As Barry Shurlock writes in his article (“Winchester, the Stopher family and the archives”, Chronicle, March 24) Thomas Stopher certainly made his imprint on Winchester as an architect, surveyor, alderman and mayor.

Amazingly he also found time to support Winchester Dramatic Society.

Shakespearian roles were his forte commencing with Paulo in Othello (1865), followed by Prince Hal in Henry IV (1866) and Macduff in Macbeth during 1873 and 1885. In 1908 he was involved in the organization of the Winchester National Pageant, also, at age 71 years, taking the role of Raleigh.

This was an event on a monumental scale held in the ruins of Wolvesey Castle and involving 3,000 people in a series of historical tableaux. The pageant was blessed with beautiful weather and was immensely popular. The Hampshire Chronicle praised Stopher’s performance: “He is a true Raleigh … a very fine piece of acting.”

Flavia Bateson,

Archivist, Winchester Dramatic Society

Chesil Theatre,

Chesil Street,


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