The Village Pond

Swan Hill Pond and Cottages, Ropley. Now Swelling Hilll Pond

The village pond is situated at the eastern end of the village where Church Street joins Lyeway Lane opposite Archbishop’s Cottage and within one of the 2 Conservation Areas in the heart of the old village centre.

The pond is an important visual and historic feature and is an important part of the setting of a number of the surrounding listed buildings. It is situated on St Swithin’s Way so would have been a vital watering place for the horses of travellers travelling to and through the village.

It edges the road on the pond’s southern side and is surrounded by a grass area and woodland on the other sides. It is unclear who, if anyone, owns the pond and its immediate surroundings and this may all be common land. It has been managed by a pond committee and volunteers drawn from local residents.

The pond is a beautiful location in the heart of the historic village centre, its historic significance makes it special to the local community, it was designated as a Local Green Space within the Ropley Neighbourhood Development Plan.

History – Because of the frequent mentions of the pond in old deeds it can be traced back to the beginning of the 18th century.  The pond is believed to be man-made and to have been dug out for the purpose of fertilizing the surrounding fields and naturally filled in by rainwater and dew.

It is referred to as “the town mere” in the title deeds of the adjacent cottages back to about 1704 but no earlier entries have been found in the relevant records of the Hampshire Records Office, Winchester. However as there are references to a “mere garden” in the 1600’s it may well be even older.

For many years, the pond was used to water the cattle at Town Street Farmhouse when this was a working farm, the animals being driven either along the short stretch of lane connecting the farm to the pond or round the back of what are now Bell Cottage, Five Bells and 3 Sunnyside.

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