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Chipping Norton Revealed

A History of our Town in Photographs

Alan Watkins, the respected local historian, shared his remarkable knowledge and passion for Chipping Norton and its inhabitants, based on a lifetime of research.

Oxfordshire Chipping Norton Fair Day in the early 1920s


Glimpses of an International Life by Sir John Holmes

John HolmesJohn Holmes, a former British diplomat and, until Summer 2016, the Director of the Ditchley Foundation gave us a brief picture of his fascinating life in the Foreign Office during which time he was our Ambassador in Lisbon and Paris; at No 10 where he became Private Secretary to both John Major and Tony Blair; at the United Nations where he was Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs; and finally at Ditchley Park where he was Director for 6 years and responsible for numerous international conferences.Ditchley Park

Where there is a will...

there’s a way of finding out the secrets of the people who lived in Churchill and Sarsden 1500-1700
The Probate Group talked about their work translating ‘Secretary Hand’ into modern English. No mean feat! They reveal fascinating facts about what possession people had, what they bequeathed in their wills and what life was like in our village for those living up to five hundred years ago.

William Smith: His Life and Legacy

An illustrated talk about Smith’s career, with special reference to recent discoveries of his work on the lower part of the Sars Brook and the Evenlode
by Professors Hugh Torrens and Geoffrey Walton

If Stones Could Speak

An illustrated talk about the multiple uses for our local stone and the stories behind our walls, buildings and graves by Lesley Dunlop, Lecturer at Northumbria University and Vice Chair of Oxfordshire Geology Trust

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From Our Guest Book

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

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

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

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

  • "Beautiful setting, very peaceful & informative"

  • "Great building, well restored. Charming!"

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

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

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

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

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

  • "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."

  • "A fine chance discovery"