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Works in progress

We are always working to expand the scope and reach of the Victoria County History. Explore some of our work in progress in these draft texts that will become part of the VCH project. These drafts are freely available for anyone to read, note and comment on. If you'd like to comment on some of the work in progress, please get in touch with the editor mentioned in the draft document. 

The copyright of all draft text that appears on these pages is held by the University of London.

Parishes and townships in progress

The township of Barlow lies in a low, flat area near the River Ouse, about 4km south-east of Selby, and 25km south of York. It is a linear settlement apart from Barlow Hall and several dispersed farmsteads, with a population that rarely surpassed two hundred and fifty people until the mid-20th century.

Read Barlow's VCH history in progress.

University undergraduates researched the religious histories of these parishes in summer 2012 as part of a VCH project, kindly funded by the University of Leicester.

Kirby Bellars was a thriving parish in medieval times, but enclosure in the early 17th century resulted in deliberate depopulation. The site of the priory has been disputed in the past, but research within this parish history has uncovered unambiguous documents which clarify matters. This draft parish history has been researched and written by VCH volunteer Dr Alan Fox, who lived in the village for many years. Our aim is to include a final version within a 'Red Book' covering Melton Mowbray and surrounding parishes, when funds permit. Comments on this draft entry are welcome.

The village of Leire in south Leicestershire is believed to take its name from Legra, a pre-English name for the stream on which the village stands. For most of its history, residents have earned their living by farming. Like many places in the county, a change from arable to pastoral farming in the post-medieval period has left some very prominent ridge and furrow. This draft parish history is written for the VCH by volunteer Carol Cambers. The aim is to include a final version within a 'Red Book' covering parishes in south Leicestershire, when funds permit. We welcome contributions towards this, and also comments on this draft entry.

Transcripts of probate inventories for this parish can now be found on the archived VCH Explore webpages.

Sileby, 7 miles south of Loughborough, is a large and complex parish, shaped by canal, railway and industry. 

Welby is a shrunken medieval village two miles from Melton Mowbray. Substantial earthworks remain, revealing the extent of the medieval settlement. The draft chapters here have been researched and written by VCH volunteer Dr Alan Fox. When funds permit, this history, and that of Kirby Bellars, will be published in a volume which will cover Melton Mowbray and its linked chapelries and parishes.

Red Books in progress

Work on the parishes of Kirby-le-Soken, Thorpe-le-Soken and Walton-le-Soken will be published in VCH Essex, Volume XII (part 2). The texts-in-progress are by Christopher Thornton, and may be radically altered before publication.

Read VCH histories of Essex in progress.

The Gloucestershire County History Trust is pleased to record good progress in South Gloucestershire. The history of Yate, north of Bristol, was completed by Rose Wallis in 2014, and the resulting VCH Short was launched in September 2015. The research for Little Sodbury, Old Sodbury and Chipping Sodbury has been completed by Beth Hartland and Alex Craven and edited drafts are now available. This is a significant and welcome extension of coverage for the VCH in the south of Gloucestershire.

Read VCH histories of Gloucestershire in progress.

The editorial groundwork has now been completed for a future volume (XV) covering Cheltenham and surrounding parishes. Between 2013 and 2017, Beth Hartland and Alex Craven drafted the history of Cheltenham from its medieval origins to 1945.  Draft sections are now being editorially reviewed, and will be posted here when ready. Research to date - assisted by a strong group of volunteers - has uncovered significant caches of original source material not previously examined in detail, and there are good prospects for substantial additions to previous accounts of the town's history. Jan Broadway is now working on the post-1945 history of the town.

A VCH Short volume Cheltenham before the Spa, by Alex Craven and Beth Hartland, was published in 2018. This describes the evolution of Cheltenham as a small Gloucestershire market town within a large agricultural parish, from the Saxon period until its transformation during the 18th century into a fashionable spa.

Read the history of Cheltenham after 1738 in progress.

Groundwork has been carried out for a future volume (XVI) covering Cirencester and district. Research on the medieval period started in October 2013 by Dr Beth Hartland; drafts have been submitted and will be posted here after editorial review.  Research on post-Reformation topics was undertaken between 2014 and 2017 by Francis Boorman. Plans are in hand to complement the documentary sources for Cirencester with essays by subject specialists, describing the Roman context for later settlement in the town and environs. Of the remaining parishes in the volume, Stratton has been researched and is awaiting editing, while the research on Baunton is nearing completion.

Read draft histories of Cirencester.

This volume is being researched and written by Hampshire volunteers, led by Dr Jean Morrin. It will include the urban and rural history of the town of Basingstoke from the middle ages to the present day. Basingstoke was granted a town charter in the 13th century. It became a centre of the medieval cloth industry and by the 18th century a major thoroughfare for coaching traffic.

The Hampshire volunteer project has focused firstly on the Basingstoke area because of its dramatic transformation since the Hampshire volumes were completed  in 1912. In 1961 Basingstoke was designated as a London overspill area. Town development from 1961-78 led to the demolition and rebuilding of much of the town centre.

The history of Basingstoke will be divided into Medieval (1000-1600) and Modern (1600-the present).

This volume will also include the old parishes of Chineham, Eastrop and Worting which are now within the urban area of Basingstoke.

Read draft VCH histories of Basingstoke. The remainder of the ancient Hundred will appear in VCH Hampshire New Series vol. II.

This volume will describe the parishes that formed the medieval Hundred of Basingstoke, excluding the old parishes of  Chineham, Eastrop and Worting which are now within the urban area of Basingstoke. These parishes will be included in VCH Hampshire New Series Vol. I.

Read draft VCH histories of Basingstoke Hundred.

This area was first described by in VCH Hampshire Vol. IV

The history of the market and university town of Loughborough formed an important part of this research, and we aim to publish this as Volume VI in the Leicestershire VCH series of 'Red Books'. We are currently raising money to employ someone to draw together the research we have done, fill any gaps, write the text and then publish the volume. 

Work in Progress. Drafts will be made available once they have been edited and reviewed. 

This volume, almost entirely the work of volunteers, will be the first VCH publication in Nottinghamshire since 1907.

This volume (on which work began in autumn 2015) will cover the twelve South Chiltern parishes not yet published by the VCH. The volume is scheduled for completion in 2020 and publication late in 2021. Places to be covered are:

Caversham - Checkendon - Crowmarsh Gifford - Eye and Dunsden (part of Sonning parish, Berks.) - Goring - Ipsden - Mapledurham - Mongewell - Newnham Murren - North Stoke - Shiplake - Whitchurch.

Publication of this volume will leave just three more needed to complete the Oxfordshire series, focused respectively on Burford, Chadlington, and Chipping Norton.

Read draft VCH histories of Oxfordshire.

Work began in January 2019 on a volume which will cover the market town of Chipping Norton and half a dozen neighbouring places. Research is beginning with Hook Norton, a draft history of which will be made available on this website early in 2020. Work on Great and Little Rollright will begin in late summer 2019, along with some preliminary work on the town itself. More information (along with draft texts) will be added as the project progresses. Subject to continued funding, we aim to complete the volume in draft by the end of 2022, for publication during 2024.

Places to be included: Chipping Norton town and parish (including Over Norton) - Hook Norton - Great Rollright - Little Rollright - Salford - Swerford (with Showell).

The great vale of Taunton Deane fills the space between west Somerset's three ranges of hills: the Brendons in the west, the Quantocks in the east and the Blackdowns in the south.  It was described in 1609 by John Norden as the great paradise of England. It is an area rich in settlement with fertile soil and ample water. It is not only geography, which defines its area, but also history. The manor and hundred of Taunton Deane, acquired by the bishops of Winchester from the 10th century provided a princely income for its lords and funded the great castle at Taunton. Other hundreds are sited in the vale partly because others desired its rich lands. The king held Milverton, the abbots of Glastonbury owned West Monkton and the bishops of Bath and Wells held several large manors there including Wellington and Bishop's Lydeard. 

In addition to Taunton itself some 25 suburban and rural parishes in the geographical area of Taunton Deane comprise the proposed study area. There are many subjects for study and a rich body of sources with which to work. Much remains to be done on the study of the succession of settlement from the Bronze Age to medieval village and on the formation of estates and parishes, the management of Taunton's 'colossal manor' [F.W. Maitland] under the bishops of Winchester, the development and decline of Taunton's textile industries, the effects of religious change and dissent on local society and the development of democracy, the influence of Taunton's market on its rural hinterland, the Assizes and the development of social and cultural institutions, canals and railways as catalysts for economic and social development, the rise of Taunton's education 'industry', the creation of modern local government, slum housing and the development of social housing estates, and the impact of tourism and commuting on rural communities.

 

Read draft VCH histories of Taunton Deane.

Volume XX covers the town of Chippenham and the surrounding parishes of Bremhill, Chippenham, Christian Malford (including the detached hamlet of Avon), Hardenhuish, Kington St Michael (including Kington Langley), Langley Burrell, Pewsham (extra-parochial), and Tytherton Kellaways.

Work in Progress. Read draft histories of Chippenham.

VCH Shorts in progress

Leicestershire VCH Trust is very grateful to David Wilson Esq DL for funding the research and publication of a paperback history of Ibstock.

This large village/town in NW Leics is on the eastern edge of the Leicestershire coalfield. The first coal mine was sunk in 1825, which also yielded large quantities of fire-clay and clay suitable for high-quality bricks. The population grew rapidly as the colliery expanded, and a second colliery (Ellistown) opened within the parish in 1873. Both collieries have now closed, but clay extraction continues, and Ibstock is now home to one of the UK's largest brick producers. 

Dummer is a parish and village. It is 6 miles south-west of Basingstoke and half a mile south of Junction 7 on the M3 motorway. This parish entry will eventually form part of VCH Hampshire 'New Series' vol. II - Basingstoke Hundred.

Read draft texts by Jennie Butler and Sue Lane.

Nately Scures was a small parish divided into four sections until the late 19th century. The parish was abolished in 1932 and its lands divded between the surrounding parishes of Hook, Newnham and Odiham. This parish entry will eventually form part of VCH Hampshire New Series vol. II - Basingstoke Hundred.

Lutterworth was a successful medieval market town which served a wide hinterland across south Leicestershire and parts of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. John Wyclif was rector here in the 14th century, and a 19th-century memorial stands in St Mary’s church. In the 17th and 18th centuries Lutterworth was a coaching centre, just off the main route from London to Chester (Watling Street), but was a latecomer to rail, which hampered economic growth from the mid-19th century. The garden of remembrance includes a memorial to Sir Frank Whittle, who developed the first jet engine in Lutterworth. Significant research has been completed by volunteers between 2010 and 2018. With the help of a grant from Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, to whom we are very grateful, we are now assured of sufficient funds to be able to complete the research and publish it as a paperback history in 2021. Draft chapters will be added here as they are completed. Meanwhile, transcriptions of a selection of Lutterworth probate inventories, and information about the history of Lutterworth's schools, can now be found on the archived VCH Explore site.

This VCH Short is funded by the generosity of the Grosvenor Estate. Work in Progress.