Welcome to the website of the Berkshire Record Society. The Society was founded in October 1993 to print scholarly editions of important documents on the history of Berkshire held in the Berkshire Record Office and elsewhere. Our aim is to publish one volume each year and we welcome ideas for new projects.
Before the Society was formed there was no systematic programme of publishing historic records in Berkshire. Yet the county has a rich heritage of written records. The Society has selected a wide variety of documents ranging in date from the middle ages to the nineteenth century as the subjects for its volumes. Twenty-six volumes have been published and more are in preparation. Each volume contains the printed transcript of an original text, fully annotated, with a scholarly introduction and an index.
The Society is backed by the History Department of the University of Reading and by the Berkshire Record Office and has individual and institutional members from around the world including many leading university and national libraries.
In this website you will find details of the benefits of membership; how to join the Society and how to order our publications which are available to members and to non-members.
Since its foundation the Society has made an important contribution to scholarship in Berkshire.
Volume 27 - Hungerford Overseers' Accounts 1655-1834
Volume 27, Hungerford Overseers' Accounts 1655-1834, was published in July 2021.
At the heart of this volume are the surviving case papers of the Hungerford parish officers, the overseers prior to 1801 and the parish guardians thereafter. They comprise settlement certificates, examinations, removal orders, apprenticeship indentures and papers in bastardy cases, together with a handful of other documents including copies of magistrates' orders, letters, depositions ('informations and complaints') and miscellaneous memoranda, altogether numbering almost one thousand items. To these have been added further material from the Hungerford parish archives, principally extracts from the standing committee of the vestry and from the overseers' account books, some important bills for legal work from the attorneys employed by the parish, extracts from the Berkshire Quarter Sessions order book, a small number of records from other Berkshire parishes (settlement certificates issued in Hungerford, and the counterparts of two removal orders where the Hungerford copy has been lost), and a handful of papers from Wiltshire Quarter Sessions and parish archives. Volume 27 will be available to members of the Berkshire Record Society as part of their 2019 subscription. The price to non-members of the Society is £25.00 (plus £3.20 Post and Packaging).
Professor Donald Matthew
Members of the Society will be sad to read of the death of Donald Matthew (1930-2021), our first Chairman (1993-8). He died at the age of ninety on 27 February. A distinguished historian of the Middle Ages, Donald Matthew was Professor of History at the University of Reading from 1979 until his retirement in 1995, and twice served as Head of Department during that time. The establishment of the Berkshire Record Society in 1993 resulted from the joint initiative of Professor Matthew and Dr Peter Durrant, then County Archivist. Professor Matthew organized a successful application for a grant from the University to pay the salary of a Research Officer. The appointment to this post of the subsequently well-known historian Ian Mortimer, who edited two volumes for the BRS, enabled the Society to maintain its early publication momentum. Professor Matthew led the Steering Group that worked for the foundation of the Society before serving as Chairman of its Council.
The foundation of the Society is described in his article for the 1994 issue of Berkshire Old and NewFoundation of the Berkshire Record Society in 1994
An Historical Atlas of Berkshire
In December 2012 the Berkshire Record Society published the second edition of An Historical Atlas of Berkshire, edited by Joan Dils and Margaret Yates with maps by Clive Brown.
ISBN: 0 9548716 9 3