NATHANIEL IRESON of WINCANTON – Architect, Master Builder & Potter

On the 23rd September 2016, in the Wincanton Memorial Hall; Peter Fitzgearld will give a talk on,

Nathaniel-IresonNATHANIEL IRESON of WINCANTON – Architect, Master Builder & Potter

Nathaniel Ireson has long deserved to be restored to his rightful place as one of the leading West Country architects of the early 18th century, and in Peter FitzGerald he has found an author worthy of his achievements.

Peter FitzGerald, who lives near Wincanton and has a particular interest in architecture, has undertaken extensive research which has uncovered the very large number of houses, churches and other buildings on which Ireson worked.

Peter FitzGerald’s patient research has unearthed evidence of at least forty other houses that Ireson designed, many of them in the Provincial Baroque style that was his hallmark. One of the book’s strengths is the detailed appendix listing the buildings on which Ireson worked. Ireson made his home in Wincanton, where he set up a delft pottery. He carved church monuments and played a crucial role in the rebuilding of Blandford Forum after the Great Fire of 1731. By the time of his death in 1769, he was a highly regarded architect, whose legacy lives on throughout the West Country.

Peter makes a strong case for the importance of this neglected architect-builder-entrepreneur, who became Wincanton’s biggest employer and principal citizen.



It is sad that his name is no longer known outside the town, but Peter FitzGerald’s fascinating new book – Nathaniel Ireson of Wincanton, Architect, Master Builder and Potter – should redress that situation (and raise money to restore the imposing Ireson statue in Wincanton churchyard).

Wincanton Memorial Hall 23rd September 2016 7.30 PM

Cost; £5 Non Members, £2 Members

The Roman Army in Somerset. Talk By Archaeologist John Smith

Friday 27th of May brings archaeologist and retired curator of Roman sites John Smith to give us a talk on the subject that has fascinated him for many years, that is the Roman Army and in particular its presence in Somerset.  To illustrate his talk John, (not to be confused with our estimable local John Smith) will be bringing along a series of genuine Roman artefacts.  To see poster click Smith

Wincanton delftware – Do you have treasures hidden in your attic?


Example of Wincanton delftware, reproduced by kind permission of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Wincanton Delftware

Nathaniel Ireson (1685– 18 April 1769) was a potter, architect and mason best known for his work around Wincanton in Somerset, England. The little known designs are extremly rare and, even with chips and cracks,; they fetch around £200.

In June 1890 the Wincanton Field Club held an exhibition of his pottery in the local Town Hall. Many of the exhibitor’s names still feature locally and their descendants could have Wincanton delftware pieces hidden in their attics.

If you have any pottery you think could be related, please bring it to Wincanton Museum between 10.30 and 12.00 on Saturday 14th May for a free consultation

For more information please call 01 747 840 895

Nathaniel Ireson of Wincanton by Peter Fitzgerald at the end of May. It will be available from Papertrees Bookshop at 33 High Street, Wincanton or you can order directly on  01 747 840 895

29th April 16 – The History of Palestine by Brigadier(rtd) J Deverell

If Middle East History is your thing or you are just interested, then come along to the Wincanton Memorial Hall on 29th April 2016.

Brigadier (retired) John Deverell CBE MPhil(Cantab) is giving a talk on “ The History of Palestine”.

With 10 years’ experience in the Middle East as an army Officer,  a diplomat, and  as a businessman, Brigadier Deverell will talk about his experience of this most topical and complex region

He has enjoyed postings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem and Yemen.

In Iraq he was instrumental in disproving the pre-war intelligence on the weapons of mass destruction WMD) as the senior British officer in the Iraq Survey Group. He presented his findings on the TV programme Panorama.

In Libya he advised the Gaddafi regime on how they would benefit from giving up their WMD programmes.

In Yemen his work with local officials helped avoid war in the wake of 9/11.

In the Palestinian Territories he was the only British government servant to live and work full time.  He was at the forefront of US and British efforts to reform the Palestinian security sector as a basis for a Two-State Solution. In this role John worked alongside Quartet Representative Tony Blair and General Jim Jones, thereafter the U.S. National Security Adviser.

John has spent time in almost every Middle Eastern country and, since leaving the Army, continues to work in the region – most recently in Lebanon.

He now runs Deverell Associates, working with commercial companies to advise them on Enterprise Risk Management and crisis management at home and abroad. He summarises his work as being about “the Prepared Mind”.

The talk is at 7.30 PM. Cost; Non-Members £5 Members £2 

The Sinking of the Lancastria. Friday 27th November 2015 a talk by Major David Glossop BEM

The sinking of the Lancastra off St Nazaire in June 1940Certainly most of us had not heard of the Lancastria before, but the story David Glossop had to tell was a sad and shocking tragedy, a catastrophe which has been largely forgotten. It involved the greatest ever loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than the combined losses of the RMS Titanic (1,517 passengers and crew) and RMS Lusitania (1,198 passengers). It had also the highest death toll for UK forces in a single engagement in the whole of World War II. Continue reading

Wincanton’s Lost Hero. Alberto Bioletti. John Baxter

IMG_1338sepiaRED25th Sept. 2015. John Baxter gave an illustrated talk entitled : Alberto Bioletti. The Italian Barber of Wincanton.  About this John writes: After months of research which has steadily become more exciting as more links in the story of Alberto Bioletti have emerged, I have become convinced that here is someone whose life and experience we really should celebrate as a hero of Wincanton. Continue reading