"Bread, Boots and Coal": Jim Stagg reviews a new book chronicling a southern Oxfordshire institution

‘Bread, Boots and Coal’ is the latest book from local author Angela Cousins, and is a fascinating and very readable history of charitable giving over the last 400 years in and around the Hanneys, specifically via the Hanney Parochial Charity. It was formed in 1928, an amalgamation of several small local charities, some that started hundreds of years ago.

The charity continues to this day, supporting folk who live in East Hanney, West Hanney, or Lyford. Many hours of research by Angela and her team have produced an enlightening read that will be of great interest not only to local historians but anyone with an interest in charitable giving and how charities meet the wishes of the original benefactors in a modern and rapidly changing world.

Angela, who lives in West Hanney with her husband Lionel, has been a trustee of the charity since 1974 until he recently retired. He was chairman for many of those years. Having full access to all the charity’s records has enabled Angela to compile this comprehensive record of its work.

Some splendid illustrations add to the character of this charming little book, which would make a most unusual and interesting Christmas gift. Priced at just £8, it is available from the Hanney Community Shop, the Vale and Downland Museum, Wantage, the Madhatter’s Bookshop, Mill Street, Wantage, direct from the author - 01235 868274 - or online at Lulu.com.