Click here to view Newsletters

2007 Autumn

2008 Spring

2008 Autumn

2009 Spring
2009 Autumn

2010 Spring

2011 Spring
2011 Autumn

2012 Spring
2012 Autumn

2013 Spring
2013 Autumn & suppl.
2013 Winter's End

2014 Spring
2014 Autumn

2015 Spring
2015 Autumn

2017 Spring


DECEMBER is, for many people, a month of anticipation and excitement preparing for Christmas and the rituals and traditions around it, such as putting up decorations in their various forms and sending Christmas cards. These days, of course we can keep in touch constantly by social media, but to my mind the sending and receiving of Christmas cards is still something special, particularly when they contain more than a basic greeting, important though that is. It is still a way of keeping in touch and exchanging news with distant relatives and friends.

MY AUNT kept most of the postcards sent to her by friends and members of the family. Among those are Christmas cards from the 1930s and 1940s. Many are highly coloured and are in postcard form, with some from the UK, but others from Germany , Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland and Denmark.

ONE of the Swiss cards, as well as the Danish one, was sent towards the end of 1940 while the other Swiss card is dated 11th January 1944. This card had been scrutinised by both the NAZI Wehrmacht and the British authorities, However the card from Denmark, dated November 1940, took a more circuitous route to reach its English address. The writer, Harriet, said that she had given the card to a friend, who was going to Sweden so that it could be sent from there. Sweden was a neutral country.
HARRIET SAYS "things are bad but they will probably be worse, that during the winter food and fuel are scarce though none are starving as yet". Happily, Harriet came through the war unscathed.

OTHER TRADITIONS include, carol singers, going to the services on Christmas Eve, covering houses with lights making wonderful displays lighting up dark December nights and, of course, Father Christmas on his raft on the river at the Tollbridge.

SO, WHAT ARE YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS? What were those of your parents and grandparents and other members of your family? The Historical Society is aiming to have an evening in December 2021 featuring Christmases in the civil parish Boldre from as early as is possible to the present day. If you can help the society in this venture please let myself, Patrick Kempe or one of the committee members  know.

TO YOU ALL, whatever your circumstances, on behalf of the Historical Society, I wish you a safe and Happy Christmas and the same for the New Year and may this Covid pandemic be well behind us before too long.. Ian Wild, Chairman.


The unveiling of the Wheelbed
Friday 1st.June 2018
Photos and information on News & Newsletters.



Dr James Horsfall
Hospice GP had key roles at New Forest Show, yacht club and Boldre Parish Historical Society

Dr Horsfall passed away suddenly on 9th October 2018.


WELL-KNOWN New Forest GP who dedicated his life to patients, has died aged 76. Dr James Horsfall joined the Brockenhurst Surgery in the 1970s and later worked as a doctor for Oakhaven Hospice. He also became a volunteer at the hospice, driving outpatients to and from their homes. He would often say that to be a good GP, above all else you had to listen. He was born on 22nd April 1942 in Chipstead, in the same room where his mother had been born. His father was killed flying for the RAF Volunteer Reserve when he was just three months old and his grandparents became a big part of his early life. His grandfather was Master of the Worcester Park and Buckland Beagles and in the season they would head out twice a week whatever the weather, which he loved. His mother Betty remarried in 1948 and when he was 10 James joined her and new husband Mac at his RAF base near Baghdad. They embarked on a 700 mile road trip across the Arabian Desert to Jerusalem, slept in the car with pistols on their laps, encountered plagues of locusts and camped with the Bedouin — quite an adventure for a youngster.

James was educated at Rottingdean Prep School and Sherborne, deciding on a career in medicine at the ageof 14. He loved running, swimming, sailing and gymnastics. When his stepfather Maw retired in 1953 they moved to Old Ferry House in Lymington. Holidays involved either sailing or tinkering with a wide variety of boats, pottering around the river and trips across the Channel on Mac's yachts, James went to Queens' College, Cambridge in 1960 to study for a degree in natural sciences. He also joined the college rowing club and being of lithe stature, was much in demand for coxing. In 1962 he was called up at the last minute to race the first boat for the Ladies' Plate at Henley; prestigious win which prompted his election to the world-famous Leander Club. A day later he set off with two colleagues on a university expedition to North Africa. They drove a DKW jeep to Morocco, tested bloods from tribes south of the Atlas Mountains, got arrested under suspicion of searching for the mineral vanadium and even, in his own words, found the "Berber equivalent of the New Forest Show".


When he and his fellow medics qualified, they formed the FORC club, which stood for Food, Originality,
Repartee and Conviviality. They
aimed to meet up annually on the first Saturday of November, which is still enjoyed each year. James met his future wife Jane, a trainee radiographer, in the summer of 1964 and they married in July 1966. They made their first home, with dog Blotto
the beagle, in Old Portsmouth while James underwent his GP training programme at St James' and St Mary's
hospitals, then as a trainee in Fratton.
In 1970 they leapt at the chance to join the practice in Brockenhurst, which later became the New Forest Medical Group, with another surgery at Sway. The couple's son Thomas told the A&T: "Dad adored his work as a GP, dedicating his life to it, 24 hours a day at least a few times each week. "Mum would answer the phone in the early hours, Dad would stumble about looking for his clothes, and I would lie in bed pretending to be asleep. From regular house calls, to visitors on pitch black campsites, he was always there

James was the founder of
the Boldre Parish Historical Society.

He was chairman of the Society
from it's inauguration in 2007.
A tower of strength, he came up with many ideas on speakers, visits, walks, activities and the biennial Boldre Exhibitions.

He has been succeded by Ian Wild.



for them and cared equally for them all." Thomas added: "Dad was also thrilled to be one of the medics at the New Forest Show, which he'd loved so much as a boy.He was soon appointed chief medical officer and became one of the directors of the show. I have fond memories of being watched over by the nurses in
the St John Ambulance tent and have always shared his love of the show."

Dr Horsfall had been an active member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club since the age of 14, as a member of the sailing committee, executive committee and was elected Rear Commodore House in 1986. He also taught Thomas to sail from the age of three.

He was appointed as chairman at the inaugural meeting of
Boldre Historical Society in April
2007, following three exhibitions
funded by the national park authority and parish council. Thomas said his father was "very proud" to be involved and loved putting together the ever popular exhibitions, until stepping down last year. He also enjoyed playing golf
three mornings a week, in most




Good to see committee member Norman Gannaway in the News.


The unveiling of the Wheelbed on Friday 1st.June 2018
                                                                                                                                                   Photo: Patrick Kempe


This area of land, now known as Perkins' Piece, was purchased by John Perkins in 1951 and given to Boldre Parish in 1977. After circa 1715 it became the home of the Jenvey family, whose cottage, sheds and forge stood on this site. The Jenvey family are known to have played an important part in the village by running a thriving wheelwrights business, which was the only one for miles around. The iron wheelbed displayed here is an example of the type that wheelwrights used when fitting the iron tyre around a wooden wheel. The wooden wheel was clamped on top of the wheelbed, which would have been on the ground, and the metal tyre was heated in the forge until red hot. Two men held the tyre with tongs and placed it around the circumference of the wheel. The resulting flames were then doused with cold water to shrink the metal tyre onto the rim.

The advent of the motor car eventually spelled the end of the wheelwrights' trade in the early 1940s and after WWII the cottage, sheds and forge became derelict and were demolished. The last member of the Jenvey family to trade here as a wheelwright was Sidney Jenvey, who died in 1951. The smaller plot of land on the west side of the lane is also part of Perkins' Piece. A thatched cottage once stood there, which unfortunately burnt down after the thatch caught fire during WWII. The yew tree growing opposite the entrance to the Red Lion is thought to be the one depicted in the garden of the cottage on the extreme left hand side of the picture.


Thank you James Puttick for your photography

The Late Hugo Jules Duplessis 1923 - 2018

It was with great sadness that we recalled the death of one of our long established members, Hugo Duplessis. The funeral was on 6th April, 2018 at St Mary's Church, South Baddesley, Lymington.
Hugo was on the BPHS committee since it began 10 years ago and was very helpful especially about the history of New Park.
He was President of the Society for the last 2 years.

The Late George Gates  1932 - 2017

We are sad to report that George Gates died in March 2017. He had been a very valuable friend of the Boldre Parish Historical Society and in fact started our Newsletter and kept producing it for several years for which we are most grateful. His house was full of radios and gadgets and to find a seat was quite a challenge!

George was born in Rose Cottage, Lower Sandy Down in 1932 and lived there for over 20 years. He moved from there to Pilley and then to Portmore. He was educated at William Gilpin School, where the headmaster, Jim Newman, had a very positive influence on his life. George enjoyed his sport, playing both football and cricket for local teams. He was also a great follower of the "Saints" - Southampton Football Club.


A number of interesting and helpful points, along with many photographs
crop up on the Pilley & Boldre Community Group on Facebook.

                                OPEN EVENING Friday 2nd.December 2016

The Boldre Parish Historical Society met on Friday 2 December at 7pm when some 40 folk attended the second Open Meeting of the Society.  Members of the Society and public were invited to the meeting to share family history memories and old photographs.  Thanks to a grant, the society have been able to purchase computer equipment which committee members James Puttick and Patrick Kempe used to project the old photographs on to the big screen in the Boldre War Memorial Hall.

During the evening coffee and mince pies were enjoyed by the audience, as they enthused about the photographs, prompting excited participation such as “There’s my son” as an old school photograph was shown.  As the evening was such a success more Open Meetings will be arranged in the future.

 Also exhibited were displays by the St Barbe Museum, Lymington and the New Forest National Park Authority archaeology department.  These were associated with the recently publicised Boldre Hoard of Roman coins.

The Boldre Hoard Campaign has hit the £30k target - thanks to everyone who donated!

"I am so excited that the Boldre Hoard will be staying here in the new forest where it belongs. The museum will be able to do it justice thanks to the amazing amount of money raised in this campaign. Thanks to everyone who got involved!" Dan Snow.

    The Boldre Parish Historical Society recently held its seventh exhibition, which was attended by over 220 over one weekend, over 20 of them having come from places as far away as Aylesford, Cheltenham, Colchester, and Swansea.

     The exhibition comprised newly acquired and researched material which included the names of owners of the properties in Norleywood in 1910-1911; the history of the Duplessis family of Newtown Park and that of many local families.

      Of particular interest is a new archive on Nanny Gould’s Maternity Homes in Portmore and Highfield, Lymington which were active between 1937 and the early 1950’s.

Members of the Society spent many hours searching for names of the many men and women who were born there, resulting in the names of twenty-one having been found.  It was a particular pleasure to meet several such people who were delighted to learn more about the area in whch they were born.

      An extensive selection of photographs of gypsies depicting their way of life in the New Forest was kindly loaned by Tony Johnson.

      As always at these exhibitions, a central table provided many files on different aspects of local history collected by the Society and throughout both days there were always people sitting there to read these files - sometimes staying all day so absorbed were they by the content!

      The Boldre Parish Historical Society was founded in 2007 and is always interested to hear from anyone with connections to the Parish.


The Chronicle - Thursday 6 August 1925 - Boldre Cottage Destroyed.

At 6.30 pm on Monday the Lymington Fire Brigade received a call to a fire at a cottage at Pilley. A thatched cottage
occupied by Mr J Phillips, was well ablaze, it being supposed that a spark had set light to the thatch.
Some of the furniturewas removed but the cottage was destroyed.

(In 1925 the Lymington Fire Brigade were using a horse-drawn Shand Mason steam fire engine. The fire station was
located in Southampton Road near the Sports Ground and the two horses, which hauled the fire engine, were stabled in the
Angel Hotel yard. It may have taken about an hour for the Fire Brigade to reach Pilley and if they travelled between two to
four miles Mr Phillips would have been charged four guineas by Lymington Borough Council. Based on the value of labour
four guineas is worth approximately £600 today. Ed.)


Brigadier Robin McGarel-Groves

It is with great sadness that I have to record that Brigadier Robin McGarel-Groves, our President, died in early December 2014.

He had been a great help to the Society since it first started.

He was very knowledgeable historically and had a wonderful collection of documents and photographs, which we were able to use on several occasions, especially where he had his own “In Depth” stand.


The present must look to the future – so the future can look to the past.

You may find it odd that a historical society is looking to the future. Your Chairman, in his welcome notes, confirms the Society’s files of old photographs and postcards always generate a great deal of interest at the Society’s exhibitions. This is true; however, will the inhabitants of Boldre, in 100 years time, be able to look back at photographs and postcards of the parish in 2015. Probably not, as printed photographs and postcards are becoming a thing of the past because of the rapid increase in the use of computers, mobile phones and social media. Also many properties in the parish are being demolished and replaced with larger dwellings and others are being extended and altered beyond recognition. How many of today’s properties will be in existence in 2115? Unless steps are taken to record the parish the future inhabitants of the parish will have little to look back on. Therefore a number of your committee have decided to commence a project to record the dwellings and landscape of the parish.
This is obviously a daunting and enormous undertaking, which will continue each year, ad infinitum. Any help members are able to give will be greatly appreciated. This help can include the submission of photographs, old or new, of your home together with details of when your home was built and who built it plus any relevant historical information that may be included in your deeds. Over the years a detailed record of Boldre will be archived. Please contact the Chairman or Deputy Chairman (for details see page 8) or email the Newsletter editor if you are able to help with this project.


Well well well ……….
Do you have a well or a well that has been filled in, in your garden or on your land? If you do the Society would like to
know. Today, when we turn on the tap we expect fresh water to flow freely. Prior to the advent of a mains water supply water for drinking, cooking, washing, cleaning and for animals had to be found from springs, streams and wells or occasionally from rain water collected in tanks. There is still a well on the open forest at Pilley. The collection of water was not an easy daily task, as it had to be carried in heavy metal or wooden buckets and it was therefore used sparingly and carefully. It was not squandered or taken for granted as it can be today. The used water would have been returned to the land. Garden wells were constructed by boring or digging a shaft to access ground water in an
underground aquifer. An aquifer is a body of permeable rock or other material such as sand or
gravel, which can contain or transmit groundwater. Aquifers may also be referred to as a water
table, although a water table is usually just the top of an aquifer. If we dig a hole in our garden it
may fill with water – this is the water table. Therefore under our feet there is always a vast field
of water. It may be stating the obvious but the ground water in an aquifer runs down hill, albeit
very slowly. This is the water that is found at the bottom of a well. There may be more than
one aquifer in any given location and at different depths. Where aquifers leak out onto land we
call them springs from which the water forms streams and rivers and also ponds and lakes.
The Society would like to record and map where all the wells are in the parish, which will help
indicate where old demolished dwellings were located and where the main aquifers are located.

Please contact the Chairman or Deputy Chairman email the Newsletter editor if you would like to help.


Exhibition 2015 ……….
The next exhibition will be held on 24th 25th October 2015 at the Boldre Memorial Hall, Pilley. As usual it will be on a variety of subjects connected with the civil parish of Boldre. Many of you will remember that the last exhibition featured a display about Elizabeth “Nanny” Gould and her Portmore nursing home. Subsequently we have discovered more about Elizabeth and her husband Thomas and we have been given more photographs and information from people who started life at the nursing home, so this will constitute one display. In the last Newsletter you will have read how Ann and I met Hazel and Malcolm Gee at Boldre Church. They were looking for information on Granny Hewitt who lived in Pilley in the early part of the 20th century. We have again found more information on the Hewitt family. While we have enough information for a display, we would like to hear from anyone connected with the Hewitt or Figgins families who may be related to Mabel (Hewitt) and Charles Figgins who were married
at St. John’s church Boldre in 1911. Other displays will include a feature on Norley Wood, while another will look at life in the Parish during the 1950’s and 1960’s. We will also be looking at what was happening during the Great War at home. As an example we have a newspaper report of a soldier marrying his fiancée in Boldre Church in 1918 and then, after three days
honeymoon, being sent to France.

The above list is not final. I know there will be more ideas. So if you have anything that you believe should be exhibited or have any further information on the displays mentioned please let James Puttick, the Chairman know or Ian Wild - Deputy Chairman



Every attempt has been made by The Society to secure the appropriate permission for material produced in this newsletter. If there has been anyoversight we will be happy to rectify the situation. Written submission should be made to the Chairman.