Final Updates: Saturday 4 March 2023

WHD flyer

Saturday March 4th 2023;  Wincanton's first History Day

This event has been made possible thanks to generous support from South Somerset District Council and from Wincanton Town Council.

  • Things are scheduled to get started at 10.30 am with the opening of the new WHS Museum at 5 High Street, the former Parish Office building next to what was Clementina.  We are delighted that Richard Price, a clock expert, who is well known from the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, has agreed to perform the opening.
  • Next, the blue plaque to commemorate Bioletti, once a soldier in Napoleon's forces, will be unveiled on what was his house, further up the High Street.  Richard Price has also consented to carry out this task.
  • At 2pm, John Baxter, author of Surviving Napoleon, the Clockmaker's Tale, will deliver a richly illustrated talk on the extraordinary life and times of Alberto Bioletti and the French in Wincanton. Originally from northern Italy, after fighting for Napoleon he settled here as a Master Clockmaker for 45 years. This will take place at the Balsam Centre, in the downstairs room

Other attractions:

  • Mail Coach drawn by a team of four horses, attending by a Coachman and his assistant, will be on the High Street, in the vicinity of the Dolphin Pub from around 10.30 am.  Whether a "yard of tin" will be blown, come and find out!
  • Around 1pm there will be a Transport parade of vintage cars, tractors, ambulances, knife grinders, motorbikes and other historic vehicles that will travel up and down the High Street.
  • Victorian Schoolroom from 11.00 am 20 minute sessions, at a small charge of 50p per child, will allow children to find out what school was like 100 years or more ago. Bookings can be made through the Blue School parent website;  there will be spaces for "walk-ins". Quaker Meeting House, near the Dolphin.
  • Metal Detecting between 11.00am and 4.00pm in the garden of the Balsam Centre. £1 per go - this includes a raffle ticket to win one of the metal detectors used on the day.
  • Oral History event at Clementina's annexe.  Starting around 2.00pm with host, John Sansom, armed with laptop and microphone,  will be recording memories that people have of the town and their  experiences of living here.
  • Ask an Expert about your family or local history. Susan Moore will be on hand at the Balsam Centre from around 11.00 am; she will try to provide you with answers to any questions you may have.
  • 1940s canteen.  Folk will need refreshment. Available from 10.00 am from The Barn next to the Quaker Meeting House.  On offer will be the acceptable face of 1940s cooking - but at today's prices!
  • Story telling by Susan Lloyd-Winder for young, youngish and old alike. At the Seed Cafe, Church Street starting around 12 noon.
  • Local Witchcraft talk given by Dr Andrew Pickering, author of The Witches of Selwood, at the Seed Cafe, Church Street from 1.30pm.  You've heard of the Pendle Witches and the Salem Witch Trials, now hear our story of local events.
  • Our own Antiques "Groan" Show from 12 noon in Balsam Centre.  We are especially interested in items you know or believe to be connected to the area and/or local events. The experts will be Richard Price of Antiques Roadshow fame and Richard Bromell of Charterhouse Auctions, Sherborne.
  • History Stories and Art display by local schools in the Balsam Centre, all day
  • Our Parish Church  will be open on the day - a rich source of local history.  There will be bell-ringing, a long-established tradition.  On your way through the churchyard, you can see the statue of Nathaniel Ireson, a master mason, architect and potter of some renown.

All day there will be people around town in period costume of all ages and types.  If you have a costume and wish to join in the spirit of the event, please feel free to do so.

For more information, please contact JEREMY THOMAS, IAN THOMAS, or  SUSAN MOORE . Our e-mail is 

Facebook and Instagram contacts will be relayed to them.

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