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Stanford in the Vale
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An Outline History of Stanford in the Vale

Browse Chapters:
Domesday Stanford
Medieval Stanford
Reformation and Tudor Stanford
Civil War Stanford
Early Modern Stanford
19th Century Stanford
The First World War
The Inter-War Years
The Second World War
Post-War Stanford
Church and Chapel
Schools and Libraries
Civic Administration
Health and Social Services, and Young People
Village Halls
Fairs, Festivals and Fetes
Clubs and Societies
Acknowledgements & Further Reading
Additional articles:
BBC Domesday 1986
Church Green Fire 2005
Coat Of Arms
Virtual Tour 2003

Clubs and Societies

The local Women's Institute (W.I.) was founded in 1920, and its records go back to 1932. The W.I.'s Strawberry Tea has occurred annually since at least 1971 in the gardens of either Rectory House or Orchard House. [Editor's note - the Strawberry Tea is no longer held as of 2008]

Of a number of activities and clubs for elderly people, the Silver Threads was founded by the Mothers' Club in 1965, with Marina Scott as first chairman, the Tuesday Club with a wider-aged membership in about 1983, started by Gladys Varney and Pam Watkins, and the Social Lunch Club was founded by Peggy Coles with others on 29 April 1992.

The Stanford Art Group, one of many recreational and social groups in the village, was formed in 1975, with Frank Williams as the first chairman. It was originally an informal group of about 7 people, who exhibited their work twice yearly, including at the St. Denys' Summer Festival. More recently, individual members have exhibited their work during Oxfordshire Artweeks (begun 1982), although for the 21st Anniversary year from 18 May to 2 June 1996 the wider membership exhibited its work at Manor Farm Barn, along with those of Alan Richardson, Noriko MacFarlane, Jean Rome and Caroline Somerset at the Granary Studio, Manor Farm, and Mike Skidmore and others at 55 High Street.

The Stanford Art Group now has more than 50 full members and about 25 associate members from the village and the surrounding area. Whist drives were resumed in about 1981 after a short break, and are held at the Football Club, having formerly met at Keen's Hall and then St. Denys' Hall.

The Stanford Drama Group began in about 1984, and had come about originally as a result of a suggestion in a St. Denys' Stewardship Campaign; Colin Pedley was its first chairman.

The St. Denys' Handbell Ringers were formed in Apri1 1993 under the captaincy of Jackie O'Hagan, and have since performed on television and radio. Thomas Jennings had captained a village team of handbell ringers at the end of the last century (Howse, 5: 271). The St. Denys' Bellringers have a long history; a ring of 6 bells in poor condition, from 1738, were removed from the church tower in June 1968, being replaced in 1970, when Tom Timms became Tower Captain, by a ring of 8 bells which had come from the church of St. Peter-in-the-East, Oxford.

A Neighbourhood Watch Scheme to assist crime prevention in the village was begun with Parish Council backing in 1987, with Wing Commander Geoffrey Bennett as its first coordinator.

As with many communities throughout Britain, Stanford joined the twinning movement with the formation in 1989 of the Stanford in the Vale Twinning Association, and, under the chairmanship of Doug Miles, twinned with the French village of St. Germain du Corbeis on 6 May 1990. Through the twinning scheme, Year 6 children from the School have gone on exchange visits to France since 1994, and other children and adults have participated in similar activities.

A Gardening Club was founded in September 1995 by Bill Lawes and Vera Smith, offering a programme of visits and speakers.

The Parish Council's Allotments charity was reformed in 1980 as the Public Purposes Charity. The Relief in Need and smaller parochial charities were amalgamated in 1984 for ease of administration.

Stanford in the Vale Football Club was affiliated with the Berks. & Bucks. Football Association in 1928, although a team photograph exists from 1907 and Rev. Maine in 1866 mentions that football 'was formerly much in vogue'. The club had a number of playing sites before moving to its present location bounded by the A417, Joyce's Road and Cottage Road in 1962. In the mid-1960's the Stanford Football Club left the Swindon and District League, of which it had been a founder member, and rejoined the North Berks League. Its present club facilities were built in about 1981-82. Today there are three teams, the Stanford 1st Team, the Stanford Reserves, and the Stanford under-15's (next year, the under-16's). The Stanford Reserves topped the North Berks League and took the A.G. Kingham Cup in 1996, the club's first cup victory since 1957. The Stanford Warriors under-9's Football Club was founded in January 1996, and uses the Stanford Football Field.

Cricket has also been played sporadically at Stanford; it is mentioned by Maine as being 'at low ebb', although subsequently revived. There was a Stanford Reading Room Cricket Club in 1898 (Howse, 5: 238-239, 255, 267) and a photograph exists of a village team from about 1905, although cricket appears not to have been played after WW2. A Badminton Club and a Bowls Club, the latter started about 1995, are currently active and use the Village Hall facilities. The Stanford Angling Club under the chairmanship of Geoff Eltham was active in 1986-92.