Butser Ancient Farm near Petersfield is proud to reopen the Roman villa after a major restoration project over the summer. It’s 14 years since the villa was completed for the TV documentary Rebuilding the Past in 2003. Since then it’s been seen by around half a million people when they visit Butser Ancient Farm.

The renovated Roman villa at Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton


The newly whitewashed interiors have made the rooms brighter and the floors have been re-laid with opus signinum (Roman concrete) inlaid, in the Roman tradition, with broken pottery. These are real fragments of Romano-British pottery, giving a fantastic new touchstone to the past for Roman-themed visits.

The building is based on original excavations of a Roman villa at Sparsholt, near Winchester, and more than 30,000 school children and 7,000 members of the public come to visit every year.

Over this weekend, visitors will have the chance to join a short guided tour of the villa and discover how people lived in Britain 1600 years ago.

Maureen Page, one of the Directors at Butser Ancient Farm, is delighted with the results, “This has given the villa a new lease of life. It is now accessible to disabled visitors and it means that we can prepare for next year when we are planning to paint frescos on the villa walls and lay mosaics on the floors.”

Butser Ancient Farm www.butserancientfarm.co.uk  02392 598838

School reveals rich history at Heritage Open Days

King Edward’s Witley opened its doors to the general public last weekend to share its rich history with visitors, as part of the established national Heritage Open Days initiative. The event marked the first time the school has taken part in England’s favourite heritage festival and was particularly apposite given this year’s focus on the 150th anniversary of the school’s move to Witley.

Led by the School’s Archivist, Marilyn Wilkes, around 40 people took part in two tours on Sunday, September 10, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to behold the local landmark architecture as well as the imposing Bridewell and Selborne Rooms, which both house original paintings of historic interest. The Bridewell Room, part of the original 1867 complex of buildings housing the Schoolis used for receptions, Governors’ meetings and meetings of the School’s pupil council. The Selborne Room – originally built in 1876 as the Dining Hall –  was named after the 4th Earl of Selborne, (Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital from 1972 to 1983) and is now used for exams, conferences, seminars and other functions.  Guests also had a private view of Charter Hall, the scene for all school productions and awards ceremonies, which was formally opened by the President of Bridewell Royal Hospital, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, in 1958,  and which houses the original and enormous 17th Century Charter Portrait.

Other highlights of the tour included the beautiful on-site Chapel, first consecrated in 1868; the School’s own museum which houses numerous original artefacts and photographs (including a real hammock used by boarders until the 1940s); the War Memorial erected in honour of the Masters and former pupils who fell in the 1914-1918 war; and the statue of the young King Edward VI, who originally granted his palace at Bridewell, on the banks of the Thames, to the Lord Mayor of London, creating the School’s parent foundation (Bridewell Royal Hospital), as a place for the training and education of poor children in 1553.

Throughout the tours, Mrs Wilkes, provided a potted history of King Edward’s Witley, from its original origins as a Tudor orphanage in the City of London through to the world-class school it is today.

Mrs Wilkes said: “We are immensely proud of King Edward’s long history and it was wonderful to provide our visitors with an understanding of the School’s exceptional heritage. Even for those living locally, many were surprised at the size of the school behind the road-side façade and all enjoyed hearing about the fascinating journey from 1553 to the current day.”


Petersfield Round Table supports Oaks play scheme

The Oaks Playscheme, a small local charity providing a holiday playscheme for children with disabilities and special needs, is thrilled to have the support of Petersfield Round Table.

Chairman Paul Baker and colleagues came and visited The Oaks Playscheme during the summer holiday playscheme to present a cheque for a whopping £1,500.

Kim and her dedicated team accepted the cheque along with some of the children and together they will decide just how to spend this money.

The Oaks Playscheme has been running in Petersfield for 20 years and provides a safe, fun and caring place for children, aged three to 11 years, with disabilities and additional needs.

Angharad Snow said: “The charity relies on the support of local groups and businesses to help fund the activities that provide wonderful experiences for the children who come to The Oaks. Visits from a dedicated musical therapist, local farms, donkey rides and travelling theatre groups would just not be possible without the generosity of other charities like Petersfield Round Table and on behalf of all the children and staff we’d like to say THANK YOU!”

Call 01730 261866 or 07796 134724 or see the website to find out more.