Regular Meetings

Because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Trustees of the Society decided on 12th March 2020 to cancel/postpone the 2020 talks planned for March and April in our programme. This step is based on the precautionary principle, given the mixed age group of our members (with a good number in their 70s).


We will seek to reschedule these talks and we will review the rest of this year’s programme in the light of unfolding events as the epidemic spreads within the UK.


We will use email and other forms of communication to spread this message and to update members as things change.


The following text refers to normal conditions… And our plans for later in the year if circumstances permit.

We usually hold 10 meetings a year, including our Annual General Meeting which is always held in February.


These meetings take place on the evening of the third Thursday of the month in February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November and December (our Christmas Party).


Unless otherwise stated they are held at 7.30pm at the Church Hall in Free Street, Bishop’s Waltham.

Tea and coffee is served before the meetings start.


The meetings are open to all members and usually take the form of a talk that lasts around 40-45 minutes. The talks themselves cover a range of subjects that are likely both to interest and inform our members. Except for our Christmas Party, non-members interested in the subject are always welcome – free!

Members are most welcome to invite guests to our meetings and we welcome visitors who are interested in joining the Society. The subscription is just £7.00 a year for single members and £12.00 for joint membership. If you would like to join the Society and attend this year’s meetings, please contact our Treasurer Keith Fry at or our Secretary Eileen Rainey at - we would be delighted to welcome you!


The meetings for 2020 are detailed below.

You can click here to download the full programme. For more information, please contact us.

20th February The Society’s 35th Annual General Meeting (click here for poster)

(at which only current members may vote) followed by cheese and wine. There will then be a talk by Audrey Brown of Bishop’s Waltham Ramblers on the work they do to clear footpaths and repair stiles.

19th March “It Should Have Happened to a Vet”

by Gillian Taylor. Gillian talks about her career as a vet, her connections with PDSA, Canine Partners and others, and discusses changes in the veterinary world. Before her recent retirement, Gillian worked at Shield Veterinary Services on Victoria Road in Bishop’s Waltham.

16th April “Saxons or Vikings - which were nastiest?”

Society member Dr Lindon Palmer will give a talk that might make us re-appraise our initial answer to this question. Waltham was, after all, founded by the Saxons and burnt down by the Vikings!

21st May “Winchester Action on Climate Change”

A talk by WinACC’s Treasurer Bill Gunyon on the workings of the organisation and some of the many issues with which they are involved. WinACC are dedicated to combatting climate change and inspiring sustainable living. They work collaboratively with residents, businesses and policymakers to cut the carbon footprint of the Winchester District. They were founded in 2007, when Greta Thunberg was only three…

18th June The Civil War in the Meon Valley

by Professor Duncan Colin-Jones. He will take us through the various disputes between Parliament and King Charles I, and where our local aristocracy and landowners’ allegiances lay during the three Civil Wars of 1642 to 1651. The south of England was split and the Meon Valley was the line between the two forces, with key sites such as Winchester Castle fought over, the battle at Cheriton and the subsequent siege at Bishops Waltham Palace, which ended in its destruction!

16th July Edward Jenner, Napoleon and Blossom the Cow

Paul Chamberlain, a Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science, is also a historian of the Napoleonic era. He will be telling us how an English scientist, Dr Edward Jenner, was able to impress Bonaparte with his discoveries. Sadly he was not directly related to Sir William Jenner, Queen Victoria’s physician, who lived in Bishop’s Waltham at Palace House.

20th August No meeting

17th September “Harlots, Dung & Glory - Part IV”

Andrew Negus will complete his well-known History of Portsmouth (1930 to the present day). Many members enjoyed Parts II and III, and we may have to go back to Part I in 2021 to complete the full set, since we missed the first episode!

15th October “Hampshire Garden Trust”

Sally Miller, Chair of the Research Group of Hampshire Gardens Trust, will talk about their work and some local historic gardens they have researched. The Hampshire Gardens Trust is the only voluntary organisation in the county to identify the needs and opportunities to conserve, protect and enhance the county’s rich heritage of parks, gardens and designed green spaces. They offer expert, free advice and appropriate project grants to raise awareness of the value of these special places.

19th November “Myths and Legends of World War I” 

A talk by Rupert Matthews who is a professional historian. He has written over 100 books and many magazine articles as well as appearing on TV and radio. His lively talks are usually packed with amusing anecdotes, gripping facts and exciting incidents. Two years on from the 100th anniversary of the end of the war seems timely for such a talk.

17th December The Society’s Christmas Party

Our own Christmas Party – members and guests only. Details to be confirmed.