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.

Other VCH works in progress

Barlow (Yorkshire, West Riding)

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.

Blaby, Broughton Astley, Countesthorpe, Oadby and Wigston (Leicestershire)

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.

Read these works in progress.

Brooksby (Leicestershire)

Brooksby parish lies on the south side of the valley of the River Wreake, nine miles north-east of Leicester. The parish is bisected by the main road between Leicester and Melton Mowbray, five miles to the ENE. For much of the medieval period and later the lords of the manor were from the Villiers family. The medieval village was probably abandoned in 1492, following enclosure for pasture by Sir John Villiers, leaving a manor house, the church and a mill as the only buildings.

Draft text for Brooksby can be read here.

Clacton VCH Group (Essex)

The Clacton VCH Group was founded in 2002 to enable local people to compile some of their own history for themselves, using valuable local knowledge and contacts, and working in collaboration with the staff of the Victoria County History of Essex and archaeologists based at Essex County Council. There are currently about 20 members of the Group, who meet about once a month either for research or fieldwork.

Read more about the Clacton VCH Group.

Coston (Leicestershire)

The small village of Coston in north-east Leicestershire lies on the B676 road between the market town of Melton Mowbray, seven miles to the WSW, and the A1 junction at Colsterworth (Lincs.), a similar distance to the east (Figure 1). Following several periods of shrinkage, most notably in the 14th century and the late 19th century, the village in 2021 comprised just 16 houses and a medieval church. Land to the south of the church contains the earthworks of former house platforms.

Draft text for Coston can be read here.

Georgian Harwich (Essex)

A new VCH Essex project was launched in April 2021 to research the history of Harwich and Dovercourt in the 18th century. The project, supported by the Essex Heritage Trust and the VCH Essex Trust, is being conducted by Dr Andrew Senter, supported by the country editor, Dr Chris Thornton.

Read more about Georgian Harwich.

Kirby Bellars (Leicestershire)

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.

You can view draft texts for Kirby Bellars here.

Leire (Leicestershire)

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.

Draft text for Leire can be read here. 

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

Sileby (Leicestershire)

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

Southend VCH Group (Essex)

The Southend group was formed in the Spring of 2016 with the specific intention of carrying out research towards the writing and publication of a VCH Short on Southend-on-Sea. The team, which now consists of a core of six members, looking into a range of topics covering principally the 19th and 20th centuries, but with an eye on the late medieval origins of the settlements that were eventually to make up the Borough of Southend.

Read more about the Southend VCH Group.

Welby (Leicestershire)

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.

Draft text for Welby can be read here.

Red Books in progress

Essex vol. XIII - Harwich and Dovercourt

The next VCH Red Book for the county of Essex will detail the history of the town of Harwich and the neighbouring settlement of Dovercourt. A VCH Short, Harwich, Parkeston and Dovercourt in the 19th Century was published in 2019. A Short on Georgian Harwich will follow in due course.

Read VCH histories of Essex in progress.

Gloucestershire vol. XIV - Yate and District

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.

Gloucestershire vol. XV - Cheltenham and District

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. 

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.

Gloucestershire vol. XVI - Cirencester and District

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.

Hampshire 'New Series' vol. I - Basingstoke and Environs.

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. More parishes in the Basingstoke area will appear in VCH Hampshire New Series vol. II.

Hampshire 'New Series' vol. II - Old Basing, Steventon and Environs

This volume will describe the parishes situated to the south of Basingstoke which formed part of 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 histories for this volume.

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

Herefordshire vol. III - Radlow Hundred: Ledbury and the Malvern Hills

This is the first 'topographical' Red Book in the VCH Herefordshire series, which builds on work for the England's Past for Everyone project which produced wo paperback volumes on the market town of Ledbury. These were followed by three VCH Shorts; Eastnor, Bosbury, and Colwall. A fourth, Cradley, will be published in 2023.

Read draft text for this volume.

Leicestershire vol. VI - Loughborough

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. 

Northamptonshire vol. VIII - Towcester and Environs

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

Nottinghamshire vol. III - Rushcliffe Wapentake (southern division)

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

Oxfordshire vol. XXI - Chipping Norton and Environs

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, and a draft history th parish is now available. 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. This volume is scheduled 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).

Draft text can be read here.

Oxfordshire vol. XXII - Chadlington and Area

This volume will cover a swathe of west Oxfordshire rural parishes from Chastelton on the west (projecting into Gloucestershire) through to Spelsbury, Enstone, and Kiddington on the east. To their north lies the market town of Chipping Norton (covered in VCH Oxfordshire XXI, forthcoming 2024), while to the south lay Wychwood forest (covered in VCH Oxfordshire XIX, published 2019).

The parishes occupy a typical Cotswold landscape of undulating hills cut by stream and river valleys, supporting the mixed sheep-corn farming characteristic of the area. Several contain large landscaped parks focused on grand country houses, notably at Chastleton, Cornwell, Sarsden, Kiddington, and Ditchley (straddling the Spelsbury-Enstone boundary).

Work in Progress: Read draft histories of Oxfordshire

Somerset vol. XIII - The Hundred and Manor of Taunton Deane

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.

Wiltshire vol. XIX - Mere and the Deverill Valley

Work in Progress. 

Read VCH histories in progress. 

Wiltshire vol. XX - Chippenham

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.

Wiltshire vol. XXI - South East Wiltshire

The fourteen civil parishes (created out of 11 ancient parishes and an extra-parochial place) to be included in the volume, comprising the hundreds of Alderbury and Frustfield, occupy an irregular area some 22km north to south and 12km east to west, lying between Salisbury and the county boundary with Hampshire. 

Work in Progress: Read draft histories of Wiltshire.

VCH Shorts in progress

St George's, Hanover Square (Middlesex, Westminster)

The parish of St George's Hanover Square encompasses Mayfair and Belgravia, of which large areas were built by the Grosvenor Estate. This VCH Short will relate the history of the parish, from its inception in 1725, to the establishment of the London County Council in 1900. Following the outline of the recent short on St Clement Danes, the book will describe the built environment of grand squares and aristocratic houses. It will explain the local government of the vestry, including schools and charities, as well as the wider political culture in the parish, involving the many political luminaries resident there. Finally, it will cover the economic and religious life of the parish.

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

Read draft text for this book.