What’s On

The society offers a programme of talks. Non-members are very welcome to attend talks on payment of a small charge. The programme also includes summer group visits for which members pay sufficient to cover costs. Visits are always made by coach and while members are given priority, non-members are welcome at a small additional charge.

To download a printable programme for the current year, click here.Evening lecture March 2014

2019 EVENING AND MORNING TALKS, Tuesdays in the Grove Building, Church St, Mere, Warminster BA12 6DS.
A payment of £3 is asked of non-members.


October 8: ‘John Aubrey – A C17th Wiltshire Antiquary’ by Gerry Cook (in association with Mere Literary Festival)
November 12: The History of the Internet’ by Peter Mason
December 10: ‘My Love Affair with Surnames’ by Royston Martin


October 1: ‘Kingston Lacey – The Medieval Manor House’ by
Martin Papworth
November 5:
‘General Pitt-Rivers’ by Adrian Green
December 3:
‘My 50 Years of Motor Racing’ by Mike Wilds


7th October 2014 – Archive Fever: Modern Research, by The Hon Victoria Glendinning CBE critic, broadcaster and novelist talking on research methods

14th October 2014: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”: Henry, Alda and Harry’s Years at Stourhead’, by Janet Way

4th November 2014: Shaftesbury: King Alfred’s Legacy, by Rob Curtis, a South West Tourism blue badge guide

18th November 2014: Occupational Health Hazards, post industrial revolution: chimney sweeps to deep sea divers, by Rose Cox

2nd December 2014: The First World War: Tunnelling and Mine Warfare, by Phillip Robinson, adviser on films and documentaries

6th January 2015: A Very Fair Castle -The Changing Face of Corfe Castle and its Role within its Landscape, by Judith Teasdale, landscape architect

20th January 2015: A History of Bruton School for Girls, by John Burrough

3rd February 2015: Rural Temperance 1880-1908, by Canon Andrew Evans. A case study on Mere Society

17th February 2015: Paradise Lost: Stourhead Gardens’ Lost Features, by Julia Mottershaw

3rd March 2015: Annual General Meeting followed by A Blast from the Past, by Jonathan Weeks. Listen to woodwind instruments from the middle ages

17th March 2015: Fossils, Rocks and Dinosaurs: – local content, Somerset coal fields, Lyme Regis and Mary Anning, by Gerry Cook

6th October 2015: History and Development of Variations; a musical Adventure by Jill Jenkins

13th October 2015: Sheep to Ships to North Sea Oil Rigs – Occupational Health in the 20th Century by Rose Cox

3rd November 2015: The Last Russian Countess of Pembroke by Ros Liddington (Archivist, Wilton House)

17th November 2015: The Society’s Archive: Open for Business by Jenny Wilding

1st December 2015: The Brigade of Gurkhas 1815 – 2015 – 200 Years of Service to the Crown by Johnny Fenn

12th January 2016: Ancient Jordan and Petra: A Personal View by Tony Grinyer

2nd February 2016: A Fresh Look at the Silk Industry in Mere by Julia Mottershaw

1st March 2016: SS Great Britain – From Launch to Relaunch by Ian Caskie

15th March 2016: Conservation – the Agents of Decay by the Hannah Severn

5th April 2016: Constable – His Visits to Gillingham by Sam Woodcock

3rd May 2016: Mata Hari – Eye of the Day; The Story of the Beautiful and Clever Double Agent by Kathy McNally

4th October 2016: Verwood industry and life by Pam Reeks
11th October 2016: Mid 19th Century Charity Organisations in Mere by Michael Plaxton

1st November 2016: Mysterious life of Walter Henry: from workhouse to transatlantic troopships in World War 1 by Howard Nichols

15th November 2016: In search of Francis Faugoin, Steward for Henry the Magnificent at Stourhead by Julia Mottershaw

6th December 2016: Inner sanctums by Rob Curtis

17th January 2017: ‘Royal Naval Hovercraft in the Falkland Islands 50 years ago’ by Vernon Phillips

7th February 2017: ‘How the 1940 Invasion of Belgium changed my Life’ by Monique Turnbull

21st February 2017: ‘Shackleton’s 1914 Expedition to the South Pole’ by Frank Marshall

7th March 2017: ‘Life and Times of the Iconic Vulcan Bomber’ by Tony Davies

21st March 2017: ‘Will Shakespeare’s London – danger, vanity and vice’ by Gerry Cook

4th April 2017: ‘The Yetties Group’s tours across Europe, Far East and Africa’ by Bonnie Sartin

25th April 2017: ‘Jade, Amber and Gold, three stories from pre-history’ by Hilary Griffiths

3rd October 2017: ‘The history of Desert Island Discs’ by Ralph Jerram

10th October 2017: Popham: a 16th century lawyer who made good! by James Bradnock

7th November 2017: Peace without victory: could the Great War have been ended in 1917? by Peter Landymore

14th November 2017: Paul Maze, a Frenchman in khaki, the last impressionist by Philip Schofield

12th December 2017: Kings of Music by Tom Weare

5th December 2017: Dartmoor Mindscapes by Peter Knight

9th January 2018: Dorset Heroines by David Beaton

20th February 2018: Emergency Planning and Practical Salvage in Historic Houses by Hannah Severn

6th March 2018: The Wessex Turncoat by Michael Wills

13th March 2018: Stand Up and Be Counted – The Story of the Census by Daphne Tighe

3rd April 2018: Out of my Attic – Boy’s Toys of the 20th Century by Michael Weale

17th April 2018: Sugar to Camels by Ros Liddington – an illustrated talk about the sugar trade

9th October 2018: Stephen Hyde Cassan, Curate of Mere and Bruton by Justin Bailey

16th October 2018: Hadrian’s Wall by Mark Corney

6th November 2018: Stonehenge by Julian Richards

13th November 2018: Alberto Bioletti, Soldier of Napoleon and Master Clockmaker of Wincanton by John Baxter

4th December 2018: The Death of Gordon of Khartoum by David Baker

11th December 2018: Fifty-five Years Fighting Rust, by Ian Dean

8th January 2019: The Frome Cheese Fair by Philip Cary

5th February 2019: ‘It Wasn’t Just Alan Turing’ by Hamish Bell

5th March 2019: ‘Dunsterforce’ by Peter Landymore

12th March 2019: ‘Nathaniel Ireson of Wincanton, Architect, Master Builder, & Potter’ by Peter and Sarah FitzGerald

2nd April 2019: ‘Death at Porton Down; its investigation and inquest’ by David Masters

16th April 2019:The Mere Man – A Beaker Warrior Burial’ by David Dawson


Chatsworth dining room
Chatsworth group
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21st May 2014: Wareham and Moreton
10th June 2014: Edmondsham House and Gardens
10th July 2014: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
7/8th September 2014: Hanbury Hall and gardens (NT) & Chatsworth House

14th May 2015: Bath: Theatre Royal and the American Museum
16th June 2015: Beaulieu Palace House, Abbey and National Motor Museum
16th July 2015: Breamore House and Gardens
9th September 2015: Waddesdon Manor

17th May 2016: John Boyd Textiles and Castle Cary
9th June 2016: Dunster Castle and village
6th July 2016: Seaton Tramway and Jurassic Visitor Centre
6th September 2016: Bletchley Park

15th May 2017: ss Great Britain, Bristol
14th June 2017: Tyntesfield
13th July 2017: Swindon: Museum of the Great Western Railway
5th September 2017: Devizes: Wadworth Brewery and Wiltshire Museum
7th November 2017: Warminster: Dents Glove Museum

17th May 2018: Oxford and the Ashmolean Museum
19th June 2018: Mottisfont Abbey and Gardens
18th July 2018: Chavenage House and Tetbury
4th September 2018: Old Sarum (Boscombe Down Aviation Collection) and Amesbury History Centre

21st May 2019: Kew Gardens and Kew Palace
20th June 2019: Montacute (National Trust)
17th July 2019 American Museum and Gardens
3rd September 2019 Wells Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace