This page shows a list of past visits:
2015 April 17th Devizes
Half day visit to Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, which now contains new pre-historic Wiltshire Galleries, featuring gold from the time of Stonehenge.
July 3rd: Herefordshire
All day coach trip to Herefordshire, which included a guided tour of St. Mary & St. David Church, Kilpeck and lunch plus guided tour of Kentchurch Court, Pontrilas. The Romanesque Church at Kilpeck dates from 1140 and shows distinctive stone carvings showing Celtic, Scandinavian & pagan images. It is listed as 4 * in “England’s thousand best Churches” by Sir Simon Jenkins. Kentchurch Court is a Grade 1 listed privately owned property, with a 5,000 acre estate. It has been in the owner of the Scudamore family for almost 1,000 years. The house originally contained a Saxon tower, with additions from the 14thCentury onwards.
Half day visit to Dr.Jenner’s House & garden, Berkeley, plus optional preceding tour around Berkeley Castle. The Keep at Berkeley Castle was completed by Robe Fitzharding in the late 12thCentury and has been in the ownership of the Berkeley family since that date. Dr. Jenner was the pioneer of smallpox vaccination and his house, known as the Chantry, was his home from 1785 until his death in 1823.
2016 April 12th: Radstock
Half day visit to Radstock Museum, Somerset. The Museum has an extensive collection of exhibits concerning the coal mining industry in the former Somerset coal field. The industry reached a peak in the early 1900’s, with Radstock at its centre. The influence of the Methodist Church and the Co-operative Movement is also highlighted.
July 1st: Warickshire
All day coach trip to Warwickshire, which included a guided visit to St. Peter’s Church, Wootton Wawen, plus the National Trust property at Coughton Court, Alcester. St. Peter’s Church is known as the Saxon Church but it contains every kind of architectural style onwards, from Norman to Perpendicular. Coughton Court is a listed Tudor & Jacobean building, with origins dating from 1409. It is still lived in by the Throckmorton family who have lived at Coughton Court for 600 years. The lovely gardens contain 200 varieties of roses.
2017 February 7th: Bath Tunnels
Half day private guided tour of the Tunnels at the Roman Baths, Bath. (The visit had been deferred from October, 2016, due the death of our former Chairman, Roger Youdan.) We had a fascinating tour of the vault type tunnels, with a below street level view of Beau Street, where a hoard of Roman silver coins were discovered. All the different layers of soil, accumulated through the centuries, are still on view.
June 30th: Oxfordshire
All day coach trip to Oxfordshire, which included a visit to Banbury Museum and a private tour of Broughton Castle, Near Banbury. Banbury developed from the Saxon period and we had an illustrated lecture on its history from the Director of the Banbury Museum. Later, we explored Broughton Castle, which dates from the 14thCentury. It is still lived in by the Fiennes family and Celia Fiennes, the 17thCentury travel writer is an ancestor. We were fortunate to meet the present owner, Lord Saye and Sele, strolling in the beautiful gardens.
Half day visit to the Museum of Bath at Work, Bath. The building was first constructed as a real tennis court in 1777 but as a museum of the working life of Bath, it now houses a large collection of historic photographs, film & sound recordings. At its centre piece is the reconstructed engineering & soft drinks factory owned by the Victorian business man, J.B. Bowler.
2018 April 13th: Leigh Delamare
Half day guided visit to St. Margaret of Antioch Church, Leigh Delamare, plus an interpretative visit to the Victorian School at near by Sevington. The Church was reconstructed in1846, on the orders of the land owner, Joseph Neeld. The school at Sevington was built by Joseph Neeld in 1849 to educate the children of the workers employed on his Grittleton estate. St. Margaret’s Church is now seldom used and the school at Sevington is open by appointment to groups, where the history of the school is interpreted as a live lesson by a costumed volunteer.
2018 July 6th: Worcestershire
All day coach trip to Worcestershire, which included a guided visit to the Church of the Sacred Heart at Droitwich Spa, an illustrated talk on the history of the town at the Heritage Centre and a visit to Hanbury Hall. The Church of the Sacred Heart is now listed as Grade II, due to its outstanding mosaics on the ceiling and walls. The church was opened in 1921 and the mosaics, designed by G.J. Pippet, were begun in 1922 and completed in 1932. For many of our group, this was the highlight of our day. The illustrated talk about Droitwich Spa emphasised the importance of the salt industry to the town. The National Trust William and Mary house at Hanbury Hall was in the ownership of the Vernon family for 300 years and is set in 400 acres of parkland and gardens, including a restored 18thC parterre.
October 5th: Bristol Aerospace
Half day guided visit to Aerospace Bristol at Filton. The Aerospace Bristol Museum is run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust and contains over 8,000 artefacts relating to the local aviation industry. A separate building contains the last Concorde to fly, Alpha Foxtrot, which was capable of flying to the U.S.A. in under 3 hours.
2019 April 9th: Purton
Guided walking tour around Purton “Ships grave yard,” Purton, near Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Paul Barnett, Maritime Historian, kindly provided a guided tour of the remains of vessels deliberately beached on a bank between the River Severn and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Between 1909 and 1961, a total of 81 vessels were left in this way and we heard about the history of most of those still visible or accessible. Signs were in place but a guided tour enhanced the experience.