IMPORTANT SOCIETY NEWS: CORONAVIRUS (updated 27th April 2022)
We have been continuing to run our monthly talks online via Zoom. Our monthly talks have now finished for the season and will restart in October, when we hope to restart in-person meetings at our usual venue of Aylesford School. There may also be the option to record these meetings for those who cannot attend in person. Please check this webpage for further updates. Please see below for details of our Summer Outings programme. We retain the option of reverting to online meetings only, should Covid circumstances require this.
Lectures are at 7:30pm on the third Tuesday of the month, apart from our annual Saturday afternoon meeting in January, which is at 2pm. Our lectures run between October and April. In the Summer we organise outings instead.
Venues for In-Person Meetings
*Aylesford School, Tapping Way, Warwick, CV34 6XR – for evening meetings.
*Budbrooke Church Centre, Church Lane, Budbrooke, CV35 8QL – for afternoon meeting, January 2023.
Practicalities at In-Person Meetings
In the current situation, we request that all government guidelines that are in place when meetings begin again are followed.
Remember, if you are a member of one of our affiliated societies, you can enjoy our talks for free!
Summer Outings Our summer outings have been planned this year to take place outside as much as possible to help keep members safe from Covid. Outings will go ahead whatever the weather unless weather conditions make the outing unsafe. Please book with this in mind and dress appropriately.
|Wednesday 7 September 2022||
Middleton Hall, Tamworth, 11 am to 4 pm: A morning tour of the hall followed by members' choice of packed lunch or lunch in the cafe, with access to the hall and gardens for the rest of the day.
Join Middleton Hall’s expert volunteer tour guides as they lead you on a journey through the Hall’s fascinating history which encompasses 900 years of exploration, discoveries and quirky characters. The oldest building on site dates back to 1285 and is believed to be the oldest domestic building in North Warwickshire. After a group tour in the morning you will then be free to explore the house and gardens at your leisure for the remainder of the day. Price: WLHS members: £13.75; non WLHS members: £15.75.
Ticket price includes tea and coffee on arrival, morning guided tour and access to house and gardens for remainder of the day. It does NOT include lunch but you can either bring your own lunch to eat in their outdoor picnic area or visit the café nearby.
The buildings of Middleton Hall are grade II* listed and there are multiple steep staircases, no lifts and areas of uneven ground. All tours involve a considerable amount of walking, are up to 75 minutes long and are unsuitable for those with mobility limitations. However, an alternative ground floor Hall tour can be arranged in advance and there is an interactive tour available in the entrance.
Booking details are included on the Middleton Hall booking form.
|Saturday 16 July 2022||
Edgehill Battlefield Walk, This outing has had to be postponed. A new date will be arranged. This outing was originally run in May but we have decided to repeat it due to popular demand. A morning outing followed by optional lunch. Led by Martin Russell, the Vice President of Shipston and District Local History Society (this finishes at the local pub and members can choose to stay for lunch if they wish). Price: £7.20 WLHS members, £9.20 non members.
Join Martin Russell, Vice President of Shipston and District Local History Society, as he takes us on a tour of the Edgehill Battlefield. The Battle of Edgehill, which took place on 23rd October 1642, was the first pitched battle of the English Civil War and took place in fields between the villages of Kineton and Radway between the Royalists, gathered on the Edge Hill escarpment, against Essex’s parliamentary forces gathered in the fields below.
The morning will start in the garden of The Castle Pub, which enjoys spectacular views of the battlefield. Assisted by maps and drawings, Martin will bring the battlefield to life and plot the course of the battle for us as we then explore by car and on foot some of the key areas in the battle, including Red Lane, Kineton and Radway.
Booking details are included on the Edgehill Battlefield Bookin Form
|Saturday 2 July 2022||
Compton Verney Archaeology, 2 pm to approximately 4.30 pm
40 of us joined Hilary Calow, Compton Verney Archaeology Volunteer, as she brought Compton Verney’s archaeological past to life. Hilary explained how evidence of archaeological activity, including Roman, Anglo Saxon and medieval settlements, has gradually been coming to light. We had the chance to visit Capability Brown’s Georgian Chapel and we learnt how Compton Verney was turned into an experimental station for smoke screen camouflage during World War Two. We enjoyed Hilary's guided tour of the grounds, accompanied by visual aids and the chance to handle archaeological finds, despite the weather. We escaped inside for a very welcome and delicious cream tea. This was meant to be outside but the weather prevented this and the Compton Verney staff were very good at accommodating us indoors as short notice.
|Thursday 26 May 2022||
Trip to Birmingham Guinea Gardens and Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The group enjoyed visiting the Edgbaston Guinea Gardens, a collection of Victorian gardens created for the benefit of the shopkeepers and workers from the Jewellery Quarter, which have existed for over a century. We learnt about the origins of the gardens with guide and allotmenteer Carol Dealey and explored this 'secret gem' for ourselves, enjoying Carol's oral histories, particularly those from the Second World War, along the way.
After lunch at the nearby Botanical Gardens we took a guided tour of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which were founded in 1829, with Head Gardener, Wayne. The Gardens were designed by J.C. Loudon, a Scotsman who was a leading garden planner, horticultural journalist and publisher. Wayne really brought the different seasons of the gardens to life for us and many of us will be returning to enjoy the gardens at a different time of year.
|Saturday 7 May 2022||
Edgehill Battlefield Walk, 37 people, including many from our associate history societies, enjoyed a morning outing followed by optional lunch. The 3 hour outing was led by Martin Russell, the Vice President of Shipston and District Local History Society. Martin took us on a tour of the Edgehill Battlefield. The Battle of Edgehill, which took place on 23rd October 1642, was the first pitched battle of the English Civil War and took place in fields between the villages of Kineton and Radway between the Royalists, gathered on the Edge Hill escarpment, against Essex’s parliamentary forces gathered in the fields below.
By first using the spectactular scenery seen from the Castle Pub at Edgehill, Martin brought the battle to life with detailed, but always interesting, information about the military history of this battle and the strategies employed by the two sides. Assisted by maps and drawings, Martin plotted the course of the battle for us and we went on to explore by car and on foot some of the key areas in the battle, including Red Lane, Kineton and Radway.
This outing was very popular and is being repeated on Saturday 16th July to give those who missed it the first time a chance to attend.
|Tuesday 26 April 2022||
Annual General Meeting. Following our AGM, Maria Tauber of Warwick University gave a talk on Sir Roger Newdigate of Arbury.
This talk looked at his media engagement and how different types of oral, manuscript and print media helped shape his image and role as MP.
Image is of Sir Roger Newdigate in the LIbrary at Arbury, Arthur Devis, public domain
|Tuesday 15 March 2022||
Annual Members' Meeting.
We were treated to two short presentations by members, on aspects of current research.
'Rokeby Camp, Rugby', Christine Howling considers this local example of the 1946 Squatters' Movement.
'Warwickshire’s pioneering role in the development of dog shows’, In the month that Crufts is hosted by the N.E.C. at Bickenhill, Ruth Barbour discusses the county's contribution to the development of dog shows.
Image: Article 10/09/1946, courtesy of the Rugby Advertiser & Warwickshire World
|Tuesday 15 February 2022||
Late Medieval Towns in Arden, Dr Andrew Watkins.
Dr Andrew Watkins discussed the origins, nature and location of towns in the County's northern portion.
Image is courtesy of Coleshill Civic Society
|Saturday 15 January 2022||
The Black Book of Warwick, Emma Bromley.
Emma Bromley shared her research on this Elizabethan manuscript for the Corporation of Warwick (later known as Warwick Town Council). Originally intended for use as a minute book, it evolved into the personal diary of the town clerk, who recorded notable events. This book provides a fascinating contemporary account of Tudor life in Warwick.
Image: 'The Black Book of Warwick’ CR 1618/W19/6
Courtesy of Warwick County Record Office
|Tuesday 16 November 2021||
John Hall, Master of Physicke, Dr Paul Edmondson.
Nearly 100 of us 'tuned in' on Zoom to hear Dr Paul Edmondson of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust discuss recent research into the medical practice of John Hall, a Stratford physician and son-in-law of William Shakespeare. We enjoyed an insight into medical practice and the social and intellectual climate of early modern Stratford-upon-Avon and learnt about his clients, many of whom came from well-known families of the day. Few of us will forget some of the more fantastic cures used by John Hall in his casebook.
Image: ‘A Doctor Casting the Water’ by Osias Dyck c.1660 STRST: SBT 1994-17 Courtesy of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
|Tuesday 19 October 2021||
Warwickshire Women and the Fight for the Vote, Members were treated to a lively, interesting talk by Professor Sarah Richardson of Warwick University. She examined Warwickshire’s thriving female political culture and its contribution to the cause of universal suffrage and provided a series of 'pen portraits' of some of the key Warwickshire figures, peppered with illustrations of original documents from sources such as Warwickshire County Record Office. A very enjoyable talk and we had nearly 50 'devices' logged onto this online presentation.
Image: ‘Anne Justins, the First Woman Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon 1928’ Photographer: Ernest Daniels Courtesy of Stratford Town Council & Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
|Saturday 25 September 2021||
St Leonard’s Church, Over Whitacre and St John the Baptist Church, Lea Marston
Our last outing of the season took place on a lovely autumn sunny day and was attended by nearly 40 people.
The outing was led by one of our members, Rita Poulson, who is local to the area. The present church of St Leonard's, in the Baroque style, was built in 1765 although a chapel has existed in Over Whitacre from as early as 1203. Rita gave us a lively history of this beautiful chapel on a hill, as well as telling the stories of the many characters connected with the church during its history. We then visited St John the Baptist Church in Lea Marston which was the Estate Church for the nearby Hams Hall Estate, belonging to the Adderley family. Members learnt that a chapel has existed in Lea Marston as early as 1252, with the south wall of the nave dating from the medieval period. Much of the existing church was altered by the Arden Adderley family in 1876/7 under architect Frederick Preedy.
|Saturday 4 September 2021||
Bagot's Castle, Baginton,
We enjoyed a sunny afternoon and a successful outing recently when we visited Bagot’s Castle, Baginton.
The Bagot’s Castle archaeologist, Nicholas Palmer, took the group on a tour of this 14th Century castle which now stands in ruins. The original building could have been constructed on the site in the 11th century, at the time of King Henry I. It was rebuilt in the late 14th Century by Sir William Bagot, a distinguished nobleman. As well as finding out about the history of the castle itself, our members enjoyed a tour of the wider site, which included an Anglo Saxon site, fishponds, 18th century bowling green and a 20th century tank testing site.
|Saturday 17 July 2021||
Napton on the Hill church and village, 2 pm
Members enjoyed a sunny afternoon and a successful outing recently when we visited Napton on the Hill.
The outing began at St Lawrence’s Church, where villager Monica Evans gave an entertaining talk about the history of this church, which was built in the 13th century but has seen many alterations since, particularly in Victorian times. We enjoyed seeing the marks in the porch where villagers in times gone by had sharpened their arrows before their compulsory archery practice, and viewing the two stone alters that had escaped the destruction of such objects in the Reformation of the 16th century.
John Evans then took the lead on a History Walk around the village, starting with the World War 2 Observer Post, from which Napton Windmill (now a private residence), the canal, and countryside as far as Coventry can clearly be seen. The walk took in landmarks such as the old school buildings, old chapels, pillory green, old bakery and other shops, old pub and memorial trees and finished at the Church, where refreshments on such a hot day were very welcome.
|Monday 7 June 2021||
Fire of Warwick Walking Tour, 2 pm to 4 pm, Meet at Pageant Gardens, Warwick.
The Fire of Warwick was a major conflagration that swept through Warwick on 5 September 1694 and lasted for six hours. The fire started when sparks from a lighted taper blew onto the thatched roof of one of the houses opposite the Lord Leycester Hospital. Members followed the route of the fire with 'Unlocking Warwick' and WLHS member Sue Rigby and Unlocking Warwick Treasurer Paula Fletcher. We were also joined by WLHS member Steven Wallsgrove, who explained the relief and reconstruction efforts, showing us facsimiles of surveys, claims for compensation, and other documents held by the County Record Office. Those attending all enjoyed the tour, our first since 2019. A fuller report on the day, written by our Chairman, John Wilmot, can be found by clicking on the following link: Fire of Warwick outing report.
The winter lectures are free to WLHS members and members of affiliated Local History Societies; we charge £3.00 for non-members - refundable on the night when joining the Society!
For a list of other societies' lectures and events, see our OTHER EVENTS page.
Edgehill Battlefield Walk
St John the Baptist, Lea Marston
The interior of the Guild Hall, Henley in Arden.
The Windmill at Napton on the Hill
Bagot's Castle, Baginton