The Berkshire Record Society

Registered Charity No: 1027976

President: Mr James Puxley, Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire

Chairman: Professor Ralph Houlbrooke

General Editor: Professor Anne Curry

Notices and Newsletters


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).

2021 and 2020 Annual General Meetings

The deferred 2020 AGM and also the 2021 AGM were held consecutively using Zoom on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 at 7pm.

Following the AGMs, the Annual Lecture was given by Dr Peter Durrant who spoke on his forthcoming volume, Hungerford Overseers’ Papers 1655-1834.

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 New

Foundation of the Berkshire Record Society in 1994

Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy of the Berkshire Record Society has been developed to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect on 25th May 2018.


Planned Volumes

Unfortunately, restrictions on access to archives and libraries have seriously disrupted our programme, and the current lockdown will inevitably cause further delays. We had hoped to issue the long-promised volume on records of the Swing Riots in Berkshire in 2020, but that was not possible. However, the good news is that Peter Durrant’s edition of Hungerford Overseers’ Papers is well advanced, requiring only a few final editorial checks, and (Covid permitting) will be ready for the printer as soon as these have been completed. This is a very rich source for the history of the poor in Berkshire, and will include an extended introduction discussing a number of the cases that came before the parish officials in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

It is not possible to predict when further volumes will be ready, but please be reassured that that the Record Society will, eventually, catch up with its publication schedule, and that the promised titles will be worth waiting for.

Volume 26 - Berkshire Schools in the Eighteenth Century

Volume 26, Berkshire Schools in the Eighteenth Century, was launched at the Berkshire Record Office, Reading, on Monday 25th February 2019.

In 1833 the Government provided the first public money for schools; within 70 years there was a national system of primary and secondary education covering every place in every county. These milestones built on what had existed earlier: a complex patchwork of charity, religious and private schools – many of which are now long gone, having left little evidence of their existence. This volume recreates that pre-1833 picture and, in doing so, celebrates the wide range of schooling offered in Georgian Berkshire. Volume 26 will be available to members of the Berkshire Record Society as part of their 2018 subscription. The price to non-members of the Society is £25.00 (plus £2.50 Post and Packaging).

Volume 25 - Records of Reading Abbey

To coincide with the re-opening of the ruins of Reading Abbey, Berkshire Reading Society published volume 25, Reading Abbey Records - a new miscellany, edited by Brian Kemp, on 23rd June 2018. Volume 25 is available to members of the Berkshire Record Society as part of their 2018 subscription. The price to non-members of the Society is £12.50 (plus £2.50 Post and Packaging).

In 2015 the Berkshire Record Society came of age with the publication of its twenty-first volume. In this short article, the General Editor, Dr Peter Durrant highlights this achievement.