© Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society & Contributors 2016-7 Registered Charity no. 287289
Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society

Reports of our lectures held during 2015-6

If you would like to write up a report on a particular future talk, contact a committee member as early in the season as possible, as we arrange a rota to ensure that every talk is reported. We have reported our lectures in the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard for many years. Each year for some years we have gathered these together at the end of each season and published them in late summer as one of our newsletters. If you should look through our past Lectures page or our publications pages, you can find which Newsletters have reports in them. Back copies of some of our Newsletters may be available on request from our editor. A copying charge may be made. Since 2014 we now only publish these reports online. We will keep paper copies solely for archive purposes. In general reports will appear online about a month after they have appeared in the Wilts & Glos Standard.

Reports from September 2015 to February 2016 are on the previous page

A Literary Tour of Gloucestershire By Mary Moxham on 9 March 2016  

Mary Moxham, a Blue Badge Guide for Gloucestershire, gave a fascinating armchair Literary Tour of Gloucestershire, a guide to the county’s rich literary connections, covering all areas and introducing some unexpected associations. It is believed that Shakespeare, though not a native of the county, visited Gloucestershire on several occasions and his references to shepherds, sheep shearing and shearing parties in The Winter’s Tale are probably based on witnessing these near Dursley. Berkeley Castle features in Richard III as does the view from Stinchcombe Hill. Ledbury was the birthplace of John Masefield and he later returned to the area. He was inspired by the clump of trees on May Hill. This area is noted for its wild daffodils which were taken by train to London daily. Masefield was visited by the poet Edward Thomas whose train, returning to London, made an unscheduled stop at Adlestrop. This inspired his poem ‘I Remember Adlestrop’. The railway remains but there is no station today. A group of poets who lived or visited the area around Dymock in the years preceding the First World War, known as ‘The Dymock Poets’, published a journal called ‘New Numbers.’ Contributors included Robert Frost (‘The Road Less Travelled’),  Rupert Brooke (‘The Soldier’), John Drinkwater, Eleanor Farjeon (‘Morning has Broken’) among others. Tewkesbury has connections with Daniel Defoe and Dickens’ characters in ‘The Pickwick Papers’ visited hostelries there on their journey from Bath to Birmingham. Much ale was consumed there. The novel ‘John Halifax: Gentleman’ by Mrs. Craik is based in Tewkesbury. The author and conservationist John Moore (1907-1967) wrote about the countryside and was a founder of the Cheltenham Literature festival in 1949. A house in Broadway, now The Lygon Arms, was owned by an actress, Mary Andersen, and her husband. It was frequently visited in the pre-WWI years by John Singer Sergeant, Elgar, J M Barrie, Hugh Walpole, Francis Brett-Young and others. Barrie rented Stanway House each summer and William Morris was a frequent visitor. Nearby, at Aston-sub-Edge, T S Eliot drew inspiration from the Burnt Norton gardens for one of his ‘Four Quartets’. Graham Greene lived for a while at Chipping Campden. Nearer to home, the poet Alexander Pope is associated with the layout of Cirencester Park through his friendship with the first Earl Bathurst.  He is commemorated by the folly known as Pope’s Seat. In more recent times the Slad Valley has become famous through Laurie Lee’s novel ‘Cider with Rosie’. But perhaps the most widely-known literary reference to the county is through Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’. Mary Moxham told us the true story which inspired this delightful tale.   This report by Kathleen Lindesay was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 31 March 2016

The King under the Car Park -  Cotswold Archaeology: the Mick Aston Memorial Lecture

By Richard Buckley 16 March 2016

The free annual lecture sponsored for some years by Cotswold Archaeology with the support of the Bingham Hall Trustees is held in memory of Prof Mick Aston, a great supporter of archaeology in and around Cirencester and a former trustee of CA, now one of the largest independent archaeological units in the UK. This year’s subject was the story of the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a car park in Leicester in 2012 and was given by the project leader, Dr Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester. The national and international press interest this aroused and the challenges the team faced to authenticate the burial as that of the last Yorkist king of England was a key theme of the talk. Dr Buckley found himself in the spotlight throughout and enjoyed recounting the experience to his large and appreciative audience. Richard III was King of England from 1483 until his death in August 1485, at the age of 32, in the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. He was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty and the last English king to die in battle. Just a year ago, more than 500 years after his death and less than three years after his bones were found, he was laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral where his tomb can be viewed today. A Dynasty, Death and Discovery visitor centre tells the story of the remarkable project of archaeology and scientific investigation. Much mythology surrounds Richard, the man and the king. Shakespeare portrayed him as a hunchbacked toad-like creature but the skeleton shows that this was not the case. Richard would have been about 5ft 8in tall without his scoliosis of the spine, about average for a medieval man. His scoliosis would have reduced his height to below 5 feet. Richard Buckley showed in detail how the skeleton was examined, via a variety of scientific analytical processes, including DNA, and revealed the striking facial reconstruction which concluded the project to dramatic effect. His talk was set in context of medieval Leicester and the significance of his burial place in the church of the Greyfriars, home of the Franciscans in the town. A fascinating subject well told by its acknowledged expert. This report by David Viner was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 07 April 2016 

Investigating the Landscape – Recent Archaeological Projects  Wednesday 27th April 2016

Student Presentations from Cirencester College & the Royal Agricultural University

The Society’s April meeting was the third in a series giving students their chance to show off their archaeological skills. This year Cirencester College A Level students were joined by students from the new RAU foundation course to give us three presentations. Aiden Scott, their enthusiastic tutor, introduced the mechanics of the A level course and showed us some new field finds by the group before introducing the individual studies. Joe White introduced us to Dry Heathfield barrow near Crickley Hill and a neighbouring barrow about 100m away, asking if it is a long barrow and not a round barrow. Searching the literature he found that it had been excavated in 1845 and 1860 when a number of bodies were found. On site he found the barrow much reduced by cultivation, and the second barrow not visible. Joe got permission from the landowner and English Heritage and made a resistivity survey of a large area, not without interference from the horses sharing the field. This showed both barrows with undisturbed ground between making it probable that it was never a long barrow. Alice Austin studied a field at Buscot Wick on the banks of the Coln. The literature showed slight evidence of a Neolithic cursus (a large linear structure) running down towards the riverbank, with a ring barrow nearby. No previous excavations were found. A fieldwalk was done at which very little was found, a few worked flints, and a little Roman pottery. A resistivity survey of the area clearly shows one of the cursus ditches and a small part of the other. Alice surmised how the ancient people would have found and used the open landscape. The five RAU students including Alice then took turns to describe their group investigation in Bushy Hay field, just behind the buildings at RAU’s new Harnhill Centre. After a large area resistivity survey, they chose a potentially interesting area at the junction of two walls not visible on the ground today to excavate. A strange cobbled area was found, unfamiliar even to experts, and large numbers of animal bones. More questions than answers as they continue their studies.   At the end of the evening a prize of a £50 Book Token was awarded to Joe White for best A level study this year. This report by Peter Watkins was published in the Wilts & Glos Standard 16 May 2016

Stand and Deliver! Gloucestershire Highwaymen By John Putley  25 May 2016

The Society’s final lecture before the summer break was given by John Putley from Gloucestershire Archives who gave an entertaining and informative talk entitled Stand & Deliver! Gloucestershire Highwaymen. John explained that the image of highwaymen as Gentlemen of the Road and as romantic heroes was far from the truth as the reality was that they were thieves and criminals.  Highway robbery traces back to the 14th century, with the golden age being the 17th century when travel by coach increased, providing greater opportunities for robbers. Highwaymen came from many groups including Royalist officers ruined after Charles 1 was defeated in the English Civil Wars, jealous footmen and servants and young men from wealthy families. A number of women also became highway robbers dressing in men’s clothes as a disguise. Highwaymen were ruthless thieves carrying and using flintlock pistols, preferring to operate in groups, with stolen horses, and they would target lone travellers as easy prey. Information on expected coaches was often learned from landlords at coaching inns and great advantage was gained by staying within their local area which made ambushes and escape relatively easy. The robbers would always hope to steal money as rings and jewellery had to be sold on and this was a potential risk. Hounslow Heath was a particularly bad area, being the route travelled by the wealthy to Windsor and the West Country. Main coaching routes were popular and active Gloucestershire blackspots are recorded around Andoversford and Birdlip. The highwaymen could gain large rewards, however the risks were high with the possibility of being shot or convicted and hanged. As roads improved and the speed of coaches increased, mail coaches started carrying guards with blunderbusses, rich travellers with armed escorts and with the growth of police forces the demise of the highwayman quickly followed. This report by Alan Strickland was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 16 June 2016

Sep 2015 - David Brown

Oct 2015 - Tony Conder

Nov 2015 - John Looseley

Jan 2016 - Sue Jones

Feb 2016 - Croome Lecture - Ron Hutton

Mar 2016 - Mary Moxham

Mar 2016 - CA Lecture - Richard Buckley

Apr 2016 - College Students Prize

Evening

May 2016 - John Putley

Reports for season 2014-5

Left to right: Victoria Vizard(RAU) Aiden Scott, Joseph White (CC), Trevor Rutherford(RAU), Alice Austin(RAU ex CC), Thomas Gower(RAU), Rosie Nagle(RAU) All RAU students were in the 1st year of a Foundation Degree in Archaeology and Historic Landscape conservation.
© CAHS & contributors 2016-7 Registered Charity 287289
Cirencester Archaeological  & Historical Society

Reports of our lectures held

during 2015-6

If you would like to write up a report on a particular future talk, contact a committee member as early in the season as possible, as we arrange a rota to ensure that every talk is reported. We have reported our lectures in the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard for many years. Each year for some years we have gathered these together at the end of each season and published them in late summer as one of our newsletters. If you should look through our past Lectures page or our publications pages, you can find which Newsletters have reports in them. Back copies of some of our Newsletters may be available on request from our editor. A copying charge may be made. Since 2014 we now only publish these reports online. We will keep paper copies solely for archive purposes. In general reports will appear online about a month after they have appeared in the Wilts & Glos Standard.

Reports from September 2015 to

February 2016 are on the previous page

A Literary Tour of Gloucestershire By

Mary Moxham on 9 March 2016  

Mary Moxham, a Blue Badge Guide for Gloucestershire, gave a fascinating armchair Literary Tour of Gloucestershire, a guide to the county’s rich literary connections, covering all areas and introducing some unexpected associations. It is believed that Shakespeare, though not a native of the county, visited Gloucestershire on several occasions and his references to shepherds, sheep shearing and shearing parties in The Winter’s Tale are probably based on witnessing these near Dursley. Berkeley Castle features in Richard III as does the view from Stinchcombe Hill. Ledbury was the birthplace of John Masefield and he later returned to the area. He was inspired by the clump of trees on May Hill. This area is noted for its wild daffodils which were taken by train to London daily. Masefield was visited by the poet Edward Thomas whose train, returning to London, made an unscheduled stop at Adlestrop. This inspired his poem ‘I Remember Adlestrop’. The railway remains but there is no station today. A group of poets who lived or visited the area around Dymock in the years preceding the First World War, known as ‘The Dymock Poets’, published a journal called ‘New Numbers.’ Contributors included Robert Frost (‘The Road Less Travelled’),  Rupert Brooke (‘The Soldier’), John Drinkwater, Eleanor Farjeon (‘Morning has Broken’) among others. Tewkesbury has connections with Daniel Defoe and Dickens’ characters in ‘The Pickwick Papers’ visited hostelries there on their journey from Bath to Birmingham. Much ale was consumed there. The novel ‘John Halifax: Gentleman’ by Mrs. Craik is based in Tewkesbury. The author and conservationist John Moore (1907-1967) wrote about the countryside and was a founder of the Cheltenham Literature festival in 1949. A house in Broadway, now The Lygon Arms, was owned by an actress, Mary Andersen, and her husband. It was frequently visited in the pre-WWI years by John Singer Sergeant, Elgar, J M Barrie, Hugh Walpole, Francis Brett-Young and others. Barrie rented Stanway House each summer and William Morris was a frequent visitor. Nearby, at Aston- sub-Edge, T S Eliot drew inspiration from the Burnt Norton gardens for one of his ‘Four Quartets’. Graham Greene lived for a while at Chipping Campden. Nearer to home, the poet Alexander Pope is associated with the layout of Cirencester Park through his friendship with the first Earl Bathurst.  He is commemorated by the folly known as Pope’s Seat. In more recent times the Slad Valley has become famous through Laurie Lee’s novel ‘Cider with Rosie’. But perhaps the most widely-known literary reference to the county is through Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’. Mary Moxham told us the true story which inspired this delightful tale.   This report by Kathleen Lindesay was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 31 March 2016

The King under the Car Park -  Cotswold

Archaeology: the Mick Aston Memorial

Lecture

By Richard Buckley 16 March 2016

The free annual lecture sponsored for some years by Cotswold Archaeology with the support of the Bingham Hall Trustees is held in memory of Prof Mick Aston, a great supporter of archaeology in and around Cirencester and a former trustee of CA, now one of the largest independent archaeological units in the UK. This year’s subject was the story of the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a car park in Leicester in 2012 and was given by the project leader, Dr Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester. The national and international press interest this aroused and the challenges the team faced to authenticate the burial as that of the last Yorkist king of England was a key theme of the talk. Dr Buckley found himself in the spotlight throughout and enjoyed recounting the experience to his large and appreciative audience. Richard III was King of England from 1483 until his death in August 1485, at the age of 32, in the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. He was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty and the last English king to die in battle. Just a year ago, more than 500 years after his death and less than three years after his bones were found, he was laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral where his tomb can be viewed today. A Dynasty, Death and Discovery visitor centre tells the story of the remarkable project of archaeology and scientific investigation. Much mythology surrounds Richard, the man and the king. Shakespeare portrayed him as a hunchbacked toad-like creature but the skeleton shows that this was not the case. Richard would have been about 5ft 8in tall without his scoliosis of the spine, about average for a medieval man. His scoliosis would have reduced his height to below 5 feet. Richard Buckley showed in detail how the skeleton was examined, via a variety of scientific analytical processes, including DNA, and revealed the striking facial reconstruction which concluded the project to dramatic effect. His talk was set in context of medieval Leicester and the significance of his burial place in the church of the Greyfriars, home of the Franciscans in the town. A fascinating subject well told by its acknowledged expert. This report by David Viner was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 07 April 2016 

Investigating the Landscape – Recent

Archaeological Projects  Wednesday

27th April 2016

Student Presentations from Cirencester

College & the Royal Agricultural

University

The Society’s April meeting was the third in a series giving students their chance to show off their archaeological skills. This year Cirencester College A Level students were joined by students from the new RAU foundation course to give us three presentations. Aiden Scott, their enthusiastic tutor, introduced the mechanics of the A level course and showed us some new field finds by the group before introducing the individual studies. Joe White introduced us to Dry Heathfield barrow near Crickley Hill and a neighbouring barrow about 100m away, asking if it is a long barrow and not a round barrow. Searching the literature he found that it had been excavated in 1845 and 1860 when a number of bodies were found. On site he found the barrow much reduced by cultivation, and the second barrow not visible. Joe got permission from the landowner and English Heritage and made a resistivity survey of a large area, not without interference from the horses sharing the field. This showed both barrows with undisturbed ground between making it probable that it was never a long barrow. Alice Austin studied a field at Buscot Wick on the banks of the Coln. The literature showed slight evidence of a Neolithic cursus (a large linear structure) running down towards the riverbank, with a ring barrow nearby. No previous excavations were found. A fieldwalk was done at which very little was found, a few worked flints, and a little Roman pottery. A resistivity survey of the area clearly shows one of the cursus ditches and a small part of the other. Alice surmised how the ancient people would have found and used the open landscape. The five RAU students including Alice then took turns to describe their group investigation in Bushy Hay field, just behind the buildings at RAU’s new Harnhill Centre. After a large area resistivity survey, they chose a potentially interesting area at the junction of two walls not visible on the ground today to excavate. A strange cobbled area was found, unfamiliar even to experts, and large numbers of animal bones. More questions than answers as they continue their studies.   At the end of the evening a prize of a £50 Book Token was awarded to Joe White for best A level study this year. This report by Peter Watkins was published in the Wilts & Glos Standard 16 May 2016

Stand and Deliver! Gloucestershire

Highwaymen By John Putley  25 May

2016

The Society’s final lecture before the summer break was given by John Putley from Gloucestershire Archives who gave an entertaining and informative talk entitled Stand & Deliver! Gloucestershire Highwaymen. John explained that the image of highwaymen as Gentlemen of the Road and as romantic heroes was far from the truth as the reality was that they were thieves and criminals.  Highway robbery traces back to the 14th century, with the golden age being the 17th century when travel by coach increased, providing greater opportunities for robbers. Highwaymen came from many groups including Royalist officers ruined after Charles 1 was defeated in the English Civil Wars, jealous footmen and servants and young men from wealthy families. A number of women also became highway robbers dressing in men’s clothes as a disguise. Highwaymen were ruthless thieves carrying and using flintlock pistols, preferring to operate in groups, with stolen horses, and they would target lone travellers as easy prey. Information on expected coaches was often learned from landlords at coaching inns and great advantage was gained by staying within their local area which made ambushes and escape relatively easy. The robbers would always hope to steal money as rings and jewellery had to be sold on and this was a potential risk. Hounslow Heath was a particularly bad area, being the route travelled by the wealthy to Windsor and the West Country. Main coaching routes were popular and active Gloucestershire blackspots are recorded around Andoversford and Birdlip. The highwaymen could gain large rewards, however the risks were high with the possibility of being shot or convicted and hanged. As roads improved and the speed of coaches increased, mail coaches started carrying guards with blunderbusses, rich travellers with armed escorts and with the growth of police forces the demise of the highwayman quickly followed. This report by Alan Strickland was published in Wilts & Glos Standard, 16 June 2016
Left to right: Victoria Vizard(RAU), Aiden Scott, Joseph White (CC), Trevor Rutherford(RAU), Alice Austin(RAU ex CC), Thomas Gower(RAU), Rosie Nagle(RAU) All RAU students were in the 1st year of a Foundation Degree in Archaeology and Historic Landscape conservation.

Sep 2015 - David Brown

Oct 2015 - Tony Conder

Nov 2015 - John Looseley

Jan 2016 - Sue Jones

Feb 2016 - Croome Lecture -

Ron Hutton

Mar 2016 - Mary Moxham

Mar 2016 - CA Lecture -

Richard Buckley

Apr 2016 - College Students

Prize Evening

May 2016 - John Putley

Reports for season 2014-5