For information about general local history-related events in Warwickshire and beyond.     


  • Archaeologists discover medieval remains at Compton Verney.  The installation of a new, outdoor sculpture by Israeli artist, Ariel Schlesinger, which was due to open on Saturday 12 October has been delayed due to the discovery of archaeological remains.  Three medieval burials were unearthed as the foundations were being dug to support the sculpture, and progress had to be halted to allow for archaeologists to excavate the site. A representative from Archaeology Warwickshire was undertaking a watching brief of the dig when the discovery was made. They say;  “Just at the depth needed for the foundations, the remains were exposed. Medieval pottery was found with the burials. The coroner was notified and he agreed that their location should be carefully recorded before being protected and re-covered. Best practice guidance from Historic England states that burials should not be disturbed without good reason.” 

  • "Capturing Kineton's Past" is a collection of Peter Ashley-Smith's essays and consists of short pieces about Kineton – its buildings, notable events and characters - written by Peter over the years, with historic photographs from David Beaumont’s collection. Many of you will remember Peter.  He was a very supportive member of the WLHS and helped his wife, Gill, do the society mailings for a number of years. He contributed to Warwickshire History and, with Gill, led a most enjoyable society visit to Kineton. Gill continues to take a great interest in WLHS doings and attends both lectures and visits. His book was launched by Kineton and District Local History Group at Kineton Village Hall on Friday 4th October at 7.30pm and can be purchased for £9.99.  Also available by contacting kinetonhistory@yahoo.co.uk

  • A new book on George Eliot entitled 'Fair-Seed Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the making of George Eliot will be available at the end of October 2019 and is written by David Paterson, one of our committee members.  It is a major re-interpretation of the historical background to the writings of George Eliot and explores in detail Robert’s working relationship with his employers, the Newdigates, and shows how illuminating traces of that relationship can be found throughout her fiction.  The book, costing £12, can be purchased through Troubadour Press or via David (an email to events@warwickshirehistory.org.uk can be fowarded to David).  Click here for more details about the book. 

  • Your Local Lock-Up is a public engagement project which aims to locate Lock-Ups in use between the 16th and early 20th centuries.  It's been developed alongside the 19th Century Prisons database (www.prisonhistory.org/19th-century-prisons/), which provides a searchable list of 847 prisons and their archives.  Click here for more information on how YOU can help contribute to mapping Warwickshire's lock-ups, and for more information on this project and how to search this fascinating resource.

  • 'Living through the English Civil Wars': This Lottery-funded project, led by Dr Maureen Harris, is training volunteers  to transcribe more than 200 parliamentarian 'Accounts' covering three quarters of Warwickshire's parishes. The 'Accounts' reveal the traumatic effects of four years of continuous civil warfare (1642 to 1646) 
    in a 'frontier' county like Warwickshire. Now one year into the 'Loss Accounts' project, the volunteers have all transcribed at least one of the 200 or more Warwickshire 'Accounts' that survive and some are working on their third or fourth. Workshops are continuing and volunteers are also extending their knowledge of the Civil Wars by researching some of the people named in the 'Accounts' and visiting record offices and sites of Civil War interest.  Click here to find out more about this major Civil War project. 

  • Southam Heritage Collection has a new exhibition: Playtimes Past, which will be open from June to the end of October. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, 10 til 12, Tithe Place, Southam.

  • Joseph Arch: the latest edition to the programme of events celebrating the life of Joseph Arch  MP, a local hero, social reformer and chamption of allotments, is a powerful video created by Wellesbourne Allotmenteers. Arch died 100 years ago. The Day We Celebrated Joseph Arch video begins in Barford, where he was born, with a short remembrance ceremony at his grave, followed by an interview with the Member for Parliament or Warwick and Leamington, Matt Western MP.  Allomenteers, local residents, trade unionists and historians then re-enacted the 5 mile walk across the fields, which Joseph Arch himself took from his home in Barford on 7th February 1872 to give his rousing speech to 2,000 agricultural workers gathered outside the Stag’s Head Pub in Wellesbourne. This meeting proved to be a pivotal moment in the UK’s social and political history and led, one month later, to Arch forming the National Agricultural Labourers Union. Arch went onto become an MP in 1887 and campaigned within Parliament to pass a meaningful Allotment Bill.  Arch died on 12 February 1919.

  • Steve Moore gave a very lively talk at the April WLHS meeting titled 'The Undoing of Polly Button', which many of us enjoyed.  He has written a book and would like you to know that he is donating all author profits from the book to three local good causes in Nuneaton. One of the good causes is the Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre which will be one of the stops on the George Eliot Outing the Society is running on 11 May. Finally, if members wished to keep abreast of the project and the publication of the book, you can visit their website, or Facebook group page.

  • Centenary of the Dugdale Society.  2020 will mark the centenary of the Society and they are planning a conference to mark the occasion.  This will take place on Saturday 16th May 2020.  Anyone interested in submitting a paper or participating in the conference should contact the secretary by email.   They also plan to hold a prize essay competition. Click here to stay informed about future developments.

  • The Dugdale Society's recent launch for its latest publication was very well attended.  The Early Records of Coleshill c.1120-1549 edited by Dr Andrew Watkins costs £35 plus £3 postage and packing within the UK.   Copies can be purchased by sending a cheque to the Dugdale Society, Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6QW.  Electronic payment can be arranged by sending an email to the Secretary of the Society at dugdale-society@hotmail.co.uk.  Members of the Dugdale Society receive their current publications free.  Click here for more information on this publication, and details on how to join the Dugdale Society.

  • World War 2 Oral Histories.  Click here to visit the fascinating website founded by broadcaster and historian, Dan Snow, and author and broadcaster, James Holland.  WarGen is a crowd-sourced online repository of oral-history from the people who lived through World War 2.  As well as containing varied stories from this fast disappearing generation, this group is now looking for individuals to join their volunteer team as interviewers in their local communities. They are also eager to hear from people who might have their own stories to tell. If you are interested in either becoming an interviewer or sharing your story, please contact Shane Greer at shane@wargen.org

  • 'Research Conversations' at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: These are a regular series of free presentations, always on the second Wednesday of the month at 5pm in the Wolfson Hall at the Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford (finishing at 6pm).   If you would like to propose taking part in a Research Conversation later this year, please contact paul.edmondson@shakespeare.org.uk 

  • Lanchester Archive. Frederick Lanchester is perhaps best known for designing and building the first all-British motor car in 1895 but he also published papers and books detailing the first scientific principles of flight, and theorised about the principles of colour photography before it was reality, and devised military strategies that underpin business management courses still taught today.  You can now visit the Lanchester Archive, based at Coventry University, and there are also opportunities to volunteer as a researcher, tour guide, community worker, etc. Click here to visit their website and find out more.

  • Polesworth Poetry Trail.  Ongoing work continues on this established poetry trail, which seeks to provide a way to explore Polesworth's history through contemporary, specially commissioned poems.  Click here for more information on the trail and Polesworth itself.

  • Warwickshire Roman Hoard. Warwickshire's Roman Hoard (found at Edgehill) is now on display at Warwickshire Museum in Warwick, following a successful fund raising campaign that included many generous donations from the local community. https://news.warwickshire.gov.uk/…/rare-roman-coin-hoard-…/… 

  • George Eliot Bi-centenary: 2019 marks the bi-centenary of her birth. Find out about this great Warwickshire novelist and the events and other activities to celebrate 200 years since she was born here.  

  • Heritage and Culture Warwickshire (HCW) has just launched a new project called Warwickshire Bytes. The project has several strands - all digital.  HCW are inviting people to get involved with online indexing of documents held at the County Record Office, starting with court depositions from the 19th and early 20th century. No prior knowledge is necessary and full support is given.  Another aspect is Warwickshire in 100 objects and stories. HCW are asking people to contribute objects and stories to the Our Warwickshire website so they can create a People's History of the county. Click here for more information: 

  • Have you forgotten yet? This is an impressive new book from the Bidford and District History Society on the stories of local survivors of Word War I. See here for review.  

  • Kenilworth Family History Society: plenty here for the local historian too. See  Facebook Page. for more details

  • Newcomen Public Lectures on the History of Science and Technology -- monthly October to April (1st Wednesday) at 7 pm at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.  Find details on website, http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/thinktank/whats-on/newcomen-society-public-lecture

  • Prison History: a new database. See letter

  • Radway Exhibition on Battle of Edgehill: the destination for a Society outing in 2016, this award-winning local exhibition on the first battle of the English Civil War is open most days of the year. Please follow link for further details.