Category Archives: heritage

Displays in Abingdon Library for Local History Month


Daniel sent me some pictures of the exhibition which includes some of his aerial views of Abingdon, upstairs in the library. The display, put together by Elizabeth Drury, also has a board of Abingdon in the 1950s, and another of Victorian times.

Then in the case are pictures of the River Thames at various times.

Some of Elizabeth’s past and present books can also be seen.

The library also has a local history display downstairs for May is Local History Month. The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history. The town council website has a local history portal put together by the Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society (AAAHS).

Abingdon 100 years ago – April 1921


Saturday 02 April 1921

The Abingdon Free Library Committee have appointed M. A. T. Rhodes, who was chief assistant at the Oxford City Library for several years, to be librarian for the Abingdon Free Library.

The “Three Hours’ Service ” at St. Helen’s, Abingdon, Good Friday was conducted by the Rev. F. J. C. Gilmor, vicar of St. Giles’, Reading.

The offertories throughout Easter Day were given to the Vicar as an Easter gift for his personal use, and were as follows: St Helen’s, £66 11s. 7d.; St. Michael’s, £43 2s. 3d.; and St. Nicholas’, £19 10s 2d.

The Abingdon Rural District Council have decided to practice strict economy in connection with the Surveyor’s estimate for the maintenance of the district roads. The Surveyor’s estimates for the coming year were given, and equaled a rate of 2s. 3d. in the £. The Council ordered a rate of 2s. in the £, being of opinion that many of the roads could be patched up instead of being metalled. This would save nearly £2,000.

In connection with the Abingdon Y.M.C.A. two recitals by Mr. Alec C. Glassey, A.G.S.M., were given on Wednesday in the Roysse Room, Abingdon.


Saturday 09 April 1921

Memorial tablets, inscribed with the names of Abingdon men who fell in the War were unveiled at a dedication service held in St. Helens’ Church on Sunday afternoon last.

At the County Bench Frederick Inneas, Shippon, was fined 5s each for riding a bicycle without lights and assaulting the police, at Shippon on March 23rd. Defendant in defense said he had suffered from shell shock and was a patient at the Radcliffe Infirmary, and that had had a drop of beer on the night in question and did not know what he was doing.

At the Abingdon Police Court on Wednesday, Charles John Parker, labourer, Abingdon, was sentenced to 14 days hard labour for being drunk and flourishing a sword bayonet, and threatening people, the previous evening.

The late Mr W. J. Sedgefield, who died at his residence, Bath Street, Abingdon, last December, at the age of 82 years, a retired solicitor and for many years Registrar of the Abingdon County Court, left an estate valued at £9,790 1s l½d, the net personality being £9,547 11s 5d.

Saturday 16 April 1921

The cattle market was well attended on Monday last, when prices had no inclination of falling. Three heifers reached £42 10s each, whilst a fat sow made £18. The stock penned included 174 sheep and lambs, over 100 fat and store pigs, 36 calves, and 22 fat beasts.

The returns of births and deaths in Abingdon and several neighbouring villages for the past quarter shows that there were 58 births (34 males and 24 females) and 36 deaths, four deaths occurring in the local Sanatorium, eight in the Workhouse, and two in the Isolation Hospital. The population of this district at the last census was 9,439. the corresponding quarter last year there were 70 births and 35 deaths.

In order to raise funds for the help of the Radcliffe Infirmary and the Abingdon Cottage Hospital a scheme for house to house collection in Abingdon for weekly subscriptions has been organised, the town being divided into four districts, with a hon. sec. for each.

The proceeds of the Cinema performance at the Corn Exchange on Warriors’ Day, in aid of Earl Haig’s Fund, amounted to £11 17s 3d, and the comic football match at Abingdon the same day and for the same object, realised £13 10s 3d.

At the Borough Bench, Tuesday, Mr Ernest Sedger, St. Aldate’s. Oxford, Allen Dodd, dealer, of Castle Street, Wallingford, and Charles Lay, of Church Farm, Long Wittenham, were each fined 10s for having a cart at Abingdon Cattle Market without name thereon.


Saturday 23 April 1921

The Abingdon “Crescent’ Lawn Tennis Club, who are permitted to have their courts in the Abingdon Park, held a whist drive in the Roysse Boom, on Thursday evening in last week, in aid of the funds, the prizes being given by local tradesmen.

The illness of the Vicar of Abingdon (Rev. H. Kennedy), has necessitated his going under a serious operation at the Acland Home, Oxford. He is stated to be progressing favourably.

The Abingdon Boy Scouts intend celebrating St. George’s Day on Sunday next, by a rally in the park in the afternoon, followed by service in St. Nicolas Church, the Market Place.

The Abingdon Y.M.C.A. held a social rally in the Roysse Booms, Municipal Buildings, on Wednesday evening in last week, when there was a large company present including many of the members of the Abingdon Girls Club. The programme consisted of music, games, dances, refreshments, etc., and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was spent.

The Abingdon Branch of the National Farmers’ Union held a meeting last week at the Lion Hotel. Abingdon, Mr F. A. May presiding, at which there was a good attendance of farmers. The object of the meeting was to discuss the cost of the cultivation of various crops for the use of the Berkshire Costings Committee in giving evidence in the Government Commission on the subject. The conclusion come to as regards wheat was that it could not be grown at under £l7 per acre.

At the Abingdon Borough Police Court Tuesday last, William Harvey, of East Hendred, and Charles Wheeler. 84, Vineyard. Abingdon, were each fined 7s 6d for riding a bicycle without lights, the former in Faringdon Road and the latter in East St Helen Street, Abingdon.

Saturday 30 April 1921

A rick of barley straw, standing in a field on the Oday Road, Abingdon, was totally destroyed by fire on Thursday in last week. The rick contained about 28 tons, and was the property of T. A. May, farmer. Although the river was only a few yards off the fire raged too furiously for the rick to be saved.

An inquest was held at Abingdon Monday on the death of Albert Mason, a painter, aged 64, of Ock Street, who fell from a ladder whilst at work on Friday afternoon last. It appears the deceased was painting some spouting at the Pavlova leather factory in Spring Road, near an electric crane, which, on moving, came in contact with the deceased, whereby he fell to the ground, obtaining a fractured skull, from which he died a few minutes after the accident. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Pictures of tennis an old postcard.

Roysse School Gothic Gateway


The Gothic Gateway that once led to the yard of Roysse School has a coat of arms for John Roysse.

The other two coat of arms have only partly survived. The Borough of Abingdon arms are still recognizable to the right.

On a photo by Henry Taunt, the other coat of arms can be seen more clearly with the date MDCCCX1 (1811). It is for the Earl of Abingdon.

According to Agnes Baker, the 5th Earl of Abingdon gave £100 towards building the gateway. Accounts show the gateway was made by local craftsmen for £99. 10. 11½. The Earl’s arms were added in gratitude. Borough and school also contributed to school improvements in 1811.

The current Earl of Abingdon (the 9th) was born in 1931 and I took this picture during a visit to Abingdon during 2006 (450th Charter Anniversary). Peter Green was the Mayor of Abingdon at the time. The Earl of Abingdon is next to Peter (in the double breasted suit).

(source: Historic Abingdon – 56 Articles by Agnes C. Baker)

Abingdon 100 years ago – March 1921

5th March 1921

By the will of the late Mr. W. J Hedges, solicitor, Abingdon, a bequest of two landscape paintings by B.W. Leader, R.A., has been made to Abingdon Corporation and accepted.

The Abingdon Town Council have appointed Alderman J.T. Morland as representative of the boroughs of Abingdon and Wallingford to the Thames Conservancy, in place of Mr Hedges of Wallingford.

At the Abingdon Borough Police Court, Harold Hatherall, 22, alias Brown, being described as a commercial traveler, was charged with embezzling various sums of money, received by him on account of his employer, William Barnett, sweet manufacturer, Ock Street, Abingdon. Prisoner pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months hard labour.

12th March 1921

At the Abingdon Baptist Chapel on Wednesday last the Rev. J. B. Morris gave appreciative lecture on Women hymn writers and their hymns. Councillor W. B. Langford presided and there was a good attendance. The choir sang several of the hymns.

At the Abingdon Congregational Church last Wednesday evening a social gathering took place. The occasion was taken of presenting Mr and Mrs Wake, who had been the caretakers of the Chapel for 21 years, with a token of appreciation of their work. The presents took the form of a pipe and pouch for Mr Wake and a handsome teapot for Mrs Wake. Refreshments were served and a capital programme of music was rendered.

On Wednesday evening, the 9th inst., at the Abingdon Exchange, a large gathering convened by the Abingdon Liberal Association for the purpose of forming a combined Liberal Association for the North Berks polling district. Rules were submitted, and the officers and committee appointed. Mr. E. A. Leasing, Kingford House, gave an address on ‘Russia under Bolshevik Rule,’ illustrated with lantern slides from snapshots taken by him. Following the short lecture, refreshments were served, and a humorous entertainment given by Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, of Oxford. The meeting concluded with a dance, the music being supplied by the excellent, Abingdon Pavlova Orchestra. The arrangements were under the management of Mr. William Benthall, Liberal Agent for the Division.

At the cattle market last week there was a fair supply of stock. The top price for fat beasts was £68 10s, and that for sheep £7 12s.

At the annual meeting of the Cottage Hospital, last week, the report for the past year, showed total receipts from all sources of £1,159 2d, as against £775 last year. There was, however, a deficit of £26, but at the meeting it was announced that Mrs Dockar Drysdale, of Wick Hall, Radley, had sent a cheque to pay off this deficit. Out-patients during the past year numbered 2,056, patients admitted 85, accidents 19, anaesthetic given in 8 cases, and 538 visits paid by the District Nurse. Votes of thanks to the various donors and helpers of the hospital were passed and the officers re-elected for the ensuing year.

19th March 1921

In aid of the Radcliffe Infirmary the Abingdon North End Slate Club, Vineyard, Abingdon, made a collection amongst the members, and have sent the sum of £3 14s. as a donation to the institution. A scheme of systematic contributions by the members has been undertaken and is now being formulated throughout the town. (A Slate Club is a group of people who saved money in a common fund for Christmas.)

The appointment of Sir Mortimer Singer, of Milton Hill, as High Sheriff for the County of Berks, is popular amongst Abingdon townspeople, Sir Mortimer Singer being a considerable supporter of many local objects.

The funeral took place in Abingdon Cemetery on Thursday afternoon. the 10th inst., of Mr. Charles Gillett. aged 86 years. He retired from farming at Lower Hadden, near Bampton, about 15 years ago, afterwards taking up his residence at Abingdon. He was a considerable breeder and exhibitor of Cotswold sheep, and afterwards of Oxford Down sheep.

The Abingdon Choral Society on Wednesday, at the Corn Exchange, gave a sacred, concert, consisting of two cantatas ‘Daughter of Jairus,’ and Mendelssohn’s 42nd Psalm, under the able conductorship of Mr. H. Sheldon Peach. There was a large and appreciative audience. The proceeds were in aid of the Radcliffe Infirmary and Abingdon Cottage Hospital.

The terminal athletic sports took place on the school grounds, Park Road, on Saturday afternoon. There was a fair attendance of spectators. In the open long jump for the challenge cup and prizes there were six entries, N. O. Carr winning with 17ft 7½ins. Then. N. A. Carr won the high jump, 5ft. 2ins. and C. Ellis, for under 16s, 4ft. I. Williams was successful in the quarter-mile (open); S. L. Buckle, throwing cricket ball; N. O. Carr, 100 yards open; R. Waterhouse (100yds), half-mile handicap; and N. O. Carr, putting the weight. The prizes were presented at the close by Mrs. Frank Morland.

26th March 1921

The Board of Guardians of the Abingdon Union have made a rate of 6½d. in the pound, this a penny less than in the same period of last year. The remainder of the Oxford inmates in the institution were taken back to Oxford on Wednesday. There were twenty-one children chargeable to the Abingdon Union in the Cowley Poor Law School and a committee is considering the possibility of obtaining a house for their accommodation.

At the County Bench on Monday last Walter Candy, farmer, Blagrove Farm, Foxcombe Hill, Sunningwell, was fined £5 for selling milk from a cart on February 24th, at Sunningwell, adulterated with 14 per cent, of water.

A series of monthly united Sunday evening services are being held in the Abingdon Corn Exchange, the first speaker being the Vicar of Abingdon, and the second the Rev. C. H. Gill, Congregational minister. The third will be the Rev. Morris, Baptist minister (April 10).

The body of a newly-born infant was found floating on the river between Culham and Abingdon by Mr. H. Botterell, boat builder, Abingdon, whilst returning from Culham. It was a fully developed female child and had apparently been in the water several days. An inquest was to be held at Cottage Hospital on Thursday in last week but the doctor who examined the body was of the opinion the child had not had a separate existence, and consequently an inquest was not held.

The Abingdon branch of the Comrades of the War held a whist at their club rooms in Ock Street, on Thursday evening. the 17th inst. The prizes were given by the tradesmen of the town. Refreshments were served during the interval.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Pictures from Abingdon Town Council, newspaper adverts from the Gazette including the picture from an advert for Doan’s Backache Kidney Pills, picture of Cowley workhouse men from the Oxford Illustrated Journal.