy, p26-27, 48-49. (HS/k)
Southampton Occasional Notes 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p1, 20, 21. (HS/h)
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