Abingdon Area Archaeology and History Society


To mark its 50th anniversary the AAAHS invites you to an

Abingdon History Day 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

At the Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Road, Abingdon OX14 1NS

9.45am to 4.15pm

Booking is essential as there are limited places

Book via AbingdonHistoryDay@aaahs.org.uk stating morning, afternoon or all day


9.45 am Welcome and Introduction by BOB EVANS, AAAHS Chairman


10 am JOHN BLAIR: Anglo-Saxon Abingdon: some New Thoughts.

Abingdon has long been well-known as one of the major early medieval centres of the upper Thames region, but recent work on Anglo-Saxon settlement and material culture makes it possible to set it in a wider context. This talk will explore its likely role in the regional power-structures of the seventh to ninth centuries, and will then suggest some new evidence for its re-planning as a tenth-century monastic complex and proto-town.

John Blair


John Blair is Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology in the University of Oxford, and Fellow of The Queen's College. He is interested in early medieval society, culture and the built environment. His books include The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (2005) and Building Anglo-Saxon England (2018). 


11 am DAVID CLARK: Survival of the Fittest? The ups and downs of Abingdon’s buildings over 50 years. 

Over 50 years ago, Peter Spokes published a chronological description of the remaining buildings from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. It was guided by age and ‘architectural merit’. This paper will look at what a similar article published today might say in the light of how perceptions of architectural history have changed in the past 50 years.

David Clark


David Clark is an architectural historian specialising in vernacular buildings. He has published on medieval shops, timber framing in Berkshire (for the revised Buildings of England volume) and co-authored Burford: buildings and people in a Cotswold townfor the England’s Past for Everyone project. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. 


12 noon JACKIE SMITH: Abingdon from the Railway Age to the JET Age. 

This talk will chronicle the development of Abingdon from the 1860s to the 1980s, covering education, housing, social welfare, post-war expansion, local government reorganisation and influence of county structure planning and continuing growth.  

Jackie Smith


Jackie Smith is Hon Archivist to Abingdon Town Council, to Christ's Hospital, and to the AAAHS. Her particular interest is in all aspects of 19th century Abingdon. She has co-authored three books, one on Abingdon pubs and two on Christ's Hospital and currently contributes monthly articles to the Abingdon Herald. 


 2 pm GEORGE LAMBRICK: 50 years of Abingdon Archaeology - Past and Future Challenges and Responses.

In many ways, what has happened in Abingdon epitomises the development of archaeology in England. This talk will offer a broad perspective on the practice and achievements of archaeological studies in the Abingdon area in the last 50 years. It will start from the pressures of development and aspirations for research at the time when the Society was founded at the height of a nationwide campaign to conserve and investigate historic towns. Faced once more with unprecedented development pressures, it will end with a brief look into the future.

George Lambrick


George Lambrick has been Deputy Director of Oxford Archaeology and Director of the Council for British Archaeology and is currently active in various heritage and conservation bodies. He has published extensively about the archaeology of the Thames Valley, and is an Honorary Vice President of the AAAHS.


3 pm ROGER THOMAS: The archaeology of Abingdon, 1968 to 2018 – what have we learned?

Fifty years on from the foundation of the Society, it is opportune to take stock: what did we know of Abingdon’s archaeology in 1968, what we have learned from the following half-century of intensive work, and what should our priorities for the future be? A picture emerges of Abingdon as a place of enormous archaeological interest, and one which is still yielding surprises. 

Roger Thomas


Roger Thomas grew up in Abingdon. He was a founder member of the Society and went on to become a professional archaeologist, working for Historic England until 2017. He has lectured and published widely, including on the archaeology of Abingdon. He was Chairman of the Society between 2008 and 2014.


4 pm BOB EVANS: Summing up and closing remarks.


For a printable version of the programme click here.


Please be aware that there is only limited parking at the Northcourt Centre, but it is usually possible to park in the side roads round about. Buses X3 and X13 between Oxford and Abingdon pass within a short walk from the venue. Alight at the Boundary House.
If you are staying over lunchtime (1-2 pm), you will be able to eat your sandwiches at the Northcourt Centre and tea and coffee will be available. Sandwiches can usually be bought at the local shops. Lunches are available at the Spread Eagle or at the Barns Café, both close by, but they tend to be busy and prior booking is advisable.