QUESTER 5 - Visit to Southampton Walls - August 2019
Thursday 15th August 2019
Just off the busy retail section of the High Street we began our private tour at The Bargate, where we met Geoffrey Wheeler, Tour Manager for See Southampton. This imposing building was the access and exit point for all people and goods through the walled city.
The Bargate was also the administrative centre for those charged with running Southampton by Royal Charter. We learned how cunning the crown was in selecting 15 merchants with the responsibility of running the city. In return they had to self-fund the completion of stone city walls with fortifications. They also had to provide the manpower to protect the city and most importantly to collect Royal taxes. The merchants were equally cunning in how they kept their own costs down. It took 300 years to complete the walls.
Close to The Bargate we gained access to sections of remaining walls that give commanding views over the more recent developments of Southampton. We visited one of hundreds of vaults where goods in transit or storage were once securely stored.
The photograph shows us standing on the very steps where Richard the Lionheart once entered the city through the Royal Entrance.
On route back to The Bargate we had afternoon tea with our guide at The Dolphin Hotel.
What did the merchants do to keep down their costs? Answer - go on a tour to find out!
Roger Corkhill (Tour Organiser)