On Thursday 12th Oct. we have Ben Ford coming to talk to us about the archaeological discoveries made at the Westgate during the biggest ever dig in Oxford. Ben is the Director of these excavations and is a Senior Project Manager at Oxford Archaeology, and is a specialist in the excavation of urban sites. He has led some of the largest excavations to have taken place in towns and cities such as Bristol, Reading, and Winchester, and done large-sale investigations at Hampton Court Palace and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.
He promises a richly illustrated talk on the results from the Westgate dig. Ben will discuss the changing landscape on the southern edge of the Oxford promontory, where the city meets the Thames floodplain, showing how it was used and changed by human action over the past 3000 years. He will touch on possible prehistoric and Saxon activity, deal with the remains of the medieval Greyfriars complex, and look at evidence from the Civil War and the more recent Victorian terraces of St. Ebbes.
Simon Townsend has asked me to let everyone know that the Air Temperature controller in the Education room in which we meet has failed and the new one will not arrive until after Thursday. We thought of moving the lecture elsewhere but in the end decided to go ahead – and keep the doors open. Apologies in advance as it may get rather warm so perhaps layers of clothing which can be removed?
OLHA is holding its autumn study day in Witney on November 4th and it will be all about wool and blankets. As I have said before, as members of BHS you are all also members of the Oxfordshire Local History Association and their October bulletin has appeared with lots of interesting events. I have attached the information and booking form for the Witney day. You can access the whole OLHA bulletin with this this url
(Ctrl and Click on it).
You will also find information about the Steeple Aston Village Archive’s exhibition all about the history of Steeple Aston church taking place on Saturday and Sunday 11th & 12th November in their village hall.
We shall be holding our usual Book Sale before and after the 9th November meeting, and the bookstall will be managed by Clare and Stephen Jakeman. The Society’s current publications will be on offer, and authors of other works on local history and allied topics who are members of the Society are invited to bring copies for sale. No more than 3 copies of anything please and absolutely no secondhand books. If you are planning to bring books, please read the attached notes about the arrangements. We shall have a few copies of a splendid book that has been produced about Chipping Norton: Chipping Norton: a guide to its buildings and history to 1750. This is largely based on detailed investigation and analysis of its old buildings, together with a good deal of documentary research. Banbury so needs a similar research project!
The Open Spaces Society, which works to maintain and preserve ancient rights-of-way and common land for everyone, are keen to ensure that everyone knows about the impending cut-off date for registration of rights-of-way. Any footpath or bridlepath that is not registered onto the definitive map by 2026 will disappear for ever – and it takes a long time to get them registered. They are holding two free workshops to ‘enthuse, enable and empower rights of way researchers’. One is in Henley, the other in Bicester and I have attached the poster. If you have an active Footpath Warden in your parish and there are any disputed paths, please do pass on this information.
Radway church will host a display of civil war military commissions and artefacts on 21st & 22nd October from 11am to 3 pm. The theme is, of course, the Battle of Edgehill and so there will be documents signed by the commanders of the respective sides, King Charles, and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex as well as others. There will also be a Battle of Edgehill medal rewarded to officers who took part in the battle as well as a Kineton medal which commemorates the meeting of King Charles & Queen Henrietta Maria on the Edgehill battlefield in 1643.
With best wishes