Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month.
All are welcome, 8 pm start in the history room to the rear of Robinsons on Church Lane.
Everyone who lives in Blewbury is more than aware that the village has great history. A glance to the Iron Age fort on Blewburton hill or a walk down the cob walled paths of the village past oak beamed houses is a vivid reminder that people have lived here for thousands of years.
Blewbury Local History Group consists of an informal gathering of friends who take an interest in investigating and preserving historical matters relating to the parish of Blewbury. There are no charges incurred in joining us or attending meetings.
We meet once a month, and as well as this members spend a lot of their own time working on projects for the group. The meetings are used, in conjunction with our frequent open days, as an agendaed appraisal of the group's activities.
The website of the village and this site get many visits from people seeking information about relatives who have lived here at some point and they direct their questions to the group. We are more than happy to assist where we can as we have copies of the Parish Births, Deaths and Marriages going back to the 1500’s.
Chairperson: Audrey Long, Spring Cottage, Church Road
Webmaster: Helen White, Southbourne, Bessels Way
The link above takes you to the website for the village, showing you just what an exciting and interesting place it is to live in today
The group also acts as a depository for articles or the recording of existence of historical items connected to Blewbury. We have an extensive research library.
Former group member Richard Jenkins wrote a number of pieces on the village. This one acts as a short introduction to Blewbury:
"The author P.H.Ditchfield in his book 'Byways in Berkshire and the Cotswolds' written nearly one hundred years ago wrote that Blewbury was a very ancient place. King Edmund in the tenth century in his charter granted some land to Aelfric which he then passed on to the monks of Abingdon describing it as 'loco venerabili, antiquities at adhuc cognomina noto, Bleoburg appellato'. It was a royal manor recorded as such in the Domesday book and granted by Empress Matilda in 1141 to Reading Abbey. Besides this great manor there were two smaller manors, one of which constituted the prebend of Blewbury in the cathedral church of Sarum. The other was known as Nottingham’s Fee from a family of that name which has been handed down as the name of the street running from the London road down to the Chapel lane.
In the Roman Catholic Church’s Latin rite 'The venerable' is the style used for a person who has been posthumously declared 'heroic in virtue' during the investigation and process leading to possible canonization as a saint. Before a person is considered to be venerable he or she must be declared as such by a proclamation, approved by the pope, of having lived a life that was 'heroic in virtu' – the virtues being the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and charity and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The next step is beatification, at which point the person is referred to as Blessed, and then finally canonisation, at which point the person is referred to as Saint. The 7th century English monk St. Bede was referred to as being venerable soon after his death and, by tradition, is therefore often referred to as 'The Venerable Bede' despite his also having been canonised. St Bede was the first person to be recorded as The Venerable. So the venerable village of Blewbury has many virtues to live up to.
Nottingham Fee as a road name struck me as being very peculiar since I first saw it. The 'Nottingham' part I could understand and now realise it has come from the name of Robert de Nottingham the Rector of the parish in 1242. As for the 'Fee', did the rector charge for services rendered I wondered? In fact the Manor was originally held of the king as a fourth part of a knight’s fee… the land awarded to a knight for his being available to fight the king’s battles when required.
The knight was one of three types of fighting men during the middle ages: Knights, Foot Soldiers, and Archers. The medieval knight was the equivalent of the modern tank. He was covered in multiple layers of armour, and could plough through foot soldiers standing in his way. No single foot soldier or archer could stand up to any one knight. Knights were also generally the wealthiest of the three types of soldiers. This was for a good reason. It was terribly expensive to be a knight. The war horse alone could cost the equivalent of a small airplane. Armour, shields, and weapons were also very expensive. Becoming a knight was part of the feudal agreement. In return for military service, the knight received a fief (fee). In the late middle ages, many prospective knights began to pay 'shield money' to their lord so that they wouldn't have to serve in the king's army. The money was then used to create a professional army that was paid and supported by the king. These knights often fought more for pillaging than for army wages. When they captured a city, they were allowed to ransack it, stealing goods and valuables. Thus the knights who survived their battles did well in more ways than one!"
This website was originally compiled by Mark Palethorpe from an idea first mooted in November 2008 and went live in Feburary 2009. It's a constantly changing beast and if you have any comments on it then please let us know.
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