In Conjunction with the hillfigure homepage
Newsletter 1 July 2000
On 29th September 2000, the first anniversary of the completion of the Devizes millennium White Horse, we had a ceremony up on Bank Field, by the hillfigure to inaugurate and dedicate a memorial seat in memory of Keith Saunders, who had died at Christmas time 1999. He had been the inspiration and prime mover behind the mechanical excavation of the White Horse by Pearce Civil Engineering. His widow and family were present and the Rev. Brian Tigwell conducted the dedication ceremony and prayers in Keith's memory.
Afterwards, we held the Inaugural meeting of the Cavaliers of the Devizes Millennium White Horse in the board room at Sarsen Housing Association HQ. This rounded off the duties of the Devizes Millennium White Horse Committee and elected officers and committee members for the on going new committee for the cavaliers.
The New Committee consists of:
Chairman - Peter Greed
Secretary - Elizabeth Holloway
Treasurer - Derek Elliott
Cavaliers Co-ordinator - Donna Hutchinson
At the end of the meeting, there was a social evening for the Cavaliers along with a cake to celebrate the first birthday of the horse.
On Christmas Eve 2000, we were saddened to hear of the death of one of our staunchest supporters and fundraisers, Mr Les Reeves.
It was a letter to the local newspaper, in August 1998, by a newcomer to Devizes, Sarah Padwick; suggesting that a chalk hill figure be cut in Roundway Down to commemorate the Millennium; which instigated this successful project. Unknown to her, there had previously been a hill figure cut on Roundway Down. It was cut in 1845 and was in the form of a horse; but has been long since overgrown. This was on the escarpment to the south of Oliver's Camp and cut by the shoemakers apprentices in 1845. It was known as Snob's Horse. Snob being the then local term for shoemaker. Many attempts have been made to reinstate this original chalk figure, namely in 1909,1939,1954.1977,1979,1987 and 1998. Peter Greed, a sixth form student at Devizes Grammar School, was one of the students in 1954 led by James Smith, the then Head Boy, who researched the Snob's Horse. Peter at that time drew up full detailed plans for the recutting of the horse. The present attempt to recut Snob's Horse was thwarted by the site being declared a site of special scientific interest. However a local farmer, Chris Combe, offered his land on Roundway Hill as an alternative site; provided permission was granted by the Crown Estates Commissioners, who own the land. Wiltshire County Council Tourism supported the project as did Roundway Parish Council who supported the planning application made to the Kennet District Council. The design was that drawn up in 1954, but reversing the directing in which the horse faced. Thus this new horse differs from the other Wiltshire White Horse hill figures in that it faces to the right and depicts a moving horse. A committee was set up to oversee the project; and the public invited to become members of the 'Cavaliers of the Devizes Millennium White Horse' - the group formed to support the project and its future maintenance. Alan Truscott of Sarsens Housing joined the committee in charge of the surveying and pegging out of the horse figure, as did Keith Saunders of Pearce Civil Engineering who provided the machinery and manpower to complete the clearing of the top soil and the infilling of the chalk following the cutting of the outline by hand by various groups and individuals from the local community. "Torrential rain and gales could not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of the c. 200 people who took part in the cutting of the outline."
It is anticipated that this project will promote the town of Devizes, its ancient heritage and attractive surrounding countryside; and will provide an additional feature for the tourist map of the area.
New years Eve saw the time capsule laid under the horse, Peter Dew and Richard Pearce of Pearce Civil Engineering again gave their help towards the ceremony of during the time capsule and the floodlighting of the horse. The timecapsule was donated by Wessex Water and Rev. Brian Tigwell, John Girvan and Dr Paul Robinson assembled the time capsule with lots things of local interest. The capsule was buried at noon by Margaret Saunders (widow of Keith) and her son during a ceromony with Noel Woolrych (Mayor of Devizes) Viv Alexander (Parish Council Chairman), Rev Brian Tigwell and the committee members.
Peter T. Greed - (Chairman, Project Manager and Designer)
John Markwell - (Vice chairman and Publicity)
Derek Elliott - (Treasurer)
Sarah Padwick - (Instigator and Secretary)
Alan Truscott - Sarsens Housing Association (Surveying)
Keith Saunders - Pearce Civil Engineers - (Engineering on site)
Rev Brian Tigwell - (Timecapsule)
Donna Hutchinson - ('Cavaliers' membership secretary)
Dot Williams - Tourism and Finance Officer, Wiltshire County Council.
Chris Combe - tenant farmer.
Community groups participating in cutting the outline :
Devizes Army Cadet Corps Platoon
Devizes Fire BrigadeDevizes Girl's Brigade
Devizes and Mid Wilts Scout Group
Sarsen Housing Association
Schools - Bishop Cannings CE Primary
St. Peters CE Primary
Mechanical excavation : Vernon Few
If you would like to support this project by becoming a a member of the 'Cavaliers of the Devizes Millennium White Horse'.
Contact Mrs Donna Hutchinson (01672) 851104 for more information or download one of the forms below.
File in Adobe PDF format 300K
Please contact - Donna Hutchinson,
2 Stitchings Lane,
Pewsey, SN9 6LD
Tel : 01672 851104
For further details of the white horse contact any of the following
Mrs Sarah Padwick
Mr Peter Greed
Tel (01380) 840 865
Mobile (0966) 542 293
Mr John Markwell
Tel/Fax (01380) 721 102
Mobile (0468) 891 369
For General Whitehorse and Hillfigure Questions contact Mark Hows