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The Fairford Flyer

Fairford History Society
Newsletter No 11
July 2010

Other Newsletters:

Fairford Flyer No 1
Fairford Flyer No 2
Fairford Flyer No 3
Fairford Flyer No 4
Fairford Flyer No 5
Fairford Flyer No 6

Fairford Flyer No 7
Fairford Flyer No 8
Fairford Flyer No 9
Fairford Flyer No 10

Church windows restoration completed after 23 years

A wonderful weekend of celebration took place June 11th-14th to mark the completion of this momentous project.

In 1985 inspection of the glazing revealed several areas of concern; the loss of paint pigment, especially on the north wall windows, and the accumulation of whitish deposits on the south wall windows were the greatest cause of concern. Tenders went out for the work and the Barley Studio of York won the contract. This was the first major restoration since the late 19th century.

Church Window

Little is known about restoration after the 1703 storm when Windows 14, 15, 16 were severely damaged. There had been minor repairs but in 1869 Chance Brothers of Smethwick were commissioned to repair Saints Matthias and Thaddeus in Window 12; the result was so successful they were asked to repair the Great West Window. Although the result was aesthetically pleasing there was a huge outcry as Chance Brothers had not used the medieval glass but made copies with a result that a lot of the original glass was lost.

In 1889 Canon Carbonell, who was responsible for the later 19th century restoration, made strenuous efforts to find the original medieval glass. The reglazing was carried out by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake. By 1890 the work was complete and Westlake wrote ‘all seems pretty solid and sound and will do for another century'.

The Friends of Fairford Church, which had been set up in 1982, set about raising the money – a colossal task. In May 1988 Window 17 was removed to the Barley Studio and in November it was returned, cost £12,400. In May 2010 Windows 19 and 20 the final two were returned. The final cost was pretty near the original estimate. At the evening event in June hosted by Denys Hodson, Chairman of FOFC, Keith Barley said that the windows would be good for another 300 years at least.

Other Exhibitions

As well as mounting the History of the Church Exhibition for the FOFC, June 2010 was a very busy month for FHS. On Saturday June 5th, as part of Fairford Festival, Edwin Cuss mounted his postcard and photographic exhibition and the Society also had a display. This year for the first time the exhibition was held in the Heritage Room at the Community Centre instead of the Marquee in the Walnut Tree Field and this was a much more comfortable venue for us; level floors and no draughts! The Art Society had their annual exhibition in the Centre and supplied refreshments so there was a steady stream of visitors.

Fairford Festival Exhibiton

RAF Heritage Exhibiton

The following Wednesday, June 9th we had been invited to mount a display at the RAF Heritage Day in the B-2 hangar at the airfield to commemorate the history of RAF Fairford as part of the winding down events at the air base. This turned out to be a really splendid event with displays by the Fairford Aviation Society, Concorde Association, Military Historic Vehicle Trust, RAF Charitable Trust and other organizations. There were also several aircraft present:- 2 x F-15C Eagles, a Typhoon, a Tornado, a Harrier, a Griffon helicopter, a Hurricane and a KC-135R Stratotanker (which visitors were able to look inside) and ‘arena’ displays. About 40 FHS members attended the event and it was a very special day tinged with a little sadness but the feedback was that everyone had a really enjoyable day.


At the AGM on June 17th the existing Committee was re-elected. Doug Newton gave an interesting talk. He was part of the Concorde Flight Testing team at RAF Fairford and is now the mainstay of the Concorde Association. Members enjoyed information from ‘behind the scenes’ and nostalgic photographs of a triumph of British engineering. The short film at the end of the talk was especially enjoyable as a reminiscence of one of the world’s most aesthetic aircraft.

2010 - 2011 Programme - meetings in the Farmor Room, Fairford Community Centre
September 16th 2010 Swing Riots:
Our next meeting will be a presentation by Jill Chambers, author of The Gloucestershire Machine Breakers.  Increasing hardship for agricultural labourers across the south of England during the winter of 1830 led to rioting and industrial sabotage.  Fairford was no exception with a riot involving up to 100 men and the destruction of several threshing machines resulting in troops patrolling the streets and the subsequent imprisonment and transportation to Australia of a number of Fairford residents. 
November 18th 2010 Gimson and the Barnsleys - the Arts and Crafts Movement in Gloucestershire:
a talk by Dave Walton
Fairford has a special interest in Ernest Gimson as he designed Fairford’s War Memorial shortly before his death. He actually designed it to go in the Market Place and he probably would have redesigned the base had he lived longer.
February 17th 2011 Where have all the shops gone?
a daytime talk followed by a short walk to locate the site and put names to businesses that once existed in Fairford. Do you remember the location of the ‘Barrel and Basket? What was the shop in the old council offices in London Street?
March 17th 2011 The Thames and Severn Canal:
a talk by Bruce Hall, Chairman of the Cotswolds Canals Trust and will include recent developments at he eastern end of the Canal.
May 19th 2011 Fairford Park:
Nicholas Ford, the Agent and Director (Chief Executive) of the Ernest Cook Trust since 2002 will talk about the Ernest Cook Trust including reference to the former Fairford Park buildings.
June 16th 2011 AGM (followed by a talk to be arranged)


FHS Occasional Paper 6 – Searching for Thomas. Price £1

Thomas Morton was a curate of Fairford for Francis William Rice (5th Baron Dynevor) for almost three d ecades from 1851 to 1879. This paper traces the life of Thomas using a number of information research tools as an illustration of the wide variety of family and local history resources that are now available to the researcher. Born in St Helens, Lancashire, Thomas was also a curate in Plymouth, London and Hull before retiring from Fairford to live out the remainder of his days in Edwards College in South Cerney. The portrait of Thomas Morton is by Samuel Vines, an ironmonger of Fairford who was also a talented artist.

FHS Occasional Paper 7 – Alexander Ready/Colston. Price £1

Alexander Ready was a solicitor and attorney who lived in Fairford in the early 18th Century. After the death of his first two wives, Alexander married Sophia Edwards, heiress to the fortune of wealthy Bristol merchant and philanthropist Edward Colston. In 1755 Alexander Ready changed his name to Alexander Colston and lived in Filkins Hall. He owned property in Fairford including Colston House and was buried in Fairford church.


Whilst carrying out research for the History of the Church Exhibition we were able to purchase:- Fairford Church and its celebrated windows by Henry Taunt. 3rd ed. Published by Joseph Powell. c.1910 and Handbook to Fairford Church and its stained windows by J.P. 3rd ed. 1883, but we haven’t been able to locate a copy of A Handbook to Fairford Church and its windows by Francis Carbonell published in 1893. If anyone has a copy we would really like to see it and take a copy or photograph it.

Other items acquired are:- A Calendar of Cotswold Cookery by June Lewis-Jones. Sigma Leisure, 2010. S ame recipes as the previous edition and beautifully produced. The Poles in India 1942-1948: based on archive documents and personal reminiscences. Association of Poles in India. [2009]. This is a translation from Polish and donated by Alicja Christofides. It contains information about how some of the Fairford Polish Camp residents came to this country.

FHS is a member of BGAS (Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society). We regularly get their transactions. Volume 127 contains an account of the excavation at Horcott Pitt, 2002-2003. ‘A grand city – life, movement and work: Bristol in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’. Essays edited by M J Crossley. BGAS, 2010. Interesting articles about Bristol. Also a BGAS publication.

Archive Room

Since the last Fairford Flyer several members have loaned for copying or have donated some interesting items:- a commemorative plate of the visit of the Duke of Connaught to Fairford in 1909; 1930s Farmor’s School prizes with book plates and the school crest embossed on the cover; memorabilia of David Niven who was Colonel Palmer’s godson and used to stay at Fairford Park; and Fairford Primary School staff photos from the 70s. Graham Young has collected cuttings and photographs of the flooding in the area over the years and this will make an excellent record for the future and with the oral history interviews of flood victims made by Geoff Bishop and a collection of photos on CD, this will make an excellent record for the future. This is exactly the sort of material we want, it may not be particularly old now but it will be a record of Fairford’s history for the future. FHS keeps a record of everything donated and from whom it came so it could be returned if required. If the donator does not want the item to go into the public domain we can do that too.

On the Easter and Spring Bank Holiday Mondays FHS has been holding ‘Open afternoons’ in the Heritage Room; this is not only for Church visitors but also an opportunity for anyone else to come and ask questions or get help with their family history etc.

The next ‘open afternoon’ will be on 30th August, Bank Holiday Monday from 2pm.

We receive many local history and family history enquiries by email: enquiry@fairfordhistory.org.uk or by phone 01285 711768. The Archive Room is also open to visitors each Monday afternoon from 2-4pm.

Membership Subscriptions

Members are reminded that subscriptions are due in September and can be paid at any meeting or by f illing in the enclosed slip and returning it to the membership secretary or to the FHS at the Community Centre. Members are encouraged to set up standing orders which will be debited on September 1st each year; this considerably reduces administration costs. A membership card for those members with standing orders is enclosed with this newsletter.

Fairford Flyer edited by Alison Hobson. From the Archives by Chris Hobson.
Photographs by Hobson Cameras. Any comments or letters would be appreciated.