Approaching Christmas

The Christmas lights have been turned on in Petersfield the little market town close to where I live, and so I know that Christmas is definitely not far off.

I knew that my village was extremely old dating back to Roman times, but I had no idea that Petersfield was really old at all, so it came as quite a surprise when I looked it up and found that it was 'founded during the 12th century by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, later chartered by his widow, Hawise de Beaumont, and confirmed by charter in 1198 from "John, Count of Mortain" (later to be King John). In 1415 King Henry V granted the burgesses of Petersfield freedom from toll, stallage, picage, pannage, murage, and pontage throughout the realm of England. All charters are preserved in the archive files at Petersfield Town Council.'

There are also burial mounds on Petersfield Heath which may be up to 4,000 years old; their distribution being mainly to the east and south east of the Heath. There are 21 known burial mounds - otherwise known as barrows - 15 Bowl Barrows, 4 Saucer Barrows, 1 Disc Barrow with 2 tumps and 1 Bell Barrow. They form one of the largest and best preserved barrow cemeteries in the South of England.

Careful archaeological excavations have been conducted recently and a significant ancient artefact was discovered, which is considered to be the best example of its kind ever found in England. It is a burial urn, complete and undamaged dating back to 1800 BC. It is 50cm high and 30cm across. It was scanned at Salisbury Hospital to ascertain its contents, and cremated remains were found inside. Other broken urns were also found. They can be seen in Petersfield Museum.

The excavations will continue next summer and our expectations are high.

Dig director George Anelay (left) and volunteer Jane King uncover the burial urn
Dig director George Anelay (left) and volunteer Jane King uncover the burial urn

I will tell you more about Petersfield in another letter.

One of the reasons I am writing to you is to let you know that the last mailing will soon be upon us. However, please don’t worry too much as I will be posting calendars and other wonderful goods from my web site right up until Christmas and afterwards. To make sure that you get your orders, please place them as soon as possible.

I will write you another very short message before Christmas.

Yesterday we heard the good news about Price Harry and Meghan Markle. I am thrilled to bits and so glad that Harry has found happiness at last and Meghan seems a lovely girl and up to scratch for the royal job.