Abingdon Area Archaeology and History Society


The Local History Group (LHG)

35 Ock Street pictureThe Local History Group provides a forum and meeting point for members with a particular interest in the local history of Abingdon and its region. 

Sub-groups are formed from time to time for specific purposes. One that is currently active is the Abingdon Buildings and People group, which manages the History Section of the Abingdon Town Council website:    http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/partners/history

Meetings are (usually in the Spring and Autumn) on the third Tuesday in the month at 35 Ock Street, Abingdon OX14 5AG at 7.30pm. They are also available in real time on Zoom.

We welcome anyone with a question about Abingdon local history as we usually have a knowledgeable audience who can answer them. There is also the opportunity to share anything you have done about Abingdon or the surrounding area with those present.

Please let me know so that I can make sure we allocate you some time.

   All AAAHS Members and guests are welcome. 

Picture © M Brod 2013 

Next Local History Group (LHG) meeting: 

The next LHG meeting will be in Spring 2024 at 7.30pm at 35 Ock Street, Abingdon  OX14 5AG and also, simultaneously, on Zoom for those who are unable to attend in person (TBC). 

These meetings are informal and we do not have an agenda of what we will talk about as that is up to you, so we do rely on participation. Often a question or picture will start a discussion that can take us in all sorts of interesting directions.

The usual message is that the meeting is about what you want to talk about, so I need some input from you. No false modesty about how no one will be interested in what you have been looking at or how silly your question might be. It will help me organise things if you contact me if you wish to talk about anything. I give warning that I might have to repeat the short talk I gave on Abingdon Heritage Day, if no one comes up with anything better! I do hope to see you then.

For those attending in person, who have something they wish to show, please contact me in advance as the ZOOM technicalities make it more complicated for me. If you are ZOOMing it and wish to make a presentation, please let me know so I will make sure you get time to do it. 

A reminder, perhaps with some content information, will be emailed out along with the ZOOM information nearer the time. Non-Members can contact me for the Zoom link.

If you have changed your email address, or are not a member and wish to have a ZOOM invitation sent, please contact me ASAP here: local@aaahs.org.uk

John Foreman

AAAHS Local History Group Convenor

Previous Local History Group Meetings

Meeting held on Tuesday 17th October 2023 in person and on Zoom

(Talks on: T A Haynes, Plumber, Abingdon and Black and White images of Abingdon from Facebook)

Meeting held on Tuesday 11th April 2023 in person and on Zoom (No theme)

Meeting held on Tuesday 25th October 2022/Tuesday 8th November 2022 in person/Zoom  and then on Zoom only.

(No theme: Included Glynn, Footpaths and a possible future LHG project)

(Initial meeting abandoned because of Zoom link failure and continued later)

Meeting held on Tuesday 22nd February 2022 on Zoom.

(Bath Street, Attitudes to illegitimacy ~ 1800, Louis Davis)

Meeting held on Tuesday 9th November 2021 (Kinsey, Viney's and smallpox vacinations)

Meeting held on Tuesday 15th June 2021 (Theme: 'House Names')

Meeting held on Tuesday 18th May 2021 (Theme: 'Inscribed Dates')

Meeting held on Tuesday 20th April 2021 (Theme: ' Interesting Images')

Meeting held on Tuesday 16th March 2021 (Theme: ' Pubs and pub landlords and landladies')

Meeting held on Tuesday 16 February 2021 (Theme: 'Celebrations' including the 'Oddfellows Annual Fetes')

Meeting held on Tuesday 19 January 2021 (Theme: 'Disasters')

Meeting held on Tuesday 21 December 2020 (Theme: 'Christmases Past')

Meeting held on Tuesday 17 November 2020 (Theme: 'Resources for local history research')

Meeting held on Tuesday 20 October 2020

Meeting held on Tuesday 18 February 2020

Meeting held on Thursday 30 May 2019

John Foreman writes:  So far we have Manfred and Jessica Brod in perhaps their final attendance here. Manfred will be rounding off some of his research. To quote: “the significance of the Berkshire nabobs in the 1780s and 90s.” Nabobs is an interesting word that we do not hear much nowadays https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nabob. Also the intriguing “the connection between a couple of political meetings at the Abingdon Guildhall in 1780 and the future sex-life of the future George IV”!

Jessica  Brod will introduce a short film made by Michael Harrison about the development of the Abingdon shopping precinct starting in the 1960s. She also has two short presentations, one about an annotated Abingdon map and the other about whitebait.
I have some old slides to show and possibly some film if I can get it sorted in time.
David  Clark will be doing a presentation on an old map of the Caldecott estate dating from before the house was built. Some of us have seen the map at the museum and it is very interesting.
As you have seen we have a lot to talk about but more is always welcome. Do come and bring your curiosity!

Meeting held on Tuesday 19th February 2019. 

John Foreman writes: We  have two confirmed presenters: Roger Thomas will be talking about ‘Aspects of the early topography of Abingdon’ I believe this will be about what Abingdon looked like in the late Saxon period, but I might be wrong. We also have Manfred Brod talking about ‘Abingdon politics from the 18C.’ We have learnt from his previous presentations around this subject a little of the bribery and shady dealings that have laid the foundation for politics today.
I do hope we have more to talk about and that is down to you bringing along anything you have been working on or just want to know more about.

Meeting held on Tuesday 30th October 2018.

Manfred Brod talked about the Abingdon food riots of the 18th century, which were quite lively. Jackie Smith spoke about 'Daughters of the Empire' and the Norman (family)  and Sandys connections. John Foreman asked why the Farringdon Road is where it is and not on the route we would go today. This evoked many ingenious theories. Bob Frampton talked entertainingly on the history of the Abingdon Fair, fairs in general and the influence of technology on their development.





Outings Reports


The 1940 'Red-Stop Line'. By John Rawling

The County Museum store. By Bob Woodings

 Abingdon School ( 4 July 2017). By Paul Smith

The Archaeology of North Abingdon. By Andrew Steele

Northcourt. By Genefer Clark

Victorian Abingdon. By Stuart Hughes

Appleton. By Michael Bloom

Bampton. By Mary Storrs

Coventry. By Elsa Mayer

The Dorchester Dig. By Andrew Steele

The Dorchester excavations. By John Rawling

Egrove and Kennington. By Jill Lewis

The Thames, Kennington to Sandford. By Jenny Devanney

Longworth. By Mary Storrs

The excavations at Marcham/Frilford. By Jenny Devanney

The excavation at Marcham/Frilford. By Miriam James

Marlow. By Bryan Cozens

Ashmolean tour. By Michael Bloom

The Bate Collection. By Anne Smithson

Walking tour of Oxford. By Bob Woodings

Oxford's Jewish Quarter. By Carol Hughes

A visit to Brasenose College. By Penny de Bernhardt Cookson

Christ Church, Oxford. By Roger Gelder

Oriel College. By Andrew Steele

 Somerville College, Oxford (21 June 2017). By Wendy Robbins

Unseen Oxford. By John Rawling

Radley College. By Stuart Hughes

Exploring Lower Radley. By John Foreman

The Bayeux Tapestry copy at Reading. By Suzette Woodhead

Steventon. By John Rawling

 Sunningwell Village (22 May 2017). By Andrew Steele

Wilts and Berks canal. By Sybille Rushbridge


 Abingdon Buildings and People (ABP)

Abingdon Buildings and People is the name of the History Section of the Abingdon Town Council website. It was created and is managed by a group of AAAHS members for the Council and involves original research and writing, mostly by the group but also by outside specialists. Since its start in 2013 it has expanded into a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in Abingdon's heritage and history. These pages present the history of the town through short articles on individual buildings and important figures from Abingdon's past. In 2021 it reached over 200 articles. Find it on http://www.abingdon.gov.uk/partners/history

Take a self-guided walk through Abingdon’s history. Choose one of seven walks that take you to more than 40 buildings. Each walk gives you direct weblinks to articles on the buildings and the people associated with them.


Download individual walks as pdfs from the list below, or download the full set as one pdf from here.

Each walk gives you the route with direct links to articles on some of the buildings you will see and the people associated with them.


Walk 1) Bridge Street and Abingdon Bridge

Walk 2) The Guildhall and the Abbey

 Walk 3) East St Helen Street and St Helen's Wharf

Walk 4) St Helen's Churchyard and West St Helen Street

Walk 5) Stert Street, Our Lady and St Edmund's and Barton Court

Walk 6) The High Street, the Square and Ock Street

Walk 7) The Albert Park Area

You can access a map of Abingdon here.   

 We’d welcome your comments on these walks. Please give your feedback here






Take a self-guided walk through Abingdon’s history. Choose one of seven walks that take you to more than 40 buildings. Each walk gives you direct weblinks to articles on the buildings and the people associated with them.


 The Society has guided Outings during Spring and Summer 2024 which will be listed here.



 For further details and to register and pay for an Outing see the Outings List and the Outings Form, which will be available to non-members later this year. AAAHS Members have priority booking.

Abingdon Archaeology @ 50 


HLF Project Picture

Abingdon claims to be England’s oldest continuously inhabited town. This claim is based on archaeology, but very little information about this is available to the public. Many Abingdon people live on housing estates where nationally important excavations have taken place, but are completely unaware of this.

Since 1968, the Abingdon Area Archaeological & Historical Society (AAAHS) has carried out over a hundred different archaeological projects in and around Abingdon. Some have produced very important results. However, much has not been published, and the records and finds are of this work are scattered (and, in some cases, at risk of loss). Information about Abingdon’s rich and important archaeology is not easily accessible to residents or visitors.

The Society has been very fortunate, therefore, in its 50thanniversary year, to be awarded a grant of £24,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to put the archives of our past archaeological projects in order and to make information about the archaeology of Abingdon more accessible.

The project is being carried out in partnership with Oxford Archaeology and Oxfordshire County Council’s Archaeology Service. The aims of the project are:

(1)        to create a comprehensive list and archive for all the archaeological projects which the Society has carried out. This will include adding an entry for each project to the Oxfordshire County Historic Environment Record (HER), so that all the results of the Society’s work are public accessible (and also available to influence future planning decisions).

(2)        to create an interactive online map of the archaeology of Abingdon, to enable people to discover what has been found (including on their own housing estates).

(3)        to publish a short and accessible book on to the archaeology of Abingdon.

(4)        to promote the archaeology of Abingdon to the public through a variety of events. We have already mounted an exhibition in Abingdon Museum (July-September 2018), a day of talks (30 June 2018) and a weekend of archaeological activities for children at the Museum (July 2018). Further events will take place over the life of the project.

The project will be done mainly by volunteers (with some professional advice, support and training from staff in Oxford Archaeology). If you would like to volunteer on the project, and get some hands-on experience of dealing with archaeological finds and archives from a wide range of sites, please contact Roger Thomas.


If you have any queries about the project, please contact us via 50@aaahs.org.uk. We will post periodic updates about the project here as work progresses. Some photographs of the work in progress can be found at this link www.noirplus.com



Skull compressed for website

Digging Abingdon's Past


 Abingdon claims to be the oldest continuously-inhabited town in England, with defences that date back to the Iron Age. The AAAHS has carried out numerous excavations in and around Abingdon, and members participate in digs elsewhere.


The main focus of current interest is a small cemetery with at least twenty burials found in the garden of a house in North Abingdon, far from any church or chapel or from the approach roads to the town. Radio-carbon dating suggests that the bones are of the 16th or 17th centuries, a time when burials outside a churchyard are uncommon. They may be the results of an epidemic, or of an otherwise unrecorded Civil War skirmish. Archive research is ongoing.


For further information, or if you want to become involved, please contact diggers@aaahs.org.uk.


Your use of this website and the content of this website is at your sole risk. You should be aware that any material and/or data downloaded or otherwise obtained through your use of this website is done at your own discretion and risk. The information contained on this website is provided by the AAAHS. in good faith on an "as is" and "as available" basis. The information is believed to be accurate and current at the date the information was placed on this website. 

Neither AAAHS, nor any of its members makes any representation or warranty as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this website and none of them accept any responsibility arising in any way for errors in, or omissions from, the information contained on this website. Although every care has been taken in presenting this information some of it may be incorrect or incomplete, hence the creator of this website and/or any researcher or writer mentioned in it disclaim any liability in relation to the information, errors or omissions contained herein. 

Any person intending to use or rely on this information should first confirm it for themselves from other sources. Nevertheless any corrections or additional information will be most welcome.


The AAAHS on-line research archive 

These archive pages link to AAAHS material not published elsewhere and which is of continuing interest. 

Society Members also publish articles on archaeology and local history in the AAAHS Newsletters.
These are available on the Newsletters page.

There are also sets of research notes and/or photographs produced for specific projects, notably the 'Lost Abbey' project of 2009-12 which culminated in an exhibition and a book on Abingdon Abbey by our Archaeological Advisor, Tim Allen. 

The society also has a substantial archive of documents and artefacts. These are under the care of its archivist who can be contacted though the Contacts page.


Most of this material is downloadable. Please note that the copyright belongs to individual authors and/or the AAAHS. You may not make any commercial use of it without permission. You may cite it or publish brief excerpts so long as the source is acknowledged. References should take the form Author's name if stated and otherwise Abingdon Area Arch. and Hist. Society, page URL from which downloaded, (accessed [date of access]).



Online Archaeological Resources

The Earth Trust has a Dig Timeline with updates and photos which you may like to follow: https://digventures.com/earth-trust/timeline

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) team in York has used the current lull in its work programme to put together an Archaeology Resources Hub. There's an eclectic mixture of stuff on there, so you may well find something to take your interest while stuck indoors over the next few weeks/months. There's also a list on there of archaeological sites across the UK that are usually open to the public and which have launched survival appeals to help them get through the current crisis. There's a very real danger that some might be forced to close permanently without the money from gate receipts that they usually rely upon. 

Nene Valley Archaeological Trust has arranged a series of online lectures over the next few months relating to the Bronze Age - see https://www.nenevalleyarchaeology.co.uk/2021-conference-bronze-age-britain


Other AAAHS Websites

The Abingdon Buildings & People website now has almost 150 articles on Abingdon's historic streets and buildings, its families and people. The project is ongoing, and would welcome additional members. 

The Ock Street Heritage Project is no longer active, but much of its output is available online.

If you are a Member of the AAAHS then you can follow us on the AAAHS FaceBook Group


Other Abingdon interest

The Abingdon town website - information, organisations, events

Abingdon County Hall Museum 

The Abingdon Blog - a long-running chronicle of local happenings

Abingdon Walks - walks, information and picture gallery

Friends of Abingdon - civic society

Abingdon Roll of Honour - Abingdon men in the Great War

Abingdon Roll of Honour - searchable

The Lost Abbey Education Pack

Charters of Abingdon Abbey in the time of Faritius - what you get when you are obstetrician to the king's wife and mistresses!

Oxfordshire Historian and writer Julie Ann Godson covers the Abingdon area. She has a FaceBook page and a website.

Abingdon and surrounding areas facts and history is an interesting FaceBook page


Related societies in and around Abingdon

Abingdon Museum Friends

Didcot and District Archaeological and Historical Society (DDAHS)

Radley History Club

Sutton Courtenay Local History Society

Marcham Society

Berkshire Family History Society (VoWH Branch)


 Regional Societies

Berkshire Industrial Archaeology Group

Berkshire Local History Association

The Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society (TWHAS)

Oxfordshire Buildings Record

Oxfordshire Local History Association

South Midlands Archaeology