Aelfthryth’s work with the probate groups
Aelfthryth was a
founder member of the Burford (later Oxfordshire) Probate Group, and like many of
the other members, learnt her palaeography in 2004 at a class run by Mary Hodges.
The group went on to transcribe the wills and inventories for Burford as part
of the volunteer input for the Oxfordshire Victoria County History’s research
into the town’s history. The group then cast its net wider and helped the VCH
with its research into Henley and then the
parishes around Benson and Ewelme. The group’s work can be seen especially in
the books published by the VCH on Burford and Henley.
instrumental in setting up another group to transcribe the wills and
inventories for the parishes in the Wychwood area, and she was the main
organiser for this new group. She kept the group’s records, went to the
Oxfordshire History Centre and The National Archives at Kew
to obtain photocopies of the originals, and kept track of who was doing what.
She hoped that the group would manage to
transcribe 200 people’s documents before Christmas 2012, and was very pleased
that this was achieved.
Aelfthryth was a
meticulous transcriber, who put a great deal of thought and effort into her
work, and refused to be beaten by difficult-to-read writing or obscure meanings.
She was fascinated by the information about families that could be found in the
documents: for example, the Toovey family of Henley who were early Quakers; and
the Bishop family of Northleach whose sons lived in Burford. She was very proud
to have an article on the Bishop family, written with Angela Dix, published in
the Summer 2012 edition of the Oxfordshire Local History magazine. She
also enjoyed the insight that the documents gave into people’s lives in the 17th
century, and especially by the contents of their kitchens! She was planning to
give a talk on kitchens implements at the April meeting of the Wychwood Local
Like all members of
the group, she thoroughly enjoyed the discussions and friendship of the monthly
meetings, and the visits made to places such as Ewelme and the costume
collection at Claydon. She made a wonderful potato salad for the
‘bring-and-share’ lunches, and all remember her special rice-maker. The group
enjoyed meeting at her house, watching the progress of the ducks nesting in her
yard, and sitting having coffee under the mulberry tree.
She will be much
missed by us all.