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.
February MeetingYouTube channel. [This talk was in place of the scheduled talk on the Baptist Chapel, which was cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances].
THS Social Evening
'Image Fees' ScrappedThere's an important development after a recent Court of Appeal ruling and it is Good News for historians and art historians (and art lovers generally). Those of us who've had to pay image fees will know the system relies on museums claiming copyright in their photos - irrespective of whether the art they're photographing is itself in copyright. (In the UK, copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the artist).
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’.
Aspects of Hidden Tewkesbury
September 2023 MeetingYouTube Channel.]
The Significant work of a Member's Daughter
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.
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 Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey trip to The Firs, the birthplace of Sir Edward Elgar, 24 February 2024 - a few tickets left: https://www.friendsoftewkesburyabbey.org.uk/events/
Visit to the birthplace of Edward Elgar
Remarkable Incidents Relative to Tewkesbury
1853. On 11th July: Not for many years past has the season been so fraught with losses and disasters. The immense quantity of rain speedily overflowed the Avon, and the luxuriant valley of that river between Evesham and this Town, was for several days submerged to such a degree that the whole fields were denuded of their crops, which came whelming down, large ricks of hay being floated away entire, and in one or two instances bearing upon their tops the implements which had been used in their construction. At Bredon and Twyning considerable damage was done, while nearer here, at Mytton, Messrs. Pike and Firkins have sustained losses to the amount of several hundred pounds. In the Town itself considerable alarm was felt on Saturday, when it was discovered that the Stanchard Wall ( the weir between the Severn and the Avon) had been partly washed away, and great fears were entertained that the whole of it must go, in which case the dwelling of Mr W. Bathurst, close by, would most probably have followed; This catastrophe was fortunately avoided by the prompt and energetic endeavours of a number of men who dammed the water with boards and clay and shored up the wall with timber until the flood had subsided.