All posts by Sarah Richardson

End of the Project

The Extraordinary and the Everyday: A Year in the Life of a Rural Community, 1914-15 has followed the fortunes of the small Warwickshire community of Avon Dassett from the month that war broke out until August 1915.

The whole village was consumed by the war effort: hosting evacuated Belgian children; donating produce and money; curtailing leisure activities; volunteering as reservists or nurses; and of course, for the men, enlisting for active service. At the same time, ordinary life had to continue, and the Rural District Council battled with health, sanitation, roads and drainage issues.

The Lord of the Manor of Avon Dassett, William Holbech of the neighbouring Farnborough Hall was the first local fatality He rejoined his regiment in August, sailed to Belgium and was mortally injured in the first battle of Ypres, dying in London at the end of October 1914. Herbert Cooper was the first Avon Dassett man to lose his life. He was posted as missing presumed dead in May 1915 and his body was never found. In all, three local men died during the war.

No new information will be published on the blog but it will remain as an archive of a remarkable year in the life of the village.

Avon Dassett Local History Group would like to thank the sponsors of the project: the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Dassett Country Show and Avon Dassett Parish Council.

The project researchers were Jill Burgess, Mike Lewis, Margaret Maughan and Sarah Richardson.

End of Project Exhibition at the Dassett Country Show, August 1 2015


Newsletter Archive

The project published nine newsletters throughout the year and distributed them freely to everyone in Avon Dassett so those without internet access could follow the project.

Please see our newsletter archive below:

The Warwickshire Hunt Horse Show

Sir – Your readers may be interested to know that the Warwickshire Hunt Horse Show Committee have decided to hold their annual show at Kineton this year on September 17th.

It is now more important than ever to encourage the breeding of horses. Having this object in view, some of the riding classes have been suspended, and new classes for brood mares and young stock have been introduced so that the value of the show may be increased from the national point of view.

Yours faithfully


Compton Verney, Warwick, 12 July 1915

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

Kineton Horse Show

It will be a matter of gratification to many farmers and horse breeders in South Warwickshire to know that at a meeting of the Hunt Horse Show Committee, held recently, it was decided to hold the show this year, and Friday, September 17th, was fixed as the date. One or two classes have been deleted and one added, otherwise the schedule is much the same as formerly. The schedules and entry forms will soon be issued. We print in today’s issue a letter from Lord Willoughby de Broke in reference to the show.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

Motor Collision in the Market Place

On Thursday morning a somewhat serious motor collision occurred near the old Metropolitan Bank at the bottom of the Market Place. Mr W. G. Waldron’s car from Farnborough was proceeding down the Market Place to catch the 8.35 train for London, and just at the same time Mr Millar, manager for the firm of P. J. Perry, seedsmen and florists, was crossing from the High Street to Castle Street at right angles across by the Fox Tenure and a collision ensued. The car was turned on to the path by the old bank premises and Mr Millar and his motor cycle got jammed between the car and a lamp post. Miss Reeves, Mr Millar’s sister-in-law, who was seated on the rear of the cycle got clear and uninjured but Mr Millar sustained a cut at the back of the head and a somewhat badly bruised left shoulder and ankle. He was taken into the Fox Inn and afterwards removed to the Horton Infirmary where he is progressing as favourably as can be expected. The injury to the should is, we understand, somewhat severe.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

Important Sale of Freehold and Copyhold Estate

By direction of the Trustees of the late John Griffin, Esq.

An estate of about 350 Acres, Dwelling houses, Buildings and Accommodations Lands,

To be sold by auction by

Miller and Abbotts

Early in September at the Red Lion Hotel, Kineton as follows:

KINETON: 25 Acres, Accommodation and Building Land, House and Cottage

RADWAY: ‘The Valley’, ‘Arnolds’, and ‘Norton’s’ Farms in 4 Lots. About 300 Acres

SHENINGTON, OXON: The ‘T’ Closes, about 9 Acres, as occupied by Mr Clarke Greenway

FARNBOROUGH, near Banbury: 18 Acres of Rich Feeding Land, let to Mr C. Griffin

GRIMSBURY, Banbury: The Valuable Freehold Houses, 13 and 14, North Street, Grimsbury

Plans and particulars are in preparation; when ready may be had at the Red Lion Hotel, Kineton; of H. F. Bennett, Esq., Solicitor, Banbury; or of the Auctioneers, 30, High Street, Banbury.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

Private H. B. Cooper, Killed In Action

It is unofficially reported that Private H. B. Cooper, 15th Hussars (whose parents lives at Avon Dassett) was killed on the morning of the 13th of May in a trench near Ypres by a Jack Johnson shell. For some time now his parents have been in suspense as to their son’s fate, as his death had not been officially reported. Private Cooper was formerly employed at the Warwickshire Hunt stables, and enlisted at the start of the war.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915

Cropredy, Wardington, Bourton, Mollington and Claydon Horticultural Society

President T. W. Barrows, Esq.

The Tenth Annual Show

Of this Society will be held by kind permission of Mr Alfred Smith in the FIELD NEAR THE STATION at


On Bank Holiday

MONDAY, AUGUST 2nd, 1915

The Show will be opened at 2 o’clock by Mrs Maltby, who will be supported by Ladies and Gentlemen of the neighbourhood.

Over £30 given away in prizes. Special prizes given by Messrs Mawle and Sons, Neale and Perkins, S. and E. H. Hood, and T. Bendy.

All profits to be given to the Red Cross Fund.

The Fenny Compton Silver Prize Band is engaged.

Programme of Sports

Event 1st Prize 2nd Prize 3rd Prize
Obstacle Race, Men’s Handicap (Open) Entrance Fee 3d 5s 3s 2s
Obstacle race (Boys under 16), Handicap 3s 2s 1s
One Mile Handicap (Open), Entrance Fee 3d 5s 3s 2s
100 Yards Race (Girls under 16) 3s 2s 1s
100 Yards Race (Boys under 12) 2s 1s 6d 1s
60 Yards Race (Girls under 12) 2s 1s 6d 1s
100 Yards Boot Race 3s 2s 1s
Quarter Mile Hurdle Race (Open) Entrance Fee 3d 5s 3s 2s
100 Yards Race (Boys under 16) 3s 2s 1s
Quarter Mile Costume Race 3s 2s 1s
Go to Bed Race 3s 2s 1s
100 Yards Race (Men over 40 years of age) 3s 2s 1s
Hat Trimming Competition for Men 3s 2s 1s

Distribution of Prizes by Miss Francis.

Six starters for each event or no third prize. No competitor to take more than three prizes in all.

Skittles Competition – Prize, a Live Pig

Illumination Dancing from 7 till 10.30 pm

Refreshments of all kinds at moderate charges supplied by H. Sheppard, The Plough Inn, Banbury.

Curtis Steam Roundabouts, Swings, etc

Admission – 2 to 2.30 by Subscriber’s ticket or payment of 1s; after 3.30, 6d. Children under 14 half price.




Farnborough Rural District Council

Mr Ridley Brown occupied the chair at the meeting on Thursday, and there were also present: The Rev. J. Howell. and Messrs. R. H. A. Holbech, W. B. Jarvis, A. Spencer, A. Fairfax (clerk), G. Elkington (surveyor), and N. H. Dawson (inspector).

The Farnborough Water Supply

The Clerk read the minutes of a special meeting held at his office at which is was agreed that Mr Holbech be asked to clean out the well at Farnborough again, and that the Inspector inform the tenant that the water must not be used in the meantime. At the same meeting it was agreed that Dr W. F. Walker be appointed deputy medical officer for the Council during the absence on Dr Johns on army service.

Mr Holbech said the well at Farnborough had been cleaned out, and the inspect had been over and seen it and agreed with what had been done. They had put in bricks in cement some distance down the well, and he thought the whole of the work would be finished that day. He hoped that the water would be satisfactory now. There would be another analysis taken after a good deal of the water had been pumped out.

Maternity Matters

The Clerk read a circular from the Local Government Board with reference to grants to maternity centres, and schools for mothers and remarked that the matter did not affect them at present.


The Clerk said the balance in hand was £240 4s 8d and since the last meeting £48 4s 8d had been received.

The Rev. J. Howell asked what was the position of the Radway drainage matter now?

The Chairman – the plans were presented to the Council this month.

Mr A. Spencer – They were presented a month ago and everything is in order to proceed with the work when the war is over.

The Clerk said that the plans were presented on the 17th June, and it was decided that nothing should be done in consequence of the war. It would cost something like £300.

Mr Spencer – Everything is ready for starting when necessity presses us. It was postponed on account of the war.

The Surveyor reminded Mr Holbech that the proposed catchpit at Farnborough had not been done.

Mr Holbech said it had not been done on account of haymaking, and assured the surveyor that it would be seen to.

The Inspector reported what had been done in various matters which he had reported at the last meeting.

Banbury Guardian, July 1915