Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society

Following the latest Government advice the meetings in March, April and May are cancelled.

We hope to meet later in the year. 



Meetings Programme 2019-20
Northcourt Centre


Welcome to our meetings page. You can see that our year runs from September through till June. All presentations (apart from the Local History Group) are usually held at the Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Rd. Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 1NS. at 7.45 pm. [See the image on the right and  MAP ]
Attendance for Members is free and visitors are welcome (suggested donation: £3.00). If you are interested in joining the society, please speak to any comittee member who will be identified by their badge.
There is on-site parking and dedicated disabled spaces. Refreshments are available on most evenings.
Please check this page for changes and updates.

 Thursday 19th September 2019 

The meeting will start with the AGM. It will be followed by the talk:

Eddie Marsh: The 16th Century Pole Lathe: a Practical DemonstrationPole lathe


The pole lathe, also known as the springpole lathe is a woodturning machine that predates the Vikings. Usually unseasoned or green wood is turned to make plates and bowls as well and other items. Typically chair bodgers around High Wycombe used this lathe. For practical reasons in this demonstration the pole will be absent and a modern bungee substituted.


Eddie Marsh

Eddie Marsh is a re-enactor and practical demonstrator of some of the craft skills dating from the 16th century.  He has had a varied career from being a ceramics, art and sculpture technician at Oxford Brookes to teaching Design Technology at a school in Botswana. He started with old craft skills around 2000 with stools and hand carved  spoons. In 2008 he started using a pole lathe making bowls and platters.



Thursday 17th October 2019

Claire Bolton: Printing in Abingdon from 1476 to 1901 Printer

 Generally people don’t see print or think about printers. This talk aims to correct this and will look at Abingdon’s connection with print from the 15th to the end of the 19th century. The town had impressive early connections, but that was short lived, and there was a gap of almost 250 years before anyone printed again in Abingdon.  The talk is illustrated with many images of printed works from 18th and 19th centuries, and some attempts to locate their printshops.


Claire Bolton

Claire Bolton has been a letterpress printer for over 40 years, printing and publishing limited edition books which are now in collections and libraries throughout the world. She is also a printing historian, specialising in 15th century printing. She has taught many letterpress workshops and at Summer Schools on Oxford, London and Dunedin.



Thursday 21st November 2019

Dr Simon Wenham:  More than three men in a boat: the rise and fall of Pleasure Boating on the Thames

Lady punting

The Victorian period is often described as the ‘golden age of the Thames’, as it was during this time that the river was transformed into a vast conduit of leisure. It was the era of steam launch trips, Venetian fairs, regattas, picnics, carnivals and ‘three men in a boat’. This talk covers more than 150 years of pleasure boating and shows why some common perceptions about the river’s history are misleading.


Dr Simon WenhamDr Simon Wenham is a member of the part-time tutor panel of Oxford University’s Continuing Education Department where he teaches courses on the Victorian period. His doctoral research at the University of Oxford was on the history of Salter Bros Ltd, an Oxford-based Thames boat firm. The thesis was turned into the book Pleasure Boating on the Thames: a History of Salter Bros 1858 – Present Day. Simon is on the Scientific Committee of the ‘European Rivers and Towns‘ initiative and he is currently working on further writing projects, having recently produced an academic article on the history of camping (for Oxoniensia) and a number of popular-level articles, including one on the Oxford suffragettes (for Limited Edition).
Thursday 19th December 2019  

Richard Dudding: Radley Large Wood: Monks, Deer, Riots, Canal and Bluebells



For almost a thousand years, this ancient wood has been one of the most valued parts of the parish of Radley and has played a central role in some of its defining events. Richard’s talk gives a preview of new evidence found during research for the Club's new book ‘Radley Manor and Village’ launched on the 30th November 2019 at The Mansion at Radley College.

Dudding Richard


Richard Dudding is Chairman of the Radley History Club. He studied history at Jesus College Cambridge, and has returned to the subject after a career in central and local government. 



Do come along and have a mince pie and glass of hot punch. 

There will be a small prize for the most outrageous Christmas jumper!


Thursday 16th January 2020

Roger Thomas: Building the Future, Transforming our Past - Archaeology and Development in England

TrowelSince a change in planning rules in 1990, there has been a huge amount of archaeological work on development sites all over England. This work is required by planning permissions and paid for by the developers. The results have been astonishing. Thousands of important discoveries have been made, and views of England's past are bring transformed by these. This talk will explain how archaeology on development sites takes place, and highlight some of the most interesting or unusual finds, from the Ebbsfleet prehistoric elephant (400,000 BC) to a Roman chariot-racing arena in Colchester and a Victorian communal toilet in York.

Roger Thomas

Roger Thomas is a professional archaeologist who has lived in Abingdon for much of his life. He spent many years working for English Heritage (now Historic England), where he was closely involved in many important national archaeological projects. He is a past chairman of AAAHS, and is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford.



Thursday 20th February 2020

Dr Wendy Morrison: Beacons of the Past - Investigating a Prehistoric Chilterns Landscape 

Wendy Morrison landscapeBeacons of the Past is a three and a half year project part funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Chiltern Society, and the National Trust , amongst others.  Its purpose is to engage and inspire communities to discover, conserve, and enjoy the Chilterns' Iron Age hillforts and their prehistoric chalk landscapes. Now at the project’s midpoint, Project Manager Wendy Morrison will present on the some of the results of the UK’s largest bespoke archaeological LiDAR survey, the project’s outreach programmes, and what comes next.
Wendy Morrison
Dr Wendy Morrison currently works for the Chilterns Conservation Board as Project Manager of the HLF funded Beacons of the Past Hillforts project. She also is Senior Associate Tutor for Archaeology at the Oxford University Dept for Continuing Education. Wendy’s research areas are Prehistoric European Archaeology and Landscape Archaeology. She has over a decade’s excavation experience in Southern Britain, the Channel Islands, and India.




Thursday 19th March 2020 - Cancelled

James Mather: Treasures Beneath Our Feet and Discovering the Watlington Hoard 

Watlington Hoard

This presentation covers responsible metal detecting, and majors on the excavation, conservation and significance of the Watlington Hoard, that was discovered by James in 2015. This find has been described authoritatively as one that has changed history. James will be bringing along a selection of "hands-on" finds and some high quality replicas of items from the Watlington Hoard.

James Mather

James has been a metal detectorist for 25 years and is a member of several metal detecting clubs and also of AiM- the Archaeology In Marlow club. He has had significant finds including numerous individual treasure items and several hoards. His most important find to date has been the Watlington Viking Hoard, on permanent display at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He has been published in several magazines, appeared on Radio Berkshire, and on national television in Professor Alice Roberts "Digging For Britain" series.


Thursday 16th  April 2020 - Cancelled

The Lambrick Lecture

The Lambrick Lecture is sponsored by George Lambrick in memory of his mother, Gabrielle Lambrick. George is an archaeologist and member of our society.

Mrs Gabrielle Lambrick was a highly respected medieval historian who died in 1968. She did a lot of work on Abingdon Abbey. Most notably, she and C F Slade edited Two Cartularies of Abingdon Abbey, published in two volumes by the Oxford Historical Society in 1990-2. These are collections of legal and internal documents of the abbey. She contributed to a set of papers on 'The Early History of Abingdon, Berkshire, and its Abbey' in the journal Medieval History, Vol XII, 1968. She wrote a booklet for the Friends of Abingdon in 1966 on 'Business affairs at Abingdon Abbey in medieval times' describing the obedientary system and numerous other papers in academic journals.



Thursday 21st May 2020 - Cancelled

Liz Woolley: The Coming of the Railway to Oxford

 Thursday 18th June 2020
Members' Evening