Wheatley Village Archive

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The Archive is moving in August 2022 to the Library, where it will be much more accessible in line with the Library opening hours. On Thursday afternoons, as now, a member of the archive staff will be in attendance from 2-4.30 p.m. On other Library opening days, should you want a member of the Archive staff to assist you, the Library staff will try to contact one of us.

The Archive is moving on 11 August 2022 and will be closed that day. Its next manned day will be 18 August 22 in the Library.

Calendar 2023

These will be on sale from September on these Thursday afternoons, and also on most fine (and not windy) Saturday mornings outside the Merry Bells. The monthly pictures show a selection of Wheatley events over the last 50 years.

The price has been kept at £10, the same as 3 years ago when we last had these for sale.

Links to our Facebook page and Youtube channel have been added. Their active logos are on the extreme right of the banner above.

Our new book, Wheatley 1890-1910: Reminiscences of the Turn of the Century and a Snapshot of the Village in 1910, is available at £7

This period in Wheatley’s history follows the influence of the Temperance movement which sought to bring more meaning into people’s lives rather than an over-reliance on alcohol. In Wheatley, this resulted in the development of the Merry Bells by Dorothy Miller of Shotover; along with other encouragement to help people to lead ‘better’ lives. The era of cruel sports was long-since over, and Wheatley had benefited from the progressive initiatives of Rev Edward Elton. The economy was improving after a long downturn, and agricultural over-manning resulting in riots was history. Thanks to a new push in the 1950s, steps were taken to capture living memories from the late 1880s onwards. These memories, gathered in this book, describe Wheatley in considerable detail in this benign and progressive period. The Great War was not yet a threat.


Helen Flight, part of the Archive team, has started a 'One Place Study' on Wikitree, which is a world-wide family tree contributed, like Wikipedia, by individuals, see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Wheatley,_Oxfordshire_One_Place_Study. Additional contributors (there are already some) are welcome but it is very important that any family tree additions are robust and well supported by sources so as to maintain the integrity of these trees.

Welcome to the Wheatley Village Archive website. This Archive started in 2003 as an initiative of the History Group within the Wheatley Society in a small room above the entrance to the Merry Bells village hall thanks to a generous subsidy by Wheatley Parish Council.  All the archives were carefully catalogued and filed in neatly indexed boxes in a database that now has some 2,300 records.

The initiative to digitise the archive started in 2018 and was largely complete by the end of 2019. This is making the records in the archive much more accessible to past and present inhabitants of Wheatley, whose records these are. It is hoped that this will encourage others to add any records which we do not already have. You do not need to part with your originals – either come into the Archive room when it is open or contact Michael Heaton at info@wheatleyarchive.org.uk. who will arrange to scan your original in the archive room or at his home in the High Street.

Regular opening of the small archive room (on the first floor of the village hall at The Merry Bells, 89 High Street, Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1XP) is on Thursday afternoons from 2-5pm and from 10am-12 on the last Saturday of each month. Visits can, also, be made by appointment, by contacting Michael Heaton at info@wheatleyarchive.org.uk or by telephone on 01865 425909. The same contact details can be used if you would like to purchase any of our publications, tea towels or notelets as listed on this page.

In December 2018, Wheatley Village Archive became registered charity number 1180964 run by the following trustees: Roger Bell, Steph Cox, Martin Gibson, David Harverson, Michael Heaton (chairman), and Pam Reay. The regular archive helpers are Pam Reay, Steph Cox and Michael Heaton.

This website has three main archive components; images and text files; the World War 1 men information; and the family trees. Instruction on how to use these is found by selecting ARCHIVE, WW1 MEN or GENEALOGY on the menu. Selecting GENEALOGY takes you into the TNG proprietary software which holds the family trees. There are a number of videos on our youtube channel, to see these click here.

In addition there is a section on the PUBLICATIONS of the Wheatley Village Archive. The HISTORY GROUP gives details of their current programme.

If you would like to make a donation to our work, our bank details are Wheatley Village Archive, Lloyds Sort Code 309626, Account 34848368. Thank you.


The Wheatley Heritage Trail

The first heritage trail, of about 1 mile in length, was launched in 2019 for anyone to walk, preferably starting at the Merry Bells where the interpretation board is on the side of the building in the walkway between the High Street and the car park. Boards are also at the top of the car park behind the King and Queen and viewed from the Church Road pavement; on the approach to the Church Road recreation ground; in Station Road just below the new Sidings development and close to the pedestrian crossing; and in Crown Square below the road sign on the URC building. Adjacent to all these is a leaflet dispenser, this leaflet (green trim) takes you around the trail and shows the key buildings. There is also another dispenser at the junction of Kiln Lane and Westfield Road.

Alternatively, you can undertake the walk using our 14 minute video, which has all the images and a description which you can pause at each stopping point.  Start from the Merry bells car park then click here to open the video and press play.

The photos show four of the boards, the car park board in situ, and the front of the trail leaflet.

A second video has been created enabling you to step back to 1950 and walk around Wheatley discovering what buildings existed at that time and whole stretches which were undeveloped. Start from the Merry Bells car park click here for the YouTube video.

The financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Wheatley W.I., who sponsored the Merry Bells board, are gratefully acknowledged. A big thank you also to local artists Victor Churchley and the late Bernard Hickey for the use of their paintings on the two main boards.

A second greater heritage walk, of about 3 miles in length, was added in 2021. It traces the industrial background to Wheatley's successes and its locational importance. Accompanying leaflets (blue trim) for this walk can be found in the dispensers around the village, or this leaflet (blue trim) can be downloaded here and takes you around the trail and shows the key buildings or sites.

The Archive team hope that you will enjoy these informative walks around our village. If you would like a guided walk, contact Michael (see above).