About The Archive Society

About The Archive Society

The Fontmell Magna Village Archive Society (FMVAS) was formally constituted in 1999. In our Constitution our primary aims are:-

– To record, preserve and make available for public scrutiny all past items – documentary, illustrative, spoken and written memory and, where appropriate, artefacts – to do with the parish of Fontmell Magna.

– To record present and on-going events in or about the parish for the benefit of future generations.

– To involve and encourage both present and past parish residents of all ages to assist in accumulating, recording, properly preserving and displaying such items.

– To arrange for the safe keeping of the Archives should the Society cease to exist.

How did it all begin?

In 1988 a major historical exhibition was held in the village to celebrate the 1100th year of the first recorded mention of ‘ffuntemill’ as a settlement. Some 200 items were collected for display and by the end of the 10-day exhibition nearly double this number were brought in, or their whereabouts made known, by intrigued visitors. The opportunity was taken to record all these new discoveries and many were eventually donated to the organisers.

This formed the basis of the present collection, which after 16 more years now totals some 2200 items, all solely to do with Fontmell Magna, a parish of some 320 homes. This has been described by the Museum of Rural Life at Reading University as ‘…one of the most comprehensive collections of social history for a village of it’s size’.

Help from several directions

Thanks to a generous grant from the Local Heritage Initiative of the Countryside Agency it has been possible to purchase a computer and printer on which to catalogue the accessions, buy conservation-grade storage materials for their safe keeping, secure display boards for exhibitions and talks, get a digital camera with close-up lens as well as a digital voice recorder to record spoken memories.

At our monthly workshops a regular team of residents and those interested from further afield meet to carry out the essential tasks necessary to compile a catalogue and design displays for public showing, as well as compiling this website, which is also a community effort. So far we have mounted two week-long exhibitions and seven specialised displays.

We have published five booklets compiled from material in the collection. The Society also believes that as many items as possible should be available for perusal in residents’ homes, and to this end we have a document and book loan service where copies of the more interesting originals can be borrowed. We also handle a growing number of enquiries and have several research projects in progress.

February 2012

To contact the Archive Society, click here.