The old A3 was one of the most important routes in British history. But it was once so dangerous that people called it the Road of Assassination.
Brave travellers of the 1700s wrote their wills before setting out on the Portsmouth Road. Coach passengers faced accident, robbery or even murder by highwaymen roaming the forest south of Petersfield.
Despite these dangers, lots of people used the Portsmouth Road. It was a major route, connecting London with the home of the Royal Navy.
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Wooden beer crate marked ‘Luker Petersfield’ and Luker beer bottles
Towering over College Street in 1880 was the W&R Luker steam-powered brewery. It served eight pubs, from the Red Lion next door to the Harrow Inn in Steep. In 1934 a huge fire destroyed the building.
Large stoneware flagon marked ‘T. AMEY Borough Brewery Petersfield’
Thomas Amey was a dairy farmer who branched out into brewing in 1883. When he died in 1896 his daughter Elizabeth took over the business. Amey’s sent beer to London from their brewery next to the railway.
Trade tokens: issued by local businesses as an alternative to coins
03 – 04
Quarter pennies, 1649 – 1672
Issued by Thomas Jacques of the White Hart Inn, Petersfield and John Jones of Petersfield
Quarter penny, around 1666
Issued by John Whitcombe of the Angel Inn, East Meon
06 – 07
Petersfield half pennies, 1793 and 1795
Petersfield Coffee Tavern, 1879 – 1907
‘Good for one pennyworth of refreshment at the Petersfield Coffee Tavern’
The Great Portsmouth Road
Keyhole horseshoe, 1600 – 1750
With increased coach travel on rugged, uneven roads, horses hooves saw more wear through the 1600s. For extra protection, draught horses wore heavy keyhole-shaped horseshoes, like this one found in Harting.
Pottery flask, 1680 – 1800
Likely to have been made in Surrey
Many who travelled the old roads of England did so with a pottery flask, known as a costrel, full of water or wine tied to their saddle. This one was found in East Meon. We imagine it belonged to a traveller who passed through the area centuries ago.
Horse and carriage yoke
Before cars and steering wheels, drivers used yokes to steer, stop and reverse their coaches. The yoke was attached to the collars of a pair of horses, which the driver directed using a pole attached to the centre of the yoke.