We set out to begin to act as a catalyst to provide a community-wide buy-in to the idea of sharing and celebrating the heritage of the Parish. The civil Parish of Kingsbury Episcopi has a certain, easily identifiable geographical context, with a distinctive hill, set above a distinctive Moor, circumscribed and bounded by river and water courses. Geographically, the Parish is thus physically something which you can see and feel.
Within this area, and for decades, people have valued its uniqueness and recorded it, celebrated it and contributed to its on-going evolution. There are threads in its DNA which connect our present work with those in the past.
The film extract below is from the documentary series by Chris Chapman -“Secrets of the Levels”, shown on television in 1996. This extract is one in a collection of films in the archive on the Kingsbury Episcopi May Festival. The May Festival represents a thread of celebrations and festivals which is part of the culture and heritage of the area.
The collection of original drawings used as our landing image for this section date from 1954 and are of costume designs for a theatre production, along with photographs of the local area taken in the early 1960s. They have been made accessible for our work by Susan Ogilvy of East Lambrook. They are part of a collection left to her care by Dorothy Paston Fisher and Mary Godlonton – affectionately know locally as The Godfishers.
There are many reports of Dorothy (Doria) Fisher’s acting career and set design during the late 1920s and 1930s. She was a member of the Cambridge Festival Theatre under the director Terence Gray – who was considered very avant garde in his day. She featured in a ‘Modern Scenic Design Exhibition” in April 1936 in London, which featured theatre models, scenery and costume designs.
Mary Godlonton, known as Molly, was a very keen photographer, an expert on heraldry and Coats of Arms and had a keen sense of humour. She often wrote a column for the Western Gazette. Several of her photographs have appeared in the albums of local families and so have made their way into the KTT Parish Archive.
Together these two women initiated and carried through some amazing community projects. They not only recorded aspects of the parish through photographs, drawings and engraving art, they started an appeal amongst the good and the great of the time, to refurbish the stained glass windows of St James Church, East Lambrook…… a lasting legacy for this Church, which was built circa 1280. Some of their artwork they sold for a Guide Dog for the Blind appeal.
Changes in thinking and practice during the past 20 years – with digital technology and the internet – has helped to make our work more accessible, more feasible, more practical….more applicable……… and thus with perhaps greater resonance.
Our Parish Archive has developed into one whereby we now have a vast collection of photographs, documents, maps and films…… digitally recorded and stored for future interest, reference and potential use.
Drawing upon local expertise
In any community, there will be a lot of expertise in many fields related to a wide variety of the work needed to make the archiving we do happen and accessible. The following before and after mended photographs help to illustrate some aspects of ‘saving’ those old and damaged images, which have stories to tell. They have been attended to by Steve Cooper of Little Island, Stembridge.
Please be in touch if you feel you can add to the Time Travellers archive by allowing us to copy photographs, documents, old film recordings, maps and objects….. each, and all of which, help to tell the story of the Parish and its people….past & present.