After meeting for 18 years at Radley Primary School, Radley History Club has moved to a new venue – the Church of St James the Great – for its speaker meetings. The Church offers a high quality sound system (including an induction loop), level access and more comfortable seating.
Like the school, the parish church is on Church Road in Radley (OX14 3QF) and the two share a car park (see map). Those with disabilities can park in the lay-by in front of the Church or against the railings at the top of the drive to the School (so as to leave the drive clear for access). Details of travel by bus and train to Radley for meetings
Meetings are generally on the second Monday of the month (apart from August) and start at 7.30 pm (doors open 7 pm). New members and guests welcome.
Before the 11 am service on Sunday 18th February 2019, Club chairman Richard Dudding presented the Revd Rob Glenny with a framed list of the known incumbents of St James the Great from the middle of the 16th century to the present day. The new list replaces one that has hung near the church door since it was presented to the Church by the Club in October 2005. The replacement list adds some new names and corrects some minor errors found during research for the Club’s book, The Story of a Village Church: St James the Great, Radley published in October 2016. The book contains details about all the names on the list bar the last one, that of Rob Glenny who was appointed after the book’s publication.
The new list is in memory of Stanley Baker, the Club’s long-serving archivist who did much research into Radley vicars and was a committed attender at the Church. The Club is very pleased to have been able to use a bequest from Stan towards the cost of the replacement list.
Carefully researched and recorded by various members of Radley History Club, the book tells us about the building itself, the church history which influenced it, and the people who were involved in it, right up to the present day.
Some 150 people visited the exhibition at Radley Parish Church over the two days/ The pews and chairs were cleared away to the sides of the church to create a welcoming space containing a series of displays based on various aspects of the Church and its history. Refreshments were kindly provided in the adjourning Church Room by Radley Women’s Institute.
‘Fascinating’, ‘excellent’, ‘informative’ and ‘very interesting’ are words that crop up time and time again in the comments in the visitors’ book at the exhibition. Wonderful exhibition – so much we didn’t know. Thank you History Club. What a fantastic display and I found out something I didn’t know about my grandfather.
Topics covered by displays included:
Origins and buildings
Patrons of Radley Church
Inside the Church
Clergy who have served Radley Church
The churchyard and cemeteries
The life of the Church today
Radley Church Choir
A timeline from 600 to 2016, which compared events in Radley with linked events in the wider world, attracted particular interest.
The exhibition was opened on the Saturday morning by Revd Pam McKellen who was presented by Club chairman, Richard Dudding, with a copy of the book signed by all the authors. On both days Radley Church’s bell-ringing team rang a short peal before the exhibition opened.
Floral arrangements around the Church illustrated key aspects of the life of a village church.
On Monday 8th August 2016, around 50 members and guests enjoyed an evening tour of St James the Great, Radley, on a pleasant summer’s evening, followed by refreshments in the vicarage garden. The Church is probably the oldest building in the village and Radley Vicarage is possibly the oldest building in the country to have been in continuous use as the home of a church’s incumbent.
After a short introduction to the Church building by Club chairman, Richard Dudding, people split into two groups for separate tours of the churchyard with Rita and Brian Ford or the interior of the Church with Felicity Henderson and Revd Pam McKellen (vicar of the benefice of Radley, Sunningwell and Kennington). The groups swapped tours before everyone moved to the front garden of the vicarage to listen to a short introduction to the vicarage exterior by Richard Dudding. Cheese and wine or an elderflower cup in the back garden of the vicarage rounded off the evening.