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 Oxfordshire, 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

After much deliberation at our recent meetings, the committee has decided that we should continue to offer our talks by Zoom for the 21/22  season. There are several reasons for this:

Firstly with 140 members now, it would be impossible to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend in the Memorial Hall. I understand it has not yet been confirmed that the hall will open in the autumn for meetings , what the arrangements for cleaning chairs etc would be, and the numbers allowed in with social distancing would be really quite limited .

Additionally we have no idea of the Covid situation next autumn, and many of the excellent speakers we have invited would not be prepared to travel some distance to Charlbury. Most speakers now prefer to give their talks by Zoom and many members find listening and seeing the slides much easier in the comfort of their home.

We appreciate this would disadvantage the few people who do not have email or internet access, but by holding talks in the Hall and having perhaps to cancel at short notice, many more of our members would be inconvenienced or not prepared to come out on a winter’s evening into a crowded hall.

We hope you will understand the decision we have taken.

Members of the committee have drawn up an excellent schedule of talks, and we hope to have a social event later in the summer to welcome you back to the Society and distribute our programme. 

Nikki Rycroft.


At last we are able to reopen after our long closure due to the pandemic.  We will be opening our doors again on Saturday 3rd July at 10.30 am.  Our hours over the summer will be:

Saturdays 10.30 - 12.30  Sundays 2.30 - 4.30

You will be able to view our beautifully restored farm wagon and other recent acquisitions.  Come and browse through our VE Day 75 exhibition, held over from last year, and see our newly reorganised display about the gloving trade which flourished here for so many years.

Given the size and layout of our building, we will have to restrict the number of visitors. The maximum number of visitors allowed in the museum at any one time is 4 unless visitors are all from one household. Only members of 2 different households will be allowed in the museum at any one time in addition to stewards.

Please wear a mask and sanitise your hands on entering the museum, and leave your contact details for Track & Trace.  We ask you to respect social distancing at all times.  We are very grateful for our stewards who continue to help us in these difficult times, and their safety and that of our visitors is our prime concern.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

As we were unable to open in 2020, we chose items from the museum to feature each week on the Charlbury website.  These proved very popular and we have brought them together in a 64 page booklet titled 

The History of Charlbury through .... objects, photographs and memories from Charlbury Museum.   

The booklet is fully illustrated in colour and is available from the museum for £8 each.  If you would like to purchase a copy please email or phone 07530 012332.

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 at

Geoffrey Castle
Barbara Allison
Joint co-ordinators

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