The Story of a Quiet Parish – Compton and Shawford
By Barbara Clegg
Early in 2019, we discovered a hidden, hitherto unpublished gem amongst Austin Whitaker’s papers in the Hampshire Records Office; the typescript for a history of Compton and Shawford.
It had been written by Barbara Clegg, who is probably better known amongst long-time residents of Compton and Shawford as the lady who wrote and produced the annual Shawford Panto every year from the end of the war until the early 1970s. She was also a trained historian.
She had hoped that, if it were published, any funds raised from selling copies of her booklet would go towards All Saints Church, Compton.
With the permission of Barbara’s children, the Local History Society has now published her history as a 56 page A5 booklet.
She had dedicated the work to “all the inhabitants past, present and future of Compton and Shawford”, so we are offering copies to past and present residents of Compton & Shawford before opening it up for sale more widely.
We are grateful to Peter Neyroud for the following review, which appeared in the Compton & Shawford Parish Magazine for June 2019.
Compton and Shawford by Barbara Clegg
Many villages still await a local history. The “quiet parish” of Compton and Shawford already has two published histories: J.S.Drew’s “Compton near Winchester” and Austin Whitaker’s “Compton and Shawford”. The first is a detailed journey through the local records, fascinating but not bedtime reading unless, like me, history is a passion. Austin Whitaker gave us a fine, readable overview.
However, we now have three histories with the publication of Barbara Clegg’s monograph on a “Quiet Parish”, which has been rescued from undeserved obscurity in the Hampshire archives by Adrian Walmsley on behalf of the Compton and Shawford Local History Society. Its publication fulfils a promise that Barbara made in this Parish Magazine more than 50 years ago. She said that she wanted the manuscript she was preparing to be published and the proceeds to go to the benefit of the parish church.
Not only was this a worthy promise to fulfil, but Barbara’s local history is a very worthy addition to our local history. It fills a gap between Drew and Whitaker’s volumes. It is lively and shows not only her training as an Oxford historian and teacher of history but her understanding of a good story which undoubtedly lay behind her writing and production of the local pantomimes and local plays. As Adrian Walmsley’s excellent edition of her history reminds us, Barbara herself was part of that history as the author and producer of the historical pageant that celebrated 800 years of All Saints parish church in 1955.
Barbara’s history takes us from pre-history to the mid-1960s. The post-war history is an important and fascinating reminder from her to the Local History Society that history – for example, the change from the Bypass to the Motorway – is still happening. Her entertaining finale covers the “Parish Ghosts”, including the “Grey Lady” at the Manor House and the “Black Monk” at Silkstead.
“The Story of a Quiet Parish” is now on sale – £5 per copy – with the proceeds going to the parish church funds.
Dr Peter Neyroud CBE QPM
Copies of Barbara Clegg’s book (while stocks last) are available by filling in the contact form at the bottom of this page