Blue plaque marks Burford's link to Countryman magazine

Witney Gazette: From left, Mark Whitely, John White, Emeritus Professor Robert Evans and Eda Forbes with the plaque Buy this photo From left, Mark Whitely, John White, Emeritus Professor Robert Evans and Eda Forbes with the plaque

A BLUE plaque has been unveiled paying tribute to the founding editor of The Countryman magazine and the publication’s longstanding ties with Burford.

The plaque for JW Robertson Scott was placed outside Greyhounds, in Sheep Street, which was the magazine’s office until 2003.

It was commissioned by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board, which wanted to recognise the legacy Mr Robertson Scott left by creating the “best-selling magazine of its time”.

Burford’s mayor, John White, said: “This magazine is just the sort of thing that a medieval rural town like ours would like to see on our shelves and it’s wonderful to have commemorated him.

“Strangely enough, he was a vegetarian and completely against hunting and blood sports, which aren’t the values you would expect from a countryman.”

Mr Robertson Scott founded the magazine in 1927, aged 60, and produced it from his home at Idbury Manor.

He retired in 1947 and the same year his successor John Cripps moved operations to Burford, setting up home at Greyhounds in 1949.

Witney Gazette:

It remained there until 2003, when staff moved to Skipton, in Yorkshire, as part of the Country Publications group.

Burford’s district councillor, Derek Cotterill, applied to the blue plaques board about the idea of marking the connection.

The plaque was unveiled on Sunday, June 22, by the magazine’s current editor, Mark Whitely.

The blue plaques board’s secretary, Eda Forbes, said that it was placed in Burford rather than at Idbury Manor, because it would be seen by more people.

She added: “JW Robetson Scott was a pioneer of rural journalism and really cared about the people who worked in agriculture in the 1920s and were very poor.

“What’s very important with the blue plaques is that there’s a legacy which continues through the ages both nationally and locally, which this magazine has.”

The monthly magazine currently has about 80,000 readers.

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