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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago

Was Yateley a rural backwater where nothing ever happened?

Contributed by Peter Tipton


If you had only read the local histories of Yateley published until 1980 you would likely have come to the conclusion that no important people had ever lived in Yateley, there had been no important buildings, and no earth-shattering events. Baigent's Crondal Records at the end of the 19th century had been a great disappointment to local people. The vicar, the Rev Stooks, had tried to make Yateley's history a little more interesting in his book (1905) but probably did not succeed in firing the local imagination. Stilwell kept a scrapbook of everything about Yateley which he came across. He never published his book since he was said to have felt that Stooks beat him to it. Sydney Loader published his edition of Stilwell in 1975.


Yateley people, perhaps fed up with this lack of an eventful past resorted to inventing some colourful characters and events. Parson Darby somehow entered the collective consciousness, as did stories about the Gunpowder Plot which anyone reading a school history book would know to be untrue.


Townroe tried a pamplet local history in the late 1950s, with chapters written by different local people. The following statement probably best sums up the prevailing conclusion of about 100 years of local history:


Yateley ... has never been more than a small agricultural community

Mother Bourne-Vanneck in Yateley in Hampshire, the village of 13 names by B S Townroe November 1957


But is this FACT, or is this yet another FICTION?


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