We have a varied and lively programme of lectures from September through to March or April. Many of the speakers we invite are distinguished academics (we are lucky to be close to the University of Oxford) and all are experts in their field. The topics range from the local to the national, and from the Roman period through to the present. We aim to provide something for everyone. Lectures are held in the education room of the Banbury Museum, starting at 7.30 pm.
In May, June and July the society provides a varied summer programme, which might include visits to country houses and archaeological digs, ‘road shows’ at village halls, or guided walks exploring historical landscapes or ancient towns. In July the society’s AGM is held in a different interesting building each year.
From time to time the society organises other events, such as a ‘workshop’ session, or an ‘historical artefacts quiz’. (For future events, go to the BHS Events page.) On June 25th 2015 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, the Museum, together with this society, laid on a celebrity lecture at Broughton Castle. Lots of people came and pic-nicked in the grounds. It was particularly apposite to be at Broughton for this, as Baron Saye was one of the barons who forced King John to set his seal on the charter, and the Great Hall was a wonderful setting for such an occasion. Sir Bob Worcester chaired the occasion and Anton Lesser, who had played Sir Thomas More in the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall, some of which had been filmed at Broughton, read extracts from the Great Charter, and also finished the evening with a reading of Rudyard Kipling’s Runnymede. In between Professor David Carpenter, of King’s College London, gave a sparkling lecture about the making of the Great Charter.
In 2016/17 the society offered a prize of £100 for the best piece of local research undertaken by a student, and in April 2017 held a History Quiz, with Sir Tony Baldry, recently retired MP for Banbury as quizmaster. Teams had been invited from other local history societies in the area.
Cake & Cockhorse: the society’s journal, appears three times a year and reflects every aspect of local history. There have been over 500 articles on Banbury and Banburyshire: archaeology, people and places. We rely on local historians who want to share and publish the fruits of their research, and the editor Chris Day is always willing to discuss possible projects.
Records volumes: the society has published 34 volumes of local history to date and there are more in the pipeline. The most recent are Rusher’s Banbury Directory 1832 – 1906 and a volume of Victorian diaries. Volumes about the railways through Banbury, the William Morris & Co. stained glass in Middleton Cheney church, and the borough records of Georgian Banbury are in the pipeline. The list of all the records volumes shows which ones are still available for purchase.