Kinson

 

Kinson was truly an inland smuggling False tomb in Kinson Churchyardcentre, and it is believed that the village was once riddled with underground tunnels centred on the Parish Church of St Andrew, Millhams Road (the oldest church in Bournemouth). The tower of St Andrews acted as a lookout point, store house and head office. Marks can be seen worn into the stone where contraband was hauled by rope up the tower. At the foot of this tower, near the main door of the church, there is a table tomb (see picture). Rumour has it that this is a false tomb used for storing goods, and that only the initiated knew the knack of opening it. However, a descendent of the Oakley family assures me that her ancestors are in this tomb, and that the rumours may have started because the Oakleys were friendly with Gulliver.

 

Many of the graves in the churchyard can be linked to smugglers, the most well known being Robert Trotman. In a letter to the Bournemouth Evening Echo (Friday, March 8, 1985), Mrs J.P. Young, a resident of Ensbury Park related that her great-great-great-grandfather, Henry Tiller, was buried in this churchyard and that he was convicted of smuggling in 1826. He spent 10 months in Dorchester Jail, being unable to pay the £100 that was required for his release. In her letter, Mrs Youngs tells of how her ancestor would collect a keg of brandy from the seashore and run all the way Kinson Church with it in a wheelbarrow.

 

It is commonly believed that the tunnels beneath many houses in the Kinson area were used as smuggling routes, but Mrs Young's grandfather, who was the contractor that demolished Ensbury Manor argued that these tunnels were for drainage. Their existence at Howe Lodge (owned by the smuggler Isaac Gulliver) and Ensbury Manor etc, was due to the fact that these places were owned by rich people, and only the rich could afford to have them built.

 

Originally the village (now part of the Bournemouth conurbation) was known as Kingston and access was made to the smugglers landing point of Branksome Chine through Pug's Hole in Talbot Woods, which is said to be haunted by the spirit of a deceased smuggler.

 

As well as St Andrews there were many other places connected with smuggling. Howe Lodge, demolished in 1958, for example, was owned for a long time by Kinson's most famous smuggler, Isaac Gulliver. Next door to this was "Woodlands" which was reputed to have been haunted. When the house was pulled down a woman's skull was found with a marlin spike embedded in it, possibly she was the victim of a smuggler's fury? Ensbury Manor (also said to be haunted and demolished in 1936), Kinson House, Ensbury Vicarage and Dower House are other places linked to smuggling activities.