History Group       Appleton with Eaton History Group (AwEHG)


We formed in 2009 and are collecting as much as we can of the Parish’s past. We are a small group, about nine at the last count, meeting in John Page's garden, 27 Badswell Lane, now on the first Thursday of the month at 19:30. 


We are complete amateurs looking into whatever interests us – either as individuals or as small groups. There is a vast amount to be looked into – topics of all sorts.

If you want to join us just come along or get in touch – John Page on 01865-864808 or  Roger Gilkes on  awehg1@gmail.com

History Group News

For your diaries: there will be an open talk “The River at War sometime  soon in Appleton School Hall by Bill King, a local history expert and co-author of books on the Second World War.

He will refer to the role of the Upper Thames in the defence of this country, especially in relation to World War 2.

Do come and join us!

AwEsome Histories no. 8:

This is our most recent compilation of stories and local history research projects.

It is on sale in Appleton Community Shop, price £5. 

The first seven editions of AwEsome Histories – Appleton with Eaton History Group’s local history magazine – can also be purchased from the Community Shop, priced £3 each - individual issues are still available.

Also available from the village shop are two more booklets:  "Appleton War Memorial"  at £5, and the newly published "Ringing With Pride " - the story of the Appleton Church bells, at £2.50.

For postal sales, please write/email to the secretary Roger Gilkes (rhgilkes@gmail.com) at 18 Park Lane, Appleton, Abingdon OX13 5JT. The cost, including postage and packing,  will be £5 for one copy, £9 for two copies, £12 for three copies, £15 for four copies, and £26 for eight copies etc. Please indicate which booklets you want to buy and email Roger Gilkes for the onlne payment details of the history group, or make cheques payable to Appleton with Eaton History Group.

Digging Appleton

Have you ever wondered about the archaeology of Appleton village? You could contribute to discovering much more about the origins and growth of the village by offering up a square metre of your garden for a mini-excavation. These “test-pits” will produce pottery and other evidence and allow us to plot where people were living, and how they were using the land in the village from the earliest times. You would be most welcome to take part alongside skilled volunteers and professional archaeologists in digging and finds cleaning and identification.


In early March 2019 in the School Hall, the project's organisers,  Jane Harrison, Leigh Mellor and Trevor Rowley, explained the fascinating results from the test pits digging and geophysics surveys. They showed us some of the finds and also told us about the future plans for the project;  more weekends of test digs and geophysics surveys are due to take place in the future, together with the plans for another summer excavation in the Broadmoor field on the Netherton Road.       

The whole process is controlled and tidy, and after a very short time it will be almost impossible to see where the test-pit was located. As more pits are dug evidence will accumulate to create a picture of past life in Appleton. The project started  in October 2016 and then continued when more test pits were excavated around the village in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A team of experienced diggers led by Trevor Rowley and Jane Harrison of the Oxford University Continuing Education Department were joined by site hosts and members of the History Group.  Each pit contributes a little bit to the jigsaw puzzle of information about our village history.  One revealed an array of medieval stones with pieces of contemporary pottery. Another showed the edge of a long-lost pond. Victorian and Edwardian objects were found in others.


Fascinating results....! Further test digs took place on June 1st/2nd last year. And as for the results of the excavations in Broadmoor field next to South Lawn last July.....watch this space.

Please do come along and see what we are discovering. In 2020 we are also likely to dig on the site of Besselsleigh Manor. If you want to know more, contact John Page (864808) or Roger Gilkes (awehg1@gmail.com). The project has a name: Appleton Area Archaeological Research Project - AAARP..

Appleton Advertiser  Titles of back articles written by the history group

If you  wish to read about any of the following, you will find them in back articles of the Appleton Advertiser. Alternatively, please contact the history group archivist, Monica Price  (monica.price@oum.ox.ac.uk).


  • The Cherbury Camp

  • An Old Fishery

  • Appleton’s Old Parish Registers

  • A Real Fairy Story

  • Tubney - a Deserted Village

  • Children's Names 1851 and Today

  • What was a Hovel?

  • Under an Appleton Apple Tree

  • Sir Basil Blackwell

  • The Devil's Quoits

  • Remember Them

  • Who Were the Sellwood Brothers?

  • In Winters Past

  • Enclosure - Awesome Moment in History

  • Thames Skiff

  • Digging for History

  • A Button

  • Lost Appleton Homes

  • Fishergirl to Duchess

  • Bus Stop Shelter

Future meetings:

Meetings normally take place on the first Thursday of the month at 7.30 pm, usually, at 27 Badswell Lane. 

The next meeting will be on Thursday  4th March at 7.30 pm by Zoom. Anybody is welcome to join us, but please could email your request to the meeting coordinator, Helen Stedman  (helen_stedman@yahoo.co.uk) , by 7.10 pm on the day.