Talks and Events

Upcoming Talk:

13 March 2024

Ingram Murray – ‘Known unto God’: a great War Detective Story’

Milton Village Hall from 7.20

Full 2023/4 Programme >>> here

The Society in normal times meets once per month from September to May each year. Generally, all meetings are held in Milton-under-Wychwood Village Hall. Anyone with an interest in local history is very welcome to join us. We have guest speakers at every meeting.

Meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month from 7:30pm – 9:00pm.

Members – FREE Guests – £3 per person

Evening Talks Reviewed : 2022/3 Season

Wednesday May 10th 2023

AGM: Download Chairman’s report as PDF here and AGM Agenda as PDF here . Minutes from the 2022 AGM are available as PDF here

The society’s AGM took place as scheduled for 7.30pm and was followed by the last talk in our 2022/3 series.

Speaker: Jonathan Maisey – Gloucester Speleological Society

Subject: History of the Windrush Stone Quarries

Jonathan has been involved in caving with the Gloucester Speleological Society since 1983 and has a particular interest in the stone mines of the Cotswolds

A review appears here

Wednesday 12th April 2023

Speaker: Simon Randall

Subject: English Civil War in the Cotswolds

Although Simon Randall only moved to Shipton-under-Wychwood in February last year he has had a long association with the Cotswolds having owned a house in Blockley for over 30 years and founded the charity, Friends of the Cotswolds, which owns the Old Prison at Northleach. His consuming interest in the English Civil War arose following the 30 minutes he spent in a rubbish skip in Lincoln’s Inn.

A review appears here

Wednesday Mar 8th 2023

Speaker: Chris Pickford
Subject: Bellfounding at Burford 1630-1940 and the bells of the Wychwood area

Chris has written books on The Steeple, Bells and Ringers of Coventry Cathedral (1987) and Bellframes (1993) – reflecting his spare time activity of church bellringing.

He is among the leading historians of bells and ringing and he writes regularly for The Ringing World including an ongoing series “What’s up that tower?” Since 2010 he has been one of the volunteer archivists at the John Taylor Bellfoundry Museum and Archives, leading work on cataloguing and digitising the rich archival and photographic collections.

A review appears here

Wednesday Feb 8th 2023

Speaker: Sue Smith
Subject: Conscientious Objection, Religion, and the Public in Oxford in 1916

Sue Smith has a Masters in Historical Studies from Oxford University. In particular she has studied resistance to war, how it is organised and supported, and whether it has an impact on public opinion.

A review appears here

Wednesday January 11th 2023

Speaker: Trevor Jackson
Subject: RAF Brize Norton – 80 Years of Flying Operations

Trevor’s talk covered the history of RAF Brize Norton, from its first inception, through World War II, the Cold War and various modern conflicts up to the present day.

A review appears here

Wednesday November 9th

Peter Wilkinson’s talk traced how monasteries giving alms and hospitality led to Almshouses as we know them today. It looked at the range of Almshouse buildings in type and scale.

And it explained how The Almshouse Association is helping Almshouse managers to adapt and develop their resources to meet present day needs for affordable housing.

It included reminders of things members think they know, a few surprises and a smattering of awful jokes!

Review appears here

Wednesday October 12th

Historian and writer Julie Ann Godson took us through some snapshots of daily lives of Oxfordshire folk throughout the centuries to modern times. Date-by-date something interesting will have happened in Oxfordshire.

This talk, based on Julie Ann’s book “On This Day in Oxfordshire”, offered some fascinating highlights.

A review appears here

Wednesday September 14th

The paddle steamer Medway Queen is the last estuary paddle steamer in the United Kingdom. She is currently being restored in Gillingham Kent

Mark and Pam Bathurst of the Medway Queen Preservation Society opened our new season of talks on “The History and Restoration of the Paddle Steamer Medway Queen

An update appears here.

Evening Talks Reviewed : 2021/2 Season

Here are the reviews of our 2021/2022 season of evening talks.

May 11th 2022 AGM and Evening Talk

Our May evening talk was preceded by the society’s Annual General Meeting. The evening started at 6pm and featured a set of displays and artefacts to commemorate our 40th anniversary. With 90+ members and visitors, this was a vibrant and informative evening.

Visitor Stephen Rickett admiring the portrait of Dr Brookes – one of many artefacts on show during the evening
Rebuilding The Old Bakehouse, Upper Milton Mr Smith and Mr Fred Silman Mr Smith, father of Amy (later Morrison) & Walker (m Vi Miles) Date: c1930

The Building of Milton-under-Wychwood c1700 – c1900

The evening’s highlight was the presentation by WLHS secretary John Bennett, who outlined some of the main phases of the building of Milton over two centuries. It included a survey of housing for gentry and for workers, the chapels and the Parish Church. It placed these buildings into a wider architectural and social history. The significant presence of Groves builders and masons was a recurring theme. John illustrated his presentation with a wide range of contemporary and historic photographs from the Society’s archives.

John Bennett has lived in Milton for 15 years and is the current Secretary of the WLHS. He is an MA in History of Art and Design and has taught History of Art in Further and Higher education including a three year spell as a tutor for the Open University.

April 13th 2022 Evening Talk

Our April 13th talk in Milton Village Hall was given by Mark Davies: “Alice’s Adventures in Oxford – Lewis Carroll and the River Thames”

Mark is an Oxford local historian, guide, and author with a particular interest in the history and literature of the city’s waterways, having lived on a residential narrowboat in Oxford for nearly thirty years.

His relevant publications are Alice in Waterland: Lewis Carroll and the River Thames in Oxford and Alice’s Oxford on Foot.

Mark has helped to organise Oxford’s annual ‘Alice’s Day’ since the first one in 2007, provides the only Alice-specific guided tours and boat commentaries in Oxford, and is on the committee of the Lewis Carroll Society.

A review of the talk appears here

March 9th 2022 Evening Talk

The History of FWP Matthews at Shipton – Review here

Our March 2022 evening talk was with Bertie Matthews who presented the history of Matthews Mill.

Bertie Matthews is the sixth generation of his family to run the business, joining the family mill in 2017.

The Matthews family have farmed and milled in the heart of the Cotswolds across three centuries, from the banks of the river Evenlode. Their story started with Marmaduke Matthews, and his 18th century seed-selling business, and continues to this day, where father-and-son-team Paul and Bertie Matthews continue their ancestors’ legacy from the family’s 100-year-old flour mill.

A review of the talk appears here

February 9th 2022 Evening Talk

Oxfordshire during the Second World War – Review here

‘Oxfordshire during the Second World War’

Our February 9th 2022 evening talk was held in the village hall. Review here

Our speaker, Stephen Barker gave a fully illustrated talk looking at the impact on, and connections to Oxfordshire during the Second World War. Amongst many other things, it touched on evacuation, POWs, airfields, refugees, everyday life, rationing, war work, as well as the evacuation of Dunkirk, Arnhem and the Liberation of Bergen Belsen.

January 12th 2022 Evening Talk

On Wednesday January 12th at 7.30 we were pleased to welcome John Perkins of the Tackley Local History Group. John presented a fascinating talk on Roman Tackley, with many insights derived from fieldwalking, metal detecting and crop mark surveys undertaken by members. Review here.

November 10th 2021 – Evening Talk

Our November evening talk in Milton Village Hall was with History of Art specialist Juliet Heslewood, on the subject of “William Morris and the Cotswolds”. A brief review is here.

October 13th 2021 – Evening Talk

Our October talk went ahead as planned in Milton village hall when our speaker David Young gave us a history of Primitive Methodism. A review is here.

September 8th 2021 Event: Due to the increase in Covid in West Oxfordshire at the time, the committee decided to postpone the 40th Anniversary celebrations until our AGM in May 2022.

The hope is that we will continue to hold all future meetings in the Village Hall, but we will always be responsive to changes in Government guidance and rules.

Summary of 2020/21 Talks

Following the success of our initial October 15th Zoom talk given by Liz Woolley on “The remarkable life of Olive Gibbs” ( details here) , we were confident in looking forward to more online talks in our programme.

Our second online talk was on Thursday 19th November when David Beaumont spoke on The Battle of Edgehill and the effects on the local community both before the battle and its aftermath. Summary here.

The third talk in our 2020/1 season was by Simon Batten of Blohham School, who spoke on “Ellen Hinde and the Prebendal”. Summary here.

Our February 18th talk featured Martin Buckland who spoke on ” The Wilts and Berks Canal Past, Present and Future”. Summary here.

On March 18th 2021 the society hosted a talk by Tom Shannon, who presented a short history of Afghanistan with a personal perspective- “The Journey From Afghanistan”. Summary here.

On April 15th 2021 the society hosted a talk by David Innes, who spoke movingly and with vivid detail on the life and times of Captain Ralph Kite of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. The story of this young soldier of the Great War is told in Dr Simon Harris’ book “RBK a Very Parfit Gentil Knight”. Summary here.

The society’s final talk ( May 2021) of the season was by Carol Anderson, who is a County Museums Officer in Oxfordshire’s County Council Cultural Service. Her talk on glove making in the west of Oxfordshire was attended by over 50 participants, the numbers including guests from the Charlbury History group. Carol’s talk began with a reminder that … Continue reading