What a lot of very specific machines for doing very specific tasks there were in the 19th century. There was plenty of lively chat during the evening, and I hope that you all felt that Trevor Parry’s Swiss one-legged milking stool was a worthy winner of the prize for the most interesting object. I was much taken with Lilian Stageman’s wool-winding gadget and Sheila Evans’ rat trap too.
The first of our summer outings is coming up on Thursday 14th May, when we shall meet at 2.30 pm at the National Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, near Towcester. This is a small museum but it contains a fascinating display of Canal memorabilia, especially for the Grand Union Canal and the Oxford Navigation. It is by the canal, and the visit will include (if wanted) a half-hour trip on a narrow boat to the entrance of Blisworth tunnel, and/or walks along the towpath. Charge £3 (£1 reimbursed at Museum for driver, take car park receipt). Museum (quite steep stairs) £3.40 each (maybe less if charged as group). Canal trip about £3. Gather in car park (to get group reduction at Museum).
Lunch is available at the Boat Inn (over canal by pedestrian bridge by the lock, or The Navigation which is close by. Teas are available at the Museum or the Boat Inn. (Detailed directions on the back of last Cake & Cockhorse.
On Thursday 18th June we shall be visiting the grounds of Farnborough Hall with Stephen Wass who gave us such a terrific talk on the subject in March. Meet in the car park at 2.30pm. There will be a short walk on paths and grass if wanted or for hearty members an extended walk taking in some rougher ground where boots might be required, particularly after wet weather. Cost £5 unless you are NT members in which case you will not need to pay the £3.80 for entrance to the grounds.
The following week we shall be celebrating 800 years since the Sealing of the Magna Carta, at Broughton Castle, Thursday 25th June, 7.30pm.
David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London, an expert in thirteenth-century England, and author of the recently published Penguin Classic “Magna Carta” – a landmark in Magna Carta studies – will draw on new discoveries to give a fresh account of the Great Charter showing how it quickly gained a central place in English political life.
Sir Robert M. Worcester, Chairman, Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee will describe how the Magna Carta has inspired him and its relevance today.
This will be in the Great Hall of Broughton Castle, home of Lord Saye & Sele and the Fiennes family. Their ancestor, Geoffrey de Say, was one of the 25 barons at the forefront of the opposition to King John who enforced the sealing of Magna Carta in June 1215.
The garden at Broughton Castle will be open from 5.30pm, and is available for picnicking to ticket-holders, weather permitting. Ticket price (£15) includes a glass of wine or soft drink after the lecture.
This event is being put on by The Magna Carta Trust, Broughton Castle, Banbury Museum, and the Banbury Historical Society. Book your tickets now.
On June 3rd the Brackley History Society has Matthew Armitage coming to talk about the history of Tooley’s boatyard. You will all be aware of Tooley’s yard – still a working dry dock and a scheduled ancient monument by the canal just by the Museum. It is the oldest working dry dock in Britain and has been in continuous use since 1790 when it was established to build and repair the wooden narrowboats on the new canal. Matthew Armitage is one of the company directors of the boatyard , which has been run as a private company since 2002. 7.30 pm at the Methodist Church at the top of Brackley High Street.
The Oxfordshire Local History Association (OLHA) is holding their next study day on Sunday May 10th on the subject of Uffington in Fiction and Fact.
This will be in Uffington, a small downland village, which was home to Thomas Hughes, MP and social reformer, lawyer, judge and author, who is best known for writing Tom Brown’s Schooldays. In 1859 he published The Scouring of the White Horse, or the Long Vacation Ramble of a London Clerk, which is a fictionalised account of a real event. A hodge-podge of legends, customs and local ballads, the white horse at Uffington is said to celebrate the victory of Alfred over the Danes in 871.
For more information and to book you will need to download this booking form.
With best wishes