The Parish of Saint Francis
Why Hamtun?

The history of Southampton, as a settled site, reaches back in time almost 2000 years. In the 1st century AD the Romans established a harbour at modern-day Bitterne on the eastern bank of the River Itchen, one of the two rivers that flow into Southampton Water. This Roman port was called Clausentum and by the 4th century it had been reduced in area and surrounded by a defensive stone wall - excavations in 1951-4 revealed the remains of a number of stone buildings from the Romano-British period, including a bathhouse.

The next recorded settlement on the site is the Saxon port of Hamtun, important enough in the 8th century to give its name to the county of Hamtunsiir, thus Hampshire, while the Domesday Book version Hantescire provides the modern abbreviation of Hants. It is here at the site of the future Southampton that King Canute (1017-35) is reputed to have ordered the tide to recede. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, William had landed more of his troops at Southampton, and the township grew rapidly under Norman rule, as the port of convenience situated between Normandy and the then English capital of Winchester.

Some dates:

c.510: Probable founding of royal estate of Hamtun at St. Mary’s.

534: Death of Cerdic. His territories later becomes Hamtunscir. Hamtun has about 150 people.

635: Gewissian capital moved to Winchester (NB water travel much easier, and Hamtun is Winchester’s port). Christianity; St. Mary’s Church prob. built soon after.

661: Meonwaras and Wihtware (East Hampshire and Wight) fall under Mercian control after battle of Pontesbury. Hamtun's first ‘town’ wall built of wood.

685: Cadwalla regains lost Gewissan lands. Threat lifts. Country renamed Wessex.

690: King Ine builds a new trading port a mile away at Hamwick (wick = trading centre). Vast increase in trade with the Continent.

757: Deposed King Sigeberht murders Cumbra, alderman of S. Hampshire, in the town and is later killed at Privett by a pig-farmer, one of Cumbra’s men.

840: Viking fleet defeated N. of Southampton after raiding Winchester. There is a gradual defection from Hamtun to Hamwic, but the people take their name with them, the 'new' town becoming Hamtun.

875: Viking fleet passes Southampton on way to Wareham. Luckily doesn’t stop!

911-27: Great Reconquest captures (Northampton) in 918. Hamtun becomes Southamtun to avoid confusion.

The Parish of Saint Francis, in the Diocese of Hamtun, Southampton, Hampshire

We are an Independent Catholic Church in West End, Southampton. The oratory is private and not open to the general public,  although we would welcome new members.  Please speak to Bishop Martyn if you would like to be invited along.

Sunday Mass 10.30 am

The Order of Mass - The New English Translation
Selection of Photos From the Parish
Meet some of the Laity, the Parishioners, of St. Francis. They contribute to the life of the Parish in many different ways, by reading the lessons, helping with refreshments, flower arranging, and much more.
We have a strict policy on child protection in place in the parish. The clergy are never placed in the position of being alone with children or vulnerable adults under any circumstances.

The Parish of Saint Francis is a small but dedicated parish here in Southampton.  We recently built our own oratory, where we worship every Sunday, and daily services are held.

We at St. Francis would like to share some of our recent events which can be found in our Gallery section