Crime and Calamity in Cholsey


Crime and Calamity in Cholsey, by Barrie Charles

Crime and Calamity in Cholsey, by Barrie Charles

Covering a century of events, this 240-page publication concentrates on the scandal, wrong-doings and tragedies affecting the parish.  The previously untold stories range from a spat between the vicar and his clerk in 1819, to the decimation of local men in the Great War that formally ended in 1919.  Some of those who committed crimes were desperate, such as the family where all four sons offended, while other sinners were more a source of tittle-tattle, such as the curate who was the godson of the King of Prussia, committed adultery with the schoolmistress, and absconded from the village after running up gambling debts.

Most of the crime was minor, but the village also saw assault, rape, arson, infanticide and manslaughter.  Even more common was the personal tragedy arising from sudden death, whether by disease, accident or suicide.  Villagers also had to cope with major change through agricultural reform, the coming of the railway, the building of the lunatic asylum and the rise of democracy.

The book is based on new research in the archives and is full of references to local people and landmarks.  It provides another insight into Cholsey’s history and could well change the way that you view the locality.  It is on sale, price £11.99, at the Community Library, Clippers, the Cholsey Cafe and the Wallingford Bookshop.  It can also be ordered through other bookshops or online retailers such as Amazon, where a Kindle e-book is also available.

More information on the book and other publications by Barrie Charles can be found at