Next Meeting

Thursday, 20th June

Summer Garden Party, Edgehill, OX15 6DJ. 5.00pm

We have another excellent Garden Party with Sue and Andrew planned (depending on the weather).

Please let Sue know you are coming, for catering purposes.



– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


What went on at Recent meetings



Thursday, 16 May

RNLI talk by Peter Warrilow 

Peter gave an interesting talk about the history and work of the 200 year old RNLI. Founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, the RNLI has grown to have 238 stations around the country, including 4 on the Thames. They have various large classes of boat as well as RIBs and even hovercraft. They always have spare boats to facilitate maintenance and in 2015 they started their own all weather manufacturing plant. There are 5700 crew members, including 350 ladies who have been recruited since 1969. In 2022 £200,000,000 was raised – and spent!

Peter mentioned the RNLI Headquarters in Poole and said that there is a very good restaurant, which he encouraged us to visit.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Thursday, 18th April

Professor Sarah Richardson. (Glasgow University). Writing women back into the political history of Warwickshire.

Professor Sarah Richardson took us on a journey exploring the women who have made a political difference to the UK since the early 19th Century. She covered the Food Riots, the campaign against slavery and other notable events which changed the role of women and the general population in this country. She told us about the introduction of reading rooms to boost literacy in country areas and the connection of voting to the building of Model Villages amongst many other interesting facts. The meeting continued with lots of questions and discussions about what we had heard.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Thursday, 21st March

Jackie West shared her very extensive research about the local families associated with Kenilworth and Ladbroke. No-one knew of the connections and were intrigued to learn about the son (illegitimate or legitimate?) of Robert Dudley (also Robert) and his adventures.

We were taken to some amazing places in Warwickshire, from tiny picturesque villages to a ruined castle and a stately home restored to its former elegance.

A very local story enjoyed by all.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Thursday, 15th February

 ‘A history of odd islands and some strange people: the Small Isles’.

John Hunter OBE BA PhD MCIfA FSA FCSFS Emeritus Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham gave an intriguing talk into the history, landscape and personalities on the “Small Islands”  of 

Eigg, Muck, Canna and Rum. The evening continued with a lot of questions and discussions about the talk, showing the interest taken by the audience.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

18th January, 2024, 

The History of Morris Dancing

Stephen and Verna Wass gave a talk on Morris Dancing. A great deal of research enabled them to give us the interesting history of morris, from it’s origins through developments over the years and the different types of dance in various regions of the country. They also spoke about similar dances performed throughout the world. Stephen spoke of the musical accompaniment to the dance and Verna and Stephen gave us a taste of the music at the start and end of the talk. The relevance of the costumes which they brought along were explained as well as telling us about the attire of different groups.

Stephen and Verna are returning in September to talk about The Civil War in Banbury. Stephen’s talks are not to be missed so make a note in your diary to join us on 19th September.


  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 16th November

AGM. This was, as promised, kept to a minimum and then we looked at the interesting items brought in by members with discussions about them. 

Martin Greenwood was unable to give his talk but sent along some of his books, ‘Banburyshire, A Walker’s History’ which sold well.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


David Beaumont: Sailor and Soldier

David Beaumont gave an interesting talk on Admiral Cowan, a local hero in Kineton. It covered his life from him joining the Royal Navy as a boy, through Sudan and Khartoum to Scapa Flow and the escorting of the German fleet into Scapa on their surrender, to Baltic runs during the Russian revolution, his retirement and rejoining to teach boat handling to Commandos, service and capture in Italy. At the end of the war he came back to Kineton to be Master of the Warwickshire hunt. Upon his death he was given a funeral with full Military honours, being pulled through the streets of Kineton to the new graveyard by Naval personnel.


  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 23rd September

Unfortunately, Peter Warrilow was ill so couldn’t do the talk on the RNLI. Hopefully, he will come in the future. (Now re-scheduled for 16th May 2024).

Stuart stepped in and provided an alternative programme.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 15th June, 2023

We had a Garden Party at a Member’s garden where we enjoyed scones, cakes and drinks.

Our thanks go to Sue and Andrew for hosting and to Members who contributed.

It was a good evening for catching up with old friends in a social atmosphere away from the normal meetings.


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 18th May, 2023

 We welcomed back Jude Barrett from the Ashmolean Museum. Jude talked about their new major exhibition, Labyrinth, the first UK exhibition to focus on Knossos.

The palace of Knossos, discovered and excavated over 100 years ago, was the centre of a Bronze Age civilisation of people we now call the Minoans, named after the legendary King Minos and according to legend, an elaborate labyrinth was built at Knossos on the island of Crete to hold a ferocious Minotaur.  (

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Thursday, 20th April, 2023

Stephen Wass gave another fantastic talk, this time about his archaeological investigations on the Baddesley Clinton Estate. Stephen captured the attention of the audience with his enthusiasm in describing his team’s discoveries of new and very interesting things about the history of the National Trust property.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 16th March 2023

Vanessa Morgan gave a much researched talk about Baddesley Clinton and Packwood including the families who lived in the houses.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

16th February 2023

Stephen Barker Gave a talk about Six Warrior Women of the English Civil Wars, 1642-51

During the English Civil War women were not meek bystanders who took no part in the conflict but actively participated in a variety of ways, challenging the orthodoxies of their day and perhaps our own preconceptions.

This talk looked briefly at six women who took part in the fighting, undertook spying missions and negotiated deals with politicians: Mary Bankes, Mary Overton, Lucy Hay, Dorothy Hazard, Jane Whorwood and Mary Verney.

It also touched briefly upon cross-dressing soldiers; widows seeking compensation from Parliament and political activists.

Book recommendations:

The Weaker Vessel’ – Antonia Fraser

Women all on Fire’ – Alison Plowden

The Grand Quarrel’ – Roger Hudson

Invisible Agents’ – Nadine Akkerman

The Women of the English Civil War’ – Margaret Evans

Some examples of poetry about Lucy Hay, as requested by one member at the talk. (These, and others, can be found online):

Upon My Lady Carlisle’s Walking in Hampton Court Gardens’ by John Suckling:

 ‘A Panegyric to the Most Noble Lucy, Countess of Carlisle’ by William Cartwright

A Character of the Most Excellent Lady, Lucy Countess of Carlisle’ by Toby Matthews.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


19th January 2023

Why look at parish churches? 

John Hunt gave a very interesting talk about Parish Churches. He looked at why Churches are so interesting to Historians and Archaeologists and gave lots of examples from local Churches, including Tysoe. His enthusiasm for the subject was very evident and the meeting concluded with interesting questions from the audience.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

5th January 2023, Christmas Social Evening

The first meeting of the year was the Social Evening which had been re-arranged due to bad weather on the original date.

10 members enjoyed a lovely meal provided by Jenny and members of the Committee.

Many thanks to Jenny and Roger for hosting the evening.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

17th November 2022.


The items on the agenda were quickly dealt with. The items of general interest were that the subscriptions would remain at £10 (a bargain!) and that none of the current Committee had indicated their wish to step down the existing Committee were re-elected.

The AGM was followed by a presentation by Stuart Martin and Kevin Wyles who shared with us just some of their huge collection of images of our area, lost cottages, long forgotten community events, sports teams, local personalities and even Fire and Rescue by the now disbanded Tysoe Fire Station. It was a hugely enjoyable evening, so enormous thanks are due to both Kevin and Stuart.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 20th October.

David Freke gave an update on, “The Making of Tysoe”. He gave a very interesting talk on the research which had been done into Tysoe’s history. Much of the work was done during the pandemic which made it difficult. An amazing amount of research has been done researching Church, Churchyard and Field Names and now they are looking at the listed houses of the Village.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Saturday, 3rd September

A to visit Lichfield. 

Liz and Harriet had put together a programme for the day. On arriving at Liz’s house we were welcomed with coffee and home made biscuits. Then it was off to Erasmus Darwin’s House to look round the interesting garden. From there we made our way, via some other interesting buildings, to the Cathedral where Harriet told us a lot about the Cathedral and it’s environs. Liz joined us and took us on a guided tour of the inside of the Cathedral. Liz’s knowledge and enthusiasm was inspiring.  Back to Liz’s house where they had arranged a delicious lunch. Then it was out again, walking along narrow lanes, looking at more interesting buildings into the City centre where we visited the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop. Returning to Liz’s house we were treated to tea and cake before our return journey. Many thanks to Liz and Harriet for the wonderful hospitality and introduction to the City of Lichfield. We will be returning for another look around as there is such a wealth of interesting things to see.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 16th June.

The weather was just right for our Summer Garden Party to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne.  

Sue and Andrew invited members to a garden party to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. Tea and cake were provided and there was an interesting display of memorabilia.

Lots of good company with many members chatting away for a few hours.

Thank you Sue and Andrew.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Saturday, 21st May

We had a second meeting this month!

Eleven Members joined The Reverend Canon Dr Richard Cooke in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral who took us on a guided tour. He told us about the history of the development of the area from the beginning of the 12th century when it was a parish Church followed by the Cathedral Priory Church of St Mary, founded by Leofric and Godiva which was destroyed in the Dissolution. He described the Cathedral’s fate during the war, the Charred Cross and all the individual Guild Chapels built round the sides. He explained why the sloping hillside influenced it’s shape. We then went down the steps to the new Cathedral.

May is the 60th anniversary of the consecration of the New Cathedral and there was a gathering of past choristers getting ready for a concert later in the day, so we were able to listen to them as they prepared. A bonus!

Many thanks to Richard for a very interesting visit.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 19th May.

Jude Barrett from the Ashmolean Museum gave a very interesting and informative talk about the Museum. 

Her talk included a variety of items from across the archaeological collection of the Ashmolean and some Roman objects and coins as well.  Hopefully we will have a tour of the museum in June.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, 21st April.

Chris Pickford. (who edited the new edition of Buildings of Warwickshire by Nikolaus Pevsner) gave a very interesting illustrated talk about the “Notable Buildings of Warwickshire.” 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

17th March.

“The Human Cost of the British Civil Wars”, (based on the Civil War Petitions Project) with some local Warwickshire and Edgehill interest included.

Unfortunately, Professor Andrew Hopper from the Department for Continuing Education in Oxford was unable to give his talk due to illness. He sent his talk on Microsoft Powerpoint which Stuart projected for the members. 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

17th February. 

Stuart shared with us his collection of old and interesting postcards of our area. It generated much interest in the Warmington of yesteryear with both old and new members of the community sharing memories and, in some cases, finding out how their house had changed over the years.

  • – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

20th January 2022 

 David gave an interesting talk using his Grandfather’s diary of life in Skapa Flow during the First World War.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The AGM was a very short meeting followed by a talk by Colin about wild orchids. Everyone was extremely interested in the variety of these special flowers found locally and many members will be out in early summer looking for them.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

For our October meeting we de-camped to Radway Church where Jenny and David gave a very interesting account of their transcription of the Loss Accounts from the Civil War.  The Battle of Edge Hill took place on October 23 so we thought it would be good to present their findings in the Church at Radway where David was instrumental in setting up the Civil War exhibition

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Farm Visit, Saturday, 9th October, 2021

The visit to see the farming memorabilia was enjoyed in lovely weather. About a dozen people wandered through four barns looking at and discussing all on show. What memories it revived! (And discussions about possible uses for unidentified objects). 

Tea or coffee and cake was provided and donations to Katharine House Hospice amounted to £80. 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Paul Baker was our speaker for February. He has devoted several years researching the building of a railway from Henley-in-Arden to Lapworth which took as long in the planning as in the time it was operational. Paul illustrated his talk with documents unearthed in his research showing the panic caused by the biggest bank failure of the nineteenth century and the rivalry between competing railway companies.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

To start our 2020 year on 16th January we had a talk entitled, Tweets from an ancient desert, by Michael Macdonald, Honorary Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. 

A fairly large audience enjoyed a fascinating talk about the nomads of the deserts of Syria, Jordan and north-west Saudi Arabia and the legacy they left on stones and tablets they discarded and which have survived for us to read. The writing give an insight into the every-day lives of these people.

“Some 2000 years ago when the Romans ruled what is now Syria, Jordan and north-west Saudi Arabia, the nomads in the deserts learnt to read and write. However, since they had nothing to write on except rocks this was not very useful to them except that it allowed them to carve graffiti to pass the time when doing boring jobs like watching over the flocks and herds while they pastured. They left tens of thousands of these graffiti which are like tweets in that they are self-expression in a public area where once it is out you cannot withdraw it. Because they had all the time in the world some of these graffiti are quite long and together they tell us an enormous amount about their society and its relations with the outside world, as well as very personal things. The result is that we know far more about the nomads at this period than we do about the contemporaries in the cities or the countryside where no such graffiti have survived.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In December the Social was enjoyed by a small group of members who were treated to a supper prepared by Jenny, with a welcome contribution from Sue.

Many Thanks to all (including Roger).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In October, 2019, we had the annual Member’s Miscellany, which is always interesting. This year we had three speakers.

First up was Stephen with an up-date of his investigations at various local sites, including Hanwell and various National Trust sites, with the odd sojourn to Italy thrown in.

Then David gave a fascinating talk about graffiti found around Churches. Some very interesting examples were shown which aroused much interest.

Finally, Kevin brought along some of his finds from Tysoe and gave an interesting insight surrounding many of them.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


The September, 2019, meeting was a talk by Professor Sarah Richardson of The University of Warwick speaking about “The Cobden Sisterhood, politics and culture in the age of women’s suffrage”.  Jane Cobden, together with her sisters, sought to protect and develop the legacy of their father, Richard Cobden, a 19th C Liberal statesman, who campaigned successfully for the repeal of the Corn Laws and who believed that free trade was a powerful force for peace and a defence against war. The sisterhood were prominent in many areas of radical and progressive politics, including the fight for women’s suffrage and land reform.

  • Also in September, 2019 a small group went to Wrest Park to have a tour of English Heritage’s Archaeological Collections Store. Some members arrived in the morning and had a walk round the park, then met up for the tour. An amazing collection of artefacts from sites all over the country were on racks around the building, including some large stone balls from Kenilworth used on a trebuchet. Other interesting artifacts were early blue plaques and some larger than life figures from a clock tower.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In June, 2019 we had a double helping of Chris Hone when he came and gave a very interesting talk about the Wroxton Mineral Railway. He had a large map and detailed the construction along the route in great detail. His knowledge of the subject shone through. Afterwards there was a lively Q&A session where an enthusiastic audience questioned him extensively. This was one of the longest talks of the year, showing the interest in the subject. On the following Saturday we again had the pleasure of Chris, this time taking us on a walk along part of the track-bed where he showed us the sites of the crusher, sidings, etc. and explained their use. Later in the year we hope to have a viewing of some old film of the Railway (maybe at the AGM), so keep an eye open for details.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In May, 2019 Ginny Davis gave a very interesting talk about the criminal trials in the 17th century when they were short and swift. Defendants could not give evidence and 200 crimes ranging from theft to murder were punishable by death, although ingenious ploys were used to spare some prisoners. Petty criminals were named and shamed, often in the stocks. Felons were frequently hanged, the process becoming more specialised when the weight of the criminal was taken into consideration. (The end result was the same!). Gradually, over the next 400 years the penal system introduced other forms of sentence: transportation, hard labour and eventually, imprisonment. The talk was well delivered and kept everyone’s attention throughout.

Ginny finished by telling us about her new stand-alone play to be performed at the Bridge House Theatre, Warwick on 12th July. Details:

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The April, 2019 meeting was well attended for the talk by Colin Clay and Phil Taylor who discussed the use of old maps, aerial photographs, responsible metal detecting and LIDAR to study where old trackways crossed the countryside. It was very interesting how they discovered these old tracks and superimposed them on modern maps. Members went away armed with the knowledge to explore the undulations around their locations.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The March, 2019 talk by Matt Armitage about Tooley’s Boatyard and the Oxford Canal was an interesting insight of the history of the boatyard and some of the characters who have run the operation for the last couple of hundred years. He explained how the yard was saved from the developers of the shopping complex, building and lauching boats as well as the rescuing of an old wooden craft from the bottom of the canal near Braunston. He had his new book about the history on sale which contains some amazing photos from the past. See: for a description of the book.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In February, 2019, Medieval historian Dr Rowena E. Archer, a Fellow and lecturer at Brasenose College and lecturer at Christ Church, gave a very interesting talk about Joan of Arc. Rowena teaches French History from 1000 – 1500 and has a particular interest in the experiences of women and runs a specialist course on Joan of Arc and her Age, 1419-1435

We heard that Joan of Arc was not from a noble or military family but believed that God had chosen her to lead France to victory in its war with England. She lead the French army to victory over the English at Orléans and was then captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces, tried for witchcraft and heresy and burned at the stake in 1431 at the age of 19. By the time she was officially canonized in 1920, the Maid of Orléans, as she was known, had long been considered one of history’s greatest saints, and an enduring symbol of French unity and nationalism. Through her researches and teaching Rowena has added greatly to the understanding of the life and times of Jeanne d’Arc.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The January, 2019 talk by Keith Westcott on the Broughton Hoard, on display in the Ashmolean, and the Broughton Roman Villa, one of England’s Great Courtyard Villas, was received with great enthusiasm. The question time after the talk went on for more than half an hour, showing the interest generated.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Members Miscellany was a very interesting evening (as always), with Peter giving a history of his early farming life and the use of Ram Water Pumps. Stephen gave an update of the archaeological work he has been undertaking at some important sites around the area and David gave a very interesting look into Masons Marks in over a hundred Churchyards in the local area. If you missed this meeting, make a note for next year!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Some of our members joined the Kineton Heritage Group on their recent coach trip to the SS Great Britain. The work done on the ship is amazing. The cabins, dining room, etc were recreated and a glass roof, representing the water (actually covered with water) gave an impression of it floating. It was also to keep the hull covered from the elements so that two big de-humidifiers could keep the humidity low enough to prevent further rusting of the fragile ironwork. A very enjoyable day.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

On 22nd July a small group had a fascinating tour of Burmington Manor hosted by the enthusiastic owner. He told us the history of the Manor and showed us the many features preserved and carefully incorporated into the restoration so they were not hidden. By doing so the construction and many alterations over the years became clear. 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The visit to Tooley’s Boatyard on 16th July was a great success. Matt took his time explaining the history of the yard and then gave a demonstration in the forge. This was followed by an explanation of the dry dock, a visit to the paint store and the machine shop. Outside he showed us their project – restoring a wooden narrowboat which was found sunk in the canal and abandoned. To round off the evening Matt then took us on a leisurely cruise along the canal.