The Headley Society
Whether you live in Headley, or simply have an interest in discovering its history and looking to its future, then you can do no better than join The Headley Society.
We are not just an Historical Society—we are keen to promote and encourage forward-looking plans within the parish of Headley which will be of lasting benefit to present and future generations.
The Society is established for the public benefit and interest in the area comprising the civil Parish of Headley and the neighbourhood—
Among other things, we—
Ever since its inception it has been a lively society, and below we list just a few highlights—
In the Spring of 1991, each club or society in the village was asked to create a display of what they had done during the year 1990. It was very well supported, and gave a fascinating 'snapshot' of a number of aspects of village life at the start of the 90s.
Organised by The Headley Society, nearly 50 organisations and societies in and around Headley combined their resources to offer a display of their activities to the general public over the late May Bank Holiday weekend 2006. Doors opened 25pm on Saturday 27th May, 11am4pm on Sunday 28th May, and 10am1pm on Monday 29th May. Entry was free, and refreshments were available. The weekend was judged to have been a resounding success.
Written in 1992 by Joyce Stevens, our founder and Chairman, this little book describing some of the more interesting buildings in the heart of the village has sold well, and has been updated and republished in 2003. It is available at local outlets or through the web link above.
In 1992, the Society organised an Arts & Crafts show to enable local artists and craftworkers to exhibit their work. The diversity and quality displayed was quite astounding, and many new friendships were struck during the event.
One of our members, Wendy Bennett, has offered some of her paintings of scenes in the village to be reproduced as postcards by the Society for sale in local outlets.
What did the village look like in the past? We have created a photographic record of the pre-war village from old postcards and other sources. The resulting book was published by John Owen Smith in December 1999 (updated 2003). See also comparison of past with present photos of the village.
We have checked the records of inscriptions on gravestones in Headley churchyard, correcting any errors, and added any which have been erected since a survey was last done in 1980. The results have been sent to the Hampshire Record Office, and are also available to searchers either on paper or via the Internet.
We sponsored a photographic record of scenes and activities in the parish at the turn of the millennium.
We have produced this series of 6 booklets on topics of local interest to the Parish. See below for details.
We transcribed the notebooks of the Rev Mr WH Laverty, rector of this parish 1872-1928, and put the results on our website, giving people a great source of information about the life of the people in the parish at that time.
With the support of the Parish Council, we have set up a Village Archive in the room above the council office. This will act as a repository for items of local historical interest which might otherwise be lost or thrown away. Any items of value will be copied, if possible, and passed on to the Hampshire Record Office for safe keeping.
Our monthly speakers have fascinated us with talks and displays covering such diverse subjects as the National Curriculum and the management of local heathland. See current and past lists.
Not content to sit on our laurels, we have plans to continue our active programme of events into the future. Below are some of the ideas we are currently considering—but if you have better ones, please let us know!
We have a plan to add significant historical information to the Headley Archive. See relevant web-page for latest situation.
We are currently investigating the background of each of the 92 names on our War Memorial relating the WW1.
We wish to interview people in the parish with a story to tell, and have bought the equipment to do this. Any offers of assistance are welcome.
Our monthly schedule of speakers remains the corner-stone of our organisation. See below for details.
We meet in Headley Church Centre (or by Zoom) at 8pm on the first Thursday
of each month .
Visitors are always welcome (£1.50 entry per meeting), but membership at only £6.00 for a full year is a more cost-effective way of joining in, and also entitles you to participate in certain events reserved for ‘members only’.
Jan 7th Uppark: Fire & Restoration Bob France This talk was CANCELLED, but was replaced by
Jan 7th Headley Parish Council, the early years Jo Smith (by Zoom)
Feb 4th Guildford's Wartime Defences David Rose (by Zoom)
Mar 4th Headley's Dramatic History + AGM Jo Smith (by Zoom)
Apr 1st The River Wey Trust: its past, present and future Alistair Young, (by Zoom)
EXTRA: Apr 15th Headley Theatre Club, the first 50 years Jo Smith (by Zoom)
May 6th The Atlantic Railway: Brunel's Vision Iain Kennedy (by Zoom)
'Buy your ticket at Paddington Station and disembark in Boston or New York', was Brunel's plan.
Jun 3rd The Most Heroic Failure of Modern Times Shackleton's Antarctic Jeremy Holmes (by Zoom) login details will appear here on the night
When Ernest Shackleton set off to cross the Antarctic for the first time in 1914 he was already a celebrated explorer, but his ship quickly got trapped and then crushed in the ice. He and his crew camped for months on the ice with only rudimentary supplies, until he decided to sail a lifeboat 750 miles to South Georgia - a feat never before attempted. Arriving exhausted they had to climb a mountain range before eventually finding a remote whaling station and ultimately returning to rescue their comrades. Shackleton's leadership became the stuff of legend; this talk explains why.
Jul 1st TBA
Aug 5th Members Only 6.30pm Visit to Headley Grange
Sep 2nd TBA
Oct 7th TBA
Nov 4th TBA
Friday Dec 3rd 7.00pm Christmas Social in Headley Village Hall including musical entertainment from Clare & Chris
Jan 6th TBA
Feb 3rd TBA
Mar 3rd TBA
Apr 7th TBA + AGM
Committee of The Headley Society
Chairman — John Owen Smith — (01428) 712892 — contact
Hon. Secretary — Freda Line
Hon. Treasurer — Sylvia Henderson
President — Betty White
Email headleysociety 'at' gmail.com
The Society can produce prints on hand-made paper from five WOOD ENGRAVINGS & LITHOGRAPHS of views in Headley made in the 1960s by the late NORMAN WILSON. These are reproduced by kind permission of Sue Allden.
The prints sell for £5 each. Click here for a preview of them.
For further information or to order, contact Nicky Wilson on 01428 713113 or at one of the Society meetings.
We have produced six booklets on topics of local interest to the Village: Volume 1 was issued in 1999, Volume 2 in 2000, Volume 3 in 2001, Volume 4 in 2002, Volume 5 in 2003, Volume 6 in 2004
They have now been republished as A Headley Compendium along with the text of Canon Tudor Jones' original book Headley 10661966.
Available at Society meetings, from the Headley Parish Office (next to the Village Hall) or from Jo Smith's website.
Your late President has written this illustrated book, which relates the story of her great-great aunt, Ellen Suter, who emigrated to Australia at the age of 19 to escape the poverty of Portsmouth. The tale began for Joyce when she suddenly discovered 7 letters that Ellen had written 'home' to her brother, Joyce's great grandfather, who was then a papermaker in Headley.
Available from local outlets priced at £4.95, or from Jo Smith's website.
The first of a series of walks organised by members (Caroline Lemka and Jo Smith) took place on Saturday 20th October 2001 called 'the 5 bridges walk', it started at the New Inn, Sleaford and ended at Mellow Farm, near Dockenfield, crossing the River Slea three times and the River Wey twice. The weather was kind and the 15 humans and two dogs who took part thoroughly enjoyed it.
The second walk was a circular one on Sunday 9th May 2004, starting and ending at Liss and taking in Hawkley on the return leg those wishing to cut it short ended at Greatham.
Jo Smith leads circular walks around local footpaths and lanes starting at 11am from Headley Village Hall on the first Sunday of each month. These are organised in conjunction with the 'Walk for Health' campaign, are taken at a leisurely pace and are generally about 6 miles long. We aim to be back for a pub lunch around 1.30pm! Contact Jo for further details. The routes are variations on some of those published in his book Walks Around Headley.
See current schedule
The first part of the project has finished, and the book Headley's Past in Pictures was published in December 1999 (updated 2003). This covers places in Headley parish.
A second book Characters of Headley's Past was published in 2017. This covers people in Headley parish.
If you have any old photographs which you are prepared to lend us for a short period, please contact us. We will take good care of them.
The first part of this project is complete. Information has been put into the
computer and is now available either on paper or on
Following the completion of this part of the project, the next phase will involve checking the sheets against church burial records in order to include those buried who have no headstone. Please contact us for further details.
As a first step to doing this, we bought from the Hampshire Genealogical Society a computer file containing approx. 3,000 burial records for Headley which they have collected as part of their county-wide survey. This was checked for accuracy against the original church registers before being loaded onto our website.
The Parish Council has kindly allowed us to use the room above their office
for holding historical information about the parish, including some of their
own records. We have so far stored and indexed a number of old maps and other
documentary information, and will add to this in the future. See latest
Anything of real value would be lodged at the County Record Office in Winchester and a copy kept in Headley.
If you have anything which might be of interest to us, (eg. from an attic or house clearance), please contact us.
See details of our monthly speaker programme.
The Headley Society — will be 35 years old in 2020. Ever since its inception it has been a lively society, and below we list just a few highlights of the past:
— This web site maintained by John Owen Smith —
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