History of the Shoot

The Shoot takes place at The Acorn Shoot on The Compton Manor Estate at King’s Somborne.


King’s Somborne has an ancient history and is mentioned in The Doomsday Book. From that time there were close connections with The King of England who owned most of the area around The Sombornes, Mottisfont and Stockbridge and the estate was given to King Edwards111’s third son John the first Duke of Lancaster known as John O’Gaunt the English pronunciation of Ghent where he was born. (1340 - 1399). On the death of Edwards oldest son (Edward The Black Prince) the Crown passed to his 10 year old son, a minor (Crowned Richard11) and John became his Guardian and de facto ruler of England. In King’s Somborne there was a large Country House known locally as John O’Gaunt’s Palace although it was probably a hunting lodge as the area was a large Deer Park. Over time the building became derelict and was taken down with much of the stone being used to build the Village School built in 1842 and run by The Rev. Richard Dawes a leading pioneering educationalist.


There were a number of Manor Houses around King’s Somborne and Compton Manor estate was probably the hub of the Deer Park. It changed hands a number of times and during WW2 was owned by a Mr. Hennessey who gave a donation towards the building of The Working Men’s Club. In 1945 the estate was purchased by Sir Thomas Sopwith a noted Aviation Pioneer who was responsible for building The Sopwith Camel and other aircraft used during WW1 and subsequently The Hawker Hurricane used in WW2.


In 1921 a wooden building was erected to be used as The Comrades Club and this was in use until 1972 when a decision was made to replace it with a brick building for the benefit of The Village. Work started in 1973 and was completed in 1975. Sir Thomas donated a mini car to be raffled to raise funds for the erection of the Building.


By 2008 after 33 years it was clear that a major refurbishment and update of the Hall was required and suggestions were sought to raise the necessary funds. One idea was a shotgun ‘Have a Go’ stand where visitors to The Village fete could shoot at clay targets but problems with insurance and closing a bridle path and footway prevented this.


It was then suggested that the problems could be overcome by putting on a clay shoot at an already established shoot and The Acorn Shoot run by Des Sturgess on The Compton Manor Estate nicely tied in The Village Hall and the connection with Sir Thomas.


A small committee consisting of John Vanderpump, Tony Brooke-Webb, Colin Reeve, David Pepperell Tony Ward and Henry Potter under the auspices of The Village Hall Charity was formed and the first shoot took place on Saturday 9th May 2009. From the start it was determined that the shoot would not be a ‘Straw Bale’ shoot but with fixed stands, referees, reasonable prizes and a hog roast lunch with wine. 13 teams of 4 shooters entered and the shoot raised £5319 with part of the money raised going to Brains Trust a Cancer Charity. BASC gave a cash donation but later this was changed to two perpetual trophies for the male and female top guns and they are still keenly contested. At the first shoot Tommy Junior the son of Sir Thomas presented the trophies and prizes and thereafter Lady Appleyard the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire presented the trophies and prizes


Over the next six years the shoot was held on the first Friday in May and supported Cancer  Research UK.(CRUK) as well as the King’s Somborne Village hall refurbishment Fund.  There are the usual Pool Shoot, 4 man flush, a selection of single shooter stands and two other stands including a rabbit flush and a pair shooting together on one stand to add interest and variety. For a while there was also an Archery stand.


In 2010 there were 20 teams and £11000 was raised. This had risen in 2011 to 27 teams and raised £13000. The number of teams increased each year and in 2014 and 2015 had reached 35 the maximum number The Acorn Shooting Ground can safely accommodate. After the 2015 shoot the total raised and shared between the two Charities exceeded £100 000.oo


On 13th May 2011 Amber Hill aged 11 years came as part of a ladies team and won Top Ladies Gun. Amber also won the BBC ‘Young Sports Personality the Year’ award in 2013 and in 2016 has a quota place to shoot in the Olympics for the British Team. Amber has attended our shoot for the last three years to present the trophies and has agreed to do so again in 2016.


During this time, some members have moved on and John Vanderpump, Tony Brooke-Webb and Colin Reeve have been joined by Tim Long who built and maintains out web site, Jack Cawthra, Ian Beecham, John Davies and Keith Watson. Recent members who have joined include Simon Johnson in 2015, Alastair Dodds and our Administrative Assistant, Polly Savage.


We have also had considerable help from Karen and Victoria from Interfacetm who contacted or chased a large number of sponsors and obtained some fine Raffle and Auction prizes.


From 2010 the shoot has been ably assisted by The Winchester Branch of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) who dress the marquee, provide, prepare and serve the excellent lunch under the efficient directions of Joyce (Jo) Brooke-Webb.


In 2016 BASC offered an air rifle stand which is a new innovation to help our charitable fund raising and to  raise the profile of air rifle shooting.


Between 2010 and 2015 the money raised has been shared between CRUK and The Village Hall. This has enabled The Hall to be modernized with a new kitchen, Committee room, Sports pavilion and The Jubilee Room which was opened in The Queen’s Jubilee year. There is also now a vastly improved main hall with modern ‘mood’ lighting an environmentally friendly heating and cooling system including solar panels on the roof. The improvements are ongoing with the latest phase due for completion in the summer of 2016.  It has improved to a very high standard as a result of which the Hall is now self sufficient.


The 2016 shoot is now ready to go and fully booked. update to follow.


28th Match 2016…………………………………..Colin Reeve CPSA & BASC Member.



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