Minstead Past and Present – this weekend!

The churchyard, All Saints' Minstead, Christmas morning 2009 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's grave is the tall cross on the left

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 Compton Memorial window in the South Transcept of All Saints' Minstead

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!



  1. Hello,

    I was wondering if you or your father know much about Minstead Lodge? I work there and am just doing a bit of research on the house and its past occupants in an attemp to create a time line.

    Any help you could give would be very much appreciated as unfortunately I missed the exhibition back in May so have no idea if there was any relevant information there.

    Kind regards,

    Michelle Scurlock


    • Dad has been around long enough to remember the Lord and Lady Congleton (who also had a pew in the Church) and thinks that before that it may have been owned by Humberts (?) the wine shippers, and before that someone connected with the press (I assume he means early newspapers). He’ll see what else he can dig up. The Minstead Village History Group, who meet monthly on a (second?) Tuesday in the Social Club at the Village Hall, might well be very interested in helping you with your work.


  2. Michelle has since done a load of research of her own on Minstead Lodge, the start of which she is letting me post here from an email conversation between us. She wrote:

    I have a reasonable amount of information about the lodge which I can forward on to you both. I have a picture of Lady congleton at the Lodge which I found on the internet

    Here is a letter addressed to someone living at Minstead Lodge…..regrettably, you cannot see much without purchasing the manuscript.

    I also found that the 10th Earl of Nortesk died at Minstead lodge: David John Canegie, 10th Earl of Northesk; b. 1 Dec 1865; d. Minstead Lodge 5 Dec 1921.
    =(London, 3 Feb 1894) Elizabeth Boyle Hallowes; b. 1871; d. 28 Jan 1950; dau of George Skene Hallowes & Lucy Anne Hope.

    There is also reference to a William Robert Preston, ESQ living here as seen on page 6 of this link:

    Click to access picturesbyancien00chri.pdf

    More recently it has come to light that the 716th Light composite used the lodge during the war:


    • Dom
      I’m afraid I don’t know much. the banner was made by Sybil White in 1934 in memory of her late husband Isaac (she was a widow an awfully long time, given that she was still playing the piano for the maypole dancing when I was a kid in the early 80s!) I don’t think there has been Mothers’ Union in Minstead in my lifetime, so it presumably must have folded possibly in the 60s. All our Diocesan MU records are lodged with other Diocesan Records at the County Records Office, and I’m afraid I don’t have time to find the detailed answers.
      However, if you’re talking to people, it’s worth noting that the Mothers’ Union was founded in the Diocese of Winchester in 1876 by Mary Sumner who is buried outside at the East End of Winchester Cathedral near John Taylor. See http://www.muwinchester.org.uk/history-of-mothers-union/mary-sumner/ for more details.


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