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Antiquarian historians also extended their interest from county to parish and town level. Well-educated clergy with historical and archaeological interests, time, and access to local documents were prominent among them. This genre of clerical publication reached its zenith in the 19th century but the very first parish history belongs to Oxfordshire. Parochial Antiquities Attempted in the History of Ambrosden, Burcester, and other adjacent parts in the Counties of Oxford and Bucks appeared in 1695, and can be viewed online. The author, White Kennett, was vicar of Ambrosden, and later Bishop of Peterborough.  Some Notes of the Parish of Whitchurch, Oxon (1895) by Revd John Slatter and Adderbury(1924) by Revd H.J.Gepp Gepp, are just two examples of the great persistence of the genre.

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Local history was also increasingly a lay pursuit. At Burford, M.Sturge Gretton's Burford Past and Present, published in 1920, was aimed at the visitor or tourist. In the same year, her husband R.H.Gretton, former London editor of the Manchester Guardian, published The Burford Records. A Study in Minor Town Government. This was a subscription volume of over 700 pages, aimed at correcting a general neglect of small, rural places by historians and based on a close study of local archives. The tradition of parish and town histories, sometimes still antiquarian, continues through the 20th century. As publications in this long-running style come out of copyright some have become available free of charge on the internet. Gretton’s The Burford Records is an example.


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