New Additions to Wiltshire's Archives
Here at the History Centre we continue to acquire new collections to add to our archives. In this way we ensure our collections reflect as many aspects of Wiltshire life as possible, which helps us to engage with a wide diversity of research interests. So with this in mind, here is an introduction to some of the new collections we’ve received since the start of the year.
The Women’s Institute of Little Somerford have donated a significant collection of committee minute books, attendance registers and programmes dating back as far as 1941 (collection reference number 2587A). The minutes alone tell us much about the activities undertaken and the groups’ decision-making processes. In addition, the programmes show the diversity of lectures, demonstrations and competitions the group has undertaken. The collection joins over 200 other WI groups who have deposited material with us. This year marks the centenary of the foundation of Wiltshire’s Women’s Institutes with events planned all over the county.
We have also received a welcome addition to our considerable collection of tithe maps. This 1838 map covers the tithing of Widhill, part of the parish of Cricklade St Sampson, where much of the land is owned either by the Earl of Radnor or by Lord Redesdale. The accompanying apportionment document details both the occupiers and the use for each parcel of land, as well as the value of produce sent as tithe. These maps continue to prove a popular source of local, family and social history.
From the Wiltshire Scout Council comes a collection of logbooks kept by Peggy Shore Baily, the former Akela of the Westbury Leigh Cub Scouts. The collection (reference 4450) spans the years 1932 to 2007, and includes logbooks and scrapbooks, plus several of her personal photograph albums. Also, accompanying scrapbooks compiled by the First Aldbourne (Dabchick) Cub Pack and Winterslow Scout Group from 2007. This is just one of many scout and guide collections we house at the History Centre.
Another of our new personal collections is an addition to the papers of the Mackay and Tucker families of Holt and Trowbridge (reference 3840). This new accrual concerns Lucy Tucker Mackay, and includes a collection of her beautiful sketchbooks. Lucy was a gifted watercolourist who sketched studies of flora and fauna, as well as hundreds of views both of Wiltshire and from her extensive travels across Europe and further afield. Similarly, her photograph albums detail her many travels, most notably visits to her son Edward who was stationed in India with the British Army between the late 1920s and the late 1940s. This was a key time in the relationship between Britain and India, and the albums document the British Army and their families in their leisure time.
We have recently received several very different farming collections. From Box we have a set of haulage account books from Ashley Farm (reference 2324A), covering 1909 to 1964. These detail the transportation of livestock and other goods to and from market, and includes the details of the names and addresses of farmers across Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire. The volumes are packed with details of goods and charges, and are an aid to the identification of farming families across Wiltshire and beyond.
We have also acquired sale particulars for numerous farms located at Braydon, Brinkworth, Cricklade, Potterns and Pinkney. This collection (reference 831J) dates from 1962 and 1963. Each sale particular describes the homestead, farming buildings and any standing features, plus use and acreage for the agricultural land, as well as any locally given names for parcels of land.
From Donhead St Mary we have the papers of the Bridge Farm Trust (reference 3833A), a communal farming enterprise established in 1975. The farm’s ethos combined environmental awareness with sensitive commercial dairy farming. The project also purchased a nearby farmhouse which served as a guest house and centre for the Community. Also of a farming nature, we have received a certificate presented by the Chippenham Agricultural Association to a Charles Sully, marking 29 years’ service to the Case family at Cleverton Manor Farm (reference 831H). The certificate was originally accompanied by a reward of £2, a considerable windfall at the time. This leaves us wondering whether similar certificates for agricultural long-service are out there somewhere.
We have also received a further accrual to the archive of the almshouses of Margaret Hungerford’s Charity in Corsham (collection 3304). This complements our existing collection of minute books, account books, deeds, etc, with further photographs, notes and transcripts. The collection gives us an insight into a range of events at the houses, such as the attempted expulsion of a tenant in 1814 and the refurbishment of the almshouse bell in 2003.
Our Chippenham Borough collection has been further enhanced by several recent additions. These include two bailiff’s account books covering 1685 to 1835 (references G19/1/19 to G19/1/20. These books detail accounts received by the bailiff for leases, and payments given out for services. The volumes include the names of many farms and farmers and tell us much of rural economics at this time. Similarly, we have the bailiff’s minute books covering 1684 to 1835 (G19/1/7 to G19/1/9) which list registered householders and inhabitants, plus the appointments of officers, leases of borough lands and many other rich details for local historians. And finally for Chippenham, we have acquired a beautiful 1784 Map of the Parish of Chippenham by John Powell (reference G19/1/53L). This map distinguishes roads, lanes, public houses and principal houses, and distinguishes burgage properties and borough lands. The map also features charming drawings of a plan and elevation of St Andrew’s Church.
We have also recently received two collections related to village halls. At Horningsham we have a neat collection of minute books, account books, subscription books, building accounts, agreements and deeds which span the 1920s into the 2000s (refence 3061A). Whilst at Upavon we have a set of committee minutes and financial statements dating between 1977 and 2014 (reference 3011A). Such halls are often considered the heart of their community, and these collections preserve the evidence of events and activities in the village.
As you can see, our new acquisitions are diverse in their subject matter and geographical spread across the county. Nor is this a complete list of new arrivals, and we thank all our donors for contributing their collections which further the historic study of Wiltshire.
David Plant, Archivist
- Tags: Aldbourne (Dabchick) Cub Pack, almshouse, Ashley Farm, bailiff account books, Box, Braydon, Bridge Farm Trust, Brinkworth, Chippenham Agricultural Association, Chippenham Borough, Cleverton Manor Farm, Corsham, Cricklade, Cricklade St Sampson, Donhead St Mary, Earl of Radnor, haulage accounts, Holt, Horningsham, John Powell, Little Somerford, Lord Redesdale, Lucy Tucker Mackay, map, Margaret Hungerford’s Charity, Pinkney, Potterne, sketchbook, St Andrew’s Church, Tithe Map, Trowbridge, Westbury Leigh Cub Scouts, Widhill, Wiltshire, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Wiltshire Scout Council, Winterslow Scout Group, Women’s Institute