| home | search | back |
home > wea > local studies

Helmdon Branch WEA - Local Studies
Charity reg. no: 1112775


In 1995 John Raybould tutored a course entitled "The Changing Village". It covered the last hundred years, and focused on Helmdon. His enthusiasm lingered after the course was over, whetting the appetite for further historical research, and several members of the original class formed themselves into a local studies group. At the beginning, Val and Stewart Moir, Judy Cairns, Audrey Forgham (fomerly Harwood), Jean Spendlove and the late Will Watson were the main members. In Spring 2000 two new members, Danny and Kate Moody, joined the group, both very interested in the difficult-to-unravel early history of Helmdon. From the outset, the group felt that what was researched should be recorded in some way and so, steered by Ross Vicars in the early years, and then by Audrey Forgham, Aspects of Helmdon 1 was published, followed later by Aspects of Helmdon 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

In between all this, under the direction of Val Moir, the churchyard inscriptions were recorded. In 1999 the idea of the Helmdon web site was mooted and this is now a joint venture between Danny Moody and Audrey Forgham. Early in 2000 there  were showed two showings of Will Watson's film "A Year in the Life of a Village" at the Reading Room. It was produced with posterity in mind and a dvd was deposited at the Northampton Record Office.


November 2014 saw the completion of the the war memorial project which traced the history of  the war memorial and all the servicemen on the war memorial who had served in the First World War.  Research was done by Ross Vicars, Cec Harrold, Danny Moody, Audrey Forgham and Judy Cairns, Charles Binns restored some of the old photographs and Danny Moody prepared the work for the website.  It was produced in book form and a display of artefacts and photographs was mounted in the church.

In 2016 a project was completed which updated the churchyard inscriptions for the new arm of the churchyard to the left of the path.  The rows have been re-numbered due to the its repositioning.   Judy Cairns did the bulk of this work, Bill Elkington made a new map, and the project was typed by Audrey Forgham.

A joint project between the church and the WEA has recorded the 150 or so church kneelers.  Jenny Overson and Mary Nash did the research, Colin Nash took the photographs, and it was typed by Audrey Forgham.

The local studies group is open to anyone interested in local history or geography, or indeed any other aspect of local life. It is not "closed group". You do not have to be an attendee at a WEA class to belong. We welcome new members at any time. Please contact the WEA secretary Richard Farquharson 01295 760079 or e-mail

home > wea > local studies
| home | search | back | top