IMPORTANT SOCIETY NEWS: CORONAVIRUS (updated 3rd February 2021)
Our lecture programme will be delivered online for the foreseeable future, delivered by Zoom. In the current situation, lecture details are provisional, and subject to change at short notice. Invites for online meetings will be sent to members in advance of the meeting. Non-members are welcome to attend online meetings free of charge, for a limited time and subject to ticket availability. All people (members and non-members) wishing to attend must pre-register via Eventbrite.
We are also working hard to resume the visits programme, once venues are once more able to accept group visits. We have provisionally booked 5 outings for the summer. Please save the date, but we will not be taking bookings until shortly before each event because of the ever changing situation caused by the pandemic. Rest assured - we will only run these outings if all government guidelines in place by the time of the outing can be safely met. It is likely that maximum numbers per outing will be lower and we will probably not be able to provide refreshments as part of the outing. Costs will be dependent on the restrictions we have to operate under and can therefore not be published until nearer the time. Please read our Covid Safety guidelines to find out how we are intending to run our outings safely.
Note: In normal cirucmstances, our Meetings run from October to April start at 7.30pm, preceded by coffee at 7pm, at Aylesford School, Tapping Way, Warwick, CV34 6XR. Our online lectures will also begin at 7.30 pm unless stated otherwise.
Remember, if you are a member of one of our affiliated societies, you can enjoy our talks for free!
|Saturday 4 September 2021||
Bagot's Castle, Baginton, 2 pm
The Bagot’s Castle archaeologist will take us on a tour of this 14th Century castle which now stands in ruins. The original building is believed to have been constructed on the site in the 11th century, at the time of King Henry I. It was rebuilt as the current castle in the late 14th Century by Sir William Bagot, a distinguished nobleman. We will be walking on footpaths across grassy fields which are uneven and might be muddy. Access for scooters and wheelchairs is possible for the first, main, part of the tour, although you wouldn’t be able to get a wheelchair or scooter into the actual ruins. The path round the wider site is definitely NOT suitable for wheelchairs and scooters. The price of this trip is £4. Bagot's Castle have asked us to limit numbers to 30 people at the moment, so this trip will be limited to members and members of affiliated history societies only. For more information on how to book please download our booking form.
|Saturday 25 September 2021||
St John the Baptist Church, Lea Marston and St Leonard’s Church, Over Whitacre, 2pm
Led by WLHS member Rita Poulson, we will visit St John the Baptist Church, the Estate Church for the nearby Hams Hall Estate, belonging to the Adderley family, before moving onto St Leonard's. The present church, in the Baroque style, was built in 1765 although a chapel has existed in Over Whitacre from as early as 1203. Rita Poulson will give us the history of this beautiful chapel on a hill, as well as bringing to life the many characters connected with the church during its history.
|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.
|Tuesday 20 April 2021||
Professor Christopher Dyer, AGM & Lecture: ‘Immigrants in Warwickshire: a mobile population 1200-1525’
The latest in our programme of online talks was given by Professor Christopher Dyer of Leicester University and focused on ‘Immigrants in Warwickshire: a mobile population 1200 – 1525’. It was another well attended online presentation with over 70 households joining and followed a short AGM.
Professor Dyer challenged our beliefs that people stayed largely in one place during medieval times, instead claiming that migration was relatively common as a restless, ambitious society sought to better themselves. It was quite usual for people to move around the countryside and, less often, travel from abroad. Events such as the Black Death in 1349 made it easier for serfs to migrate to other areas as the demand for workers rose. Medieval Warwickshire was the scene of much migration. There was some evidence of a degree of tolerance towards newcomers, making it relatively easy to move into the area. However, there were also instances of hostility towards strangers, particularly in the case of vagrants.
Professor Dyer quoted a range of interesting evidence to back up his claims, including bone analysis of bodies at Wasperton Parish, evidence from Church Courts depositions which took down the history of the perpetrators, and above all analysis of surnames as an indicator of place of origin (eg, Roger of Warwick), found in lists of rents, court records, lists of taxation, lists of serfs escaping from their manor, etc.
|Tuesday 16 March 2021||
'The Sadleirs of Fillongley' and 'Scratching the Surface: Medieval Graffiti.'
WLHS likes to showcase the local history research done by its members and sets aside one meeting a year to do so. This year we were entertained by Judith Ellis and David Freke.
Judith Ellis spoke about the Sadleirs of Fillongley, a well-to-do Catholic gentry family, and her discoveries relating to the death of Theodore, a widower with teenage children, in July 1693. He died intestate and Thomas Holbeche of Fillongley Hall became executor of Theodore's estate, arranging his daughter's marriage to one of Thomas's sons, while Catesby Odham, a Coventry Jacobite mercer, managed the lavish funeral.
David Freke gave a shortened version of his talk 'Scratching the Surface' about medieval graffiti in churches in the Kineton area. The date and exact meaning of the grids, 'daisy-wheels', scratch-dials, crosses, stars, circles and pentangles is uncertain but they often appear in great numbers on pillars, arches and especially around church-porches, only revealed with a strong light. Some may have been religious symbols but most are probably practical or concerned with protection from harm.
|Tuesday 16 February 2021||
Adrian Walters, 'Non-conformist Education and Outreach in Stratford-upon-Avon & District 1860 – 1930’
Members and guests enjoyed independent researcher Adrian Walters' talk on non conformist education and outreach in Stratford upon Avon and the surrounding district between 1860 and 1930. South Warwickshire has a rich history of Non-conformist worship and social activism. Adrian examined aspects of this, with a focus on education and outreach in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Image shows Stratford Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and School, courtesy of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
|Saturday 16 January 2021||
'The Photographer's Gaze: Viewing Warwickshire since 1839'
The first of our 2021 lectures was delivered online to a mixture of nearly 90 members and non-members.
The talk, led by Jim Ranahan ARPS, looked at how Warwickshire's people and places are regularly photographed and considered how old photographs could be used as popular elements of local historical research. Jim looked at Warwickshire photographers, from the birth of photography with George Shaw in 1839, ranging through local photographers such as Henry Peach Robinson and Clare Speight, and considered how and why they have chosen to represent the County as they have. This talk considered Warwickshire's rich photographic history and its continuing role in photographic innovation, including a look at the first colour photographs and aerial photography. Jim Ranahan is an archivist and photographic historian and also an active member of WLHS.
The image is of 'Edward Fox's Shop, Stratford-upon-Avon c.1905', the photographer is Harold Baker and the image is provided courtesy of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
|Tuesday 17 November 2020||
Professor Jonathan Reinarz of the University of Birmingham. 'Forged by Fire: Burn Injury and Identity in Warwickshire'.
Over 30 people logged on to view and listen to Jonathan’s talk, which touched on fires as far apart in time as the Grenfell Tower Fire of 2017 and the Great Fire of Warwick of 1694. The talk had a strong local feel, covering Warwickshire events such as the Baxterley Colliery Disaster of May 1882 and the Exhall Colliery disaster of 1915. Using a variety of sources including newspaper articles and inquest reports, Jonathan told us about the history of fire accidents, how casualties from the fire were treated and how investigations into what caused fires led to new health and safety legislation in transport, industry and domestic life.
|Saturday 26 June 2021||
POSTPONED UNTIL 2022: Henley in Arden Guildhall, Heritage Centre and town, 2 pm Please note this outing will now be rearranged in 2022 as the venue is unable to accept group visits at this time due to Covid restrictions. An outing led by WLHS member Dr Nat Alcock, visiting the 15th Century Guildhall building, and taking a walking tour along Henley’s historic High Street, before a guided visit to the nearby Heritage Centre which charts the history of the town from the Norman Conquest to the present day. Exhibits include a replica Anderson bomb shelter, source material related to the early development of the town and Beaudesert castle, and a Victorian/Edwardian Collection.
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.
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