Bishop’s Waltham’s long history has been showcased in a unique series of outdoor storyboards. 

The 10,000-year timeline covers the Stone Age to the destruction of the Bishop’s Palace during the Civil War, and as a public exhibition it delivers a fascinating picture of the small market town in bite-sized portions. 

In its heyday, the palace was visited by no fewer than 17 Kings and Queens of England. The posters also tell of Saxon settlement, Viking raiders and Norman deprivations.

The 34 metal posters adorn some of the hoarding boards installed by developers Country Homes Ltd.

They shield a prospective building site along the busy B2177, from Sainsbury’s to the town square.

Officially opening the Waltham walk-along on Saturday, September 30 was former resident Alan Lovell, chairman of both the Environment Agency and Hampshire Cultural Trust. 

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The public exhibition was the brainwave of Bishop’s Waltham Society president, Tony Kippenberger, who designed the posters, aided by archaeologist and Bishop’s Waltham Museum manager, Penny Copeland. A local artist, Chris Beardshaw, provided many of the illustrations.

Equal sponsorship was provided by the Bishop’s Waltham Society, the Museum Trust, the Town Team, Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and Bishop's Waltham Parish Council. Other supporters were Country Homes and poster manufacturers Big Stuff Ltd of Eastleigh.

The storyboards will remain in place until the Country Homes site is developed, and have been designed so they can then be removed and exhibited elsewhere. They can also be shifted to make way for viewing panels of an archaeological dig, due to take place before any building begins.

Mr Kippenberger said: “Bishop’s Waltham is a place where many aspects of its past are only vaguely remembered. 

“I’m keen to give local residents – particularly those new to the town – a real sense of where they live and what its long history is.

“At school we learn about the Romans, Saxons and Normans, but we are often left with the sense that they ‘happened’ elsewhere.

“So I hope that through this exhibition we can show that these real people, from Stone Age hunter-gatherers to Norman invaders, didn’t happen elsewhere. They lived, worked, loved and laughed right here, and we walk in their footsteps every day.’’