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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 30, April 2008


Events for 2008

Sunday 18th May, from 12 noon Committee running the Society stall at Fernhurst Revels. Volunteers please.
Sunday 8th June, meet 10.30am Walk at Ebernoe from 11am – 3pm (approx). Meet at the Crossfields car park at 10.30am and please bring a packed lunch. If you are able to drive please would you give those without cars a lift. Return to Crossfields about 4pm. (see over for more details)
Sunday 7th September, 11.00am Blackdown Race – starts at the recreation ground.
Sunday 7th September, midday Summer BBQ.
Saturday and Sunday 13th & 14th September Committee running the Society stall at Fernhurst Furnace open weekend. Volunteers please.
Thursday 18th September, 7.30pm Executive Committee.
Sunday 5th October, 2.00pm Walk in Verdley Wood.
Thursday 23rd October, 7.30pm Locally Green” - talk by Sandy Polak on what simple changes we can make to be greener.
Thursday 27th November, 7.30pm AGM and talk by David Coward “North Ambersham in a nutshell.”

On Thursday November 27th following the Society's evening AGM, there will be a talk by David Coward entitled "North Ambersham in a nutshell". David Coward has researched the history of a mysterious part of the modern day Fernhurst parish - the old Hampshire tithing of North Ambersham. By examining historical records and censuses, he has pieced together a fascinating picture of the early history of the area and the lives and local society in the region, concentrating mainly on the period covering the 19th century. His talk will be of interest to anyone with Fernhurst area connections or a penchant for parish history, and will include ways and means of unravelling their own family history.

Green newsletters!

Thank you to those of you that requested a “green newsletter.”  If you would like to receive your copy as a Word attachment (so it will look the same as the printed copy but save printing, envelopes and postage) please e-mail Sarak Matthews via the Society's email


Whos who on the Committee

In the first in a new series about our Committee Iain Brown, Vice Chairman has found a few moments between his many interests to share why he’s involved.

Iain Brown – Vice Chairman
Iain was one of the founder members of the Society and served on the steering committee that set the Society up.  He was its first Honorary Treasurer, a job he did for 6 years or more and is now the Vice Chairman, with no ambitions of stepping up. He thinks the Society fulfils a very real need in the community and feels passionate about our countryside, community and Society and will do anything (?) to protect them. Iain was very much involved in the Biodiversity project for verges, hedges and land use surveys for which we received Heritage Lottery funding.

Most members will know that ICI brought him to Fernhurst in 1965 where he enjoyed the work, his colleagues' company and the small village community where everyone says "Good morning", so he stayed there until he retired. Iain then became involved with the Parish Council, especially planning, The Fernhurst Centre, the Downs Conservation Board, etc. He’s generally known as a local busybody so has hardly any time left for golf, gardening, grandchildren, woodland work, petanque, wine imbibing, visiting France and beyond, archaeological digs, walkies, fishing, Scottish country dancing, concerts and yes - he even finds time to read a lot too.

A day in the Life of a Bodger

by Mark Allery

On Wednesday 16th April, Mark Allery gave a fascinating talk and slide show about local trees found in Sussex and their uses. Bodgers were highly skilled itinerant wood turners who worked the beech woods around High Wycombe producing chair legs for the furniture trade. They used mobile pole lathes and Mark is one of an increasing group who are trying to rescue pole lathe turning and green wood working from obscurity.

Mark actively helps in the restoration and management of Linchmere Common and though originally a research scientist, he is now a fund of knowledge on woodland management and uses of trees.

He discussed all the locally found trees from Ash to Yew and demonstrated what each species was particularly good for. This ranged from oak framed houses and ships, through fencing (chestnut), chairs and other furniture (beech, ash, oak and elm), baskets and trugs (oak, hazel) rakes and implement handles (ash and hazel), brushes (birch) to children’s toys and rattles. He brought along many items he had made to further illustrate his talk.

It was a pleasure to listen to someone who so enthusiastically promotes the wood crafts traditionally found in this area.


Update on the South Downs Campaign

The Inquiry as to the future of the National Park is ongoing and the South Downs Campaign, to which the Parish Council is party, is protecting our interests and trying to persuade the Inspector the case for the inclusion of the Weald in the Park, contrary to the position of CDC and West Sussex County Council, who wish to retain as much of their power and empire, especially planning, as possible. They appear to have given little thought to the consequences of their efforts to exclude the Weald. If we lose AONB protection we will know who to blame and how will the protection and conservation of the Weald landscape be managed and funded if the inspector continues to recommend a Park drawn tightly to the chalk ridge only. Are we are in danger of both losing our AONB status, and hence the planning protection we currently enjoy? The letter section of the Midhurst and Petworth Observer of 3/4/08, hopefully makes uncomfortable reading for our local politicians as a string of Wealden Parishes castigate them for not listening and being deaf to our entreaties.


What’s new at the Archive

Our focus recently has been very much on that narrow north-south strip of land at the east of our parish, North Ambersham – which was once part of Hampshire!

An extremely thorough investigation of what life would have been like there in the 19th century, the people, their homes and their way of life, has been carried out by David and Sue Coward. A branch of Sue’s family came from this area and David will be presenting their findings ‘North Ambersham in a Nutshell’ at our meeting in November. I’m sure it will be fascinating. David has already shared many of his findings with us and they are available at the Archive for perusal.

Another historian, Dr Trevor Hill, who also had family connections with the area, has also uncovered many interesting stories about old Fernhurst families, including the main benefactor of the Village Hall, Owen Scripps Tudor, and has kindly donated a copy of his work.

Carla Barnes has donated/loaned a large collection of documents and pictures, which we are going through with great interest. Did you know that there was a Fernhurst Building Society in the 1930s?

We are being kept very busy preparing for the Village of the Year judges’ visit and are also going to be displaying material for a Good Companions’ meeting in May, when the topic will be the Revels.

Thanks to the generosity of Karl Thacker, of KRT Computers, who has provided at cost or by donation, we now have an up-and-running new computer, complete with scanner, fax and photocopying capabilities. We shall also have our own email address soon too.

Christine Maynard, Fernhurst Archive

Junior Fernhurst Society

The first event of the year was Gosport Living History talk on 21st February. Even thought it was not as well attended as it could have been during half term, the youngsters that did attend enjoyed it. Comments included "It was really good", "The woman really knew what it was like in that time"' and "It was interesting to find out what we would have been doing if we had lived at that time".

The first outdoor meet of the year took place around Hindhead Common on 15th March. We met just past Royal School and walked up the common to Gibbet Hill. We then went to the view point they have created above the North entrance to the Hindhead tunnel. From here you can get a good view of the whole entrance area and across to the North Downs. We went down to the chain link fence where everyone was treated to close-up views of the diggers going in and out of the tunnel (who needs nature?). Although it looks like a building site at the moment there are plans to re-landscape it on completion. No earth will be removed from site, it will be used in the landscaping. The return was back over the Common, with only one shower to dampen the spirits.


Future Meets

Saturday 10th May Walk at Bexley Hill
Sunday 22nd June Treasure hunt at the Fernhurst Centre
Saturday 27th September GPS at Thursley Common
Saturday 18th October Chestnuts walk at Ashurst
Saturday 15th November Walk at Chithurst
Saturday 20th December Short walk in Fernhurst followed by mince pies at the Fernhurst Centre


The Junior section meets once a month in the morning of the third Saturday for a 2 hour nature walk. Children 5 + years old are very welcome, along with their parents. Under 7s must be accompanied. Please contact Sue Gibbon via the Society's email for further information