NEWPORT VILLAGE RECORDER
REPORT FOR 2011
A fairly busy year with ten enquiries received on family history, property and general social interest. These enquiries came from the Recorders website, the Local History Group, and directly. They originated mostly from the UK with a small proportion from overseas including New Zealand and the USA.
Family history enquiries were in general handled from the Parish registers, Newport News and the booklet on Memorial Inscriptions in St Mary’s. In virtually all cases the issues were resolved satisfactorily and in a number of instances the correspondent provided new information for the Newport Archives. Only in one case was it not possible to fully satisfy the correspondent. The assistance of inhabitants of Newport in providing additional information is grateful acknowledged. A particularly interesting enquiry concerning Fanny Rowley Smith of Shortgrove resulted in a two way exchange of information. This included images of her widowhood at Plaw Hatch, Bishop’s Stortford. This is now known as Pearce House, formerly a well-known venue for functions and weddings regrettably now closed. Mrs Smith was the wife of William Charles Smith the last of the Smiths to live at Shortgrove.
Property based enquiries were handled mainly on information from Newport News, Bygones and the recorder collections. Enquiries concerned Cottages on Wicken Rd., a new house at Shortgrove and properties on Frambury Lane.
2011 was an important year for the Victoria County History project. The project plan required that a substantial proportion of the research and some of the key sections should have been completed to draft status. Many visits have been made to local, county, London and national collections. A great deal of new information has been uncovered. For myself visits to Chichester to view the Petworth House Archive and to TNA were highlights. At Chichester a conveyance of Shortgrove Estate from the Earl of Egremont to Percy Charles Wyndham was a significant find, as was examination, at TNA with Anthony Tuck, of the conveyance to Joseph Smith in 1802. Drafts have been sent to VCH and some are on their website as ‘work in progress’. They include the manorial descents for Newport Pond and Shortgrove and also education. Others will be added shortly and they can be viewed on the VCH website; feedback will be welcomed. It is expected that the project will be completed in 2012 and a version initially made available on the web.
In July an unusual opportunity arose to view the archive of the well-known Auctioneers and Estate Agents, Cheffins. In addition to the particulars of sale this archive contains the bidding notes, and the name of the successful bidder. The full extent of this archive has yet to be explored but a photographic record of items pertinent to Newport has been made of items from the late Victorian period to date. These formed the basis of a short paper published in Newport News. A further visit will be made to complete the recording of this archive.
Local History continued to prosper in 2011. The Local History Group had an excellent year with all meetings and trips well attended. An interesting, diverse programme has been defined for 2012. Newport News has published many local history articles as well as recording the many events and activities in the village.
A selection of events in the village in 2011 includes the following:
The many societies and organizations in Newport ranging from purely social through to the arts and sport have continued successfully. In addition to supporting their specific objectives they also provide the social networking which makes Newport such a pleasant place to live.
Significant issues in Newport in 2011 were
David Evans; Newport Village Recorder