Charlbury Society


Formed in1949, the Charlbury Society grew out of the first Charlbury Historical Exhibition. Its aims are to foster an understanding of the history of Charlbury and encourage interest in the character and appearance of the town. It does this through talks, supporting the Charlbury Museum, and arranging outings to places of interest.

Individual membership £8.50
Family membership - two adults at same address - £17.00

For further information, contact the Chairman, Anne Lawson-Porter (01608 810359), or the Secretary, Susan Merry (01608 811022; email:


Meetings are normally held in the Memorial Hall at 8.00 pm (AGM 7.30 pm) on the second Friday of each month, from October to May. Topics of past talks have ranged from discussing how to look at old buildings, to historic costumes, to the impact on the local countryside from proposed development.
Our next meeting is

Friday 9th February 2018
'Rural Lutherans in South Australia 1941 to the present'
Elizabeth Koepping
All welcome. Members and under 18s free. Non-members £3.00.

Future Meetings planned are:
9 Mar Development of Oxford's suburbs 1850-1914 Liz Woolley
13 Apr Socio-economic and cultural aspects of the Gold Rush Simon Walker
May AGM and speaker to be announced


The Society also organises visits to places of interest both locally and further afield. The summer outing this year (2017) was on 22 June to Ham House, a Stuart mansion near Richmond in London now run by the National Trust. We had a very enjoyable visit to the house and then an excellent guided tour of the gardens.

Ham House

Part of the group at the end of an enjoyable visit to Ham House

The Museum

The Museum is housed in part of the Corner House and houses a wealth of objects and records relating to the history of the town. The curator is Celia Faulkner.
Click below for link to Charlbury Museum:


. Have you ever considered what Charlbury was like in the past?
. Was Charlbury a mainly rural or urban community?
. How were people housed?
. What possessions did they have?
. How did they earn a living?

The Charlbury Historical Research Group have for the last four years been looking for clues to the answers to these questions in the wills and inventories that survive from the town and some surrounding villages. These are stored either in the History Centre in Oxford or in the National Archives at Kew. Some are fragile and many are hard to read. So the group of volunteers learnt how to read old handwriting and how to transcribe the documents into an accessible and usable format.

After four years of hard work, the project is in its final stages. The documents cover three centuries, from the 1550s to 1857, and offer a fascinating glimpse into changing social conditions and expectations over these years. The documents should form an invaluable resource for historical research into the history of the town. Through their work, some members of the group have started their own research into some of the families who lived here, into old maps and field names and other topics which have caught their interest.

We could not have progressed with this undertaking without generous grants from Charlbury Town Council, Charlbury Overseas & Community Projects (The Beer Festival), ChOC (Charlbury's Own Cinema)and the Charlbury Motor Fire Brigade Fund; these have made it possible for us to obtain copies of the documents held by The National Archives and The Oxfordshire History Centre. We are extremely grateful for their help.

Geoffrey Castle
Barbara Allison
Joint co-ordinators

Last updated: Tue 23 Jan

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