Whiteparish History and Environmental Group
Contacts: Mike Hayday (Chair), mike.hayday@btinternet.com; Graham Lee (Treasurer), grahamlee07@btinternet.com
The Whiteparish History and Environmental Group (sometimes called the History Society) aims to help and encourage Whiteparish residents to find out about the history of our village, of nearby communities, and of our region. We hold regular meetings during the winter months; during which invited guest speakers talk to us about local historical or environmental matters.

(For a brief overview of Whiteparish history, click here.)

Group members were involved in recent years in the writing and production of two celebratory publications.

To mark the millenium, we published the 184pp "Whiteparish: 100 years of an English Village" (left), much of it in villagers’s own words. A little later, we marked the Queen’s jubilee (June 3rd, 2002) with a 16-page colour booklet (right), showing how the village celebrated that day.


Our 2022–2023 season begins in September with a talk from Steve Hobbs about the Radnor Estate. The talk will describe the castle and estate of Earls of Radnor, situated south of Alderbury, which forms part of wider holdings in Wiltshire, Folkestone and London. He will mention the original owners, the Gorges family and subsequent owners the des Bouverie family. The latter were Huguenots, who grew wealthy with international trade in the Levant, Europe and the Near East. He will describe life on the estate illustrated by its extensive archive. The family also made charitable donations, and the second Earl of Radnor paid for a new Council House, now the Salisbury Guildhall, after it was destroyed by fire in 1780.

Date Subject Presenter
15 Sep The Radnor Estate Steve Hobbs
20 Oct Royal Visits to our Local Area over the Years Peter Jones
17 Nov

On the Wrong Side of the Law in Whiteparish and Landford

Rosalind Johnson
15 Dec

A festive historically themed social evening prepared and presented by David Pantling followed by festive refreshments

David Pantling
19 Jan Horrible and Curious History of Wiltshire Terry Bracher
16 Feb 1388 and all that! The piratical French Attack on Southampton Andy Skinner
16 Mar A Fatal Change of Luck—Rear Admiral Henry Maltby Mike Hayday
20 Apr AGM, followed by talk on "A History of Cinema in Salisbury" Frogg Moody
25 May Annual Outing: A guided tour of the Roman Villa at Rockbourne.
All meetings, with the exception of the annual outing, will be held at the Memorial Centre with a start time of 7:30 pm.

If you would like to join the society or renew your membership in advance of the first meeting, contact our Treasurer Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com. You can also renew or join on the night. Annual membership costs £13.50. Non-members are always welcomed, with a meeting fee of £4.
Date Subject Presenter
20 May 2021 AGM; followed by talk: A Chase from Cranbourne to Wimborne David Pantling
16 Sep

Fisherton and Bemerton Brickyards

Jamie Wright
21 Oct


Jonathan Holt
18 Nov

19th Century Winchester

Mark Allen
16 Dec 7.20 pm (Zoom Meeting)

Wiltshire Highwaymen

Ruby Vitorino (Moody)
20 Jan Pipeline under the Ocean (PLUTO) Ivor Ellis
17 Feb Extraordinary Wiltshire Women Ruth Butler
18 Mar Romsey and its Streams Phoebe Merrick
21 Apr AGM, followed by talk on "Edward VIII’s Murderous Mistress" Steve Herra
19 May Outing to Salisbury Cathedral and Close

Thursday 18th March 2022, MEETING NOTICE

The History Group will meet in the Main Hall in the Memorial Hall on 18th March 2022, at 7:15 pm for 7:30 pm, for a talk by Phoebe Merrick on "Romsey and its Streams".

17 February 2022: on "Women of Wiltshire", by Ruth Butler

Members welcomed Ruth Butler from the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre at Chippenham. Ruth presented fascinating stories of a selection of Wiltshire Women who over the ages made a significant impact in their own right. She explained how many influential women who exercised significant independent agency were largely overlooked by historians,despite being featured in many local legal documents. This was probably due to most historical records having been written by men. The influence of Victorian historians in documenting local history through the lens of their own masculine-dominated times—notwithstanding the irony that the supreme ruler of Britain in their times was a woman, Queen Victoria—had removed such women from the public eye until the advent of more systematic and sympathetic review of primary resources by modern historians.

The first extraordinary woman Ruth described was Ela, Countess of Salisbury. The only child of William FitzPatrick, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. Aged 9 when her father died in 1196, she inherited the earldom, the title and the family estates. As was the custom she became a Royal ward. The King, Richard I, married her to his half-brother William Longespee (illegitimate son of Henry II). William became the 3rd Earl of Salisbury. Ela outlived her husband and her eldest son, as well as her grandson and heir.

Ela and William were the power couple of the day. In 1215 William was mentioned in Magna Carta as a supporter of King John. They were present at the foundation of Salisbury Cathedral. When William died, Ela commissioned an elaborate tomb for him, and he was the first person to be buried in the Cathedral.

She did not remarry. The earldom of Salisbury reverted to her. She paid Henry III to make her Sheriff of Wiltshire—one of only two women to hold that position in medieval England. She founded two religious houses, Lacock Abbey and Hinton Charterhouse in Somerset. Ela joined Lacock Abbey as a nun before becoming its first abbess, and died in 1261.

Mary Herbert (1561-1621) (nee Sidney) the sister of Philip Sidney,one of the country's leading poets. Mary was highly educated, schooled in scripture and the classics, trained in rhetoric, and fluent in French, Italian, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. She married in 1577 the recently widowed Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. After her brother's death. She began her public literary activities to honour him, serving as patron to those who wrote in his praise. These included Edmund Spenser, author of the poem the Faerie Queene. Mary was one the poem's dedicatees. Mary established at Wilton an academy of literature. Visitors included Sir Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Isaak Walton. Shakespeare’s plays were performed at Wilton House, and he may have acted there in a production of As You Like It, in front of James I. Mary is buried in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral.

Other influential Wiltshire women discussed by Ruth included: civil-war era ladies Lady Blanche Arundell and Arundel Penruddock, Rex Whistler’s muse Edith Olivier (1872-1948), Matilda Talbot c1872-1958} who preserved Lacock village and Abbey, and racing driver and pilot Mary Bruce, who drove a Ford Capri at 110 mph! More information can be found at the website https://hersalisburystory.com.

The next meeting will be at 7:00 pm on 17th March at the Memorial Centre when Phoebe Merrick will describe the History of Ramsey and its streams. Non-members are always welcomed with a meeting fee of £4. For more information on how to attend meetings or join the group, contact Mike Hayday at mike.hayday@btinternet.com or Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com

Thursday 17th February 2022, MEETING NOTICE

The History Group will meet in the Memorial Hall on 17th February 2022, at 7:15 pm for 7:30 pm, when Ruth Butler from the Wiltshire History Centre at Chippenham will talk to us on the Extraordinary Women of Wiltshire. Non-members are always welcomed with a meeting fee of £4. For more information on how to attend meetings or join the group, contact Mike Hayday at mike.hayday@btinternet.com or Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com

20 january 2022: on PLUTO "Pipeline Under The Ocean", by Ivor Ellis

The group welcomed Ivor Ellis who gave an interesting and very well researched talk on PLUTO ("Pipeline Under The Ocean"). Using personal knowledge and a great deal of detective work, Ivor detailed the development of undersea cables and pipelines to pump petrol to support the Allied forces after ’D’-Day.

The idea came about in 1942 after Lord Mountbatten attended a flamethrower demonstration held by the Petroleum Warfare Department (PWD) at Moody Down near Winchester. The PWD was established in 1940 and tasked with developing petroleum products as weapons of war. This department went on to develop "FIDO", (Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation), a system to clear fog from airfields allowing returning bombers to land safely. This was credited with saving thousands of airmen’s lives.

Mountbatten approached the Secretary for Petroleum, Geoffrey Lloyd, and asked if the UK underground pipeline system could be extended under the Channel, as a submarine pipeline would be less susceptible to enemy air attack than tankers pumping fuel through ship-to-shore ('Tombolas'). Ministry experts thought the idea unfeasible, but the Chief Engineer of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Clifford Hartley, was convinced it was possible and used new technology to produce a long pipeline. Hartley brought in experts from Siemens Brothers, Henley Cables, and at a later date, Pirelli. Ironically Siemens and Pirelli were German and Italian companies! Hollowed, HIAS cables (from Hartley-Anglo-Iranian-Siemens) were invented. Trials across the River Medway were successful as was another running 30 miles from Swansea to Devon across the Bristol Channel.

Bernard J.Ellis, chief engineer of Burmah Oil, thought a flexible pipeline of mild steel would be better than the high lead HIAS. He worked with H.A. Hammick, chief engineer of Iraq Petroleum. Their pipe (HAMEL) could not be coiled but was too stiff for a ship's hold. Ellis proposed a steel drum fitted to a Hopper barge. This was HMS Persephone. Further development resulted in six large floating drums called HMS Conundrums which could hold 70 miles of pipe. In 1943 pumping stations, hidden in seaside buildings, were established at Shanklin and Sandown (IOW) and Dungeness in Kent. Storage tanks were camouflaged.

Fuel was first supplied through the small port of Port-en-Sessin by tankers anchored offshore using two Tombola lines, but once Cherbourg was captured the plan (BAMBI) commenced, but not without incident as one cab le was ruptured by a dropped anchor and another caught in a ship’s propeller. Later Dungeness was used to create a further PLUTO pipeline linked to Boulogne. This was "DUMBO". BAMBI was closed down. DUMBO pumped millions of gallons of fuel, linked to overland pipelines, and supplied fuel right into Germany until ports in Northern France and Antwerp could be made available.

Ivor concluded that PLUTO, despite all the resource and effort, supplied only 8.6% of the fuel required by Allied Forces. Given the cost and manpower he asked the group if we thought the project a success. The group agreed with Ivor’s assessment but thought it was a magnificent piece of engineering. It also lent itself to an enthralling talk.

The next meeting will be on 17th February at the Memorial Centre when Ruth Butler from the Wiltshire History Centre at Chippenham will talk to us on the Extraordinary Women of Wiltshire. Non-members are always welcomed with a meeting fee of £4. For more information on how to attend meetings or join the group contact Mike Hayday at mike.hayday@btinternet.com or Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com.

Thursday 20th January 2022, MEETING NOTICE

The History Group will meet in the Main Hall in the Memorial Hall on 20th January 2022, at 7:30 pm.. The 20th January 2022 talk will be given by Ivor Ellis and is entitled "PLUTO—Pipe Line Under the Ocean". This was an ambitious and top-secret operation to lay a series of pipelines across the English Channel from the South Coast of England to France, following the ‘D’ Day landings, in order to supply petrol to the advancing Allied forces.

Described by Eisenhower: "It was second in daring only to the artificial (Mulberry) harbours" and in the words of Winston Churchill: "Operation Pluto was a remarkable feat of British engineering, distinguished in its originality, pursued with tenacity and crowned by complete success. This creative energy helped to win the war." Or did it?

The meeting will be held in a Covid secure way and we ask all members and guests not to attend if they have symptoms or a positive test and to wear a face mask.

Members on our email list will receive details from our treasurer, Graham Lee.

Non-members are very welcome to attend with a £4.00 fee being requested. You can get more details from grahamlee07@btinternet.com

Thursday 18th November 2021, MEETING NOTICE

Our November meeting will be at the Memorial Centre Main Hall at 7:30 pm

Mark Allen, a lecturer in the History Department at the University of Winchester, will talk about the growth of Victorian Winchester.

The population of Winchester saw a three-fold increase over the course of the nineteenth century, but the changes in the period tend to be ignored. In 1801, it stood at 6,096 (almost the same as Southampton’s), yet while Southampton grew to a city of some 100,000 people into the twentieth century, Winchester barely grew to 30,000. Having said that, the 1851 census saw Winchester’s population pass the peak it reached just prior to the Black Death and both the medieval walled city and the suburbs saw a more vigorous growth than had been the case since medieval times. But where did the population increase, and what were the reasons for this? Using census records, and associated material, Mark will be looking at exactly how the city became the place it is today, and what forces were at play in the Victorian period.

Non-members are very welcome to join with a small fee payable (£4.00). You can get the details from our Treasurer Graham Lee, (grahamlee07@btinternet.com)

16 September 2021: First Meeting of 2021—2022 Season, on Fisherton and Bemerton Brickyards

The Whiteparish History Group were delighted to hold our first meeting at the Memorial Hall since the March 2020 lockdown, with members gathering to hear a talk from Jamie Wright on Fisherton and Bemerton brickyards.

Brickmaking in Britain ceased after the departure of the Romans, the technology of large scale manufacturing of kiln fired bricks having being lost and not reintroduced until the late 12th century.

The bricks made by the Romans were generally wider and thinner than those today and were used in various ways, including as lacing courses in walls of rubble stonemasonry and in the construction of supporting pillars for hypocaust heating systems. Bricks were salvaged and used in medieval buildings such as St Albans Cathedral. High quality bricks began to be imported, most from the Netherlands in the 13th and 14th centuries. Brick buildings were very high status, bricks being combined with stone to great decorative effect in mostly Royal and Church buildings.

Jamie described local early brick structures including cellars or kitchens at Clarendon Palace and examples found in a projected Wiltshire mansion planned by the 1st Duke of Somerset, which was aborted on his fall from power and subsequent execution. He explained that a decorative feature evident in medieval brickwork that extended into the 17th century and onwards was the use of diaper patterns. This was saltires and diagonal intersecting lines picked out in bricks of a grey to blue colour. This was reminiscent of a highly absorbent woven cloth sometimes used as nappies in Tudor times. This survives in the American name for babies’ nappies today.

Brickmaking was originally confined to Eastern England. Immigrant workers who brought kiln-fired brickmaking back into the country mostly settled near to the continent where there were also large clay deposits. By the mid-18th century brick was more widely used and brickmaking spread across the country.

The River Nadder deposited large quantities of alluvial clay over 50,000 years ago and this made Fisherton and Bemerton ideal for large scale brickmaking. Local brick makers exploited these raw materials and large brickworks were set up in the area. Jamie explained the way that purpose built factories were built with clay mined and mixed on site next to the brickmaking sheds, drying hovels, and kilns which were all designed to mass-produce bricks. These were used to build new houses and railway bridges in Salisbury. He also described the various types of brick kilns used. The local brick makers specialised in Fisherton Grey bricks, which were carefully fired to produce a distinctively coloured hard-wearing brick ideal for decorative work.

The Harding family, whose name mark can still be found on bricks in Salisbury, operated in the area for many years right up into the early 1900s. A brick maker still operated using traditional methods right up until the Alderbury bypass was completed in the mid-1970s. A local brickworks in Cowesfield also operated in the 18th and 19th centuries and is believed to have provided materials, principally roof tiles, for the Fisherton Gaol in Salisbury.

The next meeting of the group is 21st October. This will be a Zoom meeting with Jonathan Holt describing the Follies of Wiltshire. We will return to the Memorial Centre on 18th November for a talk by Mark Allen on 19th Century Winchester. Non-members are always welcomed with a meeting fee of £4. For more information on how to attend meetings or join the group contact Mike Hayday at mike.hayday@btinternet.com or Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com.

Whiteparish History and Environmental Society 20 May 2021 Meeting and Annual General Meeting

The past 18 months have presented a challenge for everyone, but, after cancelling March, April and September’s meetings, we resumed our monthly WHEG meetings via Zoom. We held our 2021 AGM virtually on Thursday evening 20 May 2021, with the Agenda, Chairman’s Report, 2019 AGM minutes (no AGM in 2020), the Treasurer’s Report and the 2021–22 Programme sent as attachments to each member. Elections were held for the Committee and I am very pleased to say that Mike Hayday was elected unopposed as our new Chairman, Graham Lee has agreed to remain as our Treasurer, supported by continuing committee members (David Pantling, David Wise, Jenny Harrison, Peter Jones and Sue Jones). We would very much welcome new committee members so if you have ideas for talks, please come forward – believe me, the remit is not onerous, and I have found my roles as Chairman and committee member very rewarding. As the outgoing Chair, I would like to thank the rest of the committee, particularly Graham who organised Zoom meetings, Mike for taking on the Chair, and Jenny Karmy, who will be stepping down from the committee after many years.

Our 2021-22 programme is now available which we hope to offer, conditions willing, in the Memorial Centre in the Main Hall, to allow for social distancing. Topics will be varied and include social, industrial, architectural and natural histories so there should be something for everyone.

We usually hold our AGM in April—but this year it was moved to May and in lieu of our usual Summer Outing, David Pantling very kindly stepped forward to give us a virtual tour of the Chases: "A Curious Chase from Cranborne to Wimborne" (pun intended!). As usual, David was highly entertaining. His virtual jaunt around Dorset began at the Cranborne Garden Centre (Cranborne Manor, AD 1207 hunting lodge remodelled in the 17th century, gardens occasionally open), then Wimborne St Giles (village stocks still extant, no occupants), through to the forgotten medieval hamlet of Edmonsham (well worth a visit). The tour down the B3078 takes in the villages of Knowlton, Horton, Chalbury, Hinton Martell, Stanbridge and Pamphill, before finally arriving in Wimborne. David illustrated each "stopping place" with historical, architectural or scenic anecdotes including the Earl of Shaftesbury’s Philosophical Tower, the jewel of All Saints Church, Chalbury with its box pews, the Plymouth-London semaphore line to alert to potential invasion during the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars, the cottage ornée at Stanbridge, and the possible burial place of Jack the Ripper.

Our next talk will be on Fisherton, Bemerton and Brickworth (Whiteparish) Brickyards, given by Jamie Wright on the 16th September in the Main Hall of the Memorial Centre at 7:30pm. Please join us. If you would like further information, either email our Chair Mike Hayday (mike.hayday@btinternet.com),
or our Treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com).

Sue Jones (Outgoing Chair)

Thursday 20th May 2021, MEETING NOTICE

The May meeting of the History Group is on Thursday 20th May at 19:15 via Zoom, and will consist of the group’s 2021 AGM (click here to download the agenda), followed by a talk by our own David Pantling entitled "A Chase from Cranbourne to Wimborne".

Club members will be sent the Zoom link by email. If you would like to join either as a guest or as a member, please either email our Chair Sue Jones (sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or our Treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com)

Thursday 15th April 2021, MEETING REPORT

We had yet another successful Zoom talk on 15th April, this time given by Steve Herra entitled: Cunard: History and Glamorous Stars. Steve is a third generation Cunard employee, serving as a purser and latterly as a tour guide for Cunard and Carnival.

Prior to 1840, crossing the Atlantic under sail might take six weeks or more and subject to uncertain scheduling and provisioning (passengers aboard RMS Diamond died of starvation) with one in six ships lost! In 1838, The Times advertised a lucrative contract to carry weekly mail between the UK and the USA, but with hefty stipulations: £500 fine for every day late, £15,000 fine for every cancellation. Nevertheless, Samuel Cunard, a businessman from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was awarded the contract from the British government to carry the Royal mail on a fleet of steamships providing a weekly service from Liverpool. There were two problems: Cunard didn’t have any ships (sounds familiar?) nor sufficient funds. However, Cunard was a skilful businessman. He amassed a fleet of four ships equipped with steam and sail: RMS Britannia set out on her maiden voyage for the British and North American Steam Packet Company (from 1879, becoming the Cunard Steamship Company) carrying 115 passengers on 4th July 1840. She reached Boston 13 days later! Now dependable and safe, transatlantic passenger trade grew apace: Cunard’s ships carried cows and chickens for fresh milk and eggs and whisky 2s 6d a pint (12.5p) – though not all passengers were comfortable: Charles Dickens sailed in 1842 during a violent storm, vociferously described. In 1844, the destination was changed from Boston (which could become ice-bound) to New York – which has remained to this day.

By the middle of the century, facilities boasted two libraries and a nursery (RMS Parthia), electric light came in 1881, and by the turn of the 20th century, first class facilities truly mirrored the country house at home. In 1919, Cunard relocated its British homeport to Southampton to better cater for travellers from London. Economic difficulties in the Depression led to the 1934 merger with the ailing White Star Line—the company name reverted to the Cunard Line in 1950. Competition from airlines meant difficult times in the 60s. In 1998, Cunard was acquired by the Carnival Corporation and currently has three liners (Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth 2) with another, yet to be named, joining in 2022.

From Dickens onwards, Cunard hosted stars of entertainment, from the silent (including Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford) to the silver screen (Mae West, Clark Gable) through to Hollywood A-listers (Burton and Taylor, Paul Newman). The company played a significant role in wartime: the Crimean, WW1 and WW2 as troop (and horse) carriers—indeed, the sinking of RMS Lusitania in 1915 may well have precipitated US entry into WW1.

Our May talk will be given by our own David Pantling: "A Chase from Cranborne to Wimborne " on 20th May (Zoom room will open at 7:15). Club members will be sent the Zoom link by email. If you would like to join either as a guest or as a member, please either email me (sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or our Treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com). It will also be our AGM—we welcome new members for next year and any who would also like to join our committee. We’ll have information for the diverse range of speakers we have to offer for 2021-2022.

Sue Jones (Chair)

Thursday 15th April 2021, MEETING NOTICE

The April meeting of the History Group is on Thursday 15th April at 19:15 via Zoom.

Steve Herra will talk on "Cunard History and Glamourous Stars". This will feature the history of the Cunard line from 1840 until the present day, including some of the more famous liners—but not all, as there were nearly 250! Steve will also talk about some of the many celebrities and stars who sailed aboard Cunard ships.

A taste of glamour and the sea for those members missing their annual cruise!!

Members will receive all the details via email. Any non-members are very welcome to join with a small fee payable. You can get the details from our Treasurer Graham Lee, at grahamlee07@btinternet.com.

Thursday 18th March 2021, MEETING REPORT

Our March talk was once again via Zoom, when Paul Stickler gave a very interesting presentation on the History of the Hampshire Constabulary. Paul was a Hampshire Police Commander with a background in murder investigations; he is now a writer, researcher and presenter on historical crime and is heavily involved in the Hampshire Constabulary History Society (HCHS).

The first part of the talk concentrated on the development of law enforcement in the county. The first police force was formed in Winchester in 1832 but this was voluntary. Some towns such as Romsey, Portsmouth, Lymington, Andover had their own police stations by 1836 and, in 1839, the Police Act allowed justices discretionary authority to maintain paid police forces. Thus, the Hampshire Constabulary was founded in 1839, with headquarters in a fine Georgian house in Winchester which remained in use until its demolition in 1969. For the next hundred years or so, 99% of policing was on foot or by bicycle, with little transport capability beyond the Chief Constable’s horse, therefore suspects were ‘walked’ to court—which could take up to two days! There was a nascent ‘Detectives Dept’ by 1934 but a formal CID was not established in Hampshire until after WW2. The Hampshire Traffic Dept. came into existence in 1946, with a fleet of Wolseleys (top speed 60mph). With no driving test requirements or speed limits (introduced 1965), uncertain motor engineering and road surfaces, roads could be dangerous places! The Police Dog unit was formed in 1959. The first female detective and first Superintendent were appointed in 1963 and 1968 respectively.

The second part of Paul’s talk was given over to some notable murders and the extensive archives that HCHS possesses. He touched upon infamous murderers including Percy Topliss (the Monicled Mutineer, 1920), Thomas Allaway (Bournemouth, 1921), Jack Morgan (US serviceman, for double murder, 1943), Harold Loughans (admitted the murder of Rose Robinson post acquittal, Portsmouth 1943). The HCHS has a wealth of archival material and the Museum is now based at Solent Sky Museum. Further details can be found on their website: www.hampshireconstabularyhistory.org.uk, or contact hchscurator@btinternet.com.

Our April talk will be "Cunard: History and Glamourous Stars" by Steve Herra on 15th April 2021 (Zoom room will open at 7:15). Club members will be sent the Zoom links by email but, if you would like to join, either as a guest or as a member, please either email myself (sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or our Treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com). We are always keen to enrol new members.

Sue Jones (Chair)

Thursday 18th March 2021, MEETING NOTICE

The March meeting of the History Group is on Thursday 18th March at 19:15 via Zoom.

Paul Stickler will talk on the History of Hampshire Constabulary, featuring some of the historical crimes solved in the County.

Members will receive all the details via email. Any non-members are very welcome to join with a small fee payable. You can get the details from our Treasurer Graham Lee, at grahamlee07@btinternet.com

Thursday 18th February 2021, MEETING REPORT

Our February talk was once again held via Zoom and both the topic and the speaker ensured that we had a very good turnout. Michael Foster, whom many will know from All Saints Church where he runs the orchestra and sings in the choir, began researching the village and the local area when he moved here 37 years ago. He gave us a little background about how the structure of what became Whiteparish developed collectively from the Saxon settlements of Alderstone, Whelpley, Cowesfield and Abbotstone, and half of the Hundred of neighbouring Frustfield. In 1546 there were eight manors (estates) in the village: Alderstone, Whelpley, Blaxwell, Cowesfield, Cowesfield Esturmy, Abbotstone, Tichbourne and Moore.

He then described the intricate and involved relationships of two notable Whiteparish families: the Eyre and St Barbe families (with various members commemorated in the church) covering 475 years from the 16th century onwards. Gyles Eyre (d. 1655) was the second son of Thomas Eyre, a Salisbury merchant, who built Brickworth House in 1605 which possessed “the smallest deer park in England”. Gyles was a staunch Parliamentarian whose ordeal at the hands of King’s soldiers is commemorated on a plaque in the church. The Eyre family connections continued for the next ~350 years either at Brickworth or New House, featuring numerous lawyers and politicians, with four Giles, to the consternation and possible confusion of genealogists! A later Giles Eyre (the 4th) was responsible for the Pepperbox Hill Folly in the early 18th century.

William St Barbe acquired land in and around Salisbury following the seizure and redistribution of church lands by Henry VIII. Like the Eyres, the St Barbes furnished the county with MPs, barristers and judges. William and subsequent generations family lived in Alderstone St Barbe Manor, Whiteparish. The house was demolished in the early 19th century, but the family crests were retained and built into nearby Broxmore House. Using old maps and parish records, Michael was able to locate the old Manor House which was sited next to the church straddling what is now part of the churchyard and the surgery car park. The House’s well was discovered a few years ago in the surgery carpark and Michael was able to show us that this well was likely to have been within a building that survived demolition of the main house. Family names have survived better than the houses they lived in: Broxmore House and Cowesfield Houses were demolished in the 1940s and the Elizabethan Brickworth House burnt down in 1860 (but rebuilt). The exception is New House, a curious triangular (Trinitarian, one of only three in the country) house built before 1619 by William Stockton and purchased by Gyles Eyre in 1633, which is occasionally open to the public. Further details can be found on Michael’s substantive website: www.younsmere-frustfield.org.uk.

Our March talk (by Zoom) will be at 7:30pm on 18 March, when Paul Stickler will be talking about the History of the Hampshire Constabulary. Members and guests attending the February talk will automatically be sent joining details, but if you would like to join in, either contact myself (sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or Graham, our Treasurer (grahamlee07@btinternet.com) for details.

Sue Jones (Chair)

Thursday 18th February 2021, MEETING NOTICE

Our February meeting is on Thursday 18th at 7:30 on Zoom. Michael Foster will present "Tales of the Eyre and St Barbe families of Whiteparish".

In 1546 and 1605, younger sons of the Eyre and St Barbe families moved into Whiteparish from Somerset and Salisbury, where each established a new family seat and forged local connections that would survive the centuries. A quick background sketch of the structure and nature of the parish in those early days sets the scene for the action to come. Key events, people, buildings, parkland and institutions will then be used to follow the fame and fortune of these families through 475 years of the Whiteparish story to the present day. Much remains to be seen of their influence and patronage and it is hoped that you will be left looking around the village and parish with renewed interest.

Members will be emailed details and the sign-on Link. Non members are welcome to join for a small fee (£4). Contact our secretary Graham Lee for details. grahamlee07@btinternet.com

Thursday 21st January 2021, MEETING REPORT

The January meeting was given remotely by Dan Miles, on "Recording Civil War Scars in Wiltshire". Dan is a professional archaeologist at the Wiltshire Museum Devizes and a recognised authority on World War I military landscapes. The evening’s talk focussed on the effects of the Civil War (1642-1651) as it impacted Wiltshire between 1642 to 1645. Dan is currently engaged in a project to collate disparate artefacts amassed in museums and private collections from Wiltshire and beyond during this tumultuous period, and identify arenas of conflict in Wiltshire. Most of his data was collected from North Wiltshire, scene of the Sieges of Devizes (July 1643) and Malmesbury (March 1643 and May 1644) and the Battle of Roundway, near Devizes (13 July 1643).

Little physical evidence remains in the Wiltshire landscape today except its effects on stone buildings. Wooden buildings were largely destroyed, and the one example Dan has uncovered of damage to a wooden building was a musket ball embedded in bedroom rafters – but it turned out to be subsequent re-use of timbers, presumably after the war. Essentially, castles (Old Wardour Castle), churches, abbeys, and Salisbury Cathedral provide evidence of the Civil War. Dan showed us slides of the many pock marks left in walls by pistol shot, musket- and cannonballs—for example St Marys Steeple Ashton and St Johns Devizes. St James Malmesbury still has a cannonball embedded in its tower and St Michael and All Angels Highworth has a cannonball crater in its wall, with the offending object on display within. Though direct armed conflict cannot entirely be ruled out, much of the damage sustained was probably due to random acts of violence with churches used as target practice or stabling, or merely vandalism arising from religious convictions—or just the result of too much beer! Details of mapping the Civil War can be found on the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group page on the internet.

Our February talk will be given by Michael Foster who has researched Whiteparish history extensively and will be speaking about the 475-year links of Whiteparish with the Eyre and St Barbe families. Yet again it will be via Zoom at 7:30pm, 18 February 2021 (Zoom room will open at 7:15). Club members will be sent the Zoom links by email but, if you would like to join, either as a guest or as a member, please either email myself (sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or our Treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com). We are always keen to enrol new members.
Sue Jones (Chair)

Thursday 21st January 2021, MEETING NOTICE

The group will continue to meet remotely and our next meeting (the first of 2021) will be via Zoom. The date is 21st January and Dan Miles of Historic England will give an illustrated talk on RECORDING THE SCARS OF THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR IN WILTSHIRE—A talk about what archeology can tell us about the sieges and battles of the English Civil War in Wiltshire.

Full details will be sent to all members. Non members are welcome to join the meeting for a small fee (£4.00)—please contact our Treasurer Graham Lee at grahamlee07@btinternet.com for the details and meeting link.

Thursday 19th November 2020, MEETING REPORT

On Thursday 19 November Christopher Legrand presented a Zoom talk on the history, geography and architecture of south Dorset to our members and visitors. Christopher is an experienced public speaker, retired chartered surveyor, Honorary Fellow of the Association of Building Engineers and JP, as well as establishing and managing charities, including dementia and homeless work and Organisation Manager of St. Martin’s Gospel Choir. He is also a very proud Dorset man and treated us to a whistle-stop tour of the Dorset coastline and its adjacent towns and villages, starting from Lyme Bay and finishing up in Christchurch. As he promised, some of the sites are probably well-known to us such as the Jurassic coastline and Lyme Regis’s association with Mary Anning, the famous fossil collector.

Less well-known, possibly, are that the broadcaster Sir Robin Day and the Bulgarian dissident George Markov (who was murdered with a poisoned umbrella) are both buried at St Candida churchyard, Whitchurch Canonicorum, or that, within near living memory, you would be locked up in Winfrith Gaol only after the milkman had finished his milk round—the milk float being the only transport available to the local constable. It was hugely entertaining.

Our December meeting will also be remote: The professional speaker Graham Harrison will present "Chloroform—Sense and Insensibility": horror and humour combine in tales of how early doctors and scientists experimented with anaesthesia. It will be at 7:30pm, 17 December 2020. Full details will be sent out to members. If you would like to join, please contact either the Chair (Sue Jones sue.jones133@btinternet.com) or the Treasurer (Graham Lee grahamlee07@btinternet.com) for details.
Sue Jones (Chair)


Following an unavoidable lapse in meetings from March this year, we are very pleased to announce that the WHG will once again be up and running, albeit electronically! On Thursday 15 October Ruth Butler from Wiltshire History Centre hosted a virtual meeting on Albany Ward: Wiltshire’s cinema pioneer—Albany Ward was one of the founding fathers of Britain’s cinema industry who built and operated picture palaces across the South West from his adopted home of Salisbury.

Having successfully dipped our toes in the realms of virtual delivery, we intend to have the following speakers for November and December meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 7:30pm:

19 November 2020, Christopher Le Grand: "Treasures of Dorset," billed as a scenic trip around Dorset to discover lesser known gems about its history, families, architecture and landscape.

17 December 2020, Graham Harrison: aims to enlighten, divert and amuse us in our December meeting: "Chloroform: Sense and Insensibility—horror and humour combine in tales of how early doctors and scientists experimented with anaesthesia."

Both Graham and Christopher are professional speakers with many years of experience in giving entertaining and informative talks. Meetings will be held via Zoom. If you wish to join in, please email our treasurer Graham Lee (grahamlee07@btinternet.com) for information. For non-members the cost will be £4.00 per talk or £7:50 for membership for the 2020-21 season (members note: reduced rate for this year only due to unavoidable cancellation of the rest of spring 2020 season). Full joining instructions will be made available for all those on our membership and guest list.
We very much hope you will join us.
Sue Jones (Chair)


Meetings are held on Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm, in the Cowesfield Room of the Memorial Centre (on the Memorial Ground), Whiteparish. Non-members are welcome, but please be sure to arrive in good time because we always try to start meetings at the scheduled time. The programme from September 2018 to mid-2019 is as follows.

Date Subject Presenter
20 Sep

World War 1 Graffiti – Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

Dan Miles
18 Oct

From Sugar to Camels

Ros Liddington
15 Nov

From Whiteparish to Kazakhstan

Gill Brown
20 Dec

Put Your Best Face Forward
***Followed by Festive Refreshments)***

Jane Glennie
17 Jan Behind the Scenes at Mottisfont Louise Govier
21 Feb The Body through the Porthole Steve Herra
21 Mar From Tiger Moth to Lightning Bob Cole
18 Apr AGM, followed by A History of Birds Simon Wills

Remaining 2019 programme to follow

May 18th, 2017, MEETING REPORT

Our Summer outing on the 18th May took us to Winchester College. Here we were split in two groups, and each group was then escorted around the College with a guide to lead the way.

Winchester College was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester. His idea was to educate 70 poor boys to be dedicated to God and to replace the many priests who had been lost to the Black Death. As well as these boys, known as Scholars, and who lived on the premises, there were places for 10 fee paying boys from wealthier families. These boys were known as Commoners and they either lived with one of the masters or lodged in the town. After their initial education at Winchester, the boys then moved on to further education at New College at Oxford, also founded by the Bishop.

Due to the poor contents of the water, the boys had their own brewery where they brewed their own beer. They were entitled to drink up to 3.5 pints a day. We then visited the Chantry, the only known example of a chapel built inside a cloister. Next port of call was the Chapel with its original wooden roof. In 1821 one of the glass windows was so dirty it was sent away to be cleaned. The Shrewsbury firm that had been contracted to do the job sent a replacement window back instead, which went unnoticed for a very long time. The original window was split up and sold all over the world. When any pieces of the original window become available for sale, then the College try to buy it back. One of the windows in the Chantry is made up with this repurchased glass. We then moved onto the hall which is the dining room. With its long tables and benches, the boys who sit next to the wall have to leap over the tables without knocking anything over before the boys on the outside of the tables are allowed to sit down.

Today there are over 700 hundred boys in attendance at the college. They are housed in 10 boarding houses around the college which are known as Commoner Houses, most named after former housemasters. The boys over the years have adopted many slang words of their own known as "Notions", of which our guide, Chris, gave us many examples. This was a very enjoyable visit enhanced by the knowledge and great sense of humour of our guide.

Our next meeting will be at 07.30pm on the 21st Sept at the Memorial Hall, when the subject will be: "Lord Mountbatten and his links with India and Romsey", by Barbara Burbridge. Membership: £12.50 for the season. Guests: £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

April 20th, 2017, MEETING REPORT

The talk for the night on the 20th April was: "Tales of Salisbury Pubs" by Frogg Moody, ably backed up by Richard Nash.

Frogg said that at one time there were 13 pubs surrounding the Market Place alone, now mostly all gone. The Maidenhead Inn stood where the Library now stands, noted for the cheapness of its prices. To its left was a huge pub which stretched nearly as far as St. Thomas's square which contained its own theatre. Over on the Queen Street side stood the Plume of Feathers, where the only thing now still to be seen is the staircase in the entrance of the Cross Keys shopping centre. Frogg spoke of these and many other pubs throughout the City.

In the early part of the 20th Century there was a strong temperance movement taking place throughout the country. In Birmingham, they came up with a surrender scheme to get rid of many of its city pubs. They refused to renew the licenses of many of the pubs, but paid the licensees a compesation of money instead. This soon spread throughout England and the Licensing Acts of 1904 to 1910 reflected this movement. In 1913, the Eagle and the Volunteer Arms became the first two Salisbury pubs to be closed under these Acts, but the outbreak of WWI, and the number of soldiers training in the area, saved many Salisbury pubs from closure. Around this time there were over 71 pubs within the City and from 1924 onwards, many of the City's pubs started to close. Though some like the Goat in Milford Street were profitable, they were classed as being too run-down and unhygienic to survive. The Round of Beef in 1928 is believed to be the last to close under the Acts.

Frogg then moved on to talk about such things as famous people who have visited and stayed in some of Salisbury's pubs, pub outings from the early days of the last century, and then rounded off with tales about his own family and friends, including his very own early days of drinking in such long-gone pubs as the Brewery Tap and the infamous Woolpack.

Questions and Answers followed before David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks. The next Programme will start on the 2lst Sept 2017, when the subject will be Lord Mountbatten.

C. Carpenter

March 16th, 2017, MEETING REPORT

The 16th March talk was: "War Hero or Murderer?" by Paul Stickler.

On the evening of the 24th April 1920, Sidney Spicer, a taxi driver from Salisbury, drove five people up to Bulford. 0n the way, near Amesbury, he decided to stop and check how much petrol he had left in his car. Whilst doing this, a man in military uniform stepped out from behind the bushes and asked Spicer If he would take him to Andover. Spicer said he could not, but that he would do it on his way back from Bulford. The next day Spicer's body was discovered on Thruxton Down with a bullet in his head. A Percy Toplis, stationed at Bulford Camp, who had gone Absent Without Leave [AWOL], was found guilty and charged with wilful murder in his absence.

Percy Toplis was born in Derbyshire and from a very young age was always in trouble, some of which would lead to several bouts of imprisonment. At the outbreak of WW1, he joined the Royal Anny Medical Corps as a stretcher bearer and served at first at Loos and then Gallipoli. In 1917 at an army camp at Staples in France, noted for its very tough training of new recruits which many believed amounted to bullying, there were a series of mutinies which lasted about four days. There are those who believe that Toplis was somewhat involved in these riots and a book ("The Monocled Mutineer") was written and later dramatized by the BBC. Percy Toplis, who was well known for dressing up and impersonating officers, often were a monocle. but he could not have been there at the time of the mutinies as his regiment was on its way to India. After the war he ended up at Bulford Camp where it seems he soon got involved in such things as the black market.

After the shooting of Spicer, Toplis picked up a friend. Private Henry Fallows, in Spicer‘s car and travelled down to Swansea where they were soon spotted. Toplis, on seeing that he was in the newspapers, got rid of the car. By the time Fallows returned to Bulford Camp, he had realised what Toplis had done and decided to hand himself in, saying that all that he had done was go for a ride and at the time knew nothing about the murder.

Fallows was arrested but later released. Toplis was now on the run, first heading to Wales and then on to Scotland. Here he was found in a deserted building near Tomintoul by a policeman and a farmer. He shot his way out and escaped on a bicycle, first to Aberdeen and then by train to Carlisle. One day, near Penrith, a PC Fulton spotted and questioned a man who was partially dressed in military clothing. He let him go, but on returning to the police station and looking through some police circulars, he realized who this man was. With the help of two other officers and the Chief Constable's civilian son they set a trap. A shoot out followed which led to the death of Toplis.

Questions and answers followed before David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks to Paul for an excellent talk.

Next meeting is on the 20th April in the Memorial Centre at 7.30pm when the subject will be: "Tales of Salisbury Pubs" by Frogg Moody. Our AGM will precede this meeting. Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

February 16th, 2017, MEETING REPORT

The 16th February talk was: "History of the Malting Industry in Salisbury" by Douglas Jackson.

The first thing Douglas showed was an image of a painting painted in the 19th Century from Milford Hill. As you looked down from the hill, you could see the tops of a couple of kilns poking above the rooftops of buildings lower down. Douglas said that there were several small malting businesses around the City and though they are now all gone, there are still parts of buildings that can still be seen. In Gigant Street you can still see the tops of the forementioned kilns. Also in St. Ann Street and the Friary area there are still parts of other industrial buildings to be seen incorporated into more modern structures. Douglas had a few photos to show us of the then and now. The most complete building that is left is the one housing the Salisbury Press.

The main part of the story was about the Maltings area where the Sainsbury Supermarket stands today. In 1860, Charles Williams, with his brother Arthur, purchased land here and set up an malting industry bigger than all the others in the City put together. The reason Charles did this, Douglas believes, was that a railway line ran from Salisbury Station down to Market House, where the Library now stands, which made it easy for the delivery of the barley for malting.

Douglas then described the malting process. Often when the barley arrived it was damp so it first had to be dried. Then it was stored for 6 weeks. After this period it was dumped 8 tons at a time into huge concrete baths known as cisterns, filled with water then left for 24 hours, drained, then the process was repeated all over again. After being drained for the second time, the barley was shovelled out of the cisterns and spread on to the floor at a depth of about 8". With only windows and doors to open and close to control the temperature, the men continually had to turn the grain with shovels and rakes. As the grain started to sprout, the grain was gradually raked out to a depth of 4". Then when dry, the now malt was spread on to the perforated floor of a kiln where heat from boilers on a floor below started the roasting process. The more the malt was roasted the darker it got; and the darker the malt, the darker the beer; this gave the brewers a choice in what to buy. The malting industry on this site came to an end in 1964.

Questions and answers followed before the Chairman proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be on the 16th March at the Memorial Centre at 07.30pm, when the subject will be: "War Hero or Murderer?" by Paul Stickler. Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

January 19th, 2017, MEETING REPORT

The 19th Jan meeting was on: "The Vindolanda Letters - Life on the Roman Frontier" by Nick Griffiths.

Vindolanda was a Roman fort built in the f1rst Century in the north of England, near to where Hadrian's Wall would be built a few years later. Originally built of wood, by the time of the Wall's construction it had been demolished and rebuilt with stone.

In 1973, a number of thin slivers of wood were found with what appeared to be words handwritten in ink upon them. These became known as the Vindolanda Letters. These letters would have been mainly written by a Scribe, then the persons concerned might add a small message for themselves. Once the letter was written, it would be folded in half and then addressed on the outside. Often the letters would be folded before the ink was dry, which is why many of the letters are smeared. There have been only about 1500 of these letters found in Britain of which 500 have been in and around Vindolanda. Nick said that this is a poor return compared to the number of letters found in Egypt, but this may be due to the slivers being scraped and used again or destroyed when the soldiers were moved on elsewhere.

Nick spent the first half of his talk talking about what life was like for the Roman soldier and others stationed in a fort like Vindolanda, such as pay and conditions. These letters give us a good insight in to this. The soldiers came from many parts of Europe. Some of the earliest legions to occupy Vindolander came from Gaul and the Netherlands area.

The second part of the talk was about what these letters actually said, though many are in such poor condition that only parts of them are legible. Most letters are about everyday things such as the running of the fort. One such letter requests more beer for the men. Among the other letters that Nick read out, one concerned a woman writing to another asking her to join her to help celebrate her birthday, and another was a letter sent from a soldier's home enquiring if he had received his parcel containing sandals, socks and underpants.

Questions and answers followed before David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks. Next meeting: 16th Feb in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm, when the talk will be: "History of the Malting Industry in Salisbury" by Douglas Jackson. Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

December 15th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

The guest speaker at the 15th December meeting was Tony Strafford, who had come to give us a talk on: "Bishops, Sex and Money". Tony informed us that he had left the army in 1986 and had now become a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, he was also most suitably dressed for the occasion. Tony's talk was given with great gusto and humour.

Tony said that the idea that there were lots of executions at the Tower in its earlier days is a bit of a myth, in fact more executions took place there in the 20th Century than in the rest of the Tower's previous history added together. The Tower was originally built as a Royal Palace and Castle.

Tony then moved onto the Bishops and told us stories about several of them. Ralph Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who was imprisoned by Henry1, became the first man to escape from the Tower. Simon Sudbury, former Bishop of London and then Chancellor of England, was dragged from a chapel in the Tower and executed by the peasants for his part in the introduction of the Poll Tax in 1381. These are just two of Tony's stories that come to mind.

The District of Southwark fell under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Winchester, and from medieval times the area was notorious for prostitution. Tony said that the Church in those days had nothing against such practices as it was a good tax resource for the Bishop. The women involved were known as Winchester Geese and their clients as Ganders. He said that the old nursery rhyme Goosey, Goosey, Gander was based on this activity.

The next part was mainly about executions and how the rich could speed up their demise by offering money to their executioner. Those executed at Tower Hill were usually beheaded. The condemned person would offer money and ask the executioner to make sure he did the job with one clean chop. At Smithfields, burning at the stake was the norm. Here the victims with money would ask for gunpowder to be tied to their bodies. If you were sent to Tyburn, then hang, draw and quartering was the order of the day. If you had cash, then friends and family would be allowed to come forward to hang on to the victims feet and make sure they were dead before the drawing and quartering took place. Tony went on to say that many phrases in use today originated from these times, such as: heads must roll, going out with a bang, and hangers-on.

Questions and answers followed before David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks. Festive refreshments followed. The next meeting will be on 19th Jan in the Memorial Centre at 7.30pm, when the subject will be: "The Vindolanda Letters - Life on the Roman Frontier" by Nick Griffiths. Membership £12.50 Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

November 17th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

Our speaker for the evening of 17th November was Geoff Watts, an historian and expert on the subject of "The Road To Agincourt".

But first, the politics, it was necessary to know the background in the lead up to Henry VI's campaign, and that meant going back to the time of Edward III (1327-77) and the machinations inherent in the reigns of kings on both sides of the channel. Geoff spoke of the events in Edward's reign, and the succession of Richard II, his murder by Bollingbroke (Henry IV), and the subsequent ascension to the throne by Henry V.

An underlying theme throughout this time was the claim to the throne of France, and Henry V took his opportunity to make further claim by taking a large force across the channel to land at Harfleur. There was a difficult impasse for Henry after the successful taking of Harfleur, which was basically, what to do next. The French Dauphin would not engage Henry's army at this stage, and, not wanting to lose face with the populace back home Henry chose to march along the coast to Calais, thereby staking a claim to the territory.

The "road" took them to the river Somme where it was necessary to turn inland to avoid the French at the first crossing. Eventually, after passing through the area that was to gain greater infamy 500 years later, the armies met on 24th October 1415.

Although there are many varied accounts, it is generally realised that Henry's outnumbered army won the day through its leadership and its nimble, unencumbered (by armour) archers who were not bogged down in the sodden fields following constant overnight rain. Long bowmen could fire off 12-20 arrows per minute and were able to avoid the heavy, immobile knights of the French, who, once their horses were downed in the mud, were easy pickings for the professional English soldiers.

Many interesting questions followed the talk, and a vote of thanks was given by Ken Jones.

The Society's next meeting will be on 15th December, where Tony Strafford will give a talk on "Bishops, Sex and Money". A suitable appetiser for Christmas???

Membership is £12.50 per year (8 events). Visitors £3.00 per night.

K. Weymouth

October 20th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

The speaker on the 20th Oct. was Pat Woodruffe who gave us a talk on : "The Natural History of the Whiteparish Area".

The Whiteparish site is made up of chalk and is overlaid in places with later deposits of sand and clay, which gives us areas of chalk grassland, wet meadows and many tracts of woodland.

Pat said that there are two large Sites of Special Scientific Interest within Whiteparish, one of these being Pepperbox Hill. Here can be found such plants as Fragrant and Frog Orchids and butterflies such as the Chalkhill and Adonis Blues. There are also many Juniper bushes–which are getting quite rare in Britain–on the site, but they are all mainly over a hundred years of age. Pat said there is very little sign of any regeneration around them and this could be down to rabbits nibbling away at any new seedlings that appear.

The other SSSI is in the Whiteparish and Holmere Commons area. These are both very ancient woodlands and contain some very interesting trees such as Sessile Oak, Wild Service Tree, and Small-leaved Lime among many other plants and fungi.

Pat also spoke of many other areas around Whiteparish and of the flora and fauna associated with them. We were also told how it might be possible to date a hedgerow by counting the number of the types of trees and plants that may be contained within it but–with the possibility that some of the plants may have resulted from recent garden escapees–Pat suggested that the accuracy of such should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Questions and answers followed before David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks to Pat for a very interesting and enjoyable evening. Our next meeting will be on the 17th November at 07.30pm in the Cowesfield Room of the Memorial Centre, when the subject will be: "The Road to Agincourt" by Geoff Watts. Membership £12.50. Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

September 15th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

Our new season got under way with a return visit from George Fleming. His talk this time was: "In search of Eileen".

Neal and Eileen McNamee both perished when the Titanic sank in April 1912. George, after appearing in a local amateur musical about Eileen decided, along with Frogg Moody, to delve into her life.

Eileen's father Richard O'Leary, was of good London Irish stock and her mother Minnie, came from a staunch Baptist background. In 1884, Richard joined the Royal Engineers and became involved in costal defence–especially in the electronic side of operations–and soon gained promotion. After being posted to Malta with his family in the mid 1890s, he caught Brucellosis, probably from drinking untreated milk, and had to return to England. Having to leave the army, the family moved and settled in Salisbury. Taking up residency in a property in Winchester Street and knowing that cycling was a major pastime, Richard advertised the place as a Cyclists' Rest, a place where cyclists could have a wash and brush up or leave their bikes safely as they looked around the town.

Eileen attended St Thomas School and also the local Baptist Sunday School. When she left school, she became a cashier at the Liptons store that stood where Boots the Chemists stands today. Here she was to meet and fall in love with Neal who had became the manager there. With the chance of a good job for Neal in a Liptons store in New York, they took the fatal trip aboard the Titanic. When they died, Eileen was just 19 and Neal, 27.

There is only one officially known photograph of Eileen, taken a few months before she died, and throughout George's talk he referred to and showed photos of events in the City that she must have been present at, but all his research infers that she was always just out of shot. There is a good chance she is on one photo taken of a group children playing on the Green Croft, but which child she is he does not know.

After the talk, Peter Redhead proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be on the 20th of Oct at 07.30pm at the Memorial Centre, when the talk will be: "The Natural History of the Whiteparish Area, Past and Present" by Pat Woodruffe. Members £12.50 for the Season and Guests £3.00 on the night.

C. Carpenter

May 12th, 2016, OUTING REPORT

The summer outing took us to Breamore House. This Elizabethan House was completed under the supervision of William Dodington in 1583. The House was built in an E shape design, which was then very fashionable. The House stayed in the Dodington family until 1748 when it was sold to Sir Edward Hulse, whose descendants still live there to this day.

The House contains a lot of very fine art and furniture, some very rare. The Great Hall houses a couple of 17th century tapestries by David Tenier and also paintings by the Van Dyck studio. We then moved into the Regency-styled West Drawing Room where the windows give fine views out across a park. Then on through to the Dining Room with its Tudor character furniture of oak that easily catches the eye. Other equally interesting rooms followed before we reached the Staircase and Alcove part of the House. Here hangs a fine 17th century English pile carpet.

On the upper floor we entered into the Blue bedroom with its Queen Anne four-poster bed. Next came two Tudor bedrooms. These two rooms show off their original 16th century timber-framed walls with plaster-covered bricks in between the frames. Here, with oak period furniture, original beds and bedding and tapestries adorning the walls, the two rooms really stand out.

Then it was down into to the kitchen area to finish. One thing of interest here was an 18th-century beer wagon, which would have run up and down on a table, allowing the staff to help themselves to beer from a small barrel which would have been placed upon it. As well as the above, the guide also had many stories to tell of those who have lived there over the years. After the tour of the House finished, there was plenty of time to visit the Countryside Museum and Saxon church. The Tearooms were also another popular attraction for some.

C. Carpenter

March 17th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

The March talk was on: "The History of the Order of St. John and Ambulance" by the Revd Alec Knight.

Before the First Crusade had captured Jerusalem in 1099, there was already a hospital there. A group of monks, led by Gerard, had established a 2000-bed hospital to look after the health of pilgrims of any faith who had joumeyed there. Later on they were also to take on the job of protecting these pilgrims. The Order was named after John the Baptist. The Pope recognized the Order in 1113.

They were there until the Muslims drove them out in 1291. At first they moved to the coast of Palestine, then they fled to Cyprus, then on to Rhodes, before settling in Malta in 1565. Napoleon was to expel them from there in 1798. An English headquarters had been set up in a priory at Clerkenwell in 1140, but that was to be dissolved under the reign of Henry VIII.

The modem Order of St. John and Ambulance was formed in the 1880s and was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria. They were to give assistance and First Aid to wounded soldiers on the battlefields of the Boer War, and have helped alongside the Red Cross in other conflicts ever since. Today, at most events, you will find their members on duty ready to perform First Aid if needed.

Questions and answers followed before John Le Quesne proposed a vote of thanks.

Next meeting will be on the 28th April at 7.30 pm at the Memorial Centre, when the subject will be: "Historical Recipes" plus demonstrations. Non-members £3.00.

C. Carpenter

January 28th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

A second meeting in January gave us a talk on: "The Last Wolf in Britain" by Adam Weymouth.

Adam said that he had recently walked across the Scottish Highlands, asking people how they felt about the idea of introducing the wolf back into the UK. It appears that the British Isles are the only place left in Europe that does not contain any.

The wolf had disappeared from England during the thirteen hundreds, and from Wales before that. The last official claim in Scotland was for 1680, but there were other later claims. One such claim of a stuffed wild wolf found in a glass case, turned out to be of someone's pet when traced back.

Adam said that when the wolf was reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in the USA, its impact was startling on both the deer population and the environment. Not only did the deer provide the wolf with food, it made the deer more timid which in turn allowed opportunities for plants, followed by insects and other animals, to re-establish themselves in the Park. The river banks also became more stable, less prone to erosion. Though not everyone was happy with the reintroduction, especially the farmers, and no doubt it will be the same if the wolf is brought back into Scotland.

Adam finished his talk, by beguiling us with a story told to him by a man in Alaska about a boy allegedly reared by wolves in Texas in the early part of the Twentieth Century.

Question and answers followed before Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be on the 17th March at 7.30pm in the Memorial Centre when the subject will be: "The History of the Order of S. John and Ambulance" by the Revd. Alec Knight. Non-members £3.

C. Carpenter

January 14th, 2016, MEETING REPORT

The first of two January meetings was a talk on: "Historical Games" by Mike Hayday.

The first game known to be played, was the game of knucklebones which goes back to at least 800BC. The idea was to toss these bones into the air and then try to catch them on the back of the hand. The next most likely thing to develop was to mark the sides of these bones with dots which then led to dice, and would later give us dominoes and the paper form of dice, playing cards.

Senet, believed to be the first board game, and the Royal Game of Ur, were two games that were enjoyed by the Ancient Egyptians. Tafl games were popular with the Vikings and these games soon became widespread throughout out Europe until Chess took over in the 12th Century. These games involved playing on a chequered board with armies of uneven numbers. Fox and geese is a variant of these games. Nine Men Morris was a popular game in the middle ages, and is mentioned in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Games like Shove Ha'penny, Snakes and Ladders and Ludo also have long histories.

Mike then told of more modern games such as Diplomacy and Britannia, both strategic war games, and then spoke on the origins of Monopoly and Cluedo. It appears that Scrabble is the most popular board game of all time. At the end of the talk, Jenny Harrison proposed a vote thanks and then there was a chance to take a look at, and even try, some of the above games that Mike had set up earlier.

The 18th February meeting will be at 07.30pm in the Memorial Centre when the subject will be "Our Magna Carta Cathedral" by Alex Armstrong. Membership £10; Guests £3 on the night.

C. Carpenter

December 17th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The December talk was: "Hold Tight! Rock and Pop Music in Salisbury" by Richard Nash and Frogg Moody.

They started the talk by looking back at the music scene in the Salisbury area in the late 1940s to early 50s. Dance bands would often visit the City, such as Jack Parnell's, Ted Heath's and Joe Loss's. There was a local dance band scene as well, of which the Merry Macs probably being the most popular. Also around this time, Salisbury girl Rosemary Squires started to make a name for herself as a singer.

In the mid 1950s the skiffle music craze hit Salisbury. This music was a cross between folk, blues, and pop; and could be played using guitars, washboards and tea-chests. The Chris Barber Jazz Band, who visited the Assembly Rooms in Salisbury around this time, were the leading exponents in this type of music. Lonnie Donegan, then a member of the band, soon left and gained the reputation as the king of skiffle. Many Salisbury area skiffle groups soon started up, The Red River Band and The Moonrakers being two of the most noted.

Frogg and Richard then moved on to the 1960s. Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent and Cliff Richard were some of the early stars to perform in Salisbury. The Beatles were due to appear at the City Hall on June 15th 1963, just as they were about to make it big, Brian Epstein tried to cancel, but the promoter declined and the concert took place as planned. A thriving local group scene soon started up. Names like Danny and the Detonators,The Satellites, and Ricky Vernon and The Pathfinders were soon to be seen playing at local village dances. The most famous band to emerge from this era was Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, previously known as Dave Dee and the Bostons.

Mike Hayday proposed a toast at the end of the talk. The next meeting will be on the 14th of January 2016 at 7.30 pm in the Memorial Centre when the subject will be "A Historical Games Evening" by Mike Hayday. Membership £10; Guests £3 on the night.

C. Carpenter

November 19th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The November meeting saw an experimental new idea of holding two talks within one evening. The first was about the history of the Scout Motor Company by David Pantling.

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, the Scout Motor Company was the biggest employer of people in Salisbury. Two brothers, Albert and William Burden, had started life in the family clock-making business but they became increasingly more interested in the making of combustion engines. In 1904 they moved to a workshop in Friary Lane in Salisbury and started to build motor cars. Around this time, they entered into a partnership with Percy Dean who supplied the financial backing for the venture.

They entered their first car into a race on the Isle of Man in 1905 but, due to a crash weeks before the race, they had to quickly assemble another. They then drove it to Liverpool, took the ferry to the Isle of Man, but due to the fact that they were restricted to the use of 9.25 gallons of fuel, they ran out of petrol before they had completed the 52 mile length of the race. But the car soon built up a reliability factor about it. They then decided to look for bigger premises and became the first business to have workshops at Churchfields.

They made several models of their cars and branched out into commercial vehicles as well. Due to the wooden chassis, it was easy to interchange the bodies of the vehicles. This meant you could have a lorry during the week, then change it to a bus at the weekend. Around 1912 the company started to come under pressure from both the Ford and Morris companies who were starting to mass-produce their cars. This meant their prices were coming down but the Scout's prices kept increasing. In 1921 the business closed.

The second talk was titled: "A Soldier's Story" by Marcus Reynolds. The story was about Marcus's Grandfather, Sid Bowland, who joined the Grenadier Guards back in the 1930s. At the outbreak of the 2nd World War, he was posted with the BEF to France were he fought gallantly against the Germans. Due to extreme pressure, the Guards were pushed back to Dunkirk. Sid found an abandoned boat and, with others, paddled back to Britain.

Sid was then stationed to the Middle East where he got involved with a new group of service personnel dealing in special operations. This became known as the SAS. After service in the desert helping to push back Rommel, Sid then specialised in the marine side of special operations. He had now become a member of the SBS. During a raid on Sardinia, he was captured and sent to a prison camp on mainland Italy. After the fall of Mussolini, Sid and many others escaped from the prison camp with little resistance from the Italians. Splitting up into small groups, they travelled south. By now the Germans had taken over and were combing the countryside looking for them. For several weeks, often travelling by night and with help from local Italian people, they made the 200-mile trip to the allied lines and freedom.

Hugh Burnard then proposed a vote of thanks to both speakers. The next meeting will be on the 17th of December at 07.30pm in the Memorial Centre, when the subject will be: "Hold Tight! Rock and Pop Music in Salisbury" by Richard Nash and Frogg Moody. A £3 donation is asked for to cover the cost of the Christmas food and drink. Membership £10 Guests £3 on the night.

C. Carpenter

September 17th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The first meeting of the new season opened with a talk on: "The Anglo Saxon Period of Whiteparish" by Ross Dunworth. The only thing ever found in Whiteparish—in Saxon times known as Frustfeld—was a coin from the reign of Cnut. As buildings in Saxon times were mainly built of wood, there are very few visible signs left of their occupation in this country, other than churches such as at Breamore and Britford. But we know, Ross said, that they were here by the place names in the village that are still in use to this day.

The meaning of Frustfeld was probably "first field". This may have referred to the open land where the Saxons met to administrate their business. It is quite possible that this site was in the area we know today as the Triangle. Amongst other known Saxon place names in or near the village still in use today are: Alderstone Farm [Aldred's farmstead], Blaxwell [Blacca's spring] Farm and Cowesfield [Cola's/Curfel's open land].

Ross also spoke on other aspects of Saxon life in Frustfeld, such as the possible positioning of the village boundaries and the meanings of what the Saxon hundreds and hides really meant. After the talk, John Marsh proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be at 7.30 pm on the 22nd of October, when the subject will be: "Modern Smuggling" by Hugh Burnard. Membership 10 pounds, Guests 3 pounds on the night.

C. Carpenter

April 16th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The April meeting began with the AGM. It appears that the group is on a firm footing, both financially and with attendance.

Mike Hayday then took to the floor to give us his talk on: "The Buckingham Rebellion of 1483". Mike opened his talk by referring to the plaque outside Debenhams in Salisbury which refers to the execution of the Duke of Buckingham. In those days, the Blue Boar and Saracen Inns stood on this site.

Henry Stafford, whose lineage can be traced back to Edward III, was born in 1455 and, on his grandfather's death in battle in 1460, became the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. At the age of four, Henry was made a ward to Queen Elizabeth Woodville. Edward IV then confiscated all of Henry's lands, which he would, though unsuccessfully, try to regain from Edward for many a year. At the age of ten he was married off to Elizabeth's sister Catherine, who was thirteen at the time, but it was not a happy marriage.

On the death of Edward IV, Henry decided to side with the Duke of Gloucester's claim to the throne. When the Duke became King Richard III in 1483, he rewarded Henry by restoring his lands back to him. There are many who believe that Henry was heavily involved in the disappearance and murder of the two princes in the Tower.

Henry, for some unknown reason, soon became very disillusioned with Richard III. Around this time, he got involved with Bishop John Morton, the main man behind what was to become known as the Buckingham Rebellion, though Mike said it was never known as such until Victorian times. The idea was to dispose of Richard and replace him with Henry Tudor, though it is believed by some that Henry Stafford had ambitions for the crown himself.

The plan was for Henry to return to his home in Brecon, raise an army, then march on London. At the same time, armies from Kent and the west country would do the same thing, with Henry Tudor crossing the channel with another army. But it all went terribly wrong when the Kentish army attacked earlier than planned. Richard, on hearing of this rebellion, moved quickly to disperse it. Meanwhile, Stafford's men, who had become bogged down due to torrential rain storms, quickly deserted and went home. The same storms forced Henry Tudor back to Brittany. The army in the west held out for awhile, but the rebellion soon petered out. Henry Stafford sought sanctuary at Beaulieu Abbey, but was soon betrayed and handed over for the bounty. He was taken to Salisbury where he was executed in the market place. Henry Tudor would have to wait for another day to take the English crown.

Questions and answers followed before Sue Jones proposed a vote of thanks. Then there was a special presentation of flowers to Jenny Harrison who has stepped down after five years as Chairman.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

March 19th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The March meeting was: "What's on in the 1780's from the Salisbury Journal" by Ruth Newman.

The Salisbury Journal was founded in 1729 by Benjamin Collins. The paper consisted of four pages, the first two pages were devoted to national and international news, the other two to local news and adverts. Ruth said that this local news gave the best look into what was really happening in and around Salisbury at that time.

Ruth's talk, as mentioned, mainly concentrated on the 1780's period. Salisbury at that time was well to the fore when it came to hospitals. The Laverstock House Asylum and the Fisherton House Asylum, later to become the Old Manor Hospital, were leading mental institutions under the superintendence of Charles Finch who believed in treating his patients through kindness and reason. Some of the many stories that Ruth broached upon from the files of the Journal included: law and order, toll roads, stagecoach journeys and mathematical tiles.

Questions and answers followed before Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be on the 16th April at 07.30pm at the Memorial Centre when the subject will be: "The Buckingham Rebellion of 1483" by Mike Hayday.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

February 19th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The February talk was: "Operations Nightingale and Florence" by Laura Joyner. Laura is a member of the Wessex Archaeology team that back in 2012 became interested in an idea that the military had: to get personnel who had been injured in conflict involved in archaeology. This became known as Operation Nightingale.

Barrow Clump, a bell-shaped barrow with a surrounding ditch, situated near Figheldean, became the first site chosen to be excavated. Although a protected site, damage by badger burrowing meant that permission was given for the go-ahead. Human activity has been recorded on this site going back some 5000 years to the Neolithic times. Only a few finds for that period have been found, a few shards of pottery, some deer antlers in a pit and some evidence of flint knapping. There were far more finds to be found for the Bronze Age, including an archer's wrist guard and two urns containing cremated human remains.

The Saxons became involved with burials on the site during the 6th Century. Over seventy graves have so far been found and recorded. The graves contain a mixture of men, women and children, there does not seem to be any hierarchy involved. In the male graves, finds of warfare were common, such as shield bosses and spearheads. In the female graves, items of jewellery were the more likely finds. The most exciting find was a Saxon bucket, a drinking vessel made of yew with bronze bands around it. Laura surmised that this may have been involved in some form of drinking game.

Wessex Archaeology decided to get the local communities involved with what was happening on the site, and this became known as Project Florence. Laura also brought along a few artefacts from the site for us to see. Questions and answers followed, then Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks.

Next meeting will be on the 19th March at 7.30pm in the Memorial Centre, when the subject will be: "What's on in the 1780's from the Salisbury Journal", by Ruth Newman.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

January 15th, 2015, MEETING REPORT

The subject for the January meeting was: "Wiltshire Soldiers in the Great War" by Richard Broadhead. Richard's aim is to create a website to list every Wiltshire person to have lost their lives in the war, who were either born or died in the county. He would also like to put a story to every unfortunate face.

Richard said that the uptake for the call for recruits at the outbreak of war was so great, that there were not enough buildings to cope with housing them all. So this meant having to share tents; as many as 16 men to each one. Disease soon became rife due to the poor health of some of the recruits, and many were to die before they took part in any form of warfare. Their graves can be found in the villages surrounding Salisbury Plain. We also heard about the different factions and numbers that made up our army at the outbreak of the war, such as regular and reservist personnel.

He showed us where the battles took place in France and other places such as Gallipoli, and told of the conditions that the men had to fight in. He told us about the use of gas by the Germans, and how the primitive respirators our troops had to combat it greatly improved during the course of the war. The British soon resorted to using gas as a weapon themselves. We also heard about some of the court martials and executions. Richard brought along an array of articles to show us, including a Lee Enfield rifle, a bayonet, and a shrapnel shell which was cut away to show us the insides and how it worked.

As said earlier, Richard is compiling a website about those who fought in WW1, so he made references to some of those from Whiteparish who took part: William Elkins, Alfred Stone and Walter Stride who all lost their lives during the war; and Edward Fuller, who survived the war, but was to drown tragically in a pond in 1919. Richard finished up on a sombre note by telling of the vast cost of the war in both lives and money.

Questions and answers followed before Steve Karmy proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be at the Memorial Centre at 07.30pm on the 19th Feb, when the subject will be: "Operations Nightingale and Florence" by Laura Joyner.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

December 18th 2014 MEETING REPORT

"A Roman Connection with Whiteparish" by Eric Chase was the subject of the December meeting at the Memorial Centre. "Was there a connection with Whiteparish?" Eric asked. "No" he said, and feigned a move towards the exit which raised a chuckle—but then Eric said he would explain why. Although there have been a few Roman coins found in the Cowesfield area, there was not a large enough water supply for the Romans to sustain a settlement here.

Eric and his brother used to farm in the Mottisfont area, and after harvesting a field in the August of 1974 he noticed two parallel green lines of grass across the ground. A few days later he mentioned this to a lecturer friend of his who said: "Well done, you've discovered the Roman B road to Exeter!" It appears that these two lines marked where the drains would have been on either side of the road. Though Eric and his brother have never seen these lines since, in adjoining fields when ploughing, they have found gravel deposits on the same linear.

Eric said that this particular Roman road would have started up near Ashley, come across to Mottisfont and then followed the river Dun along towards the Grimsteads, where it would have been easy to cross over to the Roman settlement at Downton; then the road would have continued on down towards Badbury Rings. There is evidence of a Roman villa and mill at Holbury and also further villas at West Dean and the Grimsteads. Roman villas were never usually built any more than three-and-a-half miles from a road.

Eric believes that these are the main reasons—no major water supply and no known Roman road—that prove that the Romans did not settle in Whiteparish.

Questions and answers followed then David Pantling proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on the 15th Jan. in the Memorial Centre at 07.30pm when the subject will be: "Wiltshire Soldiers in the Great War" by Richard Broadhead.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

November 20th 2014 MEETING REPORT

John Smith was the guest speaker for the November meeting; his subject for the evening was: "Special Operations Executive at Beaulieu".

In 1940 Winston Churchill met up with one of his Ministers of War, Hugh Dalton, to discuss setting up a fourth force whose duties would be to conduct espionage and sabotage throughout German occupied Europe. He also wanted this new force to help and support the growing resistance movements in these areas. His last words at the meeting were: I wanted to set Europe ablaze.

The headquarters of this new organization was set up at 64 Baker Street, London. Many members of the military met here to discuss this new idea, amongst them was Major General Colin Gubbins, an expert in commando and intelligence gathering activities. It was decided that the new recruits for this force would first go to Wanborough in Surrey for initial training and vetting, then go on Arisaig in Scotland for commando and living off the land training, and then to RAF Ringway in Cheshire for parachute training. After this the recruits would go on to one of about a hundred other establishments for training on each individual"s specific area of expertise. Then it was off to the Finishing School at Beaulieu.

On the Beaulieu estate there were eleven large houses of which one became the headquarters and the other ten were each allocated to a European nation under occupation. In each house final training was given to the recruits and also to members of resistance movements of these countries who had been brought over here to also take part in the training. Experts from many walks of life, including an actor and a safecracker, were brought in to give instruction on the likes of planting explosives, burglary, forgery, sabotage, silent killing and how to master the art of disguise.

John finished the evening with stories about some of the people who had trained at Beaulieu such as Joachim Ronneberg, one of the Heroes of Telemark and Nancy Wake who became the most decorated woman of the war for leading and organizing over 7000 French resistance fighters.

Question and answers followed before Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on the 18th of December at 07.30pm at the Memorial Centre, when the subject will be: "A Roman Connection with Whiteparish" by Eric Chase. There will be refreshments after the talk and a donation of £2.00 ahead towards the cost would be appreciated.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

October 16th 2014 MEETING REPORT

The Speaker for the October Meeting was Georgina Babey, whose subject for the evening was: "Alice in her Wonderland".

Alice Liddell was born in 1852 in Westminster, the 4th of 10 children. The family would soon relocate to Christ Church, Oxford, when her father became Dean there. It was here, in 1856, that they would meet Charles Dodgson [Lewis Carroll] who was there lecturing in Mathematics.

Dodgson, a shy man, had a terrible stammer when talking with adults, but it would disappear in the company of children. He was keen photographer and liked to take pictures of children, especially of young girls. Georgina said, that this was not considered unusual for the time. He soon began to take photos of Alice and two of her sisters. They would, at times, go rowing on the Thames together, where he would tell them stories. While on such a trip in 1862, he told them a story about the adventures of a girl named Alice. Alice was so enamoured with this story that she pestered him to write it down, which he did, and in 1864 he presented her with an illustrated copy he named "Alice and her Adventures Under Ground". Soon after, Dodgson decided to get the story published himself, but under the title of: "Alice in Wonderland", using the pen name of Lewis Carroll.

A few years later she was to meet Reginald Hargreaves, who played cricket for Hampshire. They married in 1880 and moved to his family estate of Cuffnells near Lyndhurst. Here, they held many parties and events which would attract the leading lights of the day, including royalty. They had three sons, of which two were to be killed in the First World War.

Reginald died in 1926, and although Alice still lived an active life, the running of Cuffnells was so costly that she decided to sell her copy of the Alice manuscript, which made £15,400 at an auction at Sotheby's. She later went to live with one of her sisters in Kent, where she was to die in 1934 whilst out riding in a horse and trap. Her body was cremated and the ashes returned to Lyndhurst and interred in the family grave at church of: St. Michael and All Angels. Cuffnells was knocked down some time after the Second World War.

Questions and answers followed before John Marsh proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will take place in the Memorial Centre on the 20th Nov. at 07.30pm when the subject will be: "Special Operations Executive at Beaulieu" by John Smith.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

September 18th 2014 MEETING REPORT

The September meeting saw a welcome return of Stephen Ings, who this time gave us a talk entitled: "Shot for a White Faced Deer".

A book written about the New Forest in the late nineteenth Century, refers to the accidental killing of an old lady in the vicinity of Nomansland. Around this time, there was an attempt to rid the forest of all deer [ the Deer Removal Act of 1851 ], and it appears, that a keeper mistook the white face of this old woman for a deer, so shot her. A few years later, a man named Livens wrote a pamphlet about Nomansland and it includes a similar story.

Stephen decided to check the records of the Salisbury Journal for around that time to see if there were any reports of either incidents, but found none. He then checked the burial registers at Bramshaw Church, where at that time most people from Nomansland were buried, yet once again found nothing. Whether there is any truth in these stories, we will never know as stories passed down from mouth to mouth can soon get misinterpreted.

Then Stephen told us about the way of life and customs of the people who lived and worked around the local villages in these times. Life was hard, not like in the book "Lark Rise to Candleford", which he said Flora Thompson had only meant to be a work of fiction. He then regaled us with stories about life in the home, life on the farm, why some people kept pigs, marriage, death, morality and also the role of the Friendly Societies among others. Questions and answers followed before Jenny Harrison proposed a vote of thanks.

Next meeting will be on the 16th Oct.at 07.30pm at the Memorial Centre when the subject will be: "Alice in her Wonderland" by Georgina Babey.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)


On Thurs. 8th May the group took a trip to HMS Exellent, Whale Island. We were met at the gate by Lt Commander Brian Witts MBE, curator of the Gunnery Museum. He first took us to a building that houses the State Funeral Field Gun Carriage that was first used for the funeral of Queen Victoria.

The 2nd Feb 1901, the day of the funeral, was cold and blustery with snow flurries. There was a serious delay at Windor Station where the Queen's body had been delivered from the Isle of Wight. The horses that were to pull the carriage became restive, began to panic, and then started to rear up. So they unhitched them and attached drag ropes to the carriage, then the sailors from HMS Exellent who were the Royal Guard for that day, pulled the carriage on the rest of its journey. King Edward the Seventh was so impressed with this arrangement, that all State Funerals since then have been conducted in the same way.

Brian then told us of why and how Whale Island became our first land-based gunnery school. In the mid 19th Century, a greater need of gun accuracy was called for in engagements against the enemy at sea. Around this time, the French built an iron clad wooden hulled warship named the Gloire. To counter this, the British built HMS Warrior, an armour-plated iron-hulled steam- and sail-powered frigate. A bigger dock was needed to house this ship, so local convicts were used to dig this out by hand. The soil from this venture was then dumped in Portsmouth harbour between two small islands.

In 1891, these now joined-together islands became HMS Exellent, Whale Island. Brian then gave us an informative guided tour around the establishment, were we learned among other things, that the Island at one time had its own zoo. The tour ended up at the Museum, where we had a good look around before Jenny Harrison thanked Brian for giving us an enjoyable and entertaining visit.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

April 17th 2014 MEETING REPORT

April found us at our new home in the Memorial Centre. Our speaker for the evening was Diana Goetz, who gave a talk on: "The Life and Times of Thomas Hardy".

Diana raised a chuckle by saying that the works of Hardy were an acquired taste, something that she had yet to acquire herself. There are many who look upon him as a bit of a snob, but she said that he lived at a time when class was an accepted way of life. Many friends and acquaintances were rather wary when he was around, as he was likely to make notes about them for later use in his books. Though his novels were fictitious, many were based on real places and events in his life.

Thomas, the eldest of 4, was born in Dorset on the 21st of June, 1840. His father, also Thomas, was a master mason and local builder who had a great love of music. His mother Jemima was a well-read person, and was to teach Thomas, who was a frail child, at home until he was 8 years of age. After he left school he became an apprentice architect, and after qualifying, he moved to London to work for Arthur Blomfield . It was here that he started to write poetry but was unable to get any of it published. Due to ill health, he returned to Dorset where in 1870 he met Emma Gifford. She encouraged him in his writing, and they were to marry in 1874. Under the Greenwood Tree was the first novel that he was to have published.

Thomas and Emma in these early years, frequently moved house, but in 1885 they decided to move to Dorchester. Here they had a house built which they named Max Gate. Their relationship soon started to become strained, and Emma definitely did not approve of his novel Jude the Obscure, as she thought it was based on her. They would often hold parties at Max Gate, where they would both put on a brave face and pretend that all was well with the world.

Emma died in 1912. Hardy was stricken with guilt and remorse, and it was around this time that he was to write some of his best poetry. In 1914 he married Florence Dugdale, his secretary and former girlfriend, who was 39 years his junior. Thomas himself died on the 11th of January, 1928. Though Florence was not happy about it, she did agree to fulfil his request to be buried with Emma, but it was decreed that he should be buried in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey. A compromise was later reached, where his ashes were to be interred at Poet's Corner and his heart to be buried with Emma. Diana said there was an unfounded story that a cat ate the heart, so they killed the cat and buried that instead.

Questions and answers followed before Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

March 20th 2014 MEETING REPORT

The March talk was: "Salisbury's Medieval Water Courses and their Legacy" by Peter Saunders.

When the present City of Salisbury was built in the 13th century it was constructed on a chequerboard system, 5 streets running east to west and 6 streets running north to south. The City was planned so that as the River Avon ran southwards, hatches could be opened and water would then flow west to east through specially constructed channels [approx. 2ft wide and 2ft deep] along the centre of most of the City streets. The water would then be fed back into the Avon at a lower point on its course.

No one knows for sure if these ditches, as they were called, were meant for drainage or as a water supply for the City. There were those who referred to Salisbury as the Venice of England, but by the 17th century there were other visitors who found these ditches rather smelly and dirty due to poor sanitation, and they also mentioned that the roads were muddy and full of weeds. In 1737 the ditches were moved to the sides of the streets and constructed of brick.This improved the flow of traffic in the streets, but after an outbreak of cholera in 1849, it was decided to get rid of the water courses altogether, and by 1860 they had all disappeared.

Many things have been discovered in these water courses over the years, including many medieval period souvenirs, which were either lost or thrown in as offerings by returning pilgrims. There is an exhibition of these at the Salisbury Museum.

A question and answer session followed before Jenny Foster proposed a vote of thanks. For those making the trip to Whale Island on Thurs. 8th May, exit M27 at Junction 12 and follow what I am led to believe is clear signage to our destination. Brian Witts will meet you at the Main Gate HMS Excellent and direct you to the Car Park. The tour starts at 2pm and lasts 2hrs.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

February 20th 2014 MEETING REPORT

The February talk was: "The Life and Achievements of T.E. Lawrence" by Peter Preen.

Lawrence, who was known as Ned, was born in Wales 1n 1888. He was the second son of five born to Sir Thomas Chapman, who had left his wife to live with their governess Sarah Junner. They never married. Due to the stigma surrounding such arrangements of those times, they frequently moved around before finally settling in Oxford. Here young Ned attended school and later went on to university.

In 1909, Lawrence went on a walking trip of over a thousand miles in the area of Syria and Palestine, where he fell in love with Arab people. He returned a year later as an archaeologist and stayed until 1914. When the First World War broke out, he was assigned to the British Army in Cairo. In 1916, he was sent as an liaison officer to join the Great Arab Revolt led by Prince Feisal against the Turks. Lawrence was to become actively involved in this campaign, both helping with and taking part in the use of guerrilla tactics.

After the war, Faisal had hoped and tried to negotiate for a Palestinian State which would be drawn up to include all the Arab factions, but the British and the French had already decided on the outcome of this area. Lawrence became very disillusioned with this, so withdrew into a life of obscurity, and even changed his name. He died in a motorcycle accident in 1935 at the age of 46.

Peter then asked why did Lawrence become this famous figure? well it was down to one man: Lowell Thomas. Thomas, an American broadcaster and writer, met up with the then Captain Lawrence in Jerusalem during the war. He was fascinated with the flowing Arab robes, stories and exploits of Lawrence. After the war, Thomas started tours of lectures and film on Lawrence, which fired the imagination of the American and British audiences, though Lawrence was not always happy with the embellishment of some of these stories.

Questions and answers followed, then Keith Weymouth proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on the 17th March at 07.30pm. Venue to be announced. The topic will be: "Salisbury's mediaeval water courses and their legacy" by Peter Saunders.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

January 16th 2014 MEETING REPORT

The subject of the January meeting was: "The Bridges in the Old City of London" by David Pantling. David said the connection between Whiteparish and the London bridges was that drovers who would have driven their herds and flocks up to the markets at Smoothfields (to become known as Smithfields), would have had to have crossed over some of these bridges to reach their destination.

The talk was on the five bridges which are either owned and/or maintained by the Bridge House Estates, who are a Charitable Trust established in 1282, which raises funds by bridge tolls and charitable donations. The first of these bridges David spoke of was Blackfriars Bridge, first opened in 1769. Due to the poor quality of the Portland Stone used in its construction, it had to be knocked down and rebuilt within a few years. It was reopened by Queen Victoria in 1869, this time built with the use of wrought iron.
The Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000. This steel suspension footbridge soon became known as the wobbly bridge, as it unnerved some of the people who used it. It was soon closed and not reopened again until 2002 after which the problems had been resolved.
Southwark Bridge was next to be discussed. First opened in 1819, it was noted for its three cast iron spans. The bridge was replaced in 1921.

David was then to spend some time on the history of London Bridge. This included early bridges built during the Roman and Saxon times, but it was Henry 2nd in 1176 who was to commission a new stone bridge, though it was not to be completed until the reign of King John in 1209. To recoup costs, King John licenced building plots on the bridge. This bridge lasted over 600 years until replaced in 1825. The new bridge was widened in 1896, but it was soon noticed that it was starting to sink at an inch every 8 years. In 1968 this London Bridge was sold to the Americans, and the present bridge was built and then opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1973.

Tower Bridge was opened in 1894. With the need of shipping to pass underneath, it was constructed with bascules, each weighing 1000 tons, which could be raised or lowered when needed. David entertained us with many more stories concerning these bridges and their surrounding areas. He then took part in the usual question and answer session. John Marsh then proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on the 20th February at 07.30pm, when the topic will be: "The Life and Achievements of T.E. Lawrence". Venue to be announced. [Since announced as the Kings Head Function Room.]

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

December 19th 2013 MEETING REPORT

The subject of the December meeting was: The History of Cheese-Making, and our speaker was Sue Jones. Sue explained that two of the ways of making cheese are:
the simple way, which is to allow milk to stand for a few days and let the curd and the whey split naturally; or the traditional way, which is by introducing rennet to the procedure, speeding up the curdling effect. Rennet comes from the membrane of the stomachs of young calves or lambs, though the use of fig juice, ground ivy, nettles and black snails are other alternative sources.

Cheese can be traced at least back to Neolithic times. Fragments of pottery pierced with holes have been found in the northern parts of Europe. The holes were believed to have let the whey separate from the curd. It appears that the Neolithic people were lactose intolerant, so turning milk into cheese made it easier for digestion. The Ancient Egyptians were another race of early people to eat cheese. There are hieroglyphic pictures showing the carrying of cheeses. But it was the Romans who were to spread cheese throughout Europe. In Britain, Cheddar and Cheshire cheeses can be traced back to the 12th Century, though there are no written recipes for any cheese until the 16th Century. Henry 2nd declared a liking for Cheddar cheese back in 1170, but cheese in the main was a food for the poor.

Milk for cheese mainly comes cows, goats and sheep. Until the coming of the railways in the 19th Century, farmers kept usually small herds of about 40 animals. Produce from these animals were mostly sold within a 15 mile radius of the farm. With the arrival of the railways, and the increase in demand for milk in the big industrial cities and towns, larger herds would soon appear and the making of cheese would become a secondary activity.

In America in 1851, Jesse Williams started making cheese using an assembly line. Until then, cheese-making had been the sole activity of women. With this new method, cheese could be made in larger numbers and quicker.

During WW1, only Cheddar, Cheshire, Leicester and Wensleydale were allowed to be produced. In WW2, the Ministry of Food would only allow what was to be called National Cheese to be made. Now in Britain, there are over 700 cheeses on the market to choose from.

Questions and answers followed before Mike Hayday proposed a vote of thanks. Sue provided a selection of cheeses for us to try after the meeting at our usual Christmas celebrations.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

November 21st 2013 MEETING REPORT

The November meeting saw the welcome return of John Levesley who continued his story on military aviation in the New Forest. The subject this time was: New Forest Airfields at War.

John said that at the outbreak of World War Two there were several airfields already in the area. Others, some temporary, were created. Calshot, Christchurch, Hum, Ibsley and Stoney Cross are examples of the established ones, while Sway and Winkton are examples of what became temporary ones, Most of these airfields were to fulfil special tasks towards the war effort.

Calshot was the home of the Flying Boat Squadron. Christchurch Airfield, in 1940, became the centre of the RAF Special Duty Flight, and with the help of a research unit at Worth Matravers in Dorset, specialized in the development of radar. The Special Duty Flight then moved to Hum, and together with the army, delved into research on glider operations. In 1943 it became a fighter base.

Ibsley was always a fighter airfield, originally associated with RAF Hurricanes and Spitfires. Later, the USAAF were also based there with their Lightning and Thunderbolt aircraft. Stoney Cross was, at first, the home of the RAF and Army Mustang Units. Later on it became mainly used for glider troop carrying aircraft. John also told us about the tasks and duties performed by some of the other airfields in the area. We heard of the input that the Czech and Polish Squadrons, : based locally, had on the war. He then spoke of the build-up to D-Day, and of the role the New Forest Airfields were to play in that and also of the follow-up during and after the invasion. After the war was over, all these airfields, except Hum, were to disappear.

Questions and answers followed, then Ivor Ellis proposed a vote of thanks to John. The 16th January meeting will be at 7.30pm. Venue to be announced.. The subject will be: Bridges in the Old City of London by David Pantling.

C. Carpenter (Secretary)

October 17th 2013 MEETING REPORT

The October Meeting was chaired by David Pantling. Dr Tim Mason spoke on Edward Jenner and the Smallpox Virus.

Smallpox is the most deadliest virus known to mankind. Tim said that there are those who believe that it was a mutant virus that transferred from the gerbil to humans. Though this would not have been possible before 4000BC, because the human population had not reached sufficient densities for the virus to gain a hold.

The area known as Mesopotamia was believed to be the first place the disease took a hold, then it spread through India, China and Egypt. The Pharaoh Rameses V, who died in 1157BC, is said to have shown signs of the virus on his mummified body. The virus appears to have turned up in Europe in the 11th Century, probably due to the returning Crusaders from the Holy Lands, In the 16th Century it was to spread to the Americas by the Spanish conquistadors.

In China it was noticed that when healthy people became infected by pus from those who had mild forms of the disease, they would also have a mild attack then become immune for the rest of their lives. In 17th Century Turkey this practice was being used widely. People were infected by using a large needle to open a vein to introduce the pus. When Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who had suffered from smallpox herself, was stationed with her husband, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, she witnessed this practice. She was to have both her son and daughter inoculated. On her return to England she spread the news about this practice but the Royal Society did nothing.

Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley near Bristol. He trained to become a surgeon. The story that milkmaids who caught cowpox did not catch smallpox had been around for some time. Jenner was well aware of this, so decided to take a closer look. He inoculated an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps, with cowpox from a milkmaid, Sarah Nelmes, waited a few weeks, then exposed the boy to smallpox, but he never succumbed to the disease, Jenner was to go on and do many more trials before he published a book on his new technique in 1798. When the Royal Society finally accepted his work in this field, he was hailed as the first person to use vaccination. He was to dedicate the rest of working life to this cause.

Smallpox became the first serious virus to be eradicated in the wide world, but not until 1977, though there is still some of the virus held by the superpowers in laboratories.

Tim told his story with great enthusiasm and kept us well entertained. Questions and answers followed then Sue Jones proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will take place at the School on the 21st of November at 07.30pm. Due to illness there will be a change of speaker: John Levesley will give a talk on: New Forest Airfields at War,

 C.Carpenter, Secretary

September 19th 2013 MEETING REPORT

The first meeting after the customary summer break took place in the School Hall when members and visitors were delighted to welcome Barbara Burbridge from the Romsey Local History Society and her illustrated talk on The Moodys of Church Street, Romsey.

Barbara is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic speaker and The Moodys were the last family to own the complex that includes the thirteenth century King John’s House, Tudor Cottage and their Victorian home and place of business. The Moodys were cutlers from the eighteenth century until 1974 and Barbara’s story began with Charles Moody (Junior) who married Matilda Payn from Jersey in the mid 1860s and they had nine children, none of whom ever married. Charles built No 13 Church Street, which is now the museum building, in the 1870s and created a gunshop on the lower floor. With the aid of slides Barbara showed us photos of the family and their business and told us of their rise and fall in fortune.

After the death of their father in 1927 William and Mabel opened King John’s House to the public with an entrance of fee of 6d and after the slum clearance of properties in Romsey in 1938 which resulted in a loss of income, Mabel opened what we now call Miss Moody’s Tudor Tea Room. Mabel was the last surviving child of Charles and Matilda and her final Moody inheritance was to give King John’s House to the people of Romsey. Barbara finished her talk with details of the Romsey Heritage and Visitor Centre which is open to the public where visitors can go back in time and view the Moody legacy which includes a reconstruction of the old gunshop with original fixtures and fittings.

After the vote of thanks by Mike Nokes, the Chairman reminded everyone that the next meeting is on Thursday 17th October in the School Hall at 7.30 pm when Dr Tim Mason will speak on Edward Jenner and the Smallpox Virus. Members and visitors welcome.

Jenny Harrison (Chairman)

May 16th 2013 MEETING REPORT

On the 16th of May, 18 members joined Mr. Stephen Ings, our guide for the evening, for a tour of the site of the Gunpowder Factory at Fritham and surrounding places of interest.

We met outside of the Fritham Free Church. Though some believe that the Church, the current one built in 1904, was paid for by the Schultze family, in fact the workers from the factory raised the money themselves for its construction. The original one was a prefab building and was next to the present one. From the church Stephen took us to see a black post box. There is a notice board there stating that the postman left or picked up the factory mail from it to avoid entering the danger area, but Stephen had his doubts of the authenticity of this story. Then on to a clearing where he pointed out to us where the factory had stood.

The factory was first built in 1860 to produce black gunpowder. Then 9 years later, Edward Schultze purchased the site. Black gunpowder left a lot of smoke on the battlefields, but Schultze experimented and specialised in producing smokeless powder mainly for sporting guns. The factory consisted of 60 buildings and employed 100 staff. There were 2 shifts of 12 hours a day, and though the work was dangerous, the pay was good.

We then walked down to Eyeworth Pond. This is actually a man-made reservoir caused by damming a small stream. It held 6,000,000 gallons of water for use in the manufacturing process. Schultze sold the factory in 1912, though it carried on and produced munitions for the 1rst World War. It finally closed in 1921. Only the superintendent's and gatekeeper's cottages and some old stable buildings, used now as farm buildings, are still standing.

At the end of the tour, Chris Ellis proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will be at 7.30pm on the 19th of Sept. when the talk will be: "The Moodys of Church Street, Romsey" by Barbara Burbridge. Venue to be announced.

C Carpenter (Secretary)

April 18th 2013 MEETING REPORT

The April talk was: "Memoirs of William Small, 19th century glazier and painter" by Jane Howells, who stood in for Ruth Newman. An antique bookseller, whilst in Ringwood, discovered two handwritten books by William Small. These two volumes, written 1881, have now been acquired by the Wilts and Swindon record office. These memoirs recall fascinating first hand accounts of national and local news and events, and of the social conditions in Salisbury in those days. All written by a man from an ordinary working background, which was most unusual for the time.

William was born in 1820 at Britford, one of eight children of whom four were to die before the age of eleven. At an early age, he and his family moved to Harnham, and after leaving school, he followed his father into the glazing and painting trade. The books tell many stories of the people they associated with or did work for.

Jane told one story about the politics of the time. William's father was eligible to vote, but as the vote in those times was not a secret one, decided not to vote and disappeared for the day hoping not to upset or lose work to local Conservative and Liberal business people. But it backfired, and for some time after the work dried up. At next election, records show he decided to vote Tory.

Although the two volumes contain many references to his family, there is very little information about his wife and son. The memoirs are padded out with cuttings from local newspapers and he also wrote in some of his favourite poems.

Questions and answers followed before Janette Munro proposed a vote of thanks.

C Carpenter (Secretary)

March 21st 2013 MEETING REPORT

The March talk was: "The Salisbury Train Crash of 1906" by George Fleming.

George told us of the great rivalry between the Great Western Railway and the London and South Western Railway on carrying the Atlantic Mail from Plymouth up to London. Plymouth was the first port of call for those Trans-Atlantic ships where the mail was unloaded. It became the norm for many rich American travellers to disembark after their long boat trip and then catch the boat trains up to London, therefore saving themselves a couple of days on the ship.

The GWR route, after leaving Plymouth, went through Exeter then via Bristol to London; whereas the LSWR route was Plymouth, Exeter, then Salisbury to London. Around 1904 the GWR was awarded the contract to carry the mail, and the LSWR had won the right to carry the passengers. But both companies still continued to try to outdo one another by speeding along on their respective routes.

On the night of the 30th June, 1906, at 11.01pm, the LSWR Express boat train left Plymouth for London. At 01.22am, it left Templecombe after changing engine and crew. As it passed the Salisbury West Signal Box at 01.56am, the engine was estimated to have been travelling at 60mph. Due to a dangerous curve in the rail at the station [still there today], the speed limit was 30mph. At the same time, a milk train was also entering the station from the other direction. There was also a stationary goods engine at the station.

As the express train raced along platform 2 , it hit the curve and rolled over. In its momentum, it hit the milk train travelling along platform 4, and then hit the stationary engine at platform 6. Coaches derailed violently. 24 out of 43 Americans were to die in the crash, plus both crews of the moving engines. By 02.15am, a rescue mission was in full flow, with police, doctors, railwaymen and neighbours on the scene. The rescue operation lasted throughout the night. The last bodies were recovered at 12.00 mid-day. By 3.00pm on the 1st of July 1906, the first line was reopened for traffic.

So what happened? George said no one really knows. The investigation afterwards showed that no braking was applied to the engine. The driver had sounded the whistle before the train entered the station so he must have been awake. George took us through many theories and myths of what may or may not have happened on that night. Since then all Express trains have had to stop at Salisbury, though other trains may pass through at 15mph.

Questions and answers followed. A very interesting and entertaining talk by George which was well appreciated.

The May 16th meeting will be the field trip to Fritham. The subject: The Tour of the Site of the Gunpowder Factory and the surrounding places of interest by Mr, Stephen Ings. More information about the trip to be announced.

C Carpenter (Secretary)

February 21st 2013 MEETING REPORT

The February meeting found a packed audience at the Kings Head to listen to a talk by Dr. Cindy Wood on the Royal Palace of Clarendon Park.

The hunting ground was probably in use in the late Saxon period. The early Norman kings where also soon drawn to the area. The park was believed to be formally defined with deer leaps in the early 12th century. By the year 1130, a hunting lodge existed within the park. Henry III especially invested heavily in the property and converted it into a royal palace. But by 1453 the palace was in decline as successive monarchs spent more time in London. When Elizabeth I visited the site in 1574, the building was found and reported to be in a very poor condition. Soon after that it reverted to a simple hunting lodge.

By the mid 18th century, a lot of the building material had been robbed out and much of it can be seen in properties in the surounding district. Also around this time antiquarians began to visit the site, and extensive wall chasing began.

Cindy finished up her talk with a short history on the chantry chapels of Salisbury Cathedral. Questions and answers then followed before Keith Weymouth proposed a vote of thanks.

The March meeting will be at the Kings Head at 07.30pm on the 21st, when the subject will be: The Salisbury Train Crash of 1906 (an insight into the tragic causes and consequences), by George Fleming.

The April meeting will be at the Kings Head at 07.30pm on the 18th when the subject will be: Memoirs of William Small, 19th century glazier and painter, by Mrs. Ruth Newman.

C Carpenter (Secretary)

January 17th 2013 MEETING REPORT

The January meeting talk was called "Inn Signia: Examples and Origins of Distinctive Signs of Inns and Public Houses" by Mr. John Ericson. John explained that in Rome, the Romans would hang vines outside of drinking houses, but when they arrived in Britain this was not possible, so they would use an evergreen plant instead. To this day you can still find pubs with names like the Bush or the Hollybush.

In 1393, Richard 11 declared that all pubs selling ale must hang a sign outside as most people where illiterate in those times. Then John told us about the most-used pub names in Britain: The Crown, The Red Lion, and The Royal Oak being the top three. Then we heard that Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem near Nottingham Castle and Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St. Albans are two of many inns claiming to be the oldest in the country.

John then gave us examples of pub names in the following categories: Royalty and nobility, heraldry, religion, military, heroes and battles, trades, railways and many more. There are a few amusing stories behind some of the signs, such as the Flying Monk of Malmesbury who allegedly jumped off the local abbey believing he could fly; he was buried where he landed. The Drunken Duck, so named because a woman thinking that a duck was dead, plucked it, then found that it was still alive so she knitted it a little jacket to keep it warm until it regrew its' feathers.

Questions and answers followed, then John Marsh proposed a vote of thanks. The next meeting will take place at the Kings Head on the 21st of Feb at 07.30pm, when the subject will be The Royal Palace of Clarendon Park by Dr Cindy Wood. Non members £3 on the night.

C Carpenter (Secretary)


The Group returned to the Function Room of the King’s Head for their December Meeting where the Chairman welcomed Ruth King and her talk on The History of Ladies Underwear in the 19th Century.

Ruth explained that ladies underwear, with the exception of stomachers or stays, was not worn until the beginning of the 19th century when dress fabrics became flimsy and it became prudent for some form of underwear to be worn. One of the earliest garments was the pantaloon which was essentially loose knickers with no join other than at the waist and Ruth went on to explain how this garment developed into the drawers we are more familiar with today. Over the years Ruth has collected original undergarments and examples of these were passed around the audience.

Ruth’s entertaining talk included stories on the pitfalls of wearing a crinoline and also how Amelia Bloomer shocked American Society in the mid 19th century by wearing outerwear that eventually came to be known as bloomers, but this time as underwear. Ruth’s informal and fun talk was enjoyable and after Jenny Foster proposed the vote of thanks, members enjoyed a drink and mince pie together to celebrate the festive season.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 17th January 2013 at the Function Room of the King’s Head at 7.30 pm when John Ericson makes a welcome return to the village and this time he will talk on Inn Signia: Examples and Origins of Distinctive Signs of Inns and Public Houses.

Jenny Harrison (Chairman)


The November meeting talk was: The Black Sheep of the family by Mr. Colin Moretti.

Because of his Italian-sounding surname, Colin decided to research his family history. While he was researching his great grandfather Joseph, he was to come across an amazing story. Joseph started his working life as an apprentice carpenter, but by the mid 1850s he had become a London postman. Then Colin discovered, from an article in the Times, that in August 1858, Joseph had appeared at the Old Bailey charged with stealing a letter containing 2 half guineas and 12 stamps. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 6 years penal custody with hard labour.

He was sent to Newgate prison, kept in solitary confinedment cranking a handle all day, achieving nothing. After about 6 weeks he was moved to Wakefield prison where once again he was confined making mats, except when exercising. There, he and the other prisoners had to wear masks so as not to be able to identify one another. Nine weeks later he was moved to the prison on the Isle of Purbeck where he was sent to help build the breakwater barrier around Portland Harbour.

The idea for the wall was suggested in 1849 and backed by Prince Albert. It was decided to use prisoners to build it as it was a cheap option. The work was hard and dangerous and there were many fatalities. There was no machinery to help, and any wagons needed to move stone around had to be manhandled by the prisoners themselves as there were no horses available. Colin also told us about the conditions, diet and punishments the prisoners had to endure. Joseph did receive wages of 9d for every day he worked. In 1861 Joseph was suddenly moved to Broadmoor. On investigating why, Colin found that this was to help build the hospital. Due to his exemplary behaviour, Joseph was released from prison in 1862, with 15 months remission.

Questions and answers followed. John Marsh then propossed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will be on December 20th at 7.30pm. The subject will be: The History of Ladies Underwear, by Ruth King. The meetingplace is yet to be confirmed; so watch out for details.

C Carpenter (Secretary)


Thursday evening found us for the first time at a new venue, Whiteparish All Saints School. After a few minor problems, our chairman Jenny Harrison, welcomed everyone and then introduced our speaker, Mr. Mike Lambert, who gave a talk on Dunwood Manor.

The estate is situated near Romsey and sits in a triangle bordered by the A27 to the south, Danes Road, Awbridge to the east and the Newtown Road to the west. When Mike and his wife moved into a property on the estate, he soon realised that there was very little information about the history of the site. So he decided to do something about it, and he has not finished yet.

The estate originally covered 261 acres, and one of its earliest signs of occupation is the remains of an Iron Age camp, though it is believed that it was never completed. In 1276, the estate was part of the many properties belonging to Sir Patrick de Chaworth who lived on the Longstock estate. On his death, all his properties were inherited by his daughter Maud who was married to Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster. And as was the custom of those days, everything was to be handed over to him. Within a couple of generations through marriage, the properties ended up in the hands of John of Gaunt, one of the sons of Edward the 3rd.

The Dunwood estate was then to stay as part of the Duchy of Lancaster up and into the nineteenth century. During the nineteenth century the estate was sold and was split into three, though two parts were reunited at a later date. In 1901, Charles Simeon purchased the estate and he had a modest house of sixteen rooms built upon it. This was to become what we mistakenly know as Dunwood Manor, though a manor it never was. Later the house was to be extended and stables and coach house turned into living quarters. Mike also told of other things that have occurred on the estate: there has been a farm, also a fruit farm and a brickworks. Mike also told us about the retirement home and also about the golf course which now sadly has closed after being in existence for forty years.

A question and answer session followed before Peter Claydon proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will also be at the School and will be on the 15th of November at 7.30pm. The subject will be: The Black Sheep of the Family by Mr. Colin Moretti. Subscription to the Group is £8 or £3 on the door as a guest.

C Carpenter (Secretary)


The first meeting of the Group after the summer break was held at the Function Room of the King’s Head on the 20th September when the Chairman welcomed members and visitors. Jenny Harrison has agreed to continue as Chairman for another year, Keith Weymouth and Chesney Carpenter remain in their roles of Treasurer and Secretary respectively, Jenny Karmy and John Marsh are also continuing as committee members and Sue Jones was welcomed as a new committee member.

The Chairman introduced Lt Commander Brian Witts MBE as the speaker for the evening who talked on Whale Island – The importance of the Island in the development of the British Navy from the 19th century to the present day. Brian is an accomplished and amusing speaker and, with the aid of slides, took us on a tour of how Whale Island developed during Victorian times to become the first Naval Gunnery School. Brian is curator of the HMS Excellent Museum and his enthusiasm for his subject is very apparent and he mixed facts with interesting anecdotes including the time, prior to World War II, when a Zoo was present on Whale Island to house the various ships’ “pets” – which included lions, monkeys and bears! For the past thirty years Brian has held the post of Keeper of the State Gun Carriage which has been kept on Whale Island since the funeral of Queen Victoria. HMS Excellent is the oldest shore training establishment in existence and today Whale Island is Naval Command HQ; the last gunnery school closed in the mid-1970s due to the development of missiles.

Brian ended his talk with an invitation for the Group to visit Whale Island and have a tour around the various buildings including the Church of St Barbara and this generous offer is one which we hope to take up next year. David Pantling proposed the vote of thanks.

The venue for the meeting to be held on Thursday 18th October when Mike Lambert will talk on Dunwood Manor: a brief history from medieval times to the present day has yet to be decided. Please look out for posters around the village, visit Whiteparish Community website or telephone Jenny Harrison (884496) or Chesney Carpenter (884175).

Jenny Harrison.


The April meeting commenced with the AGM. A quick summary follows: The Treasurer reported that membership for the this past season was 49, a small profit was made and that the subscription for the 2012-2013 season will stay at £8.00. The Chairman thanked Don and Janette Munro who have now retired from the committee, she also asked for volunteers to fill their places. The Chairman also announced that she and the Programme Secretary will both be standing down from their posts at the end of the next season.

Then followed a talk by Adrian Green on "Topical Archaeological Finds in the Salisbury Area". He first told us about the differences between Treasure and Treasure Trove before 1996, after which the law was changed, and the difficulties of deciding what was which. The other main challenge to archaeology has been the rise in the number of people using metal detectors. At first they were despised but now, if used legally and in cooperation with archaeologists, they can be a great help. A big problem is the group of people labelled as Nighthawks, who go out at night illegally with their metal detectors, making finds that they do not report, and either keeping the finds for themselves or selling them on.

Some of the finds found by metal detectors in the area are as follows:

  • A Bronze-age gold torc found at Monkton Deverill.
  • The Warminster Jewel, dating back to King Alfred.
  • The Vessel Hoard found at Kingston Deverill, of Roman origin comprising of three dishes and two wine sieves.
  • The Tisbury Hoard, over a hundred objects from the late bronze and early iron ages.
  • The Salisbury Hoard, the biggest ever found in Great Britain, with over six hundred objects found buried in a pit. These were detected illegally, but those who had done the detecting were traced and prosecuted.

Adrian did not know why the hoards were buried; an offering to the gods may be one answer. The usual questions and answers followed, then Mike Nokes proposed a vote of thanks.

The next meeting will take place at the Southampton Victorian Cemetary on the 17th May, start time 7.00pm. Meet at 6.50pm outside Cemetery Gates at the far end of Cemetery Road.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


The March meeting talk was: The History of Bentley Wood  by Margaret Baskerville.

Bentley Wood is situated between Winterslow and West Dean and most of it is in Wiltshire. It has been in existence as a working and hunting area since the Norman conquest. Though it may seem strange, for most of its life, most of the wood was owned by the Amesbury Estate. This was because Amesbury needed wood and charcoal for building and fires. It had little in the way of such resources itself.

A small part of the wood to the south was leased to a local priory, who were granted so many cart loads of wood per year. Coppicing was a major employment of the wood, and things such as hurdles were in great demand. This at times would cause friction between the King, who wanted to use the wood for hunting, and those who were trying to work the wood, who needed to let the hazel grow to a certain hight before it was coppiced. The hunting of deer at this time was the sole right of the King, so to stop poaching, all dogs in the area over a certain height had to have three toes on each paw cut off to restrict their movements.

In the eighteenth century, Bentley Wood was gradually bought up by the Norman Court estate, and during the Second World War the American Army was stationed there. During this time many of the trees were cut down. There is very little of the original wood left.

In 1983 the wood was purchased by a Charitable Trust using funds provided by the late Lady Colman. The woodland has now been developed as a nature reserve whilst continuing its management on commercial lines. In 1985 it was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

There followed a question and answer session, then John Marsh proposed a vote of thanks.

Next meeting will be at the Kings Head on the 19th April at 07.30. There will be a change of speaker from the published programme; see Steeple & Street diary page for details.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


The February meeting talk was: Early pioneering aviation in the New Forest  by John Levesley.

In May 1910, William McArdle [of Bournemouth] and J.Armstrong Drexel [US citizen] set up the New Forest Flying School at East Boldre using two Bleriot aircraft. It opened on the 1st May with a flying display by the two founder members. By September the number of planes had risen to ten. To start with, the school was very busy, but by the end of 1911 the school had closed, due to other schools opening up at a much cheeper cost in the price of flying lessons.

In 1912, the site was considered, and then rejected, by the Royal Flying Corps. But changing circumstances [i.e. World War 1] led to the RFC occupying the site as a flying training school. When the war ended, the now RAF moved out, and East Boldre was finished as an airfield.

Some of the other dates and points of interest told to us by John were:

  • 12th July 1910, first international aviation meeting held at Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth—an event marred by the death of the Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls who was killed when the plane he was flying crashed.
  • 29th March 1913, Calshot Naval Air Station established.
  • 23rd July 1919, Supermarine start seaplane services from Bournemouth Pier to Southampton and the Isle of Wight.
  • 10th September. 1919, the first post-war Schneider Trophy contest held at Bournemouth.

This was a very interesting talk by John, and it is hoped that he will return at another meeting to continue the story. Questions and answers followed, then John Morris proposed a vote of thanks.

Next meeting will be at the Kings Head on the 15th March at 07.30 when the subject will be: The History of Bentley Wood  by Margaret Baskerville; non members £3.00 at the door.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


The January meeting talk was: Wilton House and the Russian Conection by Ros Liddington.

In 1785, Semyon Vorontsov, a favourite of Catherine the Great, became the Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He had two children: a daughter, Catherine and a son, Michael.

Catherine became the 2nd wife of George Herbert, the 11th Earl of Pembroke in 1785. They had six children together, five daughters and one son. A strange thing about Catherine is that, of all the many portraits painted of her, she is always pictured not wearing any jewellery. There is very little Russian influence created by her in Wilton House itself, other than a long carpeted seat under a Van Dyck painting in one of the rooms. Carpeted seats seemed to be a popular thing in the Crimean region from which her family originated. She did have much more of a say in the garden areas of the House, which are still evident today.

Her brother Michael, though brought up in England, returned to Russia, where he became a very brilliant and distinguished Commander in the Russian army. He later built the famous Vorontsov Palace in the Crimea. This palace was built in the Tudor style with many Gothic achitechural features. Ros has been to this palace, and has taken many photos, and had a few stories to tell us of her visit. Questions and answers followed before Janette Munro proposed a vote of thanks .

The next meeting will be 07.30pm on Feb 16th at the Kings Head, and the subject will be: Early Pioneering Aviation in the New Forest from 1910 by John Levesley. Non members £3.00.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


All that Jazz by Julie Horton was the talk at our December meeting.

Julie told us of the origins of jazz music, starting with the freed slaves who, after the American Civil War, roamed around playing their rhythmic music wherever they could. Around 1897, New Orleans and St Louis became the main homes for this new type of music known as syncopated or ragged time [ragtime].

This new style of music was in great demand for all types of events, including weddings, and leading funeral processions. Scott Joplin came to the fore at this time. He wrote many ragtime tunes, the most famous and influential being the Maple Leaf rag. This music remained popular up until the 1920s when other types of jazz came on to the scene. Jazz also became very popular in Europe after the1914-1918 war, especially amongst young wealthy people. Womens fashion changed dramatically. Out went long dressess and in came shorter ones. Bobbed hair also became fashionable at this time.

Julie then told us about the jazz singers and musicians who influenced her. These included: Betty Smith, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. She played us tracks of their music, and then gave us a short history of their lives. She then told us about her career in jazz music. She told us that in 1990, some guy had tried to chat her up. He said his father played jazz piano. The father 6 months later rang her up, and was to teach her all about jazz. Julie went on to sing in the Gosport and Guildford area and is still singing today. The 100 Club, the Waldorf Hotel and at the Goodwood Revival meeting are amonst many of the places that she has appeared at.

Questions and answers followed before Steve Karmy proposed a vote of thanks. Next meeting will be at the Kings Head on the 19-01-12 at 7.30pm. The sub:ject: "Wilton House and the Russian Connection" by Ros Liddington. Non members £3 at the door.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


This month's talk was: Fame and Fortune for the Foxes of Farley, by Norman Thorne.

This was a story of fame, fortune, politics, marriage, gambling and corruption told with great humour by our speaker. Stephen Fox was born in 1627 to a yeoman farmer in Farley. He went to school at Salisbury Cathedral where he was a chorister. After this he went into service where he was highly thought of due to his skills at managing finance. He was a royalist and it is believed that he helped Charles the 2nd escape to the continent. He visited Charles on numerous occasions when the King was in exile to help with financial matters. When Charles was restored to the English Throne, he made Stephen, Paymaster General to the Forces. He soon became a very wealthy man. It was him who founded the Royal Chelsea Hospital built by his fellow Wiltshireman, Sir Christopher Wren. Later he was to become MP for Salisbury. He married twice. His second marriage brought forth two sons, Stephen and Henry.

Stephen was to become Lord and later Earl of Ilchester. He was to marry the 13 year old daughter of the Strangways family, and changed his family name to Fox-Strangways. He and his family went on to own many estates in the west country.

Henry was to follow his father into politics and also became, Paymaster General to the Forces. But here the similarity to his father ended. He was a corrupt man, a gambler and squandered a lot of the family fortune, and became known as The Big Bad Fox. He eloped and married the daughter of the Duke of Richmond. She later became Baroness of Holland and Henry the f1rst Baron of Holland. They first lived at West Winterslow, but when the house burnt down, they moved to Holland House in Kensington.

Norman told a lot more about the Fox family before he finished his talk, and questions and answers followed.
Chesney Carpenter (Secretary)


The April meeting of the History Group started with the AGM. The Chairman welcomed everyone with apologies having been received from John and Beppie Marsh and Margaret Chase. The minutes of last year’s AGM were adopted with no comments. The committee and officers for 2011/2012 were confirmed as Jenny Harrison (Chairman), Keith Weymouth (Treasurer), Jenny Karmy (Programme Secretary), Chesney Carpenter (Secretary), Janette Munro, Don Munro and John Marsh. Members were asked to consider joining the committee since some members wish to stand down next year and new blood and ideas are always welcome.

The Chairman’s report then followed with Jenny briefly reminding members of the speakers and their talks during 2010/2011. She gave thanks to the King’s Head for making the Function Room available and to all committee members for their encouragement and commitment to the group. Special thanks were also given to Margaret Chase for yet again arranging an excellent programme – a tradition which Jenny Karmy looks set to continue.

Copies of the Income and Expenditure Statement 1st March 2010 to 1st April 2011 were made available to members by Keith who then went through the Group’s finances. He explained that one of the reasons why there was a minus figure for the excess of expenditure over income was that it was now usual for speakers to charge for travel as well as a fee. To help offset this loss and to make the Group sustainable in the future the committee had decided to increase subs to £8 per annum with visitors being charged £3 per meeting with effect from September 2011.

There were no items under AOB and the business part of the evening closed with Mike Nokes proposing a vote of thanks to the Chairman.

Jenny then introduced Eric Chase, Colin Iles and Chesney Carpenter who gave a talk on The Admiralty Depot at Dean. Eric began by recalling that prior to the existence of the Depot the land had been used for farming but during the 1930s there had been a slump and in 1938, in preparation for the Second World War, the decision was taken to turn the land into an Ammunitions Depot. This was up and running by 1942. Colin and Chesney then took up the story and with the help of slides spoke of their time at the Depot with Colin having been employed there as a constable and with Chesney combining his day-to-day job with that of conservationist. It was fascinating to see inside the tunnels, look at examples of armaments and watch the making up of a delivery. Colin explained that some of the sheds have now been taken over by the Science Museum for storage. We also saw slides showing the security and estate work. Chesney also highlighted an unexpected aspect of the Depot which is that it was a haven for birds, pond life and wild animals and in 1982 a Conservation Group was formed to log the rare species of plants and butterflies etc seen within the grounds. At the closing ceremony in 2004 it was said that the Depot was a “blend of working establishment and a place of great beauty”.

Thanks were given to all three speakers for an entertaining and lively talk which was a fitting end to the Group’s programme for 2010/2011. There will now be a break for the summer and the next meeting will be on Thursday 15th September when David Plunkett will talk on Eling Tide Mill and its History.
Jenny Harrison (Chairman)

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