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A Non Profit-making Organisation Devoted To The Interests Of The Gloucestershire Parish Of South Cerney And Cerney Wick


Our Events Programme

The Trust organises regular events that reflect its various activities. The mainstay is a twice-yearly programme of talks - free to members - which cover a wide range of local interest, and are given either by individual members or outside speakers.

They are held at South Cerney Village Hall. New members can join on the door, provided the talk is not oversubscribed or subject to advance booking arrangements.

Talks are occasionally supplemented by additional events held jointly with other village societies.

The Trust is also happy to draw members' attention to the activities of other local groups with similar interests. You can discover their activities here.

Future Events

Diamond Anniversary Exhibition: Exclusive Previews for Members Only
  Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May 2024  7.30pm
  All Hallows Church, South Cerney

The Trust is marking the 60 years since its formation in 1963 with a special Diamond Anniversary Exhibition in All Hallows, drawing on the Trust's extensive archive to reflect the many changes in both the fabric and geography of Cerney life since 1963.

May's usual speaker event will be replaced by two previews for members only, before the exhibition opens to the public from Wednesday 23rd May (subject to scheduled Thursday and Sunday church services). It will then remain open across the Street Fair weekend, including Monday 27th May.

Further details to follow.

Past Events

'Cotswold Arts and Crafts and Folk Music'
  November 2023
  Speaker: Martin Graebe

Traditional song expert and author Martin Graebe took us back to The Cotswolds of the late Victorian era when both the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement and the folk music revival championed the simplicity of past ways of life.

With sung contributions from both himself and his wife Shan, Martin described how villagers and the Arts and Crafts community sang and danced together, helping key collectors such as Mary Neal and Cecil Sharp to play a vital role in the development of the folk song and dance movement.

'Cotswold Cornucopia - Sites and Surprises'
  May 2023
  Speaker: Sean Callery

Local author and area Blue Badge guide, Sean Callery led us on a whirlwind tour of some of the intriguing stories that lie hidden behind the treasured landscape of The Cotswolds.

Starting in Chipping Campden and working his way southwards to Burford, Sean revealed local connections to the discovery of the kiwi fruit, the painter John Singer Sargent and the first woman known to have written and published an original play in English. There were intriguing dips into folklore and recent history to explain why dolphins feature so prominently in inland Tetbury and what draws Japanese tourists to Bibury's Arlington Row.

'To Be Revealed - What Lies Beneath South Cerney'
  November 2022
  Speaker: John Samways

We welcomed local archaeologist John Samways, who took us through some of the work he has undertaken with the Trust in investigating past human activity in and around our village.

In particular John reviewed the search for South Cerney castle at Hill View, and explained the geophysical survey techniques recently deployed at All Hallows church. John explained the resistivity technique which allows him to 'see' through stone floors and walls to reveal some of the hidden past of the church.
He also updated members on other local archaeological finds pointing to a continuity of settlement at South Cerney from the last Ice Age right up to the present day.

'Unearthing the Mammoth Graveyard'
  May 2022
  Speakers: Sally and Neville Hollingworth

Swindon-based mammoth hunters, Sally and Neville Hollingworth, told a near capacity audience about unearthing a spectacular Ice Age mammoth graveyard in Cerney Wick which inspired the BBC documentary, 'Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard' hosted by Sir David.

The couple recalled how searching for Jurassic fossils in a recently worked out area of a Cerney Wick sand and gravel quarry led them to the remains of five Steppe mammoths, including bones, teeth, a tusk and evidence of early humans in the form of a flint hand axe. All in all the Hollingworths' finds represent one of the most significant British archaeological discoveries in decades.

'Anne Edwards: Her Life and Legacy'
  May 2021
  Speaker: Barbara Chamberlain

Barbara shared as much as is known about the life of Anne Edwards, her family history, the founding of the local school that still bears her name and the building of Edwards College after her death.

Originally set for November 2020 in line with the 200th anniversary of the founding of Ann Edwards School, Barbara's talk had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak but the subject lost none of its fascination for anyone wanting to learn more about this village icon.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions this talk was professionally produced and made available to Trust members as an online video. It is intended that this video will eventually be made available via this website to the general public.

'Plays, Players and Pantomimes'
  May 2020
  Speaker: Sue Poulton

Behind-the-scenes revelations, star turns remembered and what happened when an audience member randomly joined in the performance - all this and more was recalled by Sue from the South Cerney Players' 85 year history at the heart of village amdram.

This 'live' event had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 lockdown so Sue filmed her talk instead. The recording was then made available online, exclusively to Trust members, for a limited period.

'The Discovery of the Frome Hoard'
  November 5th 2019
  Speaker: Dave Crisp

This talk was cancelled at short notice due to illness. Due to public demand, a repeat showing of 'South Cerney on Film' was presented.

'South Cerney on Film'
  May 7th 2019

More than 100 people packed the Village Hall for the first showing of this vintage film compilation depicting life in South Cerney from the 1950s and 60s, and video reminiscences of local people from 1989.

Digitised and edited from original footage shot at the time, the film presented a unique view of parish life featuring many village people and events from those years as well as homes and buildings now much altered.

Among the highlights were the on-screen memories of Kath Beard recalling life around Broadway Lane, Tom Ponting of Walnut Tree Farm, Henry Painter in School Lane and Cyril Johnson remembering his father's mineral water business.

And there were visits, too, to Dorling's village shop, Bowman's butchers, and the Village Show and Carnival Procession as it used to be.

'The Restoration of the Cotswold Canals'
  October 30th 2018
  Speakers: Clive and Jill Field

Clive and Jill Field from the Cotswold Canals Trust reported on the latest volunteer efforts to bring the connected waterways of the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames & Severn Canal back to life.

Explaining how the power-hungry need of Stroud's woollen mills and the lure of trade with London lay behind the canals' development and construction, the presenters then took their audience on a pictorial 36-mile trip westwards along the combined waterways.

The route passed through restored swing and up-and-over bridges, newly installed canoe and boat landing stages and the impressive canal-side refurbishment of Ebley Mill. Then it was through the Sapperton Tunnel, once the longest canal tunnel ever built at just under 3.5 kilometres, before finally arriving at the Cotswold Water Park's Gateway Centre.

Here there are plans to create a small boating area as an adjunct to what is already a thriving visitor attraction.

'South Cerney - My Patch'
  May 8th 2018
  Speaker: Brian Milner

Former 'officer-in-charge' of South Cerney police station, Brian Milner, shared stories from his 18 years (1974-92) on the local beat, a patch which also covered nine surrounding villages and the developing water park.

These were the years before paperwork and red tape had begun to clog local community interaction and when Brian's common-sense policing delivered the lowest village crime rate in Gloucestershire.

Despite his superiors suggesting he made up the law as he went along, Brian's 'not by the book' approach helped keep erring villagers out of court and local life discreetly on the straight and narrow. So much so that throughout Brian's service few villagers were ever mentioned in the local press for their misdemeanours.

In fact his audience was surprised to hear just how much they had missed at the time!

'Cerney's Water Mills'
  November 9th 2017
  Speaker: Herbert Mould

The history of Lower Mill, one of the parish's most picturesque locations, was vividly brought to life at the South Cerney Trust's members talk in November.

Owner Herbert Mould shared 35 years of anecdotes from Lower Mill's colourful past, from 14th century fulling mill to its more contemporary, post-war history as a private home. Upper Mill and Cerney Wick Mill were included, too, with the audience contributing their own recollections of village life from many years ago.

It was during the golden age of the Cotswolds wool industry that Lower Mill prospered. Utilising the low head of water generated by the river Churn, it served primarily as a fulling mill where wool cloth was cleaned and thickened in readiness for finishing and dyeing.

Lower Mill became a private residence in 1946 but continues to serve the community of which it has been part for more than 500 years. During periods of heavy rain, Herbert remains on hand to open the sluice gates and help control the flow of water downstream.

'The Tombstone of Bodicacia, and Other Recent Discoveries from Roman Cirencester's Western Cemetery'
  May 9th 2017
  Speaker: Martin Watts, Cotswold Archaeology

The story behind the astonishing 2015 discovery of an incredibly rare and intact Roman tombstone in Cirencester during the building of St James Place was the topic of our May talk.

Martin Watts of Cotswold Archaeology explored some of the puzzles thrown up by what was first thought to be the earliest tombstone covering skeletal remains to be unearthed in the UK. Was it a free-standing memorial to the woman - Bodicacia - whose name is inscribed on the front of the stone? Or, rather, part of a mausoleum wall, perhaps re-used as a grave cover centuries later?

Martin also explored other findings, including an enamelled bronze figurine of a cockerel found in the grave of a two-to-three year-old child. Perhaps its placement in their child's grave was an expression of parental concern for their loved one's safe passage into the after world, given the cockerel's association with Mercury, the messenger to the gods and 'herdsman for the dead'

'Developing South Cerney's Neighbourhood Plan'
  November 1st 2016
  Speaker: Malcolm Carter

Neighbourhood Plans are a key component of localism legislation and are designed to give communities a real say in the future development of the places where they live.

The preparation of South Cerney's plan is underway but our neighbours in Ashton Keynes are close to completing theirs. So it was timely to hear all about what's in store from Malcolm Carter, Project Co-ordinator for the Ashton Keynes plan.

Malcolm stressed that a neighbourhood plan must be positively geared towards guiding local development; it cannot be used to prevent it. And, with the Ashton Keynes experience having taken four years to date, he made no bones about the commitment and work required to deliver a successful outcome. Everyone needs to be involved - local people, councillors and stakeholders.

Malcolm was followed by Peter Jay, the Trust's representative on the Parish Council Steering Committee tasked with helping to deliver our own plan. Peter brought us up-to-date with news of a landscape character assessment, a household questionnaire to capture residents' opinions and a March 2017 all-day public meeting to review progress.

'Cerney's Head and Foot - Our Very Own Time Team Investigates'
  May 3rd 2016
  Speaker: Tony Squire

All Hallows Church was the venue for this members' talk when Tony Squire unveiled the latest detective work into the church's celebrated head and foot carvings now housed in the British Museum.

Tony led his audience on an exciting and fascinating time trail which has seen further exploration of the tower arch where it is thought the carvings were originally found in 1912.

Tony retraced the steps taken by a small local team in opening up the chamber and finding an additional wood fragment. Tests using the latest techniques have established this to be from the same period (1039-1210) as the carvings themselves.

Tony confirmed that research would continue to look for further evidence of the rood screen which may have housed the original carvings.

For more on these latest findings, go to our dedicated page on The South Cerney Head and Foot.

'The Cotswold Water Park - Where Next?'
  November 10th 2015
  Speaker: Matthew Millet

At its AGM on 10th November, the Trust welcomed Matthew Millett of the Cotswold Water Park Trust (CWPT) for an update on the latest developments on the Water Park.

Although a well-known local amenity, the sheer scope of the Water Park's activities is perhaps under appreciated. So it was intriguing to hear how the CWPT tackles its remit of harmonising the demands of a biodiversity hotspot with facilities for education, conservation, recreation and leisure.

Matthew reported that CWPT has identified fresh commercial opportunities despite funding and grant cutbacks, and is well on-track with the delivery of a biodiversity action plan. This includes increasing the water vole population, creating a nursery for the endangered Black Poplar and enhancing the area landscape with the help of the CWPT's 150-plus volunteers.

Cyril Stephens Exhibition (in association with South Cerney Art Group)
  3rd & 4th October 2015

Cyril was a South Cerney resident who painted and sketched village scenes and characters from the late 1930s onwards with many featured in Trust publications.
This exhibition brought much of his work together for the first time.

'Charles Hadfield, Late of This Parish... and Far Beyond'
  May 5th 2015
  Speaker: David Lewis

Charles Hadfield, along with his wife Alice Mary, is well remembered by many as influential during the rapid development of South Cerney in the 1960s and 1970s, and the resurrection and formation of several of South Cerney's societies and organisations. Less well known is the contribution that Charles made outside the village to the development of post-war Britain.

Charles became renowned as a transport historian and universally recognised as the foremost authority on the history of Britain's canal system. However, his other interests and work in the Civil Service extended across the world and well away from both the past and the waterways.

In this talk, Trust committee member David Lewis celebrated Hadfield's extraordinary life and career as civil servant, historian, publisher - and founder of the Trust.

'Fracking the Cotswolds'
  November 11th 2014
  Speaker: Jonathan Whittaker

Cirencester-based health professional Dr Jonathan Whittaker spoke to members as chair of the Frack Free Cotswolds pressure group. His talk looked at the likely winners and losers of the fracking debate while explaining the processes involved and their impact on energy security, jobs, health, property and the environment.