On September 20th 2007 at the FHS meeting Hugh Dudley, deputy head teacher at Farmor’s School gave an interesting insight as to how Farmor’s made the change from a school of a few hundred when it moved to the Park site in 1961, to a comprehensive school in 1966 and on to 1094 pupils in 2007. It also gave an understanding of the momentous changes in education that were happening while some of the audience was at school.
On November 15th 2007 at an FHS meeting Dr Andrew Warmington gave a fascinating insight into the religious turmoil that followed the English Civil War when Fairford hit the national headlines! He told the story of the pamphlets that were published in 1660 telling of a plague of frogs that visited the houses of Fairford’s Justice of the Peace and Lord of the Manor as a ‘punishment’ following their refusal to act when nonconformists were harassed by the locals.
This book was originally published in 1906 and was written in Gloucestershire dialect. Maurice Jones, Fairford’s town crier gives a splendid rendition of the work. This was not an easy task as being in dialect which is not usually written it is difficult to understand.
Brian Routledge covers the history of the Chapel building from 1853 and its subsequent renovations. Firstly Baptists, then the Congregationalists from the Croft and finally the Methodists have joined to make Fairford United Chapel. Examples from the Register of Members are cited, the first Baptism entry was in 1852 before the date of the building. The content of the minutes of the meetings from 1986 show that little has changed in the agendas over the years, and the Fairford United Church is thriving since its renovations in 2007.
Melba covered her schooldays at the Infant School and Farmor’s School, her first job at the American Hospital and a hairdressers, former shops in the town; football, tennis and cricket in the town (her husband was a gifted sportsman) and Fairford Hospital.
The Yells building firm was established in Fairford in 1858. At first the work was mainly agricultural repairs but in the 20th century building houses became the main work. They built a huge number of properties in the area including Burdocks and Palmer Hall. They worked at The Retreat for Dr A C King-Turner, Palmer Hall and flourished during the building boom after the war. Peter Yells show many pictures and examples of stationery that his firm used.
At the FHS meeting on November 16th June Lewis-Jones took a look at medical practices in the town over the centuries. She included the Fairford workhouse, the Retreat (Fairford Lunatic Asylum), the doctors Bloxsome at Croft House, the Pharmacy, Fairford Hospital and Carnival, Nurse Davis and the doctors of Hilary Cottage Surgery.
Chris Hobson outlined the research tools that were used to search about this topic at his talk on September 21st, 2006 :- censuses, trade directories, the Times Digital Archive, National Burial Index and the Internet were all cited. He went into in some detail about the population growth of the town (also see historical Topics) and also covered the railway, medical practices in the town, the Cowley family and also told the Society about the family database he is setting up which will be a very useful family history tool.
Tim Porter gave a talk to the Fairford U3A,
July 4th 2006, illustrated with slides. Tim trained as a musician, but
has always studied history as well.
Pilgrim routes date from the Roman times. In this area the main route was from Cirencester (the largest town after London) to Bath (Aquae Sulis) along the Fosse Way to visit the hot springs. There was also a 4th century Roman temple now in Lydney Park above the River Severn, so the basis for the pilgrim routes along the Roman roads and by water on the River Severn were in existence by medieval times. Tim told the story of St Kenelm (son of King Cenwulf of Mercia who was murdered by his stepsister at a young age near Romsley, Worcs. The Winchcombe monks brought the body back to Winchcombe (a main residence of King Cenwulf) where a shrine was made. The route from Romsley to Winchcombe and then a few miles to Hailes Abbey became a pilgrim route. Wayside shrines and wells were built for places of rest, Tim gave examples.
Derrick Youngs was head of technical studies at Farmor’s from 1971-1992 and talks about his time as teacher at the School, starting in a newly-built department. Hugh Dudley also started in 1971 is now deputy head teacher, Dave Pitts was a technical assistant at the school. They all talk the about various aspects of school life, Hugh Dudley includes the history.