Southampton has more underground vaults than any other town or city in the UK and we've tried to curate a definitive list of them all ...
Vault 36 - Duke of Wellington Cellars
Situated on the east side of Bugle Street, north of Vyse Lane and likey 15th century
On the west side of the street, under the residence adjoining Tudor House museum. It is possibly 14th or 15th century.
Vault 25 - Undercroft
This attractive vault is situated on the corner of Simnel Street and Upper Bugle Street under two council houses built in 1902. It is early 14th century, with fine carvings, including a large fireplace and decorative roof bosses. http://sotonopedia.wikidot.com/page-browse:undercroft-the
On the west side of French Street, several blocks north of Vyse Lane, there are two interconnected vaults from the 14th and 15th centuries.
No.58 - Medieval Merchant’s House
Situated on the west side of the street, on the south corner of Vyse Lane, this vault t is part of the most complete medieval house surviving in Southampton and which is sometimes referred to as the Medieval Merchant’s House. The house and vault are probably early 14th century, although much adapted.
Weigh House Vault
On the east side of French Street between Brewhouse Lane and Broad Lane. It is one of the best preserved vaults and is probably 14th century.
On the east side of the lower High Street and underneath the Red Lion public house. It is probably 12th century
Canute’s Palace Vault
On the west side of the High Street just north of Porter’s Lane and connected to Canute’s Palace at its western end.
On the west side of the High Street just south of Quilters Vault and built close against it, although separate and probably of a later date. Likely 14th century
No.89 - Quilters Vault
On the west side of the street, between Porter’s Lane and Broad Lane. It dates from the 13th century and was named ‘The Dame Isabell vault’ in the 1454 terrier. It was later referred to as Quilters Vault after the ‘Quilters’ public house which formerly stood above it (image 4). Quilter’s Vault - http://sotonopedia.wikidot.com/page-browse:quilter-s-vault – High Street
On the corner of the High Street and West street, a few doors north of Quilters Vault. It is likely 14th century
No.104 - Lankester Vault
On the west side of the High Street, at the south corner of West Street. It is known as ‘Lankester’s Vault’ since the engineering and ironmongery firm Lankester & Son once owned the building. It is probably late 14th century. More details at https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101092017-lankesters-vault-bargate-ward#.ZDcaSXbMJPY
An unusually wide and square shaped undercroft on the west side of the High Street
This undercroft, formerly at the corner of the High Street and Brewhouse Lane, has been destroyed.
A pair of connected undercrofts situated at the south corner of West Street and High Street. They were previously situated under the original Queen’s Hotel which was destroyed during World War Two. The new Queen’s Hotel built in 1958 was constructed as an L shape as they were not allowed to build over the vaults. The building is currently occupied by a restaurant.
A group of three parallel undercrofts on the west side of the High Street opposite East Streeton the north side of St. Michael's Square. They were previously situated under numbers 11, 13 and the parish hall. The old buildings have been demolished and replaced with modern flats. One vault is situated near the west end of the north side of the square and is probably of a late date, possibly 15th century. The other two are probably 14th century.
North corner of the square and Castle Way
This vault is on the site of St Michael's prison and is probably 14th century
Tudor House cellars
The cellars are late medieval and probably earlier than the mostly 16th century house.
Corner of West Street and Simnel Street
A single undercroft similar to those in St Michael’s Square.
Corner of West Street
A group of four small undercrofts around the bend of West Street. They are of varying dates and probably not connected.
This is in Western Esplanade on the north side of Castle Quay and has been dated to the 12th century.
Part of the Southampton Old Town Walk, the Castle Vault is the biggest vault in Southampton. It was built around 1180 when the Kings of England invented a new tax called the ‘King’s Prise’ which applied to wine. As Southampton was an important place in the wine trade it made sense to have a storage point here, under the castle, where the king’s butlers could keep an eye on it.
The wine casks would have been brought in and out by boat to a wooden or stone quay, as the water came right up to the walls outside.
During the Second World War this was used as a large air-raid shelter. You can still see traces of the blast walls that spanned the vault and the foundations for the entrance and toilets can be seen.
Gloucester Square Vault
St Michael’s Prison Vault on Castle Way
Vault under 11 St Michael’s Square
Likely 15th century
Vault under 93 High Street
Whilst there is some conflicting information on the construction date of this vault, it is likely to be around 1350. Similarly to the Undercroft, it has a fireplace, as well as iron bars to prevent break-ins and theft.
(The ‘1454 terrier’ was a register of all properties within the town walls, listing owners, previous owner and tenants to allocate maintenance of sections of town wall)
Like to see some of these vaults? Join one of our regular guided tours to explore some of them - click here for details
Do you have some more information about any of these vaults that we can add to our blog? Please email email@example.com
(Thanks to Geoff and Pete for their assistance in compiling this list)
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