Over the last 12 months or so, I have been helping my father put together his part of an exhibition about the history of the village I grew up in: Minstead.
Minstead is famous for several things, including famous past residents like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and as the place in which William Rufus (King William II) was killed by an arrow. Indeed there are members of the Purkis family helping with the exhibition and of course it was a Purkis who took King William’s body to Winchester on his cart!
Well, the exhibition is this weekend, in Minstead Village Hall, running from 2-4.30pm tomorrow (Saturday 7th May) and on Sunday 8th May from 10am – 4pm. For anyone with an interest in, or connection with, Minstead, the New Forest, Commoning, the Compton family (local “Lords of the Manor”), or fans of Conan Doyle, it will be fascinating. There will be plenty of recent history as well – the May Pole Dancing and celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Wedding, the re-hanging and expansion of the church’s bell peel, Carnival attractions from years gone by, plenty more familiar faces from generations of locals (including mine!), and features about the famous Minstead Pantomimes.
The exhibition is organised by Minstead’s Local History Group. My father’s particular specialisms have been to provide lots of background into parts of the history of the village church, All Saints, and he has done extensive research into the history of the Compton family, trying to outline how the history of the family in Minstead Manor has been affected by interesting marriages and connections since Medieval times.
So, if you live in Hampshire, or have a particular connection or interest in Minstead, spare a couple of hours to visit the exhibition this weekend, and I might even see you there!