The ceremonial banner of the Fivehead Friendly Society was falling apart after years of neglect when it was discovered two years ago rolled up under the altar of the village church. Professional advice that the banner is of significant artistic and textile importance led to fundraising for its conservation. Sadly, the Fivehead Friendly Society no longer exists, but at least their beautiful banner now hangs for all to see in the Village Hall.
Oliver Howard, who led the project on behalf of the
Parish Council, commented "It's wonderful to see the banner so well conserved and preserved for posterity. Our thanks for funding go to St Andrew's Conservation Trust, Fivehead Parish Council, and Mr Edward Matterson, whose family used to live at Langford Manor in Fivehead. It must be remembered that the Friendly Society was of vital importance to the villagers of Fivehead, providing support and money, and to help them stay out of the workhouse or suffer the indignity of a Pauper's Grave."
The Fivehead Friendly Society was in existence from 1865 to 1939 with members making small regular contributions to a central fund from which all were entitled to draw in time of need.
Nowadays we talk of those out of work and drawing benefits as being "on the dole", in those days it was referred to as "being on the box" due to the fact that the Society's monies were kept in a box, which had three different keys, held by the two Stewards and the Secretary.
The entrance fee in 1887 was two shillings and sixpence and the monthly subscription was one shilling. The population of Fivehead in 1901 was 337, and the Society had about 100 male members.