Norman Hudson is the chairman of the Country Houses Foundation and has been advising owners of historic houses throughout Britain for many years on their management, conservation and commercial development. He has been a member of the Council of the National Trust, is a long-term adviser to the Historic Houses Association, and founded Hudson’s Historic Houses and Gardens, the annual guide to UK heritage properties open to the public.
We all know and love historic country houses and many visits have been paid to several of them over the years by this society. They are perhaps Britain’s greatest contribution to the history of architecture. Almost 2000 have been lost over the last two centuries, the majority since 1950. Today, despite increased legal protection, heightened public awareness and access, there is still an urgent need to prootect them, their grounds and associated buildings. Norman will be asking whether this is being achieved and if so how? Summer outings are coming up in April, May and June: numbers are limited for two of these so they are strictly for members only. 3 pm Thursday 21st April: tour of Munitions Factory site led by Dale Johnston (from the Museum), organized by Susan Walker. Tour 2 – 2 ½ hours. Maximum number 20; applications by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
There is rough terrain and stiles and gates to climb over, so it may not suit everyone. Good mobility and stout footwear essential. Sense of adventure desirable! As a ‘raw’ site there are no facilities. Cost £5 (to Museum Trust). Parking in the approach lane to the Bowling Green Restaurant, off Overthorpe Road, the other side of the M40 from Banbury (OX17 2XA) Thursday 26th May 2.30 pm Visit to Fawsley. Big house with medieval hall, Tudor bits and Victorian additions; nearly demolished in the 20th century and much rebuilt and restored, now a hotel. Also deserted medieval village (with brief information from Deborah Hayter); walk to medieval church through park. Organized by Susan Walker. No maximum but please indicate to Susan Walker (email@example.com) if you plan to come so that we can forewarn the hotel. Tea available in the hotel. Meet at 2.30 pm in the hotel car-park; no charge. Directions; Fawsley, Near Daventry NN11 3BAwww.fawsleyhall.com Weds June 8th Visit to King Edward VI’s school in Stratford (Shakespeare’s school).Talk & conducted tour by Richard Pearson, archivist, former head of history, on the school’s general history and the effect of world wars on the school.
Maximum number 20; applications by email to David Pym (firstname.lastname@example.org). When advertised before we were told no charge but unfortunately since that the trustees have decided that there should be a charge of £8.90. Meet at 10 am outside the porch of the Guild Chapel (corner of Church Street and Chapel Lane); tour is likely to take 1 ½ hours. No refreshment included but Stratford is full of eateries and other places to see.
Thursday July 14th AGM at Thenford House (absolutely members only), by kind invitation of Lord and Lady Heseltine. Meeting will begin at 5.30pm in the Church Barn (follow signs to Thenford Church, Church Barn to the left of the Church). Lady Heseltine will take us up to the house after refreshments and tell us something about the house; we hope it will be possible to see the Roman mosaic from the Thenford villa. PLEASE NO CAMERAS.
Lots of other interesting things going on: Who do you think you are? will be live at the NEC in Birmingham from 7-9th April and there will be all sorts of stands including one run by the National Archives with much of interest for family historians.
On Tuesday 10th May the Oxfordshire Local History Association (OLHA) is holding a study day together with the Bodleian Library to explore the riches of the Bodleian’s sources for local history. This will be held at the newly opened Weston Library in the Broad, Oxford, and there will be several talks from experts in their fields, attempting to familiarize researchers with the ways of the Bodleian. More details on the OLHA website.
Those of you interested in archaeology might like to know about Brackley History society’s next meeting this week on Wednesday 6th April which is all about the Archaeological Excavations at the Brackley Sawmills site. They have Mo Muldonwney, the director of the dig at Brackley in 2014, coming to speak about it. The excavated remains on the Sawmills site indicate that grain storage and grain processing was taking place there from the early to middle Iron Age, with the last phase of activity taking place in the late Iron Age. Lots of granary structures, pits and some quern stones were found.
With best wishes