Here we have a category which has no defined boundaries, for personal records come in many and varied forms, each of which would show the individual characteristics of whoever the information is recorded by, and how it is presented.
As has been said earlier, some records defy categorisation. This is particularly so of a set of papers entitled ‘Some Notes on the History of Fovant’ amassed by the late Doctor Richard Clay. In 1967 he used some of this material to produce a small booklet that gave a short history of the village, but in general the papers remained just a collection of loose pieces of paper.
Although the original papers are held by Mr Robert Snow, Doctor Clay’s grandson, copies of the documents were deposited with Salisbury Museum. Over the years interested parties made further copies, until there were several such ‘collections’. In 2002, Mike Harden of Fovant History Interest Group collated, edited and indexed these different versions and had, what might be called, the definitive version of Doctor Clay’s original papers bound into a single volume. Copies of this volume are now held in museums and libraries in Salisbury, Devizes and Trowbridge.
The Clay Papers by presenting one man’s personal view of the village gives us an insight into the life and times of the past residents of our village. Additionally family documents – birth, death, marriage, christening, confirmation certificates, family bibles, photographs – personal memorabilia of a bewildering variety, all add to the sum of our knowledge of the people of Fovant.
Click on the links below to find extracts from some other personal records: