Our funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund comes to an end this summer so we are finalising many of the projects that the money has enabled us to undertake. An important part of our work has been to collate all the information and material that we have received into a digital archive that can be readily accessed by anyone interested in researching village history. Although the work is ongoing, we now have a comprehensive collection of fascinating documentation. We have also been able to use some of the money to help the school provide learning materials for pupils.
June will see the publication of our latest book, ‘Echoes of Yesteryear’, a collection of the memoirs of four people who were brought up in the village and who, before they died, wrote down or otherwise recorded what it was like to live here during the early part of the last century. Later in the year we also hope to see roads such as Plum Pudding Road, Lynch Lane and High Road Hill given their own signs and included on modern maps. It is a long process but we remain optimistic of success.
We are occasionally asked to help people trace their ancestors. Often these requests come from people living abroad. Two, for example, have been from Australians whose ancestors were sent ‘on a fourteen or more year sabbatical to the colonies’, a wry way of saying that they were deported! If you are interested in tracing your own ancestry – whether or not your family roots are in the village – we may be able to help. Please do contact us.
You may have seen people with metal detectors scouring the corner of Church Field. At our request, they have been looking for evidence of the Pickering manor house which we are convinced was located there. Although some promising discoveries have been made – including Roman artefacts – we have still not unearthed the conclusive evidence of the remains there being the manor house.
Finally, members of the Association are still undertaking different areas of research ranging from the poor house to a historical murder case. If you would like more information or would like to undertake an investigation of your own with our help, please let us know.
In recognition of the work we have already undertaken, the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded funding for a further year. This will enable us to carry on our programme of research and presentations, but a priority now is to sort the mass of photographs and documents we have collected into a usable archive for use by future historians. Our presentation on the village between the wars attracted a loyal audience who braved the poor weather and the alternative attraction the World Cup semi-final to learn more of village history. Shirley talked about the domestic scene; Sylvia about the stories emerging from her analysis of the parish magazines; Ian used Mike’s research to talk about transport during the period; and Leslie used video and recorded memories to tell us more about the influence of Stella Skinner – headteacher here from 1938 to 1962 – on folk dancing nationally.
The 30th November marks the end of the financial support that we have received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The money has been used mainly to buy materials, equipment, to put on presentations, and to pay for professional help in our productions. It has been a busy year during which we have been able to:
• carry out further research into the history of the village, collating it into an accessible archive. The work has included individual projects such as Mike Greasley’s investigations into the Lilford dynasty and Fraser Mitchell’s detailed analysis of records – including those from various censuses – to find out more about a diverse range of topics from witchcraft in the seventeenth century to the lives of those commemorated on the war memorial in the last century. This latter theme was also pursued by Leslie Ray who has been looking into the story of his great-uncle’s experiences in the First World War. He has also been researching the legend of the Lovell bride and, from this, written a ballad which some of you will have heard at our ‘Ten Things about Titchmarsh’ presentation;
• one hundred years worth of parish magazines (1861 – 1961) have been digitalised and are now available to be seen on the village website www.titchmarsh.info. Summaries of the baptisms, marriages and deaths recorded in the magazines has assisted with the numerous family history enquiries, both from within the village and further afield.
• produce material for the two presentations we ran earlier in the year;
• work with children at the school on aspects of village history;
• produce the DVD of the village in Jubilee year. For this we have to thank Bert Ash who did most of the filming and Geoff Love who has arranged for it to be professionally processed;
• transcribe old super 8 film onto a digital format. Our thanks to Mark Harris for doing this;
• compile a ‘history trail’ leaflet. Shirley Curtis been leading on this. The leaflet will complement the information on the display board being produced by the Jubilee committee;
• thanks to Albin Wallace, who set up a blog for the history project to record and maintain a record of our progress (http://titchmarshvillage.wordpress.com)
• and finally, publish two books, ‘Titchmarsh House Histories’ which provides a fascinating oversight of the village in 2012; and ‘Titchmarsh Voices’ recalling life as it was in the village in the middle of the last century.
Recently, we have been pleased to have Janet Putley join us. Janet has been instrumental in the past in collecting material about the village and her knowledge is going to be very useful in further developing the archive.
We will be bringing all this together at an exhibition to be held in the church from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday 30th November. There will be an opportunity to hear Leslie’s ballad, watch the DVD, and purchase the books. House Histories is priced at £10, Titchmarsh Voices £6 and the DVD at £5 (or all three for £20). There will be light refreshments available. The Parochial Church Council has kindly agreed to let us keep the exhibition up until 7th December.
Even though the funding has ended, we will still carry on with the work and are already planning our programme for next year. If you have any ideas on areas for research or would like to join us in this exciting work, please contact any of the people mentioned above.
Titchmarsh History Association
Ten things you might not know about the village
Wednesday 10 July at 7.30pm at The Clubroom
These are just some of the interesting questions we hope to answer.
- What was the castle like, and why was it abandoned? And who was the Bride in the Chest?
- Why was Dudley skulking?
- Where are Pebble Corner and Plum Pudding Hill, and why are they so called?
- Skeletons under the floor. Who were they, and how did they get there?
- Where were the old cottages and the five pubs that we have lost?
- What was life like for the servants at the rectory?
- What was behind the scandals of the headmaster’s wife and the ‘Kissing Burglar?
- What influence did the Lilford family have on the village?
Come along and find out about the good, the bad and the just plain weird.
FREE ENTRY and REFRESHMENTS
Telling our story: Titchmarsh Jubilee History Project celebrates £3,600 of Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Titchmarsh History Association is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant, it was announced today. The exciting Jubilee History Project led by the Titchmarsh History Association, has been given £3,600, which will be used to record and tell the story of Titchmarsh during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage. The popular series presented by Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people. The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now Titchmarsh Jubilee History Project is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. The grant will allow the association to make a permanent record of the village and its activities throughout the Queen’s reign, and record the changes right up to today. The association will be able to capture oral histories of the village from the older residents and preserve them in book and taped format for future generations. In addition, a survey of the history of individual houses in the village will be completed and published. With this HLF funding, over one hundred years worth of parish magazines will be converted into searchable format and be available to everyone on-line. The funding will also enable the editing and completion of a filmed record of the activities and events in the village throughout this jubilee year Among its other aims the association plan to produce pamphlets of different aspects of village history, including a village walk; and develop materials to help children at the village school discover more about their heritage. TV presenter and historian Michael Wood, said: “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of Titchmarsh have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through the All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.” Commenting on the award, Terry Higgins said “We are delighted to receive this award. It will enable us to bring together all the information we have discovered, and the information we still have to discover, about this historically important village of Titchmarsh, into a digital archive for future generations. This award has transformed us from enthusiastic hobbyists to ‘Tellers of the Great British Story’.” Emma Sayer, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Titchmarsh Jubilee History Project as they embark on a real journey of discovery.”