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Sarsden Washpool 2017-18

The History of Cotswold Sheepwashing and the Restoration of the Sarsden Washpool 

The older inhabitants of the village can remember seeing the Sarsden washpool in action, but it has been overgrown and overlooked now for many years. Happily Rupert and Amanda Ponsonby, who live at Sarsden Glebe, have been working hard to restore the pool, and research its history. There is also a connection with William Smith, who would have been able to watch the sheep being washed from his home, and in 1818 was asked to prepare an irrigation and drainage scheme lower down the Sars Brook - of interest because there are so few physical remains of Smith’s work in Oxfordshire.

The Sarsden washpool is easily seen from the road
In the middle of Churchill village with Chipping Norton behind you and the pub on your right, leave the church on your left and go down the hill – signposted to Sarsden and Merriscourt.
The washpool is on the left hand side of the bridge over the Sars Brook at the bottom of the hill.
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William Smith: The Family Man 2016

With thanks to Oxford University Museum of Natural History who are curating this exhibition, and to Nina Morgan, author of The Geology of Oxford Gravestones, for her help and advice.

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William Smith’s Bicentenary Exhibition 2015

William Smith’s Bicentenary Exhibition March – September 2015
Curated with the help and support of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

2015 was the bicentenary of the publication of Smith’s famous map, and this exhibition which included original maps, diaries and letters, and specially commissioned audio recordings, commemorated his life and work and celebrated his legacy.

Local Farming 2013-14

Peter CrudgeLocal Farming (including audio recordings by Peter Crudge (pictured), Tony Huffer, Roger Shorter, Derek Woods

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From Our Guest Book

  • "What a lovely treat to stumble upon. Thank you for preserving a part of our Heritage"

  • "A fascinating visit. William Smith was a wonderful man! "

  • "Beautiful setting, very peaceful & informative"

  • "Lovely spot, so grateful this part of the old church was saved."

  • "A fascinating display in a very beautiful setting."

  • "Beautiful restoration, very nicely done! Unexpected hive of information."

  • "Why haven't we been here earlier? We shall certainly return!"

  • "Such a wonderful enterprise. The locality should be proud of it."

  • "Fantastic, absolutely first class. Most interesting and informative."

  • "Excellent to have this centre as a focus for Churchill's history - especially in relation to William Smith."

  • "Very good new interactive displays, very comprehensive."

  • "A fine chance discovery"

  • "Great building, well restored. Charming!"

  • "Congratulations to all on this initiative.  So well-organised and user-friendly."

  • "A little gem I didn't know existed."