midthorn01 tn The Mid-Thorngate society was our local history society and it began life in the 1980’s as the history and archaeology society for the four villages of East Dean, East Tytherley, West Tytherley and Lockerley.  It would still be in full flow  as there is a large numebr of adherents who would support it but a lack of someone woth the time and the commitment to bring together a team to organise it.  On this page we record the stirling work done by Julian Mitchell in recent years but there are other pressures on his time. If any reader would like to consider taking on the mantle of organising please contact admin using the form below.

Back in saxon times the counties of southern England were divided into hundreds in order to assist with administration, military and judicial convenience. The names and identities of many of these hundreds have survived into the modern era. The map of 1791, for example, shows the Thorne Gate Hundred lying to the west of the river Test between Romsey and Andover … and that’s where our villages are … and hence the name.
The area chalk was laid down in the tropical seas of the cretaceous era and stone age peoples kindly left the odd stone implement for us to find. Time Team members have visited us to talk and to search for artefacts amongst Awbridge’s quarrying.  The romans built a road across the north of the hundred and established their villas in the south. The 18th century saw early optimists attempt to build a canal from Salisbury to Southampton and this passed through Lockerley and East Dean. Robert Owen, an industrialist, established Harmony Hall as a commune for industrial workers to the north east of East Tytherley.
The last century’s wars had an enormous impact locally though a few do remain who can recall that the americans built a large railway depot in the grounds of Lockerley Hall and that Bentley Wood hid a vast assemblage of military vehicles before D-Day of 1944. Only recently the Royal Navy relinquished its use of the underground tunnel systems for armament storage at East Dean. Both Eisenhower and Churchill visited … though not to see the wildlife which now flourishes in these woods.
The scope of the society adapted to modern concerns and increasingly it takes an interest in social and environmental change – that’s history in the making. The Society aimed to encourage interest in all of these aspects, to help people carry out research perhaps into the history of their house, their family’s past local connection and to gather the oral history and tales of the locality before they fade. Meetings were organised across the year focusing on aspects of local history, social trends, prehistory, archeaology and the impact that current activities may have had on our environment. From time to time a site visit was made.
There was a small fee for the occasional visitor helping to cover our costs for hiring halls and defraying the expenses of speakers members could subscribe for a year. About six meetings were arranged for each year comprising visits and lectures on relevant topics