FOR a small village West Tytherley has a huge amount of history, which is just about to be displayed in a new exhibition.

Boasting the country’s oldest bell, the oldest continually occupied house in Hampshire and landholders who were killed at the Battle of Hastings, the village’s history is rich and fascinating.

Following the closure of local history group the Thorngate History Society, records, photographs and archives were scattered across the village. It was feared that some of the precious material was at risk of being destroyed.

But a group of villagers banded together to collate all the archives, and plan to put on a special exhibition of village history at the village hall at the start of February.

In addition to photographs showing all aspects of village life there will be artefacts on show from the Roman villa and former glassworks, the history of the wealthy families that lived at Norman Court Manor and items dating back to the First and Second World Wars.

Many of the 400 people who live in West Tytherley have discovered their families have lived there for several generations and have offered photographs and other information for the display.

The history of the school and church – which houses the oldest bell in England, dating back to 1260 – and other fascinating facts about West Tytherley’s past will also be on display.

There will be activities for children, information about the episode of Top Gear filmed on the Coach Road, film archives and details of Pink Floyd’s new DVD release which was filmed at Church Farm tithe barn.

“It has been wonderful putting this exhibition together and all the villagers have given their support,” said Ann Harkus, who organised the event with the help of Liz Dowding, David King and Reverend James Pitkin.

“We live in such a fascinating place, with such a varied history and interesting characters, and it has been wonderful to bring it all together.”

The History of West Tytherley exhibition is at West Tytherley Village Hall on February 1 and 2 from 10am to 4pm each day.