The first of a series of historical plaques around the town was unveiled today at a short ceremony in Oakland Road.

The project, which is being led by Cllr Barry Jackman, will see at least nine blue plaques situated around the town commemorating various historical events or activities.

(L-R) The Vice President of the Methodist Conference Mrs Ruth Pickles, Mayoress Sandra Jackman, the Mayor Cllr Barry Jackman and the Rev Andrew Wood at the unveiling.

Today’s dedication was of a plaque commemorating the first visit of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, to Whitchurch in 1759.

The unveiling was carried out by the Vice President of the Methodist Conference Mrs Ruth Pickles who was visiting Whitchurch to preach at the Winchester Street church as part of its 200th Anniversary celebrations.
She was accompanied by the Chairman of the Southampton Methodist district Rev Andrew Wood, The Mayor and Mayoress Cllr Barry Jackman and his wife Sandra, together with some members of the Whitchurch congregation.

The first plaque is dedicated.

The plaque is fixed on the house in Oakland Road that belonged to the farmer who owned the field immediately behind and on which John Wesley preached.
That field became known as Hebrews Meadow because on his first visit Wesley’s sermon was based on a passage in the bible in the book of Hebrews.
The field later became Bell Field where Bellvue is now built on.

Other plaques include one that marks the former Didcot, Newbury, Southampton railway in Bell Street, the visit of Charles Kingsley author of The Water Babies, and the fairs that were held in Fair Close.

It is hoped that details of all the plaques will be incorporated into a walks leaflet as well as into the various trips children from the local schools undertake around the town.

(click pictures to enlarge)

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