The Abingdon Association

A visitor looking at Chastleton House, Oxfordshire

The Abingdon & District Association draws its membership from the area between Oxford and the Berkshire Downs. Our programme aims to add value and fun to supporting the National Trust.

A programme of summer coach trips and holidays allow members to enjoy some of the National Trust places further away with most visits taking place in the summer months. We also visit historic towns such as Bath and Brighton out of season.

Our talks programme, which takes place through the winter, enables us to keep in touch with one another and entertains us while the National Trust’s places are closed.

The success of our programmes enables us to fund and support a number of National Trust places and wider appeals. Amongst them are, Priory CottagesGreat Coxwell Barn, Greys Court, Basildon Park and Chastleton House.

What's On

TALKS FOR 2019: These take place in Trinity Church Hall, Conduit Road, Abingdon OX14 1DB at 2.30pm,with refreshments available from 2pm.The talks are free to members with a donation of £3 requested from non-members.The opportunity to join the Association is always available on the door, making the talks free and the possibility of joining the outings as well.For more information about these talks,please contact Ruth on 01235 524119 or email

Tuesday September 24 – Liz Woolley - “It will do him more good than going to school”: Child labour in nineteenth-century Oxfordshire. The image commonly evoked by the phrase ‘child labour’ is one of young children toiling in the grimy factories and mines of the Midlands and the North. Yet in rural counties like Oxfordshire, child labour was as much a feature of everyday life in the nineteenth century as in industrialised areas. This hour-long illustrated talk tells the story of our county’s child workers, many of whom started work part-time at the age of six or seven and, until the compulsory school legislation of the 1870s, left education for good by the age of ten to become permanently employed. Oxfordshire children worked in agriculture, in domestic service and in lace-making, gloving and in a host of other small-scale occupations. The talk highlights the differences between girls’ and boys’ experiences of work, and the particular fates of pauper apprentices. It also shows that, contrary to popular belief, cottage industry and agricultural work were by no means the ‘soft option’ in comparison with work in the factories and mines of industrialised areas.  Liz Woolley is a local historian specialising in aspects of the history of Oxford and Oxfordshire. She is particularly interested in the history of the city’s “town” – as opposed to “gown” – and in the everyday lives of rural people across the county, chiefly during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Tuesday October 22 – Geoff Dunbar - From Toulouse Lautrec to Sir Paul McCartney: The golden age of hand drawn animation in Great Britain. Geoff is an international award-winning animator whose films include Toulouse Lautrec and the Cunning Little Vixen and whose work has won the Palme d'Or and Baftas, amongst others. He has worked with Sir Paul McCartney and set up his own production company in London. From his early fascination with the Walt Disney cartoons, Geoff has built a distinguished career in both film animation and book illustration. This talk will include the showing of two short films and promises to be something special

Tuesday November 19  - Dr Tim Sellers - AGM & The Mysteries of Migration. This talk will throw some light on the knowledge we have and what still remains a mystery about migration. Migration is a critical part of the annual cycle of many animals.  They can travel ten, hundreds or even thousands of miles and the range of animals that migrate is very large.  The most spectacular migrations are found among the birds.  Human beings have known about migration since biblical times, but only recently have we begun to understand the wide range of movements made, and the effort involved in achieving them.  It turns out that the phenomenon is very complex and is really part of the whole life of an individual.  Among the birds, each individual has to prepare many weeks ahead for its journey, and can only rely on itself for finding its way.  In spite of these difficulties, many millions of birds fly thousands of miles twice each year throughout their lives.  This lecture explores the phenomenon of migration and how birds manage their amazing feats of navigation and endurance. After retiring from Imperial College London, where he had been an academic member of the Zoology Department, Tim took the opportunity to travel abroad extensively, especially in SE Asia.  He has a long term interest in promoting science to the general public and has given science courses and lectures in many countries to RSPB and similar groups for over 30 years.

VISITS: Closing dates for visit applications are always two weeks prior to the visit date. For more details about visits, please contact Mrs Helen Bush on 01235 534561, email

Wednesday 10 April 2019 - HIDCOTE & CHASTLETON HOUSE – A day visiting two National Trust properties is planned. We start by visiting Hidcote near Chipping Camden – the world-famous Arts and Crafts garden created by a wealthy American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston.  There are many outdoor ‘rooms’ to explore which change in harmony with the seasons.  Many of the unusual plants found in the gardens result from Johnston’s plant-hunting trips to faraway places.  Wandering through the maze of narrow-paved pathways, there are secret gardens to explore, unexpected views over the Cotswolds and Spring plants which that burst with colour.  There are two cafes serving main meals or soup and snacks, a shop and a plant centre.  We plan to arrive at approximately 11 am and to leave at 2 pm, giving plenty of time to explore and have lunch.

After lunch we will go on to Chastleton House near Moreton-in- Marsh.  This is a Jacobean country house and garden built in the early 17th century by Walter Jones as an impressive statement of wealth and power.  The house has remained unchanged for 400 years, as the family who owned it until 1991 struggled financially, leaving a unique and fascinating time capsule.  Visitors take their own free-flow tour, taking approximately 45 minutes, and there are plants and garden produce for sale - also honey from the hives.  There will be time for light refreshments which are served in the local church (not National Trust).   We will leave there at 4.30 and should arrive back about 6.

Depart: Wallingford Corn Exchange    9.00 am,  Abingdon Bridge Street  9.20 am, Abingdon Stratton Way   9.30 am

Cost: £18 per person (plus entrance for non-NT members).

Replies to:    Barry Stayte by Monday 26 March 2019.

Thursday 2 May - STANDEN HOUSE AND GARDEN & WAKEHURST PLACE, WEST SUSSEX  - We hope to arrive at the NT Standen House in time for coffee (not included) followed by an introductory talk about the family and the house they built.  Standen Manor is an Arts and Crafts family home e with William Morris interiors and changing exhibitions.  There is a 12-acre garden divided into many outdoor “rooms” all inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement.  We hope the tulips will still be in full bloom.  Lunch will be available here (not included).  There is a Gift Shop with gifts and souvenirs inspired by William Morris. 

In the afternoon we shall continue to Wakehurst Place (not NT) – often described as Kew in the Country.  The estate is world-renowned for its collections, scientific research and plant conservation.  We can see the Millennium Seed Bank and are free to explore the gardens and woodland.  Refreshments are available.   There is a Gift Shop and Plant Centre.  We expect to leave at 4.30 pm.

Depart:   Boundary House, Abingdon 8.15  am,  Stratton Way, Abingdon  8.20  am, Wallingford Corn Exchange 8.40  am

Cost:  £26 per person.

Replies to: Barry Stayte by 18 April

Thursday 6 June - BATH We will take you to the city of Bath where you will be free to decide yourself what to see and do.  There will be a map of the city with an information pack about the many places of interest that you can visit at your leisure, such as: The Roman Baths, Assembly Rooms, The Fashion Museum, Jane Austen Centre, The Guild Hall, Bath Abbey, The Pump Room, The Royal Crescent, Pultney Bridge, etc. We expect to return by 7 pm.

Depart:   Wallingford Corn Exchange    8.40,   Abingdon Bridge Street   9.00, Abingdon Stratton Way   9.05

Cost: £23.00 per person.

Replies to: Barry Stayte by 23 May

Tuesday 9 July - HIDDEN LONDON and THE REGENT’S CANAL – We will meet the Blue Badge Tour Guide at 10.30am to buy coffee at the Museum of London on London Wall, which follows the line of the old Roman city walls.  In 1666 the Great Fire of London swept away much of the mediaeval city but the flames died to ashes to leave this one corner untouched.  We start at the Aldersgate and make our way to the Newgate via a maze of short narrow streets and bygone alleyways surrounding the smooth field, now known as Smithfield.  For centuries Londoners came here to watch grisly public executions and to visit London’s first hospital and the meat market.

We next visit Postman’s Park to see memorial plaques telling of tragic and brave acts of heroic self-sacrifice and walk beneath a Tudor gatehouse into the yard of London’s oldest parish church.  You’ll see Sir John Betjeman’s town house and the spots where Scottish hero Sir William Wallace was executed, and the Bishop of Rochester’s cook was boiled alive!  We then visit the site of a plague pit and go inside the stately Charterhouse to see the chapel and museum before breaking for lunch a few minutes’ walk back in Smithfield.  There’s bench seating in the gardens and a good choice of pubs and cafés including one in the old priory cloisters of St Bartholomew Church.

After lunch we board a traditional narrow boat that once carried real cargoes.   From beneath the white stuccoed mansions of opulent Little Venice we travel on a 50-minute cruise through London Zoo and passing the aviary designed by Lord Snowdon.  We see an oriental floating restaurant, willow-draped towpaths and a colourful collection of houseboats and brightly decorated narrow boats.  We pass beneath “Blow Up Bridge” and glide silently through a narrow tunnel that the bargees, in horse-drawn days, had to walk their way through upside down.  The guide will help you to pick out the little details that are so fascinating: the grooves cut into the bridge ironwork by the tow ropes and the pipe that carries one of London’s lost rivers across the canal. We arrive in the cobbled and flagged yard of Camden Lock where there is time to buy tea before heading home by 4.45pm.  There is not too much walking, however, and there is a point where we can board the coach during the morning if needed.

Depart:    Wallingford Corn Exchange 8.40 , Abingdon Bridge Street 8.40,  Abingdon Stratton Way 8.45

Cost: £52.00 (including entrances, Blue Guide and Canal trip)

Replies to: Barry Stayte by 25 June


Become a member

Abingdon & District NT Association 2018 Membership Form (PDF / 0.59765625MB) download