The proposed site for the Godsfield solar farm is on part of the land which was given to The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1170, by William the Conqueror’s grandson, Henri de Blois, Bishop of Winchester.
The Godsfield estate remained in the hands of the Knights until it was seized during the Reformation and sold by Henry VIII to Earl Paulett. Since then it has remained in private hands.
Today, circa 300 meters away from the proposed solar development, is the Knights of St John’s chapel, Godsfield Chapel, restored in 1999 under the supervision of English Heritage and which won the prize for the best restoration of that year. The solar panels will be clearly seen from the Chapel, therefore impacting the historic setting of this ancient building.
In 1870 the Godsfield Pyx was found in Wield Row, in one of the hedges which then bordered the proposed solar site. The Pyx is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
On the Northern boundary of the proposed solar site lies the Three Castles Path, a 60 mile footpath between the castles of Windsor, Odiham and Winchester. This ancient route is well documented as one of the 13th Century journeys undertaken by King John at the time of the Magna Carta in June 1215. Today it is much travelled by ramblers, cyclists and horse riders. The views from the Three Castles Path to Cheesefoot Head and the South Downs is considered the best of all the many stunning views along this path – and would be totally obscured by the proposed solar development.
The proposed site is also overlooked by two other ancient paths of enormous local importance and popularity – the “Ox Drove Way” and the “Wayfarer’s Walk”.