A COUPLE of weeks ago fellow BLHS member, Bicester Advertiser columnist, and personal friend, Gill King, sadly died following a collapse at home.

Regular readers will know her from the many pieces she wrote in this Remember When column on behalf of St Edburg’s Church.

Ms king first joined Bicester Local History Society back in 2007 and became a committee member in 2011 when she was asked to take on the role of Archivist.

A role she gave up a few years ago but was still partially involved in.

Her interest in local history started a long time further back though.

Originally born in Oxford, she moved to Bicester as a teenager in the late 1960s when her father took the job of Postmaster here.

Always with an interest in religion, she studied theology at Oxford Brookes University and went on to work in the Bodleian Library where she stayed until her retirement at the beginning of this year.

In 1988, the Rector of St Edburg’s Church, Father John Baggley, asked her to do some research on Wretchwick at the Bodleian.

This led her to discover the works of local historians like White Kennett and John Dunkin, and immediately she was hooked. Her passion for local history was born.

She later started tracing her family history and discovered that her family weren’t the first of her family line to settle in Bicester.

Her great great great grandmother, Ann Nix, gave birth to four illegitimate children in Bicester workhouse, which prompted an interest in that institution too.

Ann was not a good mother, and was later sent to prison for deserting her children.

Her father, William Nix, was a brewer and died from smallpox in 1864. He lived in New Buildings (now known as North Street).

His wife was Elizabeth Haddocks and her parents, Thomas and Ann, also lived in Bicester, so Gill was able to trace her Bicester links back to 1740.

She worked on many projects over the years, mainly focussed around Bicester Priory and St Edburg, her two main areas of interest.

These included two booklets, one about St Edburg's published in 1989 and one about the church and clergy in 1990.

She also co-wrote a book, with myself and David Buxton, about the history of St Edburg’s Church, which was published in 2010. Each of these were sold in aid of church funds.

One of her many current projects was a biography of John Dunkin, one of Bicester’s more prominent local historians.

To her, Dunkin was an inspirational figure, as he overcame poverty and physical disability to achieve everything that he did.

As well as his books, he also undertook the first archaeological excavation of Bicester Priory.

Alongside her love for history, religion played a big part in her life.

Through her church life she got involved with many groups and organisations over the years, both locally and abroad.

She spent many summers working with youth groups at St Edburg’s Church, and her work with the charity ABCD (Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability) touched many lives in Palestine and the West Bank.

Ms King will be sadly missed by a great number of people.

Written by fellow Bicester Advertiser columnist Matthew Hathaway