The Tewkesbury Historical Society

Welcome to our local History Society website

Cross House
Cross HouseClick Image
 to Expand
THS formed in 1991 to research and add to our knowledge of the history of the town of Tewkesbury. The Society meets monthly, on the third Thursday, at 7.45pm in the Methodist 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.
Facebook Group
YouTube Channel      
                                         Please consider JOINING THE SOCIETY

November 2023 Meeting

Caroline & Andrew Mellor
Caroline & Andrew MellorClick Image
 to Expand
At our meeting on 16 November, Andrew Mellor gave a very well received and engaging talk on The Dymock Poets, with recitations from their work by Caroline Mellor.

BGAS - Archaeology in the Community

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
Saturday 18 November 2023 - a day of lectures.

33rd Season - Programme of Talks

The schedule of talks for our thirty-third season is set out below.
At the Methodist Church at The Cross, all are welcome - entrance fee for THS Members is £2.50 and for visitors is £4 (includes tea/coffee/biscuits after the talks). 

21 Sep 2023    Ally McConnell - Dowty in the Tewkesbury area: Expansion and Decline
19 Oct 2023    Nana Pierre - A Boy Called Silence (Medieval West Africa)
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
23 May 2024   AGM followed by John Dixon - John Moore's Rogues

Bulletin 32

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
Bulletin 32 is now published!

Prices in the UK for THS Members is £10 (£8 + £2 p&p). 
Non-UK Members is £12 (including p&p).
UK Non-Members is £15.
Non-UK Non-Members is £19.
(Note that p&p will rise after 3 April when Royal Mail are increasing their prices.) 

You can purchase online via our 'Shop' or you can order by emailing John Dixon on paying via BACS (John will supply details). 

Click to view the back cover,  the Contentsthe Foreword.

Tewkesbury Workhouse

Tewkesbury Workhouse
Tewkesbury WorkhouseClick Image
 to Expand
In our History pages on this website, we have two articles written by the late Janet Devereux on the subject of the Poor Law and Tewkesbury Workhouse in particular. You can read them via these links: On 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).

October 2023 Meeting

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
At our meeting on 19 October 2023, Nana Pierre, gave an interesting and informative talk on the background and location of her forthcoming book A Boy Called Silence which is set in West Africa in the 15th century.
John Dixon

Jerrard Award

Sam, Chris, Steven
Sam, Chris, StevenClick Image
 to Expand

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’.

John Dixon

War Graves in Tewkesbury Cemetery

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
On 21 October 2023, THS hosted its second CWGC Open Day to enable people to see the graves in Tewkesbury Cemetery belonging to local war dead from the Two World Wars and beyond. It was led by John Dixon, assisted by Sam Eedle, whom we hope will organise another Open Day in May 2024, after John's retirement. We particularly appreciated the contributions made by the visitors on that day. We thank the Cemetery Authorities for facilitating these events.
Hannah McGeary

Aspects of Hidden Tewkesbury

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
On Saturday 14th October John Dixon led a fascinating walk around Tewkesbury looking at many points of interest about the town.

We had a bigger group than expected which was fantastic, all in all 35 of us joined the walk!

We began at the Abbey of course and looked at the old tanneries site, the mill, the old livestock markets in Spring Gardens, where the railway line was situated and much much more.

There will soon be photos to view at the museum, which we looked at on the walk of the town's history, details to follow.

Highly recommend joining us for the next one!
John Dixon

Aspects of Hidden Tewkesbury

No Caption
Click Image to Expand

A Historical Walk from Tewkesbury Historical Society.

Guided by John Dixon.

Saturday 14 October 2023 meet at 11.00am at The Crescent.

Full details on the poster.

September 2023 Meeting

Ally McConnell
Ally McConnellClick Image
 to Expand
At the first meeting of our 33rd Season, on 21 September 2023, archivist, Ally McConnell, gave an engaging talk on Dowty in the Tewkesbury Area: Expansion and Decline. [A video of the talk is available on our YouTube Channel.]

John King

No Caption
Click Image to Expand

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 [Tewkesbury material relates mainly to the Abbey]

David Devereux

The Society is sad to pass on the news of the death of David Devereux. He was the husband of our late Life Member, Janet Devereux, who died two months ago. Dave was also a director of Fleet Graphics who printed our Bulletins for many years.

David Michael Devereux
Passed away peacefully on 31st July 2023, aged 85 years. Dearly loved Husband of the late Janet. Much loved Dad to John and Michelle and cherished Grandad to Ben and Leah. Will be sadly missed by all his family and many friends. Funeral Service to be held at Cheltenham Crematorium, Willow Chapel on Thursday 24th August at 12.30pm. Family flowers only. Donations in lieu to Cancer Research UK may be sent c/o Alexander Burn Funeral Directors, 23-24 High Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5AL. Enquiries Tel: 01684 276200.
John Dixon

The Significant work of a Member's Daughter

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
Rose Hogan is known affectionately as "Member No 1" as she was the first member from 1991. Her younger daughter Katherine is ex-Tewkesbury School and has worked for the BBC since University. Her mother tipped me off about her role in broadcasting the Netball World Cup on BBC2 at 17.00 tonight for the final - in which our team is doing well!  Katherine is listed here as "Editor" and I hope I can learn later about her role when she returns to visit her parents.
For that reason only, I have watched one of her programmes and find it much more palatable than Match of the Day!
So ladies [and gentleman!] do give it a watch and judge for yourself!
Well done our Katherine.

Secret Tewkesbury

No Caption
Click Image to Expand

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.

Jane Blackledge

We have received the deeply sad news of the death of THS Member, Jane Blackledge.
Jane died at Knightsbridge Lodge Care Home last week. We had learned of her illness in the past month when she was taken to the Gloucester Royal Hospital. Such was her condition, that she was transferred to the Care Home for 'palliative care'.
Our member, Anne Ludlow, was privileged to be able to visit her there last week and deliver a card and flowers for the Society.  After Anne’s visit it was evident that she was extremely ill.
Anne recalls that, in the past, her then six-year-old daughter benefitted from Jane's professional skill as a Speech Therapist, calling her affectionately “Mrs Blackberry”.  
For us at the THS, Jane was a volunteer who regularly sold our publications at meetings.  
Jane is survived by three daughters, Davidica, Annabel and Jessica, to whom we send our deepest condolences.
She will be very much missed. 
Her daughters have informed us that her funeral is on Wednesday 2nd August at Cheltenham Crematorium, 2pm, and/or afterwards at The Gupshill Manor, Tewkesbury, for tea and cake, and that all are welcome to come along and help celebrate her life.
No dress code, come as you are. No flowers please; donations on the day welcome to Sue Ryder or Cheltenham Animal Shelter.             
John Dixon, President & Same Eedle, Chairman

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

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
This autumn the Gloucester History Festival is back with two weeks of exciting tours, exhibitions and events for history-lovers everywhere exploring the theme of Quests and Curiosity. 
Join Britain’s top historians for a host of intriguing and entertaining talks at the magical Blackfriars Priory, Europe’s oldest history festival venue built in 1249. Janina Ramirez, presenter of BBC2’s Raiders of the Lost Past, kicks off the Blackfriars Talks in conversation with Bettany Hughes, star of Channel 4’s Treasures of the World. Michael Wood explores the Dark Ages, Tracy Borman sheds new light on Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I, Tom Holland takes us to Ancient Rome, Alison Weir uncovers Henry VIII, BBC International Editor Jeremy Bowen analyses the modern Middle East, The Guardian’s Gary Younge discusses Dispatches from the Diaspora: From Nelson Mandela to Black Lives Matter whilst Radio 4 broadcaster James Naughtie delves into 21st century America and former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler puts British political history under the microscope. 
Gloucester Day kicks off the Festival on Saturday 2 September, marking the anniversary of the lifting of the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, with the hugely popular Heritage Open Days from 8 - 10 September revealing the City’s magnificent historic buildings and hidden gems with free entry to all. 
The full line-up is announced and tickets are on sale in July.  To find out more visit: 

FOGA Mystery Tour

No Caption
Click Image to Expand
Friends of Gloucestershire Archives Mystery Tour by John Chandler happening on 25 June.

May 2023 Meeting & Woodard Award

Sam, David & Steven Blake
Sam, David & Steven BlakeClick Image
 to Expand
Our meeting on 18 May 2023 was the society's Annual General Meeting
Sam Eedle was the recipient of the Woodard Award for his article The School Mistress and the Cross
Following AGM business, David Aldred gave a well received talk on Hailes Abbey.

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: Rod will then be able to gauge whether there is sufficient support to organise the event.

GLHA Summer Afternoon 2023

Blockley Heritage Society are the hosts for this year's summer afternoon to be held on Sunday July 2nd. 
Bookings are going well and there are only a few places left, so, if you would like to attend, please book as soon as possible.
Click on 'Read More' for full details which includes instructions on how to book and pay.

War Graves Week

Cholera memorial
Cholera memorialClick Image
 to Expand
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Tewkesbury and offering a free tour at Tewkesbury Borough Cemetery on 20 May 2023 at 11.00.
It will give people in Tewkesbury the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried in their community. 
More than twenty casualties from the two World Wars and beyond are buried there.
The tours will be led by local resident and THS President, John Dixon, who is a volunteer for the CWGC. 
You can book via 
You can park at the Leisure Centre but only available toilets are on Gloucester Road Car Park. 
The tour leaves at 11.00 from the Cholera Memorial.

20 April 2023 Meeting

John & Peter
John & PeterClick Image
 to Expand
At our 20 April 2023 meeting, Peter Covey-Crump gave an interesting talk on The Biography of an English Merchant in Bengal, the story of Anselm Beaumont who made his fortune working for the East India Company. [A video of the talk is available on our YouTube 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.

March 2023 Meeting

Richard Chatham
Richard ChathamClick Image
 to Expand
At our meeting on 23 March, Richard Chatham gave a very informative and wide-ranging talk on Stoke Orchard; from Cider to Glider. (Unfortunately, due to technical problems, no recording of the talk will be on our YouTube channel.)

February Meeting

Andy & Sam
Andy & SamClick Image
 to Expand
At our February meeting, Dr. Andy Moir gave an excellent talk on the Dendrochronology Project in Gloucestershire (dating buildings from timbers).

A video of the talk is now available on our YouTube Channel. 

THS Social Evening 2023

Sam & Liz
Sam & LizClick Image
 to Expand
A very enjoyable and successful THS social was held at the Hop Pole on 26th January.
After our meals, Liz Poole of Cotswold Auction Centre gave a talk about her work and gave her opinion and value estimates on a number of interesting item that members brought along.

Local History Workshops

No Caption
Click Image to Expand

The Local History workshops are now online and bookable via the heritage Hub website  

Full details from the attached poster and the website page, link above.

Results of recent Tree-Ring Dating for Tewkesbury Buildings

Click to view the new dates
Click to view the new datesClick Image
 to Expand
The results are in!  During 2020 prominent Tewkesbury buildings were surveyed and tested for tree ring dates by Dr Andy Moir and his team at the Gloucestershire 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 Tewkesbury

Over 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 1880

We 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.
Click to view Click to view

Even more Census Data

We are pleased to announce that the Tewkesbury Census Data for 1841 to 1891 has doubled in size. We now have 37,608 people spread over 9,575 property records. Take a look here.
Next Events:
25  Jan2024Thursday7:45pm
THS - Social - For Members, Friends & Guests
15  Feb2024Thursday7:45pm
THS - ‘Making the Invisible, Visible': (The Story of the Old 17th Century Baptist Chapel) Kirstie Bingham (John Moore Museum)

News from previous years

Find My Past - Burials Index

Find My Past has recently updated its National Burial Index records. Coverage for Tewkesbury is not comprehensive but does include Baptists 1787-1843 (290 records); Holy Trinity 1839-85 (259 records); Cemetery 1857-1967 (9,159 records).

John Dixon

Tewkesbury Weather

It is our great talking point but do our impressions agree with statistics?
Each month I will update the Rainfall and Temperature Statistics and offer my
Monthly Reflection on how the statistics underline or undermine our impressions.

Aspects of Hidden Tewkesbury

Talk to be given by John Dixon on 20 Feb 2024.

Friends of Glos. Archives Autumn 2023 Newsletter

Find My Past

During September 2023, Find My Past have added 102,489 new Gloucestershire parish records - 10,000 baptisms, 8,2016 marriages and 9,499 burials. [Subscription required]

Bulletin Submissions

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

1638. On the 5th of April fell, after a great drought, a snow that was more than a foot deep.

Gloucesterhire Heritage Hub

July 2023 Newsletter.

BALH Summer 2023 Newsletter

Meetings Videos

At the February meeting, a talk on 'Restoration of Abbey Cottages' was given. A video of the talk is now available on our YouTube Channel as is an introduction to the talk and videos of earlier talks.

Lionel Walrond

Lionel Walrond, curator of Stroud Museum 1955 to 1990, took many photographs of Gloucestershire. A searchable collection is available on the GlosDocs website

Gloucestershire Dendrochronology Project: Tewkesbury

Friends of Gloucester Archives

Winter 2022-2023 Newsletter.

1921 Census

The 1921 census will be published on FindMyPast on 6 January 2022.

The Winter of 1962-63

Article from THS Bulletin 3 (1994).

'True Blue Farm'

Article on 'True Blue Farm' in Kinsham Worcs. by Joyce Tole-Moir.

William Thomas Clarke

WWI death of soldier born in Tewkesbury but whose family left the town permanently. 

Print Version