History of Hamble

The Bugle Hamble is a traditional pub that serves its local community, whilst also welcoming visitors who come to the picturesque village of Hamble-le-Rice. The Bugle Hamble also boasts an AA rosette.

The pub itself is a grade II listed building, it has been an Inn since the late 1800’s, but before that is was listed as a ferry house and it is believed that it may have been originally built as a merchant house (perhaps as early as 1600). The story of the Bugle is closely linked with the story of Hamble itself.

The spelling of the village name has varied considerably over the centuries, examples being Hamelea circa 730, Hammel in 1496, and Ham-en-le-Rice in 1846. Today it is officially known as Hamble-le-Rice

The earliest known mention of the place name is in 720 AD when it is recorded that Saint Willibald, a monk educated at a monastery in Bishops Waltham, set sail from the Hamble River for the Middle East. It was about this time that another local feature is recorded by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History. He wrote, “… the tides meet and oppose one another beyond the mouth of the River Homelea (Hamble) which runs into that narrow sea from the land of the Jutes …” Even in those early days Hamble and its river, particularly the double high tides, were considered noteworthy.

As early as the 13th and 14th centuries, records show Hamble as a significant maritime centre. In 1235 it is recorded that 11 ships from the Suffolk village of Dunwich, which were full of herring, were arrested at Hamble for failing to pay custom duties. In 1418 the “Grace Dieu,” the largest ship ever built in England at that time, was brought to Hamble for fitting out. Her Southampton builder, William Soper, had two storehouses in Hamble and had erected a wooden tower at the river entrance for protection against French raids

The village continued to be a maritime centre during the following centuries. We know that the Hamble/Warsash ferry was operating in the 16th century, and the records of the Admiralty courts give a reasonable picture of the activities of local inhabitants

Up until the beginning of the 20th century the population of Hamble had averaged 300 to 400 people. With the coming of the aviation industry the numbers began to greatly increase. Because of its maritime advantages Hamble first attracted seaplanes, and even the local boat builders “Lukes” tried to develop their own model. During the First World War A.V.Roe, who already built aircraft in Manchester, came to the village and set up a factory. To encourage his workers to live near the plant he built 24 houses, in what is now Verdon Avenue
In 1931 the airfield was taken over by Air Service Training, an aviation school which was to become known as ‘Britain’s Air University.’ Then, in 1936, another factory was built by British Marine Aircraft, later to become Follands and then British Aerospace. Many famous aircraft have been connected with Hamble, including the “Ensign” which was built by Armstrong Whitworth and A.S.T in the late 1930’s and was the largest airliner ever produced in Britain at that time. Then, during the Second World War, Hamble became a repair shop for warplanes and 2,575 damaged Spitfires were serviced here. Later came the Folland Gnat, flown by the “Red Arrows” R.A.F aerobatic team, and the Harrier jump jet.

There is not much remaining evidence of Hamble’s aviation past but there is still a great deal of maritime activity still continues in Hamble. Throughout the 20th century the village and the river developed into one of the country’s leading yachting centres. Today there are many kinds of leisure craft here and, inevitably, local servicing industries have been developed for them. Hamble also has its own inshore rescue service which was founded by a group of local people in 1969. The annual regatta, now known as ‘Hamble Week,’ has been running for well over a hundred years.

The Bugle Hamble has close ties with the local yacht clubs and being on the quay and close to the water is at the heart of village life.