The Highclere Grampus

The Highclere Grampus

The Highclere Grampus surely has to rate as the strangest of all the Hampshire folktales?

Did a Grampus live in the Yew tree?
Did a Grampus live in the Yew tree?

This is an extremely peculiar story attached to Highclere, whose name has become synonymous with the fictional ‘Downton Abbey’ TV series written by Julian Fellowes but this story is in another realm of fiction altogether.

The folktale involves a creature called a Grampus, which is a historical name for the Orca meaning big fish. Highclere appears to have had a Grampus, a big fish living in a yew tree in the church yard of the Highclere Estate Chapel.

Highclere estate chapel
Highclere estate chapel

This creature apparently terrified the local population by emitting wheezing grunting noises and chasing anyone who got too close. All rather difficult one would think for a big fish who lived in a tree.

The beast was eventually exorcised by a local clergyman who banished the animal to the Red Sea for a thousand years. Hopefully the thousand years are not up anytime soon or it will have to appear as an interesting adjunct in the next series of Downton and what would the Dowager Countess of Grantham say about that?

Grampus

Data Meon Valley Surnames 1841

Data Meon Valley Surnames 1841

Data collected from the 1841 census on Meon Valley surnames, shows the incidence of surnames in individual villages along the Meon Valley. This bank of data reveals some interesting finds. It is an incomplete but growing body of data useful to Hampshire family historians.

Quarley Church

Quarley Church

The ancient church of St Michaels in Quarley Hampshire is surrounded by a flower filled graveyard and has it’s origins in Saxon England.

Edmund Spenser in Alton?

Edmund Spenser in Alton?

The question of whether Edmund Spenser ever lived in Alton is based on a few tantalizing clues that allude to little that can be substantiated. So it is with many historical nuggets that glint in amongst the splendour of Hampshire history.

Alton Quakers

Alton Quakers

A turbulent time in Hampshire history and in England as a whole, the Alton Quakers persevered in a time of intolerance and the Meeting House stands as a testament to their dogged determination.

Weyhill Fair

Weyhill Fair

Weyhill fair was an ancient fair situated where old droveways and ancient roads crossed. It was certainly an important event by the early C13th and had probably been established long before that.