Annual General Meeting, followed by “Why Look at Parish Churches” by Dr John Hall, Friday 8th March 2024, 7.30 pm, village hall

Despite their apparent familiarity, why do English parish churches continue to attract the interest of historians and archaeologists? This lecture will explore some of the key questions and themes that contribute to the fascination of these buildings through three Warwickshire parish churches on which the speaker has worked, namely, St Laurence’s at Ansley; St John the Baptist at Berkswell; and St Mary’s at Tysoe.

Dr John Hunt, an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History at Birmingham University, is a medievalist who seeks to integrate the approaches of history, archaeology and art history in his research. Much of his current work is concerned with a regional study of parish churches and society, and with ‘The Making of Tysoe’ project. Now ‘retired’, he previously combined his academic work with a career in Adult Continuing and Community Education. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Historical Society, President of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, and Vice-Chair (and former Chair) of the Council for British Archaeology, West Midlands.

“From the Pillory to the Prison Cell” by Ginny Davis, Friday 10th May 2024, 7.30 pm, village hall

An illustrated talk charting the history and development of judicial sentencing from the 16th to the 20th century. Time was when coin clippers were traitors sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered and scolds were sentenced to the ducking stool. Much has changed, apart from one thing. Crime doesn’t pay.

Ginny was born in Birmingham and she first trained as a secretary and linguist and worked as a translator at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and as a headmaster’s secretary. She then read law as a mature student at the University of Cambridge. In 1989 she was called to the Bar and practised criminal law in the Midlands until the birth of her children. Since 2007 she has been a full time writer and performer. She lives in Warwickshire with her husband and dog.

“Threads through Time” by Lis Mann, Friday 12th July 2024, 7.30 pm, village hall

The story of a Jewish family’s escape from Nazi Vienna and how it has influenced Lis Mann’s art work. Lis uses textiles combined with other materials to make visual stories and experiences that are too painful or complex for words. Through her art she confronts the past and present piecing together fragmented memories and feelings.

Lis exhibited her work at the 2023 Jewish Heritage Festival held at Upton House.

The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Friday 13th September 2024, Village Hall

An illustrated talk by a senior member of staff, about the most important motor museum in the country, just on our doorstep.

They will talk about the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, why it was formed and its history including the opening (eventually) of the British Motor Museum. They will also talk about the people behind the cars and their stories, generations of the same family in many cases.

“The Gunpowder Plot in Warwickshire” by Mairi Macdonald, Friday 8th November 2024, 7.30 pm, village hall

The Gunpowder Plot is always associated with Guy Fawkes, but what is not always appreciated is the prominent part played by Midlands Catholic families, in the planning for, and aftermath of, 5th November 1605. This talk will seek to address this. 

Mairi Macdonald was formerly Head of Local Collections at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon. She took an MA in Medieval History at the University of St Andrews, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Archive Administration at University College London. In addition to teaching classes on local history sources and paleography, Mairi lectures extensively on local and social history topics. She has contributed to Shakespeare Quarterly, the new Dictionary of National Biographyand the new Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Her edition of The Register of the Guild of the Holy Cross, Stratfordwas published in 2007 by the Dugdale Society. Mairi is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and General Editor of the British Records Association series; Archives and the User.