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History of the Village

Although Four Marks only became a separate civil parish in 1932 its name appears on the 1897 Ordnance map, and the Post Office Guide for 1875 lists a Public House in Medstead called The Four Marks, run by John Wyeth (a local family name). In 1904 Four Marks was using its own (Post Office) cancellation on letters.

There are a number of theories about the origin of the village name. One, offered by Stan Yates of Beech, describes it as follows:

At the time of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s a line of beacons was maintained (before the semaphore) from Portsmouth to London. There was a fee payable to the Parish maintaining the beacon, and the site at Telegraph Lane was claimed by the four parishes of Chawton, Medstead, Farringdon and Ropley.

The Bishop of Winchester then decided that the beacon area would be designated as extra-parochial and bounded by Four (stone) Marks. The fee for maintaining the site would then accrue to him. Hence, Four Marks was originally the area of the beacon site.


History of the Magazine

The magazine was launched in March 1973 by the Womenís Institute in order to make money that could be used to help fund expenses of the Village Hall, where the WI met. From the beginning production was a team effort under the initial Editor, Mrs. Elsie Stevens. Individual pages of the magazine were duplicated by Mr. Laker, the local milkman, who undertook some printing as a sideline and then 300 copies assembled and stapled together by the magazine team. The cover price was 12p and usually a hundred copies were sold through the Tuck Shop, owned by Mr. Jones, with the remaining two hundred sold to WI members and other organisations that used the Hall. The first yearís profit of £300 was donated to the Village Hall, as promised.

After three years the job of Editor passed to Mrs. Dora Holford,another WI member, who volunteered to take the job on, including responsibility for the whole production. She and Mr. Lawrence Storey, who became the Business Manager, already printed the Church magazine on the Church duplicator and so the Village magazine was printed 'in house'. Within a short time the Church duplicator was proving unreliable and a new Gestetner was bought at a cost of £600 with the help of loans from the Church and the Editor's husband, although profits had to be diverted to repaying the loans back before the Village Hall could benefit again.

Mrs. Holford continued as Editor until 1990 when Mrs Valerie Hobbs, another WI member, took over and continued for the following sixteen years until March 2006, when she fell ill. There was the threat that the publication would fold, but an appeal for help through WI members brought together Derek Seaton, (husband of the then WI President), who took over as Editor, and Dennis Bignell (husband of a WI member) who became Business and Production Manager. At that stage the magazine was still being printed as individual sheets and stapled together by a team of WI members into the monthly run of 275 copies. The cover price had increased over the years to 50p and profits were being given to the Village Hall from time to time for specific refurbishment works.

In November 2006 a commercial printer started printing and collating the magazine, at which point it was renamed Four Marks News. During Derek Seatonís year as Editor he recruited the present team and in May 2007 handed over the job to Dennis Bignell. In March 2007 annual subscriptions were introduced and in December 2007 colour was introduced for the first time, with the front cover showing different scenes of the village. This also allowed some of the many photographs received each month to be shown in colour. In March 2012 a four page colour centre section was added, allowing extra space for colour advertising and further colour photographs. In September 2013, following a change in printer, the magazine started being printed by offset litho machine on coated paper, giving a very professional finish. Since March 2014 the whole magazine, except for the black & white advertisement pages, has been printed in full colour. As from 1st January 2017 Ian Fairclough became Editor.

The cover price remains at 50p and, thanks to the support received from advertisers and the 575 readers each month, profits continue to accrue. These, plus profits from sale of our book Exploring Four Marks and the surrounding Countryside, are used for the benefit of villagers. Since 2010/11 the management team has been pleased to spend more than £12,540 supporting the needs of village organisations, including buying a defibrillator, benches for the children's play area, and equipment for community responders, football club and Over 60s lunch club. Of the total almost £4,200 has been used to support the local school, principally for reading books and dictionaries.

| Whilst care is taken to ensure this website and the contents, including advertisements, in the magazine are accurate and factual, the management team accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise by error, omission, inaccuracy, or for any misrepresentation, implied or otherwise in any article or advertisement. Readers are advised to make their own enquiries about contractors and trades people they use. |

© 2017 Four Marks News