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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 49, July 2018

The editor apologises for the lack of a newsletter last year. Preparing the panels for the highly successful Blackdown Air Disaster Exhibition rather took over… but now we’re back with dates for your diary and report on excellent events – including Open Fernhurst in March, Freshen up Fernhurst in June and the delightful scamper through bluebells in April. We wish you an excellent summer and hope you’ll join us at the Autumn events below.

Blubell Walk 2018BLUEBELLS WITH A VIEW - See report below

Dates for your diary

Sun 9 Sept
Depart Crossfield Car Park 1.30pm
A stroll around Fernhurst
Guided walk led by Bob Smalley - local history around the centre of the village and just outside. Bring family and friends.
Sat 15 and Sun 16 Sept
10.30 – 5pm
Fernhurst Furnace Open Weekend
Organised by the Fernhurst Furnace Preservation Group
A very special event with all kinds of activities for everyone. Find out more about the iron industry that flourished here using local ore, charcoal and water power for the production of cast iron, tools and cannons and enjoy watching battle skirmishes and birds of prey. Lots of stalls and refreshments (including lamb roast) and children’s games. Parking and entry is free. Donations are appreciated to help fund this very special piece of our local history.
Thu 25 Oct
Village Hall 7.30pm for 8pm
The History of Petersfield
Talk by representative from Petersfield Museum.
Thu 29 Nov
Village Hall 7pm for 7.30pm NOTE EARLIER START
Talk commemorating 100th anniversary of the end of WW1

Admiral Sir Ian Garnett will talk on the story of the Commonwealth War Graves.


Our first walk of the year – a delightful scamper through Robin Barnes’ bluebell woods led by Bob Smalley as described by Judith Turner:

He who organised the Bluebell Walk in April achieved not only the most magnificent display of acres of bluebells but also perfect weather after what felt like months of rain. Bob Smalley generously took it upon himself to plan and lead this walk and as I write he has left the country to walk a further few hundred miles across Germany.

So… after weeks of rain around thirty people and two dogs gathered for a gentle stroll through the woods. Along Vann Road, up Vann Common, fortunately not the very steep bit at the top. We were let into privately owned land where clear-felling revealed a view of the village not seen for 30 years. In a few years’ time it will again be hidden by tree growth but in the meantime the view and the wild flowers delighting in the unaccustomed light!

Onward into the chestnut woods; not much leaf growth because of the late spring, so we could see bluebells almost purple with intensity stretching up and down the hill for hundreds of yards. All ENGLISH bluebells with no foreign invader from Spain!

We walked west to Shulbrede, almost pheasant-free now there is no shoot there, and then back to Highbuilding where we looked, unsuccessfully, for the coots or moorhens with their ping pong ball sized babies. Although the road was advertised as closed there still seemed to be traffic, but we arrived back safely. A final amusement was the sign the roadworkers had written to themselves – DRIAN.

Boost the value of your subscription Membership subscriptions support the Fernhurst Society’s programme of events, our website and the work of the Fernhurst Archive (open Tuesday afternoons 2.30pm – 5.00pm).

We are a registered charity and HMRC counts your subscription as a donation – making it eligible for Gift Aid; enabling us to claim back 25p for every £1 donated by UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax payers.

We very much hope that, if you are a UK tax payer, you complete our updated gift aid form available at meetings or by sending a request to



16/17 June 2018 - FRESHEN UP FERNHURST

Freshen up Fernhurst over the weekend of June 16 and 17 was the first organised (well sort of!) attempt to clear Fernhurst of litter and unwanted and outdated notices since the village entered the Best Kept Village competition in the last century.

The county council provided half a dozen litter picking sticks and bag holders and vast purple bags big enough to stand inside to help everyone.

Dozens of superbly enthusiastic volunteers cleared great swathes of sweet papers, cigarette packets, old ropes, tins of every type of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage including some unrecognisable lager (possibly) from eastern Europe not meant for export. There was even a sledgehammer - how do you lose that?

The most undesirable aspect was the filthy habit some dog owners have of bagging their pet's droppings and flinging the bag into the hedge where it hangs only too visibly and generally out of reach. Again thanks to long handled litter-pickers, many of these were removed. UGH! The hot spots for general litter were the lay-bys, particularly by the entrance to the ex- Syngenta site.

A prize was offered for the most interesting, unusual or amusing piece of litter found. One person offered a photo of their husband with the by-line that he was interesting but did not say whether she also considered him rubbish! Ultimately the prize, yet to be delivered – can’t do everything immediately! - was won by Neil Marriner who found a filing tray full of an American's tax forms for the last 8 years. A mini bit of detective work by your local Poirot returned them to the rightful owner from whom they had been stolen, possibly only earlier that day along with a lot of other things which unfortunately were not found.

A special mention must go to the Cubs who, along with some other residents, washed road signs and to clearing and cleaning the communal flower beds by others.

What is hoped now is that the enthusiasm for litter picking, supported by the number of people who thanked. the workers or apologised for their own absence from the job, will continue and debris cleared continually. Judith Turner

Watch out for SPRING CLEAN FERNHURST in 2019


26 April 2018 - Talk: All Things British

Another fun talk from Susan Howe included stories of a number of British eccentrics from Tudor times up until today including the distinguished British diplomat Sir Nicholas Henderson. As British Ambassador to Paris, Sir Nicholas would sunbathe naked in the embassy garden. An enthusiastic jammaker, on his first posting to Warsaw he arrived with a Dalmation dog trained to sniff out spies. At the same time he was also a member of the working party drafting the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty. Brought out of retirement by Margaret Thatcher, he become British Ambassador to the United States around the time of the Falklands War… which leads us on to Sir Rex Hunt who was Governor of the Falklands at the time. In 1980 Sir Rex was tasked by the British Foreign Office to persuade Falklanders that they would be wellserved by transferring allegiance to Argentina. On discovering that the Falklanders were wholly opposed to such a move, he sided with the islanders. The Foreign Office was not best pleased. When Argentina invaded Sir Rex put up a defence of Government House in Port Stanley. He went to meet the Argentine Commander wearing his dress uniform and plumed helmet and ordered Vice- Admiral Carlos Busser to remove his troops. Sir Rex was captured, taken to the airport and stripped of his clothing. He then ceremonially redressed. He tells his story in My Falkland Days (published in 1992). Apparently Nicholas Henderson’s book The Private Office (1984) is also very entertaining.

22 February 2018 - Talk: The History of Haslemere from its Buildings

We were very pleased to drag Hugh Turrall-Clarke away from the Haslemere Museum to give us a talk on the history of Haslemere from its buildings. Taking into account how the town developed following the arrival of the railway in 1859.


This excellent event in the village hall on 17th March brought together over 30 different local societies, run by volunteers, to promote their activities. The Fernhurst Archive put up a display celebrating the long history of our old Post Office at the centre of village life.

Glenys & Lizzie
Glenys and Lizzie from the ‘old’ Post Office at the Fernhurst Society stand.
Fernhurst Centre
The Fernhurst Centre - Paul, Pauline and Bridget
Fernhurst Parish Councillors
Fernhurst Parish councillors John, Heather, Graeme and Graham.
Fernhurst Scouts
Dave and Sue and Fernhurst Scouts
Fernhurst Films
Norman and Jane showcasing Fernhurst Films
Lunch Club
A Lunch Club team – Sally, Bob and Irene

News from the Fernhurst Archives

The Archive marked the closure of Fernhurst Post Office in its old guise with two displays: one outside the Post Office at the actual closing and the other at the ‘Open Fernhurst’ event in the Village Hall on Sat 17 March. That was a busy and successful day for the Society and Archive, with one lapsed member taking advantage of being able to renew on the spot and a couple of other people taking membership forms. A young couple wanted to know about their house in Vann Road, another interested in Verdley and several booklets were sold. Bob Smalley brought in his research on his house in Vann Road to be scanned. Unfortunately Judith Turner’s family tree was too big and fragile for our machine to cope.

Robin Ellks came up with the answer to a five-yearold mystery: where was the house on Friday’s Hill called Homeley Water, was it still there or had its name been changed? He discovered that sometime after WW2 the name had been changed to Highlands. The original enquirer was delighted to receive the news.

A lady in Ontario, Canada sent a letter to the Haslemere Herald trying to trace people who knew her grandfather before he emigrated. She wanted to make contact with them before his forthcoming 90th birthday but we were only able to trace a couple who lived in the village in 1939. She was still pleased that we had replied.

Maureen Duke contacted Judith in February offering documents and reminiscences of her early life in Fernhurst, which we said we would be very interested to receive.

Helen Ouin’s daughter Elspeth sent us a box of Helen’s papers, which included local photos taken in the early 1990s and the original sketches and manuscript of the popular ‘Walks around Fernhurst’ booklet she and Ken collaborated on with Victor Davey also from the early 1990s. Janet Bristow also donated some Orders of Service from recent funerals and some Post Office items.

Robin Barnes is loaning some local deeds which we are recording and then returning. He will then let us have another batch.

Christine Maynard
Fernhurst Archives


From 1767 mileposts, or milestones, were compulsory on all Turnpike roads at one-mile intervals; not only to inform travellers of direction and distances, but to help coaches keep to schedule and for charging for changes of horses at coaching Inns. The distances were also used to calculate postal charges before the uniform postal rate was introduced in 1840.

The Chichester & Farnhurst Turnpike originally left Hindhead Heath close to the ‘Sailor’s Stone’ and took a course outside of Haslemere (through Weyhill) to its first tollgate at Kingsley Marsh (now Kingsley Green).

Milestone ‘43’ (43 miles from Hyde Park Corner) on this road miraculously survives on the brow of Fridays Hill opposite ‘Homelands’, as does Milestone ‘45’ outside ‘Cooksbridge’.

Milestone ‘44’ was originally sited in the bank opposite Chesholt Close, on the east side of the A286, by the footpath to ‘The Glebe’. The 4th. Milestone (‘46’) in the Parish was sited on Henley Hill (after the road was diverted around Henley Village) on the bend just past Whites Lane, again on the east side of the A286.

Initial searches have found no trace of ‘44’ & ‘46’. Does anyone with a long memory recall seeing either of these?

Robin Ellks
Fernhurst Archives


Open Tuesdays between 2.30pm and 5pm, we’re upstairs in the Village Hall (side entrance). We have a substantial archive of photographs and documents and some artefacts. We welcome enquiries on local history, buildings, archaeology and genealogy in person or by email.

If you wish to visit, do contact Christine Maynard beforehand by phone 653663 or email the address below - it helps us to have the relevant information ready for you.