The Society’s 25th Anniversary Remembered

In this year of the society’s 40th anniversary, here is a short trip down memory lane to the society’s 25th Anniversary in 2006. Amongst activities that year, the society produced a commemorative porcelain mug.

The Wychwoods Local History Society 25th Anniversary Commemorative Mug: 2006

Here are some short biographical notes on the four interesting Wychwoods characters which featured on it, with links to more information about them.

Gladys Avery, neé Habgood

Gladys Avery

Gladys’s father, Robert Habgood, took over the tenancy of a farm at Chadlington in 1931. In Wychwoods History volume 13, Gladys remembered the way of life on a farm before the Second World War, and the great changes that came about after 1940 when the War Department took 90 acres of land for a landing ground for the R.A.F.

Gladys worked for her father for 14 years until 1957 doing every job there was to be done on a mixed farm, except exercising the bull! She was very adept with the scythe. She lived in Shipton under Wychwood until she passed away in Spring 2007.

More information about Gladys is featured in the artcle “Farming Memories of Chadlington” in the Wychwoods History Journal No 13 p. 51

Reuben Rainbow

Reuben Rainbow

Depicted playing the piccolo in the band he founded in early 1900s after returning from fighting in the 2nd Boer War. On his left wrist is his music score. He was born in Shipton under Wychwood in 1871 and enlisted in 1888 aged 16.

He was then called up as a reservist in 1899 and fought in the Boer War with the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers. He kept a diary from December 1899 until July 1900. This was later transcribed (a copy is in the WLHS archives) before being deposited in the South Wales Borderers and Monmouthshire Regimental Museum in Brecon.

An article about Reuben and the diary was published in Wychwoods History 17 p46. The diary records all the day to day activities of an army in the field, plunged into the most difficult conditions. He returned to Shipton, married the following year and died in 1911 aged 40 years.

See more in Second Wychwood Album here

Fanny Rathband neé Honeybourn

Fanny Rathband and the Wychwoods Local History Society Emblem

Mrs Rathband was the last surviving Ascott Martyr when the photograph, on which this portrait is based, was taken around 1925 outside Milton Methodist Chapel. In 1873, at the age of 16, she was sentenced with fifteen other women (two with young babies) to ten days in Oxford jail for picketing a farm in Ascott.

The cause of the dispute was the sacking of farm labourers who were members of the National Union of Agricultural Labourers. The harsh sentences imposed by two Reverend magistrates caused a national outcry but because Parliament was about to recess, nothing was done.

After several days, when some of the women had already completed their sentence, the Home Office advised Queen Victoria to remit the remainder of the sentence of the seven women still imprisoned. The warrant eventually arrived on the day that the remaining women were due for release.

Mrs Rathband lived in The Square in Milton, dying in 1939 at the age of 82.

See more in The Wychwoods Album here

Richard Hartley 1848-1927

Richard Hartley

Based on a photograph showing him standing in the timber yard of Alfred Groves, Milton under Wychwood, Richard Hartley was the first of the Hartley family to farm in the Wychwoods.

He had been a miller and an astute businessman as well as farmer before moving his wife, five small children, the family’s goods and chattels, 32 horses, numerous cattle and 15 men from Wigginton Mill near Banbury to Grove Farm, Shipton under Wychwood in 1892.

Once in the Wychwoods, he took over other farms in the area, particularly Manor Farm and Lower Farm in Milton under Wychwood.

See more in The Wychwoods Album here