The White Hart Inn is closing for business -- for the third time.

Customers with Christmas party bookings have received a letter from the owner, Stella Coulthurst, advising that:

"With much personal sadness, I write to advise you that The White Hart Inn has closed – too few customers and a problem finding staff."

There will be one last hurrah, serving drinks only, from 5pm on Friday 10th October.


St Mary's: the debate continues

The future of St Mary's Church was the subject of a parishioners' meeting held at the church in late August, at which Peter Benest, speaking on behalf of St Mary's parochial church council (PCC), outlined the financial perils of present circumstances. A report of the meeting was published in the September issue of the Hamstead Hornet.

A second meeting was held (for those unable to attend the first) on 8th August, at which there were addresses from both Peter Benest and the Rev Mark Wilson, priest-in-charge of the Walbury benefice. Mark's view is that remedial action should be concerted (across the benefice) rather than unilateral (St Mary's acting alone). His thoughts have been summarised in this article by Andrew Hunter.

Parishioners' views are being sought, preferably in time for inclusion at the next parochial church council meeting in late October. You can express your opinion to either or both of:

Rev Mark Wilson;

Hallam Goad, secretary of St Mary's PCC.



Speaker’s Corner

The talks series Speakers' Corner returns to St Mary's for another winter series. Organised by Venetia Dunlop the programme is as follows:

Tuesday 29th October John Handy: Horse chestnut: a gentle giant

Thursday 14th November Anne Budd: Atheist’s suspension in judgement

Wednesday 4th December Annabel Chaffey: Sliding to success: the realities of elite youth sport

Wednesday 22nd January Alistair Mills: Robert Burns, national bard, lad o’ pairts

Thursday 13th February Chris Bullard. Life in the ocean wave

Tuesday 10th March Jim Flint. Mid-Atlantic village

All start at 7.30pm in St Mary's Church, Hamstead Marshall. There is parking beside the church.

The cost of £5 per person includes a glass of wine or soft drink, and nibbles.

More details, if you need them, from here.

Speeding traffic: Hamstead's perennial problem

Speeding traffic has long been a village bugbear. It was a preoccupation of the parish council back in the 1990s, when the 30mph limit was finally obtained. Observance of the limit has never been good, and in 2007-09 the first parish plan committee secured more traffic-calming measures, such as the VAS and the village "gates", which emphasise entrance to a residential area.

But the problem remained. Crashes at Chapel Corner continued, destroying hedges, fences, parked vehicles and finally, the corner of a house. WBC's changes to the road camber and surface seem to have reduced the incidence of speed-related crashes, but walking along the Kintbury Road is still far from pleasurable.

The issue now has a new champion, Olivia Brunt of Ash Tree Corner. In conjunction with the parish council and the current parish plan committee, she plans a meeting (watch this space for a date announcement).  Read her thoughts here  and contact her if you have anything to add.


Remember, remember...

...the village bonfire party with fireworks, guy competition, bar and barbecue on the village hall recreation field, as always on the night itself: Tuesday 5th November.

Help is needed in building the bonfire the weekend before, and setting up and taking down on the day.  Contributions of wood are also needed: old pallets, wooden fencing etc. If you can help with any of this please call Sue Watts on 01488 658932.

The harvest supper (Friday 4th October) is now fully booked.

Elm Farm sale latest

Elm Farm, comprising 213 acres, the farmhouse and the Organic Research Centre buildings, was put up for sale in May as one complete entity, or broken down into eight separate lots.

Carter Jonas confirms (29th August 2019) that all eight lots are under offer, and that more than one buyer is involved.  Local rumours have been described as "misinformed" but no further details are being given out at the moment, neither  from Carter Jonas nor ORC.

See the sale brochure.

Pictures from the past

The picture below left shows Hamstead Lodge (as the big house in the park was known for centuries before the name passed to a modern house in Old Lane) in the 1950s, when Cornelia Craven was in residence. The shutters have long since been removed.

The centre picture is of the house now called Hayseed Hollow, formerly Clareville Cottage, and before that, the High House, being the only three-storey house in the village. In the 1930s it was occupied by the builder who converted the Congregational chapel into Chapel Cottage. He had twin sons, one of whom died at Dunkirk.

On the right is a 1970s view of Lamellion. It was originally three cottages. When it later became two, the one to the right was called La Salle.


See the What's On page for a calendar of village events.

See the News & events page for more details of individual events.

See St Mary's website for details of church services and events organised by the support group.

See the Hamstead Hornet for a summary of village news in the last quarter: Elm Farm sale latest, White Hart events, planning applications, village property on the market etc.