A New Forest Spitfire

This picture shows James Shaw sitting in a Vickers Supermarine Spitfire at Eastleigh Airport.

The Spitfire is called the New Forest.

Throughout the Second World War, the British people were encouraged to save money and invest it in the war effort. National Savings campaigns on service themes were organised each year and local newspapers were full of advertising for them and their associated publicity events.

Special drives with various local activities were organised annually in the war years starting with the National Savings Week of June 1940 and followed by War Weapons Week, Warships Week, Wings for Victory, Salute the Soldier and Thanksgiving Week in subsequent years.

The Spitfire funds of 1940 represented tangible evidence for the support of the RAF by the British public. At that time enemy aircraft ranged over the skies of Southern Britain and with RAF planes flying from many Hampshire airfields, many local residents would have been familiar with the efforts of the young allied pilots. The bombing of Southampton, Portsmouth and many other places, combined with the crashes of numerous hostile aircraft, would have re-inforced the desirability of more fighters.

The idea of presenting planes had begun in the First World War and in the Summer of 1940 every other Spitfire off the production line had been donated. A nominal sum of £5,000 had been quoted as the cost of a Spitfire and in addition to individuals who provided a plane, local funds were started up all over the country and indeed the Commonwealth. However presenting an aircraft was in fact a nominal term as no additional planes were built. It was not possible to order individual aircraft as the factories were already in full production on Government contracts.

In Hampshire the campaign seems to have been launched following a letter from Dr HM King, a teacher at Taunton’s School in Southampton (later an MP and Speaker of the House of Commons), in the Hampshire Chronicle on 27 July 1940. The next edition of the weekly paper included an appeal to farmers, farm workers and everyone interested in the countryside for a Hampshire Agricultural Fighter Plane.

On 10 August the Mayor of Winchester opened an appeal for Winchester and District. Dr King wrote again the following week reporting that “a countywide campaign was springing up in Hampshire to raise Spitfires for the nation. Portsmouth was first in the field with two, Gosport, New Forest and Winchester are raising one (Is this the one in the picture?), Bournemouth and Southampton were stirring and Eastleigh would shortly be at work”.

There was even a campaign by a Cedarwood Pug-owning resident of Itchen Abbas who started an “Our dogs Dog Fighter Fund” to present a Spitfire from the dogs of England!

Do you have any more information about the ‘New Forest’ Spitfire or other local fundraising campaigns then please share them on this portal.

R J Mitchell’s Spitfire is the iconic plane of WWII that has it’s origins in the constant development work undertaken by Mitchell at Supermarine for the Schneider Trophy at Calshot between the First and Second World War.

NFK Conference 2018: Commoning

The New Forest Knowledge Conference 2018 was entitled ‘The Role of Commoning in the Maintenance of Landscape and Ecology from a New Forest, National and Global Perspective’.

Commoning is recognised as important in the survival of the New Forest: a prized reserve for endangered species and a beautiful landscape enjoyed for recreation. The New Forest commoning system has been described as unique in North Western Europe, characterised by the exercise of common rights by 700 commoners. This conference considered the use and significance of common pool resources from a historical, local, national and international perspective.

The conference which was chaired by Tony Hockley and Clive Chatters was held on Monday 29th October at Lyndhurst Community Centre.

As well as presentations, there were displays from various organisations as well as photographs gathered as part of the Through Our Ancestors’ Eyes project.

The programme below has links to each paper’s abstract along with the video of the presentation where it is available.





The East Beaulieu Heath Barrow Mystery

To the east of Beaulieu on Beaulieu Heath can be found a large number of Bronze Age Barrows over 20 of these are protected as scheduled Monuments by Historic England.

One group of 5 is scheduled as a round barrow cemetery (List entry Number: 1013123) and includes two bowl barrows, two bell barrows and a fancy barrow situated on lowland heath overlooking Holbury village. The scheduling also notes: Although some of the barrow mounds have been reduced in size or partially disturbed, all of the barrows retain undisturbed remains and the cemetery as a whole has considerable archaeological potential.

Only three of these barrows are visible as extant features today (Note that the Barrow visible further to the east on all the images attached is scheduled as an individual under listing number: 1013118).

When looking at the cemetery in more detail including detailed ground survey, aerial imagery and Lidar the fancy barrow really stands out as rather funny looking; only half of its ring ditch survives, it has two parallel protruding from the south edge, it is much higher than any other barrows in the area and has more of an isosceles trapezoid form than circular form.

Looking at the historic maps starts revealing a rather interesting story for the fancy barrow; the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (1868) shows four prehistoric barrows grouped in this location.

The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (1897) helps explain some of what is going on and where some of the barrows have disappeared or changed shape. The map records a rifle range has been created with a target and mantlets (shields for stopping projectiles) at some point between 1868 and 1897.

Further research has helped reveal a strongly worded letter from the Deputy Surveyor at the time, Gerald Lascelles, in a correspondent to the rifle unit that created the range by destroying two barrows in the process.


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th inst. Although I was well acquainted with the circumstances under which leave was given to craft a rifle range on Beaulieu Heath, I was not aware that advantage had been taken of this permission to destroy the two barrows spoken of. Being in a very remote corner of the Forest, to which I am hardly ever called by my business, I had not inspected the site of the butts since the line was first laid out. I have been these to-day, and deeply regret to find that the statement in your resolution is perfectly correct, and that the barrows are destroyed beyond the possibility of re-instalment. I can only say that permission which was given did not in the slightest degree warrant this wanton and unnecessary act of vandalism, and would never have been given at all had it been conceived possible that such an advantage would have been taken of it. For myself ~I can only say that had the circumstances come to my knowledge in time, not a single spadesful of soil would have been allowed to be taken from the barrow, and I am exceedingly distressed that so wanton a piece of mischief should have been done on land under my charge.

I am, yours truly.

Gerald Lascelles

On the Lidar image you might also be able to pick out a series of small linear ditches extending south from one of the mantlets, these were added at the beginning of the second world war when the heath was covered in anti-glider obstacles to prevent potential airbourne landings by the Germans. The criss-crossing of the heath with small mounds and ditches made use of the surviving barrows as part of the obstacles.

The John Durden Collection – Roman Pottery

In August 2018, archaeologists and volunteers form the New Forest National Park Authority visited British Museum stores, in London, to breathe life back into forgotten New Forest treasures. By taking high resolution photographs of the artefacts, the team have been able to recreate 3D models of the Roman pots using a technique called photogrammetry.

The John Durden collection consists of 13 artefacts held by the British Museum. Originally excavated by Reverend J Pemberton Bartlett in 1852 from a Roman pottery kiln at Crock Hill, New Forest, the pots were sold to Durden, before being acquired by the British Museum in 1892. The pots themselves date to between AD260-370 and are wasters that warped and broke during the firing process and were then thrown away by the Roman potter.

The collection consists of nine pinched beakers, varying in size from 10 to 30 cm, and four jugs. At present only eight of the beakers have been uploaded. However, more of the collection will be added as they are processed.

Having been tucked away in the British Museum stores for 126 years, a number of these artefacts can now be explored by the general public and researchers online, as part of a virtual museum. It is hoped that we will continue to add to the online museum with other collections held by the British Museum including further collections from Bartlett’s investigation, as well as work by John Wise in the 1860s and Heywood Sumner in the 1920s as well as collections from other museums and galleries.

Thanks go to Richard Potter, David Wheeler and Hannah Makin for their work toward delivering this project as well and Bournemouth University and the University of Gothenburg for the provision of software, equipment and expertise.


John Durden Collection

John Durden Collection
by newforestarch
on Sketchfab