Charlbury Society


Formed in 1949, 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 Treasurer, Peter Bennett (01608 810197), or the Secretary, Susan Merry (01608 811022; email:


The Society organises a series of monthly meetings each season. These start in October and run through to the following May. Meetings are normally held in the Memorial Hall at 8.00 pm (AGM 7.30 pm) on the second Friday of each month. This year's season includes talks on women's suffrage (marking the one hundredth anniversary of women getting the vote for the first time), maps, Oxfordshire's military heritage, and our local milestones.

Members and under 18s free. Non-members £3

12 October Camilla Lambrick, Alan Larkman 'Birds, bellflowers and beetles: Wildlife in the Cotswolds fifty years ago and now'

2 November Katherine Bradley 'A History of the Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Oxfordshire'

14 December Brigadier David Innes 'From the Black Prince to Helmand Province: a look at Oxfordshire's military heritage'

11 January Nick Millea 'From Agas to O.S.: Oxford's changing townscape in old maps and new'

8 February Jonathan Luxmoore 'Britain, Poland and the East-West Labyrinth'

8 March Peter Whitfield 'Oxford, Burford and London: Compton Mackenzie's "Theatre of Youth"

12 April Derek Turner 'History and Conservation of Oxfordshire Milestones'

10 May Celia Haddon 'The First-ever English Olimpicks'


The Society also organises visits to places of interest both locally and further afield. In 2018 a group visited the National Trust property of Croome Court in Worcestershire. Croome Court was built in the 18th century for the 6th Earl of Coventry and both the house and parkland were designed by Capability Brown. As well as the house and parkland to explore, there were secrets to discover about the Second World War airbase where over 2,000 service personnel and scientists tested radar. Some of the wartime buildings have been turned into a visitor centre and museum.

The outing for 2019 will be announced here and on the Charlbury website.

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.
The exhibition for 2018 is on the history of the Wychwood Forest and the work of the Wychwood Project. The museum reopens for the season on Easter Saturday, 31 March.

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 Society Historical Research Group have for the last five 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.

The project is now 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.

If anyone has a particular interest or skill that would relate well to this work and would like to be involved then please contact Geoffrey Castle on 01608 811122 or email .

If you would like to enquire about seeing any of the transcribed wills, please contact Barbara Allison (

Geoffrey Castle
Barbara Allison
Joint co-ordinators

Last updated: Mon 17 Sep

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