© Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society & Contributors 2016-7 Registered Charity no. 287289
Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society

Projects

Researching, recording, interpreting and

celebrating our town

The Society has been in existence for over sixty years. In the early days it sponsored "digs" in the area, supporting the then-new Cirencester Excavation Committee. As archaeology these days is now well catered for in the planning system and with professional units such as Cotswold Archaeology nearby (successor to the old Cirencester Excavations Committee), we restrict projects to things where we rarely get our hands dirty. Members are encouraged to take part in projects supported by the Society, and past and present examples are listed here. Some are complete, but most come round for renewal from time to time; interpreting local history for the wider community is a continuous process! This is not a comprehensive list - we have recently uncovered work the Society did in rescuing items from Watermoor Hospital, for example. [They are still on display in the current Cirencester Hospital] If you would like us to mention an early project that you had a hand in, please send your memories to the webmaster using the message tab on the right.

Cirencester War Memorials

With an eye on the Centenary of World War 1, the Society marked this significant event by bringing together various strands of research on the town’s war memorials (we do have more than one!). We hold considerable research undertaken by CAHS members Deirdre & Jim Waddell with specialist input from Peter Grace of Cirencester’s Living Memory Historical Association. This work has now been taken on by Dale Hjort, and the result is our  Memorials Web pages, which you are encouraged to make use of to recall family stories. The material was used to illustrate the local effects of the war in an exhibition we staged in August/ September 2014 in The Corinium Museum, which received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with other local organisations. An artistic reminder of this collaboration can be seen high on the wall of Brewery Arts. The main war memorial, on the refurbished church South Porch, looks better now than it has done for decades and those who gaze on it must wonder about the individuals mentioned there. All we know of these people is recorded in our Memorials pages. If you know more, please tell us, using the mail symbol to the right.  

Turnpikes around Cirencester

An ongoing project for many years has been detailed studies of the various roads into and out of Cirencester, which is a good example of a market town acting as a hub of routes in the turnpike system of the 18th and 19th centuries.  There were annual reports of progress in our Newsletters. Today some of this activity is undertaken by the national Milestone Society (formed in 2000) but it remains our intention to bring all this work together for formal publication using our own publications (for which a Ward Grant was obtained from the CDC some years ago). If you can assist this endeavour in any way to keep the record updated, our Editor as project co-ordinator would be pleased to hear from you

Abbey Grounds

The Society’s Millennium Project provided information on the history of the great Augustinian Abbey of St. Mary, which dominated the landscape and lives of the people of Cirencester for over 400 years. Today its site forms the Abbey Grounds public park, where the building outline was marked with slabs and a plaque was installed. This was completed with help from the Town Council which owns the grounds, and was opened by the Mayor one rainy evening during 2000. Unfortunately, the plaque suffered from both graffiti and weather damage, and was removed some years later. One successor is a CAHS leaflet that visitors can purchase for a small sum from the Museum’s Information Centre, and it fits easily into the pocket as you walk around the Abbey Grounds. The leaflet also includes other history and features in the Grounds, notably the Roman Wall and the Norman Arch. In 2013 the Town Council decided to place two more explanation boards in the Abbey Grounds. The Society has provided financial assistance for these boards as part of its charitable aims. In 2017 Cirencester is celebrating Abbey900. See the Abbey900 page.
detail Church war Memorial Cirencester One of Cirencester's toll houses Cirencester's Roman Wall. Picture A Buffoni Cirencester's last Cinema, The Regal

Cirencester Park

In parallel, we also produced a familiarisation leaflet for Cirencester’s other great public open space in Cirencester Park. Provided primarily for visitors to the Caravan Club site in the Park grounds, it gave guided walks through the park. Unfortunately the leaflet is not being produced at the moment

Roman Garden at Corinium Museum

For about 20 years before the Corinium Museum was revamped, members tended the Roman Garden in our fine museum and we were proud to support in this way, providing a number of improvements over the years. Today’s museum is considerably enlarged from those days, but the Garden is still there and is still doing its job of interpretation

The Queen’s 50th and 60th Jubilees

The Society contribution in 2002 was a set of 50 photographs of items or places connected with Jubilees since Queen Victoria’s day, presented to the local history section of the BIngham Library at our December 2002 meeting, which was held in the Library. They are still available to view. In 2012 CAHS did not adopt a particular project but gave general support via individual contributions to the programme of activities organised by the town’s Jubilee committee
Walter Mattock Professionally recorded by our member Helen Sweet in January 2004, these tapes and a transcript record a now deceased Cirencester cabinet maker, with local family connections. This is our first oral history exercise and we’re exploring how best to make this rare archive more widely available. We have [2014] transcribed the original tape into digital form. Only a small part is damaged. Alan Strickland has volunteered to edit the transcript, which, being verbatim, is difficult to read. If you have an older relative, or indeed if you wish to volunteer as a subject with an interesting local story, we will be happy to record the story for the future Walter Mattock Bob Kibble's Slides

The Kibble Photographic Collection

Some 150 colour slides of Cirencester celebrations in 1975 taken by the late Bob Kibble have been loaned to us. We have now made a digital record. Linda Viner has catalogued them. A photogallery  of a selection is available. We will need your help in identifying who, what, where and why. They appear to show a carnival, a flower show in Cirencester Parish church and several aerial photos taken at the time of building the inner bypass. We are stimulated to consider how current photographs might record the changing scene, particularly of the Cirencester conservation area.

The Linda Walls Regal Photographic Collection

In the final days before the last cinema in town closed, CAHS committee member Linda Walls, with full permission, took a large numbers of photographs of the exterior and interior of the Regal, which stood in Lewis Lane. The Society holds a disk of these photographs. Linda sadly died in 2006, not long after this exercise. History was one of her several enthusiasms. The photo record is our memorial to her. Some of the pictures are in this photogallery. Today the site is occupied by the Bingham Close housing development.

Building studies

There is a growing interest in Cirencester’s historical buildings and those who lived in them, but so far a relatively small number of studies have appeared in the Society’s publications. Those that have are being added to the website for easy reference and with only gentle editing to update them.   The Old House in Gloucester Street and No 33 Dyer Street share a common theme of relating historic town houses to their occupants, the author in each case being resident at the time of contributing each piece. They serve, if nothing else, as a reminder that research into the history of individual buildings offers a fascinating task to which all can contribute.   For the most recent essay on the general study of Cirencester’s historic buildings, see David Viner, ‘A Rich Resource: Studying Cirencester’s Historic Buildings’ in Excavations and Observations in Roman Cirencester 1998-2007 (Cirencester Excavations, Vol. VI), December 2008, pp. 15-27.   Disclaimer: reference to these two historic buildings in Gloucester Street and Dyer Street, each of which remains privately-owned property, does not imply any rights of access to either, for which the Society takes no responsibility.

Indexing the Wilts & Glos Standard

Long before the development of computers and back in the world of index cards, members laboriously catalogued back copies of the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard kept in the Bingham Library (the librarian of the time was Librarian to the Society). The Standard dates back to 1837 and is central to any research on town history and community life. This project ran from 1968-75 and over 2,000 index cards were compiled covering the years 1855-1940. Determined not to lose this resource (and all that effort) and deny modern researchers, CAHS volunteer Linda Viner has recently typed up the card index and it is now available on line via the Gloucestershire Archives website. An article on this project appears in CAHS Newsletter No 56 for Autumn 2012
St John's Hospital. Picture D Viner

Endangered buildings

Throughout its existence the Society has been concerned for the preservation of Cirencester’s fine stock of historically-significant buildings, supporting numerous campaigns over the years. Most recently CAHS supported the Trustees of St John’s Hospital in their fund-raising and conservation programme to preserve this fine 12th Century structure in Spitalgate. Improved interpretation may yet be possible with CAHS support.
Cirencester Street Names. Picture D Viner

Street Naming

Street names, if carefully selected with an historical eye, can raise all sorts of interest in what went before, for new as well as existing residents. We have been recording the town’s fine set of old-style blue street signs and for some years have been suggesting suitable street names for developers of new schemes, inevitably with mixed success. For example, we had nothing to do with the dodgy Latin in the ‘Corinium Via!’ promotion alongside Burford Road, but a walk into this Kingshill North development as well as the Kingshill South development accessed off the Tesco roundabout will reveal an interesting range of names taken from a specific historical source. Old field names such as Forstall have been used but most are taken from an 1897 group of the Cirencester Tradesmen’s Society, whose names once graced their town centre shops and businesses. You can see a group photograph on the wall in Walter Bull & Son in Dyer Street. Taken together, they represent the dominant part of the town’s commercial history from the later Victorian and early 20th century. Trotman, Winstone, Moss, Savory and others are all remembered here. The Society will continue to campaign in this way
Military Colours

Military Colours in Cirencester Parish Church

The Colours of the local 4th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment and the Royal North Gloucestershire Militia were given into the care of the church in 1908 on the disbandment of these regiments and hung there for ninety years, being removed from display some years before the recently-completed comprehensive refurbishment of the church. For over a decade, led initially by our member Fred Petrie (who wrote about them), CAHS campaigned for their re-hanging and prepared a detailed report on their historical and social significance. This report has since been published in the final issue of Glos Rural Community Council’s journal Gloucestershire History (no. 25 for 2011, pp.18-28).  Two of the colours are now rehung, the oldest is now nearly dust to dust. They were rededicated on Remembrance Day November 11, 2012 . It might be asked, why do they look so sad? The answer lies in military tradition that laid up colours should not be restored but allowed to decay gracefully with old age, ‘dust to dust’. So they are memorials too

And more ....

Other research by individual members and others is reported throughout our run of publications, especially in our yearly Newsletter. See the Publications pages
Page last updated 10 January 2017
cirencester Park from St John's tower. Picture A Buffoni
© CAHS & contributors 2016-7 Registered Charity 287289
Cirencester Archaeological  & Historical Society

Projects

Researching, recording,

interpreting and celebrating our

town

The Society has been in existence for over sixty years. In the early days it sponsored "digs" in the area, supporting the then-new Cirencester Excavation Committee. As archaeology these days is now well catered for in the planning system and with professional units such as Cotswold Archaeology nearby (successor to the old Cirencester Excavations Committee), we restrict projects to things where we rarely get our hands dirty. Members are encouraged to take part in projects supported by the Society, and past and present examples are listed here. Some are complete, but most come round for renewal from time to time; interpreting local history for the wider community is a continuous process! This is not a comprehensive list - we have recently uncovered work the Society did in rescuing items from Watermoor Hospital, for example. [They are still on display in the current Cirencester Hospital] If you would like us to mention an early project that you had a hand in, please send your memories to the webmaster using the message tab on the right.

Cirencester War Memorials

With an eye on the Centenary of World War 1, the Society marked this significant event by bringing together various strands of research on the town’s war memorials (we do have more than one!). We hold considerable research undertaken by CAHS members Deirdre & Jim Waddell with specialist input from Peter Grace of Cirencester’s Living Memory Historical Association. This work has now been taken on by Dale Hjort, and the result is our  Memorials Web pages, which you are encouraged to make use of to recall family stories. The material was used to illustrate the local effects of the war in an exhibition we staged in August/ September 2014 in The Corinium Museum, which received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with other local organisations. An artistic reminder of this collaboration can be seen high on the wall of Brewery Arts. The main war memorial, on the refurbished church South Porch, looks better now than it has done for decades and those who gaze on it must wonder about the individuals mentioned there. All we know of these people is recorded in our Memorials pages.  If you know more, please tell us, using the mail symbol to the right.  

Turnpikes around Cirencester

An ongoing project for many years has been detailed studies of the various roads into and out of Cirencester, which is a good example of a market town acting as a hub of routes in the turnpike system of the 18th and 19th centuries.  There were annual reports of progress in our Newsletters. Today some of this activity is undertaken by the national Milestone Society (formed in 2000) but it remains our intention to bring all this work together for formal publication using our own publications (for which a Ward Grant was obtained from the CDC some years ago). If you can assist this endeavour in any way to keep the record updated, our Editor as project co-ordinator would be pleased to hear from you

Abbey Grounds

The Society’s Millennium Project provided information on the history of the great Augustinian Abbey of St. Mary, which dominated the landscape and lives of the people of Cirencester for over 400 years. Today its site forms the Abbey Grounds public park, where the building outline was marked with slabs and a plaque was installed. This was completed with help from the Town Council which owns the grounds, and was opened by the Mayor one rainy evening during 2000. Unfortunately, the plaque suffered from both graffiti and weather damage, and was removed some years later. One successor is a CAHS leaflet that visitors can purchase for a small sum from the Museum’s Information Centre, and it fits easily into the pocket as you walk around the Abbey Grounds. The leaflet also includes other history and features in the Grounds, notably the Roman Wall and the Norman Arch. In 2013 the Town Council decided to place two more explanation boards in the Abbey Grounds. The Society has provided financial assistance for these boards as part of its charitable aims. In 2017 Cirencester is celebrating Abbey900. See the Abbey900 page.

Cirencester Park

In parallel, we also produced a familiarisation leaflet for Cirencester’s other great public open space in Cirencester Park. Provided primarily for visitors to the Caravan Club site in the Park grounds, it gave guided walks through the park. Unfortunately the leaflet is not being produced at the moment

Roman Garden at Corinium Museum

For about 20 years before the Corinium Museum was revamped, members tended the Roman Garden in our fine museum and we were proud to support in this way, providing a number of improvements over the years. Today’s museum is considerably enlarged from those days, but the Garden is still there and is still doing its job of interpretation

The Queen’s 50th and 60th Jubilees

The Society contribution in 2002 was a set of 50 photographs of items or places connected with Jubilees since Queen Victoria’s day, presented to the local history section of the BIngham Library at our December 2002 meeting, which was held in the Library. They are still available to view. In 2012 CAHS did not adopt a particular project but gave general support via individual contributions to the programme of activities organised by the town’s Jubilee committee
cirencester Park from St John's tower. Picture A Buffoni Walter Mattock

Walter Mattock

Professionally recorded by our member Helen Sweet in January 2004, these tapes and a transcript record a now deceased Cirencester cabinet maker, with local family connections. This is our first oral history exercise and we’re exploring how best to make this rare archive more widely available. We have [2014] transcribed the original tape into digital form. Only a small part is damaged. Alan Strickland has volunteered to edit the transcript, which, being verbatim, is difficult to read. If you have an older relative, or indeed if you wish to volunteer as a subject with an interesting local story, we will be happy to record the story for the future
Bob Kibble's Slides

The Kibble Photographic Collection

Some 150 colour slides of Cirencester celebrations in 1975 taken by the late Bob Kibble have been loaned to us. We have now made a digital record. Linda Viner has catalogued them. A photogallery  of a selection is available. We will need your help in identifying who, what, where and why. They appear to show a carnival, a flower show in Cirencester Parish church and several aerial photos taken at the time of building the inner bypass. We are stimulated to consider how current photographs might record the changing scene, particularly of the Cirencester conservation area.
Bob Kibble's Slides Cirencester's last Cinema, The Regal

The Linda Walls Regal Photographic

Collection

In the final days before the last cinema in town closed, CAHS committee member Linda Walls, with full permission, took a large numbers of photographs of the exterior and interior of the Regal, which stood in Lewis Lane. The Society holds a disk of these photographs. Linda sadly died in 2006, not long after this exercise. History was one of her several enthusiasms. The photo record is our memorial to her. Some of the pictures are in this photogallery. Today the site is occupied by the Bingham Close housing development.

Building studies

There is a growing interest in Cirencester’s historical buildings and those who lived in them, but so far a relatively small number of studies have appeared in the Society’s publications. Those that have are being added to the website for easy reference and with only gentle editing to update them.   The Old House in Gloucester Street and No 33 Dyer Street share a common theme of relating historic town houses to their occupants, the author in each case being resident at the time of contributing each piece. They serve, if nothing else, as a reminder that research into the history of individual buildings offers a fascinating task to which all can contribute.   For the most recent essay on the general study of Cirencester’s historic buildings, see David Viner, ‘A Rich Resource: Studying Cirencester’s Historic Buildings’ in Excavations and Observations in Roman Cirencester 1998-2007 (Cirencester Excavations, Vol. VI), December 2008, pp. 15-27.   Disclaimer: reference to these two historic buildings in Gloucester Street and Dyer Street, each of which remains privately-owned property, does not imply any rights of access to either, for which the Society takes no responsibility.
Cirencester's last Cinema, The Regal