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Facts

HAMPSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Hampshire is the 9th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Hampshire has the 5th highest population in England.
Hampshire is in 18th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. The man who most people agree was the very first king of all England was born in what is now Hampshire. His name was Athlestan and he would have been born in about 894AD. This means he would have been about 5 years old when his very famous grandfather died.

    That man, we know as Alfred the Great, the man who fought off the Vikings and possibly burnt some cakes. It was his eldest son, Edward the Elder, who was Athlestan's father. Hampshire already had a royal connection because Alfred had made Winchester, the county town of Hampshire, his capital.

    About 200 years after Athlestan was born another king made his mark on the landscape of Hampshire. William the Conqueror and his Norman barons loved to hunt and William created an area in Hampshire which became known as the New Forest where they could all hunt. To do this, William and his men destroyed 20 small villages. Hunting was more important to the nobles than the lives of poor peasants. The New Forest is still there today.

  3. Hampshire Eats
  4. I found a recipe in an old regional cook book for Hampshire which was for Rasher Pudding. The only other things that I could find that Hampshire was famous for was the traditional Sunday Roast and watercress. These seemed suitably unexciting so Rasher Pudding it is.

    Just as with quite a few dishes, Rasher Pudding could also be taken out cold into the fields, forests and meadows by the men working there. You could make a large one during an afternoon, have it as a family dinner that evening and then take portions out for lunch over the next few days. And it was cheap.

    Basically, it is a suet-based pudding filled with bacon and onion and, if you want, chopped tomatoes and/or chopped potatoes. This is what that old recipe said were the ingredients:-

    • Water
    • Flour
    • Suet or Lard
    • Onion (diced)
    • Bacon rashers
    • Chopped tomatoes (optional)
    • Chopped potatoes (optional)
    Check out how successful I was by watching the video. What's stopping you.

  5. Hampshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Hampshire in the last 100 years:-
    Stampy (YouTuber), Charlie Dimmock (Gardener/TV Presenter), Ian McEwan (Author), Elizabeth Hurley (Actor), the late Peter Sellers (Actor/Comedian), Clare Balding (TV Presenter) and Craig David (Singer/Songwriter).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. Everybody knows the legend of King Arthur, first written about by Geoffrey of Monmouth in about 1136AD. A legend, by the way, is a story that may or may not be true that has been handed down through generations. Geoffrey told that Arthur was King of all England and invited distinguished men from other parts of England to come and join his court. Geoffrey, however, never says where this court is and it is only later that a place called Camelot appears. Today, no one knows where Camelot might have been.

    Similiarly Geoffrey makes no mention of a round table. Such a table was first mentioned by a man called Wace in 1155. Of course being round the table had no "head", so everyone seated around it was equal. I'm telling you all this because in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle, all that is left of that castle now, hangs an imitation of that legendary round table. The table is thought to have been made out of English oak about 1290 for a "Round Table" tournament held near Winchester to celebrate the betrothal of one of Edward I's daughters.

    The artwork on the table you can see in the photo, and the Great Hall if you pop along to Winchester, dates from the reign of Henry VIII who had the table painted with the Tudor Rose in the centre. The 24 names around the outisde belong to each of the legendary Knights of the Round Table.

    Although now hanging on the west wall where it was moved from the east wall in 1873 where it had hung since at least 1540, the orginal table was a more conventional horizontal version and had legs. It measures 5.5 metres in diameter and weighs 1,200 kilograms. Must have had big, strong legs me thinks.

  9. It Happened Here


  10. It was good old William the Conk who proclaimed the New Forest as a royal forest in about 1079. He knocked down about 20 small villages and farms but little did he know he was also proclaiming the place where two of his sons would die. The Forest is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Today the New Forest is one of the largest areas of unenclosed land in Southern England and the habitat of many rare birds and mammals and, of course, the New Forest ponies.

    There are about 5,000 ponies scattered around the forest. All of them are wild and can roam freely but they are actually owned by the New Forest Commoners. The commoners have the right to graze their ponies and cattle on the open forest throughout the year. This is what helps to keep the landscape as it is. The tradition of commoning dates back to before William made the area his royal forest. A New Forest pony can not be taller than 148cms. The most common colurs are brown, bay and chestnut. New foals (babies) are born in spring and summer.

    Returning to William's sons and their deaths, his second son, Richard, died in a hunting accident in the Forest in about 1070, possibly by riding into an overhanging branch. His third son, William Rufus, who became King in 1087, died on 2nd August 1100, definitely by walking into an arrow shot by a nobleman named Walter Tirel. The story goes that the arrow shot by Tirel glanced off a tree and hit William Rufus who died immediately. Others believe a more sinister tale which suggests William's brother Henry, who was in the hunting party and who then became Henry II, may have been involved and it wasn't an accident. Who knows but it happened here.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. We're back on the coast now so more memories from my other trips. Hampshire to me means ferry ports, to the Isle of Wight or even further as I once went from Southampton to St Malo in France, and Portsmouth, and in particular the naval base. The ferries can be seen leaving from Lymington, west of Southampton, Southampton itself and, to the east, from Portsmouth. The journey time to the Isle of Wight ranges from about an hour from Southampton to 45 mins from the other two ports.

    Portsmouth is not only a ferry port but is also the home to one of three operating bases for the Royal Navy in the UK. The city is built on Portsea Island, which like quite a few places so-named in England, is not an island at all. It has been a port since Roman times and can claim to have the world's oldest surviving dry dock still in use. It was built in 1495. Portsmouth is home to about ⅔ of the Royal Navy's surface fleet.

    The city is also home to a number of famous ships. Henry VIII's famous ship the Mary Rose is housed in a museum there having been lifted from the seabed in 1982 from where it sank in 1445. The remains of the boat can be viewed but two other ships are still complete and can be boarded. HMS Warrior, the first iron-hulled warship has been there since 1987 and Admiral Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory, is in the dry dock at the dockyard. I went on board on one of my visits to Portsmouth and was surprised how small it was considering, at the Battle of Trafalgar at least, it had a crew of 821 men. That's an awful lot of people in a fairly small space, all with specific jobs to do, all running around, and in the middle of a battle. I guess they were also quite short as my recollection is that below deck the roof was low.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. Quails are the drag racers of the bird species. They can fly at up to 40 mph but only for about 100 metres. They prefer to walk on the ground. They do have long pointed wings. The upper parts of their body are brown, streaked with buff while their underparts are orange. They have brown legs and a short, black, curved, chunky beak.

    Quails eat seeds and insects and you are far more likely to hear them than be able to see them. There are only about 500 breeding males in England and they are on the RSPB Amber List. They usually arrive in April/May time and stay until the late summer. They can be found in farmland and grassland.

    Quails are about 17 cms in length, have a wingspan of 32-35 cms and weigh between 75 and 135 grams.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Hampshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020