Gloucestershire Local History Association
During 2018, GLHA has organised three summer events for members of local history groups.
Its Annual Summer Afternoon Meeting was hosted by Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society in June, and attended by around 60 people from across the County. A choice from three guided tours around the historic town was offered, including a walk round Cirencester Park, a visit to the Parish Church of St John the Baptist and a Town Walk finishing in the Abbey grounds. Members of the Cirencester Society accompanied the groups to explain the history of the area and point out interesting landmarks. After the walks everyone gathered in the Parish Centre to enjoy a delicious tea and the chance to meet old friends. Next year’s meeting will be hosted by Tidenham History Group on 29th June 2019.
Members from Stonehouse History Group enjoying the afternoon tea.
Photo by John Peters
In July, 30 people took part in an Industrial Heritage walk around the Painswick mills led by Dr Ray Wilson. Painswick has more than 30 former mill sites connected with the production of woollen cloth. Members enjoyed walking around the lanes and footpaths from where some of the surviving buildings can been seen, often converted to residential use. The group was able to inspect an old wool drying stove which has been restored by its owner. At one time almost every mill had one of these small stone circular buildings, but today only about three survive in Gloucestershire of which this is the best example. After the walk members gathered in the pub for a drink and chat.
The wool drying building off Kemps Lane in Painswick Painswick Mill. Photo by Eileen Allen
Photo by Shirley Dicker
Twenty-five people attended the Association’s evening visit to the medieval St Bartholomew’s church on Churchdown (or Chosen) Hill in August - and were blessed with perfect weather and excellent views of the surrounding town and country. The visit began with an overview of the history and architecture of the church (which dates back to the 12th century and stands in one corner of a probable Iron Age hill-fort), given by GLHA Chair, Steven Blake, following which, Chris Wakeman from the Friends of St Bartholomew’s church described the church’s 2005-6 restoration project, of which he was project manager.
The group were then free to look round the church for themselves, noting in particular the intriguing re-use of Norman carved stonework in various parts of the church during later medieval building work and the profusion of medieval and later graffiti in the 13th century north porch, whose first floor ‘priest’s room’ was also open to visit. Tea and biscuits were then available in the former Sexton’s House in the churchyard, courtesy of the Friends, to whom the Association is most grateful.
A beautiful evening at St Bartholomew’s Church.
Photo by Stuart Manton
These summer visits give members the chance to learn about special places with the benefit of knowledgeable guides to explain the history behind them. They are also a good opportunity to meet local history enthusiasts from across the County. GLHA hopes to organise several visits in 2019.
For more information visit www.gloshistory.org.uk/