Categories for 2012
SLHA News ...
News 2012
Lectures and Conferences

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Local History: The National Picture
Dr Tim Lomas, BALH Chairman, reflects on the present and looks to the future

Dr Tim Lomas, a member of the SLHA Local History Committee, is both Chairman-elect of the British Association for Local History and Vice President of the Historical Association. At Jews’ Court on Sunday 25 November he highlighted several current issues and trends from a national perspective.

The number of local societies in the UK continues to grow, though the average age of participants is high and finding volunteers to run societies is often difficult.

Archive material is being digitised on a huge scale for accessibility on the internet - excellent - but the quality and accuracy of the process is not always high. 

Joint funding is becoming the usual way of publishing books and achieving other projects.

It is a matter of concern that teachers receive little training in the teaching of history and that as a consequence very little local history is taught in schools.

Local History Magazine, a publication from BALH
Local History Magazine,
a publication from BALH

November 2012

Belton House Water Supply
An historic waterwheel and pump installation provided water for fire fighting and garden fountain

In the early 19th century water was piped from the nearby river Witham to tanks in the roof of Belton House, where it was available in the event of fire.  The gardens’ spectacular fountains were supplied from the same source.

In a short illustrated talk at Jews’ Court on 25 November, Chris Lester quoted details from the original specification for the work and showed an illustration of the original waterwheel-driven pump by John Braithwaite, now at the Science Museum.

The pump house, 12-foot wheel and sluice control still survive and have been surveyed by the SLHA IA team.

More work has to be done to understand other aspects of water supply, drainage and sewerage at Belton house.  The society is also assisting the National Trust in new interpretation of this aspect of the property.

Waterwheel in the pumphouse
Waterwheel in the pumphouse
Pumphouse at Belton Pumphouse at Belton


November 2012

Medieval Tile Project
Plans to classify - and then learn from - a huge collection of tile fragments in Lincoln

Excavations at Lincoln over the years have created a large legacy of medieval roof tiles fragments, but the potential value of this material remains largely untapped. 

In a short presentation at Jews’ Court on 25 November Alex Beeby explained how a type series has been set up which enables tile fragments to be classified according to easily identified features of tiles, such as nibs (protrusions to enable hanging), holes (for wooden peg hanging), colour and texture. Plain roofing tiles can also be differentiated from ridge and eaves tiles.

If this work of classification was undertaken it would be possible to date the Lincoln tiles and locate where they were manufactured (there were 4 or 5 principal tile making communities in the county).  A project is proposed to undertake this work using volunteers and drawing on Heritage Lottery Funds.

November 2012Medieval tiles, Lincoln, type series

Recent Lincolnshire Fieldwork
A brief update on archaeological excavations in city and county

On 14 November, four separate speakers brought news of finds in Lincolnshire to a large audience at St Hugh’s Church Hall, Lincoln.

Market Deeping: Iron Age Settlement
Dr Steve Malone of Archaeological Project Services reported on the long-term investigations of an Iron Age –Roman settlement being uncovered ahead of housing development in Market Deeping, close to the line of the major Roman route known as King Street and the presumed course of the Car Dyke. The settlement appeared to be defined by major tracks and ditch-systems, and recently some hearths had been identified which could be as late as Early Saxon in date.

Lincoln: a Variety of Sites
Mark Allen, a Director of Allen Archaeology, discussed the results of several investigations, including those in advance of the new Arts block at the Brayford campus of Lincoln University, which indicated that the area became increasingly wet from the Late Bronze Age. Excavations at Lincoln College had revealed features close to the eastern limit of the Dominican Friary (13th-16th centuries) and underlying Roman burials. In the grounds of the Old Palace, an early Roman wall and yard had been cut through later in the Roman period for a stone quarry pit. There were also medieval rubbish pits, probably associated with properties along the street to the north.

Lincoln, The Collection: Jewellery
Antony Lee of the Collection Museum described in detail some recent acquisitions by the museum, including rings and a bracelet.

Lincoln: Roman & Medieval Buildings
Craig Spence of Bishop Grosseteste University College was able to set the results of recent excavations in the area of the College library into the context of previous work there. There were both Roman buildings and, after a gap of c.600 years, a sequence of medieval houses, those of the 13th and 14th centuries being substantial stone structures. All fronted on to the Roman Ermine Street immediately west of the site or its wide medieval successor.

November 2012

Underwater Exploration of Bronze Age Town
Dr Jon Henderson describes recent work in Greece

On 17 October 2012, Dr Jon Henderson of Nottingham University described the work that he has been directing at Pavlopetri on the mainland of Greece - the subject of a BBC2 TV programme in October 2011.

This project consists of an underwater exploration of a Bronze Age town just off shore; houses and tombs have been discovered, using the most advanced scanning and recording techniques. The finds suggested influence from the Minoan civilization of Crete.

October 2012pavlopetri, minoan, Crete

New Work in an Ancient Diocese
A well-attended conference on churches and their architecture

The annual SLHA Archaeology Day on Saturday 6 October broke new ground. The event was held at St Wulfram's Church, Grantham, rather than Lincoln and the contributions from seven eminent speakers, about churches and church architecture in Lincolnshire, were based on the relatively recent past.

It was a most stimulating day for the audience of over 70 attendees and it seemed entirely appropriate to have lectures delivered from the pulpit of this fine church.

The conference received a warm welcome by the Rector, Revd. Chris Andrews, and at the end of the afternoon Professor Philip Dixon led an informative tour of St Wulfram's, assuredly one of Lincolnshire's greatest churches.

Professor David Stocker speaks at the conference
Professor David Stocker
Speakers on Lincolnshire Churches and their Architecture
The conference speakers

October 2012Church architecture, St Wulfram Grantham

Wind Power: from Mills to Turbines
A stimulating and varied conference in Lincoln

Though variable and uncontrollable, the power of the wind is free. Over the centuries man has devised machines using wind power to mill grain, drive drainage pumps, generate electricity and run other machinery.

Speakers at SLHA's conference at Bishop Grosseteste University College on Saturday 22 September gave a history of wind-powered machinery from the mills of the medieval period to today's wind turbines. Special attention was paid to Lincolnshire's distinctive tower windmills and two speakers gave detailed accounts of restoration and operation in Moulton and Lincoln respectively.

The speakers and their subjects were:

  • John Sass - The Development of the Lincolnshire Tower Mill
  • John Boucher - The Restoration of Moulton Tower Mill
  • Catherine Wilson - The Windmill Paintings of Karl Wood
  • Ken Lidbetter - The Changing Fortunes of Ellis's Mill, Lincoln
  • Jon Sass - Traditional Wind Engines and Pumps
  • David Pearce - The Development of Wind Turbines
David Pearce, speaker on Wind Turbines, is introduced by Chairman Chris Lester
Chris Lester introduces David Pearce

September 2012

The Remarkable Baring Sisters of Harrington Hall
An entertaining lecture about 3 Victorian women who made their mark

"Come into the Garden, Fanny” was the title of Jean Howard’s lecture to a packed audience at St Mary’s Church at Harrington on 12 September.

Rosa, Fanny and Georgiana Baring lived at Harrington Hall with their mother and step-father Arthur Eden from 1831 to 1839.

Fanny married Francis Massingberd, incumbent of nearby South Ormsby; Georgiana, a spinster, became embroiled in the famous case of the Tichborne Claimant; and Rosa was much admired by Alfred Tennyson (then living at Somersby) before marrying the wealthy Robert Shafto and travelling extensively.

The diaries of Fanny and Rosa show what determined and capable women they were.

This was the annual Leach Lecture, honouring Terence Leach, notable local historian and former SLHA Chairman.  Beforehand, guests enjoyed a fine reception held in Harrington Hall, generously provided by the owners, David and Shervie Price.

Jean Howard (speaker), Joyce Leach (widow of Terence Leach) and Stewart Squires (SLHA Chairman)

Left to right:
Jean Howard (speaker)
Joyce Leach (T R Leach’s widow)
Stewart Squires (SLHA Chairman)

September 2012Harrington Hall, Tennyson, Baring, Massingberd

Excavations at Fin Cop, Derbyshire
Human skeltons discovered at a well-known hill-fort

On 12 September Jim Brightman of Archaeological Research Services (Bakewell) described the recent exciting results from excavations at the hill-top of Fin Cop in Derbyshire.  The site was known from previous investigations to include Bronze Age cairns within round barrows.

Working with the Longstone Local History group, the latest survey and dig concentrated on a trench across the defences, which unexpectedly revealed human skeletal remains tossed into the ditch as the hill-fort’s use came to a (possibly violent) end in c.300BC.

September 2012fin cop

Why So Many Methodist Chapels?
Division and amalgamation in Lincolnshire Methodism

The annual Brackenbury Lecture was held, as is the custom, at Raithby Chapel near Spilsby on the second Saturday in July.

Mervyn White of the Lincolnshire Methodist History Society, described the sequence of splinters in the church from Wesley’s death to the end of the 19th century, and its impact on chapel building in Lincolnshire.

It was interesting to note that the Spilsby area remained more solidly Wesleyan than almost any other part of the county.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
Market Rasen

July 2012Methodism, chapels

The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent
Brooches identify links to other UK sites

The subject of the archaeology talk on 13 June was the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent.

The speaker, Dr Andrew Richardson of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, is an expert on brooches of this period, many of which have been found in cemetery excavations. He has been able to identify elements that were distinctively Kentish, but with close parallels in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

There were links with Jutland, later superseded by influences from Gaul, but from the 7th century the kingdom was overshadowed by East Anglia.

June 2012Kent, Anglo-Saxon, brooch, Jutland

Anglo-Saxon Cremation Urns
Hypothesis aired about prior domestic use of cremation urns

On 16 May, Gareth Perry, a doctoral research student at Sheffield University, spoke about his research on the earlier uses of the Anglo-Saxon cremation urns from Cleatham and Elsham in North Lincolnshire.

His study has employed analysis of both residues and types of surface wear to suggest that certain pots were used for fermentation of beer or for dairying in advance of their later consignment to the earth as cremation urns.

This is a controversial hypothesis, but the results of the analysis convinced many in the audience, and we look forward to seeing Gareth’s researches concluded and published.

May 2012Anglo-Saxon, urn, cremation, brewing, dairy, Gareth Perry

Lincolnshire Estates: a Day Conference
The management and function of estates from medieval times to the present

Over 80 people, most of them SLHA members, attended a conference on the theme of Lincolnshire Estates at Riseholme Hall, University of Lincoln, on Saturday 5 May.

The six well-qualified speakers, who took a wide range of themes and provided a very stimulating day, were:

  • Andrew Jackson: The Council as Landlord: Urban Estate Development in Early Twentieth-Century Lincoln
  • Rob Wheeler: The Estate Village and its Farming Tenants
  • Charles Rawding: The Earls of Yarborough and the Lincolnshire Landscape
  • Paul Everson & David Stocker: Monastic Estates: The Case of Barlings Abbey
  • Rachel Hall: Belton Park: Landscape and Archaeology
  • Tony Worth: Twentieth-Century Fenland Farming for the Markets

We are grateful to the Local History team, especially Pearl Wheatley, for devising an excellent programme, and to Rod Callow, SLHA Administrator, for meticulous organisation of the conference.

Catering and hospitality provided by the University were, as always, to a very high standard.

Belton Park, decorative pillar
Belton Park, decorative pillar

May 2012Lincolnshire estates, Barlings, Ermine, Yarborough, Belton House, Harmston

The West Front of Lincoln Cathedral
Detailed exploration assists interpretation of architectural history

On 18 April Dr David Taylor of the University of Nottingham spoke to a large audience, swelled by the presence of several Cathedral Guides, about his research on the early west front of the Cathedral.

David has spent several years exploring the many chambers and voids and recording them stone by stone. As a result he has been able to suggest that there were three Romanesque phases, the second a rebuild of the first, and the final one begun by Bishop Alexander and completed by his successor Chesney.

The research has already produced an article in the latest issue of The Archaeological Journal and a book on the form of the Cathedral before St Hugh is planned in conjunction with Professors Philip Dixon and David Stocker.

This publication will explain the functions of the various chambers, from the huge garderobe in the north-west corner to the tiny rooms provisionally interpreted as singers' holes.

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

April 2012Lincoln cathedral, west front, Romanesque, singers' holes

Women Quakers; Lincolnshire Potatoes; Bardney Abbey
Speakers for these talks were Erin Bell, Stewart Squires and Paul Cope-Faulkner

Women Quakers

Another successful "Sunday Special" provided 3 short talks on varied themes to a packed audience at Jews' Court on 18 March. Dr Erin Bell of the University of Lincoln spoke about Women Quakers.

The Society of Friends, almost alone amongst the Christian denominations, had women taking leadership roles as early as the seventeenth century.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries women Quakers were also prominent in actively opposing the Slave Trade.

Decorative items with anti-slavery inscriptions were manufactured for personal wear and household use.

Read about Dr Erin Bell and details of this anti-slavery movement


Lincolnshire Pototoes

The recently published SLHA book "Growing Better: Lincolnshire and the Potato" was the subject of the talk given by Stewart Squires, one of the book's joint-editors.

He underlined the significance of Lincolnshire in the development of the potato industry and used a selection of the book's excellent photographs to illustrate potato planting, cropping, storing, processing and eating over the years.

Details of how to buy the book about potatoes

Illustration from the cover of
Illustration from the cover of
"Quakerism in Lincolnshire"
by Susan Davies

Illustrations of potato harvesting
Potato harvesting: Early 20th century hand picking Potato harvesting: 21st century machinery
Early 20th century hand picking 21st century machinery


Bardney Abbey

Paul Cope-Faulkner, from Archaeological Project Services, Heckington, has worked with local volunteers to excavate part of the extensive Benedictine abbey site at Bardney. The refectory, with its benches and table supports, has received special attention.

He explained that much of the work has allowed a close comparison with the excavation carried out in 1909 by Revd Charles Laing, which was well photographed at the time. An exhibition about the recent work and its finds is to be held in the parish church.

Read about Paul Cope-Faulkner and APS and pick up more details of the excavation

Volunteers begin to strip the turf from the abbey ruins at Bardney
Volunteers begin to strip the turf
from the abbey ruins at Bardney

March 2012Quakers, Potatoes, Bardney, Abbey,

Gold Mining in Egypt
Extraction methods compared to those in Spain and Wales

At an SLHA meeting in Lincoln on 14 March, Barbara Tratsaert described her research into Roman gold-mining in eastern Egypt. Her interest in that region stemmed from participation in the international project at Berenike, an important Red Sea port in southern Egypt in antiquity.

Barbara Tratsaert examined the evidence for techniques used in extracting the gold, and compared them to those investigated in the gold-mines in North-West Spain and at Dolaucothi in south-west Wales.

She has also demonstrated that the people used in mining were skilled technicians, not unskilled slave labour.

March 2012gold extraction, Egypt, Spain, Wales, Dolaucothi, Berenike

Hallaton Treasure
The unexpected discovery of 5000 silver and gold Late Iron Age coins in Leicestershire

On 15 February Vicki Score of University of Leicester Archaeological Services described the remarkable Hallaton treasure and its possible significance.

This was a surprise discovery of large groups of over 5000 silver and gold Late Iron Age coins, principally dating to the last generation before the Roman conquest, found at an unpromising location in Leicestershire in 2001.

There were also some surprising but valuable objects, including a silver bowl and a Roman parade helmet whose conservation and detailed decoration has recently received national publicity (the coins themselves have previously featured in Hello! magazine!).

On the other side of a ditch with an entrance (‘guarded' by a carefully-buried large dog) were a large number of pig bones, presumably from feasts. Detailed study of the coins and the names on them at the British Museum has suggested that this may have been a meeting place for leaders of various sub-tribes of the Corieltavi.

The finds are now on display at Harborough Museum.

February 2012Hallaton Treasure

Non-Conformity In Lincolnshire: Weekend Conference
Weekend residential conference and visits to two Lincoln High Street chapels

The annual SLHA residential conference was held at Bishop Grosseteste University College over the weekend 10 to 12 February on the theme of Non-Conformity.

Topics covered were:

  • Catholic Communities in Lincolnshire from Reformation to Emancipation - John Wilford
  • Thomas Grantham and the Baptist Explosion - Bob Kershaw
  • Methodist Variety Show - Linda Crust
  • The Huguenots - Kathy Chater
  • Moulton Seas End Primitive Methodist Chapel - Abigail Hunt
  • Monksthorpe Baptist Chapel - Hilary Healey & Bob Kershaw
  • Quakers in Lincolnshire - Brenda & Peter Knudssen

On Saturday afternoon visits were made to two Lincoln High Street churches: the Unitarian Chapel and Central Methodist Church.

See images in the photo gallery

February 2012Conference, Catholic, Reformation, Baptist, Methodist, Huguenots, Moulton, Quakers, Monksthorpe,

Aycoughfee Hall: The History Of A Fine Building
South Holland History Group enjoyed a stimulating talk by Julia Knight

The South Holland History Group enjoyed a very interesting and well presented talk by Julia Knight, the Museum Officer, about Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding on 27 January.

This beautiful house was built about 1420 for Richard Ailwyn, a wool merchant, and it is believed that it was granted to Sir William Ayscough from Stallingborough in north Lincolnshire sometime after 1506. The hall was subsequently known as Ayscoughfee, the suffix signifying the territorial grant made to a knight of the realm.

No records exist of the Ayscoughs actually living at the hall although the second son, Sir William Ayscough, sometimes lived in Spalding.

A number of different families occupied the hall after 1520, the most well known of which were the Johnsons, who were there until 1851.

The hall and gardens were sold by Isabelle Johnson to a committee of Spalding citizens in 1898 for sum of £2100. Thus the building came into public use, and today is administered by South Holland District Council on behalf of the people of Spalding.

This Grade One building has exceptional quality and the townspeople are rightly proud of their great house.

January 2012Aycoughfee Hall, Knight, Ailwyn, wool, merchant, Stallingborough, Johnson, Spalding,

West Sussex Tour; Museum Artefacts; George Boole
Entertaining talks given by Ken Hollamby, Antony Lee and Dave Kenyon

In the now well-established tradition, SLHA members were treated to a variety of short but entertaining talks in a "Sunday Special" on 22 January.

Ken Hollamby gave an illustrated preview of the attractions in West Sussex and Hampshire being visited in this year's study tour. These include Chichester (where the University provide our accommodation), Fishbourne Roman Palace, Weald and Downland Museum, Amberley Museum, Arundel Castle and Cathedral, and Fort Cumberland. We hope this very interesting programme attracts a large group.

Recent acquisitions at The Collection were the theme of Antony Lee's talk. He first mentioned the Roman intaglio ring, Anglo-Saxon pendant (right), bronze boar statuette and Roman gold coins already featured in Lincolnshire Past and Present, and then described in detail six gold coins, minted under Charles V of Spain in the period 1790-1801, which are part of a much larger hoard found near Lincoln over recent years.

The museum has also recently acquired a Chinese Hellbank Note, of no monetary value as currency but burnt at funerals as part of a traditional ritual.

Dave Kenyon of the University of Lincoln spoke about George Boole (1815-1864), who was born in humble circumstances in Lincoln. Boole developed his interest in Mathematics while running a small school in Pottergate in the city (left) and the exceptional quality of his work led to a professorship in Maths at Queen's College Cork. His seminal work on the logic (Boolean Algebra) which underpins computer science is widely recognised.

Dave is doing all he can to ensure there will be appropriate international celebrations of Boole's birth/death in 2014/15. Read a more detailed biography.

January 2012Sussex, Museum, Artefacts, George Boole,

Recent Excavations In Lincoln
City Archaeologist Mick Jones describes recent fieldwork and research in Lincoln

The opening archaeology lecture of the 2012 season on 18 January provided City Archaeologist Mick Jones with an opportunity to describe the highlights of fieldwork and research in Lincoln in the past year.

Among the excavations summarised were investigations at both Bishop Grossesteste University College, where work adjacent to the library revealed Roman and medieval suburban remains, and at Lincoln College, where Roman burials as well as occupation associated with the Dominican Friary to the west were uncovered.

A trench at Edward King House also found medieval pits and part of a Roman building, and on Auden Close more graves were found, within the precinct of medieval St Giles' hospital. More details of these excavations and others outside the city will be given at the 14 November meeting by the excavators themselves.

The talk also included news on recent publications and current post-excavation work on Lincoln, including both popular books and the two final volumes in the Lincoln Archaeological Studies series.

The progress report on repairs to and interpretation of visible remains included the Roman east gate and St Paul-in-the Bail, where improved lighting of the well and a new panel about its contents have now been installed.

January 2012Excavations, Lincoln, Jones, fieldwork, research, Roman, medieval,