A brief history of Charlton Memorial Hall


The village hall was built in 1941 by the siblings of Charles Whigham of Purston Manor and dedicated to his memory. The land on which the hall stands, and including at the time a derelict cottage in the south-western corner of the plot, next to the Felden House garden wall, was given to the village by the Earl of Birkenhead.


From 1943 to the end of the war the hall was tenanted by the National Council of Young Men’s Christian Associations, at a rent of 20s a year ‘to provide facilities for rest and recreation of H.M. Forces’, presumably the airmen based at Hinton-in-the-Hedges.


In 1948 a Declaration of Trust set out the original constitution: the hall and its land were to be held by the Westminster Bank Ltd upon trust, with the management and control of the hall to be in the hands of a committee. At that time the regular users of the hall who provided representatives for the hall’s committee included the School Managers, the Parochial Church Council, the Chapel Committee, the Parish Council, the Mothers’ Union, the Cricket Club, the Reading Room Committee, the Nursing Association and the Dramatic Society.


In the 1960s and 1970s there was a resident couple who were caretakers. In 1971 this post was advertised in Banbury Focus, requesting a ‘Resident Caretaker at village hall’, who would have accommodation in lieu of wages, the accommodation consisting of ‘living room, bedroom and the usual offices’. The advertisement adds: ‘Cooking facilities are available’. There were several interested replies. This accommodation is now the storage area upstairs used mainly for pantomime equipment.


In 1963/4 the total income of the hall was £356.5.9 and the expenses were £254.

In the late 1980s there was a major scheme of repairs and refurbishment, with money raised by the village and matched by the county council. This included a new kitchen and loos, new electric night-storage heaters and new windows. At this time the car park and its entrance were created (formerly the only access to the playground behind the hall was through the passageway between Felden House and Grants Cottage).


plant sale at Charlton Memorial Hall 

Clubs using the hall have come and gone, including Karate, Keep Fit, Short Mat Bowls, and various others. The WI still continues and other societies have appeared, such as the Gardening Club.



By 2009 the hall was beginning to look tired and outdated and the trustees undertook a major refurbishment to provide gas central heating, new plumbing throughout and a new kitchen, as well as complete redecoration. This was funded by grants from South Northants Council, Northants County Council and Viridor Credits. At the same time, as the acceptance of a grant from South Northants Council required a legal charge on the property, the holding of the title to the land was transferred to the Official Custodian for Charities, ending the involvement of the National Westminster Bank.


In 2012 the trustees updated and upgraded the playground behind the hall, keeping the old slide which is much loved by village children (though ensuring that it is safe to modern standards), but replacing the rest of the outdated play equipment with new and more exciting constructions. There are also good picnic tables and pleasant places to sit, making it an attractive area for parents and children.