Mudeford (MUD-i-fərd) is a former small fishing village that is now a suburb of the borough of Christchurch, Dorset, England, lying at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour. The River Mude (which starts from Poors Common in Bransgore, Hampshire) and Bure Brook (which starts from Nea Meadows in Highcliffe, Dorset) flow into the harbour there. In recent times, the boundaries of Mudeford have expanded and include modern housing. Approximately 4000 people now live in the area, giving a population density of roughly 24 persons per hectare.
Mudeford includes two woodland areas (known as Mudeford Woods and Peregrine Woods), a recreation ground on the north side of Stanpit (used to play cricket since the 19th century, probably as far back as the 1860s) and All Saints Church (built in 1869 as a gift by Mortimer Ricardo, who lived at Bure Homage House).
The village is home to both Mudeford Infants School and Mudeford Junior School.
Mudeford Quay was constructed in the late 1940s. Prior to this, The Haven, as it was then known was surrounded by sloping beaches. The Run then was much wider than it is now and the area was subject to terrible erosion. So much so that Christchurch Council purchased the whole area in 1945. Five years later the area had been raised and reinforced with steel piles and concrete. Today the Quay, which consists of The Haven Inn public house, a number of ex-fishermans' cottages and a large car park, is still used by local fishing boats as well as being a base for many water sports. A RNLI inshore lifeboat station is located on the Quay.
The oldest of the buildings on the Quay are the Dutch Cottages. Formerly the Haven House Inn, which was erected c.1693, seemingly without the permission of the landowner, as an alehouse to accommodate engineers employed on an ultimately unsuccessful scheme to improve the entrance to Christchurch Harbour. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the area was much involved with smuggling and in 1784 the inn played a central role in the Battle of Mudeford, a violent conflict between a gang of smugglers and naval Revenue officers. Before the construction in 1861, of a purpose built facility on the north side of the harbour,  the Haven House accommodated Christchurch Coastguard Station. It is not clear when this change of use came about but in 1826 the Hampshire Advertiser records how, “a little boy, about three years old, son of one of the men belonging to the coast-guard, left his home at the Haven House, and has not been seen or heard of since.” The buildings are now Grade II listed. A new Haven Inn was constructed nearby in around 1830.
In 1809, a troopship carrying 100 soldiers returning from the Peninsular War, sank in Christchurch Bay. The whole complement was saved by fishermen from the village. A specially built lifeboat was stationed at Mudeford from 1802, privately owned and manned by the local fisherman. It was subsumed by the RNLI in 1962 and in June 1963 a new inflatable boat was delivered. Between 1963 and 1995, the Mudeford Lifeboat was launched 766 times and rescued 308 people.
The Mudeford ferry operates between the Quay and Mudeford Sandbank on Hengistbury Head. The ferry was until the 1960s operated by rowing boats with payment being at the discretion of the passenger. Mudeford Quay is at the entrance to the Harbour known as "The Run". George III is recorded as having visited Mudeford in 1801 and using a bathing machine.
Historically part of Christchurch, Mudeford Spit was sold to Bournemouth Borough Council in 1935. It is the larger of the two features, the other being the Haven, that almost encloses Christchurch Harbour, leaving the water within to exit through a narrow channel known as The Run. Formed by sand and shingle brought around Hengistbury Head by longshore drift and pushed towards the shore by waves from the east, the spit is the most mobile of Dorset's geographical features. Prior to the construction of the long groyne at Hengistbury Head in 1938, it tended to grow steadily in a north-easterly direction and on occasion stretched as far as Steamer Point and Highcliffe Castle; most notably in 1880. It has been breached a number of times naturally; 1883, 1911, 1924, 1935 and once deliberately in the 17th century when an attempt was made to construct another entrance to the harbour. After the last breaching in 1935, the end of the spit broke off and drifted towards the beach at Friars Cliff where it formed a lagoon. The groyne built in 1938 to protect Hengistbury Head from erosion had an adverse effect on the spit as it prevented movement of material around it. The spit began to erode due to wave action from the east and many attempts have been made since to stabilise the situation. Small seawalls were constructed on the spit in the 1960s and a large number of rubble groynes were put down during the 1980s.
The Beach huts, located on Mudeford Spit, can be reached on foot or land train from the Hengistbury Head side of the harbour, or by the Ferry from Mudeford Quay. Also on the spit is the "Black House", a local landmark. Although it features in a number of local smuggling legends, it was only built in 1848 for the manager of the Hengistbury Head Mining Company, and therefore these tales are unlikely to be true.
Sandhills was the holiday home of Sir George Rose, Member of Parliament and close friend and advisor to the prime minister William Pitt. It was built on the beach at Mudeford and Sir George's other great friend, King George III stayed there on a number of occasions, helping to promote Christchurch as a tourist destination. Sandhills, Mudeford was also home to George Rose's two sons: Sir George Henry Rose, politician and diplomat, and William Rose, poet.Field Marshal Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn, GCB, GCSI, son of George Henry Rose also spent time living at the family home. Sandhills is now a holiday park owned by Park Holidays UK with static caravans in the grounds but the house still remains although it has been converted to flats. In the 1940s and 1950s Sandhills was used as a school annexed to Somerford Infants School and Mudeford School.
Gundimore is a house near Avon Beach built in 1796 for the poet William Rose. Visitors to the house included fellow poets Coleridge and Southey. Sir Walter Scott stayed there while writing his epic poem Marmion. The building is of the most unusual design, said to have been built in the shape of a Turkish tent, complete with gilt Arabic inscriptions to remind the original owner of his travels in the east. It consisted of a centre section and 2 wings. The centre section has 5 windows with a large curved centre bay with a shallow pitched, conical roof. At the south west corner of this bay is a round, 2-storey turret, shaped like a squat house with the upper storey almost completely glazed. The north eastern wing is now Scott's Cottage. Rose is believed to have designed at least part of the house himself.
Other historic buildings still in existence
- Mudeford House (later Avonmouth Hotel and Christchurch Harbour Hotel) Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/39 Grid Reference: SZ1807892118
- Waterford Lodge (later Waterford Lodge Hotel)
- Elmhurst which was built in 1870 (renamed The Anchorage in 1889). It was changed from a holiday home for the wealthy to a teacher convalescence home in 1929 and is still today used for that purpose. It was however requisitioned during World War II for the war effort. Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/234 Grid Reference: SZ1863592089.
- Sandford Hotel (later The Moorings). The hotel doubled up as the Mudeford post office in Victorian times. Sandford Hotel opened in 1835. Grade 2* Listed. DoE Reference: 3/40. Grid Reference: SZ1828692064.
- An early Victorian pillar box is still in use close to The Moorings. It dates back to 1856. Grade 2 Listed. DoE Ref 3/226 Grid Reference: SZ1830892068.
- The Nelson Tavern
Bure Homage House
On the outskirts of the original Mudeford village, close to the course of Bure Brook, was an imposing mansion called Bure Homage House with a large associated estate which included Friars Cliff. It was built at the start of the 19th century, replacing Bure Farmhouse, by Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay. In 1837, it was sold to Sophie Dawes, a renowned smuggler who became a French Baroness. During World War II, it was used as an officers mess by the 405th Fighter Group who operated at RAF Christchurch. After the war it was used for a while by the Signals Research and Development Establishment. It was demolished in 1957. It was situated in the area which is now called Bure Homage Gardens, and accessed via the lodge which is still to be seen opposite the Waterford Hotel. It was associated with the nearby Highcliffe Castle which was built later between 1831 and 1835. The land is now occupied by residential housing.
Main article: Christchurch Airfield
Christchurch Airfield, which had an important role in World War II as RAF Christchurch, was bordered by Mudeford Lane, Stroud Lane and Bure Lane. By the sixties it was mostly wilderness. At that time it was separated from an SRDE site on the North by a high wire fence. Since then the wilderness has been largely replaced with residential housing and a school.
- Sir George Rose (1744–1818), Member of Parliament and close friend and advisor to the prime minister William Pitt, built a home, 'Sandhills', at Mudeford. His other great friend, King George III stayed there on a number of occasions, helping to promote Christchurch as a tourist destination.
- Sandhills, Mudeford was also home to George Rose's two sons: Sir George Henry Rose (1771–1855), politician and diplomat, and William Rose (1775–1843), poet.
- Field Marshal Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn, GCB, GCSI, (1801–1885) son of George Henry Rose also spent time living at the family home.
- Cricketer Leo Harrison was born (1922) and died (2016) in Mudeford.
Main article: Stanpit
Stanpit village is a historic area along the southern boundary of current day Mudeford. The Stanpit road connects from the end of the original Mudeford road through to Purewell Cross. Along part of the south west side of Stanpit road is Stanpit Marsh.
The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) as 'Stanpeta' meaning 2 estates with meadows.
Main article: Somerford, Dorset
Somerford is a historical district of Christchurch that borders with Mudeford and is intersected by the Somerford Road (B3059). Somerford was named after a ford over the River Mude which was only passable in summertime – its approximate site is that of the current day Somerford Roundabout.
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- Samuel OJ (1985) Bure Farm in the Homage of Bure, Mudeford. Christchurch Local History Society
- Thomas E & Jacobs A The History of All Saints Church, Mudeford. Christchurch Local History Society.
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Terminally ill mother is forced to do two school runs after council refused to let her send her two sons to the same school - because they live 100ft out of the catchment area
- Michelle Amey, 37, has an advanced form of skin cancer which has spread
- She begged Dorset County Council to let her sons go to school together
- But authorities denied appeal on behalf of Charlie, nine, and George, six
- The pair want to go to Mudeford Junior School in Christchurch, Dorset
- But 'intrusive' appeal hearing decided against them
- Now family must do two school runs, putting them under extra strain
By Kieran Corcoran
Published: 17:31 GMT, 25 June 2014 | Updated: 21:42 GMT, 25 June 2014
A mother who is dying from cancer begged her council to let both her sons attend the same primary school - but had her request denied because she lives 100ft outside of the catchment area.
Michelle Amey, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2008 which has since spread all over her body, fears her family will struggle to cope with the strain of doing two school runs every day.
Her eldest son, nine-year-old Charlie, already attends Mudeford Junior School in Christchurch, Dorset.
'Extremely close': Charlie, nine (left), and George, six (right), currently both attend Mudeford primary school in Christchurch, Devon
Refused: Michelle Amey, right, was told that her two sons cannot go to school together. She is pictured with her husband Stuart
Her younger son George, six, currently attends the attached infants' school, but despite appeals to Dorset County Council he will not be allowed to move.
Instead he will be forced to attend Somerford Primary School, which is even further away from the family's home in the town.
Mrs Amey and her husband Stuart, who are both 37, faced a gruelling appeals process from the council, who asked invasive questions about her cancer treatment and made Mr Amey feel as if he were 'on trial' for questioning their decision.
Mrs Amey fears the boys' 'extremely close' relationship will be but under strain if the two are separated.
She said: 'George and Charlie support each other, they’re there for each other a lot.
'They’re aware of my illness and symptoms and are very sensitive at the moment. I can’t face putting George in another school. He would be devastated.'
Split apart: The strain of taking George, left, and Charlie, right, on separate school runs could put serious strain on the family, Mrs Amey fears
Mrs Amey claims the council’s ‘rules are rules’ attitude forced her to struggle on buses and on foot to do two separate school runs as her health deteriorated.
She fell ill shortly after George was born in 2008 and doctors confirmed a mole on her leg was malignant melanoma.
The deadly skin cancer spread to her groin and she required surgery and radiotherapy to bring the disease under control.
But the cancer has now spread to her brain, kidneys, lungs, liver and lymph nodes and since falling ill she has had four brain tumours removed, which means she cannot drive.
An appeal hearing with an independent panel dashed Mrs Amey’s hopes of her ‘extremely close’ boys being able to attend the same junior school.
She said: 'They made Stuart feel like he was under investigation, they were asking a lot about my health.
'When Stuart told them I’d received treatment for brain tumours, they would ask: "well what treatment exactly are you talking about?".
'They were extremely intrusive. He felt a bit like he was on trial - their attitude was really awful and it was basically rules are rules. It was like talking to a brick wall.’
Mr and Mrs Amey plan to write to Education Secretary Michael Gove, whom they will ask to intervene and allow their sons to attend school together.
Mrs Amey said: 'We’re hoping we can get the decision overturned. George is constantly asking whether we’ve got him a place at the junior school.
'His friends have had trial days and he’s missed out and with this on top of my illness, he’s very tearful.
'It’s just very, very difficult. I am fighting for my life but I am determined to fight for the boys to be together.
Together: Both boys wish to attend Mudeford junior school, where Charlie currently is. But George's appeal has been rejected
'Sometimes I can’t walk, I have severe joint pain and nausea - the symptoms are similar to chemotherapy.
'I don’t know when they are going to strike so the boys are like my little carers. They’ve had to grow up a bit quickly which is quite sad.'
Mr Amey used to work in investment banking, but gave his job up after his wife’s diagnosis.
He now works for The Honeypot Children’s Charity, allowing him more flexible hours to help take care of his wife and children.
Mrs Amey said: ‘Stuart is brilliant. He carries all the weight on his shoulders and tries to be strong all the time but it does get to him.
'The whole thing is so unnecessary, it’s just extra stress and pressure.'
A spokesman for Dorset County Council said: 'While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we can confirm that there was a recent appeals committee which reviewed several cases.
'The county council presented its case that Mudeford Junior School cannot take more than 33 children in each of its Year 3 classes entering in September 2014.
'Each family at the appeal presented their case for exceptional circumstances.
'The panel reviewed and made the decision that this particular case has been dealt with by Dorset County Council appropriately.
'We have been very sympathetic to this case. Those involved have gone beyond what is required to assist and support the family and we will continue to work with them.'
Strain: Mrs Amey says doing separate school runs will put pressure on the family
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