THE TEST VALLEY TAPESTRY

The tapestry was conceived by the late Laurie Porter (Test Valley Mayor 1983-84) who dreamed of capturing the Test Valley in wool and canvas.

 

He perceived the finished work on the lines of the famous Bayeux Tapestry but in separate panels.

 

Broughton features on a shared panel with Houghton and Bossington and was an active contributor.

 

Almost all 56 parishes are represented in the tapestry which took 10 years to complete by all communities.

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The Top Border

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To the right of the centurion, the shepherd represents the ancient sheep drove which passed through Broughton on its way to the Stockbridge and Weyhill sheep fairs: the juggler, the girl carrying produce, the stall, the King and the goosegirl all represent the granting by Henry III in 1248 of a weekly market at the Manor of Broughton and a yearly fair on the feast of St Mary Magdalene.

 

The next figures are William Steele and his daughter Anne. In 1699 William Steele was ordained Baptist Pastor. Anne wrote 144 hymns, 34 psalms and about 50 poems.

 

Two boys stand in front of the school endowed in 1601 by Thomas Dowse, Lord of the Manor of Broughton, for a schoolmaster to teach children to read, write and understand arithmetic.

 

The charity is still administered by the Rector and trustees.

 

A village blacksmith. Once there were six blacksmiths in Broughton; above him is the sign of the Greyhound , now used by one of the public houses and originally part of the arms of Thomas Dowse.

The Middle Section

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In the centre is the dovecote or columbarium in the graveyard of the church. The present structure was built in 1684 on the site of one built in 1340. There are 482 L-shaped nesting boxes in the thickness of the walls.

 

The oldest part of the parish church of St Mary the Virgin dates from the 12th century. About 1220 the nave was lengthened and the present west door built, while the tower was added in the fifteenth century. In the churchyard are ancient Irish yews. The church clock is set at eight o'clock, a reminder that until 1963 a curfew bell was rung daily at 8pm from Michaelmas Day to Lady Day to tell householders to douse their fires to minimise the risk to thatched roofs.

 

In the centre right of the main section is the Baptist Chapel that dates from 1816 with a reminder on the stone on the front of the building that the Baptist faith was established in Broughton in 1655. The pews were made from timbers from HMS 'The Royal George'.

 

The houses between the Baptist Church and the Dovecote are modern village homes, whilst that between the dovecote and the parish church represents the many thatched cottages . In the background is Broughton Down, with the chalk track up to Whiteshoot Hill on the right. Below this are fields of hay, corn and grazing cattle and horses, all part of village farming.

 

Just visible at the top right of the Baptist Church is the village community bus which, with volunteer drivers, operates regular services to Romsey, Salisbury, Winchester and Southampton.

 

The deer, heron, wild duck, swans and willow trees are all seen on or near the Wallop Brook as it flows through the village to join the Test at Bossington. The two horseriders near the bridge and the pheasants in the foreground represent sporting pursuits, while the Hampshire Down sheep in the corner are another indication of the agricultural nature of Broughton.

The Bottom Border

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The barn owl in flight (shared with the Houghton section), mallard, flag iris and water crowfoot are all found in the Wallop Brook and adjacent water meadows. The harebell, spotted woodpecker, stoat, dog rose, rabbit, lapwing and fox live in the surrounding countryside.

The chalk blue butterfly feeding on horseshoe vetch, the orchid and the cowslip are denizens of Broughton Down while the ears of wheat, the mayweed and the poppy represent the arable fields.