From Winchester to Barchester: Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire

Anthony Trollope was one of the most popular authors of the 19th century, and his novels, including the Barchester and Palliser series, continue to attract new fans. This talk will explore Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire including family connections with Heckfield and Winchester, and some Hampshire locations that may have inspired places in Barchester.

The event also marks the 150th anniversary in 2021 of the publication of Ralph the Heir, much of which is undisguisedly set in northern Hampshire.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

Book your tickets

Join Hampshire Record Office for this fantastic talk on Monday 27 September at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking the ‘Book Now’ image.

Barchester Towers, which was published in 1857, as the sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. It opens with the Bishop of Barchester lying on his death bed; soon a battle begins over who will take over power, with key players including the rather incompetent Dr Proudie, his fiendishly unpleasant wife and his slippery curate, Slope. This is a wonderfully rich novel, in which men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; and Church of England officials are only too willing to undermine each other in the battle for power.

The only autobiography by a major Victorian novelist, Trollope’s account offers a fascinating insight into his literary life and opinions. After a miserable childhood and misspent youth, Trollope turned his life around at the age of twenty-six. By 1860 the ‘hobbledehoy’ had become both a senior civil servant and a best-selling novelist. He worked for the Post Office for many years and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. Best-known for the two series of novels grouped loosely around the clerical and political professions, the Barsetshire and Palliser series, in his Autobiography Trollope frankly describes his writing habits. His apparent preoccupation with contracts, deadlines, and earnings, and his account of the remorseless regularity with which he produced his daily quota of words, has divided opinion ever since.

Winchester offers a veritable feast of history, much of it unrecognised by twenty-first century visitors. This history of the Saxon capital of Wessex is told through evocative photographs of its buildings and intricate nooks and crannies. Brought to life with intriguing accounts are: St Catherine’s Hill, the site of a hill fort in 150 BC; the Peninsula Barracks, once a military establishment and now home to a range of museums; Winchester College, built in 1352, and its fourteenth-century gothic chapel; Winchester Cathedral, parts of which date from 1079; the resting place of novelist Jane Austen; the working water mill, still on its original medieval site; and King Arthur’s Round Table. Featuring a map showing points of interest, this is a must-read for locals and visitors alike.

To reserve ‘Heckfield: A Village History’ by Gordon Timmins, click here:

To reserve ‘History of a Hampshire Parish – Heckfield and Mattingley:

What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”

Anthony Trollope

‘Here be hogs’: Maps for local and family history in Hampshire

Maps have an instant appeal, giving us insight into the changing appearance over the centuries of our localities or the places where our families lived. This talk will introduce you to some of the key series of maps that cover most places in Hampshire, mainly from the 17th to 20th centuries, and will provide advice on how to use them.

It will be illustrated with examples from the collections of Hampshire Record Office, and will also include a few of the more quirky and intriguing maps you can see there.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

You will receive an email confirming your booking from Hampshire Archives and Local Studies or Wessex Film and Sound Archive, which will contain the Zoom link.

Join us for this fantastic talk on Monday 19 July at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking the ‘Book Now’ link.

Find My Past in Hampshire Libraries

Did you know with your Hampshire Libraries membership you have access to Find My Past on our library computers? Through Find My Past you can browse thousands of census, parish, military and migration records.

Ancestry Books

Hampshire Libraries also have a range of fantastic ancestry books that you can borrow, including the following titles. If you would like to reserve a copy of any of these books, just click on the book image.

Mark D. Herber provides a comprehensive illustrated guide to tracing British ancestry as far back as the Middle Ages. Chapters include advice on obtaining information from relatives, drawing a family tree, and researching census records.

Do you know where your forebears lived in 1840, 1915, 1943 – or what their house and locality was like? Maybe you are researching your own area. This guide shows you how three great land surveys can provide information on your ancestor’s home as well as fascinating historical snapshots of your area.

Family history should reveal more than facts and dates, lists of names and places – it should bring ancestors alive in the context of their times and the surroundings they knew – and research into local history records is one of the most rewarding ways of gaining this kind of insight into their world. That is why Jonathan Oates’s detailed introduction to these records is such a useful tool for anyone who is trying to piece together a portrait of family members from the past. In a series of concise and informative chapters he looks at the origins and importance of local history from the 16th century onwards and at the principal archives – national and local, those kept by government, councils, boroughs, museums, parishes, schools and clubs.

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”

Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

Events during Libraries Week

7 – 13 October 2019

Events at Winchester Discovery Centre

Vesper Sky concert of poetry and songs – Stewart & Carol Henderson and Yvonne Lyon Thursday 10 October, 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 in advance/ £12 on the night.

Vesper Sky is a stunning and unique collection of songs and poems, written and performed by poet, broadcaster and songwriter Stewart Henderson, renowned Scottish singer songwriter Yvonne Lyon and storyteller and broadcaster Carol Henderson. The songs and poems cover a wide-range of contemporary topics and tempos and the event is an engrossing and plaintive ‘journal of our times’. An inspirational evening not to be missed.

Book your tickets here.

Winchester Poetry Day: Close Encounters with Poets and Other Animals. Saturday 12th October, all day

Join us for a stimulating day of poetry readings, discussions, prize givings and workshops at the Winchester Discovery Centre. Tickets for some events are free, but booking is still recommended. We look forward to seeing you!

Events including:

Dramatising the Animal Encounter in Poetry. A poetry workshop with Elisabeth Sennitt Clough10:30am – 12:30pm. Tickets: £24

Transform your everyday encounters with animals: bats, badgers, foxes, horses etc into poems with agency. Drawing on the toolkit of the dramatist, we’ll explore ways in which we can push our poems far beyond a flat recalling of events.

My Favourite Poem: A short talk by Jon Sayers, 12:40pm – 1:05pm. Free (but tickets should be booked)

Short talks about favourite poems have proved a popular and engaging feature of Winchester Poetry Festival. In this session, poet Jon Sayers will explore Sharon Olds’s powerful poem ‘After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood’ and discuss what it means to him.

Loose Muse Showcase1:15pm– 2:15pm. Tickets: £6 / Students £3

Organised and presented by poet Sue Wrinch, Loose Muse Winchester has been running for four years. In this event, several of the regular open mic poets will present their work.

Winchester Poetry Prize: Announcement and Reading of the Winning Poems. Judge Helen Mort announces 2019 winners2:30pm – 3:30pm Free (but tickets should be booked)

Now in its fourth year, Winchester Poetry Prize has gone from strength to strength, attracting thousands of entries. Come along and hear the winning poems. There’s also a prize for the best poem by a Hampshire-based poet.

Meet the Artistic Directors: Sasha Dugdale & Sarah Hesketh – 4:45pm – 5:15pm. Free (but tickets should be booked)

The festival’s artistic co-directors, Sasha Dugdale and Sarah Hesketh, discuss how their plans are shaping up for the 2020 festival and share poems from the confirmed poets for next year’s festival.

Early Evening Reading: With Helen Mort & Elisabeth Sennitt Clough. 5:30pm – 6:30pm Tickets: £12 / Students £6

Our Winchester Poetry Day Poets, Helen Mort and Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, will introduce us to some of their own latest work, including some where the ink is still wet.

Poetry Café: Open mic poetry reading6:45pm– 8:00pm. Tickets: £6 / Students £3

Join us for an open mic session to hear local poets. Places for poets are limited so if you’d like to read, please reserve a slot by emailing

Autumn Dance Party, Saturday 12th October 2019, 7.30pm, Tickets: £12

Bring some Sunshine into this Autumn with a Dance Party filled with all the Dancing Fun you could wish for! Join Silvia & DJ Max for Salsa, West Coast Swing, Party Group Dances, Jive, Cha Cha, Rumba, Tango, Bachata, Merengue, Kizomba, Club Classics and more! Whether you have been dancing for years or are a novice – we’ll get everyone dancing! Licensed Bar open all night! Music with DJ Max!

Book your tickets at Winchester Discovery Centre.

Events around Hampshire

Lovecraft After Dark at Gosport Discovery Centre

Victorian Theatre with Bite! 8 October 2019. 7:30pm to 10:30am. Tickets: £10.

Allow the cosmic horror of Howard Philip Lovecraft to envelop your senses and blast your imagination! At any moment, the terrors of the Ancient Ones may be unleashed upon the world. The Elder Gods scrutinise our every deed, awaiting their opportunity to reclaim what was once theirs. Madness will be a blessing to those mere mortals who witness the crawling chaos soon to be released upon mankind!

Book your tickets here.

Thomas Forrester (previously Thomas Plant) at Andover Library

Join antiques expert and TV personality for an entertaining talk. 9 October 2019. 10am to 11am. Tickets: £7.50.

An entertaining talk about antiques with British TV personality Thomas Forrester.  (Previously known as Thomas Plant) Do you have treasures hiding in your home, gathering dust that you knew nothing about? Ticket holders may bring an item they would like to learn more about.

Thomas has appeared on TV shows such as Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Antiques Road Trip.  He is co-owner of Special Auction Services in Newbury and when he is not busy with clients, Thomas fundraises for the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.

Book your tickets here.

Strictly Sherlock at Totton Library

Victorian Theatre with Bite! 10 October 2019. 7pm to 10pm.

Join the king of the detectives as he brings to life startling cases in this theatre production by Don’t Go into the Cellar.

The greatest fictional sleuth of all time springs back to life in these stirring adaptations of the Conan Doyle Classics. A high-energy on-man show, featuring a plethora of dashing heroes, villainous rogues and vintage thrills!

There are moments when you could swear you were watching Jeremy Brett or Roger Llewellyn, but this impressive interpretation of Holmes is very much Jonathan Goodwin’s own – not really surprising as Mr Goodwin is also responsible for the witty, suspenseful scripts.”  Roger Johnson, BSI, Editor: The Sherlock Holmes Journal

Book your tickets here.