Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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


Nov 2007


Thu 29 Nov 2007

Lizzie Jones presents 'The Lancashire Witches'
venue: Astley Hall, Chorley.

Lizzie Jones returned to Chorley to give us another fascinating trip into the past, this time the subject was ‘The Lancashire Witches’
To tell the story she took the roll of an impartial observer in period costume. She assumed the roll of housekeeper to Roger Nowell, the Magistrate who presided over the trial of the accused witches in 1612.

The audience gather in Astley Hall to hear Lizzie Jones.

Lizzie Jones as the Housekeeper
to Roger Nowell

Not all were found guilty but eventually 9 were hanged in Lancaster and their bodies thrown in a common grave. Most confessed but were not educated and probably unable stand up to cross examination by the legal system. A lot of evidence against them (how to identify witches) came from a book on demonology, sorcery and witchcraft written by the then monarch King James 1. The Pendle Witches trial is probably the most famous but the persecution and execution of witches was more prevalent in Scotland and the continent.


Wed 21 Nov 2007

Ancient Astronomy and Archaeology, by Ken Wood.
Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society, Loyals Lounge, Bolton Town Hall.

The November meeting of Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society was a presentation on Ancient Astronomy and Archaeology by Ken Wood. This I as subject I am particularly interested in so thought it would be a good idea to attend and also return the ‘Excavation Flag’ that was originally used by the Bolton Society on their digs and was part of the John Winstanley collection of memorabilia. The flag was handed over to Sara Vernon, the Chairperson of the Society.

Elaine Fletcher-Cowen (Treasurer) and
Sara Vernon
(Chairperson) with the flag.

Flo and Ken Wood.

The main presentation was given by Ken Wood, a previous Chairman of the Society, and his wife Flo was also in attendance. They had both done a tremendous amount of research on the subject together. The main subject was the search for an association between the solar and lunar calendars. Ken and Flo had made a detailed analysis of some of the earliest texts, especially the Iliad and the Odyssey attributed to the Greek, Homer. They date from about the 8th century BC and even thought the existence of Homer has not been proven the texts contain many hidden references to the calendar.



Tue 13 Nov 2007

Ed Fisher - An Illustrated 'virtual' tour' of St Laurence, the Parish Church of Chorley.

Ed Fisher of the Chorley St Laurence Historical Society gave us his illustrated presentation ‘A Virtual Tour of St Laurence Church’. It was a much updated version of the one he gave at the Church on the 29th November 2006. We were taken on a fascinating journey which started around the mid 1300s which makes the Church the oldest building in Chorley. The old font in the church is possibly Anglo Saxon and 1000 years old. The Standish family were one of the main supporters over the centuries and Ed told us of many other families and notable people with an association to the Church. We were told of many intriguing facts about the church clock which has undergone many alterations and upgrades over more than 200 years. At the end of the evening we had literally had been taken on a virtual tour around the church and also back and forth in time

Ed Fisher.


Sat 03 Nov 2007

The Council for British Archaeology North-West Region Autumn Conference.
'A Very Human Trade: The Archaeology of Slavery'
Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool.

The Council for British Archaeology North-West Region Autumn Conference was held at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool. There is a very handy direct train service from Euxton, Balshaw Lane which is cheaper than many people paid to park their cars. It was a pleasant walk through the streets of Liverpool to the Albert Dock but by the time the doors opened the rain had started..

The Albert Dock, Liverpool.

View from the 4th floor.

The theme for the day was
‘A Very Human Trade: The Archaeology of Slavery’

The speakers covered several aspects of slavery from ancient to modern times. Peter Carrington, the Chairman of CBA NW started the day by covering Slavery in the Roman World and it came as quite a surprise to hear that in the African – American slave trade about 11 million slaves were transported but under the Roman Empire slavery counted for about 100 million people.

The Next speaker was Rob Philpott who spoke about Recent Archaeological Fieldwork on Sugar Plantations in the West Indies. The archaeology of slave accommodation was particularly difficult due to the lack of substantial slave buildings in the 18th century. His particular area of research was the island of St Kitts. 310 sugar plantations were accommodated on the island and in later years the processing of sugar from cane to solidified crystals was carried out in communal factories. The monopoly of Caribbean sugar production continued untill about 1820.
In the afternoon the sessions started with Dr Ben Kankpeyeng speaking about the Transatlantic Slave Trade from a Ghanaian Perspective. Ghana, previously know as the Gold Coast until 1957, had its own slave trade for centuries before the Europeans arrived in 1471.
Jane Webster from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne then spoke about the slave ships that carried out the transportation and how little excavation work had been done on those that were wrecked due the lack of tangible bullion.

The Lecture Theatre

Lime Street Railway Station.

The next speaker was David Wyatt of Cardiff University who spoke about our own slave trade around the 10th and 11th centuries between hostile tribes in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Miranda Aldhouse-Green also of Cardiff University then spoke about the Ritualisation of Slavery and Restraint in Antiquity. This covered how chains and shackles were used to dehumanise slaves and also restrain them.
The event was finished with a short presentation by Laura Carroll of Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society on Sambo’s Grave, at Sunderland Point near Heysham, Lancs. The talk was refreshingly none technical and covered the various theories how the young African slave came to be buried there. Legend has it that he died from a broken heart in around 1736. Today, the grave almost always bears flowers or stones painted by the local children.