Wiltshire in General ~ Recent Books
A West Country Homecoming, by John Payne
The author, a native of Bath (Somerset) and a lecturer, historian and biographer, explores the possibilities of writing history backwards from the present into the past. Like the author's own family, this book is firmly rooted in North Somerset, Bath and West Wiltshire. Part memoir, part family history, part social history, this book explores not just what we know but also the many silences and omissions which dot our own personal histories and those of our families and communities. Stories, some sad, some happy, some funny, come thick and fast throughout the pages and are illustrated with over one hundred photographs from family albums and a wide variety of other sources. Ten chapters observe the history of his extended family from various perspectives, including work, education, health, housing and religion.
October 2020, 220pp, colour ill, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-93-8.
Stuff the Bustard, and other poems, by Sue Kemp
Sue has been dubbed ‘The Bard of Bratton’ as a result of her regular contributions to BBC Wiltshire’s Breakfast Show, presented by Ben Prater – who has written a foreword to this collection of her poems. Her book is a record of the entertaining and unusual topics that have featured on the show over the past couple of years. Always light-hearted, it will rekindle memories for regular listeners, but the poems also stand alone in their own right to provide an accessible and amusing read. February 2020, 103 pp, paperback, £6.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-81-5.
A Celebration of Wiltshire in Poetry, by Amanda Hampson, illustrated by Sheila Haley.
A book of new poems by Pewsey author Amanda Hampson inspired by the natural history, landscape and heritage of this beautiful county, and each accompanied by an exquisite illustration by artist Sheila Haley. Wiltshire has a distinctive and ancient natural landscape, which is perhaps overlooked by travellers who pass through it, in search of coastal destinations further west. From flowers and trees to birds and bees, and villages and towns to hills and downs, this collection of forty illustrated poems will be a delightful read for those who know Wiltshire, and for countryside lovers alike. April 2019, 104pp, full colour paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-71-6 (also available as a hardback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-72-3).
Wiltshire Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses: a guide and gazetteer by James Holden
Wiltshire is particularly lucky in the variety and quality of its chapels, which range from tiny country meeting houses of traditional gable-ended design to large town churches with Classical facades and space for 1000 or more worshippers in their galleried interiors. This book documents them. Introductory chapters describe the development of nonconformity in the county and the way chapel design has evolved in the three centuries since the first were built. These are followed by a gazetteer describing each of the almost 500 chapels still standing, with details of their appearance and history. With over 250 photographs in addition to the authoritative text, this book provides the definitive guide to the history and design of these fascinating buildings. February 2022, viii, 326pp, colour illustrations, paperback, £20.00, for Wiltshire Buildings Record, ISBN 978-1-914407-28-4.
Mother and Murderer: The Sad True Tale of Rebecca Smith, by Sally Hendry
Rebecca Smith, from Bratton near Westbury in Wiltshire, southern England, was the last woman in Britain to be hanged for infanticide of her own baby. She suffered her punishment at Devizes. But this unassuming woman who attended chapel and prayed night and morning, had poisoned not just one but eight of her babies. Her crime shocked and puzzled Victorian Britain. So why did she do it? Historian and journalist Sally Hendry delves into the nineteenth century to unpick Rebecca's story, looking at everything from domestic violence through to the unspeakable agonies of death by arsenic poisoning. Victim or villain? You decide. May 2022, 117pp, illustrated paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-34-5