Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Aug 2013

Sun 30 Aug 2013
Blenheim and London to see the Pompeii and Herculaneum Exhibition

45 members and friends travelled south, courtesy of a Tyrer’s coach on Sunday 30 August. We stopped first at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, built to Vanbrugh’s design for the Duke of Marlborough. We had a fascinating tour of the building, including material relating to Winston Churchill, who was born there. The weather was fine and warm so many of the party explored the grounds which had been landscaped by Capability Brown/had lunch on the terrace, and even watched a cricket match on the Duke’s lawn!

Blenheim Palace

We travelled on to London where our hotel, the Guoman Tower, was superbly situated next to Tower Bridge, on the River Thames. There were lots of options for an evening meal. Many took advantage of the eating places around St. Catherine’s Dock, whilst more adventurous members of the party went up the Shard and went to Ronny Scotts’. It was great to return later to our hotel to see Tower Bridge illuminated.
Our coach took us after breakfast to the British Museum to see the Pompeii and Herculaneum Exhibition. It lived up to our expectations with artefacts from every aspect of ordinary life and wonderful frescos and mosaics. More shocking were the plaster cast bodies of victims who were caught and given no chance of escape.

Hilary and Lionel

It was amazing to be there with relics of Roman life which had survived the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius 1700 years ago.
Our time in London ended in mid afternoon and we headed back north, with our heads still spinning with memories and thoughts of a memorable couple of days.

Thanks to John Harrison for the report and photos.

Lilian and Jim

Tower Bridge from the hotel


Tue 13 Aug 2013
Heather Davis – of Lancashire County Council Conservation Studios
Lancashire Roman Tombstone / Silverdale Viking Hoard


The county’s conservation studios are based in a church converted during 2005-06 on St Mary’s Road, Preston. A team of conservationists is based there, each member specialising in a particular field that includes painting, natural history and textiles. Each of Heather’s two topics have a strong connection with the conservation studio.

Heather Davis

The Tombstone at the time of discovery

Roman tombstone – Heather explained that the centurion tombstone was found in pieces by workmen in excavation work in Lancaster. The site, close to the bridge that carries the A6 over the Lancaster Canal just south of the city centre, was being developed for a new apartment block. Once the conservation team was alerted to the find the slow process of drying the stone commenced.
However, the real conservation work could only start once the county owned it. With the help of Heritage Lottery money it was bought off the developer for ‘a little less than £50,000’.
Cleaning it revealed a detailed carving of a cavalry officer holding the head of his victim. An inscription reads that it dates from 110AD and commemorates a quartermaster from Trier, Germany and was provided by his wife.
It took a team of 8 from the conservation studios a total of 3,500 hours to get to the point of cementing pieces of stone together. Once the conservation work was completed it was decided to display it at the Lancaster City Museum. It was a delicate exercise to transfer the 840kg sandstone tombstone from Preston to its display site on the museum’s first floor.
You can now view this important find, a product of this successful conservation project, for free at the museum.

The Tombstone now in the Lancaster City Museum


Silverdale Hoard – This is a Viking hoard of 171 pieces that were found in a lead pouch. Heather announced the good news that today, the 13 August, the hoard had been purchased from the finder and the landowner.
It was found in December 2011 when a metal detector hit upon this find on private land. It is classed as a portable antiquity and Heather said the conservation studio’s portable antiquities officers’, Dot Broughton and Stuart Noon helped in its identification. The hoard was sent to the British Museum for further identification and valuation at just short of £120,000. It will be split 50-50 between finder and landowner as a written agreement was made between them before the find took place.

Silverdale Hoard

Image courtesy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme

It is a treasure trove that includes 4 inch long silver ingots, coins and bracelets in different styles. It is not the first Viking hoard found in Lancashire. There is the Furness Hoard and, of course, the Cuerdale Hoard. Work will now be able to be done to compare these hoards with the Silverdale hoard to see if there is a connection between them. It is believed the Vikings had been forced out of Dublin and sailed to this part of the Irish Sea coast. The reasons why these hoards were buried around the time of the late 8th century remain unknown.
There are 26 coins included in the hoard and one that depicts a named Anglo Saxon king that was previously unknown. It is hoped the hoard will be put on display in Lancaster, closest to where it was found.
Heather’s enlightening talk that was supported by excellent images and shone a light on these additions to Lancashire’s history.

Peter Robinson

Sun 11 Aug 2013
Yarrow Valley Park Exhibition Day

Yarrow Valley Park had an exhibition day open to all members and users of the park. Our Society, along with a number of other groups, including, Model Aircraft, Walkers, Chorley Nats, Friends of River Yarrow and Lower Burgh Meadow, were there to promote their groups and help people to be aware of all the interests and activities that are available in the Chorley area.

Chorley Borough Council did us proud by supplying the marquees, tables and chairs.
There was a steady stream of people looking, asking and enquiring about the groups' activities.
We also had the benefit of drinks and light snack throughout the day, from the newly opened Cafe at Y.V.P.
Quite impressive, with helpful staff, bacon butties and a drink - very acceptable to start the day.