The Farlington Aqueduct

 Created 25-02-2002    Last update 21-07-2019


Farlington Aqueduct

page 2 of 2


Mid shot of the collapse

Some stone slabs, acting as lintels, have partly collapsed revealing the top of the brick arch and a chamber below.

Close up of chamber

A close up shows a double course of bricks which form the roof of a vaulted chamber. Because of the east/west alignment of the tunnel there was speculation that it may be a tomb. However, Revd. Steve Summers did point out that the location was outside the Churchyard and that the 'tomb' was empty. It was very unlikely, he said, that anyone would go to such expense to created such a tomb and then not use it.

Reverse side of collapse

The opposite side of the opening indicates that the tunnel goes no further into the churchyard. Oddly the moss covered slab at the centre of the photo is made from concrete. It could be speculated that this area formed an access trench to the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel

Revd. Steve Summers ambitiously attached a camera to a pole and lowered it into the tunnel opening. The tunnel is about 8 feet in depth and terminates at a blocking wall. This image has been realigned from the original, hence the black borders.

Inside the tunnel

Further examination of this photo shows that the rear wall may not be the same age as the vault walling; the bricks and the mortar appear to be different. Does the Farlington Aqueduct lie just behind the rear wall, and is this tunnel an access spur to it?

doctored photo

This is the same picture as above but converted to monochrome and then to a negative image. This reveals the brickwork and especially the joints more clearly. The rear wall seems to be of much rougher construction.




More emails on this subject:


NEW 07-12-2008


Looking at your page about the Farlington aqueduct, the following may or may not have any reference.


During the summer of 1976 my brother was then living in Saint Andrews Road Farlington when his neighbours front garden, 4 St Andrews collapsed due to the weather. The tunnel I recall was partially lined. Portsmouth Council or museum was called in and they decided as the tunnel was only about 10ft long due to collapse was of no interest and was probably a smugglers tunnel running to St Andrews church. It was subsequently filled in and the front garden of no. 4 restored. This section of tunnel ran approximately NE to SW.

From my brief scan to date I find this website absolutely fascinating.


Pete Baxter - December 2008




NEW 23-03-2008


First things first - what a fantastic website! I first discovered it about a year ago, and have found out so much about the town I grew up in, and love, that I never knew before. I've sent it onto most of my family, and it's a great hit with them too. Please do keep it up - it's one of a kind, truly! Anyway, onto the reason I was writing to you...


I was particularly interested in the story about the Farlington Aqueduct as it brought back memories of a story my mother used to tell me. I was born in Farlington in 1972, and I distinctly remember her telling me about a tunnel under her uncle's garden. I spoke to her today to find out some details, and it certainly fits in with the updates you've just posted.

Her uncle and aunt, Jim and Ede Vincent, lived at 2 St Andrews' Road. In the late 1970s or early 1980s. Whilst my uncle was mowing his lawn, part of the garden collapsed underneath him. The collapse revealed an underground tunnel a couple of metres below the surface which had been partly filled-in. At the time I distinctly recall her telling me that he investigated, and that the tunnel ran up to St Andrews' Church and was thought to be a "smuggler's tunnel" since it also continued in a southerly direction. Unfortunately all I know beyond that is that the hole was filled-in shortly after, and that my uncle and aunt have both now passed away.

However, 2 St Andrews road would fit in very well with the idea that the aqueduct ended "80 yards south-southwest of St Andrews' church".


Richard Shipton - April 2008

2008 map update

This is the situation of the evidence uncovered so far. The documentary evidence of: "emerged either at the back of St Andrew's church-yard, or 80 yards SW by S of the church" now seems to fit on both counts. Research into this is currently ongoing.


NEW 21-07-2019

I grew up at 80 Old Rectory Road (the new section of Old Rectory Road) and my mother still lives there.She moved in in 1975.

During the 1980s on two occasions there was a collapse into what was probably a well, but might have been something different in the garden of no.78.

I remember looking down into a partially collapsed hole that was at least 6 feet deep and was brick lined. It was narrow (only about 1 ft square, but would originally have been larger).It was back-filled with rubble by the owners of no 78 (long since moved) and grassed over.
It was near the boundary of 78 and 80 Old Rectory and about half way up the back garden.

Though it was probably a well, I have yet to find a decent map of the area pre-construction of Old Rectory Road to identify the exact location what I understand were farm buildings near there.

What is interesting is that this location (78-80) Old Rectory isn’t that far off being directly north of the St Andrew’s road site mentioned on your website and the St Andrew’s church yard find.

Looking at the free old OS maps on the Scottish public library, I think it might be the well of Uplands. A house marked on maps from mid 1800s to early 20th century. Or a well for cattle. Uplands seems to be more or less where no. 78 or 80 Old Rectory now are.

If you look at the old OS maps, the cast iron fence which separated the field which Uplands was in still runs along the back of the gardens of the upper houses of the 'new' (70s) part of Old Rectory Road. The fence is in good shape and runs all the way from number 74 (the first new house on the north side of Old Rectory) to where it hits Gilman Lane. So the old field fence is still there 100 years or more after it was put in.

Jaume Vilar - January 2019



Farlington Aqueduct

page 2 of 2