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History Group - Meeting Reports

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Archived Stories The 8th October meeting will be given by James Skeggs on the Luttrell Family and on the 16th November Dennis Silk will be talking on Siegfried Sassoon. The August Meeting was a talk from Mac McDonnell who had lived in Uvedale Crescent when working as a youth worker in Croydon. When he and Joyce moved to Hemyock and renewed friendship with Alan and Margaret Craig he was given a book on Hemyock Castle. This explained that the Norman family of de Hydon were given the Hemyock estate with a Margaret Hydon inheriting and marrying into even more property.

In 1324 after losing two husbands she married Sir Peter de Uvedale of the family who gave their name to the crescent in Croydon. When Sir Peter died in 1336 Lady Margaret built a chantry on the South side of St Mary's and the Piscina, the alcove to hold the holy water, which is there today.

Sir Peter and Lady Margaret are buried under the floor of the Chantry and they dedicated the Church to St Catherine, who was martyred in 305 by Emperor  Maxentius when she tried to convert him to Christianity. She successfully converted his wife and court and when the Emperor died in 312 at the hands of the new Emperor Constantine, the Empire finally accepted Christianity.

The Uvedale story finished with Mac's nephew, a keen traveller, finding a village and wooden church of Uvdal in Norway! So those Vikings certainly travelled widely while winning land and territory across Europe, marrying into the new Norman conquerors and ending up under the stone slabs of our little church in Hemyock as part of the English landed gentry.

Now that we have Google and Wikipedia it is slightly easier to research such stories!

The September talk was given by Mrs Dorothy Lomas on Foxes of Wellington and Coldharbour Mill. Dorothy is completing the fascinating story of the Fox family who were Quakers and therefore precluded from the professions and university learning. They went into business and commerce and with suitable marriages into wealthy banking families built up a large successful double vertical business.

Converting wool into both woollen and worsted cloth and supplying finished products around the Empire. They had a paternal view of their workforce providing social benefits much in advance of statutory regulations of the time. They were viewed as the royalty of Wellington when they employed up to 3000 people locally, producing high quality material and introducing innovations such as the khaki coloured uniforms to replace the red coats of previous times.

Coldharbour Mill is still operational using a range of power sources - including a beam engine, a water wheel a rare steam engine. A visit to the Mill is a must for anyone interested in production machinery and working life when we were supplying the Empire.