LOCAL history fans have a real feast to enjoy following the launch of the first volume in a new series of the Victoria County History of Hampshire project.

Among those who packed Mapledurwell Village Hall were members of the local community who helped to research The Victoria History of Hampshire: Mapledurwell.

The volume was written by Dr Jean Morrin, from The University of Winchester, who oversaw the volunteers working on the project, Southampton-based historian Stan Waight, and medieval historian Dr John Hare.

The book is an update of VCH’s account of the parish published in 1911 and contains information about the manor, boundaries, buildings, as well as its economic history covering farming and rural trades.

At the launch, Dame Mary Fagan, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, praised the publication, which is part of an ambitious encyclopaedic record that delves into Hampshire’s past and present.

She mentioned that the original Victoria County History project was started to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, detailing town and parish histories for every county of England.

Hampshire was the first county to be completed in 1912, and copies of red bound volumes can be found in major libraries.

Dame Mary said the new Victoria County project has been rededicated by The Queen to mark her own Diamond Jubilee.

She said: “I think the book is absolutely outstanding and I am thrilled to see it in print at last.”

Dame Mary encouraged everyone to buy a copy of the book, as the VCH Hampshire project had received £10,000 from a generous American professor called Jim Wilkes.

“And even more than giving £10,000, he said he will give another £10,000 if we can match it – so ladies and gentlemen would you like to buy more than one?” joked Dame Mary.

Dr Morrin said the book is the first volume of a modern and more complete version for Hampshire that is currently being compiled, with local volunteers working in partnership between The University of Winchester, Hampshire Record Office, Hampshire Archives Trust, and Hamp-shire Field Club working with VCH Central Office in The University of London.

Information about the project, including details about how to buy the book, which costs £7, plus £2 for post and packaging can be found at victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties/Hampshire.