The full story can only be discovered by reading the minutes of the hundreds of meetings that have taken place over the years. This can still be done if one visits the County Archive at Taunton. The Winsham Web Museum has done this, through its dedicated researcher Mr Nick George.
The work undertaken to produce this history of one of the oldest Parish Councils in Britain has taken hundreds of hours, and spread over several years. Hand-written minute books were used until 1875. Nick George has sympathetically summarised the main events at each meeting recorded in these hand written books, reducing them skilfully to interesting and easily readable passages, avoiding repetition as far as possible. In doing this he has captured a sense of the cycles and rhythms of village life, and the increase in the tempo of life as the century advanced. We have digitally copied the typed minutes which follow on from 1975.
The presentation of this work for the Web Museum has involved many people including Stella Abbey, Janet Smart, Oshen Duncan and Tiger, her partner, and Frank Vaughan, the Parish Clerk. The Winsham Web Committee extends its thanks to all concerned.
After reading through over one hundred years of Winsham Parish Council minutes, one is left with a great sense of continuity. Chairpersons, clerks, members come and go. Some grow old performing their voluntary duties and then they pass on with barely an acknowledgement of the service they have provided to their community. Over the years the Winsham Parish Council has renewed itself in a seamless ribbon of quiet activity which is barely noticed by the community it serves. The lack of attention that it draws to itself, it can be argued, being testimony to its very success.
This history attempts to reproduce faithfully the reports of thousands of hours of deliberation about these matters, carried out by a diverse group of people over five generations. These reports provide a fascinating insight to the way of life at the time.
For more information about the Parish Council, access their website here: winshamparishcouncil.org.uk.