Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

June 2007

This months News



The Rector’s Diary

I have to confess that the rural delights of Warwickshire were until recently unknown to me.  The village of Oxhill, I had never heard of.  That was to change with my discovery of a small diary bought at a local (Doncaster) antiques fair.  It was in fact the personal record of the year 1944, of a former Rector of Oxhill the Reverend Geoffrey Shaw Hewins.  Every page was completed, every day recorded in minute detail, providing a graphic account of his everyday life in wartime Oxhill and later Exhall.  Though difficult to read at times, the diary is a charming record of his activities in the Oxhill locality.  There are some interesting references to the war but Mr. Hewins and his family appear to have been largely unaffected and they enjoyed a rather idyllic lifestyle despite the restrictions of the times.  His clerical duties are recorded but he also finds time to visit Wolverhampton, Stratford and other towns, enjoys lunch in Woolworth’s, walks over the fields to Whatcote, collects windfalls from his orchard, loves reading and clearly appreciates the benefits of a stable and loving family life.  It is the recording of minute everyday detail that makes the diary such fascinating reading.

By some strange coincidence my daughter has recently taken up a position at the Banbury Hospice and is now living in the area.  On a recent visit, I felt I should go to nearby Oxhill and see Mr Hewins' church.  The experience there was strange and moving since I felt I had come to know Mr. Hewins via his diary.  Mrs. Whaley kindly invited me into the rectory, Mr. Hewins' former home, and suggested I should write an article for your local journal as she felt sure the material would be of interest to the villagers of Oxhill.

I have chosen some snippets from the diary to provide a flavour of Mr. Hewins' writing and included in the article a few illustrations from the diary itself though it is quite difficult to read.

It is my intention to pass on the diary to Ann Hale who will, I understand, deposit it in the archives at Warwick.  It is without doubt a fascinating and valuable little historical document.

Alan Thrall

[We are most grateful to Alan for his kind donation of the diary, which is currently with our village historian Ann Hale.  She is diligently producing a transcript for publication prior to depositing it in Warwick.  The excerpts to which Alan refers, together with others provided in due course by Ann, will appear in later editions of the News.  Ed.]

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Last modified: May 28, 2007