Although not a primary source of information, anecdotes and reminiscences are useful when building up a whole picture of the history of a village. They provide additional interest and a personal angle to our knowledge of people and of events. By their very nature, anecdotes and reminiscences are coloured by the perceptions of those who have recounted them, and may even be inaccurate as memory can so easily play tricks. However, as long as they are treated with the appropriate reservations, they certainly give life to what could otherwise be a series of flat factual accounts.
It is not often that present day historians are lucky enough to be able to track down records of verbal accounts of village life, but in Fovant the Clay papers contain not only a wealth of village historical information, but also records of conversations the late Doctor Richard Clay had with older villagers. In Doctor Clay’s own words ‘as a small boy I travelled much with my father (Challoner Clay, also the village doctor) … and he used to tell me anecdotes of many old people we met on the road’. As he took over his father’s practice Richard Clay continued to collect, and record, the stories his patients told him. Some of these stretch back beyond the turn of the C19, giving us a glimpse of what the village life was like during this period.
History is always moving on – today will be history tomorrow. Our village is constantly changing as building are added, altered, renamed or demolished, and as people move in or move out. In order to capture some of Fovant’s more recent history, we have talked to several people who have lived in the village all their lives, the latest in successive generations of their families to do so. Their reminiscences, transcribed from the spoken word, have given us much valuable knowledge of the characters who have gone before us, and whose activities shaped the village we know today.
Click on the links below to find more information on village stories:
Reminiscences from a number of past villagers
Stories of Highwaymen (and women)
Content last updated
30 November 2015