Ogbourne St Andrew Parish History Group

        Ogbourne St Andrew, Maisey & Rockley
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AGM 2020

Ogbourne St Andrew History Group                                                   
Annual General Meeting Minutes:  held Thursday July 23rd 2020, 7.30pm
(due to Covid restrictions, held by Zoom with 12 members participating)
1.       Apologies for Absence  
Isabelle Kingston, Kathy Fuller, Liz Turner, Marion and Ian Gordon-Finlayson.
2.       Acceptance of last year’s AGM minutes
The previous year’s AGM minutes, having been previously circulated and posted on the website, were accepted unanimously following a brief resume by the Chairman.
3.       Chairman’s Report
This last year has obviously been heavily disrupted by the Covid pandemic but prior to lock-down the main activity was the continuing barrow project. The superb community effort in 2018 to clear the barrow surface allowed a start on the geophysics survey and prepared the way for the removal of the diseased and dying trees in August 2019. This was at times spectacular, especially with the larger trees and allowed the first uninterrupted view of the barrow in many years.  Whilst it appeared a bit “raw”, the sight of the barrow elicited interest from many passers-by and whilst we were working on the barrow there was a constant stream of enquiries. The new information board helped immensely and attracted a great deal of interest and positive comment. Thanks again to Sue Parry and the design team for bringing it to fruition.  
Barrow Project:  data collection was completed by early Spring, following problems with the survey equipment and bad weather.  Then began the data reduction and interpretation.  Bearing in mind this technique has not been previously applied in such detail to a barrow, there has been a very steep learning curve.  A glitch in the data handling required re-interpretation and a revised report, which is almost ready for re-submission.  At 40 pages, 24 figures and over 11,000 words it has required a fair amount of time to complete!  We will be making a full presentation to the Group as soon as lockdown regulations allow.
It is apparent that the site (church, barrow and agricultural complex) is now attracting interest from the wider archaeological community who consider it of local, if not national, importance.  In particular the dating of the Bronze Age and Anglo Saxon phases is important.  A visit to the Wiltshire Museum with Dr. Sophie Beckett (an expert osteologist) to critically review the archived remains from Cunnington’s 1885 excavation has resulted in a report which lays the basis for future projects to date the various remains and possibly open a full osteological examination to identify the sex, origins and health of the individuals.

Visits: Only one visit was made, in July 2019, when Nick Baxter led a full group for a walk along the Kennet (and beyond), recounting the fascinating history of the hidden parts of Marlborough.  This followed on from Nick’s previous walk in 2018 along the High Street and was to his same high standard.

Talks: There were no talks in the latter half of 2019, but a History Group display was put on in the church for the Christmas Fair and engendered a great deal of interest.  Then Covid struck…..

Website: The last year saw a total of 2,225 “hits”, 25% from the USA, 14% from the UK.  The hits are well down on last year, but a steady stream of e-mail enquiries all relating to family queries and anecdotes continued.

Finances: These are in still good shape and the committee has recommended holding the annual fee at £10.

Meeting Date: following the decisions at the last AGM, future meetings will be on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm, April to October.

Future Activities: There will be no meetings organised until it is clearly safe to do so and Government restrictions have been lifted.  This is unlikely in the foreseeable future so more use will be made of the Website to expand and improve the history content. Access will be made available to the updated Church History and archaeological reports.  Links to virtual tours of museums and sites of interest will be added.  Forward planning for an audio project to record local memories to add to those we already have and make them available on-line will be put in hand.  We hope to hold meetings in the Spring, if permitted and in the meantime the possibility of holding a few meetings using Zoom will be investigated.

Bruce Fox     July 2020
4.       Appointment of Committee
All standing committee members stood for re-election and with no other candidates offering to stand, were elected nem con.
Chairman                    Bruce Fox
Vice chairman            Brian Wood
Secretary                    Margaret Matthews
Treasurer                    Alex Matthews
Committee                Roger Harris
                                     Jane Fox
                                     Sue Parry
5.       Financial Report
Total funds stood at £377.89
Proposed Budget 2020 / 2021  (assumes meetings will be possible in 2021)
Speakers                                                              3  x £50.00                          150.00
Church hire                                                          3  x £15.00                            45.00
Web fees                                                                                                           50.00
                                                                               total expenditure            245.00

It was agreed that subscriptions should remain at £10 which should be delivered to Alex Matthews (Treasurer), either as cash or cheque payable to the Ogbourne St Andrew History Group.

A question was raised over the cost of the Barrow Project and the Chairman stated that, other than incidental expenses in a visit to Devizes Museum by the Osteologist Dr. Sophie Beckett, no charges had been incurred by the History Group and that all the work was by volunteers. The funding for the barrow tree clearance had been funded by grants obtained by the PCC from Historic England.

6.       Forthcoming Events:  
The Chairman restated his comments made in his report about the current situation and commented that a return to “normal “ would be implemented as soon as allowed, with a presentation on the Barrow Project as a priority.  Emphasis would be on providing information to members via the Group website.

7.       Any Other Business:
It was noted that a Charity, Caring for God’s Acre would give advice about caring for the graveyard in an environmentally friendly way to encourage wildlife.

The meeting was declared closed at 7.47 – a record brevity of 17 minutes

January 2021
copyright Ogbourne St Andrew History Group 2021
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