Quidhampton and its village hall
Quidhampton is privileged to have one of the oldest village halls in the country.
Built by public subscription in the early 1850’s it was first a reading room for the navvies who lived in tented encampments while building the railways and turnpike road. When they moved on, the church took over the hall and called it the Mission Room. Quidhampton has no church of its own so services were held there, especially in the winter, for villagers who might not have bothered to walk to the church at Bemerton.
The hall was home to many other activities such as temperance meetings for children, winter concerts by and for villagers, and women’s meetings where during the First World War they first sewed sandbags, then repaired bandages and hospital bedding. For a while it was a traditional reading room (more like a working men’s club but without alcohol.) Inquests were also held there.
Many clubs and societies have met there over the years and as the only public building in the village it is our polling station and hosts parish council meetings.
The hall is presently closed owing to Covid-19 requirements. However in better times enthusiastic village supporters ensure it lives on to serve the local community for events, meetings and parties, with a carol service at Christmas and, since 2018, our own Remembrance Day service. Private hirers are warmly welcome: it provides a small venue, comfortable for up to 75 people with free high speed Wifi to run meetings and seminars, and a floor to ceiling mirror ideal for dance practice.
The village of Quidhampton lies above the floodplain between the City of Salisbury and Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex. Its name means “home farm with good manure”.
Most famous resident (so far): Simon Forman (1552 -1611), a notorious alchemist, astrologer and physician, was born in Quidhampton. He claimed to have cured himself of the plague and stayed in London to treat patients when other physicians fled for fear of infection. He was a lifelong womaniser and after his death was implicated in a murder by poisoning. He kept detailed casebooks that have now been deciphered and are treasured by scholars for the insight they give into the everyday life of all social classes at the time.
Today: the farms, orchards, pubs, dairy, forge, shops and homes of farm labourers and carpet factory workers are now a simple residential village with double the number of homes but roughly the same population, such was the size of families in the past.
Quidhampton is not a postcard pretty village with thatched cottages, a village green and one or two grand houses. There is no church or school but it is well known for having a real sense of community. This is undoubtedly helped by the White Horse, a truly local (and brilliant) pub, and our historic village hall.
We hope you enjoy the work of twelve of our villagers and that it may inspire you too to find pleasure in making your own art.