Category Archives: heritage

What the Abingdon Roundabout Monk has not been thinking today


The monk on the roundabout was looking thoughtful today but I suspect no sights or thoughts pass through that wooden head

He will not have seen that petrol prices are higher than they have ever been, and think they could be higher tomorrow.

He will not have seen the larger visual display units on the bus stops in Abingdon, and think they used to be half that size.

He will not be  thinking about Black Friday on Friday, 26th November, and how it might be a good time to buy a 50 inch ultra HD TV so that he can watch something other than traffic. He  could have caught up on such Monkish Classics on BBC iPlayer as Brotherhood: The Inner Life of Monks.

Abingdon 100 years ago – November 1921


5th November
The Union (Workhouse) engineer has saved a kitchen boiler at a cost of £4 0s 6d, reported the Master at the Board meeting last week. The estimate for repairs by a firm was £28, and a new one would have cost £32. The Union inmates are again to be entertained by another series of Concerts at the Institution this coming winter. The first of the series was held on Thursday evening last. The programme was given by local talent, ‘Cheerios,’ and a number of visitors was also present.

Another skeleton was found on the Boxall estate building site at Abingdon last week. In the same vicinity where recently two skeletons were found, by the Abingdon Corporation in fixing a gully in a new road found a skeleton lying upon its left side about 4ft. under the surface of the ground.

ln addition to the four retiring members this year four other candidates went to the poll on Tuesday for the Abingdon Town Council elections. The retiring candidates were Councillors A. W. Morland, G. Saxby, F. Gibson and T. Tate, and the new ones Messrs G. W. Shepherd, G. F. Palmer (confectioner), D. Godfrey (sculptor), and W. J. Lawson (carpenter and builder). The election contest was chiefly on the housing scheme of the Council, who are chiefly for abandoning the full programme formerly adopted. There are 8,431 burgesses on the register and there were three polling stations. The result of the polling was follows: Gibson, 748; Godfrey, 733 ; Morland, 716; Tate 680. This means that 3 of the old retiring members are reelected, with Godfrey replacing Saxby. The figures for the remaining candidates were Shepherd, 662; Saxby 469. Palmer, 408; Lawson 406.


12th November
After two years of very successfully holding with dignity and courage the office of Mayor of Abingdon, Councillor R. W. Langford retired with the appreciation of the townspeople for his past service. The new Mayor is Councillor Claude Rippon, of Springfields, Abingdon, who was over three years ago co-opted as a member of the Abingdon Town Council, and last year was returned without a contest. Mr Rippon is an Oxford M.A., having graduated at Merton College, and took his degree in Natural Science in 1890. He is also editor and a director of the ‘Oxford Times’ .

On Sunday last, being the last Sunday in the Mayoralty year, the retiring Mayor of Abingdon (Councillor R W. Langford), who is Wesleyan, attended the morning service at the Abingdon Trinity Wesleyan Church, accompanied by most of the councillors and other public officials.

There was again a clean sheet at the Abingdon Borough Police Court this week on Tuesday.

The Abingdon Corporation workmen have had a reduction in wages of 6s per week, dating from Saturday last, Nov. 5th.

The Town Council’s Audit Committee reported at the Council meeting last week that the financial position of the Council for the past half year was a deficiency of £992 19s

A whist drive in connection with the whist championship of St Dunstan’s was held in the Abingdon Corn Exchange on Thursday evening in last week, when there were 260 competitors.

19th November
Mr T. Skurray has resigned his position as the Town Council representative on the governing body of Roysse’s School, and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor R.W. Langford, has been appointed to fill the vacancy.

The Abingdon Y.M.C.A. Harriers held a capital paper chase on Saturday last, about a 12 miles run.

The Abingdon Returning Officer’s expenses at the Municipal elections on November 1st amounted to £53 1s 5d.

The new Mayor of Abingdon, Councillor C. Rippon, proposes to set apart one hour each evening for the purpose of interviews by any burgess desiring to see him, when he will be the Mayor’s Parlour.

Armistice Day was duly observed in Abingdon on Friday last by a service. Many floral tributes were placed on the War Memorial, and the Borough Flag was lowered during the two minutes’ silence. The floral tributes included a chaplet from the Mayor and Mayoress.

The Abingdon local football matches on Saturday last included one in the North Berks League, played at Didcot between Abingdon Town and Didcot. The visiting team was much the stronger, and scored four goals to nil.

In the Berks and Bucks Junior Cup Competition the Abingdon Pavlova team met on their ground the Shrivenham team. The Pavs seemed to have the game entirely in their hands and ran up a score of 7 goals to 1.

The only business on the charge sheet on Monday was a summons against John George Hunt, engineer’s fitter, of the Terrace, New Northcourt, Abingdon, by his wife, for persistent cruelty, which caused her to live apart from him. Neither party appeared, but the defendant had written a letter to the Bench stating that his wife had returned to him. The case was accordingly dismissed.

26th November
At St. Helen’s Church on Sunday afternoon from 3.30 to 4.30 an organ recital, with anthems and other sacred music was given. There was a large congregation.

The Abingdon members of the Berks Archaeological Society had an interesting lecture by Mr E Thurlow, assistant keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The subject was ‘Material for a local museum.’

At the Wesleyan Schoolroom on Wednesday evening a lecture on church music was given by Mr J. Ingham or Roysse School, Abingdon, the lecture being illustrated by the choir as to the different types of singing. There was a good and appreciative audience.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive.

Brought to you by our sponsors: Corn Exchange, Kinema, Morland, Mobbs, and Abingdon Y.M.C.A. Hot Baths.

Abingdon 100 years ago – October 1921


8th October
Two skeletons were found last week at Abingdon. Workmen, in digging a trench for the laying of drain at the new houses on the Boxhill site on the Oxford Road, found the skeletons about three feet below the surface, one of which was in a partly upright posture.

The Abingdon Magistrates have fixed the following hours for the opening of licensed premises under the new Licensing Act: Sundays, 12.30 to 2 30, and 7 to 10; Mondays (market days), 11 30 to 4.30 and 7 to 10; other days, 10.30 to 2.30, and 6 to 10. About 20 of the licensed holders had petitioned for an extra half-hour in the evenings to 10.30.

Contracts accepted by the Abingdon Board of Guardians (workhouse) for the ensuing three months include bread at 9d per 4 1b, loaf; flour 62s per sack; beef ls 2d and imported 9d per lb.; mutton is ls 2d, and imported 9d per 1b.,-and milk 3d per gallon.

At a meeting of the Abingdon Branch of the National Farmers’ Union held on Thursday in last week, a scale of wages was recommended for able-bodied agricultural workers, as follows 39s per week of 51 hours up to October 29th, and from that time until further notice 36s per week for the same number of hours. Overtime to be at the rate of 9d per hour.

The Abingdon v Banbury Harriers game was played at Abingdon before a large crowd, on Saturday. Unfortunately the Harriers had to start with only nine players, Russell and Viggars sending a wire to the ground stating that they had travelled in the wrong train, and instead of arriving at Abingdon they found themselves at Paddington. The result was Harriers 1 Abingdon 0 after two substitutes were found early in the game.

15th October
Abingdon Michaelmas Fair took place on Monday and Tuesday last in gloriously fine weather. The ground taken up by showmen, &c., filled the Market Place, High Street, and a portion of Ock Street, occupying considerably more space than last year. There were the usual crowds, especially after six o’clock, when buses & trains from Oxford and outlying villages brought many visitors.

There was only a short supply of stock penned for sale at the market on Monday last, it being Michaelmas Fair Day.

The Abingdon Girls’ Club commenced their winter session on Wednesday. Classes have been arranged for needlework, singing, drill and dancing.

The Abingdon Fire Brigade have received the consent of the Town Council to issue an appeal in the town and neighbourhood for the purchase of a motor fire pump.

The Abingdon Town Council are going to take a referendum of the ratepayers as to the continuance of the building of a certain number of houses under the Council’s scheme, the resolution to that effect having obtained an equal vote of the Council at their last meeting.

22nd October
The Abingdon Runaway Fair took place on Monday last when the Market Place was fully occupied by roundabouts, switchbacks. &c., By permission the fair was held again on Tuesday evening, the stalls, &c., being allowed to stay.

On Abingdon Fair Tuesday last week a horse belonging to Mr Wigley, farmer, of Appleford, when being led on the outskirts of the fair, shied the roundabouts, and bolted through the large plate-glass window of Messrs Vineys’ drapers shop, and was severely hurt about the head.

A mixed Hockey Club has been formed in Abingdon, of which Mr J. B. Gibbens is the hon. sec.

The Abbey Lodge of Master Freemasons held their installation ceremony on Thursday evening in last week in the Abingdon Council Chamber, and afterwards dined in the Roysse Room, the company numbering about 50. Bro, A. E Wood was installed Worshipful Master.

At the Abingdon County Bench on Monday. Christopher Lower, a farm labourer, of Kennington, Radley, an ex-Service man with a good record, was sent to prison with hard labour for one month for exposing himself on the highway on several occasions between September 25th and October 1st.

29th October
The Abingdon Wesleyan Guild commenced their winter season on Wednesday evening by a debate on ‘Should women enter parliament?’ There was a good attendance.

The Abingdon Branch of the British Legion (Comrades of the Great War) commenced a series of winter whist drives on Thursday in their club rooms in Ock Street. There was a good number present.

The annual sale of work in support of Church Home and Foreign Missions and the Abingdon Church Memorial Hall took Place in the Corn Exchange on Thursday. The proceeds are estimated at £200.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Pictures came from old postcards on Ebay – undated.

Heritage Open Day (Sunday)


Patrick and the Town Crier led the Abingdon Boundary Walk this Sunday morning as part of Heritage Open Days.

The walk started round by St Helen’s Wharf.

There was also a morning walk about Victorian Abingdon around the Albert Park area, led by Jackie Smith – the town archivist.

In the afternoon, the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers were dancing in the Market Place.

Two other guided walks set off at 2:30pm.

One was the Lost Abbey Walk,

who went in search of the Lost Abbey.

The other walk was around the Edible Abingdon plots.

There was an information stall, on the Market Place, where people could sign up for the walks or pick up self guided walk leaflets.

In the Abbey Buildings, Mr Busby of Busby Bees was telling people about the history of bee keeping.

The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers arrived soon after to do some more dancing.

Lastly, the Lost Abbey walkers arrived for cakes and coffee.