Ken has been a resident of Titchfield for over 50 years and has long been interested in its history and the River Meon as it literally flows past his property at the bottom of his garden. We interviewed Ken in his garden overlooking the nearby water meadows and surrounded by ducks and swans.
In maps from the early C17th the River Meon is shown as flowing directly into the sea and it being an estuary which flooded at high tide just as the nearby Hamble River does twice per day. Today the estuary is closed to the sea with a large wetland area called Titchfield Haven having formed from the silt carried down by the river. The Meon enters the Solent via a sea lock.
In the interview Ken explained what his research into the closing of the Estuary had shown. Ken identified the most likely person to have been responsible was the 3rd Earl of Southampton. He had the private funds to pay for the design and construction, contacts with King James to get approval and with the engineers (fellow students at Cambridge University) who could construct the barrier and later canal. The 3rd Earl was a leading explorer and entrepreneur of his age and had iron works further up the river at Funtley which would have benefited from the large lake for ships to get access to the docks in Titchfield.
In the interview Ken explains how this research led him to the River Wansbeck in Northumberland, which closed its estuary in 1975 and is suffering silting as must have occurred with the River Meon.
Watch the interview below: