The Tewkesbury Historical Society
Welcome to our local History Society websiteMethodist Church at The Cross. Society Meetings are open to non-members and speakers talk on aspects of history. In addition, THS publish books and an annual Bulletin of Research, to which contributions are invited. Members have the option of accessing online the Society's extensive Woodard Database of Local History data.
33rd Season - Programme of Talks
16 Nov 2023 Andrew Mellor - The Dymock Poets
25 Jan 2024 Social - For Members, Friends & Guests
15 Feb 2024 Kirstie Bingham, John Moore Museum - Making the Invisible, Visible: (The Story of the Old 17th Century Baptist Chapel)
21 Mar 2024 David Elder - Secret Tewkesbury (a book to be published in 2024)
18 Apr 2024 Michael Trott - Ann Greening, Mother of Edward Elgar
Tewkesbury WorkhouseOn the parish: Outdoor Relief in the Tewkesbury Union, 1836-1843 (Bulletin 7, 1998); "The Most Harsh and Unkind Friend" Glimpses into Tewkesbury House of Industry c.1832 to 1850 (Bulletin 9, 2000 - winner of the Woodard Award 2001).
We were delighted to learn that Sam Eedle, THS Chairman, has been awarded the prestigious county prize by the Gloucestershire Local History Association – and for the second time!
This time it was for his article in Bulletin 31, entitled the ‘School Mistress and the Cross’, concerning a Tewkesbury connected war widow, Rose Roberts, nee Jeffery. I commend members to follow my example and read it again – when I edited it, I knew it would be a very strong Jerrard contender.
The Chairman, Dr Steven Blake, commended it for fulfilling all five of its criteria for the quality of its research, writing and presentation [by Rick Talbot]. Runner up was Chris Sullivan for ‘Charles Bathurst saves Lydney Dog and finds God’.
War Graves in Tewkesbury Cemetery
Aspects of Hidden Tewkesbury
September 2023 MeetingYouTube Channel.]
The Society is sad to report the death of John King who was the 2020 winner of the Woodard Award for his article, Tewkesbury's Redoubtable Victorian Ironmonger, concerning his ancestor, Humphrey King, who occupied the Nodding Gables and erected the Golden Key.
John was a teacher at Eton school for 13 years retiring in 2011. In his later years he was afflicted by Motor Neurone Disease and passed away in hospital on 4 May 2022 after suffering a fall.
Views of England and Wales
A digitised collection of regional images has been added to the University of Leicester’s Special Collections Online. 'Views of England and Wales' contains more than 2,000 topographic prints, drawings, paintings and photographs, mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. The originals are held at the university’s Centre for Regional and Local History. The digital images are all available free under a Creative Commons licence. The collection can be freely viewed via https://www.balh.org.uk/NHW153 [Tewkesbury material relates mainly to the Abbey]
The Significant work of a Member's Daughter
David Elder will be visiting Alison's Bookshop to sign copies of his new book “Secret Tewkesbury” on Saturday 22nd July from 11.00am to 13.00pm.
John Dixon has read this very informative, well-written and, at times, amusing book which reveals much of the Town's main historical events from a different perspective. Not only is David an engaging writer but he is also a superb photographer: his revelation of Abbey Misericords is a masterpiece.
Mrs Janet Devereux
Sadly, we have to announce the death of Mrs Janet Devereux, B.A., who was a long-standing member of our Society.
She passed away peacefully at home on Monday June 5th 2023, aged 85 years. Janet was the dearly loved wife of David (himself for many years the proprietor of Fleet Graphics, who printed many of the Society’s Bulletins). Janet was also the mother of John and Michelle, and grandmother of Ben and Leah.
Janet was a former schoolteacher, lastly at Tewkesbury Comprehensive, and one of the first members of our Society. She was a prolific contributor of articles for the yearly Bulletin, publishing nineteen of these over the course of eighteen years, two of which won the Society’s Woodard Award for best article and a further one which was short-listed for the County Bryan Jerrard Award for best Local History article in Gloucestershire (2003). Her article on Tewkesbury’s Victorian ‘House of Industry’ (ie,Workhouse) in 2000 was particularly memorable.
She was an example to all budding local history authors, the list below showing the extent of her work, covering various aspects of Tewkesbury’s history from the early Victorian era to the early 20th Century. (see our Bulletins page for details.)
Janet was also a regular attender at Tewkesbury’s Holy Trinity Church. Her funeral service will be held at Cheltenham Crematorium, Willow Chapel on Monday 26th June at 11.30am. Family flowers only, please. Donations in lieu to the Alzheimer’s Society may be sent c/o Alexander Burn Funeral Directors, 23-24 High Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5AL. (Enquiries 01684 276200).
A fuller obituary will be published here in due course.
Sam Eedle, Chairman,Tewkesbury Historical Society.
Gloucester History Festival
Armed Forces Day
Saturday 24 June this year is Armed Forces Day. Rod Gurney is seeking interest in attending a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, 25 June at Tewkesbury Methodist Church commencing at 3pm. If you are interested in attending, please reply to Rod directly: firstname.lastname@example.org Rod will then be able to gauge whether there is sufficient support to organise the event.
GLHA Summer Afternoon 2023
War Graves Week
20 April 2023 MeetingYouTube Channel ]
Do you have a Water Story to tell?
Researchers in water security and performance arts from University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are collaborating in a pilot research project with actaTheatre (a community theatre group) and the Roses Theatre. The project aims to capture different people’s stories about their relationships with any aspect of water in Tewkesbury. They are interested in how we share local water knowledge and the role of the arts in these processes.
They are keen to involve a variety of voices in the workshops. Everyone is welcome. They are hoping for people that can join them for four workshops, with the final workshop as a script reading, where they will invite a wider audience. No expertise in drama/theatre is needed – just a willingness to come and find out more.
Local History Workshops
The Local History workshops are now online and bookable via the heritage Hub website https://www.heritagehub.org.uk/local-history-workshops/
Full details from the attached poster and the website page, link above.
Results of recent Tree-Ring Dating for Tewkesbury BuildingsGloucestershire Dendrochronology Project. A fascinating talk was given on the 13th of March which can viewed on the Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey website. This extremely accurate process can give dates down to the season and since green wood was preferred by medieval builders, we can be fairly sure that the year they were cut down was the year (perhaps the next) when the wood was used to construct the timber frames and roofs.
1832 Cholera Epidemic in Tewkesbury
One of our members, Dr Peter Raggatt, who is a retired NHS Clinical Biochemist at Addenbrookes Hospital and Lecturer in Cambridge University School, was moved to research and write an article about this epidemic with its comparisons with the present pandemic. [see attached PDF above]
It links in with previous research on Cholera in Tewkesbury.
Such was the impact of these two epidemics on the town that a monument was commissioned which now resides in the Cemetery, adjacent to the ‘Cholera Pit’ where many victims received a mass night burial [see attached].
Although John Snow, clean water for the Mythe Waterworks and improved housing conditions have ensured that 1849 was the last appearance of cholera, the brutality which occurred in World War II Japanese POW camps caused the death of several Tewkesbury soldiers of cholera in 1943-44. Here is a biography of one of them, Frederick Key.
Smallpox was another medical curse of the18-19th centuries but by the late 19thC vaccinations were made compulsory and a significant number of people in Tewkesbury became anti-vaccination. For more on this familiar tale, see Martin Holt's award winning article.
History is always so topical!
Cemetery and Burials database for TewkesburyOver the years we have collated information from the various burial grounds in the town and now is the time to release a one-stop location for all of them on this site. The new Burials Database in our Research section tries to do this. There is also an accompanying history and guide to finding the resting place of persons buried in the town. There are currently an impressive 18,564 records. For the decades 1841 to 1881 we can also link to the Census Database (not guaranteed they are same people)
Two large scale maps of Tewkesbury from 1811 and 1880We are proud to present two maps on our site using new zoom and pan technology.
We have the 1811 Enclosure Map of Tewkesbury and the huge 1:500 scale map of Tewkesbury created in the 1880s, both full of amazing detail. Use your mouse wheel to zoom and left mouse to drag.
The deadline for submissions of articles for the next THS Bulletin is 31 October 2023 - full details for authors here.
Remarkable Incidents Relative to Tewkesbury
In the year 1696, the six bells in the church were cast into eight; the expenses of which were defrayed by voluntary contribution. They were founed by that celebrated workman, Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester.