Category Archives: heritage

Abingdon 100 Years Ago – September 1923

Abingdon Town Band Wins Prize at Oxford Contest

The recently formed Abingdon Town Band won the third prize in one of the classes at the Oxford and District Brass Band Association’s first annual contest, held at the Worcester College sports field on Saturday. The contest was a great success, and the enthusiasm it generated is sure to stir the bandsmen to fresh achievements. The adjudicator’s criticisms of the various bands should prove very helpful to the members and enable them to remedy the defects in evidence on Saturday.

Boys Punished for Stealing Apples

At the county bench on Saturday, three boys were brought for stealing a quantity of growing apples from the vicarage garden. The parents’ plea was that “Boys will be boys”, but the magistrates treated this as theft and ordered them to receive five strokes each with the birch. This punishment is a reminder that theft is a serious crime, and it is hoped that it will act as a deterrent to others.

Vicar to Conduct Mission in Newcastle

The Vicar of Abingdon, the Rev. A.H. Kennedy, will be conducting a mission from September 28th to October 8th at Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Canon Cooper to Visit Abingdon

Canon Cooper, recorder of Prestwick, Manchester, will be visiting Abingdon on behalf of a “Teaching Mission” of the Church from November 3rd to 11th. Canon Cooper had to postpone his visit to Abingdon last year.

Clergy Staff Changes

The Parish Magazine for this month announces that the Rev. J.G. Denniston, who has been temporarily on the St. Helen’s Church staff of clergy, is leaving to take up the vicarate of Shabbington, near Thame, Oxfordshire. Dr. Phillips, who was unable to join the staff a year ago as intended, has recovered from his illness and hopes to take up Mr. Denniston’s work in October.

Angling Society Competition

The Abingdon Angling Society held its first roving competition for the “Daniel Gardner” Challenge Cup on Saturday. 79 members entered the competition, which was held from Nuneham railway bridge to Appleford Bridge. Mr. H. Fathers won the competition with a bag of eight roach weighing 5lbs. 1oz. Mr. Geo. Porter was second with nine roach weighing 3lbs. 3oz.

Death of Former Town Councillor

Mr. William Fletcher Gadd, aged 69, of East St. Helen Street, Abingdon, died on Saturday last. He had been ailing for some time, and the cause of death was pneumonia and heart failure. Deceased was by profession a pharmacist chemist and a member of the firm of Messrs. Evans, Gadd and Co., chemists’ manufacturers, Exeter, from which he had retired for some time. He had resided in Abingdon for a considerable number of years and was a native of Oxford. He was a member of the Abingdon Town Council for several years, from which he retired in 1919. He had been a Guardian for Abingdon Union for a number of years, and one of the Church School managers, and also an old Freemason, belonging to the Abbey Lodge. In politics he was an ardent Conservative and was amicable and painstaking in all his public and private duties. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon in the Abingdon Cemetery, the first portion of the service being held in St. Helen’s Church.

Boy Injured in Cycling Accident

Reginald Ingram, a boy from 48 East St. Helen Street, Abingdon, was injured in a cycling accident on Saturday morning. While riding his bicycle in Stert Street, he ran over a dog that ran by his side. Ingram was thrown over the handlebars and landed on his head, sustaining concussion of the brain. He was taken to Abingdon Cottage Hospital and detained for observation. He is now progressing very satisfactorily.

Abingdon Town Band Elects Officers

The Abingdon Town Band held its annual general meeting last week and elected the following officers:

Bandmaster: Mr. F. Stoppe
Deputy bandmaster: Mr. R.G. Lee
Secretary: Mr. W. Brogden
Treasurer: Mr. G. Winterbourne
Committee members: Messrs. T. Enston, C. Cox, H. Higgs, F. Strange, and F. Lewis

Abingdon Football Teams Win Big

Abingdon Town Football Club’s first team lost 4-0 to Stokenchurch in the Reading and District League (senior division) last Saturday, having gone in with an under strength team. However, the town’s Pavlova team won their first match of the league, defeating Reading Biscuit Factory 5-0 at home.

On the Abingdon Town ground, the local ‘A’ team defeated the R.A.O.C. Reserves, Didcot, 4-0 in the 1st division of the North Berks League. The Abingdon Town Minors also won their match, defeating Culham Athletic F.C. 3-1 on the Town ground prior to the ‘A’ team’s match.

Pavlova Cricket Team Wins Cup!

The Pavlova cricket team has won the Oxford cricket cup in their second season of inclusion. The team has shown consistent form throughout the season and has made a name for themselves as genuine sportsmen.

Horse Bolts in High Street

An exciting incident occurred on Tuesday in the High Street when a horse-drawn cart bolted from the park. The cart was promptly and efficiently stopped by PS Painter, who is to be congratulated on his quick thinking and bravery.

Abingdon Cattle Market Fortunate in Location

The Abingdon cattle market is fortunate to be located a few miles outside the restricted area covered by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Buckinghamshire. This should bring an increase in demand, although it does restrict the area from which stock can be forwarded.

Oxford Shopping Carnival

The Oxford Shopping Carnival is expected to be a great success, judging by the enthusiasm displayed by local traders. The carnival will feature various competitions, window displays, a baby show, carnival processions, and a display of fireworks. The celebrated band of the 43rd Oxon and Bucks Light Infantry will also be performing.

Young Helpers League, Dr. Barnardo’s Homes

On Saturday 8th September, members of the Young Helpers League and their friends enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the gardens of St. Helens Mill. The event was a great success, with the sunshine and shade helping to create a perfect atmosphere. There were prizes for the members with the largest box collections.

North Berks Agricultural Society Show

The North Berks Agricultural Society Show, which was held at the Abbey Ground on Saturday, can be classified as a success, despite the large decrease in the number of entries. The quality of the stock was exceptional in some instances, and the judges made favourable comments on the prize sheep. The president of the society, Mr. E.A. Strauss, MP, observed in his after-dinner speech that the decline in entries could be accounted for in many ways. He suggested that the geographical position of Abingdon in the county may have been a factor, as Faringdon, which is the centre of the hunting country, had a record number of entries for its show last year.

Thanks to Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. The picture of St Giles Fair and adverts mostly are from the Oxfordshire Weekly News. The Dr Casells advert is from the North Wilts Herald.

Historic Abingdon Landmark on the market

The Friends of the Abbey Buildings Trust have put the former curator’s house on the market. The house located at Checker Walk (incorporating 18 Thames Street) is grade II listed and is thought to be of 16th-century origins and much restored. The front downstairs room was also used as a changing room for the Unicorn Theatre and the office of the Friends of Abingdon but is not generally open to the public.

The sale of the house is an opportunity for someone to own an Abingdon landmark. For sale details see

This could be to release funds towards the enhancement project to make the next-door Grade I listed Abbey Buildings fully accessible, weather-tight and with adequate modern services to allow for all-year use.  The Abbey Buildings project was granted round one development funding of £256,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its enhancement plans towards National Lottery Heritage Fund second round funding, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £2,500,000.

The Abbey Buildings were acquired by the Friends of Abingdon in the 1940s.


H is for Heritage, Hiking, Heavy Rain, and Hankies

The Abingdon Heritage Open Day stall had a floral H created by the Abingdon Flower Club. People were drawn to it like bees, eager to sign up for the walks and hikes in the morning.

The weather worsened in the afternoon, and the afternoon walks started with heavy rain.

That couldn’t put off the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers, who performed with their hankies under the County Hall Museum, where the flower club had put sunflowers.

Abingdon’s Heritage Open Weekend is a free event, organised by volunteers to celebrate the town’s rich heritage.

Abingdon Heritage Open Saturday: A Celebration of the Town’s Creative Spirit

The Abingdon Missal exhibition in the Abbey Buildings is a unique opportunity to see high-quality reproductions of some of the most exquisite artwork from the Abingdon Missal, a 15th-century manuscript from Abingdon Abbey held by the Bodleian Library.

Modern-day Abingdon creative people gave talks at the Guildhall, including science fiction writer Ben Jeapes, who spoke about how he plotted his book H.M.S. Barabbas.

Members of Abingdon Artists held an exhibition of pictures of Abingdon in St Ethelwold’s Garden Room. Some of the pictures were created during the group’s Friday quick draw sessions, where they find a location in the centre of Abingdon and all draw quickly.

Meanwhile, sketchbooks open and paint brushes in hand, artists captured the beauty of the garden.

Visitors were struck by the number of windows in East St Helen Street displaying the work of Abingdon’s creative people. The displays ranged from historic to contemporary, and offered a glimpse into the rich and diverse artistic heritage of the town.

Oswald Couldrey was a talented artist and writer who lived in Abingdon in the early 1900s. At the Abingdon County Hall Museum, visitors can view a display of Couldrey’s artwork in the museum attic. In the Guildhall, there is an exhibition of research from Lauren Gale’s upcoming book about Couldrey. Finally, the house where Couldrey lived, has a display of his artwork.
At St Helen’s Church, a guide led visitors around the building, explaining its history and significance. Here, the guide is talking about the monument to John Roysse, who refounded Abingdon School in 1563.

There was also a talk about the history of the St Helen’s organ with examples of music.

Lots more was happening, and there are walks tomorrow (Sunday) and some exhibitions continue. Check the website for details.

It has been another excellent Abingdon Heritage Open Saturday, thanks to Hester and her team.