Digital Archive: Journal No 6

  • Editorial
  • The Unions
  • Leonard Boxe, Gentleman of Ascott
  • The Saga of the Shipton Milestone. Part II
  • Infantile Mortality in Shipton under Wychwood, 1565-1594
  • The Wharton Charity
  • A Medieval Fishpond at Bruern Grange
  • Alfred Groves and Sons Ltd.
  • Shipton School Log Book. 1869-1905
  • A Hundred and one Years Ago
  • Life in Old Milton
  • Codswallop
  • Mary Moss, a Lass of the Wychwoods
  • From my Bookshelf
  • Other Publications in Print

Introduction to The Wychwoods Local History Society Journal No 6

The publication of our sixth journal marks the tenth birthday of the Wychwoods Local History Society. In our first journal published in 1985 I recalled that John Steane had emphasised at our inaugural meeting the importance of research and practical work as part of a society’s activities. We have followed his advice to the full and can claim to have made a positive contribution to the history of a part of Oxfordshire about which comparatively little was known. That this has been possible is a tribute to the enthusiasm of members who have equipped themselves with the necessary skills in order to pursue their particular interest in the local history context. The wide range of these interests can be seen in the contents of our six journals to date and the two well researched albums of photographs.

The speakers at our monthly meetings have also coverered a wide range of subjects and have sharpened our understanding of the delightful area in which we are lucky enough to live. These meetings and our other activities – field-walking, exhibitions, a Victorian evening, a survey of Shipton Church, the production and sale of mugs and tea towels- all these have had the full support or the membership.

There is still much to be done and many aspects of the history of the Wychwood villages to be explored. Two major gaps are an organised survey of our buildings and a coordinated oral history project, both of which are waiting for volunteers to come forward. Meanwhile it is a pleasure to record my thanks to all those who have contributed in so many different ways to the succcess of our first ten years and to look forward with optimistic expectation to the next ten.

Jack Howard-Drake


This edition of our journal has been produced “under new management”. This is a fitting opportunity to pay tribute to our first editor, Sue Richards for all the time and energy she has invested on the Society’s over the years. I am now in a position to appreciate fully how fortunate we have been to have enjoyed the benefit of her professional skills, freely given in the production of the first five journals. I have a hard 1ask to maintain her high standards.

It is a privilege to welcome James Bond to our pages again. His account of the monastic fishpond at Bruern follows the fascinating weekend of fieldwork carried out by Society members under his supervision. Several of the other contributions give this edition a distinct flavour of the sixteenth and seventeenth cenwries. Jack Howard-Drake’s painstaking researches have once again demonstrated that Shipton was no rural backwater during this period, but had connections with people of disctinction and influence in the land.

Wendv Pearse’s investigation of Leonard Boxe and his fam1ly is a pleasing extension of the Society’s work into Ascott parish.

The extracts from Shipton School’s log-books bring us firmly up to the nineteenth century, although John Rawlins’ comments on the school’s problems then with ‘buildings, curriculum, financing and staffing have a curiously contemporary ring.

Sim1larly, certain villagers’ earnest deliberations on the best way to achieve desirable improvements in the Beaconsfield Hall also strike a familiar note. Plus ca change …

In the article entitled ‘From My Bookshelf’, Frank Ware describes some of the books which he has found of particular interest and help in his appreciation of local history. It is to be hoped that this will become a regular and that other members will be willing to share the enjoyment of their favourite books with us all.

It is fascinating to read the recollections of a former Wychwoods resident Mrs Olive Frost: perhaps her account will spur on other folk to record their early memories for us.

Our thanks are due too to our other contributors. but we would also like to encourage more people to write for the journal. We are always pleased to consider material for publication.

Margaret Ware

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