News: April 2019

Below are selected items from our recent newsetters and other news. Members of the society receive the full newsletter and other regular updates by email ahead of them appearing on this website.

Sad News

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Jeanie, Countess of Carnarvon, a true lady in every sense of the word. In the early days of Highclere Society she became a life member, giving us support when we most needed it. Also of course she was an active member of the Church and many other Highclere organisations.

Jeanie loved working to improve society locally. Lady Carolyn tells me of her pride in founding the Newbury Spring Festival. In earlier years she had also helped The Mary Hare School for the Deaf and Save the Children Fund.

Not everybody knew she was an American born in Bighorn Wyoming who remained devoted to her home. She was also a keen water colour artist. Jeanie left 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren and adored them all.

She will be sadly missed in Highclere.

Wine Quiz "Call My Bluff"

The annual Wine Quiz was again presented on 30th March in the "£Call My Bluff" style, with excellent wines chosen by David Small. 72 members and friends, grouped on 11 tables, had great fun in trying to decide which of the excellent wines matched the extravagant descriptions delivered by the panel, Clive Sanders, Krista Dick and Christine Leah. There were 4 white and 4 red wines being tasted. Ian Briggs led the Quiz ably assisted on the scoreboard by David Small.

The contest was very keenly fought, with Table 7 coming first, comprising James, Helen and Alex Stillman, Will and Kate Flack, Roland and Geraldine Gardner and Heather Whitworth. The winners received 8 bottles of wine.

Following the quiz, a delicious ploughman's supper, organised by Janet Taylor and Traci Sharp, was served, accompanied by wine from the tastings.

The £302 profit will be donated to this year's charities which is Alzheimer's.

Everyone enjoyed the evening and hopefully left knowing a little more about wine.


A Village cornerstone at risk?

by Patrick Hedgeland

You may, like me, have received a pamphlet through your door from our church asking you to consider making donations under a Parish Giving Scheme. If you did not, it is a request to make regular payments to help support St Michael & All Angels, your local church. Anyone who is not a Highclere church goer, or is of another faith, or none may feel it was not for them.

I write, with the full support of the committee. This matters to the Society because the Church is an important part of the natural and built environment we are here to protect. Likewise, I suggest that it is relevant to all Highclere residents for the following reasons.

We have only three public buildings in Highclere: The Church, The Village Hall and The Studio (not yet open). The last two are supported by their users and have access to public funds through grants etc (from our taxes).

The church on the other hand is not as well attended as it used to be other than for weddings, funerals and key services at certain times of the year and thus its income is shrinking. As far as I know neither does it have access to public funds. Some say that nationally the church has vast invested wealth. True, overall the church has seemingly large assets, but this capital does not produce anything like enough income for all its needs.

Our Diocese, in contrast to some, has very little historic income and is therefore hugely reliant upon income from the Parish contributions. The Highclere target is a massive £37,000 this year. 80% of this money goes to the cost of clergy (salary, pension, housing and expenses) the rest covers administration costs such as the diocesan team, legal and administration costs and the work of the Church generally throughout the Country. The running cost of Highclere Church which is considerable is additional to the £37,000. All this money must be raised through fundraising, and service collections etc. This is a very tall order. Church closures are happening all over the country due to lack of money. That would be a tragedy in such an affluent area as Highclere.

This affects us all. Not only is it the finest building in the Village but it is the site of many local functions, children's playgroups, Ladies group and the Fete. Without it there will be no beautiful location for weddings, baptisms, and funerals or occasions such as Remembrance Day.

So, the bottom line is that if these things are important to you then please consider a donation via the Parish Giving Scheme. Copies are available from

30 mph sign

Speeding on the A343

Following recent concerns over traffic speeding through the village on the A343, we have now obtained a second batch of this speeding sign which is specifically designed for wheelie bins. These were provided by the Highclere Society.

If you would like one or more of these please call in at the Red House where they are available free of charge. We would in particular encourage those who live on the A343 to do so.

News from the Westridge Studio

Great news, after a very rigorous process the Trustees are pleased to announce that Beavers have been selected for the Westridge Studio Project. Beavers hope to start the project at the end of May beginning of June, which is very exciting, so as you travel past Westridge in the not too distant future things will begin to happen, please look out for it! This is of course subject to approval of our Lif Funder Basingstoke and Deane District Council. It is anticipated that the project will take approximately four months if nothing major arises.

The Trustees have selected "Mursells" to Project Manage the build as this is a requirement for the Lif Grant of £80,000 given to us from Basingstoke and Deane District Council. A further grant of £1,350 has been granted towards the installation of a disabled toilet.

The grants committee are still committed to securing further grants to fund the fit out, decorating and other works to complete the project. Many of the grants need to show that the local community is behind the project and that we are doing our bit to help ourselves, so please help if you can.

If you have any skills that may be useful in the renovation of the building and are willing to give some time, please let us know so that we could call upon you when needed. These skills may include painting, cleaning, window cleaning, gardening, digging, fencing - there are many more that we could use.

You can also donate on The Good Exchange. This was previously known as and was Greenham Common Trust's web platform, this has been superceded by The Good Exchange. There are many benefits for using this platform: promotes local fundraisers and donations, there are co-funding and match funding opportunities, enhances funding and awareness through social media. The Good Exchange is wholly owned by the Greenham Common Trust and it is a Not-for-Profit organisation. Please go on to if this doesn't work google The Good exchange and follow the links for donating. You can donate as much or as little as you like: every pound helps.

If you are aware of any groups that may wish to book the venue for an Arts project please contact Sue Edwards on she will be pleased to help.

Thank you for being interested!

If you wish to read about the progress of Westridge Studio, please look at the website:

Watermill Theatre on Tour

The Watermill Theatre on Tour are at Highclere Village Hall, Saturday 6th July 2019 at 7.30pm:

'Our Church'

In some people's lives there is a moment when something goes wrong, when they do something very bad, something that poisons their life for good. In a small village, the last remaining members of the dwindling church committee gather to discuss its future. At this critical meeting, Tom, a contentious nomination to join the committee, is put forward. Caught with indecent images of children on his computer, Tom has been to prison and is now on the sex offenders register. Whilst many of the community can't forgive him, one committee member proposes that Tom is given a second chance. When the impact of the past collides with the future of a village community, is forgiveness ever possible? A powerful and captivating new drama that explores, from multiple points of view, what it means to live a haunted life.

This play contains themes of a sensitive and potentially distressing nature. Parental discretion recommended


Tickets £12.50 each from Mary McQuillen, (marymcquillen* tel: 01635 25426).

News archive


Report on Annual Village Charity Walk (Dec 2018)

Report on Highclere Carol Singers (Dec 2018)

Report on the Society's AGM (Nov 2018)

Update on Neighbourhood Plan (Oct 2018)

Clean up of village milestones (Oct 2018)

Westridge Studio News (May 2018)

Report on the Society's Spring Golf Day (Apr 2018)

How to get potholes filled (Mar 2018)

Report on the 'Call My Bluff' wine quiz (Feb 2018)

Report on the village Christmas charity walk (Jan 2018)


Report on The Society's AGM (Dec 2017)

The Society's New Computer System (Dec 2017)

Highclere 2018 Calendar (Oct 2017)

Highclere Neighbourhood Watch (Oct 2017)

Report on autumn Society Golf Day (Oct 2017)

Report on the Summer Barbecue (July 2017)

News from the Parish Council (July 2017)

Highclere 2018 Calendar - last call for photos (July 2017)

Westridge Studio - latest updates (Jun 2017)

Update on Superfast Broadband (May 2017)

Highclere Society Golf Day (Apr 2017)

Annual Wine Tasting Quiz - Report (Apr 2017)

Report on Westridge Information Day (Feb 2017)

Report on Hampshire Broadband Summit (Feb 2017)

Westridge Studio Update and Information Day (Jan 2017)

Report on 32nd Annual Village Christmas Walk (Jan 2017)

Report on Highclere Christmas Carol Singing (Jan 2017)

Road Closures - Water Mains Replacement (Jan 2017)


Announcement of AGM (Nov 2016)

Details of annual village walk for charity (Nov 2016)

Details of carol singing around the village (Nov 2016)

Call or photos for 2018 calendar (Nov 2016)

Golf - report on Society's Golf Day at Donnington Valley (Oct 2016)

The Red House - application to extend liicensing hours (Sep 2016)

Potholes - current status and how to report (Sep 2016)

East Woodhay Flower and Produce Show (Aug 2016)

Highclere Society Summer Barbecue (July 2016)

Highclere Society at the Village Fete (Jun 2016)

Application for development of 50 houses refused (May 2016)

Details of Annual Parish Meeting (May 2016)

Golf Day at Weybrrok Park Golf Club (Apr 2016)

Objection to major 50-house development (Mar 2016)

Report on wine quiz (Jan 2016)

Report on annual village walk (Jan 2016)

Report on carol singing (Jan 2016)


Westridge Studio update (Dec 2015)

Report on AGM; Society donates £1,431 to Ataxia (Dec 2015)

Village Hall news - WW1 commemoration (Nov 2015)

AGM details (Nov 2015)

East Woodhay Society AGM and Quiz (Nov 2015)

Highclere Wassail (Nov 2015)

Future of Westridge Studio - suggestions welcome (Oct 2015)

New sign on the Armoury (Oct 2015)

Report on autumn Golf Day (Oct 2015)

Talk on history of Highclere Castle (Oct 2015)

Summer barbecue report (Aug 2015)

Highclere Film Club (Aug 2015)

Watermill on tour:s 'A Little History of the World' (Aug 2015)

Keeping the village tidy (Aug 2015)

Our Village Agent, Age Concern (Aug 2015)

Summer barbecue details (May 2015)

Consultation on new pavement (May 2015)

Parking near the Village Hall (May 2015)

Keep Highclere Tidy (May 2015)

Highclere Society Spring Golf Day (Apr 2015)

Palm Sunday Procession (Mar 2015)

Reasons for No Cold-Calling Zone (Mar 2015)

Local Policing Priorities (Mar 2015)

Report on 'Call My Bluff' Wine Quiz (Feb 2015)

Report on Annual Village Christmas Walk (Jan 2015)

Walking for Health (Jan 2015)


Harvest Supper 2015: 'A Year in Highclere' (Nov 2014)

Highclere Society Welcome Packs (Nov 2014)

Highclere Christmas Carol Singers (Nov 2014)

Report on the Society's AGM (Nov 2014)

Announcing the death of "DR" (Dorothy-Rose Griblle" (Oct 2014)

Report on our Autumn Golf Day at Sherfield Oaks (Oct 2014)

The Sausage Sizzled - local event raises £1,157 for charity (Oct 2014)

Highclere Parish Council - Parish Clerk Vacancy (Aug 2014)

Community Speed Watch - Volunteers Needed (July 2014)

Summer Barbecue report (July 2014)

Post Office Stores, Broad Layings (July 2014)

Highclere Society Spring Golf Day (May 2014)

The Watermill comes to Highclere Village Hall (May 2014)

Annual Wine Tasting Quiz (Apr 2014)

Walking for Health (Apr 2014)

History Group: Request for WW1 information (Feb 2014)


Annual charity walk raises £600 for the Ark Cancer Centre (Dec 2013)

Highclere Choir Carol Singing, Christmas 2013 (Dec 2013)

Report on History Group October meeting (Nov 2013)

"No Cold Calling Zone" for Highclere (Nov 2013)

Summer Barbecue report (Nov 2013)

Scottish & Southern Energy - Power Cuts (Nov 2013)

Society to give £500 for repair/maintenance of church bells (Jun 2013)

Proposal for Highclere "No Cold Calling Zone" (Jun 2013)

Footpath closure extended (Jun 2013)

East Woodhay Society put on two plays/shows in Highclere village hall (Jun 2013)

Highclere's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations - a Photographic Record (May 2013)

Highclere Bells (May 2013)

Highclere Society Spring Golf Day - report and results (May 2013)

Highclere Society Summer Barbecue - preparations (May 2013)

Highclere broadband update (April 2013)

Results of Wine Quiz "Call My Bluff" (February 2013)

Diamond Jubilee Bench installed in churchyard (February 2013)

The Christmas Charity Walk 2012 raised £450 for charity (January 2013)


90 members enjoyed a fantastic night of Motown music (December 2012)

Report on the Society's 2012 AGM (December 2012)

Hampshire Broadband Programme (December 2012)

"Twinned with Downton Abbey" Yellow Road Signs (October 2012)

Autumn Golf Day - Abandoned! (October 2012)

Pride in our Parish - more updates (September 2012)

Highclere Film Club 2012/13 programme (September 2012)

Pride in our Parish - update on various projects (July 2012)

Update on Highclere Film Club (July 2012)

400 people enjoyed our Diamond Jubilee Picnic Party (June 2012)

Report on the Highclere Parish Annual Assembly (May 2012)

Over £700 raised at Living Paintings Charity Concert (May 2012)

Do you want a local youth group? (May 2012)

Spring Golf Day at Test Valley Golf Course - report (April 2012)

Defribrillator Training - report (April 2012)

Pride in our Parish update (April 2012)

Concert by Watership Cantabile in aid of Living Paintings (April 2012)

"Call My Bluff" - a report on the wine quiz evening (February 2012)

Living Paintings (our 2012 charity) presents Indigo Rock at the O2 (February 2012)

Faster Broadband - but your vote is needed! (February 2012)

Happy New Year: carol singing report (January 2012)

The Annual Village Christmas Charity Walk 2011 - report (January 2012)

Pride in Our Parish - progress report (January 2012)


Report on the Society's 15th birthday party (December 2011)

Report on the Society's AGM (December 2011)

Annual Village Christmas Walk - details (December 2011)

Salt Bins and Litter - information from the Parish clerk (November 2011)

Golf Day - report on the golf day held at Sherfield Oaks (November 2011)

Society's AGM - bullet points (November 2011)

We celebrate our 15th birthday with a Broadway themed evening (July 2011)

Highclere Film Club raises money from Waitrose green disc scheme (July 2011)

Local Wildlife Trust programme - we are members (July 2011)

New priest moves into Highclere (July 2011)

Highclere Society Golf Day at Weybrook (Apr 2011)

Report on 'Spot the Wine' quiz night (Feb 2011)

Christmas Charity Walk 2010 - 200 walkers raised £650 (Jan 2011)


Cheque presented to Help The Heroes at AGM (Nov 2010)

Report on Society's Golf Day (8 Nov 2010)

Support Highclere Film Club (Autumn 2010)

Report on the successful summer hog roast (June 2010)

Report on crime prevention meeting (May 2010)

Report on Highclere Society Golf Day (May 2010)

Report on 25th Christmas Charity Walk (January 2010)


Report on AGM Thursday 12th November (December 2009)

Highclere Society Golf Day (October 2009)

The Barn by the Shielings (September 2009)

Highclere Castle Walks (September 2009)

Penwood Forestry (September 2009)

Closure of Penwood Village Hall (September 2009)

A Great Hog Roast (July 2009)

Overhead Noise (June 2009)

Highclere Society Golf day (Apr 2009)

Highclere Castling Enabling development - next steps (Apr 2009)

Grant made to Highclere Film Club (Apr 2009)

Historic Walks Leaflet Produced (Apr 2009)

Pride in our Parish (Apr 2009)

Parish Council Still Needs Your Help (Apr 2009)

Red House Update (Mar 2009)

Air Traffic route (R41) Update (Mar 2009)

Highclere Church Safari Lunch is Back! (Mar 2009)

Greener Society - keep recycling (Jan 2009)

Over 140 Walk for the Stroke Association (Jan 2009)

Sad news - death of Phyllis Macklin (Jan 2009)


Highclere Film Club - December film: Hairspray (Dec 2008)

Parish Council - recycling bins and parish plan questionnaire (Dec 2008)

Highclere Castle Enabling Development - result of members' survey (Dec 2008)

Pride in our village - what's happening; your ideas (Dec 2008)

Annual Christmas charity walk - Faccombe (Dec 2008)

Second Golf Day report (Oct 2008)

Annual General Meeting announcement (Oct 2008)

The Summer Fizz .. it really did go with a Fizz! (July/Aug 2008)

Picnic and Pimms .. as well as some Cricket! (July/Aug 2008)

Low Flying Over Highclere (July/Aug 2008)

Snippets & Cricket Match Announcement (June 2008) website announcement (April 2008)

Red House Update (April and July 2008)

Circular walks around Highclere (April 2008)

Development in Pantings Lane (April 2008)

A343 Closure near Penwood crossroads (April 2008)

Alden Bridge closure: June - Sept 2008 (April 2008)

News from Other Groups - Kingsclere walk, Tesco's 'megashed' (Andover) (April 2008)

Night flights over Highclere (March 2008)

Fun for(wine) lovers at valentine's night 'Call my Bluff Wine' quiz (Feb 2008)

New walks project gets into its stride (Jan 2008)


Highclere Society goes green (Dec 2007)

Boost for Penwood Village Hall (Dec 2007)