The nephew of a renowned historian and educator, who grew up in Bratton and went to Trowbridge Girls’ School, is bringing her memoirs to the reading public.

Medieval history specialist Marjorie Reeves, the daughter of Robert Reeves, the owner of R&J Reeves and Son ironworks, achieved great renown in the academic community for her work on heretics and mystics.

Although based in Oxford as a fellow at the Society of Oxford Home Students from 1938 to 1972, she never lost touch with her Bratton roots.

Anthony Sheppard, 62, of Claygate in Surrey, found his aunt’s memoirs after she died in 2003, at the age of 98.

He said: “I was always close to my aunt. I remember going to the family home in Bratton all through my childhood.

“I knew she was writing these memoirs, but not how exciting they would be.

“They cover her distinguished academic career, but there is also a lot about her early life in Wiltshire, which remained her home at heart.

“She had a big influence in bringing Christian liberal values to education.

“Like many (academic) women of her age, she didn’t marry and she was consumed with passion for her work.

“The family home in Bratton had to be sold in the late 1980s, but until then she used to go there regularly and it is clear from the way she wrote that she was deeply attached to Wiltshire.

“She was a keen patron of Edington Music Festival and she wrote books about local history, more as a hobby than the academic work for which she is remembered by historians.”

Miss Reeves’s major work, The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages: a study in Joachimism, was published in 1969.

She also wrote three books on her family history: Sheep Bell and Ploughshare: the story of two village families (1978); The Diaries of Jeffrey Whitaker, Schoolmaster of Bratton 1739-1749 (1989); and Pursuing the Muses: Female Education and Nonconfor-mist Culture 1700-1900 (1997).

She was vice-principle at the Society of Oxford Home Students, later St Anne’s College, from 1951 to 1962 and again from 1964 to 1967.

She also served on the Advisory Council for Education for England, from 1946 to 1961, and was influential in setting up the universities of Kent and Surrey.

In 1996, she was appointed CBE for her services to history and education.

The Life and Thought of Marjorie Reeves is available from Amazon and Water-stones. There is also a copy at Westbury Library.