Five Arches is the History Journal of the Radstock, Midsomer Norton
& District Museum Society. You can find out more about Five Arches
by using the links below:

The Latest Issue
Issue 78

Special Issues
How to Subscribe
What’s in Five Arches

Local Heroes
Music of the Coalfield
Local Businesses
Household Names
Family History
Do It Yourself
Back Numbers
Contributions to Five Arches
The Five Arches Rambles

The Latest Issue of Five Arches is now available from the Radstock Museum shop priced £3.50p

Five Arches – Issue 78 (Autumn 2013)

  • The Somerset Miners, Association archive at Bristol University - Julia Richardson
  • Henry Witcombe:Remembering His Part in the Great War - Steve Biggs
  • Colliery Boy to Transport Pioneer - Gill Hogarth
  • A second ramble round Clutton, Pt2- Lena Church
  • A Family Perspective on the Somerset Coalfield Pt3: Margaret Ann Smith nee Davies - John E. Smith
  • Public Health in North Somerset: The Cholera Outbreak of 1832 & 1849 Pt3 - Jenny Attwood
  • Growing Up at Terry Hill - Terence Lovell

Five Arches – Issue 77 (Summer 2013)

  • A local tragedy: remembering the Downside Boys - Inger Fleischer
  • town, manor and alternative society, Pt 1 - Dr Jonathan West
  • Children of the Pits - Wendy Walker
  • Mining the Past
  • A second ramble round Clutton - Lena Church
  • A Family Perspective on the Somerset Coalfield Pt2: from Prattens to Edgells - John E. Smith
  • Public Health in North Somerset: The Cholera Outbreak of 1832 & 1849 Pt2 - Jenny Attwood
  • Children's Toys in the Somerset Coalfields - Keith Trivett

Back Numbers
Back numbers can still be purchased from the Museum Shop, or by post.
Though some issues are now out of print, photocopies are usually available.
You can pop in anytime the Museum is open. Alternatively, please send
your enquiries by post to Dick Graham, c/o Radstock Museum.
A keyword search of most issues of Five Arches can be done in the Museum
Shop to help you track down things of specific interest - or an enquiry can be made via email at research@radstockmuseum.co.uk.
Binders for the series are also available from the shop, priced £7.50,
and hold twelve issues.

Five Arches – Issue 76 (Spring 2013)

  • A Family Perspective on the Somerset Coalfield Pt1 - John E. Smith
  • Rambling with the Moore Family: A Writhlington Connection - Dennis Chedgy
  • Forty Years On - celebrating our mining heritage
  • Thomas Edmund Keeling - Brian Dyer
  • Learning the Language - a Glossary on mining terms
  • Fussell's Trial Balance Lock: A boat lift near Mells - Derrick Hunt & Adrian Tuddenham
  • Public Health in North Somerset: The Cholera Outbreak of 1832 & 1849 Pt1 - Jenny Attwood

Five Arches – Issue 75 (Winter 2012)

  • Coleford Church School in the Nineteenth Century:Pt 2 The Staff - Sarah Villiers
  • Ramble Around Clutton - Lena Church & Dennis Chedgy
  • Darling Jack & Dearest Grace, the effect of child death on one family - Isobel Cheetham
  • History of the Joliffe Hylton family and Ammerdown Park, Pt 3 - Keith Trivett
  • Making the Film of 'The Ghost Train' - C.S. Locke
  • Celebrating our Volunteers - Julie Dexter
  • The Lost Mine - David Strawbridge

Five Arches – Issue 74 (Summer 2012)

  • From Boy to Man in the Somerset Coalfields - Bryn hawkins
  • Coleford Church School in the Nineteenth Century:Pt 1 The Scholars - Sarah Villiers
  • Rambles Around Paulton, Pt 3 - Anne Miall & Dennis Chedgy
  • History of the Joliffe Hylton family and Ammerdown Park, Pt 2 - Keith Trivett
  • Emigrating to Canada - Stephen Biggs
  • Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition
  • Our Nige - Chris Howell
  • Farewell and Thank You (various memories of recently departed Museum folk)

Five Arches – Issue 73 (Spring 2012)

  • Redfield Road Reflections - Diane Shearn
  • Remembering the 1948 Olympics - Rita Miller
  • Commemorating the Titanic- Wendy Walker
  • From the South Pole to Holcombe - Keith Trivett
  • The Jolliffes of Ammerdown Park - Keith Trivett
  • Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition
  • How Geology Shaped our Mines, Pt 2 - Alan Bentley
  • Rambles Around Paulton, Pt 2 - Anne Miall & Dennis Chedgy

Five Arches – Issue 72 (Winter 2011)

  • Norton Hill School's Centenary
  • How Geology Shaped Our Mines
  • Peasedown St John in 1911
  • Bertha Lawrence
  • Rambles Around Paulton
  • Resisting the 1902 Education Act
  • The 23rd Miners' Reunion
  • Plasticine
  • The Seymour Soldiers
  • Celebrating Richard Maggs

Five Arches – Issue 71 (Summer 2011)

  • Childhood games
  • Rorke's Drift survivors
  • A tale of midwifery
  • Perspex over Peasedown
  • Measuring time
  • An 1830s ramble to Coleford Part 2
  • More tales from the workhouse
  • Double Hills revisited
  • The King James Bible
  • Quarry plants

Five Arches – Issue 70 (Spring 2011)

  • Richard Rogers of High Littleton.
  • The original 'yellow submarine'.
  • Medical negligence and the poor law.
  • Hallatrow and High Littleton: the 1901 Census.
  • George Prowse, V.C.
  • An 1830s ramble to Coleford.
  • Balloon pioneer, Patrick Alexander.
  • Memories of May Ashley, Pt, 2.
  • St Nicholas Church, Radstock.

Five Arches – Issue 69 (Winter 2010)

  • Nicola Simmons et al – Paulton Methodist Archives.
  • Cliff Jones – the Battle of the Somme 1916.
  • Inger M Fleischer – the Dunkirk Spirit.
  • David Strawbridge – Counting the Cost.
  • Keith Trivett – the Christmas Tragedy.
  • Various – the Miners’ Reunion.
  • Dennis Chedgy and John West – 18th century Radstock Ramble.
  • Monica Evans – Midsomer Norton Connections of Evelyn Waugh.
  • James Young – Clandown 1940-1948, Pt 3.
  • Isobel Cheetham – Tales from the Workhouse, story of Joyce Bryant.
  • May Ashley – A Lady’s Commonplace Book.
  • David Strawbridge – The Two Anglican Mission Churches of Midsomer Norton.

Five Arches - Issue 68 (Summer 2010)

  • Monica Evans – Midsomer Norton connections of Evelyn Waugh.
  • Judith and Nick Cannell with Isobel Cheetham – Somerset Lad in Australia.
  • Nancy Cawthorne – Requiem for the Saddler.
  • Derek Hunt – William Bees VC, “a proper rough diamond.”
  • James Young – Clandown 1940 to 1948, Pt 2.
  • Ninety Years Young – Timsbury Male Voice Choir.
  • Ann Miall, Dinah Read and Dave Jones – Tales from the Workhouse.
  • Gary Chedgy – Development of Miner’s Safety Lamp, Pt 7.

Five Arches - Issue 67 (Spring 2010)

  • Audrey McInnes nee Chedgy - Waterloo Road, personal recollections.
  • Isobel Cheetham - Free trip to Australia, story of a Somerset lad.
  • Dr Paul Carter and Natalie Whistance – Living  the Poor Life.
  • Dennis Chedgy – Mystery ramble to Radstock Carnival.
  • James Young, Clandown 1940-1948.
  • Allan Witcombe – Moorewood Collier: new perspective.
  • Trial and execution of James Lines, 1837.
  • Joe Roberts – Memories of Bevin Boy.
  • Gary Chedgy – Development of miner’s safety lamp, Pt 6.

Five Arches - Issue 66 (Winter 2009) 

  • 21st Miners’ Reunion
  • Alastair Warrington – ‘TheHistory of the Somerset Coalfield’ and how it all started
  • Bob Parsons – Brick making and brick works in North Somerset
  • Joe Roberts – Memories of a Bevan Boy, Pt.4: the dangers
  • Living the Poor Life: Update
  • Keith Trivett – A ramble from High Littleton to Timsbury
  • Cynthia Crocker nee Janes –The Timsbury Male Voice Choir: 1921- 2003
  • Gary Chedgy – The development of the miners’ safety lamp, Pt.5: detonation and detection
  • Pamela Turner – Memories of War: 1939- 1945
  • Derek Hunt – A bedside investiture: Oliver Brooks V.C.

Five Arches – Issue 65 (Summer 2009)

  • Joseph Melling – Shadows of doubt: Somersetminers and the struggle  for compensation rights for silicosis suffers
  • Derek Woodland – In search of Selina
  • Joe Roberts – Memories of a Bevan Boy, Pt.3: the Union
  • Museum Society Archives – A few lines on the opening of the Camerton Railway
  • Gary Chedgy – The development of the miners’ safety lamp, Pt.4: testing times
  • Keith Trivett – Rambles to High Littleton
  • Dennis Parsons – The Sea Dragons of Somerset, Pt. 2: the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs
  • Pneumoconiosis and its effect,Pt.3
  • Museum Society Archives – The Bell Inn Friendly Society and Generations of the post masters
  • Julie Dexter – Living the Poor Life Pt.2: The New Poor Law

Five Arches – Issue 64 (Spring 2009)

  • Rocks and sea monsters: a special exhibition
  • Dennis Parsons – The Sea Dragons of Somerset, Pt. 1
  • Joe Roberts – Memories of a Bevan Boy, Pt.2: Pensford
  • Dick Graham – One year in Peasdown St John, 1891
  • Keith Trivett – Ramble from Hallatrow to Paulton Halt
  • Pneumoconiosis and its effect,  Pt.2
  • David R. Boswell – The Barony Colliery A-frame
  • Gary Chedgy – The development of the miners’ safety lamp, Pt.3: variations on a theme
  • Mary Barnett – From the Museum Archives: Family connections in Welton

Five Arches – Issue 63 (Winter 2008)

  • Keith Trivett – The Christmas Tragedy
  • Local heroes
  • Glynn Morgan – Travels of an evacuee, 1939- 1945
  • Dinah Read – Norton Hill, Pt.3: The Royal Visit of 1909
  • Gordan Banks – Enoch Bridges
  • Keith Trivett – Ramble to Hallatrow
  • Joe Roberts – Memories of a Bevan Boy, Pt.1: The call up
  • David Strawbridge – A short history of Midsomer Norton’s Post Offices
  • Pneumoconiosis and its effect,Pt.1
  • Gary Chedgy – The development of the miners’ safety lamp, Pt.2: early designers
  • Peter Cox – The twentieth annual Miners’ reunion

Special Issues:


Distinguished from the main issue by its A5 format, and delivered free of
charge to subscribers of Five Arches, the special issues to date include:


The 2009 Special Issue:
Prelude to War: the Somerset Coalfield in 1939


Written by Keith Trivett, the 2009 special edition, published in December 2009, is available from the Museum shop priced £3.00. As the Country marks the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, Keith Trivett takes a look at life in the Somerset Coalfield on the eve of war.  Drawing on the archives of the Somerset Guardian and the Radstock Observer, with a glance at headlines in some of the national newspapers, he finds out how everyday life became increasingly dominated by the spectre of and preparations for war. The newspapers’ archives provided a rich source of information which has formed the basis for this special issue.

2008 : Living off the Land

Written by Richard Maggs, the 2008 special edition is available from the Museum shop priced £3.00. The topography of Somerset, with its hills, moorlands, river valleys, wetlands, grasslands, meadows and forests, has made Somerset one of the best-recognised counties for agriculture throughout the centuries. This edition offers an insight into aspects of farming in the local area, including material collected for an exhibition at Radstock Museum.

2006 : Transport & Industrial Development in the Somerset Coalfield

Written by Chris Handley, the 2006 special issue was published in
December 2006 and is available from the Museum shop priced £3.00.
This overview provides a great starting point for anyone interested in the
development of the Somerset Coalfield and its infastructure.
A comprehensive bibliography is included.

2005 : Women in Mining Communities

Written by J. Dexter and Dr J. West the 2005 special issue was published
in May 2005, and is available from the Museum Shop priced £3.00. It looks
at the role of women in mining communities in the nineteenth century, from
research undertaken as part of the European Culture 2000 Project in which
the Museum Society has been involved. Julie Dexter provides a survey of
womens' roles across UK, and Dr John West looks in more detail at the
day-to-day lives of the women of Radstock.


Five Arches is read throughout the coalfield, across the country and around
the world thanks to the subscription service and the support of local retailers.

How to Subscribe
The Five Arches subscription service started in 1987, and ensures that
the first copies of each new edition are delivered straight to Dennis Chedgy
for dispatch to subscribers ‘hot from the press’. Only then are the rest of
the copies delivered to the Museum Shop and local retail outlets.
Five Arches is available on subscription at the current price of £13.00 per
annum (overseas subscription £20.50). This covers the cost of three issues,
including postage and packing. As a subscriber to Five Arches you will also
receive the special issues free of charge.

To join the growing number of readers who take advantage of this
opportunity please send your name and address together with a cheque
made payable to Radstock Museum to:

Dennis Chedgy
La Ronda
Manor Road


What’s in Five Arches?
Five Arches features articles on a wide variety of subjects including:

Local Heroes – Heroes come in many shapes and many guises – among
them are war heroes like Group Captain Bob Braham, Oliver Brooks and
George Prowse; mining heroes such as Henry Golledge, and the men of the
Mines Rescue Service; sporting heroes, like the world champion quoits team
from Radstock; and Henry Tasker’s traction engine, ‘Hero’! For many of
our local heroes, their achievements are recognised with the award of medals
and certificates – the Victoria Cross, the Edward Medal, or the cups and
medals won by sporting heroes. For others, the achievement lives on in the
memories of those who were there. It is these stories which have brought
some of the most poignant articles to the pages of Five Arches.

The Music of the Coalfield – Scratch the surface of a mining community
and you will hear the music that lies at the heart of it. Over the years,
Five Arches has featured numerous articles on the music and musicians of
the area – from Henry Cave’s fiddle playing, and Songs of the Coalfield in
Issue 3, through the church and chapel choirs that were an integral part of
worship and faith, to the organ builders from Carlingcott and Peasedown
in Issue 43. Ron Perrett recalled music in the home, in the days before radio
and television, in Issue 13, while Midsomer Norton Male Voice Choir
celebrated its centenary with a special article in Issue 33. Sadly the Male
Voice Choir is now a part of our past – but when they put away their music
sheets earlier this year, they donated a number of items to the Museum

Local Businesses – The history of the local economy is dominated by
mining, which has featured in many articles, along with businesses
traditionally associated with mining: the iron industry – including William
Evans of Paulton, Westbury Iron, and Fussells at Mells; the coal gas
industry; and the railways and wagon works. Articles on local retailers and
manufacturers demonstrate that the history of the coalfield is not just about
mining: Radstock Co-op; Coleford Industrial Co-operative Society;
Gay’s hardware shop in Paulton; family butchers, Shearns and Mitchards;
Charlton’s timber merchants; Dent’s glove factory. The motor trade gets
plenty of attention with articles on Midsomer Norton Motor Company, and
the Mendip Queen, as does brewing. Holcombe, Oakhill and Coombes
breweries all feature in their own articles, as does the story of Somerset
cider, while Dick and Dennis have visited most of the public houses in
their rambles…

Household Names – There are many names that we associate with our
past. Names from our childhoods, names from the communities we grew up
in. To hear them given voice conjures up the images and memories from
which our understanding of our own past, and our heritage, is drawn.
Among those that have featured in the pages of Five Arches are national
figures such as Scott of Antarctic, Lord Nelson, and John Wesley; local
figures, including James McMurtrie, Fred Swift and Ron Gould; and local
institutions like the ‘S&D’, the Co-op, and Radstock Market. For everyone
concerned, the names bring forth slightly different emotions and views, and
it is that diversity of perception that enables us to return to familiar subjects
again and again – Coombend featured in a number of previous issues, and
is revisited in Issue 50 by John West, Isabel Cheetham and Christine Rix!

Family History – For many people interest is focused on finding out more
about their ancestors and the world in which they lived. Over the years,
Five Arches has helped many readers with their queries, and many
contributions from readers result from research into their family history.
Among the many items that can help you uncover more about your family
are old photographs, certificates of birth, death and marriage, and old letters
and diaries. The journey for everyone is different – but the road travelled is
always fascinating.

Do It Yourself – Tackling historical research is addictive and, to help,
Five Arches run the occasional ‘D.I.Y.’ series. These have included
fieldwalking, the use of maps and trade directories, medieval manuscript
sources, and nineteenth-century census returns. In them, historians
demonstrate just what can be discovered using different approaches to
research, enabling you to find out more about the past for yourself.



Contributions to Five Arches
The success of Five Arches lies in the quality and diversity of the material
provided by its contributors. Here we tell you how articles start, and what
form they come in.
The start of an article…

as ideas discussed by the Production Team – which one of the Team
has to explore, develop and write up (or convince someone else to write up);
the latter is usually the case with special issues. Among the numerous
articles written by Production Team members are: Dick Graham and
Dennis Chedgy’s popular ‘rambles’, Norman Voake’s school histories, and
Keith Trivett’s series on local families such as the Scobells of High Littleton
and the Rees-Moggs.

as suggestions made by readers – not everyone is comfortable putting pen
to paper, but they may have good ideas that can be the basis of great articles.
For example, ‘Henry Taskser’s ‘Hero’’ in Issue 40, and ‘Operation Market
Garden...’ in Issue 45, were both inspired by ideas from Eric Kemish.
Material for such pieces often arrives as a collection of connected items –
like press cuttings and letters – ready for someone (often the editor) to sort
through and pull together. A meeting or exchange of letters with the person
who made the suggestion can help enormously in this process. This approach
produced the article on the Lodge and Hamblin brothers’ bravery in the
Somerset mines, in Issue 48, ‘Brotherly love and the Edward Medal’.

as completed articles – submitted by readers and visitors to the Museum,
based on their own experiences or research. For example, Peter Anderson’s
article on shepherd Henry Wareham, in Issue 21, or Ralph Howell’s 
experiences on D-Day, also in Issue 21.
If you have an idea for a future article, or would like to write for us, please
contact the editor or a member of the Production Team via the Museum.
What format do they come in…?

However they start, as long series, one off pieces, or little corner fillers,
the completed articles find their way to the editor in a variety of formats –
any of which you can use to contribute:

hand-written – on scrap paper or in old notebooks, as with Jim Carpenter’s
memories of the 1908 Norton Hill explosion in Issue 43, or Joyce Young’s
memories of life in the 1930s, in Issue 49, and anything written by
Vic Witcombe.

typed on a good old fashioned typewriter – as with Ira Janes’ memories
of Timsbury in Issue 50 or Don Aris’ story of World War Two pilot,
Group Captain ‘Bob’ Braham in Issue 37.

as hard copy of word-processed documents – such as Bill Young’s
memories of Radstock in Issues 44 and 45.

as audiotapes ready for transcription – Cyril John Gilson’s ‘Memories
of a Somerset lad’ in Issue 49 started that way, because rheumatoid arthritis
made writing an impossibility, as did some of the Museum archive material.

on floppy disc or CD – regular contributors Jonathan and Valerie West
submit their articles this way, as does Irene Burchill.

by e-mail – Chris Handley, Roger Halse and Jayne Lawes all submitted
their articles for Five Arches Issue 50 this way. If you want to send an
article by e-mail, please ring the Museum and ask to speak to the Editor.
For anyone interested in contributing to future issues, copy deadlines are:
• for the Easter issue – 30 January
• for the summer issue – 30 April
• for the winter issue – 30 September


The Five Arches Rambles
One of the longest standing elements of Five Arches, and the most popular,
is the Five Arches Rambles, which began in Issue 5 in 1987.
Produced by two of the longest serving members of the Production Team –
Dick Graham and Dennis Chedgy – the first ramble started at Victoria Hall,
Radstock, and headed out of town on the Frome Road. Since then Dick and
Dennis have reambled the length and breadth of the coalfield, sometimes in
the company of old friends. Along the way they have met new friends and
sampled the goods in many of the local hostelries.
The rambles capture memories of times past, relating them to the
communities we know today, and many people have used them as a starting
point to explore the Somerset coalfield. For details of the rambles to date,
see below:

Green Parlour 
Leigh on Mendip
Ludlows Colliery  
Midsomer Norton

Mill Road, Radstock
Single Hill
Stoke St Michael
Stones Cross
Turner’s Tower
Woodborough Lane 
5; 49-50