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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 23, September 2005


Forthcoming events – a varied programme of talks for the autumn and winter

We’ve enjoyed a multitude of walks during spring and summer, attracting a wide selection of members. As autumn beckons, we move our events to the Village Hall. Most take place on a Thursday evening at 7:30pm, unless otherwise noted, and tea/coffee is provided.

We encourage all our members to join us, and non-members are welcome at any time, for a small donation of £1.00 on the door.

For more information on any of our events or activities, please contact our Chairman, Julia Roxan via the Society's email, or any of the Executive Committee members.

Thursday 27 October – Cheese & Wine Evening with local vineyard owner, James Lane
For some reason, wine tastings are always popular… so be prompt to hear how James grows his vines and makes his wine. Then enjoy a tasting!

Thursday 24th November – AGM, followed by “The Woodland House”, a talk and slide show by local woodsman, Ben Law.
We will be electing a new Chairman at the AGM, but hope to dispense with the formalities as quickly as possible, to give plenty of time to our guest speaker. Ben Law will tell the story of his woodland house construction, portrayed on Channel Four’s ‘Grand Designs’ series. His new book will also be on sale.

Saturday 10 December – Christmas Party – Live Jazz Band
Our annual Christmas Party is always a lively affair, but spaces are limited. This year our entertainment will be provided by Liphook’s own Super Swing Jazz Quartet, so dust down your dancing shoes! Tickets (£12.50 per person, including an excellent hot supper) are available now from Elsie Waitt. Non-members are very welcome, so feel free to bring friends and relations.

For those of you with 2006 calendars already, we have the following Spring dates confirmed:

Wednesday 15 February 2006 – our regular half-term afternoon slot. Look out for event details in the Fernhurst News, nearer the time.
Thursday 13th April 2006 – Maureen Duke, Memories are Made of This - Growing Up in Fernhurst in the ‘30s, ‘40s, 50s and ‘60s.


Junior Fernhurst Society

The Junior Society is for children aged 5-12 years old (parents must be present to supervise 5 and 6 year olds). It meets monthly on Saturday mornings for a couple of hours. The focus is on involving children in practical activities centred on nature conservation and local history. We welcome newcomers for all or any of our planned events.
Contact Julia Roxan or Sue Gibbon for more information.

Saturday 15 October, 10am – local coppicing and woodland management.
This is a unique opportunity to hear from Robin Barnes, long-term Fernhurst resident and woodland management expert. We will be going up on to Marley to see coppiced woodland, where Robin will show how the trees are managed and used. Children should wear wellies or similar as it is muddy on Marley.

Saturday 12 Nov, 10am – nature and art project.
We’ll be taking a brief nature walk, to collect natural objects. Then we’ll go indoors for an art session, using the natural objects collected.


A look at recent events

We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the success of our events through the Fernhurst News throughout the summer. However, it’s now so successful that we’ve been asked to limit editorial content, and use it to inform residents of forthcoming events. We will continue to review our events via this bi-annual members’ newsletter.

Parish Boundary Walk – 18 Sept

The next leg of the parish boundary walk was well attended, walking from Elmers Marsh up to Poison Copse, just south of Lynchmere Church. The walk was quite strenuous uphill, but this didn’t deter nearly thirty people, on a warm September Sunday afternoon. Judith Turner led this stretch, and had done an enormous amount of research into the area, so we were much informed and entertained by her anecdotes, aided and abetted by various of the walkers. The only boundary stone on this stretch, at the corner near Stanley Farm, is still unexplained: three sets of initials and dates from the 18th and 19th centuries, which cannot be traced.

Junior Fernhurst Society - 17 Sept Blackdown

For our most recent event, we took the children up onto Blackdown, where we were fortunate enough to have a guided walk with Matt Bramwich, one of the wardens. Matt talked to the children about the history of Blackdown, and the way in which the vegetation has changed over the centuries and the types of activities that took place there. He showed them how to find worked flints, explaining that the raw stone was brought here from the South Downs, and was worked here by expert nappers to create scrapping tools. He also showed them, by getting them to drill auger samples, the difference between the soils in woodland, heathland and bog. They had good fun washing their hands using sphagnum moss and looking for bilberries on the way back.


Society Projects

Oral History Project

We now have enough interviews/material to compile the planned Oral History book, although we will continue with interviews for archive purposes. A very rough first draft has already been put together.
In the meantime, the project team is starting to think about what needs to be done to set up the exhibition in April 2007. The first task is to find an exhibition coordinator.
Anyone interested in further details on the project, or the exhibition, should contact Anthony Davies or John Clark via the Society's email.

Fernhurst Parish Action Plan

The Action Plan was distributed to villagers earlier in the summer. The Action Plan is not a Fernhurst Society project, but we plan to remain involved, particularly in Transport & Traffic issues and Crossfield project.
If you would like more information about the Society’s involvement in the Fernhurst Parish Action Plan project please contact Peter Monger.

Fernhurst Village Archive

The Archives Team has been busy as usual. We now have MS Access database software installed, to allow us to catalogue the collection. Volunteers to help with inputting are welcome.
The Archive was delighted with the CD of the 1842 Census of West Sussex, kindly donated by Mike Newman.
In the meantime, more items have been received from the estate of the late George Lockie, including many glass slides from the 40s and 50s.
We hope you also noticed a series in the Fernhurst News, called "Moments in Time", comprising snippets from 100, 75, 50, and 25 years ago, which is provided by the Archive Team.
The Village Archive is open on Tuesday afternoons in the Village Hall (above the clerk’s office – look out for the smart new sign!) Just turn up. If this is not convenient please call Christine Maynard for an appointment.

History Walk Booklets available for sale

We’d like to remind members that History Walk Booklets are available for purchase (£1 each) from the Fernhurst Centre, Post Office and at Society Events. The booklets have been written by local historian, Helen Ouin, and illustrated by Angela Parrott.

History Booklet No 1 covers the history walk along Church Road and the Village Green
History Booklet No 2 covers the history and nature walk from the Red Lion, up to Tanyard, back down Ropes Lane and along the Lickfold Road.
History Booklet No 3 – Vann Road & Van Common – is underway, and will be published soon.


Society Committee News

AGM – join us in nominating a new Chairman

In November, Julia Roxan will have completed three years in her role as Chairman of the Society, and we must now reluctantly vote for a replacement. Come along to our AGM on the 24th November, to see the election in action.
The Society’s Executive Committee meets six times a year, to report on project progress and to plan future activities. The evening meetings are sociable and informal, and the committee represents a cross-section of the Fernhurst community. If you would like to know more about becoming a Committee member then please call Julia Roxan.

Membership Renewal – Reminder

It’s that time of year again – membership subscriptions are due. A subs form is included with this newsletter, and should be returned to our Membership Secretary, Sandy Polak, by the end of December. If there isn't a form with your newsletter, it means you are a life or honorary member, and don't need to renew, or you joined late in the year, so your membership covers next year. If you have any questions about the subscription, membership, or the renewal process, please call Sandy.


Something to ponder…

An article kindly researched by Society Member, Gill Taylor
Should it be Van? Or should it be Vann? And what does the word mean anyway? The Fernhurst Society Walk, along Vann Road and up Van Common in August, set me thinking. There was a suggestion that van means low-lying or marshy, but could there be another meaning?

For the origin of the word it seems we may have to look no further than the iron smelting business. Both the Oxford English Reference and Chambers dictionaries have several references to the word. OERD tells us that a van can be the testing of ore quality by washing it on a shovel or in a machine. Chambers is even more helpful, saying that a van is either a shovel for testing or the test itself. Hence a vanner is one who vans or an ore separator. They also give the adjective, vanning. Perhaps you could have a vanning shovel? Maybe Vann Road was so named because it led to the furnace ponds?

But there may be another origin for the word, as van was also an old word used to describe a covered wagon, suitable for transporting goods. A vanner was the name given to a horse that could pull such a wagon. So, perhaps Vann Road was so-called because it was a track suitable for use by wagons?

In both dictionaries there are a few other references to the word van, but nowhere could I find anything about low-lying marshy ground!