Hartley Wintney and Saint Savin


Hartley Wintney in Hampshire has been twinned with Saint Savin, world renowned for its 12th century Abbey which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its exceptional decorative paintings. Vicky Chevis, Communications Manager for Hartley Wintney Twinning Association tells us how the twinning has evolved over the past 30 years.

Hartley Wintney was recorded in the 13th century as Hertleye Wynteneye which means “the clearing in the forest where the deer graze….”  It remains a small, leafy village in Hampshire which reportedly has the oldest continually played on cricket pitch in the world.  Quintessentially English, with a mix of antique shops, butchers, bakers, plus some not so traditional shops with a modern twist that include a shabby chic home ware shop proving to be popular.

The village along with the parishes of Winchfield, Mattingley, Rotherwick and Heckfield entered into a Twinning agreement with the beautiful town of St Savin since made a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for the Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe containing fabulous 11th and 12th century Frescos.  The twinning was to encourage and facilitate closer relations in the interests of international harmony.  That was 30 years ago and in practice what this has meant, is that just like the high street in Hartley Wintney, the twinning association has had to move with the times. 

In the early days of twinning, relationships were fostered between St Savin and Hartley Wintney primary schools as a group of parents were wishing to actively encourage their children to speak French and to learn about different customs and cultures well before the national curriculum dictated their children were old enough to learn a language.  Pen Pals were encouraged and French exchanges were arranged.

As part of the ‘30 Years Old and Growing Younger’ celebrations taking place between 2 – 4 September this year in our village to celebrate 30 years of being twinned with Saint Savin, the Hartley Wintney Twinning Association (HWTA) is wishing to enlist its local youth community clubs.  We want them to get involved in activities which could then lead to exchanges between these groups to encourage the growth and continuance of twinning.

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