Saturday 9th February 2019: ‘A Review of Recent Archaeological Investigations in Shropshire’ a talk by Dr Andy Wigley. This talk will provide a brief overview of how archaeology is dealt with in the planning process before giving a summary of recent interesting findings for developer funded work around the county. 2.30pm at the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND
Saturday 12th January 2019: Shropshire Seals and Seal matrices from the 12th to the 18th centuries. A talk by John Cherry. Shropshire Museums recently acquired a silver seal found by a metal detectorist at Wrockwardine, which may have belonged to the 13th century prior of a local abbey. Shropshire Museums were very generously aided by the Art Fund towards purchasing the seal. This talk will look at a number of seals and seal matrices associated with or originating in Shropshire from the 12th century onwards. 2.30pm at the Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND
More information and images of the seal (picture used with permission of British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme) can be found here: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/757251
December Social Event at Adcote School
This year’s winter social event was held at Adcote School on Friday 7th December. The medieval settlement of Addecote has a written history going back to the Norman Conquest. The present house dates to 1876 and was designed by Norman Shaw RA to a Tudor design and stands in 27 acres of landscaped gardens. The house was owned by the Darby family until being converted to a school in the early 20th century.
Our November 2018 talk was on Shrewsbury’s Town Walls, by Hugh Hannaford. Shrewsbury’s town walls date back to the 1220s. They were maintained and repaired for the next 500 years, but since the middle of the 18th century they have been overwhelmed in places by neglect and development. This talk took the form of a virtual tour of the town walls, looking at what survives, and at some recent work to enhance and conserve the town’s medieval defences.
The Society’s Annual General Meeting, was held on Saturday 22nd September 2018 at The Shirehall, Shrewsbury and was well attended. It was followed by the Annual Lecture which this year was on “The Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Project” and was given by Nick Hill of Historic England.
Built in 1797, Shrewsbury’s Flax Mill is renowned as the earliest iron-framed building in the world. Abandoned since 1987 when the Maltings closed, and derelict for many years, the site is now undergoing a major transformation. The Main Mill and the Kiln are the focus of a £25m programme of repair and regeneration, one of the largest HLF-funded projects in the country. Nick Hill, Historic England’s project manager, outlined the latest developments on the project, including the intricate repairs to the Main Mill and recent archaeological discoveries.
You may be interested in a new web resource, Prison History (www.prisonhistory.org), a database containing information on nearly 850 penal institutions, including around 420 local prisons and 380 lock ups, which existed in 19th century England.
One of the core aims of Prison History is to emphasise the importance of the local prison (and lock ups) in nineteenth-century society, an institution that has been largely neglected in the major studies of nineteenth-century imprisonment.
For each institution, there is information about its operational dates, jurisdiction, location, population statistics, the primary and secondary sources which mention it, and a list of all the relevant and surviving archival documents which we have been able to find in repositories based in England. On accessing Prison History, users can either search for specific prisons or various types of prisons, or browse the lists of archival materials that the researchers have recovered.
It is hoped that Prison History will be a useful resource for local historians, and that you will want to get involved with this project, to help make the database an even better tool for local history, and, through emphasising the importance of prisons within nineteenth-century communities, to demonstrate the importance of local history research. Please see the attached leaflet for more details: Prison History
Visit to More Castle on Saturday 14th July 2018
More Castle is one of many motte and bailey castles built in this area by the Normans following the Conquest in 1066. The Normans quickly formed a network of timber castles across this landscape, to assert their authority on the locals and to keep a watchful eye for Welsh raids from the west. On our short walk from Lydham to More and back we visited the earthwork remains of the castle. We looked at St Peter’s Church, with it’s Roman mosaics and More family chapel, and made a quick tour around the village.
Over the past couple of years, a series of non-intrusive surveys have been undertaken at Caus Castle, Westbury, and at Castle Pulverbatch in Shropshire, funded generously by the Castle Studies Trust. The surveys at both sites have employed a nested methodology – large scale topographic survey (using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV], or drone), focused conventional analytical earthwork survey and detailed geophysical survey. The underlying principle has been that, by comparing and contrasting the results of different survey techniques, maximum information can be gained about these sites.
Work at Caus Castle (sited on private land) was largely concentrated on the relationship between the motte and bailey castle and the associated 12th and 13th century borough. Earthwork evidence of the borough itself was quite slight, although some possible house platforms were seen. Earthwork survey allowed the analysis of the hitherto under-examined inner bailey of the castle – mapping the inner courtyard in detail, as well as pointing to some possible early 17th century garden earthworks.
UAV image of Castle Pulverbatch, in context of the village which has been suggested as a planned settlement. © Aerial-Cam, 2017.
Castle Pulverbatch is recognised as one of the finest examples of a motte and bailey castle in the county. In 2017 a programme of geophysical survey and UAV survey at Castle Pulverbatch took advantage of recent scrub clearance by the Friends of Castle Pulverbatch. Detailed resistivity and magnetometry survey was undertaken of all available areas in both the inner bailey on the northeast side of the motte, and the large outer bailey that lies to the northwest. Analysis of the results suggest in situ building material, particularly within the inner bailey, coinciding with earthwork features seen on the drone survey.
Giles Carey, Historic Environment Records Officer, Shropshire Council.
For a fuller account of these surveys please follow this link: Recent survey work at Caus Castle and Castle Pulverbatch
To see 3D models of the surveys, please follow these links:
Caus overall model:
Caus, detailed model of W end of outer enclosure:
Castle Pulverbatch (textured):