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Common Cause: Through Our Ancestors’ Eyes

Common Cause: Through Our Ancestors’ Eyes

Lead Partner

Commoners Defence Association

What is it about?

Through Our Ancestors’ Eyes records the history of commoning, forestry and agriculture, that’s central to the cultural heritage of the New Forest by collecting and digitising old photographs, oral histories and other historical documents from commoners. This ensures that information on commoning and the agricultural history of the Forest is saved and made available to future generations. This information will be made available through the Real New Forest website, New Forest Knowledge and an exhibition.

What’s been achieved?
  • 20 commoning families have provided photographs and oral recordings
  • The completed catalogue contains 782 scanned photographs
  • 14 people have provided oral recordings which have been transcribed and linked to 500 of the photographs
  • All photos, audio files and transcripts collected are stored on the internal system at the Christopher Tower Library at the New Forest Heritage Centre.
  • Historian Richard Reeves has worked with volunteers to  transcribe the content of the old Verderers Minute Books so that they can be added as searchable files to the New Forest Knowledge website
Volunteering and training

There are still opportunities for volunteers to get involved and help with the archival research. If you are interested please see the contact details below.


The ‘commoning collection’ will continue to be expanded and where possible the collection will be publicly accessible and maintained as an important record of the history of commoning in the New Forest. It will be used to educate current and future generations about the importance of commoning.

Contact details

Please contact Real New Forest.


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