The actual date of the first Titchfield Carnival is shrouded in the mists of time. The Titchfield Bonfire Boys Society (TBBS) who now run the event have adopted 1880 as the date of their foundation, but another mentions 1882.

Their first meeting was recorded in the Hampshire Telegraph was at the Temperance Hall in 1887 to decide on the date of they event. The chances are that only by that time had it gathered enough interest to need careful management.

Why the carnival begun

We are also left to speculate why it begun at all. Many reasons are proffered: some say it just developed from the November 5th bonfire celebrations (that would be boring!); others reckon that TBBS revived a tradition of riotous celebrations connected with a defunct autumn fair; but the favourite story mentions a demonstration including the burning of a tar barrel effigy of a local anti-hero.

Quite who had fallen out of favour is a mystery; the Third Earl of Southampton is suggested but he died over 250 years before the formation of TBBS in 1880.

It might have been Henry Peter Delme, who may have caught the brunt of it all when in his seventies. He would have presided over the village at that time from Cams Hall in Fareham. With the railway just missing Titchfield, it was a time of radical change from which some would benefit and some would suffer. In public office one always has both admirers and critics.

Carnival Description

No full description of the carnival comes to light until 1894, when the local paper records that TBBS paraded round the town in costume with a guy and rocket stand on a trolley. In the evening they were accompanied by the Titchfield Drum and Fife Band and torch bearers to a paddock belonging to Mr. Wilkins of the Bugle, where there was a “pretty display of fireworks”. Three years later the display seems to have grown because there were people in the procession and a bonfire 2Oft high and 4Oft round in “Bells Field”, Coach Hill, with fireworks. In 1898, however, there were some interesting tableaux: “The last stand of General Gordon in 1884” escorted by a guard of lancers in white helmets, the Khalifa was burnt in effigy. There was a trades’ procession the cars of the tanners engaged in fleshing and tanning hides, blacksmiths’ cars, butchers, bakers etc. At this time the Oddfellows and Foresters always had tableaux in the procession. In 1902, there were decorated cars and two bands, one being the Titchfield Mounted Band.

During the War years

War interrupted the festivities but the Society was revived in 1946 to welcome home Servicemen from overseas. It is said that during the war, on the day when the Carnival would have been held, someone walked round the streets beating a drum.

Carnival History in Brief


Titchfield Parish Register records on June 23rd the, 'shutting out of Titchfield haven by one Richard Talbottes industrie under God's permissione.' Tradition has it that the first carnivals featured the burning of an effigy of the Earl of Southampton who must have ordered the closure.


Titchfield Carnival was in existence in 1814. An extract from the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of Monday 25th April 1814 reports "The Illuminations at Titchfield were very brilliant and tasteful-transparencies, variegated lamps, flags, and devices appropriate to the joyful occasion were to be seen: whilst a Band of Music paraded the town, the bells rang, guns were fired, and there was a grand display of fireworks."


The actual date of the first Titchfield Carnival is unknown but the Bonfire Boys adopted 1880 as the date of their foundation, although some references indicate it was in fact two years later.


The first mention of a meeting of the Bonfire Boys recorded in the Hampshire Telegraph which took place at the Temperance Hall in the village.


Regular smoking concerts were regularly held in the village Pubs to fundraise and encourage support the carnival - these events where male only and held at the Queens Head, Bugle hotel, and other pubs around Titchfield


Decorated cars and two bands, one being the Titchfield Mounted Band take part in the procession.


Complaints from some residents that their paintwork was damaged following the burning of a tar barrel in the Square!


Carnival stops during war years but women and children walk the route to keep the spirit of the carnival alive.


The carnival returns with all its pre-war vigor.


Titchfield Carnival makes the British Pathe News "Film which records the fun and games of Titchfield Carnival. Various decorated houses, people in fancy dress, decorated floats etc. are shown. Various funny costumes". Narrator refers to the "Carnival is an open air fancy dress party...and a must if visiting Britain"


First Blues at the Abbey fundraiser helped to keep the carnival afloat. As the event’s reputation grows the July event attracts an audience of around 2,000.


Bonfire Boys extend the Abbey event by running a 'Folk at the Abbey' concert the day before the blues night.


Bonfire Boys reluctantly cancel Titchfield Carnival due to lack of funds. Committee members and friends walk the route carrying the TBBS banner. The new committee organize a programme of fundraising events including a barn dance, a Grand Ball and Fayre in Barry's Meadow.


The Carnival returns with a revised route and without the traditional fun fair on the Rec. TBBS continue grow and develop the carnival into one of the best in Hampshire.

How you can help

How you can help...

The TBBS simply cannot function without volunteers from the local area...

Get Involved
How you can help

Helpful files and forms

All the forms you need to register a float in any category, walkers, cluds, pubs, business etc..
just click here...

Pictures and Video

We have many great pictures from
over the hundreds of years the
carnival has been running...

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