Association of Open University Graduates


Entrance to Winchester College


Jane Austen Tour



Chickens at Cogges Farm



Bodleian Visit



News of AOUG in the South (02)

Welcome | News | Diary Dates

Winchester College

A small group from the Portsmouth area visited Winchester College in October. The College has the longest unbroken history of any English school, being established in 1393, by William of Wykeham, who was Bishop of Winchester (and hence former pupils being called Old Wykehamists). The current pupil roll is around seven hundred, who are boarders –seventy of whom still use the original buildings. The tour goes round the Chamber Court (with the Scholars’ and Fellows’ chambers around it) and then on to the 14th Century chapel, with two organs and a magnificent vaulted roof, the original dining hall (still used as such), the 17th Century schoolroom (red brick) and the medieval cloisters.

Like many colleges, there are numerous traditions – evensong is sung every Tuesday in term time, at 5.30pm; there is a Founders Obit near the date of the day of William of Wykeham’s death, when the School assemble in the nearby cathedral; there is an Amicabilis Concordia between Winchester, Eton and New College Oxford and King’s College Cambridge; and in the dry terms (Summer and Autumn), the school assembles for Morning Hills to walk to St Catherine’s Hill to commemorate the historic right of access thereto.

Close by in College Street is the house where Jane Austen died in 1817 and within two hundred yards is the cathedral.

Mike Bechley – Local Contact




Jane Austen in Oxford Tour

In late July a good number of us from the North of the Region went on the “Jane Austen in Oxford” tour. As many will know, it has recently been the two hundredth anniversary of her death, as she passed away on the 18th July 1817 in Winchester. So we felt it was a good idea to learn about this famous author who commented on society through the medium of the novel.
Jane’s connection with Oxford actually started before she was born. We learned that her parents, the Revd George Austen and Cassandra (nee Leigh), first met each other at the university. George was studying at St John’s College gaining a fellowship there while Cassandra’s father was Rector of All Souls College. Henry Austen, one of Jane’s many brothers, also went to St John’s. Although women were not allowed to go to university in this period, Jane was taught for a while in one of the buildings of the university, namely the Principal’s lodgings of Brasenose College. Jane and her family moved on many occasions. Her last home was in Chawton near Alton, an area not far from where she was born back in 1775.
After this we all went to our favourite watering hole of The Mitre, many having the cream tea.
There is an exhibition of Jane’s life and work at the Bodleian Library – Weston Library in Oxford until 29th October 2017.

David Cox




Cogges Manor Farm.

A small group of us returned to Oxfordshire to visit Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. The site has been occupied since Anglo-Saxon times but the current Manor House and farm buildings date from the 1600’s. The buildings show how the farm adapted to changing agricultural trends with the farming of crops and housing of animals that worked the land. The house itself is built from Cotswold stone and includes a garden area with the equipment available for a game of croquet. Two members provided much amusement by taking part in a game!  Inside the house you could see how then original kitchen was equipped and whilst we were visiting a group of primary school children were having a lesson in Victorian cooking.

More recently Cogges has been the location for Downton Abbey’s Yew Tree Farm and has been used for filming on a number of occasions. One room in the house is devoted to photographs from filming and a video showing the location team and what influenced their decision when making the choice to use Cogges.
There are many different types of chickens to see as well as a couple of pigs, a few sheep, goats and a Shetland pony and her foal. There is an extensive orchard and a beautiful walled garden which included fruit, vegetables and flowers. As our visit took place on a beautiful sunny day the walled garden looked particularly splendid. 
After our visit we enjoyed coffee and cake in the well-stocked café whilst enjoying the peaceful surroundings. Cogges runs a number of events throughout the year and comes highly recommended for a visit.

Jayne Littlejohn


Bodleian Library

A small group of Oxford members recently visited the Bodleian Library to see two of the current exhibitions – one on Harold Wilson and one on Bodleian Treasures. The latter exhibition was an opportunity to see some of the rarer items that the library holds including a copy of the Magna Carta and items from the women’s suffrage movement. One of the more interesting items was a book of drawings of insects made from viewing the insects under a microscope. Apparently, to keep the insects still to allow time to draw them, the insects were provided with alcohol, so the drawings are actually of drunk insects! Apparently a tot keeps an insect still for about an hour!

The Harold Wilson display is to mark the Centenary of his birth and comprises photos, documents and a couple of pipes! One of the most interesting documents from our point of view was a document referring to the possibility of starting a ‘University of the Air’ – the organisation that was to become The Open University.
After an interesting viewing we moved on to enjoy lunch at The Mitre. For those that are interested an exhibition that started the day after our visit and runs until mid-September is called ‘Shakespeare’s Dead’ and marks four hundred years since his death by looking at the theme of death within his plays. I shall definitely be going back to view this.

Jayne Littlejohn




Executive Representative – Vacant

Local Contacts:
Oxford and Area - Colin Reed 01235 815548,   Mobile 0775 2932 182 (Event days only)
Portsmouth and Area - Mike Bechley 023 92552087, Mobile 0781 915458. Email