Knaptonian – Gillian Shephard

Born Gillian Watts in Knapton on 22nd January 1940, the daughter of Reginald Watts (a cattle farmer) and Bertha Watts (née Clover) .

Gillian attended North Walsham High School for Girls and St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, achieving her Masters Degree in Modern Languages in 1961.   She became a schoolteacher, then from 1963-75 worked as an Education Inspector for Norfolk County Council.

Gillian married Thomas Shephard, in 1975 and helped to raise his two children.

Gillian Shephard image

From 1975 to 1977 she worked for Anglia Television before being elected to Parliament as the Conservative MP for South West Norfolk in 1987.
During her time in Office she served as Secretary of State for Employment, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods and Secretary of State for Education.

On 13th May 2005 it was announced that she would be created a life peer and on 21st June 2005 the peerage was created as Baroness Shephard of Northwold.

Baroness Gillian Shephard

Today, Gillian is an active member of the vibrant Knapton History Group, helping to record and remember our village’s rich past and the characters that made it.

Of course, Baroness Shephard is also a member of the House of Lords and has been since 2005.

Gillian’s on-line Links
Gillian’s Coat of Arms
Gillian Shephard Coat of Arms
Knapton Remembered
Knapton Remembered image

Paperback   Published: 04/11/2007   Publisher: The Larks Press   ISBN: 9781904006398

These are the memories of some of the people who lived in Knapton from the ’30s to the ’60s, and who attended Knapton School.

Knapton was not a prosperous village, but it’s children were blessed by an inspirational head teacher, Mrs Johnson, the strong and generous leadership of Miss Robinson of Knapton House, and the influence of it’s two flourishing churches.

The sense of community and the rhythm of the farm year permeate every page of this book, which has been produced by the efforts of some 70 Knapton people who are still in touch with each other.

Knapton: Twentieth-Century Village Voices (2011)

Hardback 224 Pages   Published: 13/07/2011   Publisher: Biteback Publishing   ISBN: 9781849541039

With a foreword by Peter Hennessy, this book charts the social history of Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present day through the prism of our very own beautiful village, Knapton.

Through the direct testament of villagers, alive and dead, it tells the story of a small rural community through two world wars and the Cold War, revolution in agriculture, sweeping economic and social change, education reform and political transformation.

The text draws on the authentic written and oral memories of the inhabitants of Knapton: thus, while it presents a century and more of rural social history, it is seen and recounted from the experience of the people who lived it.

Extracted from the Backbite Publishing website

Knapton book image
The Real Iron Lady :: Working with Margaret Thatcher (2013)
The Real Iron Lady Working With Margaret Thatcher image

Hardback288 Pages   Published: 13/03/2013   Publisher: Biteback Publishing   ISBN: 9781849544016

What was it really like to work for Margaret Thatcher?  In this remarkable collection, Gillian Shephard who served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher has brought together a group of contributors with experience of working with the Iron Lady at various levels including members of her Cabinets, other MPs and peers; and people who had worked for her at Conservative Central Office, her constituency and behind the scenes at 10 Downing Street.

The result is a revealing record of the way that Britain s only female Prime Minister approached her job her thoroughness, her extraordinary capacity for hard work, her rare ability to combine attention to detail with a grasp of strategic issues. There are plenty of clashes some with the contributor in the direct firing line, others observed from a safe distance but there are also many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness toward the people with whom she worked. A unique insight into the working life of the real Iron Lady.

Extracted from the Backbite Publishing website