View Post

Sidmouth’s History of Soldiers, Celebs and Smugglers

It can be hard to believe when you walk through the sleepy streets of Sidmouth, but the town has had a pretty exciting history. Sure, the streets are now populated by gentle pensioners licking seagulls* and counting ice creams*, but the town has seen a great deal of crazy activity in years past. Don’t believe me? Well, just read on. *I …

View Post

Banbury’s History of Prudes, Drunkards and Murderers

Banbury’s a nice place to be, right? It’s full of friendly people, lovely parks, and fun events like the Old Town Parties.  Don’t be fooled though, Banbury has hosted a millennium of strife, warfare and some horrible, horrible murders. … and drunk people. Lots of drunk people. The people of Banbury have never hesitated to stand up for themselves, a …

View Post

Abingdon’s History of Madness, Murder and Mayhem

“Abingdon is a typical country town of the smaller order — quiet, eminently respectable, clean, and desperately dull.” – Jerome K Jerome in Three Men in a Boat, 1889. Three Men in a Boat may be a brilliant read, but it’s amazing how wrong Jerome K Jerome was when he wrote that down. Abingdon, dull? Sure people might just associate …

View Post

Chipping Norton’s History of Battles, Bigamy and Bizarreness

Chipping Norton. What does the name mean to you? Most people would probably mention the cluster of famous millionaires associated with the town despite not living here, or the fact that aspirin was discovered nearby. Unsuprisingly there’s a lot more to be said of Chippy – the town has been the backdrop of a jaw dropping amount of fighting, crime and scandal, …

View Post

Burford’s History of Murder, Mistresses and Misbehaviour

“Rich in unspoiled treasures of the past, its long street, which leaves the Windrush rippling among the willows and mounts the steep hill, has something rare to show us at every step.” That quote, featured in the section on Burford in Arthur Mee’s 1931 book The King’s England, goes a long way to explain why the town has become such …

View Post

Ghost Special: Witney’s Murders, Suicides and Vanishing Hitchhikers

Something fairly unique to Britain is our strangely unquestioning acceptance that places are haunted. Even people who aren’t superstitious in the slightest occasionally mention that their local pub toilet is frequented by a ghost, or that they think an angry poltergeist lives in their shed. It’s hard to know how seriously you’re supposed to take ghost stories, but I’ve decided it doesn’t actually matter …

View Post

Witney’s History of War, Murder and Drunkenness

You’d be forgiven for imagining that Witney, David Cameron’s very own comfortable market town, has always been sleepy and dull. Didn’t it just make blankets for centuries and then become a pretty place for middle-class women to shop? Well yes, but it’s also had its fair share of drama. Here are five historical examples of Witney actually being totally screwed up. …