This is a true account of life on a Post (Blunsdon, nr Swindon) in World War II and is a 36 page FIRST EDITION booklet published in May 1968. As well as a photograph of Able Cluster there are one or two other black & white illustrations. However the majority is text where the author recalls the trials and tribulations of a small group of typical English country people in the early days of the war, whose task it was to create from a single wooden peg on a Wiltshire hillside, an efficient Royal Observer Corps Post.
£3.60 plus p and p. (Code:PUB/Able)
This 28 page booklet was published on the occasion when members of the RAF Down Ampney Association gathered, 60 years on, to commemorate their part in flying operations in support of the 1st Airborne Division in the Battle of Arnhem.
LAC Alan Hartley kindly produced an audiotape at very short notice when Cricklade Historical Society mounted an exhibition in 2001 to tell the story of RAF Blakehill Farm. It makes fascinating listening. He runs through the sequence of events surrounding the activities and assignments of 46 Group from the lead up to the re–invasion of German occupied Europe in June 1944 to the extended supply operations of 1946/47. This booklet is a transcript of that audiotape. £3.60 plus p and p. (Code:PUB/Arnhem)
Close to the Cotswolds but not of them, the small town of Cricklade has a history at least as interesting as its better known neighbours. The River Thames, which rises only a few miles upstream, was for centuries a decisive influence on the town’s development. Driving the stright course of Ermin Street towards Gloucester, the Romans found Cricklade to be a convenient place to cross the floodplain, and the Saxon defenders of Alfred the Great’s Wessex made it a part of their chain of fortified towns against the invading Danes.
In later years Cricklade became a “rotten borough”, and the antics of parliamentary candidates, actively encouraged by a highly bribable populace, little less than a national scandal. Bypassed today by through traffic, Cricklade offers modern visitors peace and tranquillity and, in late May, the chance to see the famed crop of fritillaries which crowd the ancient North Meadow. A twelfth–century document describes Cricklade as being “in a delighful place”; this is just as true today. £7.50 plus p and p. (Code:PUB/Cricklade)
This 36 page booklet tells the story of Jenner’s School, which is now the Grade 2 listed Parish Hall in Cricklade.
Jenner’s School was built in 1652 and as well as providing some general background there are chapters on Robert Jenner, its time as a School, the years when it was a Workhouse, when there was poverty in Cricklade, and its time as a school once more in 1842.
Tom has also documented the structure of the building, with a number of technical drawings and an early plan. There are also photographs and drawings of the building in the booklet.
Today, the Parish Hall is the subject of a refurbishment project which is designed to bring the building back to its former glory. £3.60 plus p and p. (Code:PUB/Jenner’s)
More Recent Publications
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Minety at War written by Richard G Meakin Published in 2002. Minety is a small country village in North Wiltshire, twelve miles from Swindon, seven miles from Malmesbury and seven miles from Cirencester and about five miles from the Gloucestershire border. Mr. Meakin has researched the villages of Upper Minety and Minety before and during World War II. The book covers the Social Life in Minety, Evacuees, the Minety Home Guard, the Searchlight Camp and Aircraft – crashed and forced landings. We have a limited stock of this hardcover publication. Price £7.50 plus p&p.
Cricklade’s Great War Dead. This booklet was published at the end of 2008 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I and those residents of Cricklade who had died in the Great War. It focuses on the 32 names that are recorded on the Cricklade War Memorial, which stands outside Brook House in Cricklade High Street. Price £3.60 plus p&p (Code:PUB/GWD)
Cricklade Revealed is a series of booklets which give a first hand account of local life from the early 1920s through the Second World War and its aftermath, to the 1960s The tales of these times are based on the tape recorded memories of local people, compiled by Marion Parsons as an on-going oral history project. Well over 100 people have contributed their stories, the oldest born in 1905, to give a picture of life in the town and its surrounding area. The most recent are detailed below: Please specify which part or parts you require on the order form. Parts 1 to 10 are available at £3.60 each plus p&p (Code:PUB/CR1-7)
Cricklade Revealed Part 8 – Part 8 is the second of three books about social life in the Cricklade Area immediately after the Second World War and in the 1950s. This book continues to explore Cricklade High Street on the east side, including Calcutt Street, post war, and gives further descriptions of life at Blakehill camp as the new residents and their children settled in. Two new schools are set up in the area and many leisure and sporting activities are revived after the war. Nostalgic memories of country life in the early 1950s with its simple pleasures are portrayed by those who spent their childhood at the two farming communities of Eisey and Alex Farm near Cricklade, while four former Blakehill children give entertaining accounts of their often mischievous escapades during this period. Price £3.60 plus p & p (Code:PUB/CRPart8)
Cricklade Revealed Part 9 – Part 9 records aspects of county life in the 1950s reminiscent of pre-war days, before modern technology began to change home life and agriculture. A journey along several lanes on the west side of Cricklade, from Bath Road as far as Chelworth and back to the Purton road, describes people and their homes in detail. Business begins to revive as several new local enterprises make an impact on town life. The organizations which traditionally ran the town together with some new societies launched in the 1950s are explained, while the two parishes of St Sampson’s and St Mary’s deal with their amalgamation. Latton village life and the CWS farms are recalled by two former residents, and Blakehill adults have their final say on the amusing and theatrical aspects of life at the camp before it closed down. Price £3.60 plus p & p (Code:PUB/CRPart9)
Cricklade Revealed Part 10 – is the last edition in a series of booklets by Marion Parsons resulting from a fifteen year oral history project on behalf of Cricklade Historical Society. The booklets, which are compiled in chronological order, cover five decades (1920s to 1960s) and are based on first hand tape recorded memories of hundreds of residents of Cricklade and its surrounding communities. Each booklet contains six chapters, and the stories which emerge chart the lives of ordinary local people as they adapted to the many social changes that occurred during this period, including the war years. Descriptions of personalities, businesses, leisure pursuits, entertainment, work, religion, school and home life all combine with many unique photographs donated by the contributors to illustrate their stories. For many, from the necessity of labouring for the affluent classes in the 1920s (Part One) to their offspring owning their own homes in the sixties (Part Ten) reveal how much has changed for the better. Price £3.60 plus p & p. (Code:PUB/CRPart10)
Companion booklets – Cricklade Revealed Extra – Index books Parts One and Two (about People and Places respectively) have recently been produced to provide comprehensive indexes for Parts One to Three of the main series, plus extra stories and photographs which could not be included in the original editions. Further Extra booklets to include the war years (Parts Four to Seven) and the post-war period (Parts Eight to Ten) are currently being prepared. Price £3.60 plus p & p. (Code:PUB/CRIVol1-3) (Code:PUB/CRIVol4-7)
Early copies if the Cricklade Historical Society Bulletin are available at 50p each plus p & p. These are on average about 8 pages long. They give an interesting insight into the early days of the Cricklade Historical Society which was founded in 1947. Available years are:- 1965; 1967; 1968; 1969; 1970; 1973; 1974 and 1975. Please specify which year you require on the order form (Code:PUB/ABOLD)
Robert of Cricklade, c1100 – c1175. Robert of Cricklade was an eminent scholar and writer who carried the name of Cricklade across England, Scotland and the Continent. much of what we know about Robert of Cricklade stems from his work in Oxford, in particular his association with the priory of St Frideswide. The convent of St Frideswide was one of the earliest religious institutions in the city, dating to the 8th century. Robert of Cricklade joined a priory of Augustinian canons on the site which had been established in 1122. In 1141 he became Prior. As well as his religious and administrative duties as leader of the Priory, he translated a text from Pliny the Elders “Natural History” which he called “A Garland” and which he dedicated to Henry II. This “Defloratio” consisted of nine books of selections taken from Pliny’s manuscripts; a mid 13th Century copy is in Hereford Cathedral Library. At about the same time he was collecting all the translations of Josephus that he could for the Oxford canons. He knew Thomas Becket and he features in Canterbury Cathedral’s Thomas Becket miracle Window. Price £3.60 plus p & p. (Code:PUB/RofC)
The Nott Family of Braydon Forest – Taken from papers held in the Cricklade Museum collected from diverse sources. Our research starts with Roger Nott the first Nott in Braydon. In 1636 Charles I granted Roger a long lease on a property in Braydon Forest. Roger Nott and his son Edward were the ancestors that were discussed on the “Who Do You Think You Are?” programme in August 2013. Price £3.60 plus p & p. (Code:PUB/Nott)