Peter lived in Wonston then Alresford, so is not strictly a Micheldever character, but is an honorary one for his contribution to local history and the Benefice.
Milner Reprint Dedication
The history summaries of the Parish and each of its settlements at the start of their section is taken from Dever & Down: A History of the Villages in and Around the Dever Valley in Hampshire by Peter Clarke with kind permission of the family.
The Rev Milner's History of Micheldever has been digitised through the good offices of Hampshire Archives Trust and reprinted, to mark the 180th Anniversary of Micheldever Station – available in stores and pubs or from Sue Bell - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the Dedication to Peter Clarke.
This edition of Milner's History of Micheldever is dedicated to Peter Lampard Clarke (1945-2020) who did much for the local history of the Dever Valley before his untimely death on the eve of the publication of his book Parsons & Prawns, published to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the opening of Micheldever Station. Peter read Law and Divinity at King's College, London, and qualified as a solicitor. He reached a senior position in BAT Industries PLC, before retiring to live for more than 20 years with his wife Jane in Wonston. His Dever & Down: A History of the Villages in and Around the Dever Valley in Hampshire is a standard work. He was a pillar of strength in the local church and a licensed lay worship leader. Despite being injured in the Hither Green crash in 1967 (when 49 died), he had a lifelong interest in railways and volunteered to support the local Watercress Line when he and Jane moved to Alresford in 2012.
Funeral Address at Wonston Church – extracts
Though Peter was born in Bournemouth at the end of the war, his family moved to Hastings soon afterwards and that is where he was educated. He did well and went on to read law at King's College London. It was there that he took up the almost unique opportunity for anyone at the college to study theology as an extra course and achieved the award of Associate of King's College.
He took his Articles in the city and in 1971 joined the legal department of BICC until 1986. From there he went to British Satellite Broadcasting - latterly BSKYB. In 1990 until his retirement he worked for BAT, in the last years as Company Secretary. Utter reliability, application to the task, attention to detail and a strong sense of duty and integrity. All of these were expressed in Peter's working life.
But these things were also present in whatever he chose to do for the good of others and for the causes in which he believed - being churchwarden here for many years, leading services so that worship and community could continue - gathering stories and researching archives so that he could write Dever and Down and its sequel, telling the story of this village and his other books and presentations too. There are so many things that Peter took up passionately and with care and dedication. If Peter agreed to do something, then you knew it would be done well - you could trust and rely upon him completely.
Peter was above all a good man. He was a kind man. He was a generous man. We have all experienced Peter's kindness and generosity. He loved life, he enjoyed it and he shared it all in such an open-hearted way. Peter was blessed with many things but no doubt the best thing in life for Peter was Jane and the best thing in life for Jane was Peter. And Peter was blessed with friends – all of us and so many more who are not here today - and we have been and are blessed through him.
As I have already said Peter studied for the AKC at college alongside law - a good grounding for the services and sermons he prepared later in life and the Sunday worship and funerals he led here at Wonston. While he and Jane lived here Peter was a faithful member and servant of this congregation and even after they moved to New Alresford he returned often on a Sunday morning. Those things are the visible expression of a faith that was a quiet but solid foundation of Peter's whole life and personality. He was not only a good man, he was a good Christian man, the worship of God - preferably in BCP language - and prayer were important for him.
In personal conversation it was not something that he talked about much but you knew it was there and even if you did not share his faith you knew that it was at the very heart of whom Peter was and why he was that way.
It is a great loss for us all that Peter has gone from us - and so suddenly. It is the greatest loss for Jane - but family and friends feel it keenly too. There is so much we shall miss - so much we shall not do again and less fun to be had together.
And as we remember (after this service we will gather at the Wonston Arms, where else?), raise a toast to this most kind and generous man, enjoying his last round at the bar.
Dever & Down - Cover
Parsons & Prawns - Cover
Dever & Down - Cover