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Aims: To actively research the history of Eydon and its inhabitants and to publish our findings.
With various revisions, this page has been on the web since 1997.
There is a newer EHRG website with Photo Archive: Eydon Historical Research Group Website
The group was started in late 1996 with the aim of finding out more about the village and its history. Although the village is blessed with a superb history, "A Countryman's Tale" written by Syd Tyrrell and first published in 1972*, this has only served to whet our appetites. We wanted to know more about the people Syd had written about, and their world. We were interested in the other things, the aspects he took for granted. We wanted to push the story forward, and back. Although we have lost contact with the oral history that Syd knew, in the last twenty five years there have been a lot of documents and records made available that he didn't have access to. And so Eydon Historical Research Group was formed.
* republished by Century Books, London as part of the National Trust Classics series, 1991, ISBN: 0712646256 (note: currently out of print, CMH Nov 97).
EHRG tends to meet on the last Tuesday of the month at the Royal Oak to discuss progress and to suggest ways to push the research forward. The date tends to be a bit irregular as we have carried out external research on some nights; visits to the Northants Record Office; a walk around the village with an architectural historian etc.. So, if you would like to come along to a meeting, it might be best to contact us first to check the exact date (unless you are really looking for an excuse to visit the Royal Oak on a Tuesday night!).
Since starting we have completed work on two projects, the Political Life of Eydon since 1884, and the complete transcription and publication of the Census Returns for Eydon from 1841 to 1891. A couple of the original projects, the history of Kenches building firm and the re-population of the village have been continued and extended, whilst a number of new projects have been started.
1) The History of Kenches, the local building firm, up to the Second World War. The project has been looking at the preserved records of the firm, talking to ex-employees and their families and building up a photographic record of buildings and artefacts from the firm. If anyone has any reminiscences of Kenches, Robert Manton would love to hear from you.
2) Re-populating the village. With the census returns now complete, we are moving on to the land Tax of 1910, which produced a 'Little Doomsday Book', listing every bit of land, who owned it, who rented it and how much it was worth. With this, and with information from individual house histories, we hope to be able to extend the re-population into this century.
3) Poor Law. We are also looking at the workings of the poor law in Eydon, with the help of the old Overseers Record Book. This records all expenditure on indoor and outdoor relief given to those too old or too sick to look after themselves. Along with the help given by friendly societies such as the Ancient Order of Foresters, they provided the social services in the village prior to the introduction of the welfare state.
4) Re-drawing the Enclosure Map of Eydon. The biggest change to the landscape of Eydon was caused by the Enclosure Act of 1762, which carved up the two medieval open fields into the field pattern seen now. Unfortunately, the map recording this change has not survived, but the schedule, stating who got what area of land, has been saved. This is being transcribed and with its aid, the old map will be reconstructed by comparing field sizes and boundary directions on the ground with those in the schedule.
5) History of Eydon School. For over one hundred years the school has played a major part in the history of Eydon. Now a study is being carried out on the school records, the daily log, the inspectors reports etc. which cast a sometimes very human light on the otherwise dry story derived from other records.
The Group is in the first stages of a major project to help celebrate the Millennium. We are planning to edit, annotate and publish the much talked about second volume of Syd Tyrrell's "The Countryman's Tale". Watch this space for details! - Editor's Comments: The book is now available, click here for information.
One of our main aims as a group is to publish our findings. So far, (at the start of 1999) we have distributed four free supplements to the Monthly Village Newsletters to every house in the village. These EHRG Newsletters outline work in progress, cries for help and small items of research or news.
A major effort so far has been the transcription and publication of the Census Returns for Eydon for 1841 to 1891. These comprise the full returns, including preambles and introductory pages, some notes and an index of all names listed. in addition, a master index, listing and cross referencing all the individuals named in the returns has been compiled.
The Group has also just published its first collection of papers entitled "Graffiti, Pigs and Old Lace!" as the first volume of the "Reports from the Eydon Historical Research Group", September 1998. more volumes in this series will be published in due course. For details of how to obtain any of these publications click here.
Eydon Historical Research Group, c/o 16 High Streeet, Eydon, Daventry, Northants. NN11 3PP, UK.
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