A number of water houses and public conduits were built to facilitate the town's medieval water supply and subsequent attempts to augment it. Only the Water House in Commercial Road still exists, but others are referred to in town documents. The following are known water houses and conduits:

All Saints
All Saints' conduit was situated at the south west corner of the church.

This water house is mentioned in a lease of 1677 and apparently abutted on to the town ditch east of the Bargate. It appears to be part of the waterworks initiated by Roger Pedley and continued by Arthur Baker.

Commercial Road
This is the mixing house still standing on the north side of Water Lane at its junction with Commercial Road. It is frequently claimed as a 13th century work and part of the original friars’ conduit water supply. L.A. Burgess, however, thinks it more likely it was constructed between 1420 and 1515 when water from Lubery Mead is recorded as being tapped for the town's use. The Lubery or Goswell streambed is the line of Water Lane and the Water House is located both on this line and also on that of the original pipe line from Colwell Conduit head. It may also have been referred to as Achard's Conduit.
This is the only water house still extant and is Grade II listed.

Water House, Commercial Road

Image Unavailable

Photograph, 2015

Water House, Commercial Road

Image Unavailable

Photograph, 2015

Friary Conduit
Friary conduit was on the east side of High Street within the Friary buildings. The exact site is unknown, but was probably in modern Gloucester Square.

God's House Conduit
God's House conduit was on the south side of Winkle Street against the town wall. It may be identical with the Watergate conduit (see below).

Holy Rood Church
In 1420 a new stone water house and cistern were set up at the west end of Holy Rood Church. The water was piped from the conduit head, via the water house in Commercial Road, to this new water house. It was then branched into two separate pipes, one going south to the friary, as before, the other into a cistern for the use of the townsfolk. In 1801, when Sir Henry Englefield made his tour of Southampton, the water house at Holy Rood was still in use.

Further reading:
Medieval Southampton, by Colin Platt, p144. (HS/h)

Water Gate
This was situated in the salient wall immediately south east of the Watergate on the south side of Winkle Street. It was built against the town wall and appears to be the southernmost of the public conduits of the town's waterworks.

see also


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