Roger Evans    MA, MBCS, PGCE

About the author

Roger Evans was born and bred in the town of Bridgwater.  Educated at Eastover Junior School, he progressed to Dr. Morgan’s Grammar School for Boys, for which with two other old boys he has now formed a reunion association.  Most of his working career was spent with Courtaulds as Information Technology Manager before running his own management consultancy business.  He now spends his time concentrating on local history, producing a number of books and delivering talks on local topics.

Roger’s interest in all things to do with Bridgwater remain his overwhelming passion.  This was reflected in 1970 when at the age of 22 he was elected to serve as a councillor for the old Borough of Bridgwater, and remains the youngest ever Bridgwater Borough councilor.  In more recent the interest is reflected in his books on Bridgwater and Somerset topics.  He has also worked with the BBC, HTV and a number of TV film companies in producing documentaries and educational films on local topics.

Publications

His first significant work was “Bridgwater with and without the ‘e’”, a publication now in its third printing, proving very successful with the Bridgwater public.  This publication (ISBN 0 9525674 0 7) covers the history and character of the town.  It also covers the 17 other Bridgewaters, each of which is spelt with the extra ‘e’.  Following its publication, Roger toured 8 of the American Bridgewaters lecturing on his home town, from its mediaeval origins to its modern day carnival.  This successful tour resulted in Roger being awarded the coveted ‘Bridgwater Cup’’.

His follow publication, “Forgotten Heroes of Bridgwater” (ISBN 0 9525674 1 5) has proven to be another popular local best seller.  Within its pages are characters from the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Bridge on the River Kwai, the Battle of Trafalgar, and many more, all with a strong Bridgwater connection.  The classic story of the amazing Sarah Biffin is also told within.

 Each book costs £9.95 per copy plus £2.50 post and packing within the UK, £5 p & p for overseas order. 

Released in 2001 was ‘Somerset in the Footsteps of Coleridge and Wordsworth’ (ISBN 0 9525674 2 3) which looks at what drew these two famous poets into Somerset and how, whilst in Somerset, they produced all of their finest works, never again achieving the heights of poetic creation achieved whilst Somerset.  This publication costs £3.95 plus £1 post and packing, £2.50 for overseas orders.

 Cheques (in UK Sterling) payable to Roger Evans.  Please order from:

Roger Evans, 9 Sussex Close, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 5PA.

Future publications include ‘Somerset Stories of the Supernatural’ due for release in October 2001 and ‘Landscapes of Somerset’ due for publication in 2002.  Other titles under development are 'Bridgwater in Poem and Song’ and ‘Blame it on the Cider’.

Talks

Roger also offers a range of talks with and without illustrations.

Blame it on the cider (Not illustrated)

Humorous and tragic tales from bygone Somerset where we can blame it on the cider.  Hence reminiscences of growing up in the days of cider orchards mixed with tales of the unexpected and many sensational affairs which would once have hit the headlines.  And it can all be blamed on the cider!

Somerset ghost stories (Not illustrated)

Real life stories of supernatural experiences - ghostly spirits, moving furniture, strange encounters.  True stories of the paranormal and all within the county of Somerset.  It’s fact not fiction in this talk which prompts audiences to ‘confess’ their own experiences.  The stories in this talk will be included in Roger’s next publication “Somerset Stories of the Supernatural” due for publication October 2001.

Tales of old Bridgwater

A very popular talk, especially in and around Bridgwater, well illustrated with scenes from the turn of the century, this talk takes a light hearted look at all parts of Bridgwater with tales of its characters, riots in the streets, the old cattle market and the many streets as they used to be in the days of yesteryear.

In addition, we take a look at Bridgwater’s maritime past and see some of the ships which were built here, some to carry emigrants to the New World.  And we answer the most inevitable of all Bridgwater questions – why is there no ‘e’ in the name!

Forgotten Heroes (Not illustrated)

Roger’s publication of Forgotten Heroes has a large cast of Bridgwater folk including the man who captured a Russian Gun in the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Bridgwater Captain with Nelson at Trafalgar. Then the ladies have their claim to fame with Sarah Biffin who, born with no arms or hands, became a miniature painter patronised by four kings and queens of England. And many, many more.

Somerset in the footsteps of Coleridge and Wordsworth

What drew Coleridge and Wordsworth to Somerset?  Why was this period the most productive in the lives of either of these great poets?  And just what drove them away?  The answers are provided in this talk which takes its name from Roger’s November 2000 publication.  The talk explores the towns and villages frequented by these poets and the many characters with whom they became acquainted.

Carnival past and present

How did it all begin and why does Bridgwater have the world’s largest illuminated carnival?  The origins and growth of our world famous carnival are explained with light hearted anecdotes of some of the characters from the past.  What goes on behind the scenes before and on carnival day itself?

Roger was born into a carnival family, made his first appearance at the age of 4 and has been involved ever since.  A founder of one of our local clubs, a former chairman of Bridgwater Carnival and now a senior judge, Roger is able to provide an entertaining and informative talk on the world largest illuminated carnival.

Sydenham Manor House

The hidden jewel in Bridgwater’s crown and one of its best kept secrets.  This illustrated talk shows the interior and exterior of this fascinating 500 year old house in the grounds of the local Cellophane plant.  Previously a manor estate with a thousand years of history, the house has been home to many a noteworthy and interesting character.  Its owners chose the wrong side in the Civil War and got it wrong again in the Monmouth Rebellion. Is it any wander it boasts a most persistent and almost predictable ghost?

Fairs and markets

This talk starts with Bridgwater’s markets and street fairs in the mediaeval times and then takes a closer look at Bridgwater fair as it was and as it survives today. 

It includes tales of the man who sold his wife at the fair, another who hired himself out to a Stogumber farmer only to later discover how the villagers there had married him off without him knowing. Then there’s the strong man with his ‘male performance enhancing elixir’ and world famous boxers. This is an entertaining look at one of Europe’s largest travelling fairs.

This is another subject on which Roger is well qualified to talk.  Having grown up next to the market, he was introduced to the ways of the showmen at a tender age, his father having travelled with the fair as a boxer and wrestler.

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