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 

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

A Wincanton Childhood – Gill D’Arcy

 Gill D’Arcy will be giving an illustrated talk at the next Wincanton and Area Museum and History Society meeting on Friday  27th September 2013. 7.30pm in the Balsam Centre. Her title will be A Wincanton Childhood.

Few  people around have been more involved in the life of our town than Gill.  Her parents lived here and she was born here, went to school first at the primary and then at what is now King Arthur’s, met her future husband Richard here, worked, got married, raised a family and has been deeply involved with the Church, the German Exchange and in supporting Richard as a councillor and when he was mayor.

Come along for an evening of reminiscences and think about what has changed and what has remained the same.

Coffee is served at the end of our meeting in the Balsam Centre which is always a great time to socialise and get to know others who live around here.

£5 non-members, members free – so why not join?


Lytes Cary talk by Judith Teasdale

Judith Teasdale’s beautifully illustrated and meticulously presented talk on Lytes Cary Manor on Friday 14th September was a fitting and extremely interesting start to our Autumn programme.  She attracted a very good turnout which filled the Balsam Centre Shed and gave everyone much to talk about over our glasses of wine afterwards.

Drawing on her experience of developing a Conservation Management Plan for the property on behalf of the National Trust, Judith showed us pictures not only of the nooks and crannies of this ancient property with its roots going back to manor house and village in Medieval times, but also a series of fascinating photos and stories of the Jenner family who were responsible early in the 20th century for purchasing and restoring the property after it had been reduced from grand house to dilapidated farm buildings.  There were calves being kept in the chapel.

Of particular interest in bringing Lytes Cary alive for us were her stories of how Sir Walter Jenner had set off to serve in the Army during the First World War complete with his horse and a batman to look after him and how his wife had worked tirelessly to support the troops with extra supplies and comforts and how their daughter had set off to Wincanton to nurse the war wounded in the hospital set up here in the Carmelite monastery.  Noblesse oblige!

Her talk not only attracted good turn-out but encouraged several new members to join the Society.  This is great news as the time approaches when we will be able to set up the new Museum in Wincanton Library and there will be plenty for volunteers to do in many ways from following up a pet theme to taking a turn stewarding.

John Baxter

September Newsletter from Terry Stanford

Dear Members and followers,

There are just two items of interest at the moment.                                                             1.  We anticipate signing the lease agreement and returning the documents to Somerset Council during the week of 10 /9/12.  We will then wait to hear just when we can take occupation of the premises in Wincanton Library and begin to establish a Museum.  Will keep you in touch.

 2.  Have you a story to tell?

As part of the process of promoting an interest in local history and, from their point of view, to increase their coverage, the Western Gazette has suggested that they run articles based broadly on historical aspects of Castle Cary, Bruton and Wincanton.  They envisage a monthly article shared between the above three locations on any aspect of local history be it people, places, events changes etc.  We, that is the committee, are keen to pursue this initiative and want to take the opportunity to widen participation as far as possible.  It has been suggested that local people may well have stories to tell about past life in Wincanton, who have experience of the way in which the town has changed and perhaps personal knowledge of events which have taken place or prominent people who live or have lived in the area.  If the project comes to fruition it would mean that we would endeavour to produce an article focusing on Wincanton and our surrounding area and villages.

This would be an opportunity for everyone to become involved in a project, it would not be of a repetitive nature, one off articles would be great and in addition it would assist us all to have better understanding of the town and its people.

It would just be possible for the committee, with some assistance, to take on this task but it was strongly felt that groups of people with similar interests who perhaps are as yet not known to each other or to us could get together, perhaps do some research and produce an article which would be of interest to us all.

As a committee we would be only to keen to facilitate the above suggestions in any way thought appropriate and we could certainly assist in preparing and editing articles,  photographs etc.

Thhis is about all we know of the project at this date but anyone expressing an interest could initially do so be contacting me and we will see how far we can get.