© Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society & Contributors 2016-8 Registered Charity no. 287289
Cirencester Archaeological & Historical Society

Reports of our lectures held during 2017-18

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. If you would like to write up a report on a particular talk, contact a committee member as early in the season as possible, as we arrange a rota to ensure that every talk is reported.

September 2017

Living on the Hill - Simon Sworn

The Society’s first talk of the 2017/18 season began with a fascinating overview of discoveries made prior to the development of Spire View and Swinford Close, off Siddington Road. Simon Sworn of Cotswold Archaeology reported on excavations in 2015 which revealed that what might at first have seemed a ‘green field’ site has, in fact, been inhabited for at least 5000 years. The earliest inhabitants lived in the Mesolithic period, around 4000 BC. They were hunter-gatherers who would have taken advantage of the gently sloping ground overlooking the River Churn to watch for passing game. They left behind multiple circular pits, one of which contained flints. By the Neolithic period (4000-2,400 BC) people were living permanently on the site. Rubbish pits left behind contained flints, pottery and animal bones that showed signs of butchery. A bell-shaped storage pit was discovered that would have contained grain or other foodstuffs. This had been back-filled with rubbish including debris from hearths. By the Bronze Age (2400-AD 43) inhabitants of the field had built roundhouses. There was evidence of at least two, possibly three, all roughly 16metres in diameter. Entrances to these roundhouses faced east, down the slope, giving a view over the river and catching the early morning sun. There was also evidence of a ditch around the site and a quern stone (used for grinding grain) was found. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the site was occupied during the Roman period. Did the earlier inhabitants move towards Cirencester or further afield? Saxons re-occupied the site some 400 years later (410-1066) with evidence of at least six sunken floor or ‘grub-houses’.  They left behind plenty of artefacts including: worked bone pins, hair pins, pottery, a copper alloy ring and tweezers. They also collected Roman ‘knick-knacks’ – a habit found on other Saxon sites- as shown by the discovery of two Roman coins in the context of one of the buildings. All the artefacts are currently being analysed and will eventually be offered to the Corinium Museum. This report by Alison Wagstaff was published in the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard on 19th October 2017

October 2017

A Spencer Love Affair - scandal in the 1790s - Alan Ledger

The Society’s October lecture ‘A Spencer Love Affair’ was given by Alan Ledger, a retired school master and guide at Blenheim Palace who has extensively researched the 18th century history of the theatrical performances and social life of the Palace. Private theatres were very popular in the 18th century, first on the Continent and then with the English aristocracy. A private theatre was created at Blenheim in 1787 when the Orangery in the Kitchen Court was converted to provide space for theatrical productions which were performed for invited audiences. Lady Charlotte Spencer favourite daughter of the 4th Duke of Marlborough, performed in these theatricals and fell in love with another performer, the Revd Edward Nares an Oxford vicar. The daughter of the Duke and Lady Caroline Spencer was expected to marry into one of England’s noblest families to maintain family status, rather than marry for love. Edward Nares was therefore considered an unsuitable match for Lady Charlotte. Despite fierce opposition to the relationship, twenty eight year-old Lady Charlotte and Edward Nares were married in 1797 at Henley, but not one of her family was present. Lady Caroline was furious and Charlotte was banished from Blenheim Palace. The whole episode became a society scandal. Lady Charlotte and Edward Nares moved to Biddenden in Kent where Edward was rector for many years. They had three children and sadly Charlotte died in 1802, never having returned to Blenheim Palace. This report by Alan Strickland was published in the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard on 16th November 2017

November 2017

400 years of Stroud Textiles - Ian Mackintosh

Although it was a miserable, windy late November night, this didn’t deter members and friends from attending Ian Mackintosh’s lecture on 400 years of Stroudwater Textiles. A founder member of Stroud Preservation Trust and Stroud Textile Trust, Ian gave a fascinating introduction to the history of the cloth industry, important in the Stroud and Cirencester areas for over 700 years and explained the different processes involved in cloth production. At its height, there were over 170 fulling mills in the Stroud area alone, and early pictures show the famous Scarlet cloth drying out on tenter-hooks in the fields. Interest to the talk was added by slides showing the cloth-making process, especially the early machinery, largely hand or water-driven. Samples of cloth and teazles to card the cloth were passed round the audience. Cloth from Stroud was exported around the world and by 1770, the East India Company was even selling it to the North American Indians. For the talk, Ian wore a waistcoat made of Stroud Scarlet; the cloth used for officers in the British army during the Crimean War. Indigo –dyed cloth was produced for the Royal Navy. As machinery grew larger, the mills needed to be larger than the steep-sided Stroud valleys could accommodate and by the 1830s, more cloth was being produced in Yorkshire, so many of Stroud’s mills moved over to dyeing finished cloth instead. However, some mills such as Marling’s Ebley Mill the largest cloth manufacturer in the south-west, did continue into the 20th century, only ceasing production in the 1980s. This report was by Aileen Anderson        

Sep 2017 - Simon Sworn

Oct 2017 -  Alan Ledger

Nov 2017 - Ian Mackintosh

Jan 2018

Feb 2018 - Croome Lecture-Catling & Reece

Mar 2018

Mar 2018 - CA Lecture -

Apr 2018

May 2018

Jun 2018

Reports for season 2016-7

Page last updated 5 December 2017
© CAHS & contributors 2016-8 Registered Charity 287289
Cirencester Archaeological  & Historical Society

Reports of our lectures held

during 2016-7

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. If you would like to write up a report on a particular talk, contact a committee member as early in the season as possible, as we arrange a rota to ensure that every talk is reported.

September 2017

Living on the Hill - Simon Sworn

The Society’s first talk of the 2017/18 season began with a fascinating overview of discoveries made prior to the development of Spire View and Swinford Close, off Siddington Road. Simon Sworn of Cotswold Archaeology reported on excavations in 2015 which revealed that what might at first have seemed a ‘green field’ site has, in fact, been inhabited for at least 5000 years. The earliest inhabitants lived in the Mesolithic period, around 4000 BC. They were hunter-gatherers who would have taken advantage of the gently sloping ground overlooking the River Churn to watch for passing game. They left behind multiple circular pits, one of which contained flints. By the Neolithic period (4000-2,400 BC) people were living permanently on the site. Rubbish pits left behind contained flints, pottery and animal bones that showed signs of butchery. A bell-shaped storage pit was discovered that would have contained grain or other foodstuffs. This had been back-filled with rubbish including debris from hearths. By the Bronze Age (2400-AD 43) inhabitants of the field had built roundhouses. There was evidence of at least two, possibly three, all roughly 16metres in diameter. Entrances to these roundhouses faced east, down the slope, giving a view over the river and catching the early morning sun. There was also evidence of a ditch around the site and a quern stone (used for grinding grain) was found. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the site was occupied during the Roman period. Did the earlier inhabitants move towards Cirencester or further afield? Saxons re-occupied the site some 400 years later (410-1066) with evidence of at least six sunken floor or ‘grub-houses’.  They left behind plenty of artefacts including: worked bone pins, hair pins, pottery, a copper alloy ring and tweezers. They also collected Roman ‘knick-knacks’ – a habit found on other Saxon sites- as shown by the discovery of two Roman coins in the context of one of the buildings. All the artefacts are currently being analysed and will eventually be offered to the Corinium Museum. This report by Alison Wagstaff was published in the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard on 19th October 2017

October 2017

A Spencer Love Affair - scandal in the

1790s - Alan Ledger

The Society’s October lecture ‘A Spencer Love Affair’ was given by Alan Ledger, a retired school master and guide at Blenheim Palace who has extensively researched the 18th century history of the theatrical performances and social life of the Palace. Private theatres were very popular in the 18th century, first on the Continent and then with the English aristocracy. A private theatre was created at Blenheim in 1787 when the Orangery in the Kitchen Court was converted to provide space for theatrical productions which were performed for invited audiences. Lady Charlotte Spencer favourite daughter of the 4th Duke of Marlborough, performed in these theatricals and fell in love with another performer, the Revd Edward Nares an Oxford vicar. The daughter of the Duke and Lady Caroline Spencer was expected to marry into one of England’s noblest families to maintain family status, rather than marry for love. Edward Nares was therefore considered an unsuitable match for Lady Charlotte. Despite fierce opposition to the relationship, twenty eight year-old Lady Charlotte and Edward Nares were married in 1797 at Henley, but not one of her family was present. Lady Caroline was furious and Charlotte was banished from Blenheim Palace. The whole episode became a society scandal. Lady Charlotte and Edward Nares moved to Biddenden in Kent where Edward was rector for many years. They had three children and sadly Charlotte died in 1802, never having returned to Blenheim Palace. This report by Alan Strickland was published in the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard on 16th November 2017

November 2017

400 years of Stroud Textiles - Ian

Mackintosh

Although it was a miserable, windy late November night, this didn’t deter members and friends from attending Ian Mackintosh’s lecture on 400 years of Stroudwater Textiles. A founder member of Stroud Preservation Trust and Stroud Textile Trust, Ian gave a fascinating introduction to the history of the cloth industry, important in the Stroud and Cirencester areas for over 700 years and explained the different processes involved in cloth production. At its height, there were over 170 fulling mills in the Stroud area alone, and early pictures show the famous Scarlet cloth drying out on tenter-hooks in the fields. Interest to the talk was added by slides showing the cloth- making process, especially the early machinery, largely hand or water-driven. Samples of cloth and teazles to card the cloth were passed round the audience. Cloth from Stroud was exported around the world and by 1770, the East India Company was even selling it to the North American Indians. For the talk, Ian wore a waistcoat made of Stroud Scarlet; the cloth used for officers in the British army during the Crimean War. Indigo –dyed cloth was produced for the Royal Navy. As machinery grew larger, the mills needed to be larger than the steep-sided Stroud valleys could accommodate and by the 1830s, more cloth was being produced in Yorkshire, so many of Stroud’s mills moved over to dyeing finished cloth instead. However, some mills such as Marling’s Ebley Mill the largest cloth manufacturer in the south-west, did continue into the 20th century, only ceasing production in the 1980s. This report was by Aileen Anderson        

Sep 2017 - Simon Sworn

Oct 2017  - Alan Ledger

Nov 2017 - Ian Mackintosh

Jan 2018

Feb 2018 - Croome Lecture -

Mar 2018-

Mar 2018 - CA Lecture -

Apr 2018 -

May 2018 -

Jun 2018 -

Reports for season 2016-7

Page last updated 5 December 2017