Petersfield High Street South Side

Part of front cover designed by Edward Grainger for Petersfield Monographs No. 2 entitled ‘High Street Petersfield’.

Historical Society News

Continued Support for the Museum

Before Petersfield Museum opened, Petersfield was one of the few towns in Hampshire without a museum. It was in 1990 that Wilf Burnham, chairman of the Petersfield Area Historical Society, decided “we are going to have a museum”.

Petersfield Museum Trust was formed in 1994 to promote the idea of a museum with several of the trustees coming from the Historical Society. They were delighted when, on the 28 June 1998, they took over the recently vacated courthouse building for use as a museum, which opened for just one and a half days a week and was run entirely by volunteers. At this time, the Society’s collection of objects and artefacts was transferred and formed the core of the new museum.

Much has changed in the last twenty years, thanks mainly to a hugely generous legacy. With a full-time curatorial team and new collections, the museum has continued to prosper, culminating with the purchase of the police station in the autumn of 2016. This provides the catalyst for the planned £2.8 million expansion to link it with the adjoining courthouse.

At our recent AGM, our members unanimously voted to provide £6000 of funding towards the specific purchase of a display case and what better item to display in it than the recently excavated Bronze Age urn, discovered during the current archaeological excavations of the barrows on Petersfield Heath.

It is reassuring to know that the Historical Society’s connection to the museum prospers and Society founder member, Jean Gard and Jill Walker paid a behind-the-scenes visit to the museum in early May to see how the items that they had helped to collect and record more than a quarter of a century ago are still playing a part in the life of the museum.

Bronze Age urn
Bronze Age urn
Jean Gard, Jill Walker and Bill Gosney
Jean Gard, Jill Walker and Bill Gosney

Hobbs Lane Conversion

In late 2014 we announced that the Society would begin to photograph the buildings within the historic core of the town, creating a record that could be used in future years by researchers and those wishing to chart alterations to buildings.

During the past year a major redevelopment on the southern side of Hobbs Lane of what was Hobbs Blacksmith’s Forge and more recently, Greggs bakery. This development has totally transformed the lane providing extra accommodation as well as a new shop.

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Visit to Guildford

Guildford

No doubt long known to our membership for its fine retail facilities it was fascinating to learn the history of Guildford on the first of the Society’s 2017 summer visits.

We joined our guide at the TunGate in the High Street and learnt of the Saxon origins of the town and its growth over the centuries including the building of the castle by the Normans and the medieval importance of the wool trade and subsequent strategic importance of the town as a coaching stop on the road from London to the South Coast.

As the tour proceeded down the High Street we viewed the picturesque facade of the 17th century  Guildhall with its projecting clock and the Angel Hotel, the only remaining Coaching inn with medieval crypt beneath. Opposite the Angel we descended into the medieval Undercroft with stonework carvings and vaulted ceilings and then onto to the 12th century St Mary’s Church. 

After reaching the River Wey we started the ascent reaching the 12th century Castle Keep and its beautiful landscaped gardens and then onward to the grade one listed Trinity church at the top of the High Street. Our tour ended in the superbly preserved Jacobean  Abbot Hospital built in 1619 by Guildford’s most significant son George Abbot who became Archbishop of Canterbury.

A new history book on College Street

College Street, PetersfieldOver the years members of the society have as a group or individuals written many of the history books on Petersfield’s rich history.

We are therefore delighted that several of our members have, for the past three years, taken part as members of Petersfield U3A local history group in the research and production of a new book on College Street.

This excellent publication is published by the Petersfield Museum at £12.50 and available from the Museum and independent books shops in the town.

Hampshire Field Club

hampshire field logoNine members of PAHS attended the Hampshire Field Club Landscape Section’s Conference and AGM at Peter Symonds College, Winchester on Saturday 7 November. Organised jointly with Petersfield Area Historical Society and Buriton Local History Group, the subject for the day was “Petersfield: Changing Landscapes in and around a Hampshire Market Town.”
 
With 65 people in attendance, the first speaker was George Anelay, a professional archaeologist and Project Director of the Petersfield Museum’s project People of the Heath. George focused on “Understanding and conserving Petersfield’s pre-historic barrows” with particular reference to the current four-year excavations and the up-to-date finds and theories.
 
The next two sessions were taken by Society members Bill Gosney and Nick Swan who spoke firstly on Petersfield from the Norman invasion to the Civil War” and then on The Transport Revolution and the Growth of Petersfield”.
 
The final session of the day was from Doug Jones of Buriton Local History Group on “Geology and Landscapes in Buriton: effects on a rural parish.”
 
This is the first time that our Society has been involved in a project with the Hampshire Field Club and we were delighted to learn from their Chairman, Mike Broderick, that it had been well received with one of their members reportedly saying that our "presentation of Petersfield’s past was one of the best he had heard.” 
 
It is planned to follow up the conference in the summer of 2016 with a visit and two walks around Petersfield featuring “The General History of the Town” and “Petersfield in World War One”. We look forward to meeting with them again.

Forthcoming Events

How To Join

Contact us for an application form. Membership costs £12 per person or £17 per couple. This includes eight meetings per year with a speaker and five optional meetings of the Society’s Archaeological Group. You will also receive a copy of the Society’s twice-yearly bulletin.

Petersfield Museum

Petersfield Museum

Visit the Petersfield Museum to see some of the archival work PAHS has undertaken.

Musical Festival

Petersfield Musical Festival Petersfield Musical Festival has entertained the town with choral music for over 100 years.

Physic Garden

fritillaryThe Physic Garden is open daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s day. Check the website for times. Entrance is free.

People of the Heath

People of the Heath Visit People of the Heath for more on the excavation of the Petersfield Heath barrows.