Saturday, 30 July 2011

Event - Visitors flock to step back in time (Doncaster)

More than 1,000 people whose imagination was sparked by the discovery of a rare Roman glass jug visited Doncaster’s latest town centre archaeological dig.

Seven archaeologists from ArcHeritage were on hand to conduct tours and to talk about the artefacts unearthed on the site of the new civil and cultural quarter.

Visitor Louella Chesterman of Bennetthorpe, said: “I found the event and tour extremely interesting and was impressed to hear that this site is now the largest Roman burial site in South Yorkshire. Listening to the archaeologists about how a dig takes place was fascinating.”

Ms Chesterman plans to visit Doncaster Museum in Chequer Road where the finds will go on display.
Jessica Worth, age 11, from Balby, said: “It was really interesting. The best bit for me was seeing the Roman glass bottle which was found here. I’m amazed it has survived all these years. I’ll definitely go and see it at the museum when it goes on display”.

As well as the rare Roman glass jug dating back to about AD150, several cremation urns and five oil lamps, which accompanied the burials, were discovered during the dig.

Four of the oil lamps discovered in a large cremation pit are in near perfect condition and carry the makers’ names ‘Fortis’ and ‘Strobili’, which indicates they were probably created in Modena in Northern Italy.

David Aspden, who is leading the ArcHeritage excavation, said the team has been delighted to find artefacts in such good condition: “When you are excavating a Roman cemetery you expect to uncover some significant finds, but to find two intact cremation urns, which can now be preserved and displayed, has been tremendous.”

Andy Lines of South Yorkshire Archaeology Service added: “This site is special and is going to make an important contribution to our understanding of Roman life and death in Doncaster 1,850 years ago.”
First World War practice trenches were also found on what was the Waterdale Central Car Park.

ArcHeritage worked with archaeological consultants Scott Wilson under the supervision of Doncaster Council’s development partner Muse Developments and advisors, South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.

To continue the celebration of Doncaster’s Roman history, Roman soldiers will be setting up camp in the grounds of the Minster on Saturday and Sunday, September 3 and 4. The soldiers will march through town and displays will be available. This Roman camp is part of the St Leger Festival Week which runs between 2-11 September.

Work on the next stage of Doncaster’s £300m CCQ scheme is due to start shortly. 


CBA Festival of Archaeology - Throapham Heritage Day

The first day of the Throapham Heritage Weekend has been a great success, over 100 visitors came to look around the church, go on the guided walks and chat to us about history and archaeology in general.  The Guardian came over to do an article for next weeks edition too.

I helped the Friends of Throapham Church identify some more masons marks (being tall has one advantage).  Someone brought some drawings of masons marks in other South Yorkshire churches and we're now able to say the tower of Throapham matches some of those in Rossington and Misson.  This indicates the masons were either local or all the works were done at the same time. One of these masons has a very distinctive 3 leaved clover with a stick and line at the bottom.  I've seen many masons marks but this one is amazing.

The big talking point of the day was the vast amount of houses the council want to build around Dinnington, It looks like the village will double in size in the next 20 years and no-one is happy with it!

Nature was also out in force today, hundreds of hoverflies and ladybirds have been buzzing around various flowers in the graveyard and the sun came out as well!

The church is open on Sunday between 13.00 and 17.00 - come along it's well worth a visit. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Event - Family Funday (Sheffield Manor Lodge)

Festival of British Archaeology - Throapham Archaeology Weekend

Sat 30–Sun 31 July

Guided tour of Anglo-Saxon/Norse and Medieval Church with Celtic origins and Roman evidence. Displays of local and national finds and information on the church and the area. …

Guided tour of Anglo-Saxon/Norse & Medieval Church with Celtic origins from B.C. date. Many Roman indications and evidence. Displays of local and national ‘finds’ and information on the church and the area.

The Church of St. John the Baptist dates from early Anglo-Saxon times with many medieval items and architecture. The site is an early Celtic site dating from B.C. with a well within the grounds.The church is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

A Midsummer Fair (actually on St. John the Baptist’s day) took place until recent times in the adjacent field with a walk from Laughton All Saints. Inside the church is the first memorial written in English from 1424 and a medieval coffin lid, also a medieval font with three heads representing the three known continents (America not having been ‘found’ then). There are many ancient tombs in the graveyard including Chest and Table tombs. Some with iron railings round to stop grave robbers. Copies of the Baptism, Marriage and Burial records exist from the 1500s and will be on view in the church. Many of the miners who died from local collieries including Dinnington and Thurcroft were buried here and people who lived in Throapham Manor House (now gone).

Guided tours are available throughout the day. Exhibits will include local ‘finds’ many of them Roman. Refreshments and toilet on site. Collectors and Antique sale table to assist in our fund raising.

Guided tours:

Saturday 11am; 2pm; 3pm

Sunday 2pm; 4pm.

Free. Donations towards the ‘Friends’ work gratefully accepted.

Location: St. John the Baptist Church, St. John’s Road, Throapham with Laughton-en-le-Morthen, Near Rotherham S25 1YL. At Throapham crossroads turn towards Laughton and the church is on the left hand side, not in the hamlet of Throapham.

Event - Step into Priory's history (Newthorpe)

PEOPLE are invited to step into the past on a series of walks in Newthorpe this Sunday.

Performers will portray historical figures linked to Beauvale Priory.

Each performer will lead a walking tour of the area through their own perspective – as villagers, the king's commission and the lady of the manor, among others.

Tours will last about 30 minutes and will start at regular intervals between 11am and 4pm.

People can take part in as many tours as they like.

The tours are all outdoors and walkers are asked to wear suitable footwear.

The event is part of Eastwood Arts Festival.

For more information, call Broxtowe Borough Council on 0115 9173695.

Event - Activities plan as library closes (Carlton Road Library, Nottingham)

A PROGRAMME of tours and activities in libraries has been announced as one library prepares to close its doors this weekend.

Carlton Road Library will shut tomorrow ahead of a new library opening in St Ann's Joint Service Centre early next year.

Members of the public have been invited to activities at other libraries this summer, including St Ann's Library, Bakersfield Library and Nottingham Central Library.

These include a night of films about Nottingham's history, a jewellery session, a lesson about bats and a ghost stories event.

Councillor David Trimble, council portfolio holder for leisure, culture and tourism, said: "The decision to close a library is never an easy one.

"We have set up this exciting programme of events for citizens to enjoy at other local libraries so they are introduced to services around them."

More details about the events can be found at

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Article - Gateway to the Dukeries (Worksop/Clumber/Rufford/Welbeck/Thoresby)

This months Worksop life is now out and on page 40 is an article on The Dukeries by David Cook of Priories Historical Society

To see the magazine  click on

Save Roman Southwell - Once-in-a-lifetime chance for heritage

Roman remains in Southwell could be used for education and tourism if they are preserved, a group campaigning against development has claimed.

The Save Roman Southwell campaign wants to see the former Church Street site of the Minster School protected.

It is appealing for the site to be made a heritage area incorporating Southwell Minster, the Archbishop’s Palace and the prebendal houses on Church Street and Westgate.

Experts believe the remains site, later used as an Anglo Saxon cemetery, could provide the link between the Roman occupation of Southwell, the origins of Christianity in the town, and the building of the minster.

Mr Trevor Wight, of Save Roman Southwell, told the town council that the Roman remains were of significant archaeological importance and formed part of the historic core of the town.

He said: “We feel the historic core should be extended to create a tourist destination of local and national importance.

“What we envisage is a Roman heritage park including the archaeological remains linking with the other parts of the historic core.

“The building blocks are there because you have got the minster nearby with its own marketing and visitor guides.”

Mr Wight said they wanted the land returned to the community, which could preserve the remains and make the site usable before providing interpretation boards and a visual representation of the remains.

He said they then hoped to open the site up for archaeological investigation from experts and the community and finally create an educational facility and expose some of the remains, although this was likely to be very expensive.

Mr Wight said: “We have here a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if we don’t take it now it will be gone.

“We have the opportunity to create a unique, attractive tourist centre on the site.

“We want to create a more complete package of tourism attractions and this has the potential not just to enhance tourism in Southwell, but tourism in Nottinghamshire.”

Caunton Properties Ltd has submitted plans for 29 homes on the site.

The plans have been delayed from going before Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee several times but it is believed they will be decided by Christmas.

The Save Roman Southwell campaign and Southwell Town Council are against the application.

A member of the campaign group, Mr Peter Kent, said English Heritage was still against making the site a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which would protect it from development.

He said the group believed the site had more surprises to reveal and, if development was allowed, the remains would be lost forever.

Caunton Properties Ltd has told the town council it is considering selling the land to an Irish syndicate regardless of the outcome of the planning application.


News - Pictorial project to honour war dead (Newarl/Balderton)

A project has been launched to match photographs to all the names on the Newark and Balderton war memorials.

It is hoped it will be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war in 2014.

The project mirrors a much bigger one to find photographs of as many of the 72,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the Battle of The Somme who have no known resting place and whose names are commemorated on the French Thiepval memorial to the missing.

There are 603 names on Newark’s Memorial To The Fallen at Newark Cemetery, of whom 456 are first world war casualties.

Another 144 are from the second world war, one died in West Africa in 1961, one in Malaya in 1952 and one in Afghanistan in 2007.

There are 45 names from the first world war on the memorial in St Giles’ Church, Balderton, and a further 13 from the second world war.

Mr Pete Stevens, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission stonemason, is behind the idea to match photographs with the names.

He suggested it at a meeting in Leicester about restoring war memorials there.

Mr Stevens, of Coleman Avenue, Balderton, said completing the project in time for 2014 would be a fitting testament to the memory of those who died.

He said: “If we could achieve this it would fantastic.

“It would be the perfect way to ensure that the memory of these men lives on for the next generation, and wonderful to have a gallery completed in time for August 4, 2014, which is the 100th anniversary of the declaration of war by Great Britain on Germany and her allies.

“A number of very special events are being planned nationally and this one I hope will capture the imagination.”

Mr Stevens plans to create a website where people can upload pictures of their relatives, along with items such as letters from the Front to create a more detailed insight into their lives.

Mr Stevens has already found some photographs of the dead through his work and through genealogy websites.

He has discovered the name of Private Levi Sibcy from 2/8th Sherwood Foresters, who was killed on January 15, 1915, aged 16, and is the youngest soldier recorded on either memorial.

He wants to know more about the six soldiers, also from 2/8th, who died of wounds sustained in the Irish uprising of 1916 and are on the Balderton memorial.

Mr Stevens wants people to trawl though family archives for pictures.

He plans to contact schools in the hope teachers will make research part of history lessons, and pupils will take news of the project home to their parents.

He hopes a home can be found for the gallery, possibly in Newark’s planned new museum which, subject to Lottery funding, would be created at the Old Magnus Buildings, Appletongate.

Any relative of one of the fallen featured on either memorial and who has a photograph of them or who can help in any kind of way can contact Mr Stevens via or contact the Advertiser newsdesk on 01636 681234.

Book - The South Notts Hussars The Western Desert 1940-1942 Pen and Sword,

AFTER a 700-mile dash across the desert, past columns of retreating British soldiers heading in the opposite direction, the trucks and guns of the South Notts Hussars arrived at the Libyan port of Tobruk.

"Everyone was rushing headlong back into Egypt, the only troops moving west were the South Notts Hussars," said Bombardier Ray Ellis, from Hucknall.

Epic battle: The South Notts Hussars in action at Tobruk.

Hard work: A South Notts Hussars gunner grabs some sleep during a moment of peace at the siege of Tobruk.

Sing when you're winning: Men of the South Notts Hussars during the siege of Tobruk

In his book on the Hussars in the Western Desert, historian Peter Hart tells the dramatic story using eye witness testimony from the battlefield.

Just after midnight on April 9, 1941, the Hussars rolled through the Tobruk defence line... just in time as the Royal Engineers laid their final row of mines and barricaded the entrance behind miles of barbed wire.

From their gun positions and observation posts the Hussars, along with Australians, Indians, Poles and Czechs – all part of the 7th Armoured Brigade – gazed out across a barren, rocky desert, knowing that somewhere, perhaps behind the nearest ridge, General Erwin Rommel and his Panzers were waiting to attack.

Seize Tobruk and the road to Egypt, the Suez Canal and unlimited oil supplies would be Germany's. It could not be allowed to happen.

The Notts men, with their officers drawn from some of the county's leading families including the Birkins, the Barbers and their commanding officer Colonel William Seely, who liked to walk in front of the guns with a rifle under his arm, waited for the inevitable attack.

"They didn't attack in great strength, probably about 14 or 15 tanks," recalled Lance Sergeant Harold Harper. "The firing was incessant. It was rather like going to a cup-tie – when you knocked a tank out everybody cheered."

Then came the infantry. "It was quite a sensation – a game I had played as a boy – it was actually happening," said Ray Ellis.

It was the Hussars' job to plug gaps in the wire with their 25-pounder guns. "At all costs we had to keep out every infantryman we could," said Major Robert Daniell.

Any that did get through were left to the tough Australian infantrymen, who took them on at bayonet point.

"I was absolutely petrified of this," confessed Ray Ellis. "I wasn't trained to take on a German infantryman... all I could do was pray."

It was desperate stuff. At one point, Captain Colin Barber's observation post was cut off by the charging tanks and infantry. According to the Hussars' history, Capt Barber took them on with his revolver... "range was only seven yards but in the best Gunner traditions, he missed them all."

The story quickly became a Hussars legend – a year later Capt Barber, from Hucknall, would be killed at the Battle of Knightsbridge.

The Hussars fired thousands of rounds, only stopping when the guns became too hot. "I reckon my gun fired something like 1,200 rounds... everyone was exhilarated," said Sergeant Ian Sinclair.

It is impossible to put yourself in their place and truly appreciate the noise, smoke, screaming German Stuka dive-bombers, bombs, shells, red, blue, green and white tracer cutting across a cloudless sky. "It was a splendid sight, a real sort of enormous fireworks display," said Captain Charles Laborde.

It was also terrifying. "The Stukas came so low they nearly scraped the floor... you didn't know you had been Stuka'd till you had tread marks on your back," said Gunner Ted Holmes.

For nine long months, this was the Hussars' daily fly-blown, wind-swept routine.

"No newspaper, no radio, no cinema, no beer, no time off, no recreation, no sport – just sat there for nine months," said Ray Ellis.

"That in itself was a terrific strain – forgetting all the dive-bombing and fighting."

It was their plight that inspired Lord Haw Haw, the Nazi propaganda radio broadcaster, to call them "the rats of Tobruk", giving the name to the legend of the Desert Rats.

They made the best of it, playing cards, childhood games of cowboys and Indians around the gun pits, impromptu sing-songs... but always waiting for the shell that had their name on it.

On November 17, 1941, the order to relieve Tobruk was given to the British 8th Army. The Hussars' role was to support the infantrymen of the Black Watch.

Bolstered by a mug full of rum, the Scots marched into a bullet-torn maelstrom. Hussar Erik Morley watched them. He said: "Just falling down and the blokes that didn't fall stepped over their comrades. There was no turning back, you didn't stop for anyone."

The two armies did their level best to blow each other to kingdom come. The Hussars' guns got so hot, shells began to explode in the barrel. That was how Arthur Fox, 21, from Lenton was killed.

But finally, the Afrika Korps broke under the pressure and on December 8 the siege was lifted. "Up until that moment we didn't know Tobruk was going to be relieved... there was a constant fear we would be overcome and taken," said Ray Ellis.

Like so many others, the Hussars' response was to get "gloriously drunk".

The South Notts Hussars The Western Desert 1940-1942 is published by Pen and Sword, priced £12.99.

Event - Civic exhibition opens at Nottingham Council House

This year's Heritage and Civic Exhibition at Nottingham Council House is on Thursday and Friday this week (July 28 and 29)

On display are the civic regalia and information about Nottingham's Lord Mayors and Sheriffs going back more than 100 years, scrolls presented to the honorary freemen of the city dating back to 1895, royal charters dating from 1155, 1284, 1879 and 1953 granting the city various rights and privileges, including city status in 1897, and other ceremonial and civic items.

There is also a large collection of paintings of the city from the 1880s until the 1930s by Nottingham artists Thomas Hammond.

The free exhibition is open from 11am until 5pm on Thursday and from 10am until 5pm on Friday

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dig - Time team dig up the dirt: experts push back origins of farming in city’s history (Sheffield)

ARCHAEOLOGISTS working at a Sheffield farm have dug up a mystery – the remains of a settlement which could date back 8,000 years to the Iron Age.

The dig, aided by volunteers at Whirlow Hall Farm, has found a rectangular-shaped enclosure formed by a ditch.

It was revealed during a geophysical survey undertaken by a team as part of an ongoing Heritage Lottery funded project at the farm.

Karl Taylor, of Archaeological Research Services who carried out the survey, said: “The results of the survey show just how valuable geophysics can be as a tool for discovering archaeology that would have otherwise lain undetected.

“This discovery pushes back farming at Whirlow by at least 2,000 years and will provide new information on the early history of Sheffield.”

Excavations on the enclosure are now under way with volunteers and members of the public taking part alongside trained archaeologists.

The discovery could be hugely significant for Sheffield, as no farming settlements of this date have yet been found within the city.

The project is open to the public and volunteers have been involved since April.

They have so far been carrying out field walks, geophysical examinations of the terrain and a photographic survey of the historic farm buildings at Whirlow including the medieval cruck barn.

Volunteer Dorne Coggins said: “The project has given me a wonderful chance to experience a wide range of archaeological activities.

“It has really opened my eyes to what you can discover on your doorstep.”

The field walking resulted in the collection of over 1,000 finds, including flint tools from the Mesolithic and Early Bronze Age.

Archeologist Jessika Sheppy said: “The really exciting aspect of this project is that it is revealing the presence of human activity at Whirlow for over 8,000 years.

“This emerging story will enable visitors and school groups to appreciate the history and importance of the site for many years to come.”

On completion of the project, the findings will be used to produce a heritage trail and a programme of talks and walks detailing the history of the area, which will be made available to visitors to the farm.

The dig continues until August 5 and anyone interested in taking part should contact Jessika Sheppy at or 01629 814540 to book a place.

Video - (Thoresby)

The bugle that sounded the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854 is one of the star objects that has gone on show at new military museum in Nottinghamshire.

The Queen's Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum at Thoresby Hall has been officially opened by Princess Alexandra.

Its collection highlights the role the local regiments played in the battles of the past three centuries.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

News - Concerns as hall sale bid falls down (Thorne)

DONCASTER Council could face legal action if Thorne Hall is allowed to go to ruin.

The Grade II listed landmark failed to sell at auction in London this week after no-one met the reserve price of £300,000.

Auctioneers Lambert Smith had said there was considerable interest the building.

But Thorne councillor Martin Williams is concerned the building is still facing an uncertain future and is planning a meeting with lawyers.

He said: “I think the next step should be to put it up for auction somewhere in Yorkshire, to see what happens if it goes on the market in this region.

“It is a Grade II listed building and it needs protection. I am meeting a planning barrister next month to discuss it.

“The council cannot take itself to court if the building is not maintained, but I may look into it. But my first option would be to try to sell it locally. I don’t think leaving it to become neglected is a good example to set.”

The building has been out of use for around five years, since it ceased to used as an area housing office.

Coun Williams believes it may cost anyone who takes over the building around £1 million to renovate it.

Director of Regeneration and Environment Peter Dale said: “Thorne Hall failed to sell at auction on Monday despite being advertised nationally.

“Since the auction we have arranged another viewing and it remains available for sale.

“We are committed to selling Thorne Hall, but any buyer will have to abide by the terms of its Grade II listing.

“The hall will be put up for auction again in the autumn.”

Video - World War Two air raid shelter found in Worksop

Builders working on the town’s new cinema have unearthed an unexpected feature of their own when they found a World War Two air raid shelter.

VIDEO: Click the play button to see an exclusive video of the underground shelter. link to

News - Bygones: Arthur Mee (Stapleford)

FUNDED by the Stapleford and District Local History Society, the plaque at the Arthur Mee Centre in Stapleford reminds us of the extraordinary man who wrote the Children's Encyclopedia and founded and edited the Children's Newspaper.

Arthur Mee was born in Stapleford on July 21, 1875, at a house now demolished on Church Street. He was the second of ten children of Henry Mee, a railway fireman, and his wife Mary.

Subsequently they lived at a house on Orchard Street, and also at 7 Pinfold Lane where, in the 1881 census, Arthur Mee was described as a scholar.

All these sites have subsequently been re-developed.

Young Arthur attended the local school, now the Arthur Mee Centre. When he was 14, in 1889, the family moved to 237 Woodborough Road, Nottingham, and at the time of the 1891 census they were living at 126 Manning Street.

By then Arthur had left school and become a copy-holder on the Nottingham Evening Post. In 1891 he became an apprentice reporter on the Nottingham Daily Express, and in 1895, aged just 20, he was appointed editor of the Nottingham Evening News.

Arthur's journalism star was rising rapidly. By now he was already contributing articles to magazines, and Nottingham was no longer big enough for his expectations.

Arthur moved from Nottingham to London in 1896 when he was 21, and the following year he married 19-year-old Amelia (Amy) Fratson.

By 1901 they were living at 27 Lanercost Road, Tulse Hill, Lambeth, where their daughter, Marjorie, was born that same year. It was a substantial house and must have been relatively new when the Mees lived there. Surprisingly for the time, they had no servants, but they did have a boarder. Arthur was obviously stretching himself!

Mee moved to London because he had contacts. The Nottingham Daily's Express's Evening News was owned by John Hammerton who encouraged Mee's career, including his regular contributions to Tit-Bits. Mee worked for the magazine when he moved to London.

In 1898 he joined the staff of the Daily Mail for which he became literary editor in 1903.

Mee seems to have grown tired of journalism. In 1903 he began working for Alfred Harmsworth's Amalgamated Press, and he was appointed joint general editor in 1905 with John Hammerton, of The Harmsworth Self-Educator. This took him away from newspaper work towards more general writing.

As a result, London was no longer so important to Mee and in 1905 he and his wife and daughter moved to a house in Hextable, Kent, where they lived until 1914.

Financially secure, Arthur Mee was now able to devote himself to full-time writing, and in conjunction with Hammerton he produced The History of the World (1907-9), Natural History (1909-11) and The World's Great Books.

In 1908 he began work on The Children's Encyclopaedia (1908-10) which came out as a fortnightly magazine, and was later published and bound in eight volumes, subsequently increased to ten.

Mee was now skilled at popularising general knowledge and assembling vast quantities of documentation from which to write his material.

He wrote extraordinarily fast – something in the region of 3,000 words a day, every day, for 50 years!

His My Magazine appeared from 1910 until 1935, and he edited the weekly Children's Newspaper from its beginning in 1919 edited until his death in 1943.

The Children's Newspaper continued publication until 1964.

The British Library has well over 400 items, including second and later editions, of works attributed to Mee.

How he found time for his only other interests of gardening and DIY, is remarkable.

In 1914 Mee commissioned a house at Eynsford, near Sevenoaks, in Kent.

The designs were depicted in later editions of The Children's Encyclopaedia. He lived there for the rest of his life.

Apart from the Children's Encyclopaedia and the Children's Newspaper, Mee wrote The Children's Bible, The Children's Shakespeare, an edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, and A Children's Life of Jesus, and numerous other books.

Mostly they were moral, pious and, especially in the 1930s, patriotic, reflecting the values of the day.

In 1936 Mee started a new venture, called The King's England, a series of county studies designed to be "a new Domesday Book of 10,000 Towns and Villages".

Mee and his researchers set out to record the ancient, beautiful and curious historic possessions of England since the motor car made it possible.

The researchers were to include the obvious glories, the strange, the odd and the unusual, and they were expected to pick up a good anecdote along the way.

Mee wrote of Stapleford that "Fifty years ago it was a quiet village", but now it has "given away its rural charm and accepted its place in industry".

Many of the county volumes are still available, and The King's England Press was founded in 1989 to reprint them as classic guides to 1930s countryside as well as historical documents in their own right.

Mee died in 1943 but his legacy lives on and he is now officially commemorated in his home town.


News - Amateur diggers discover the realities of Victorian living (Sheffield)

AMATEUR archaeologists who have joined a dig on the site of a city farm have helped uncover what life was like in the area a century ago.

When Queen Victoria was on the throne, several streets around Heeley City Farm in Sheffield were home to families who worked in local factories.

The terrace houses were demolished in the 1970s but locals who have been taking part in the dig have discovered some of the artefacts that were left behind.

Dr Roger Doonan, of the department of archaeology at Sheffield University, has helped the volunteers, many of whom have never been involved in archaeology before.

He said: “The real thrust of the project is to find out about what people did in their back yards and gardens a century ago.

“We have found the foundations of the houses, and the outhouses, and beneath the 1978 demolition layer there are some interesting artefacts.”

Dr Doonan said pieces of oyster shell and bone which were probably offcuts from cutlery works had been found, which appeared to be evidence of a cottage industry.

He added: “It was probably waste which husbands brought home from the factories and foundries, which wives worked into buttons for clothing - not just for themselves but to sell.

News - National Archives to pilot web archiving scheme for local authorities (Sheffield)

The National Archives is to pilot a web archiving model for local authorities, initially focussing on seven archive services.

It will used as the basis for creating a template for procuring web archiving services and guidance on best practice to help archive services across the country develop their own web archives. Community or private websites which the archive services think may be of interest to future local historians will be archived as well as the local authority website itself.

Oliver Morley, chief executive and keeper of The National Archives, said: “We are working to share the expertise we have built up in archiving government websites with local archive services up and down the country, empowering them to create web archives of their own which will provide a digital history of their communities”.

The archive services which will take part in the pilot scheme are: Greater Manchester Archives Group (multiple services in a joint partnership); West Yorkshire Archives Service (covering the authorities of Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield); Sheffield Archives; North Yorkshire County Record Office; Surrey Heritage; Dorset History Centre (including the Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council); and Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives Service.

Between them, these services cover 20 local authorities, and staff will be trained in how to develop a curated web archive for their area. They will be given free support from the National Archives and the Internet Memory Foundation, who is the partner of the National Archives in archiving central government websites.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Event - Rotherham Local Heritage Fair 2011

The 2011 Rotherham Local Heritage Fair will take place at Rotherham Minister on October 15th between 10.00-16.00.

If groups wanting to set up stalls or displays could get in touch with the Rotherham Heritage Association's secretary as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Save Roman Southwell - 2,500 fight to save villa site

A PETITION to protect a rare archeological site in Southwell has been signed by more than 2,500 people.

The Save Roman Southwell (SRS) campaign was set up to oppose a planning application to build 29 houses on most of the old Minster school site.

The site in Church Street is home to the remains of one of the largest Roman villas in the UK, which protesters argue is key to understanding Southwell's origins.

Newark and Sherwood District Council is considering the proposal by Caunton Properties Ltd, who were unavailable for comment, to build houses next to the remains.

The SRS campaign says it is not only about stopping developments in the town, but also about creating a tourist attraction.

Southwell Heritage Trust member Trevor Wight said: "This groundswell of opinion puts the responsibility on all of us to make sure the mistakes of the past, when important heritage was destroyed, are not repeated."

SRS wants to return the site to community ownership and put up information boards.

Experts say that the site is of national importance.

The Rev Prof Martin Henig of Oxford University said: "This could be a five-star educational and tourist resource for the town.''

News - Reward after vandal chops 35 trees in historic garden (Owthorpe)

A RETIRED businessman today offered a reward for the arrest and conviction of a vandal who chopped down trees in a 350-year-old garden.

Peter Birkin, 80, discovered the destruction at Owthorpe's 17th-Century restoration wetland and wildlife project on Thursday.

He said he was horrified to see that 35 of the garden's poplar trees had been hacked down. Benches and fences in the garden had also been vandalised

The garden is an important historical site in Notts – it once belonged to the Civil War soldier Colonel John Hutchinson.

Mr Birkin, from Cropwell Bishop, has worked to restore and cultivate the historic tourist attraction for the past 20 years.

He said: "I was very upset when I discovered the vandalism. It is a wicked thing to have done.

"No one here understands why someone would commit such an act of wanton vandalism.

"We have put years of time and effort into the garden and now the orchard has been ruined overnight.

"We will have to cut all the stumps down and burn them. It is a horrible sight."

Most of the trees in the orchard which were vandalised have sponsors, including former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and former MP for Sherwood Paddy Tipping.

Mr Birkin added: "The orchard and gardens have attracted a lot of attention over the years as they lie on a medieval ridge.

"We received lottery funding in 2002 to begin our restoration work and, nearly ten years on, we were finally happy with the way the site looked. The vandalism is very upsetting for everyone who has put time and effort into the garden."

The project even received a letter of appreciation from Prince Philip which Mr Birkin said was a welcome reward.

Mr Birkin said the most upsetting part of the vandalism for him was the destruction of a monkey puzzle tree which his grandson had given him.

He added: "I have been so thrilled with the support and dedication we have had from people doing community service in the garden.

''Something like this happening out the blue has tinged that success with sadness," he added.

Anyone with any information about the crime should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 0300 3009999.