say that John Wilkes is an enthusiast is rather an understatement.
He is an indefatigable researcher who shares his enthusiasm and
knowledge with a worldwide audience.
the rest of us who spend our leisure time pottering around in the
garden or with our feet up reading a book, John travels the length
and breadth of Gloucestershire taking hundreds of photos of churches
- an architect by profession has been obsessed with photographing
the buildings of the county since 1997 when he bought his first
got a little bit of webspace with my email account," said John.
"So I decided to make a site about Dursley and its history.
Dursley site got a lot of interest with people contacting me from
all over the world and when my brother visited from New Zealand
things really started to take off."
take off is just what the Dursley site did. John didn't just stick
to Dursley - he began to compile a photo library of villages all
I find that huge numbers of people from abroad are interested
in tracing their family tree and when they come across my site
they have a photographic record of places they have never seen.
now has photographs of 330 of Gloucestershire's churches with 44
indepth photographic studies of churches from Highnam to his most
recent study of Ashley near Tetbury.
find that huge numbers of people from abroad are interested in tracing
their family tree and when they come across my site they have a
photographic record of places they have never seen."
of John's contacts have even come to Gloucestershire from America
and Australia on the strength of John's incredible library.
suppose it all started because I wanted to promote Dursley. But
I love photography and I love architecture and I wanted people to
see the truly great architectural treasures of our county.
wanted to create a modern equivalent of the great architectural
guides of the 20th century like Pevsner. But I didn't expect such
a huge response from overseas."
I wanted people to see the truly great architectural treasures
of our county.
site began with just two megabytes of webspace but now John
has more than 1,000 images. Too many for his
webspace to handle.
an Internet contact called Allan
offered to host montages of John's photographs of churches on his
server in Canada. Allan
optimises the images and puts them on his webspace free of charge.
is also a keen researcher and historian. He recently undertook some
research into the exact location of Dursley castle.
findings tally with those of historian David Evans who has also
been researching the location of the castle.
Peter Golding, crosses the path of moat-feeding underground
stream at Dursley Castle site
the help of dowser, Peter Golding, he discovered what he believes
to be the castle walls right behind the Tabernacle in Dursley.
written to Time Team to try and get them to look into it. So far
I've had a polite response but I'm hoping they take it further."
hope Time Team do come to Gloucestershire and help take John's research
further! Meanwhile you can access the Gloucestershire Photo Library
you would like to comment on this story or would like further information
on the Gloucestershire Photo Library or have photos of the county
that you would like to add to our gallery then please contact us