~ SMUGGLING ~ Holdenhurst is the oldest village close to which smugglers must have passed on their way from Littledown House to Hurn Court.

Holdenhurst was the mother-parish of Bournemouth and has a very long history. It could be called a smugglers' village though not on the same scale as Burley, but certainly with a high proportion of its population taking part in the Trade at some time or other in their lives.

Even before the Free Trade was set up along the Bournemouth coast, men were in the habit of walking down to the sea from inland villages and hamlets such as Holdenhurst, Throop and Sopley to fish for mackerel, helping the fishermen to haul in their nets. During the night these same men would haul in tub-liners from smugglers luggers. It is more than likely that the offer of something more than a few mackeral enticed men from Holdenhurst to stay on the beach until night fell in order to assist the smugglers, or even to help them during the day in the time that daylight smuggling was flourishing.

Both by helping with landings and living on the smugglers' route inland, Holdenhurst men could be involved in the trade - it is fairly certain that several full time smugglers had their homes there.

One such trader was said to have hidden around 1000 golden guineas in his garden. It can only be assumed he was the Agent for one of the local Ventures, or that he was a guinea smuggler. Whichever he was, the fate and his guineas has not been handed down - perhaps he was robbed of them or even killed when they were taken from him.

Another smuggling-resident of the village was said to be connected to the gold, in a far more and incredible and bizarre fashion that he buried his wife in a gold coffin one of the local hills - Hadden Road or perhaps Bury Hill.

What can be said with certainty is that the village's inn must have been one of the best supplied in the whole of the South of England. The Three Elms, as it was named, would have been well worth visiting for the riches of its cellar and the smuggling yarns its clients could spin.
The passage above was taken
from the book by Geoffrey Morley entitled ~
SMUGGLING In Hampshire & Dorset 1700-1850