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Legend of Lord Redlands

Do you know how the area of Fareham called Redlands got its name? Because, when you think about it, it is a funny name. Red-lands. Well, despite what you’re thinking, the lands were never red, despite the clay in the earth. Many years ago, in 1847, a somewhat minor but still very rich English lord – Lord Redland – chose this area in old Fareham to build his great mansion. Redland was young for a lord and loved adventure. He had inherited his father’s fortune as a young man, only twenty years old, and spent the next part of his life touring the world’s most exotic places collecting wonderful treasures. Egypt was said to be his favourite, seeking out the lost possessions of the ancient pharaohs. By the time he built his house in Fareham, he was said to be 39, but no less the adventurer.

However, the people of Fareham were suspicious of this reclusive man, who would not be seen for years on end and then would suddenly appear back in the dead of night, at the head of wagon after wagon of hidden and untold mysteries, all of which filled his home. The people whispered. They decided they were not treasures. They were horrors. Twisted and evil artifacts from unspeakable deeds in the barbaric lands that lay at the ends of the earth. The people of Fareham did not want to go near his great mansion, believing their own rumours. They would warn anyone who strayed too close, “Careful, that be Redland’s land, stay away.” Eventually this became reduced to, “Careful, that’s Redlands.” And that is how the area became to be named.

So what happened to the mysterious Lord Redland and his mansion of treasures? Well, four years later, in 1851, during a brief stay at his home in Fareham, Lord Redland was preparing for what was rumoured to be his biggest expedition to Egypt that he had ever undertaken. During the night a great fire broke out in his home, quickly engulfing the mighty mansion. Lord Redland was last seen fighting his way past the flames into his home, shouting, “But I’ve found him! The Lost King! I know where he’s burried!” Lord Redland was never seen again.  

It was never discovered how the fire started but the people had always remained hostile to this Young Lord’s presence in their village. His death in the house fire only strengthened the people’s belief that the house was cursed. True to their suspicions, they still avoided the burnt out shell of the great house, warning each other to stay away from the cursed ‘Redland’s’. The shell stood, undisturbed, for a further ninety years, when at the height of the Blitz, a Luftwaffe bomber came roaring overhead. Maybe the young, terrified pilot had confused Fareham Creek with Portsmouth Harbor, or, blinded by flak and fear had just been desperate to drop his bombs and turn for home, but he ordered the payload released and they fell directly on the old house, destroying it completely.  

In the years that followed, buildings were slowly erected on the site where the mansion once stood but the area remained known as ‘Redland’s’, though the apostrophe was eventually dropped. And that is how Redlands got its name. Interestingly, one of the new places to be built was a school, which took the area’s name. Years later, when digging the grounds, some interesting discoveries were made…