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Ascott Martyrs – project update

The first annual Martyrs’ Day, held on a fine June day at the recreation ground in Ascott, was attended by many descendants and supporters. The film Needs Must When the Devil Drives that features the Martyrs’ history and an update on the project, were presented before a trip to Chipping Norton police station and the courtroom and jail where the women were held and charged. Next year, Martyrs’ Day will be on Saturday 23rd June when the public will be invited to the celebrations.

The Project is raising the profile of the event to ensure a legacy for the village community and descendants. It will provide continued awareness in local schools, as well as a centre for information and research. Our first priority is to raise awareness of the story locally and to establish an Educational Trust which has already attracted more descendants. We have also set up (thanks to Mark Pidgeon) the website

We have been seeking funds and I am pleased to say that we have received a £2,000 donation from Unite, which absorbed the Agricultural Workers Union some time ago. Incidentally, they have also purchased 140 copies of the book by Beverley McCombs, which is also available in the village shop at the reduced price of £15.
On the research side, we will soon start to put various documents on the website and I am pleased that Peter Vaas, former Head of Humanities at Oxford Brookes University, will become our Research Coordinator. We intend to dig deeper into the events of 1873 and the changes in the law that followed. Local researchers are welcome to join the group, which has at least ten separate tasks to tackle over the next two years.

In September we are sponsoring the WEA community course to create a textile hanging, to be held fortnightly on Wednesday evenings from 6 – 8 p.m. from 20th September thanks to the generous support of The Swan. If you are interested in joining the team, or would like to know a little more, call Sue Richards on 01993 830122. There are a few spaces still available.

On Saturday 30th September we are organising an Open Day at Chipping Norton Police Station – here the story can be explored where it actually happened.

Paul Jackson
01993 831967

October – November 2017