The big red books get bigger
Research on the volume covering Cirencester and nearby parishes is reaching its conclusion, with only a few sections on Coates still to be drafted by Alex Craven. The resulting texts will be edited by Francis Boorman, with help from Mark Forrest, for publication in our usual large-red-book format. Much of the work on the other two other volumes, covering the Cheltenham and Chipping Sodbury areas, has also been done, so that the Gloucestershire County History Trust at its meeting in July debated where we should turn our attention to next.
The trustees decided on two new areas – Winchcombe and a group of adjacent parishes extending northwards, and Marshfield and the Boyd valley in South Gloucestershire.
Work on the Winchcombe volume, which will include also Sudeley, Hailes, Toddington and seven other parishes (including two now in Worcestershire but formerly in Gloucestershire) will not begin in earnest until Cirencester is complete, but we are making a start on some of the initial preparation. With help from Rob White of the Gloucester Street History Group in Winchcombe, John Chandler is preparing a scoping document which will set out the work programme and methodology, and the composition of the proposed volume. We plan to involve interested local residents and groups in and around Winchcombe, and already some of our band of VCH volunteers at the Heritage Hub are starting to transcribe Winchcombe probate records.
As well as being an attractive and thriving small town, Winchcombe has a long and very significant history, extending back to the Anglo-Saxon period, when it was at the centre of its own county – Winchcombeshire; and throughout the middle ages it was home to one of Gloucestershire’s most important abbeys. We are very much looking forward to getting to know the town and its surroundings much, much better, and to making our contribution to scholarship about the area. This will be our volume 17 when it eventually appears in a number of years’ time, and we hope to research it concurrently with volume 18 on the Marshfield area, although work on that will not start for a while.