Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views


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Oct 2008

Tue 28 Oct 2008

Visited Blackburn Museum with Stuart Whalley and Richard Forkasiewicz to see a hoard of silver pennies which they'd found in 1973. Nick Harling of the Museum showed us the 59 coins which dated from around the 14th century.

Nick Harling, Stuart Whalley &
Richard Forkasiewicz with the coins.

Blackburn Museum c1890s

One of the silver pennies

Sat 18 Oct 2008

C.B.A. (Council for British Archaeology) North West, Autumn Conference 2008. Grosvenor Museum, Chester. Roman North-West England: Hinterland or ‘Indian Country’?

The CBA (Council for British Archaeology) North West, Autumn Conference 2008 was held at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester. The theme was Roman North-West England: Hinterland or ‘Indian Country’?
There is a ‘park & ride’ located just off the motorway but that way I wouldn’t see much of Chester so I decided to take the Chorley – Chester direct train and walk across the town to see some of the sights before the meeting started.
After an introduction by Peter Carrington, Chair, CBA NW the first speaker was Norman Redhead the Greater Manchester County Archaeologist. He spoke about redefining the Romans in Greater Manchester and had some very interesting aerial view of many sites which showed how so much is still out there.

Grosvenor Museum, Chester

the lecture theatre.

Entrance foyer in the Grosvenor Museum

Entrance foyer in the Grosvenor Museum.

Some interesting pollen profiles taken at the Castleshaw, map ref: SD9909 off the A62 at Delph indicated that there was extensive agriculture during the roman occupation but afterwards the area reverted to wilderness. Mike Nevell, Director, University of Manchester Archaeological Unit then spoke about rural settlements in the north-west: expansion and contraction (boom & bust). He showed some interesting maps that showed how some industrial sites thrived in the north west. Pottery and villas were generally absent. Villas and pottery production were more concentrated in the south and some to the east. A lot of Roman salt making was carried out in the Northwich, Middlewich and Nantwich areas and salt is still mined in parts of Cheshire today.

Sue Stallibrass of Liverpool University then spoke about who ate what and where did it come from?
This talk covered how food was produced and transported around the country, sometimes over great distances. Cooking pots can also reveal the type of food stores or carried in them by fatty residuals remaining at he top of the pot where the surface would be while cooking. Fats may not be visible but would soak into the ceramic. Lipid analysis (fatty acids) can reveal Plant or animal fats and animal fats subdivided into dairy or muscle fat. Human bone analysis via carbon & nitrogen isotopes can show relative quantities of meat and marine food. Drover’s routes show the long distance that cattle are driven before being converted into food. Their bones reveal, via strontium isotope analysis, the geological source of their drinking water so where they were initially reared can be determined.

Peter Carrington (ctr) and Sue Stallibrass (rt)

Castleshaw Roman site.

The afternoon sessions commenced with Peter Iles, Specialist Adviser (Archaeology), Lancashire County Council speaking about the Roman settlement at Walton-le-Dale. He covered the various excavations on the site over the decades by Livesey and Pickering in 1947-60 and more extensive area excavations 1980-3 by the Cumbria and Lancashire Archaeological Unit and 1996-7 by the Lancaster University Archaeological Unit and Gifford and Partners Ltd. The site has largely been build over by the Capitol Centre and Preston’s Park & Ride.

Simon Esmonde Cleary, Birmingham University spoke about Wroxeter Hinterland Project. Its focus is the Roman city of Wroxeter (ancient Viroconium) in Shropshire. The project combines state-of-the-art archaeological research and innovative teaching with academic and community partnership on a large scale.

Peter Webster, Cardiff University then spoke about Pottery in the north-west: manufacture and distribution, economics and culture. He had many slides of pottery but as was mentioned earlier the NW was not an area where large amounts of pottery were produced. Most of the slides were of pottery originating in the south.

Unfortunately I had to miss the presentation by Frances McIntosh, Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaison Officer, National Museums Liverpool as I had to get back to the railway to catch the next train back to Chorley.

These events are a treasure trove of information on a variety of subjects. I would urge Chorley members to attend coming events and bear in mind the costs are very reasonable. For £15.50 you get membership of the CBA and a buffet lunch and coffee + biscuits at registration and breaks. That’s what I call value.

Tue 14 Oct 2008

'Medieval Coinage AD600 – 1485' by Dot Boughton, nee Bruns

Dot Boughton, nee Bruns, returned to Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society to give her presentation ‘Medieval Coinage D600 – 1485. Dot is Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme based at the Museum of Lancaster, Stanley Street, Preston. With access to images of most of the coin finds made in the area she was able to compile a remarkable illustrated tour of how coins evolved from the singe silver penny to larger denominations of goats etc. During Tudor times the coins became even more complex and outside the scope of today's talk.

short cross penny

long cross penny

The English penny evolved through the Saxon period and in the early days the penny was the only currency. If 1penny was too high an amount it was a common practice for them to be snapped in half. The short-cross coins with a cross stamped on one face unintentionally helped the user to do this. Later a long cross was minted which was more difficult to cut into smaller pieces. It was also common to ‘clip’ coins or cut a tiny amount from the edge of each coin, hoping that it wouldn’t be noticed. Enough clippings of silver could be combined and become valuable. As the English coins developed the designs were copied in Scotland, Ireland and also the continent. They stayed in circulation even when almost completely worn down. It was not uncommon for coins in Elizabethan times to have been around for over 300years.

The coins that we all carry around with us have a fascinating history and Dot illustrated the early centuries very well. Let’s hope we get – coin development 2 – from Dot in the future.
Around 1973 our own Society member Stuart Whalley found a hoard of 60 silver pennies near Tockholes. They date back to the 14th century and are currently in Blackburn Museum. It is hoped to organise a Society visit to the museum so we can see the coins etc.

Some of the silver pennies found by Stuart Whalley.

Sat 04 Oct 2008

Brindle Historical Society hosted ‘At Home 2008’ with the LLHF Lancashire Local History Federation.

Brindle Historical Society hosted ‘At Home 2008’ with the LLHF Lancashire Local History Federation at Brindle Village Hall. Ian Whyte formally opened the meeting at 10:10am then Steve Williams gave an illustrated presentation on the Brindle parish Institute (1923 – 2008). The first hall was proposed in 1920 and opened in 1923. The current hall was opened on 19 Aug 2006 by local resident Ralph Power.
Then Darren Cranshaw gave a presentation about the centre of the village and conservation area. We then moved to Brindle Parish Church in overcast and drizzly weather to hear another presentation by Darren in the church which dates back to 1190.

The main room soon fills up for the meeting.

Some of Brindle Historical Society's memorabilia.

In St James' parish Chuch where Darren Cranshaw gave an illustrated presentation.

After lunch Ian Whyte gave a short presentation on the brindle Races which were held annually, except for the Great War, in April from c1860 to the last in 1922. it was a point to point of about 3 miles in length.
The session about Media and Local History had to be changed as the original speaker couldn’t come so Chris Maguire of the Chorley Guardian stepped in to help out. Steve then told us about military history that had affected the area and finally Darren showed us images of the huge and varied archive which the Society has accumulated. The talk was aptly called ‘More than Meets the Eye’.