Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society

Meetings Programme 2018-19  
Northcourt Centre
Welcome to our meetings page. You can see that our year runs from September through till June. All presentations (apart from the Local History Group) are usually held at the Northcourt Centre, Northcourt Rd. Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 1NS. at 7.45 pm. [See the image on the right and  MAP ]
Attendance for Members is free and visitors are welcome (suggested donation: £3.00). If you are interested in joining the society, please speak to any comittee member who will be identified by their badge.
There is on-site parking and dedicated disabled spaces. Refreshments are available on most evenings.
Please check this page for changes and updates.

 Thursday 20 September 2018 

Louis Davis 1887

 The meeting will start with the AGM. This will be followed by a talk by John Foreman on

"Louis Davis: The Last Pre-Raphaelite".

John Foreman 

 The image on the left is the speaker, John Foreman.

 The image on the right is Louis Davis, the artist.




  Thursday 18th October 2018

Victoria Bentata Azaz: Oxford in the History of Medicine from the 13th to the 21st Century.

From the award of the first DM in the 13th century, Oxford has been a hotbed of medical inquiry.  An extraordinary bevy of geniuses emerged in the 17th century to make ground-breaking discoveries about the nature of the human body and the natural world. In the 20th century, Oxford was at the forefront of medical research, with numerous Oxford scientists winning Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine for everything from Penicillin to the development of the Hepatitis B vaccine.  It remains one of the world's leading centres of medical research and teaching in the 21st century.  Come and learn about some of the personalities and ideas involved in Oxford's medicine over the past 800 years.
Victoria Bentata
Victoria Bentata Azaz is a graduate of Oxford University and a Green Badge Oxford tour guide. She gives tours on all sorts of subjects to all sorts of people. For more details, see  www.oxfordcitywalks.co.uk 
Thursday 15th November 2018

Michael Bloom: A History of  Georgia in the Caucasus MountaimsGergeti Trinity Church

This comprehensively illustrated talk will cover the history of Georgia from earliest times to the present day, and will include social and cultural as well as political aspects.
[Image shows Gergeti Trinity Church by courtesy of Lidia IIona]
Michael Bloom
Michael Bloom has been involved with Georgia since 1988 when he first visited it as part of the then Soviet Union. He began to study the choral folk music tradition of the country in 1995 and, through this interest, met his Georgian wife Eliso which cemented his involvement with the country. Regular visits followed during which he travelled all over Georgia and deepened his interest in all aspects of the country.
Thursday 20th December 2018  
Roger Thomas: 50 Years of Archaeology in Abingdon
Judy White:  A Display of 50 Finds from Abingdon’s Past
Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society was founded 50 years ago. This event is our last event commemorating this anniversary with Roger presenting an overview of the various archaeological digs that the society members have done. Judy will be highlighting a particular find from 1984, the Islamic glass that was made around 1250 and found in Lombard Street.
It is fitting that Roger and Judy will be speaking as they have both been in our Society from the beginning.
We shall also have a number of archaeological finds on display as well as hot punch and mince pies.
Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas grew up in Abingdon. He was a founder member of the Society and went on to become a professional archaeologist, working for Historic England until 2017. He has lectured and published widely, including on the archaeology of Abingdon. He was Chairman of the Society between 2008 and 2014.



Thursday 17th January 2019

Dr Philip Kenrick: Romans in Algeria - a neglected but impressive heritage.
Military headquarters of the Legia III Augusta
Part of modern Algeria was the kingdom of Mauretania at the time of Christ, and its king Juba II was a close friend of the Roman emperor Augustus. Later, Roman provinces straddled North Africa and supplied Italy with grain, wine and oil; prosperous cities grew up, together with huge farm estates.
The visible remains were initially plundered by the invading French military in the 1830s, but were later treasured and excavated as evidence of a preceding 'advanced' European civilization. Since the independence of Algeria from France in 1962, little further work has been done, but the museum collections and the ruins are still stunning.
Image shows the Military Headquarters of the Legia III Augusta
Philip Kenrick
Philip Kenrick is a classical archaeologist who has worked in many parts of the Mediterranean world (and in Colchester) as a specialist in Hellenistic and Roman pottery. Much of his work has concerned Libya, for which he has written two archaeological guides. More recently, he has taken an interest in Algeria, for which another archaeological guide is in press.
Thursday 21st February 2019

Ruth Weinberg: Abingdon on Tap:  the Story of our Water.Well

 Abingdon managed with local water supplies until 1880, utilising its springs, streams and rivers. Although there had been at least one attempt to provide water to the richer inhabitants of the town, until the Council constructed its original reservoir and water main, there were no known attempts to create a public supply other than by providing stand pipes and wells. After 1880, there was a continuous search for more and more sources of clean water to meet an ever-growing demand, a search that did not really end until the formation of  Water Boards. This talk looks at the efforts made through the years to provide Abingdon with the clean water it needed.



After an adventurous life, Ruth came to Abingdon 14 years ago and found an interesting town with a great historical group. Together with the help of some of these lovely people, she built up a little local knowledge and started researching the town’s story. Out of all this came the idea of the Abingdon Buildings & People project, now with more than 100 articles and still going strong. This talk is built on one of those articles that Ruth spent several years wrestling with.


Thursday 21st March 2019

Silvia Joinson: Kings we never had.Prince Henry

A trip through a thousand years of English history  looking at various individuals who might have ruled; some interesting and controversial characters.

Would things have been different if they had come to the throne?

The image shows Prince Henry.

Silvia Joinson


Silvia is a retired secondary school history teacher who still enjoys exploring her  subject. She has lived in the area since childhood - the last 55 years in Abingdon.




Thursday 18th  April 2019

The Lambrick Lecture

The Lambrick Lecture is sponsored by George Lambrick in memory of his mother, Gabrielle Lambrick. George is an archaeologist and member of our society.

Mrs Gabrielle Lambrick was a highly respected medieval historian who died in 1968. She did a lot of work on Abingdon Abbey. Most notably, she and C F Slade edited Two Cartularies of Abingdon Abbey, published in two volumes by the Oxford Historical Society in 1990-2. These are collections of legal and internal documents of the abbey. She contributed to a set of papers on 'The Early History of Abingdon, Berkshire, and its Abbey' in the journal Medieval History, Vol XII, 1968. She wrote a booklet for the Friends of Abingdon in 1966 on 'Business affairs at Abingdon Abbey in medieval times' describing the obedientary system and numerous other papers in academic journals.

G Speake Helmet

Dr George Speake FSA  ‘Helmets and Headaches: Reconstructing the Staffordshire Hoard Helmet'

The Staffordshire Hoard helmet, despite its incomplete state, is the grandest of the crested-type helmets to survive from the 6th/7th centuries, and it is believed to have been made in AD 600-650. Its golden ornament can be contrasted, in particular, with the iconic and contemporary helmet of silver appearance from Sutton Hoo with tinned-bronze decorative coverings. In its gilded state the Staffordshire Hoard helmet is more like late Roman examples. The Staffordshire helmet is also unique in having had an actual crest, indicated by the channel formed by its metal crest, as on all others the ‘crest’ forms only a low metal ridge.  Again, the inspiration for a hair crest can be traced back to Roman helmets, and it can easily be seen how prominent it would have made its royal wearer on the battlefield.  Indeed, its magnificent form with the great rarity of helmets generally from this time in England points to the fact that first and foremost it was a ceremonial object of state, and we should regard it therefore as no less than a crown.

George Speake

Dr George Speake an archaeologist and art historian, who initially studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London before studying European archaeology at St John’s College Oxford.

His doctoral thesis Anglo-Saxon Animal Art and its Germanic Background was published in 1980 by the Clarendon Press, Oxford. Most of his subsequent time has been spent teaching Fine Art at the art colleges of Oxford and Banbury.

He is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford.



Thursday 16th May 2019
Lesley Best and a Wulfheodenas: House of Wessex Project.HOW
In 2016, the remains of an important Anglo-Saxon building were discovered on Sylva Foundation land at the Sylva Wood Centre at Long Wittenham. Working with teams of volunteers we will accurately reconstruct the Anglo-Saxon building, on its original footprint, using treewrighting techniques, tools and materials faithful to the 7th Century. With a living history society, the Wulfheodenas, we will hold public open days at the site.

 Thursday 20th June 2019
Members' Evening