The Kempley Social History Project

Kempley is a small village in North Gloucestershire on the border with Herefordshire. It has a long and varied history much of which can be traced through its two churches and the continuity of the farming and rural activities over the centuries. In a real sense the unique nature of St Mary’s was the mainspring for the inception of the Social History Project. The church is in the care of English Heritage and is managed by the the Friends of Kempley Churches. One of the Friends’ aims is the dissemination of knowledge about the churches and with an ever-expanding archive we were persuaded that there was an audience for the wider social and economic history of the parish.

To test this we developed a small exhibition, which went on show at the annual daffodil weekend in March 2009 – a previous exhibition ‘Kempley Remembered’ had been held in 2006. Both exhibitions attracted a lot of interest and comment, which confirmed that we had a viable case for an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to help us realise our ambitious idea. During the summer and autumn of 2009 we grappled with the demanding application process and despite our natural fears the bid was successful.

Then the real work started and we began the process of collecting and collating the historical records and data. As the volume of material increased it became clear that our web-based output would need to have a rational and easily understood vehicle for making best use of the content. This led to two crucial decisions. First that site navigation would utilise the various maps we had collected. This allows visitors to travel through time against an easily recognised and constant background. The second was to focus on the properties rather than surnames and addresses commonly used in internet search engines. The focus on properties was also important in demonstrating the commercial, economic and social factors that made up the life of the village through the ages.

We are grateful to the villagers and the village institutions for their ready time and help in gathering together the information. In particular we must thank the researchers who have made the site possible.

Become a Friend

All are welcome to join our charity and the annual subscription is a modest £10.00 although larger donations will always be appreciated. An online application form is attached below and this can be forwarded with the membership fee to: Mrs G Rees, Hedgerow House,Kempley Green, Kempley, Dymock GL18 2BW

Download Membership Form:

Kempley aerial view
Aerial view
Kempley friends
Kempley Friends