Thursday 12 February 2015

A very public hanging

Before embarking upon the detail of this particular jotting, I should point out, for the benefit of honesty the following is anecdotal. All off my previous editions have been from personal experience and or memory. This edition is based upon a conversation which I recently had with my brother Robin and involves the creation of the, then, new sports pitch. Since I have never had any interest in sports in general and ball games in particular the creation of a new pitch would have had little or no interest for me at all. It, therefore, follows that I had no involvement or connexion with the village sports community so, I guess that is probably why the following had passed me by.
Having written the above I am aware of the fact that, for reasons entirely unknown to me, it was considered necessary for the village to have a new sports field/pitch. I don’t have a date as to when these matters occurred but with most things in village life there will, undoubtedly, be a record in the local newspapers.

So, it would appear from my information, that a need for a new sports field had been identified by Kingsley sportsmen. It was, of course, men only in those days. Well as far as I can establish the search for such a pitch began and eventually an area of land on the common was identified as being suitable. That area was beyond the pond on a bit of a plateau below Fir Hill, probably a couple of hundred yards or so up the track, which in those days, ran behind the pond off the outer road around Ockham Hall. I have no idea if the pitch/sports field still exists.

Well as with many things in village life, the creation of the sports field did not meet with universal approval. I am informed that one Mr. Inwood, mentioned in a previous article, was one of the leading opponents of the proposed scheme. Mr. Inwood, was at the time employed as a sort of Land Agent by the military and had responsibility, I seem to recall, for several areas of military land in the region. These included the Frensham Pond areas, Kingsley, Shortheath, Whitehill and Longmoor etc.. What exactly his duties were I have no idea. Whatever they were, the thought of a football pitch being located right in the middle of Kingsley Common, was, I am told like a red rag to a bull and went down like the proverbial lead balloon as far as he was concerned.

In any event, as is often the case in such matters, both sides of the argument became entrenched and things got a little unpleasant. Details of the various positions and debates are not to hand so I am unable to place them before you. Suffice to say, the pro pitch lobby won the day as the area was cleared, seeded and goal posts erected. I well remember much of the process of the construction of the pitch as, I think, local enthusiasts did most of the work during weekends. Before all of this came to pass it was not without a degree of unpleasantness. Persons, unknown, involved with the pro camp actually went to the extent of erecting a set of gallows on or quite near to the site of the pitch. Once erected, it appears they created an effigy of Mr. Inwood and hung him high, for all to see, from the gallows. Most unsporting you might think. Clearly Mr. Inwood felt so, as the story goes, when he became aware of the this monstrous act he took it upon himself to smash down the offending structure. I am told that from thereon the sporting community of the village in the pro pitch camp labelled Mr. Inwood as "gallows buster" Inwood. My brother still remembers him as such to this day. Unless you know otherwise this is probably the nearest Kingsley got to a public hanging.

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