The collection boxes have now been collected and emptied. To those who have helped us by completing surveys we say a big thank you. We just managed a 50% return rate on the Householder’s survey. This was slightly disappointing, but will still provide a large amount of data for us to examine. We look forward to completing the databases so that we can pull out all the areas of similarity and the differences from the daily lives of villagers recorded in the 1877 survey. The returns for Domesday on 16 June will provide a varied and wide-ranging record of villager’s daily activities on a mid-week day. The children at the Primary School have also been busy recording their personal and classroom activities on the same day.
During the second half of the year we shall continue the written and photographic record of village events and everyday happenings. The steering group also hope to interview a number of villagers who live or work in our community.
Don’t forget that you will be able to follow the progress of our survey and all village events by visiting the website www.thesibfords.org.uk.
Our summer meeting was held in the Quaker Meeting House when Ina and Arnold Lamb talked about the early beginnings of the Society of Friends in the Sibfords. The movement was started in the north of England in the 1640s by George Fox. He was a man of vision, a healer and a man with a strong personality and a loud voice! His Mission for Truth was brought to the south of the country by 50-60 itinerant Quakers (one third of whom were women) who visited Banbury for around one month in 1654. Travelling around 30 miles per day on foot they must have reached the Sibfords and found a favourable hearing among the village folk. In 1668 Fox recorded in his journal that “hundreds attended a Meeting in Gilkes Barn in Sibberd.” Fox himself came in 1678 and stayed with Joseph Harris in Little Sibberd (Ferris) and visited the Meeting House in Broad Sibberd (Gower).
From that time there has always been a Meeting House in Sibford, the first one being replaced by the current building in 1864. Men and women used to be separated for worship and a partition was lowered to exclude the women from the business part of the Meeting although it is felt that they would have heard well enough to understand the gist of the business of the day. The Friends have retained many valuable books, records and documents including a Collection Book from 1696 recording the offerings given by Friends at that time – amazing. The first birth is recorded in 1685 and the first burial is noted in 1689. Together with a series of marriage certificates we were thrilled to see these precious records. A lively and interesting discussion followed with Arnold and Ina answering many points and questions raised by members. A fascinating evening shared with two valued members of our community.
We now have a break until September and hope everyone enjoys some rest and relaxation during the remainder of the summer.
Our next meeting will be held at 8pm in the Village Hall on Thursday 16 September when Liz Woolley will be talking to us on Child Labour in Oxfordshire. All welcome – we look forward to seeing you then.