by Chris Hobson
(FHS Monograph No 4)
Published by Fairford History Society, 2008
William Oldisworth was Fairford’s Justice of the Peace in the late 17th Century and was the central figure in the bizarre tale of the plague of frogs, toads and flies that visited the town in 1660 following the discrimination faced by a group of religious non-conformists. William was a member of a middle-ranking Gloucestershire family that lived in Fairford for many generations but which also had connections with other nearby villages including Coln Rogers, Bourton on the Hill and Kencot. This monograph tells the story of William, his father Robert whose brother-in-law was murdered in the Tower of London, his clergymen brothers, one of whom died of the plague, and his descendants, the last of whom was still living in Fairford at the end of the 18th Century. This monograph adds some fascinating details to Fairford’s history and provides the background to the four excellently preserved memorial plaques to the Oldisworth family that can still be seen in St Mary’s Church in Fairford.