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Essential Reading

An introduction from Martin Groves

Eynsham has a lot of history. Some we can see around the village; some we can hear from our neighbours and friends; almost all of it can be found in the Eynsham Record. One of the first things we did when we moved here was to get a complete set of Eynsham Record, which has been published annually by Eynsham History Group since 1984.

As you browse all 33 editions you are bound to learn something new about your street, your family or that of your neighbours. I read about a ghost said to inhabit my house, an exorcism (I guess the people who lived there didn’t get on with the ghost) and various people who were born and died in it over the years. Much of what you learn comes from the memories of local people. That, combined with research from archives, records and remains, makes Eynsham Record a fascinating source of old and more recent history.

It really is great fun to read and can come in pretty handy for pub quizzes. When did the Y arrive in the place once called Ensham? Why is Spareacre Lane so called and was it the same place as Sparrowacre? When was the primary school burnt down? Where was the water tower in Mill Street? How many abbey fishponds were there? And so on. All editions carry ‘Then and Now’ pictures and it is interesting to see how much things have changed (see photos of Bitterell in No 18) or how little (photos of Market Square in No 20).

For me it has been essential reading to get to know the community in which we live; but I recommend it to anyone and everyone with an interest in Eynsham. Indeed a complete set would make a rather nice present for Christmas or some other occasion. Copies can be obtained from Pamela Richards or at any meeting of Eynsham History Group.

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