Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

Aug 2007 Sep 2007 Oct 2007 Nov 2007 Dec 2007
Jan 2008        


Oct 2007


Mon 22 Oct 2007

Dr David Hunt of the South Ribble Museum Leyland
gave a presentation to Brindle Historical Society on 'Death'

David started by showing us slides of some early settlements and burial chambers on Orkney dating back to about 3000BC.

Homme de Tollund bog burial

Skara Brae

The largest burial chamber was Maes Howe, a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave situated on Mainland Orkney. It is aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. He showed photos and spoke about the magnificent large stone-built Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae on Orkney which dates back to 3100-2500BC and is Europe's most complete Neolithic village.

David had also visited China and told us about the Great Wall and how it is larger than can ever be imagined. The tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi is near an earthen pyramid 76 meters tall and nearly 350 square meters. The tomb presently remains unopened but nearby in 1974 a local farmers was drilling a water well and found the first part of the Terracotta Army. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses is a collection of 8,099 larger than life Chinese terra cotta figures. Sadly, most of the figures had been smashed before their discovery but most have now been restored. David then moved on the Egypt where different forms of burials had been used. These generally involved preserving of mummifying the body. A very interesting piece of information he told us was that in our own UK Bronze Age there are many cases of burials being found but little evidence of the buildings they lived in. Or, few lived in the Bronze Age but lots of people died in it!

Some of the Terracotta Warriors


Tue 09 Oct 2007

Dot Bruns gives a presentation on the 'Portable Antiquities Scheme'

Dot Bruns, of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, came along to give a presentation on the working of the scheme and some of the artefacts she had been involved with during previous years.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a programme to record the increasing numbers of small finds of archaeological interest found by members of the public.

Advice being given on a mini-dig at Astley Hall.

Some of the John Winstanley flints collection.

The scheme was begun in 1997 and now covers most of England and Wales.
She described in detail the work they were doing on the cataloguing of the John Winstanley collection of flints. A lot of the work relies in a small dedicated team of volunteer workers and Julie Stewart of this Society was doing a huge amount of work by sorting, measuring, weighing and photographing the flints ready for adding to the national database.
As well as coordinating and recording finds Dot visits schools and other organisations to describe the work of the scheme and in some cases allows children to handle some of the less important artefacts.

A small sample of some of the artefacts
that have been catalogued.

A Unique Gold Posy Ring from Lancashire.

Many thanks to Dot for providing me with the above images from her presentation.


Thu 04 Oct 2007

Chorley Film Society and the North West Film Archive

Chorley Film Society and the North West Film Archive teamed up to present a wonderful evening of old films relevant to the Chorley area. Geoff Senior of the North West Film Archive based in Manchester introduced various films ranging from the Lancashire Junior Cup Tie Final between New Brighton and Chorley played at Bolton football ground on 11th March 1922. George V and Queen Mary were seen during their visit to Chorley in 1913 and of course the opening of Astley Park and the War memorial on 31st May 1924.
Other films shown were an official record of the opening of the M6 Motorway in 1958. We Joined the village of Blackrod and scenes around the village in the early 1950s and we saw rolls of paper come off the mill at Withnell Fold in 1963. The mill closed in 1967.

Geoff Senior of the North West Film Archive
introduces the films

A full house at the Little Theatre

The opening of Astley Park 31st May 1924

Children at the opening of Astley Park, 1924


Wed 03 Oct 2007

Dot Waring at Wigan Archaeological Society

At Wigan Archaeological Society our own Dot Waring was the speaker. She gave an illustrated talk about some of her work on the excavations at Dilston Castle in Northumberland. Her interest began many years ago when she was asked to look after some 17th century papers. These referred to the castle and the Radcliffe family, who had strong ties with Lancashire. Today, Dilston Castle, a picturesque ruin, is all that remains of the grand family seat of the Radcliffes, Earls of Derwentwater. This ruined, early-fifteenth--century tower house was once incorporated in the western wing of Dilston Hall. Dilston Chapel, which stands nearby, was built c.1616 and is a rare example of a post-Reformation recusant chapel.

Dot describes the excavations

James Radclyffe 3rd Earl of Derwentwater Born: 28 June 1689 Died: 24 Feb. 1716 with Anna Maria (Webb) Radclyffe and child. Painted a year or so before his execution.

At the foot of a wooded escarpment beyond the Castle, the Devil's Water, a lively tributary of the River Tyne, flows beneath an elegant, single-span bridge, built at the same time as the chapel. James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater was involved in the failed Jacobite rising at the Battle of Preston in 1715. He was one of the 1,468 Jacobites taken prisoner. He was executed for his actions. Dot and husband John were volunteer excavators and while Dot surveyed and drew details of a cobbled forecourt John was busy investigating some underground tunnels which had been found.