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Telephone: 01725 552796 ~ eMail: info@sixpennyhandleybowls.co.uk

 

Our Club History

 

 

 

 

A little bit of history about Sixpenny Handley

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Reprinted from Dorset Villages. Pleasures of the Chase
In his autobiographical writings the first Earl of Shaftsbury described how the local landowners used to meet each week at the Sixpenny Handley bowling green. Of the year 1639, he wrote:

The eastern part of Dorsetshire had a bowling green at Hanley, where the gentlemen went constantly once a week, though neither the green nor accommodation was inviting, yet it was well placed for to continue the correspondence of the gentry of those parts. Thither resorted Mr Hastings of Woodland, Sir Gerard Nappeir, Mr. Rogers, Sir William Uvedall, Mr. Carent of Woodyats, Mr. Okeden, Mr. Butler, father and son, and Mr. Edward Hooper of Boryads (the same Edward Hooper of Boveridge who was later dubbed at a cellar wine-bibbing by the Merry Monarch), Mr. Ryves of Raynston, Mr. Holles, Mr. Chafin of Chettle, Mr. Hussey of Edmondsham, Mr. Ernley, Mr. Arney, Sir George Moreton, and myself, with several others….


This brilliant pen portrait of the first of these gentlemen takes us straight into the mid-seventeenth century, and the manners of the preceding one:

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That road signposted 'MONKTON UP WIMBORNE and 6d HANDLEY' leads over the A354 to a village, which was largely rebuilt after a great fire in 1892, in which nearly two hundred people were rendered homeless and destitute. In a contemporary account it was said that the fire which raged through Handley was started by sparks from the wheelwright's fire. It was 20th May in a very dry spring, and a high wind tossed the burning thatch into the air and spread the fire.

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A former curate of the parish was sent by the bishop to enquire into the matter. As he passed up the ruined street, he met an old parishioner and asked for particulars. At the end of her graphic story, he asked what the vicar was doing about it.

The old lady sniffed contemptuously….."The Parson", she said, "He's no sense. What d'ye think his text was on Sunday? 'We went through fire and water, but Thou has brought us to a wealthy place'. It's true there was fire enough, but there weren't no watter to put it out. And I ask you, Sarl"…. With a dramatic gesture towards the smoldering ruins around her…"Would you call this 'a wealthy place'?".

This sad catastrophe aroused much general interest and sympathy, and gifts of all sorts came pouring in. In fact, so much clothing was sent that it was said you could, for a long time, tell a man from our parish because he usually wore two if not three waistcoats. A great deal of money was collected, so much that when all claims had been met, at least £1000 was left over. Unfortunately so much squabbling arose about the further spending of this big balance that it was put into chancery, where it has remained ever since.


The name of the village is derived from the two former hundreds, Sexpena and Hanlege, which were, according to The Place Names of Dorset, "…..from the thirteenth-century onwards….mostly mentioned together and seem at a fairly early date to have been united or confused….perhaps owing to the fact that they both belonged to the abbess of Shaftsbury". The names themselves probably came from the combination of the Old English 'Saxons' hilltop' and 'a high clearing'.

A little history about the bowls club

In 1990 the Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club was formed. Initially with the village hall in need of funds East Dorset Council supplied a mat, two sets of woods and instructions for those wishing to learn the game.

Notices were put up around the village and approximately 20 people turned up for an introduction to the game. Soon enough funds were raised to buy two new mats. Many became 'hooked' and from then on it grew from strength to strength.

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Emlyn Hughes

Aug 1947 - Nov 2004

Sadley, Emlyn died from a brain tumour at the age of 57. Hughes earned 62 caps for England and led Liverpool to a string of honours.

In 1995 Lottery money became available to the Village and a Village Recreational Ground was planned and approved.

The original concept of the Sports area provided provision by way of a Pavilion for Tennis, Football, Cricket and Bowls to share facilities for their sporting activities.

The pavilion was completed and opened in 1996 by Emlyn Hughes, former England and Liverpool Football Captain.

The build also included our international standard outdoor synthetic green with six rinks. The decision to have a synthetic green, as opposed to natural turf, was purely made from a financial and low maintenance perspective. People now attend from all areas, both locally and nationally, to play indoor short mat bowls in the Village Hall and outdoor lawn bowls on our synthetic green all year round.

The Pavillion facilities are of a high standard, however, it soon became apparent to the Club that the 'sharing' concept resulted in a clash when entertaining teams on the same day. There was no 'personality of the area' which we had experienced when visiting other Bowls Clubs. In addition, particularly in inclement weather, the distance from the green was inconvenient.

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Foundations Done!

Costs and ideas were considered over several years and the building as constructed, is designed to provide seating arrangements for refreshments etc, spectator views to the activities on the green, provision for short mat practice, a small licensed bar and a 'Bowls Club' environment.

The funding was provided through fund raising activities by members and sponsorship. Construction of the pre-packed building and its base was carried out by members. The total cost was in the region of £22,000 and was completed from planning to opening in about 12 months.

In 2012 Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club started the build project of it's own Club House.

The foundation was started in October 2012 by some of the members. This was completed by December just as the weather turned and we had snow for a few weeks. The building arrived on 11 February 2013, (it was still snowing that day!). It arrived, from Lithuania, on the back of a very large lorry and was in kit form, just like a flat-pack. The weather then became kind to us and for 10 weeks the club members spent many hours building it. This was a great achievement as there were no instructions with it, just a picture of the completed item. On the 21st April 2013 the Club House was Opened by David Lockyer from Sixpenny Handley Parish Council.

Although we are a relatively small rural club the impact of the building has had far reaching effects on the cohesion of the club membership and reports from visiting players have been very favourable. In fact it is sometimes difficult to get them out of the door and on their way home.

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2013 New Synthetic Green Completed

Should you wish for further details initial contact with our club secretary will ensure that a member of the construction team will be only too happy to oblige.

That same year the Club decided to renew the synthetic turf, although the original one had given the Club fantastic service for 18 years it was wearing in some areas and the colour was weathered.

In November 2013 the new sythetic green had been layed by Dales Sports Surfaces who did a factastic job. The new synthetic green has now settled and withstood the weather over the very wet winter months. It will now be professionally re-stretched by Dales Sports Surfaces in time for the opening of our outdoor bowls season ensuring a true and fast green for match play.

If you would like to try our synthetic green then please make a request via our Contact Us page and I'm sure you'll receive an invitation to do so at one of our 'open days' or practise nights.

Keep looking on our website for details.

 

 

 

 


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Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club competes in the following leagues:-
Bowls Dorset - East
Westbrook Mixed Triples League
Blackmore Vale League


Supplied and Installed Synthetic Outdoor Bowls Green
for Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club

Dorset SMBA
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