Two hundred people packed into Wildhern Village Hall for the launch of the book about the area they live in.
"Tangley, Hatherden and Wildhern - People of the Parish tell their Story" was sponsored by Jamie Cayzer-Colvin, in memory of his parents Michael and Nichola Colvin, who lived at Tangley Hall for forty years. The booked was based on interviews with local people, and edited by Eleo Carson, who has lived in Tangley for 20 years.
The book describes the Hampshire parish of Tangley through the last hundred and twenty years. Published by Tangley Parish Council to celebrate the Millennium, nearly two hundred people, past and present, have given the story of their homes and their lives. Based on archives, letters, diaries and interviews, this rich oral history portrays the lives of those who have lived here since 1880.
After a brief account of the earlier development of the villages, the main story begins with the acquisition of the two large estates in 1880 when the Hatherden and Wildhern land was bought by Alfred Butterworth and the Tangley estate was bought by Henry Merceron. The vast majority of local people worked on the land and a detailed account of life at the time emerges from their stories. Men and women played their part in both world wars and the book contains interviews with adults and children who lived in the parish at the time.
Life here changed in the years following the Second World War - at last the three villages had electricity and running water; the first council houses were built and gave some an opportunity for better accommodation; few people owned a car but bus companies ensured they could visit neighbouring villages and towns. Slowly patterns of land ownership and farming changed; with mechanisation far fewer were needed to work the land and men and women left for the towns; in keeping with the rest of the countryside the whole way of life of these three villages altered.
People of all ages have been interviewed - from villagers who celebrated their century this year to young members of the villages today.
* The book is generously illustrated with photographs. These cover all aspects of life in the three villages over the years - May Day, horses logging in the woods in 1909, farm scenes with horse and later tractor, the choir outing, village weddings, thatched cottages, the Home Guard, the pubs, and fancy dress parties.