John Sheepshanks, 3rd Vicar of St John’s by Alan Gould

Wednesday February 7 th 2024

Alan Gould is a member of the society, its secretary, interim treasurer and a member of the study group. Alan was born and bred in Bilton and went to the Endowed School then onto Harrogate Grammer School. He worked in the chemical industry and lived in the Netherlands for much of his career.

This talk presents the findings of our research into John Sheepshanks (1834-1912) an austere High Church Anglican and third Vicar of St John’s, Bilton. He was a pioneering missionary during the Canadian Cariboo Gold Rush, and made epic journeys across North America, the Pacific and Asia. He married whilst in Bilton and started a family before moving to Anfield, Liverpool as the incumbent of St Margaret’s, where he founded a school. He had seventeen children, wrote several books and was noted for his pastoral work and attention to his clergy. He finally became Bishop of Norwich.


Wednesday March 6 th 2024

Berenblum and the Bari Bombs by Andy Wilson has been postponed until October 2024

Stepping in to fill the breach we have

Barber   –   from coal to gas by John Branson

John is the Chairman of the Bilton Historical Society

His talk will discuss the influence that the Industrial Revolution had on the production of town gas and people’s lifestyles in the 19 th century and the role of the Barber line up to the introduction of natural gas in the middle of the 20 th century.



Encountering the Etruscans by Professor Joyce Hill

Wednesday April 3 rd 2024

Joyce Hill is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Literature. She is an international authority of the transmission of Christian culture in early medieval Europe.

The Etruscans flourished as a confederacy of city-states in central Italy from the tenth to the first century BC, when the Romans achieved mastery of the entire peninsula. They left few written records, so our view of them has long been biased by the Romans’ dismissive depictions of them as decadent and pleasure loving. The illustrated lecture will show how modern archaeology has overturned this stereotype and given us a new vision of this intriguing society.

We are so grateful to welcome Prof. Joyce Hill once again. She has written this talk very recently and we are one of the first to hear it. Knowing how wonderful Prof. Hill is at giving these talks, we are sure you will be well entertained and amused by her wonderful presentation.






Old Vicarage

Old Vicarage

The Gardeners Arms

Gardeners Arms

St. John's Church

St. John's Church