NEWTOWN Parish Council is gearing up for the 800th anniversary of the village in 2018 by compiling a new local history book to mark the occasion.
Villagers have been asked to dig out photographs to contribute, along with snippets of local history reflecting life in Newtown over the last eight centuries, to help compile the book.
Once complete, the council intends to send a copy to each of the 100 houses in the village.
At a meeting of Newtown Parish Council last Wednesday evening, villager Anne Fraser, who was progressing initial plans for the book, said a possible starting point – the village Millennium magazine – which had contained descriptions of all the houses in Newtown, had unfortunately proved no use.
“It would be nice to find out who lived here 800 years ago and what they did and the average size of households and then do something similar for today and have a comparison,” said Ms Fraser.
However, an attempt to obtain this same information, and to utilise it for the 800th anniversary book, had come to naught, after contacting the publisher.
“I thought they would have the information on computer, but no, nothing,” she said.
Parish council chairman, Tim Kelleher, said the Millennium magazine had proved popular.
“It drew lots of people to be involved, as they have houses here,” said Mr Kelleher.
Some debate on historical facts about Newtown ensued and parish councillor Tony Webb said 35 houses which formed the original hamlet no longer existed after inhabitants died during the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1348.
Ms Fraser said it was thought a manor house once existed in the parish, however Mr Webb said this was uncertain.
Clerk, Kathy Summers, said records held in Hampshire County Council’s Winchester archives were probably the best source of historical information about life in the village 800 years ago.
Borough councillor John Izett (Con, Burghclere, Highclere and St Mary Bourne), who was also at the meeting, offered to find out if any borough council cash was available to fund the project.
Other ideas for celebrations, listed in the council’s 2016 newsletter, include a mummers play, 12th-century banquet, fireworks display, jousting, local art exhibition, beating the bounds, son et lumiere (sound and light show), barber shop recital, music and craft and produce show.
The independent Horris Hill school in Newtown had also offered the use of the school’s fields, marquee and kitchen for the celebrations.
It was agreed to compile a brief of proposed contents of the book, and the number of pages, before obtaining quotes from three printers as to the publication costs.
Any Newtown villagers with photographs, including aerial photographs, or snippets of Newtown local history they would like to contribute to the 800th Newtown anniversary book, should contact parish councillor Tony Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org