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A unique pattern woven in the fabric of time. Within the Parish of Rowner, surrounded by woodland, the village of Little Woodham exists to educate both children and adults about 17th Century rural life in the South of England. In the April of 1642 the King of England, Charles Stuart and his Parliament stood on the eve of Civil War. The momentous events of that year unfold as the autumn approaches. Using extensively researched local events and people the villagers link their families and their lives to national and international events. During your tour you will meet "villagers", interpreters dressed in period costume. Little Woodham's living history interpreters involve you and your children in their daily lives. Prepare timber with the sawyers at their camp, or speak with villagers as they make lace, or card and spin wool, watch the Blacksmith as he beats hot iron into shape. Those visitors with "good and lawful money of England" may enter Little Woodham's ale-house, there to join in conversation with whoever they may find within.

Little Woodham 2009

hese photographs were all taken during the 2009 season some use peoples 'village' names and some their real names

Woodham in the snow

One day son all these fish will be yours

Building the new alehouse

Don't worry Sam - we'll get a smaller drum

Chris and Iain do the work while Andy uses his brain

Maggie's graden


Emily misbehaves

Barry as Gosports Town Crier

Sam and Emily at Southsea Castle

May King and Queen

Sam as a mannequin


New Alehouse chimney

Blind mans bluff

The forge on Mayday

A carpet of Toadstools in the Apothecary Garden

More Toadstools


Eve and Bobbie and Fernhurst Furnace


What happens when Sam gets bored

Saskia and Emily

Master Sam

Woodham cloth woven in Village

Luke at Fernhurst

Master James

Gail at the loom

Push of Pike at Fernhurst


Master James and Mistress Chastity

Nice View




Sunlight in the Dell

Another nice View

Mistress Dorcas

Master Richard hard at work

Eve has a go on the lath


Emily and Simon

Master Simon

Iain and Maggie

Sunlight in the Dell

Jazzie and Paul Gina

Bobbie and Gail

Mayoral Visit Master Simon

New Alehouse construction

No. 1047688


Master Kit carving

Master Ricchard

Moody Sam


Master Kit

Nellie and Chastity

Hard at work for a change in the forge

Mayoral Visit

More Forge Damage

Our new scarecrow

Mistress Chastity

Damage to the Forge

Gail and Tansy


Thatching Tom

Master John

Master Huw

Info for Teachers

Historical background of the Society and its Aims The hamlet of Little Woodham was constructed by the English Civil War Society in 1984 in order to present a temporary exhibition of 17th Century life and soldiery. The exhibition concluded after a successful two weeks and local people. fearing that the site would be lost, formed the Gosport Living History Society. The Society, in the subsequent years, presented the historical interpretation at the site, with the Borough Council of Gosport providing the finance and much of the administration. In 1995, Gosport Living History Society became a Registered Charity and now undertakes all the administration and financial considerations of the site and presentation. Members of the Society are all unpaid volunteers, and new members, of whatever age, sex, race or religion are very welcome. Due to the initial temporary nature of the construction, the site of Little Woodham had presented the Society with numerous historical anomalies. Another contributing factor to the difficulties of recreating an image of the past has been current planning regulations and the consideration of the

safety of visitors. The Society has, accordingly, had to compromise on many facets of building materials and construction methods. The everyday objects used to furnish the re-enactment are not museum pieces, and the Society intends the presentation itself to be the direct opposite of most museum displays. Within our 20th century limitations, we offer a reconstructed image of an English society in the past based upon our members' research. which is constantly being updated. As an educational charity we aim to educate by interaction visitors, of all ages, have the opportunity to question and criticize, but most importantly, we hope our re-enactment will make everyone look more closely at the image of the past which they have constructed in their minds. Historical background to the site of Little Woodham The site chosen for the construction of the hamlet was selected because of its availability, not historical precedent. There is no record of an occupied site here and no geographical reason why one should have existed. Little Woodham, therefore, is a reconstructed hamlet drawing upon typical elements represented in similar hamlets in southern England. The range of crafts and occupations presented is considerably more than could normally be expected in a small hamlet, but this has been done deliberately to offer the widest educational experience for visitors. The Society has located the hamlet in the historical Parish of Rowner and allied it to the nearby Grange Farm, which existed in the 17th century. This allows us to use an agricultural base for the hamlet, which is typical of most rural parishes of the period. The location also allows us to draw on the history of the surrounding towns, e.g. Portsmouth and Southampton, to widen the historical interpretation. We ask our visitors, young and old, to suspend disbelief for an hour or two, and take a journey into an image of the past. Please do not forget we rely heavily on your participation, so please question us, the more you ask, the more you will know. Finally, we wish you an enjoyable visit, one which we hope you will recommend to your friends and wish to return again. General background history The hamlet of Little Woodham is built within the lands of Grange Farm which occupied this site since the Norman Conquest and which in the 16th and 17th centuries was owned by the Brune Family, Grange Farm forms part of the Parish of Rowner; parish units being central to the origin of community life in the 17th century. Little Woodham is situated about two miles west of the little town of Gosport as it was in the 17th century. It was a fishing village in the process of developing into a trading port and of significance in its support of Portsmouth. Across the mouth of the harbour lies Portsea island. Portsmouth town covered a small area near the mouth of the harbour and was, with its key

situation on the centre of the south coast, of great importance to the security of the nation. It was a significant Navy and trading port visited by ships and trades from all nations. Due to its international role it presented an intercultural and cosmopolitan aspect rare in 17th century towns. The road links reflected its national significance: the road to London being notably important. Many children died within one year of birth. If they lived to adulthood and then as women survived the trauma of repeated childbirth's or as men survived accident or disease, they may well have reached old age. Some even exceeding their expected life span limit of 'three score years and ten'. It is important to remember that the historical interpretation presented at Little Woodham is not intended to be representational of only those people who would have worked on Grange Farm within the Parish of Rowner in the 17th century. In order to make our presentation as educationally valuable as possible, we represent trades and occupations existing in many parts of Hampshire in the period. Background information we suggest your pupils should be made aware of BEFORE their visit The need for your pupils to question While visitors can walk around our village and watch what is going on, their experience is greatly enhanced by questioning the villagers about their work, their homes, families, attitudes, society and perceptions of their everyday lives. All our villagers will be pleased to answer any questions of particular interest to individual pupils. Aspects of the village and village life which may be presented daily Crafts Inkle/caddis tape weaving: Lace making Seamstressing Craftspeople Woodtumer: Carpenter Blacksmith Sawyer

Village life Food and drink preparation: Apothecary Scribe Peddler Soldiery

Safety during your visit Before entering the Village there are a few aspects of safety to bring to your notice Please ensure that your pupils stay with their prearranged groups at all time. Do not let them wander unsupervised. Your group must stay as a whole unless specifically instructed otherwise by a villager who is organizing the groups. There are many open fireplaces or firepits. Some of the fires will be in use whether to cook on, keep warm by or as a part of a trade of craft. Do not forget that when a fire dies down, the embers and even the surrounding bricks may stay hot for several hours. Therefore make sure that no-one strays too close to anything than even looks like a fire. All of the tools that you see in the village are working tools that are generally kept sharp and in a good condition. They are NOT display items only. Some of the villagers may allow the children to handle the tools or even use them under close supervision but please make sure it is acceptable before children are allowed to touch anything. On occasion, there may be soldiers present at the Village. If this is so, do no forget that this safety warning also applies to all their weapons. At the lower end of the Village there is a pond. Please do no allow your pupils to approach too near the edge, as the water is at times quite deep. There is also two or three feet of thick mud at the bottom! If anything untoward should happen, first aid kits are available at several points and there is generally at least one qualified first aider on site. In the event of a fire you will hear whistle blasts as a warning. There are two distinct different warnings: Short blasts (a localised fire) Stay exactly where you are with your whole group together until you are told to move by a villager. Long continuous blasts (a large fire) This means you must leave the village. The villager with you will lead you to the nearest/safest exit. Please leave in an orderly fashion keeping your whole group with you and in control. Once out of the Village, make sure you can account for all your group members.

Tell a villager if anyone is missing. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE VILLAGE.

Additional notes Toilets Public toilets are available by the coach park. Please note these are a few minutes walk from the Village itself. Shopping A small souvenir shop is positioned at the exit from the village. This sells a range of appropriate souvenirs suitable for children, including postcards and authentic games. Many small items are available for under a pound. Cold drinks and snacks are normally available. Picnicking Unfortunately it is not possible for visitors to picnic within the confines of the seventeenth century village. However a grass area is available next to the shop.

Little Woodham School Visit Booking Form Year 2011 Opening Dates March 28th - April 1st

May 3rd - May 6th

June 13th - June 17th

Cost per child 2.50 pound. Cost per adult 3.00 pound 1 Adult free for every 10 children Please enter your first choice of date(s) for your visit. Please Note A non refundable deposit of 20% is required. Please send a cheque made payable to “Gosport Living History Society� to Miss Gail Sterland 105 Segensworth Road Fareham Hants PO15 5EB Tel - 01329 846186

July 4th - July 8th

Oct 43th - Oct 7th

Your Name: School Name Your email address

School address & phone number:-


Arrival time

Depart Time


In the unlikely event that your first choice of date is unavailable please indicate an alternative date: Date

Arrival time

Depart Time

Age Group

Number Adults


Number Children

Key Stage 1


n 2006, Richard Vobes, an entertainer, actor, film maker and professional pod caster visited Little Woodham with his teenage daughter Georgie and a bunch of other children. Richard met Master John (otherwise known as James Hodgeson) the village poacher who takes him around meeting various other inhabitants. Richard has kindly allowed us to reproduce the pod cast here 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

rticle reproduced with kind permission of

very now and again even we hardened scribes get surprised and this, pleasantly, was one of those times. The assignment was to research a feature on Gosport's 17th century village and after two or three attempts at trying to find it open I gave up. My editor though is made of sterner stuff and she continued to remind me it had not yet been written, and so with the sound of her voice still ringing in my ears I gave it one more go and, wow, was I in for a surprise? The 1642 Living History Village, as it is less romantically known, has recently won the award for Gosport Best Tourism and Leisure Venue and it is totally deserved. The whole venture began as a civil war re-enactment society but after an accident involving two horses they were, quite sensibly, told by the local authority to cease the war part. This left them with the odd period building in the middle of a copse. Gosport Borough Council not only allowed them to continue to build the area into a village but let them have the land at a peppercorn rent. Yvonne Hoskin, better known as one Mistress Eve, gave Solent Life a further insight to the history of this wonderful village. 'Well, you see, Master, the civil war people began building the village in 1984-85 and over the period of time the buildings have just been added to,' she said in a strong Hampshire accent; you will discover it is impossible to get any of them out of character when talking of their village. 'The Gosport Living History Society was formed when the civil war society packed up, Master.' I was getting used to this Master lark; please take note, editor! 'Our Society was formed and developed in the mid-1990s so out of an unfortunate event the Living History Society was formed. Now over the years since then we have gone from strength to strength and also added

to the buildings and extended the village.'

s with all things it has not been smooth going and sometimes it is difficult to understand how the minds of some people work. When you go to the village - and please do go because the only funds they receive are from visitors - you will be amazed at the quality of the buildings and their re-creation of the life of villagers in 1642. It is simply staggering then when you also learn that they have had to rebuild and repair on more than one occasion because of mindless arson attacks. What it does demonstrate, however, is the fortitude and the strength of character of the members and friends of the Society, especially when you realise that the only trained member of the team is an architect and quantity surveyor; he acts as the building supervisor to ensure that anything they build gets built safely, as it should be for the safety of the re-enactors and the visiting public. Mistress Eve continued to explain how the village of Little Woodham works. "Well, Master, the only money we gets in is from the gate takings and all the Society members give their time for free, see. Then as we gets more money then we can go out and buy some more green oak beams and start another building. See, it's simple, yeah; as the money grows, so does the village. "We have a fiveyear plan which is nearing its end now, and part of that is to rebuild the ale house following one of the arson attacks. We have enough money now to build the green oak framework and we are starting to raise funds for the expensive thatch that will sit on top of it. "We all muck in together with the building work or at least those with the muscle-power do and over the years we have all become self-taught with the building skills necessary to complete the project. Well, there weren't no building schools to teach us in 1642, now were there?" she chuckled. "We carry out the wattle and daub for the walls as well as the carpentry and joinery; the only professional help we needs is with the thatching." For a moment Mistress Eve took a back seat and Yvonne took over.

"During a recent discussion among the members we realised we were made up of eccentrics, mad people and a few just ordinary folk. We are not actors because we do not work to any laid-down script; we like to be referred to as re-enactors." "There will have to be a new plan to keep us going forward as we do not plan to stagnate and the eventual village size will be determined by the size of the space here in the woods. That space is here because of the support we get from Gosport Borough Council which is wonderful." When Solent Life visited it was not really an open day, but the Society were playing host to dozens of schoolchildren. The village looked pristine and the re-enactors looked wonderful in their costumes and all were in 1642 mode. The children were literally mesmerised, some of the younger ones had also been dressed up and this was a living history lesson for them and they were enthralled. Wandering among the houses with the white walls reflecting the midday sun it truly felt as if I had stepped back in time and had entered another world that had only been in books before. I entered homes that were as they should have been in the 17th century and was fascinated by it all. I questioned Mistress Eve over one or two things and was firmly put in my place, especially when I was surprised to see a winter vegetable in the middle of June. "Ah, well, you see, Master, this parsnip is beginning to go off a bit; you feel it and it's all soft and goin' a bit mouldy." She was well and truly back in character now. "What we does is mix it up with a bit of nut and then we serves it; now you try some - it's lovely." And it was! The 1642 Living History Village is open at some strange dates but this is because outside the village the re-enactors do all have real lives to live and a living to make. Pick one of their opening dates and go and visit Little Woodham; it is a true test of what people can achieve when they set their minds to something and it is a great few hours of entertainment and education. If only history had been that much fun when I was at school!

Opening Times and Dates

he 1642 Living History Village is open to the general public from 10.30 to 4.30 on the following days. You should allow approximately two hours for your walking tour. 2011 Opening is as follows

March - 27 April - 2,3,22,23,24,25

May - 1,2,7,8

June - 12,18,19

Special Day :May 2nd - May Day

Special Day:June 18th -Multi period day

July 3,9,10,31

August - 1 to 7, 21 to 29 Special Day:August 7th - Cradle to Grave

October 2,8,9

Directions: by Road Leave the M27 at junction 11, then at Wallington Roundabout take the exit onto the A27 Signposted Fareham Central Continue forward on the A27 Signposted Gosport Continue forward Signposted Gosport, A32 At Quay Street roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A32 Signposted Stubbington At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the A32 Signposted Gosport Branch left on the A32 (one-way) Signposted Gosport B3334 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Rowner Road - B3334 At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Grange Road Turn right onto Howe Road Turn left onto Little Woodham Lane Satellite Navigation input: PO13 8AB Google Maps link here (opens in new window):,+Hampshire+PO13+8AB,+United+Kingdom& gl=uk&ll=50.797866,-1.167018&spn=0.025606,0.0842&z=14 By Bus No.88 from FirstGroup for further info please see here

Admission costs are:

Families £14.50

Adults £4.50

Children and concessions £3.50

Information available for the parish of Rowner near Portsmouth southern England in 1642. Research: Roger Towner Richard Roberts With additional material by Jane Feiven, Sheila Sharpe and others.

Originally a booklet researched to assist in an historical re-enactment of rural life around the parish of Rowner in early 17th century England, these pages may be of interest to other researchers and teachers. Our research covers both local material such as Wills, Muster Lists and Parish Register together with more general information including coinage, wages, prices and artillery. This Internet site is slowly being developed; information on the leases and copy holds in Rowner has recently been added together with the proceedings of Alverstoke and Gosport Leet Court in 1645. The parish of Rowner lies 2 miles west of Portsmouth and covers nearly 1200 acres. There is no village but the church of St. Mary the Virgin serves a number of farms, the largest being Grange Farm covering nearly 700 acres. Both the church and Grange farmhouse still stand today. The manor of Rowner was held by the Brunes who in the early 17th century were living at Athelhampton in Dorset some 60 miles away. In their absence Grange farm was occupied by the Stares family. In 1642 James Searle was the Rector and the two church wardens were John Stares and John Cotton. Please click on the highlighted text below to explore our research.

Grange Farm Sir John Brune, the family St. Mary the Virgin The Parish Register Local Wills Probate Returns Muster List Royalty of Henry Brune Esq Port Books of Portsmouth Berry Farm Mortgage 1638 Lease on Grange Farm 1626 Hampshire Map 1627 Lease and Copy Holders, 1663

Calendar for 1642 English Coinage Prices and Wages Demography Wine Taverns in Hampshire Military Information The King's Ships The Civil War, Portsmouth English Lace Making Chart of Eastern Solent 1764 Court proceedings Titchfield Rents 1632

E mail comments: Date of issue 12 November 1996. This site was last updated on 7 November 2007

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Little Woodham  

A 1642 Living History Village