Olivers Battery - History

History

The name Olivers Battery refers to a prominent iron age earthwork. A fine Anglo-Saxon bowl from a burial within the Battery was on show for many years at the British Museum, but has now been returned to Winchester City Museum on long term loan . The parish also contains a number of bronze age burial mounds. The Olivers Battery name dates back to the English Civil War and is specifically associated with Oliver Cromwell's siege of Winchester in 1645. A map of 1780 refers to the area as "Cromwell's Camp" and later maps show it as "Oliver Cromwell's Battery". The ancient earthwork may well have provided a suitable campsite for the besieging Parliamentarian forces, but cannon of the period would have lacked the range to fire on Winchester Castle and city walls from the so-called battery site.

For centuries, Olivers Battery was open downland grazed by sheep. Permanent settlements only appeared in the early years of the twentieth century with the establishment of a military camp. During the First World War the army maintained an extensive Veterinary Hospital for horses. After the war, the camp was split up into small holdings with army huts being used as dwellings. Gradually, a community developed as huts were replaced with houses and other homes were built.

In the late 1970s the community was bisected by Badger Farm Road (now the A3090), which acts as a south-western ring road for Winchester. A southern Winchester park-and-ride scheme opened in 2010 and is intended to reduce rush-hour congestion on this road.

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