CHELTENHAM’S 'BIG RED BOOK'
Victoria County History Volume 15

For more information on the Victoria County History have a look at the national site.

PROGRESS SO FAR

Excellent progress has been made but there is still much to do. The project started in 2012 and now six years on we have completed the first drafts of four sections:

The Medieval Years to 1540 – Dr Beth Hartland
Early Modern Cheltenham 1540-1740 – Dr Alex Craven
Cheltenham Transformed 1740-1852 – Dr Alex Craven
Cheltenham Improved 1852-1945 – Dr Alex Craven

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Research, by Jan Broadway, County Volunteer Coordinator and Andrew North, volunteer, is being started into the final section, 1945 to the present day. Also, the first steps are now being taken towards the coverage of the parishes of Charlton Kings, Leckhampton, Swindon Village and Up Hatherley. Prestbury, which was included in VCH Volume 8, up to the 1960s, will be updated to the present day.

The final years, 2019-2020, providing sufficient funds are available, will be given to editorial review, gap-filling, preparation of maps and illustrations, indexing and finally printing.

In the meantime, a VCH ‘short’, Cheltenham Before the Spa is now available – see our home page for how to obtain a copy. . This covers those centuries from the late Saxon period until the 18th century. In this period Cheltenham developed into a successful small market town, ranged along a single main street, with a market and trades serving not only its own needs but also those of the surrounding countryside.

MORE FUNDRAISING

Raising money is a priority. While some of the initial research can be done by volunteers, the need for professional editors is essential and they need a salary. There are several ways in which you can contribute to the Gloucestershire County History Trust which is the funding section for Gloucestershire Victoria County History. A small, regular, monthly contribution is the best way to support the work of the professionals.

Follow this link for more information:

www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties/gloucestershire/support

VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers are playing a great part in the creation of VCH Cheltenham Volume 15. The Cheltenham VCH volunteers started in 2013 and since then we have achieved an impressive list of contributions – not only to the research but also to the part-writing of some sections.

  • Around 350 archive boxes of previously uncatalogued Cheltenham solicitors’ papers have now been made available on the Gloucestershire Archives digital catalogue – this supports VCH editors and the Archives’ staff. Between 10 and 12 volunteers work regularly at the Gloucestershire Archives in Alvin Street, Gloucester. We’ve also become good friends!
  • Cheltenham’s early newspapers, up to 1850, have been examined, notes made of information useful to the contributing editors.
  • Notes made on information in the Cheltenham Directories and Annuaires.
  • Extensive information on non-conformist meeting places – which are soon to be published by Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.
  • Tudor and Stuart Exchequer and Star Chamber records transcribed.
  • Draft sections on social housing and economic history.1850-1945, written
  • The Latin Group have transcribed several important early documents into English, notably –

CHELTENHAM’S EARLIEST MANOR COURT ROLL

Until recently Cheltenham’s earliest manorial record of 1294, held by the Duchy of Cornwall, was too fragile to be examined. But now, thanks to highly-skilled conservation, the support of the Duchy of Cornwall archives and a contribution from the Arts Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, the Roll is now cleaned, stabilised, repaired and transcribed by the Latin Group.


Before conservation began.
Photo by courtesy of the conservator, Mariluz Beltran de Guevara

For more information on this early court roll, see Cheltenham Local History Society, Journal 33, available from Sally Self 01242 243714 projects.clhs@btinternet.com Or via www.cheltlocalhistory.org.uk

VOLUNTEERING

Working as a volunteer for the VCH project is a very worthwhile experience on several levels. Mentally stimulating and socially rewarding, we also have access to advice on matters pertaining to the VCH and to local history in general, from the County Coordinator, Jan Broadway and the Gloucestershire Archive’s staff.

MORE VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME

Training and advice will be given, and you would be welcome to a trial period before committing yourself fully. If you would like to join us or would like more information on VCH Cheltenham, please contact one of the following:

Sally Self - volunteer co-ordinator: 01242 243714, projects.clhs@btinternet.com
Jan Broadway - VCH Gloucestershire Co-Ordinator: 01452 616387, janb@xmera.co.uk
James Hodsdon - Gloucestershire County History Trust: 01242 233045, jj49@btinternet.com