Janet and David Devereux

by Sam Eedle, Chairman

The summer of 2023 brought the sad news of the death of Janet, followed by that of her husband, David.

Janet was a Life Member of the Society because of her outstanding work over many years researching and writing about aspects of the Town’s History.  Janet was brought up in Bristol the daughter of musical parents: her father being an organist and her mother a choral singer and pianist.  She followed her mother’s encouragement and interests, going on to study at Bristol University and a BA in history.

In 1960 she moved to Tewkesbury to teach History and French at Tewkesbury Girls Grammar School (then in Church Street), moving to the Comprehensive School in Newtown after it opened in 1972.   There she later taught Citizenship and Child Development – a friend remembers Janet asking her to take her baby along so that the pupils could see how to change a nappy!

It was when she came to Tewkesbury that Janet met her husband David, after their marriage they lived in Mitton and had their two children, John and Michelle.   David was for many years the proprietor of Fleet Graphics, who printed many of the Society’s Bulletins along with his successor Graham Robinson.  Janet was quietly dignified and classy, and a great Mum.  She brought her children up to believe everyone was equal no matter what sex or colour they were.  As a mother she was always gently supportive but never overbearing. There was never a hint of 'you can't do that because you are a girl'.  It wasn't until she was an adult that Michelle realised that “not everyone had a mum as great as hers”. Michelle is now an accountant with her own firm, Devereux and Hunt, and she was recently the voluntary examiner, amongst others, to the Tewkesbury Christmas Lights Committee.  John followed Janet’s educational path and went to Birmingham University achieving a degree in Physics with Astrophysics.  He now has now followed David’s path - and runs his own successful plastic blow moulding company where he designs machines that are sold internationally. 

David and Janet had a big circle of friends. Boating was a very important family activity at weekends and holidays. She and David were great travellers. Norway, Sweden (multiple times since the 1960s up until COVID), Portugal, Egypt, France, Italy, Germany, Malta, Canada, Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland to name a few! On retirement they moved to Twyning Manor, which is where they both passed away.

Janet was a long-standing member of Tewkesbury Historical Society, being one of the five permitted Life Members. She wrote nineteen articles over 18 years for our annual research bulletin, covering various aspects of Tewkesbury’s history from the early Victorian era to the early 20th Century.  She won the Society’s Woodard Award in 2001 and 2008 for outstanding articles and she 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’ (our “Workhouse: The Most Harsh and Unkind Friend”) in 2000 was particularly memorable. 

Her Christian faith was very important. She worshipped at Holy Trinity Church where she ran the Women’s Fellowship, organised the Tewkesbury Women’s World Day of Prayer service, and was the very active church representative for a charity supporting orphans in South Africa. Sam Eedle came to know her through that, and through her attendance at Wednesday Holy Communion Services as well as Sunday Worship. She attended a weekday Life group, as long as she was able.

Latterly Janet suffered some mini strokes but overcame those and was able to continue to enjoy life. Janet liked her coffee - and, while in hospital shortly before her death, had to frequently make it clear that she did not like tea! In spite of being diabetic, she was also very fond of chocolates, cake and biscuits, and could work her way through a box of chocolates if it was left within reach!

Bulletin articles by Janet Devereux
The Age of Unrest in North Gloucestershire 1800-1835Bulletin No 2 (1993)
Law and Order in the North Gloucestershire Area, 1817-50Bulletin No 3 (1994)
Law and Order in 19th Century TewkesburyBulletin No 4 (1995)
Law and Order in Tewkesbury in the 19th CenturyBulletin No 5 (1996)
A Mystery SolvedBulletin No 6 (1997)
Public Spirit, Public Order, Part 1Bulletin No 6 (1997)
Public Spirit, Public Order, Part 2 : The Yeomanry in PeacetimeBulletin No 7 (1998)
On the Parish : Outdoor Relief in the Tewkesbury Union 1836-43Bulletin No 7 (1998)
The Poet, the Ploughman, the Kitchener and the LadyBulletin No 8 (1999)
The Most Harsh and Unkind Friend (Glimpses into Tewkesbury House of Industry c.1832-1850)Bulletin No 9 (2000)
Tewkesbury House of Industry c.1832-1850Bulletin No 9 (2000)
The Good Man Serving his Generation - Thomas Caddick, 1763-1847Bulletin No 10 (2001)
Parkfield School at Twyning Manor during World War IIBulletin No 11 (2002)
"Our ‘Tommies’ .Always Cheerful"Bulletin No 12 (2003)
Herbert-Howells, Three Gloucestershire FriendsBulletin No 13 (2004)
Civilian Community, 1917Bulletin No 14 (2005)
Life at 89 Church StreetBulletin No 15 (2006)
Diamond Jubilee, 1897Bulletin No 16 (2007)
Railways at Tewk. & AshchurchBulletin No 18 (2009)
A Village Baker’s WifeBulletin No 19 (2010)
Ladies of Influence: Misses MinesBulletin No 20 (2011)
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