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

Please see the link at the bottom of this page to the Society's data protection privacy notice

Talks will be at 8 pm on the first Thursday of every month between October and May and will be publicised a couple of weeks before.
Following a very successful past season of talks by Zoom , we agreed, at the AGM, to consider returning in part to the Memorial Hall for some of our talks and that we would seek members’ views.  We carried out a survey as many of you know and overwhelmingly members felt that they would be more likely to attend a Zoom  meeting this season, although understandably some who work at a screen for much of their time would prefer to come out to the Hall. 
We have therefore devised the following programme in an attempt to accommodate all views:

6th October 2022. Geoff Walton. Charlbury Then and Now. MH

3rd November 2022. Ash Smith. Taking back our water. The latest from WASP on the battle to end sewage pollution and the commercial exploitation of our vital water supply. Zoom

1st December 2022 Liz Woolley. Leisure and Entertainment in Victorian and Edwardian Oxford    Zoom

5th January 2023. Ian Currie. Frost Freezes and Fairs    Zoom

2nd February 2023. Deborah Hayter.  Common Right - Private Property - how Enclosure shaped Oxfordshire's landscape. Zoom

2nd March 2023. Alice Millea. Oxford University: stories from the archives. Zoom 

6th April 2023. Judith Curthoys.  Christ Church and NW Oxford. Zoom 

4th May 2023. Tony Merry. History of Morris Dancing and demonstration.   Memorial Hall. 

Nikki Rycroft.


We were delighted to reopen in July after being closed for so long during the pandemic.  Although it meant we had a very short season this year, we were delighted to welcome visitors again and were very pleased with the number of people who came, particularly on Street Fair day in September.  

We are extremely grateful to our stewards who returned to look after the museum each weekend and cope with the demands of the Covid restrictions we had to impose.  We very much hope that things will be easier in 2022.

Over the winter we will be working hard behind the scenes to catalogue our many new acquisitions and maintain and arrange our existing collections.  We will also be planning for the future.  Please do get in touch if you have queries about the history of the town or if you would like to get involved in helping to run the museum. Contact  

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

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 this 64 page booklet.

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 pop a note through the door of the museum.

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

Charlbury Website © 2012-2021. Contributions are the opinion of their authors. Heading photo by Alan Sinclair. Code/design by Richard Fairhurst. Contact us. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.