About The Eydon Historical Research Group
Aim: To actively research the history of Eydon and its inhabitants and to publish our findings
The group was started in late 1996 with the aim of finding out more about the village and its history. The village is blessed with a superb history, 'A Countryman's Tale' written by Syd Tyrrell and first published in 1973*. This whetted our appetites for more, and in 2001 we published the second volume of Syd Tyrrell's work called ‘Syd Tyrrell’s Eydon’, which is available from EHRG. For details of all our publications please go to our publications page on this website.
We wanted to build on the stories of the people about whom Syd had written and to add more details about the world in which they lived. Although we have no oral history of the world and the village that Syd knew, in the past twenty five years many documents and records to which he did not have access have been made available. Using these and the modern IT tools has enabled us to add to his legacy.
Projects are approached using many different resources. For example, the story of evacuees during the 1939-45 War involved looking through the school records, some of Syd Tyrrell’s unpublished works, local government lists of where people stayed, and taking oral histories of former evacuees about their time in Eydon
A major task has been the transcription of village records held in central record offices, so that complex electronic searches can be carried out efficiently. Documents that have been (or are in the process of being) transcribed include the church baptismal, marriage and burial registers since 1538; some of the records of Eydon Quakers; the census returns from 1841 to 1901; samples of churchwardens’ and overseers’ accounts and rate books from the mid-17th century on; the field books of the 1910 land tax; wills, inventories and deeds from properties in the village.
In early 2006 we began to consider how we should preserve and store not only the photographs we had been given or loaned, but also – and much more important - the information we have concerning the photographs. To do this we developed a searchable database, linking the photographs with the history of the people, places and events they illustrate. We aim not just to record what is shown, but by linking each image to others, trace and reveal as much as possible of their stories, to provide as comprehensive a database as possible.
One of our members urged us to apply for a Lottery grant. Our success in obtaining one enabled us to develop and extend the project. Our archive is no longer for the group’s use alone, but through our website, exhibitions and talks, available to anyone interested in researching local history.
We held a successful exhibition to introduce the project in February 2007 and more have been held since then.
Photos from Exhibition courtesy of Alison Parsons
*Published 1973, Constable & Co., London, ISBN 0 09 458900 3
Reissued 1974, Readers Union Country Book Club, Newton Abbot, Devon
Republished 1991, Century Books, London, ISBN: 978-0712646253 as part of the National Trust Classics series – please note: currently out of print (but we usually have second-hand copies available.)