GALLEY DOWN & THE JUBILEE

Peter Finn writes in his History of `The Priory Bishop's Waltham' :

"On Lady Day (25th March) 1947, The Priory acquired the tenancy of Galley Down through Austin and Wyatt, estate agents of Bishop's Waltham. It was on the Corhampton Road about three miles away and had a wood and three meadows. It yielded generous crops in the very first year : the first haymaking was finished on the 26th June in glorious weather, the barley was brought in early in September, and the potatoes were picked in October. Brother Patrick considered it a 'godsend', for it helped to provide sufficient produce to feed the boys and earn an income.

There were about 50 acres of land, part of which was used for growing potatoes and barley while other fields were reserved for cattle or hay. There were also about 40 acres of woodland where badgers and foxes had a quiet home with plenty of rabbits for company. There were many nightingales in the hedges and they could be approached quite closely with a torch.

Fr Jim Wallace, when a pupil, recalls being awakened in his tent by Brother Patrick who was calling the boys out to hear a nightingale, but he preferred to turn over and continue his sleep. 'I have regretted that decision ever since for I have never heard a nightingale.' The three large fields were hedged and one of them was in a long valley with extensive woodland hangers on the steep hillside. The hedges have now been grubbed out to form one huge prairie-like landscape, the field on the valley has been fenced off, and the woodland has passed into the hands of the Forestry Commission.

To the boys, Galley Down was not so much farm land as a huge camping site and play area that was used almost immediately after acquisition for two football matches on the 2nd April, reviving the tradition of 'Downs' on Wednesday afternoons. It seemed that one could roam for miles, and there were often several different groups of boys camping there at the same time without being aware of each other. Their camps would be in different parts of the woods, in a distant part of a field or in the copse between the valley field and the other fields. Each group of about half a dozen would set off to walk to the down with their provisions and pans in rucksacks. Rabbits would be trapped for dinner, and chpped nettles and wild hertbs added to the pot. . . . . "



The route to Galley Down :
at the main roundabout in Bishop's Waltham take the Corhampton turn-off (B3035) then take a right
turn into Dundridge Lane. This will lead you to the pub you might once have known as 'The Jubilee'
and onwards to Galley Down. (No setting up camp and lighting fires, please !)




And, below, a bird's-eye view.
Galley Down, top right, and the old Jubilee pub below it, encircled in red.




The Jubilee Pub is now known as 'The Hampshire Bowman" and the landlady is no longer called 'The Bearded Lady.'

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