As part of our Golden Jubilee Celebrations, and following our AGM in May, members were treated to a programme of readings compiled by Negley Harte, which reflected our town from before Domesday to the present.

The two earliest references to Corsham are found in 1001 and then in the early 12th century which identified the town as a Royal Manor of Ethelred, King of Wessex (987 – 1017).

The Domesday Book of 1086 records Corsham with its surrounding villages and hamlets and we then had a glimpse of the history of the town through the Crown Pleas of Medieval times, an eyewitness account of John Leland, and the 17th century John Aubrey.

The founding of the Almshouses in 1668, the building of Corsham Court, and the later arrival of the Methuen family, painted a more familiar picture and with the advent of quarrying and the coming of the railways we hastened toward Victorian times. We were reminded of the musical Spackman family, and the echoes of their lives told in the Herbert Spackman Diaries.

Into the 20th Century, the Suffrage Pilgrimage of 1913 and two World Wars also had their place in the record.

We intended to end on a lighter note with poetry from local sources – ‘Corsham in the 1930s and 40s’ by Bert Bradfield; ‘Four Decades Ago’ by Anthony Hall; and ‘Altus High Up & Deep Down in Corsham’ by Canon Mervyn Drewett. Unfortunately time overtook us and the poetry readings had to be postponed until another time.

Pat Whalley 

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