Sutton Mandeville Flower Show - August 2022

Updated: Sep 5

The quintessential English flower show is believed to have originated around the 17th /18th century, when florist societies of the period first staged competitions. The term 'florist feast' is found in records in 1630 and by the early 1800's reports of these events appeared in newspapers.

A 'florist' at that time was not, as now, a purveyor of cut flowers, but meant an amateur grower of flowers and especially someone engaged in the production of new varieties, by segregation and propagation of cuttings.

A group of highly variable plants became known as 'florist flowers' and the societies drew up stringent rules to assess the quality of these, initially coming up with eight 'traditional' categories for judging namely, tulips, carnations, pinks, auriculars, polyanthus, hyacinths, anemones and ranunculus.

The florist societies held their competitions at public houses and inns and later in town halls accompanied by a dinner, hence becoming known as 'florist feasts' at which utilitarian prizes would be awarded, such as high quality silverware and kitchen utensils.

Sutton Mandeville Horticultural Society

In the inaugural Sutton Mandeville Parish Council newsletter (1974) it was suggested that in the absence of any regular village activities, a flower and vegetable show could be a good idea.

The Sutton Mandeville Horticultural Society was subsequently formed in 1975 as a way of establishing a new community activity, the forming committee members were Mr Maskelyn (President), Mr Thompson (Chairman), Mr Matthews (Show Secretary), Mrs Partridge and Mrs Elwin.

1st Flower Show 1975

The first flower and vegetable show was held on Saturday 2 August 1975 at Church Farm, the home of Mr & Mrs Walter Partridge who offered their garden, and was attended by more than 300 people.

There were nine classes for flowers, nine for vegetables and others for honey, jams, chutneys etc.

Miss Margaret Mullins agreed to let one of her late father's cups be presented as a Challenge Cup and was inscribed accordingly.

It was a very successful show and the event has been organised each Summer over many years at different locations in Sutton Mandeville and Fovant, with increasing numbers of exhibitors taking part.

Click on images to enlarge

A weekly produce stall was also set up in August 1975, opening every Saturday morning for society members to sell vegetable, fruit or eggs with a deduction of one penny from each sale to cover the costs of running, hosted by Mrs Elwin at Hardings Corner below Sutton Church.

In 1983 the first Spring Show was organised and both shows continued until a few years ago when the Spring Show was sadly dropped.

Click on images to enlarge

The Summer Show continued until the arrival of Covid in 2020, which forced cancellation of many public events (the last flower show being in 2019), but the intention is to reinstate regular Summer Flower Shows in August each year.

Sutton Mandeville Flower Show 2019
Summer Show 2022

Held at Fovant Village Hall on Saturday 20th August.


A - Vegetable & Fruit

B - Flowers

C - Flower Arrangements

D - Domestic

E - Photography

F - Craft

G - Children & Young People

Rules, Prize details and Entry Form:

Download PDF • 2.94MB

See: Annual Flower Show 2022 - Report & Prizes


Over the years, large numbers of volunteers (both from Sutton and Fovant) have served on the Committee but we now need a new Secretary and (ideally) a new Treasurer. The Secretary role is key to the organisation of the Show.

If anyone would like to help (gardening expertise not required) please contact:

Sutton Mandeville Horticultural Society

Chairman David Willis 01722 714768 /07721 420497


Further information: Royal Horticultural Society