A fascinating history......

Many villages manage a small pamphlet about their history, but Ramsden has been more ambitious.

The Ramsden Village Story is a record of the village’s 2000 year history which started out as a Millenium Project, was renamed the Ramsden Domesday Project, and is the result of almost 13 years of painstaking research by a dedicated team.

Regrettably, four members of the original team have since died and the average age of the remaining team is ‘ nearer to 80, than 70’, according to editor, Dick Williamson. The book is beautifully produced with colour photographs and drawings by villagers. The chapter on ‘working life’, for example, has detailed illustrations explaining how a Wychwood saw pit worked, and showing a cross-section of a clay pipe.

The village was a source of blue-grey Lower Oxford clay, now dreaded by gardeners! But, it put Ramsden on the map as a centre for pipe-making and readers’ understanding is enhanced by a reconstruction of a pipe maker’s gin-press. Before the 20th century, it was wood from the forest that dominated village life; people were loading old carts and prams with firewood until 1965, when a new law put an end to the custom.

As for the women, there was gloving, which one villager continued well into the 1970s. Interestingly, the chapter on agriculture suggests that forest is returning to some previously cultivated land.’


The Ramsden Village Story – Poachers, Priests and Patriots

Edited by Dick Williamson, this is a wonderful read for local residents and all who take an interest in English rural history.

And at just £25.00 per copy, it's a bargain.