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24 September 2014

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Poulshot's past in print

The cover of "Down Poulshot"

The twentieth century saw huge upheaval in people's lives.

Now a new book, Down Poulshot, records how those changes affected rural life in one Wiltshire village.

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speaker animated Hear BBC Wiltshire's report on the launch of Down Poulshot

Features interviews with John Quinn, Michael Hues and the book's author, Nora Dixon.

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Down Poulshot is written by Nora Dixon and published by Poulshot Village Trust.

Poulshot Village Trust was set up in 1972, when the village was designated a Conservation Area.

Nora Dixon spent twenty years talking to residents and studying parish records before the publication of Down Poulshot.

There have been nine vicars in Poulshot since 1891.

Since 1893, fifteen landlords and landladies have worked behind the bar at The Raven.

In 1901, Poulshot's population was 309; in 1999 it was 401.

Down Poulshot is available from Devizes Books, Ducks, D'Arcy Books and the Devizes Information Centre.

Down Poulshot costs £10.00.


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Major John Bartholomew
Major John Bartholomew at the launch of Down Poulshot

Major John Bartholomew, who married into a Poulshot family, also spoke of the spirit within the village.

He pointed out that when the school closed in 1974 people regarded Poulshot as "a dying village."

Thirty-or-so years later, there were some 70 children playing on the Green during the Jubilee celebrations, which Major Bartholomew said was "a jolly good sight."

Making reference to Nora Dixon's book, tracing the changes in Poulshot's history through the twentieth century, Major Bartholomew said, "this book will be of interest to anyone who understands Poulshot and wants to be part of it."

Michael Hues, chairman of Poulshot Parish Council, was hugely encouraged by the turn out for the launch of Down Poulshot.

He agreed that the book's launch and the recent Jubilee events gave a taste of how the village worked and played together a hundred years ago.

Nora Dixon with her book, Down Poulshot
Nora Dixon with a copy of her work, Down Poulshot

Despite all her hard work, Nora Dixon, the writer of Down Poulshot, is philosophical about her achievement.

Writing in the book's foreword, she says: "without the contributions of many Poulshot people, the book would never have been written."

The idea for a "millennium record" of life in Poulshot in the twentieth century came from two leather-bound books, donated by the late Brigadier Peter Hind, who, in 1980, lived in Poulshot's Old Rectory.

Nora recalls: "he gave us these two beautiful leather bound books with the aim of writing the history of the village in them."

But it was felt that the books were too precious for the Poulshot Village Trust to use for such a project.

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