THE Victoria County History of Hampshire (VCH) was published in 1910. When you think what’s happened since, you realise why it’s being updated. The Basingstoke area is being used to see if the research can be done by amateurs with professional guidance.

After setting the scene, Richard Tanner introduced members of the team to explain their contributions. Linda Sennitt had transcribed censuses onto computer data sheets for ease of analysis. So too had Marilyn Wright, her interest being in her Phillis ancestors from Steventon and North Waltham. As Linton Hall-Davis was having yet another birthday, Richard stepped in to explain how directories supported census work.

One main difference from the 1910 VCH is that social and economic history is added, much of which comes from residents.

Geoff Mann explained some of the activities in the village before Joyce Bown talked about her collection of photos, press cuttings, sales booklets and notices of events, many of which she and Geoff had on display. Joyce went on to tell us of changes in farm practice over the past 60 years.

Having gathered the data, Richard has written the first draft of maybe half the final report on the parish. Tim Sennitt, our webmaster, has put this on our website,, for people to view, consider and amend. It’s now with Dr Jean Morrin, the project’s co-ordinator, for official approval. Future plans are to check wills from the Record Office, complete transcribing all censuses, look through parish magazines, press articles and similar material for significant events to illustrate change and perhaps to interview long-term residents for their memories of times past.

An addition to the display was the Steventon Sampler, seen in public for the first time. Designed and embroidered by Vera Hutton Croft in 1945, it shows highlights of the Second World War and Steventon Rectory, her home for almost 30 years.We are fortunate that Hampshire Museum Service has now purchased this and allowed us to display it.

The next meeting is on Thursday, July 16, at 8pm at Ashe Park, where the owner will explain changes to the house and his researcher to the garden, followed by our AGM. As it’s on private property, this meeting will be restricted to members, though it will be possible to subscribe for the 2009/10 season.