Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2010 Feb 2010 Mar 2010 Apr 2010 May 2010 Jun 2010
Jul 2010 Aug 2010 Sep 2010 Oct 2010 Nov 2010 Dec 2010
Nov 2010

Tue 09 Nov 2010
Peter Iles and the Roman Settlement at Walton-le-Dale

It was a big thanks to Joan Dickinson that the evening went on at all. Our usual venue, Central Library, fell victim to a power cut and was out of action. As people began to arrive just after 7pm Joan saw the opportunity to go to St Laurence’s church. Fortunately, a room sufficient for our needs was available so advantage of that was swiftly taken.

Although lacking a screen Peter Iles, a County Archaeologist, adapted an area of blank wall onto which he could project his images.

Peter set the scene by explaining Walton-le-Dale’s importance at the confluence of the rivers Ribble and Darwen. His talk concentrated on a series of excavations.

The earliest is by E Baines that was summarised by Charles Hardwick in 1870. It detailed finds of innumerable fragments of pottery, Roman coins, hard compact remains of road and visible traces of ancient earthworks.

Further, very good, work was done by Pickering, a true amateur. His work took place from 1947-57 by digging trenches and reporting finds.

By the early 1980’s the Cumbria and Lancashire Archaeological Unit carried out small pieces of investigation prior to development of the site. Unfortunately, not many were reported as well as Pickering’s but Peter hoped this would soon be rectified. However, what was established was that there was no evidence found of any defences at the site. It appears it was more likely to have been a place of industrial activity, unlike Ribchester and Kirkham.

Further work carried out by the Lancaster University Archaeology Unit (LUAU) provided evidence of iron smiths’ workings and pottery kilns.

As late as 2003, with test pits dug by the River Darwen, 2 crucibles were found and evidence of a process that separated silver from lead. What is noted is that not a single tool was found here, not even broken ones. Only waste material.

Peter said that Oxford Archaeology North’s eagerly awaited report on the 1980’s investigations should throw more light on this interesting local Roman site.

The usual question and answer session generated plenty of interest from those present and, thanks to Peter Iles and Joan, concluded a very good evening.

Peter Robinson


Sat 06 Nov 2010
Go Local Day, Rufford Old Hall, Rufford – Saturday 6 Nov 2010

CHAS was present at this event along with other organisations that included Lathom House, Ormskirk Family History, Ormskirk Natural History and the Sealed Knot Civil War re-enactment society.
Following October’s talk on the Hesketh family this event was an excellent opportunity to visit for free and look around this fascinating hall. About 220 visitors did just that and enjoyed what the hall and the organisations had to offer.
The Sealed Knot contingent contained both male and female members that represented both civilian and military. They came from Cheshire and their presence added a real 17th century feel to the hall and its gardens. The demonstration in the courtyard of handling a musket and pike by members of the military was particularly impressive.

A volunteer from the hall gave a very interesting 20 minute talk on a few members of the Hesketh family. This he did by reference to portraits of family members in the drawing room. I remembered from the October talk the character who sailed his yacht, the Lancashire Witch, ‘with his chums’ to southern Africa to fight in the Zulu War.
The event, by all accounts, was a great success and thanks should go to Christine and John Harrison, Joan and Kevin Dickinson and Peter Robinson for their presence at the event.