News: Now available. Proceedings of the Chelmsford Conference £15. A review of recent archaeology in Essex. Our Annual Report 2014 may be viewed online. Members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History may subscribe to digital downloads of our back catalogue of publications. Use Contact Form for more information.
Saturday, 31 May 2014
Friday, 30 May 2014
The final part of the 17th century household expenses of Sir Thomas Barrington of Hatfield Broad Oak: an article which first appeared in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society in 1911.
"Musicians and musical entertainments:
Allusions are very frequent in an age when music was cultivated and appreciated by all: there are payments to the Colchester waits ...
Sunday, 25 May 2014
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
NOTICE is given that the Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held to 2.00pm on Saturday 7 June 2014 at St.Nicholas’ Chapel, Coggeshall Abbey.
1) Apologies for absence
2) Minutes of the 2013 Annual General Meeting (to be tabled)
3) Matters arising
4) Annual Report for 2013
5) Accounts & Balance Sheet (full accounts to be tabled; a summary is enclosed)
6) Election of Examiner of Accounts
7) The Publication & Research Fund
8) The Essex Place-names Project
9) The Industrial Archaeology Group
10) Election of President for 2014-15
11) Election of Vice-Presidents for 2014-15
12) Election of Officers for 2014-15
13) Election of Members of Council and Co-options
14) Any other business
After the meeting there will be an opportunity to visit the ruins and the mill and a cream tea, price £5. Please book in the usual way for instructions and a location map. Copies of the 2013 AGM minutes, and the full accounts and balance sheet, can be obtained in advance from the Hon. Secretary, 26 Mountview Crescent, St. Lawrence, Southminster, CM0 7NT. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). The Annual Report 2013 has been published online.
The following are proposed by the Council for election:
PRESIDENT Miss Ann Turner
PRESIDENT Miss Ann Turner
VICE-PRESIDENTS Lord Petre, Mr. D. Buckley, Mr. S. Newens, Mr A B Phillips, Dr. J. Ward
Secretary Mr J Hayward
Treasurer Mr W M Abbott
Editor Mr. P. Gilman
Deputy Editor Miss H Walker
Librarian Dr J Pearson
Deputy Librarian Mr A Smith
Membership Secretary Vacant
Programme Secretary Mr P Sainsbury
Excursion Secretary Dr G Gould
Newsletter Editor Miss S Gale
P & R |Fund Secretary Dr C Thornton
Curator Mr P J Wise
Holding Trustees Mr D G Buckley, Dr P M Leach, Mr A S Newens, Mr M Stuchfield, Dr C Thornton, Dr J C Ward
COUNCIL: The following are nominated for re-election; Dr D Andrews, Mr E Black, Mr K Crowe, Dr H,Eiden, Ms M F Medlycott, Mrs B Watkin, Mr E Watkin, Mr N Wickenden, Having served three years Mr P Sharp, Ms A Turner and Mrs E Wylie stand down. The following are nominated to replace them: Mr H Brooks, Mr N Brown.
CO-OPTIONS: The following are nominated: Dr. J. Kemble (Essex Place-names Project), Mr. N. Cochrane (Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex), Mr. J M Hayward (London CBA representative), Mr N R Wiffen (Essex Journal), Mr D Buckley CBA East representative)
INDEPENDENT EXAMINER: P Evans is nominated for appointment.
The nearest railway station to Coggeshall Abbey is Kelvedon. Transport from the station to the venue can be arranged if required. Please make this known when making the booking.
Continuing the article about the seventeenth-century accounts of Thomas Barrington of Hatfield Broad Oak written for the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society in 1911.
" ... But the wedding feast and ceremonies were equal to the occasion. From William Beecher was purchased "a scarlet Coach and a sett of Harness" for 50l: Mr Gobert was provided ...
Final part to follow
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Friday, 23 May 2014
For the first time in our long existence, the Annual Report of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History has been published online. Follow this link to our own website to view the full report and accounts for the year ending 31 December 2013: http://www.essex.ac.uk/history/esah/AnnualReports/ESAH_Annual_Report_2013%20.pdf
Thursday, 22 May 2014
Basildon Borough Council has contacted the Essex Society for Archaeology and History with this message for those who live in the Billericay, Basildon & Wickford area of the county.
First World War Commemorations – Grants to Community Groups 2014
In recognition of tremendous contribution voluntary groups are making towards engaging the community with the centenary of World War One, the Council is launching a small grants scheme to support commemorative events and projects.
Grants will not normally be more than £1,000, and most will be substantially smaller than that. Priority will be given to groups and individuals who have not already received funding for an event/project within the same financial year.
Note: Separate funding will be made available for armistice commemorations in 2018, and those arrangements will be announced in due course.
In order to be eligible for funding, the following must be true of an event/project:
- It must aim to commemorate the centenary of the First World War – through promoting education, discussion or contemplation about the conflict;
- The group(s) or individual(s) organising it must not be profiting from doing so;
- The group(s) or individual(s) organising it must be based in the Basildon Borough;
- It must be open to the public at large and not limited to members of any specific body (events with limited capacity are eligible, providing there is a transparent ticketing policy);
- Its organisers must be able to provide costings which account for the requested funding;
- Its organisers must have a bank account owned by at least two people who are unrelated and do not live at the same address.
Assuming applications meet the qualifying criteria, the event/project will be assessed by the Leader of the Council against the following criteria:
- Its relevance to the centenary of World War One;
- Its uniqueness, taking into account other commemorative events/projects within the Borough;
- The likelihood of it engaging a sizeable proportion of the community with the commemorations;
- The degree to which it will be improved by the requested funding;
- Any extra benefits it might bring in addition to serving as a commemoration – for example, educational opportunities for local students.
We may receive more applications than the budget can fund so we may fund part of the amount you have requested or not at all, even if your project meets all of the qualifying criteria.
Conditions of funding:
· You will be required to provide monitoring and evaluation for any grants awarded. Any groups who have not provided satisfactory monitoring for any previous grants received from the Council will not be considered for further funding.
· Applicants are asked to acknowledge the support of the Basildon Borough Council and include the Council’s logo on any promotional literature or publicity. In return, the events will be displayed on the Council’s World War One commemorations webpage.
· The Council reserves the right to use intellectual property created during the events as part of promotional material relating to the World War One commemorations. This includes photographs and feedback comments.
· Any of the Council’s grant aid which remains unused, or cannot be used for the purpose for which it was awarded could be repayable to the Council. If you experience problems with spending the grant at any time during the twelve month period then you must contact the councils funding officer.
Please direct completed applications, as well as any queries about the grant scheme, to Andrew Ford
Policy, Performance and Review
Basildon Borough Council
The Basildon Centre
St Martin's Square
Successful applicants will be informed by telephone and confirmation sent by email, or post if no email is available. A grant is awarded to successful applicants on the understanding that it be used for the stated purpose.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
|Joseph Strutt's plate of St Nicholas chapel,|
Coggeshall Abbey, before substantial restoration
The next meeting of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History will be the Annual General Meeting, on Saturday 7 June 2014, to be held at St Nicholas chapel, Coggeshall, which is part of town's Abbey site. There will be refreshments at the mill and an opportunity to view both the abbey ruins and mill, which is in private ownership.
Papers will be sent to all members shortly.
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
High Country History Group: Essex Field Names (1): Introduction: Essex Field-Names Collected and arranged by William Chapman Waller, M.A., F.S.A. An extract from the Transactions of the Essex Archaeo...
High Country History Group: Essex Field Names (2): Stapleford Tawney: Stapleford Tawney (1) Barbers Mead Blaze Meadow Brick Clamp Canal Caves Meadow Charity Land Chase, The Church Field Cl...
High Country History Group: Essex Field Names (3): Stanford Rivers: Stanford Rivers (2) Adams, Great and Little Alder Car Alder Field Archers Field Ash Elms Backdoor Mead Bandish Field Bar...
High Country History Group: Essex Field Names (4): Greensted: Greensted (13) Accrams Grove Alder Carr Anchor Field Black Boy Field Blyths Barn Meadow Bob Davis Pasture Brank Field Bu...
High Country History Group: Essex Field Names (5): Theydon Mount: Theydon Mount (23) Arthurs Croft Barbers Green Bartholomew Spring Bitchett, The Bobs Piece Bourses, The Brick Kiln Field ...
Monday, 19 May 2014
The origin and meaning of Essex Place Names was the subject given by Paul Mardon, Publicity Officer of the Essex Place Names Project, to the High Country History Group recently. The Project is said to be unique to the county and began in 1995 with volunteers recording towns, parishes, villages and moors; farms, houses, buildings and roads; and, fields, rivers, streams, woods and hills. Its coordinator is Dr James Kemble.
Volunteers transcribe names on the Tithe Maps of the 1830s and 1840s; estate maps and manor court rolls. They scour sales and auction catalogues, leases and rental records. To date 325 parishes in Essex have been completed with the results published on an online database linked to the Essex Society for Archaeology and Essex, and hosted by the University of Essex.
Paul Mardon said that most of our place names date before 1500, with many evolving over time often with a variety of spellings.
Rivers such as the Lea and Thames are early British names. The River Roding flows through the centre of the county past the Roding villages and on through Ilford – it was originally called the River Il. The Romans are renowned for their straight roads and fortified places.
The Anglo-Saxons have attached names to many places in northern Europe: ‘Walden’, as in Saffron Walden, is the place of the Britons.
There is a Viking influence in north east Essex where Danelaw was prevalent.
The Normans and Anglo-Normans gave names to places such as Pleshey – “a living hedge” – where old English words have evolved into Middle English.
Most of our modern place names are an amalgamation of periods: the Tolleshunt villages near Maldon is derived from ‘toll’ meaning chieftain and ‘funta’, meaning spring.
Suffixes for place names such as ‘ham’ and ‘ton’ have an original meaning of a farm or homestead; ‘ing’ or ‘ingas’ means territory; ‘sted’ means place; ‘wic’ means a dairy farm. In the landscape, ‘dun’ or ‘don’ means a flat topped upland; ‘hyrst’ is a wooded hill; ‘naess’ is a promontory; and ‘eg’ or ‘ieg’ is an island. There are many more.
Field names form an important part of the research of the Essex Place Names Project. Field names are given by size, such as ‘twenty acre marsh’ and ‘hoppit’ being a very Essex name for a small field. Some denote ownership such as ‘Browns Field’ or ‘Blacksmith Field’ while others are named according to their natural features, ‘Pond Field’ or ‘Oak Field’ are examples. There are a number of fields named according to their shape: ‘Leg of Mutton Field’ or ‘Shoulder of Mutton Field’. In nearby Navestock there is one called ‘Swans Neck Field’. Then there are others which tell how productive a field might be: ‘Great Gains’, ‘Stoney Field’. Finally a category shows how the field might have been ploughed: ‘Rainbow Field’, or ‘Gridiron Field’ in Great Wakering. ‘Botany Bay Field’ might be the furthest away field on a farm: Botany Bay was the place to where convicts were transported.
To find out more about place names and their origin, Paul Marsden recommends the following books:
Ekwall, Eilert. The Concise Dictionary of English Place-names. 4th edition (Oxford, 1960)
Reaney, P.H. The Place-Names of Essex, EPNS 12 (Cambridge, 1935)
Kemble, James. Essex Place-Names. Places, Streets and People. (Historical Publications, 2007)
The Essex Places Names Project database can be consulted by following this link: http://www.essex.ac.uk/history/esah/essexplacenames/index.asp
Sunday, 18 May 2014
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Friday, 16 May 2014
THE SUTTON HOO SOCIETY
BASIL BROWN MEMORIAL LECTURE
BALANCING THE EQUATION: SUTTON HOO MOUND 1 SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS ON
Presenter: Dr. Angela Evans
SATURDAY 14th JUNE 2014
11.00 a.m at the Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge
Tickets: SHS member £7.00, non-member £8.00
Tickets available at the door on the day, or may be booked in advance from:
Nan Waterfall, 1 Mill Lane, Marlesford, Woodbridge IP13 0AJ
Please enclose SAE and cheque made out to The Sutton Hoo Society
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Council for British Archaeology, Copped Hall Trust, West Essex Archaeological Group: Archaeology Taster Weekends
Interested in archaeology?
Want to dig?
Come to a TASTER WEEKEND course for beginners in July 2014. These courses are being held as part of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of British Archaeology. Learn about excavation techniques and the handling of finds on the site of a Tudor mansion - most of your time will be spent actually digging.
Dates: 12/13 July, 19/20 July, 26/27 July 2014
Location: Copped Hall, near Epping
Cost: £50 per weekend
Course leader: John Shepherd (former manager of the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive &
For further information, or to make a booking contact:
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Interested in archaeology?
Do you want to take part in the continuing investigation into the development of a Tudor grand-house from medieval beginnings at Copped Hall on the edge of Epping Forest, Essex?
Two 5-day Field Schools, for people familiar with the basics of archaeological excavation and recording, are being held there, starting on 9th and 18th August 2014.
Dates: Saturday 9th to Wednesday 13th August, Monday 18th to Friday 22nd August
Location: Copped Hall, near Epping
Cost: £90 per week (non-residential)
Course directors: Christina Holloway, Lee Joyce and John Shepherd.
For further information, or to make a booking contact:
Mr Andrew Madeley (tel: 020 8491 6514; email: email@example.com)
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
The Stour Valley Buildings at Risk project is seeking volunteers to help complete its survey of the Grade II Listed Buildings in the Stour Valley on the Essex/Suffolk border.
The Stour Valley is famous as the landscape that inspired Constable and Gainsborough. The historic market towns and picturesque villages set in a gently undulating landscape of fields, rivers, meadows and ancient woodlands form a quintessentially lowland English landscape. The area has an outstanding legacy of historic buildings, mostly timber-framed, many of which are medieval or early post-medieval in origin.
1584 Listed Buildings (that is buildings that are considered to be of special architectural or historical interest) are recorded for the Stour Valley. Over a third of these have been surveyed to date, but more volunteers are required to help finish the task. The principal risk to this unique historic environment is one of gradual decay and erosion, leading to the loss of those features which so characterise the area. Current data for Essex and Suffolk would suggest that 2% of the area’s listed buildings are at risk.
Volunteer recorders from the local community will be trained to undertake visual surveys of the historic buildings of the Stour Valley and record those that are at danger of damage or decay. Anyone interested in finding out more about the project should register their interest with firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Maria Medlycott on 03330-136853.
Monday, 12 May 2014
The story of Colchester is told in a new display at the Castle Museum which has just reopened after a multi-million pound refurbishment. Whilst in town we took the opportunity to make a visit. We paid our £7.50 adult admission charge and entered what is a dramatically spacious area. Gone is the warren of false walls. Visitors now see the internal structure of the Castle open up before them.
The introductory area shows a map of the major sites which have contributed to the history, archaeology and understanding of the town. Then there is the first of numerous beautifully lit cases containing artefacts, well presented with adequate and clear supporting text. This acknowledges the formation of the Museum, the substantial collection of George Joslin (the Victorian ironmonger), the merging of the Essex Archaeological Society’s collection in 1926, through to the work of professional archaeologists who contribute much now to the understanding of the town. Rex Hull is noted as a lead person in the development of the Museum whilst he was curator.
I noted a case which will be used to show different aspects of the Museum’s collection. To one side on the first floor is a cabinet showing an array of items taken out of storage, acknowledging the whole collection to be one of great significance and noting with perhaps regret that it is impossible to display everything. It is a powerful reminder of the contribution of past members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History to the formation and continuance of the Colchester Museum, certainly over its first hundred or so years.
Back now to our viewing. In the corner is a seating area with large screen computer graphics showing aerial views of the castle through the ages – from its early days to the present, where after Wheeley had partly demolished the building for materials in the 1690s, the roofless structure remained until 1935 when it was covered to create more space for the Museum.
At reception we were advised to take the stairs or lift to the first floor. This is a large horseshoe shaped area telling the story of Colchester from its beginnings through to the end of the Roman period. It begins with a partly reconstructed circular Iron Age round house, the remainder being depicted by different shaded carpet to give the overall size and impression of the building. As someone who has studied Colchester in local history I came across well-known artefacts, almost as if these were old friends given a gentle makeover. The tombstone of Longinus Sdapeze alongside the memorial to Marcus Favonius Facilis adorns one side. The lighting picks out the inscriptions. Visitors are invited to touch smaller replicas coloured to show how these finds may have originally looked. Opposite were imitation Roman shields visitors could try for size with opportunities, here and elsewhere, to dress up.
The Lexden burial mound finds are another highlight of the gallery floor. These have a museum reference number containing 2001, which made me wonder whether these are newly displayed acquisitions. Mention should be made here that many items on display are new, new in the sense that they are recent discoveries, but the story of Colchester is not necessarily confined to items found from within the Borough but from elsewhere in Essex, discovered and acquired by the Museum over its very long history. The notable discovery of a Roman Circus over the past decade just outside Colchester’s walled town provides the perfect opportunity to one corner of the gallery for family members, both young and old, to try their hand at the excitement of chariot racing. Those in pursuit of the more serious activity of looking at coin hoards and pots can smile and walk on by, to then view the iconic Colchester sphinx, one of the Museum’s earliest acquisitions, discovered in 1821 when the local hospital was built.
From the balcony onto the large but equally interesting stone wall is projected huge graphics of the arrival of the Romans, the building of the Temple of Claudius on the very site of the Castle, and its subsequent destruction by Boudicca in 60AD. This sets the scene for the area which explains the burnt layer in the archaeology of the town when it was razed to the ground. We see the construction of the Castle, its use as a prison, scenes of the siege, of Charles Gray acquiring the site as a pleasure garden before its creation as a Museum.
We viewed the Chapel set out with chairs as a meeting space, before descending to the ground floor. Here medieval history is depicted with references to St Botolph’s Priory and St John’s Priory, then of trade. Then there is an area devoted to the siege of Colchester of 1648 with a film shown in an adjacent room. It would be easy to miss the portion devoted to modern Colchester which has seating and space to select interviews depicting town, family and military-service life.
Then it was back to the shop. Alas there is no Guide Book as yet and though I believe tablets may be hired to enhance the experience of visitors – I read this in a newspaper article – these were not offered on arrival nor could be seen in use by the many other visitors. There is little in the shop specific to the Castle Museum other than boxes of fudge or chocolate. It is early days.
When paying for the bar of chocolate and buying a joint annual ticket (£32, with admission price refunded for the day’s visit) I asked the staff member why the history of Colchester seemed to end abruptly in 1648. I was advised that this was a link with the history of the Castle which, on reflection, I understand. But gone seems to be the timber framed structure of a house pulled down in the 1940s – a welcome omission – but also no mention of John Wilbye the musician. Did I not see the prison below stairs where the witch victims of the Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins were placed? And I don’t recall much emphasis on the bay and say trade. But was there so much to see? The answer is ‘Yes’ which justifies a return visit.
Some have suggested that the Museum has fewer artefacts on display than it had previously. I doubt that this is the case. What the visitor sees beyond the glass display cases, very cleverly, are the internal walls of the castle. This creates a spaciousness not hitherto seen. And, of course the castle is part of the story of Colchester. It is an exhibit in itself.
Sunday, 11 May 2014
Saturday, 10 May 2014
|The bell tower at Blackmore:|
Priory Church of St Laurence
Ten years ago today (10 May 2004) work was carried out to establish the date of Blackmore's bell tower. These notes were written soon after the results became known.
The project used the latest technology available - the science of tree-ring dating (or dendrochronology) - and was carried out by Dr. Martin Bridge, a local expert, from the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory.
Dendrochronology applies the simple fact that trees grow at different rates year on year, depending on weather conditions. Each year will leave a tree ring and by comparing the greater or lesser growth of samples from trees, it is possible to determine the age of timber used in buildings. This technique excites archaeologists because timber framed buildings were generally constructed using ‘green’ wood. This means that the age of a building can be determined with some precision.
A number of samples were taken from the massive bell tower. Three contained the complete bark edge and sapwood. This meant Dr Bridge was able to accurately date when the trees were felled. One sample was dated 1397/98, another 1398/99, and a third 1399/1400. “It is an amazing science”, Andrew Smith, a local church member said. “Dr Bridge tells me that the tower was probably built in 1400, or within the following two years”.
Blackmore’s bell tower is the largest of its kind in Essex and the date of 1400 is much earlier than historians and archaeologists have previously thought. “The date is a major new discovery and has the effect of rewriting the history of the village”, Andrew added.
“We now know that not only was the Nave roof built around 1397, judging by the sixteen coloured heraldic devices present on its ceiling, but also the north doorway and tower built around the same time. This indicates that the Priory Church was at its wealthiest at the end of the fourteenth century.”
In all, nine samples were taken from the bell tower for analysis: seven at floor level and two more from the bell frame.
The samples from the bell frame failed to date, as did one sample at floor level.
Of the six remaining, three gave precise dates of the felling of the tree enabling us to accurately date the bell tower's construction.
Friday, 9 May 2014
Thursday, 8 May 2014
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History who have subscribed to receive digital copies of our back catalogue of publications will begin to receive e mails with links to download from today. Our first batch includes the complete set of Indexes to our 'Old' and 'New' Series of Transactions covering 1858 to 1960; two Occasional Papers and the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society 'New Series' Volumes 15 & 24. To receive copies you must be a current member. Please use the contact form to add your name to the subscriber list. To become a member click on details of membership.
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Index Now Online: Transactions of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History Volumes 31 to 40 (2000 to 2009)
The index for the last ten volumes of the Third Series of the Society's Transactions (Essex Archaeology & History) - Volumes 31 to 40 was generously supported by funding from the Hervey Benham Trust, the Essex Heritage Trust and the Marc Fitch Fund