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

Reports of our lectures held during 2018-9

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 2018 Report 

 ‘Wot! No Engines? Horsa, The Silent Wooden Warrior’  

 James Rendell

 James Rendell, a local historian provided a fascinating insight into the story of the WW2 Horsa gliders and the significant contribution they made to the success of the D-Day invasion and the Arnhem landings in 1944. The Horsa gliders were constructed mainly of spruce with birch ply. This, together with careful design made them very strong. The timber sections were made by various companies with HH Martin of Cheltenham manufacturing 3500 cockpits in the 1943/44 period. These gliders were designed to carry heavy equipment or troops and set them down together in one place. The 88 foot (30m) wingspan and 67 foot (22m) length made the Horsa a large and notoriously difficult aircraft to fly. Pilots trained to fly other aircraft, including Spitfires, were often transferred to fly Horsas with very little training. To get them airborne, the gliders were towed behind Stirling and Halifax aircraft at speeds of up to 150 mph. To enable gliders not seriously damaged during landing to be re-used, a system of snatch - recovery was developed. This allowed the gliders to be hooked direct to an aircraft, in flight, testifying to the strength of their timber construction. Gloucestershire played a major part in the Horsa story with glider training at RAF Stoke Orchard; the assembly of gliders at Aston Down and Kemble and gliders full of troops and equipment for D-Day being towed out from RAF Fairford and RAF Down Ampney. October 2018

Northleach- A ‘Planted’ Town

Peter Dawson

At the Society’s October meeting, Peter Dawson told us about the “planted towns” of the Middle Ages. Using many slides and pictures, including some by LS Lowry, he showed us how to recognise one of these towns. They mostly have a small castle, or its remains, at one end of a street and a church at the other. The terraced houses tend to be of a uniform width of 2 perches (33feet) with very long gardens half a furlong long (330 feet). These were known as burgage plots. There will also once have been a triangular market-place, though if large enough, the space may have been subsequently filled with houses. There is often a market-cross with 3, 5 or 8 steps. Big enough to sell wares from. Professor Beresford, of Leeds University, wrote a book (1967) and it seems the Normans created about a thousand such towns, many added onto existing Saxon settlements, as at Northleach. Most of the towns were within a day’s hard walk of each other. They grew through the Middle Ages and maps even show Birmingham and Leeds to have such a town at their core. So why were there so many? Building new towns allowed the King and the Barons to ‘keep an eye on’ the people and encourage them to speak French, which clearly failed, but Celtic languages were discouraged. The landlords would have had a good income from the rents.

November 2018

Francis Haverfield’s ‘Roman Cirencester’: Then and Now

Neil Holbrook

It was a rather damp, miserable night, but this didn’t deter many members and friends from attending an illustrated talk by Neil Holbrook, Director of Cotswold Archaeology, on Francis Haverfield’s ‘Roman Cirencester’: Then and Now. Many there had little knowledge of Haverfield, but nearly 100 years ago, in September 1919, he gave a lecture on Roman Cirencester, which was to prove influential to our understanding of the town, and the inspiration to many famous names in the field of archaeology. Sadly, a month later, at the age of only 58 he died. A study of Silchester had given him an interest in Roman Town Planning, and his aim was to write a book on all the Roman towns in Britain. Only two papers were published – Leicester and Cirencester. Cirencester had achieved some fame with the discovery of the Hunting Dogs mosaic in Dyer Street in 1849, and by the end of the century, interest was renewed when the end of the Basilica was discovered. Haverfield was interested in material culture, particularly inscriptions, and the importance of coins in chronology. He felt that the people of Corinium led a comfortable life in a country town, dependant on local agriculture, unromantic and therefore happy. He was particularly interested in the text on the Septimus Stone ( seen now in the museum), which appeared to be restoring paganism in the 4th Century, after the introduction of Christianity. Neil also exploded some myths about Cirencester – was it really called Corinium? Far more likely, it was Cironium, which would have been more likely to develop in Saxon times into Cirencester. How did  Roman Cirencester end? Probably not in a battle in 577 as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. What was Haverfield’s legacy? His paper published in 1920 after his death, was the best paper for at least half a century, and although he is little known himself, he was the inspiration of people like Atkinson, a founder member of the Cirencester Excavation Committee, Shepherd Frere and many other more famous archaeologists.    

Sep 2018 - James Rendell

Oct 2018 - Peter Dawson

Nov 2018 - Neil Holbrook

Jan 2019 - 

Feb 2019 - Croome Lecture- 

Mar 2019 - CA Lecture -

Mar 2019

Apr 2019

May 2019

Reports for season 2017-8

Page last updated 20 August 2018
© CAHS & contributors 2016-8 Registered Charity 287289
Cirencester Archaeological  & Historical Society

Reports of our lectures held

during 2018-9

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 2018 Report 

 ‘Wot! No Engines? Horsa, The Silent

Wooden Warrior’  

 James Rendell

 James Rendell, a local historian provided a fascinating insight into the story of the WW2 Horsa gliders and the significant contribution they made to the success of the D-Day invasion and the Arnhem landings in 1944. The Horsa gliders were constructed mainly of spruce with birch ply. This, together with careful design made them very strong. The timber sections were made by various companies with HH Martin of Cheltenham manufacturing 3500 cockpits in the 1943/44 period. These gliders were designed to carry heavy equipment or troops and set them down together in one place. The 88 foot (30m) wingspan and 67 foot (22m) length made the Horsa a large and notoriously difficult aircraft to fly. Pilots trained to fly other aircraft, including Spitfires, were often transferred to fly Horsas with very little training. To get them airborne, the gliders were towed behind Stirling and Halifax aircraft at speeds of up to 150 mph. To enable gliders not seriously damaged during landing to be re-used, a system of snatch - recovery was developed. This allowed the gliders to be hooked direct to an aircraft, in flight, testifying to the strength of their timber construction. Gloucestershire played a major part in the Horsa story with glider training at RAF Stoke Orchard; the assembly of gliders at Aston Down and Kemble and gliders full of troops and equipment for D-Day being towed out from RAF Fairford and RAF Down Ampney. October 2018

Northleach- A ‘Planted’ Town

Peter Dawson

At the Society’s October meeting, Peter Dawson told us about the “planted towns” of the Middle Ages. Using many slides and pictures, including some by LS Lowry, he showed us how to recognise one of these towns. They mostly have a small castle, or its remains, at one end of a street and a church at the other. The terraced houses tend to be of a uniform width of 2 perches (33feet) with very long gardens half a furlong long (330 feet). These were known as burgage plots. There will also once have been a triangular market-place, though if large enough, the space may have been subsequently filled with houses. There is often a market- cross with 3, 5 or 8 steps. Big enough to sell wares from. Professor Beresford, of Leeds University, wrote a book (1967) and it seems the Normans created about a thousand such towns, many added onto existing Saxon settlements, as at Northleach. Most of the towns were within a day’s hard walk of each other. They grew through the Middle Ages and maps even show Birmingham and Leeds to have such a town at their core. So why were there so many? Building new towns allowed the King and the Barons to ‘keep an eye on’ the people and encourage them to speak French, which clearly failed, but Celtic languages were discouraged. The landlords would have had a good income from the rents.        

Sep 2018

Oct 2018

Nov 2018

Jan 2019

Feb 2019

Mar 2019

Mar 2019 - CA Lecture -

Apr 2019

May 201

Reports for season 2017-8

Page last updated 20 August 2018