Artist, Sir Stanley Spencer RA CBE, worked at the Beaufort Military hospital in Bristol during the First World War. Paul Gough retells Spencer’s experience at the hospital (now UWE’s Glenside Campus), through his diary entries and other primary sources. During his time in service, Spencer recorded in his diary a personal revelation which transformed his outlook and attitude to his work. This revelation would inform his later artwork which came to be celebrated at Newbury.
The study of linguistics can often tell us more about a place than we realise. In this article, Richard Coates looks into the etymology of two Bristol Hill names, contextualising one as being of Celtic origin, while the other appears to have ancient linguistic roots. This article highlights the significance of place name evidence, making a case for its value in historical studies.
The diary of John Bound of Sheepwash reveals a number of fascinating things. Through this source we are able to gain information not only about Bound himself, but also about the lives of the women he interacts with, as well as contemporary trade and culture in Devon. In this article, Simon Dixon highlights the inadequacies of categorising historical characters as either devout Christians or ‘ungodly reprobates’. The diary reveals a surprising overlap between those who frequented the alehouse and those who were staunch churchgoers.
The practice of apprenticeship brought many new faces to Bristol throughout the early modern period. In this Article with an introduction by Peter Flemming, Jinx Newley revives the lives of Welsh apprentices from the pages of a surviving Bristol Apprentice book, held at the Bristol Record Office. Looking into the seventeenth century, Margaret McGregor examines the notes of Clerks at the Tolzey Court (which dealt with Bristol apprentices) to find records of teenage runaways.
In the twelfth century, crusader knights took on the mission of protecting pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Holy Land from across Europe. The journey was long and dangerous, but it was widely believed that taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the most sacred form of penance. Pious landowners who could not take the pilgrimage themselves gifted land to the order as an alternative form of penance. One such piece of land sits in the heart of Bristol, in the area which today surrounds Temple Meads train station. Julian Lea Jones tells the fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Knights Templar at Bristol, of their activities at the preceptory and of their thriving trade.
Market practices could be the cause of many disorders throughout the early modern period, so food riots were a common occurrence. Rural customs and traditional rights were based on the belief that the rural community were entitled to a fair price of grain, even in times of dearth. These core beliefs naturally came with strong rules about which market practices were acceptable, and which were not. In this article, we meet a particular type of market villain: the ‘badger’. Neil Howlett uncovers the story of a Midford food riot in 1630 following the arrival of corn badgers.
Like many of the chalk hill figures of England, the Wiltshire White Horse on the hillside above Bratton dates back to the eighteenth century. In this article Brian Edwards, traces the history of this chalk figure back much further, looking into the origins of the ‘Alfred Horse’ which pre-dated it, in that very same spot. Edwards explores the customary lore of the earlier figure; as well as the potential political motivations for its creation, examining the argument for tracing it back to the Glorious Revolution.
A great fire at Crediton in 1743 tore through the West Town. The thatched roofs and timber frames caught like tinder, and onlookers watched the ‘impending conflagration’ as it devastated the area. The map of Crediton held by the Devon Record Office provides an insight to what the town would have looked like before the terrible fire. The recovery of a missing part of the map has provided detailed information about eighteenth century Crediton and has sparked new research. Simon Dixon, John Heal, Philip Planel and Nick Hastead use the map to reconstruct this old market town and explore its trade and industry.
During the Second World War, children flocked to the country from cities across Britain as evacuees. Many of the large country houses became nurseries for children below school age; Dyrham Park Manor in Gloucestershire was one of these homes. In this article, Hyla Holden uncovers the story of the Dyram Park nursery for evacuees which was run by Lady Islington.