WLHS has a new Programme Secretary (Lectures).

Following Jim Ranahan's successful tenure of this post, we are pleased to announce that we have a new Programmes Secretary (Lectures).  Dr Ruth Barbour will be building on her existing experience as our very capable secretary to plan our programme of evening lectures into the 2023/24 season.  We are excited to sample her new programme, further details of which can be found below, together with information on when and where we meet.

WLHS runs live lectures at the Primary School Hall at Aylesford School.  See our programme below for dates.

The hall opens at 7 pm and meetings start at 7.30 pm, apart from April 2024, when we start the AGM at 7.15 pm.  We need to vacate before 9 pm.

We also provide an additional lecture in January - online - at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon in January 

Our lectures run between October and April.  In the Summer we organise outings instead. 

Venue for In-Person Meetings

*Aylesford School Primary Hall, Tapping Way, Warwick, CV34 6XR – for evening meetings. 

Remember, if you are a member of one of our affiliated societies, you can enjoy our talks for free!

Link to Directions

Summer Outings   Outings will go ahead whatever the weather unless weather conditions make the outing unsafe.  Please book with this in mind and dress appropriately.  

Future Events

Saturday 29 June 2024 outing

2 pm to 5 pm Roman Mancetter Visitor Centre and St Peter’s Church

Hear about Mancetter’s role as a town of front line strategic importance during the early years of the Roman invasion and then the history of the medieval town and guild, all within the beautifully maintained late medieval church of St Peter. 

Price: £11 WLHS and associate members, £13 non members, including afternoon tea/coffee and cake

The event and venue are fully accessible. Free parking available. There are 50 places on this trip.  Bookings close on 15th June.

For more information including how to book please download the Booking Form

Saturday 6 July 2024 outing

2 pm to 5 pm Holy Trinity Church, Sutton Coldfield

Learn about the history of Holy Trinity Church from its founding in 1250 with its rich heritage of stained glass, memorials, unique woodwork and glorious painted ceilings.

Price: £11 WLHS and associate members, £13 non members, including afternoon tea/coffee and cake

The event and venue are accessible. Limited free parking; we recommend public transport for this event (the railway station is a short walk).  There are 60 places on this trip.  Bookings close on 22nd June.

For more information including how to book please download the booking form

Saturday 20 July 2024 outing

Tours at 9.15 am, 12.20 pm and 3.30 pm, Harbury Village and Heritage Centre

Take a guided tour of the historic village of Harbury with volunteers from the Harbury Heritage Centre and learn about the history of the village.  Then visit the Harbury Heritage Centre for refreshments and a chance to browse the historical documents in their collection, including photographs and maps.

Price: £7.70 WLHS and associate members, £9.70 non members, including tea/coffee and refreshments.

The event and venue are accessible. Free parking available (including a separate area for people with mobility needs). There are 60 places on this trip (20 on each tour).  Bookings close on 6th July.

For more information including how to book please download the Booking Form

Saturday 21 September 2024

Burton Dassett Church and surrounding area, an archaeological talk given by Dr Stephen Wass.  Full details and cost tbc.  Check back here for a booking form in due course.

Saturday 30 November 2024

Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick.  Full details and cost tbc.  Check back here for a booking form in due course.

Recent Events

Tuesday 16 April 2024 eve

Following the Society AGM, Louise Essex, Warwickshire Libraries Senior Librarian Local Studies, gave an overview of the county library local studies collections including the Warwickshire Local Studies Collection based in Nuneaton. The talk covered the types of resources available to researchers freely available in libraries, the overlap between Record Offices and Local Studies Collections, and the importance of donations of material.  Louise highlighted the more unusual and interesting items within the collections, such as board of health maps, trade directories, sanitation records and photographs.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Members' Evening 

At our members’ meeting two short papers were presented

Robert Howe  - talking about Harvey Bloom antiquarian author and rector of Whitchurch.  

Robert Howe spoke about James Harvey Bloom(1860-1943) rector of Whitchurch (near Alderminster) and antiquarian. His peers thought well of him, but he is now largely forgotten and ignored. He left behind a mass (perhaps muddle is a better word) of papers across several archives. Robert is setting up a database of Bloom’s writings which will enable future researchers to make better use of them. 

Colin Clay – following on from our recent archaeological interest on the use of LIDAR in investigating landscape using the large iron age fort at Wappenbury as an example.

Colin Clay, a member of Lighthorne History Society, one of our member societies, shared with us how from a desktop and using free software he had been able to study the changing landscape of Warwickshire. He does this using a combination of old maps, aerial photography (including some taken by the Luftwaffe pre-second World War) and the new technology of LiDAR. This latter process provides glimpses of by-gone landscapes: forgotten Roman roads and as at Bidford the change of course of a road (in this case leading to a crossing over the river); vanished lakes such as the mere surrounding Kenilworth Castle; altered settlements such as the deserted medieval village at Wormleighton (owned by the Spencer family).  He finished by showing us the dramatic LiDAR pictures of Wappenbury which ‘removed’ the trees that hid the slight univallate hill fort. The view of the Holloway leading to the south entrance was particularly dramatic.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Peter Coulls: ‘Umberslade Baptist Chapel and the Muntz Family’.  

Over 30 of us enjoyed hearing Peter's story of a rarity; a non-conformist estate chapel and the estate owners, 18th century immigrants to Birmingham from Bohemia. They are remembered chiefly for the eponymous metal alloy, Muntz Metal and perhaps their connection to the Cutty Sark.

Saturday 13 January 2024 afternoon

Over 60 people attended Christopher Dyer's online talk on ’Revealing Warwickshire’s past: the importance of Burton Dassett Southend’.  This excavation, carried out in 1986, revealed a thriving medieval market village.  It is the most detailed examination of such a settlement in Warwickshire. This very important site is the subject of a major new book.

Saturday 25 November 2023 outing

1 pm to 4 pm.  St Mary's Guildhall and Coventry Cathedral.

Nearly 50 of us enjoyed an afternoon visiting these 2 iconic sites in Coventry.

St Mary’s Guildhall has acted as the centre of power in England during the War of the Roses, housed the crown jewels, been the prison of Mary Queen of Scots and hosted famous literary figures, such as George Eliot. Visitors can also see the newly unveiled medieval kitchen, one of the best preserved in the country uncovered for the first time in 100 years. In the stunning Great Hall, the famous Coventry Tapestry still hangs in its original spot after 500 years. Follow the threads of the medieval wool trade, which made Coventry an important centre of commerce and power.

Coventry Cathedral: The original Cathedral of St Michael was built between the late 14th and 15th centuries and was destroyed in the 1940 blitz on Coventry. Our tour will take in the ancient ruins before moving to the iconic new Cathedral, designed by Basil Spence in the 1960s.  The interior is notable for its huge tapestry of Christ, designed by Graham Sutherland, the emotive sculpture of the Mater Dolorosa by John Bridgeman in the East end, and the Baptistry window designed by John Piper.

We also enjoyed a cream tea, at St Mary’s Guildhall.

Tuesday 21 November 2023 evening

Andrew Lound: ‘Vulcan’s Temple: The Story of Soho Foundry.’  This entertaining talk focused on Boulton and Watt’s factory at Soho, Birmingham, which was one of the key sites in the development of the Industrial Revolution.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Around 30 of us enjoyed Maggie Wood's talk: 'Mr Gayden of Brailes & Other Stories - Adventures in Local History Research'. 

Maggie's talk focused on a collection of twenty 19th century men’s smocks held at the Museum. Says Maggie: “Most came into the museum in the 1960s with limited snippets of information – for example

‘…said to have belonged to a cowman from Whitnash, gored to death by a bull.’  However, using a variety of sources, many now digitised and available on-line, it’s been possible to track down some of the smock wearers, and to build fascinating narratives for local lives long forgotten – while meeting some surprises along the way.”

Maggie was Keeper of Social History for the Warwickshire Museum Service from 1988 to 2012. Her last project there was to raise money for, and then oversee the conservation of, the Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire – a unique Elizabethan textile.  

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Nearly 70 of us enjoyed a tour of St Mary’s Church, Warwick, with church historian and WLHS member Tim Clark, across 2 different days.  

Founded before the Norman Conquest, St Mary’s Church is the premier parish church in Warwick.  It was rebuilt in 1150 and saw extensive refurbishment in the 15th Century when the famous Beauchamp Chapel was built under the patronage of the Earls of Warwick, and then again following the Fire of Warwick in 1694. 

Our tour was led by Tim Clark, volunteer church historian and WLHS member and author of Faire and goodly built: an incomplete history of St Mary’s Warwick.  Tim guided us through a history of this magnificent church and took us through its relationship with the earls of Warwick, the town and the townspeople. We also enjoyed seeing St Mary’s famous late medieval stained glass, 15th century sculptures, a 12th century crypt and the Dudley tombs.

The tours were followed by a cream tea at the nearby Apple Tree Tea Rooms (included in the price), which provided a lovely end to the afternoon and a chance to socialise.

Saturday 8 July 2023 outing

Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield

A small group of members of Warwickshire Local History Society, its affiliates and their guests gathered for a walk exploring some of this large park  (extending over 2000 acres, mainly forest and heathland). Large areas had formed a royal deer park, while the earls of Warwick were later mediaeval owners, and from 1528 the park was the property of the townspeople of Sutton Coldfield.

Our guide was the distinguished Birmingham archaeologist, Dr Mike Hodder. Over two hours, we walked through sections of ancient woodland, where the predominant species, in an unusual feature, was holly. Mike demonstrated the remnants of dykes and ditches used to restrict the movements of both fallow deer and livestock. Other landscape features reflected the highly organised mediaeval hunts, when beaters would drive numbers of deer into predetermined lanes, to be brought down by groups of archers assembled on earthen banks. Nearer the park boundaries were traces of racecourses and golf links, appearing from the late nineteenth century as town dwellers  increasingly used the space for recreation. Other users had included the military, who had established camps in both world wars. Today local people enjoying various outdoor activities are the principal visitors, although some areas are still used for grazing by cattle and Exmoor ponies.

Dr Mike Hodder is an Honorary Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham and President of the Friends of Sutton Park Association. He is also a WLHS member.  He has been researching Sutton Park’s archaeology for many years, and his book The Archaeology of Sutton Park was published in 2013 and reprinted in 2020.  


Wednesday 21 June 2023 outing

Nearly 30 of us enjoyed our tour given by WLHS member and experienced Stoneleigh Abbey guide, Sheila Woolf, as we explored the majestic house and grounds of Stoneleigh Abbey, Stoneleigh. Due to popular demand, a similar number visited again on 5th July.  On both occasions we were fortunate enough to be led by Stoneleigh Abbey tour guide and WLHS member, Sheila Woolf.

With humble beginnings as a Cistercian Monastic house in 1154, Stoneleigh Abbey was converted at the dissolution into a comfortable family home. One of the seats of the Leigh Family, Stoneleigh has played host to several people of note, including King Charles I, Queen Victoria and Novelist Jane Austen. The West Wing was designed by the famous architect Francis Smith of Warwick in the Baroque Style.

Our guided tour of the house covered the broad history of Stoneleigh Abbey from its beginnings as a Monastic House in 1154, to modern day, perfect for those interested in a bit of information on the Leigh Family, and the construction of the house. We learnt about the Leigh Family and their famed guests, their connections with the local community and how the abbey progressed from a dissolved monastery to a fine stately home.

Our tour was followed by lovely tea and cake in the Vaulted Hall on both occasions.  


Saturday 13 May 2023 outing

Nearly 40 of us joined Dr Stephen Wass as he took us on an exploration of the park at Farnborough Hall and surrounding countryside and village.  The park at Farnborough Hall contains some of the most remarkable garden features of the eighteenth century. The walk examined the history of the site from earliest times and took in excavations on the site of the medieval manor and village, the development of the park in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the extraordinary waterworks based on the great oval pool from the Georgian period. Also featured in the walk was the site of the previously undiscovered eighteenth century ‘amphitheatre’. The story was brought right up to date with an account of recent repairs and renovations. We then enjoyed a delicious tea at the Village Hall.  The weather was kind to us and it was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Meeting report: 'Getting Online for Research and Publicity'.

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