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Dr Lorna Haycock 1929 – 2019

Lorna was well-known and respected for her knowledge of the history of the County and completed her doctorate on the history of Devizes in 2001. During her long service to the Society she opened up the treasures of the Library to hundreds of researchers. She left a legacy to the Society, which was used towards the purchase of a display case in the ‘Long Room’ to display documents from the Library and Archive that she did so much to develop and celebrate.

For 23 years, until her retirement in 2010, she “served the Society faithfully, assisting innumerable family and local historians, visiting archivists, scholars and archaeologists in her calm, efficient manner. Even after her retirement she continued to volunteer and assist with proof reading articles for our journal – the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine.

At a memorial service, held in Devizes on 14 July 2019, our former Chairman, Mr Bill Perry paid tribute to all that Lorna did during her time with the Society, first as Assistant Librarian and then Sandell Librarian. She worked tirelessly in this her second career, not only running the Society’s library, but researching the history of Devizes and Wiltshire. She led regular walks around the town, and was the author of many books on the local history, such as Devizes in the Civil War, John Anstie the Clothier, the history of Devizes Grammar School, How Devizes Won The War, and a history of the local building firm Chivers as well as numerous articles and lectures (see her lecture notes on Georgian and Victorian Schools).

Lorna also did much to develop the Library. Her time here coincided with the setting up of our computerised catalogue, Modes, and she spent many many hours entering documents from the Library collections on the database – a job which continues to this day. And she was a fount of knowledge on the Library collections in the days before the computerised catalogue approached anything like complete coverage of our holdings.

After her retirement from this, which was in itself a retirement job, she still contributed to local history of the area, chairing the area local history group and volunteering at Avebury Manor for the National Trust.

Her knowledge of the town and the library collections and her “benign, courteous and effective assistance”, will be much missed by all her knew her.

Lorna was born in Guildford Surrey on 27 May 1929 to Francis and Mary Read. She later married Herbert Haycock and moved to Devizes and had three children Simon, David and Christopher. Before becoming involved with the Society she was head of history at Devizes Grammar School.

See Lorna’s Obituary, written by James Thomas, in WANHM 104, 2011 (pp vii-viii), for a fuller appreciation of Lorna’s qualities and contribution to the Society.

Cover of 'How Devizes Won the War' with photo of group of civilians on a first aid exercise with a stretcher

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