26 August 2010

Prehistoric and Roman remains uncovered during widening of the A46

Archaeologists working as part of the Highways Agency scheme to widen the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool have uncovered prehistoric flint tools and flint knapping debris dating from 11,000BC, beaker pottery and a Bronze Age ring ditch near Stragglethorpe. Roman buildings, including a stone-lined well and building foundations have also been excavated.

14 August 2010

New exhibition on the history of Nottingham Castle

A new exhibition, 'Fragments from Nottingham Castle', tracing the history of this city landmark from medieval fortification to the country's first municipal art gallery outside London, has recently opened. 100 objects from the site, including stone, furniture and furnishing along with models and paintings tell the story of the castle. The exhibition is in the Nottingham Story gallery.

Further information is available on the Nottingham City Council website:

Who do you think you are? Monty Don's Retford connections.

I was interested to see my old home town of Retford make an appearance on this week's edition of "Who do you think you are?" Monty Don's great-great-grandfather, the Reverend Charles Hodge, was vicar of St Saviour's church on Welham Road in the 1840s and 1850s. Monty found several of his printed sermons at Nottingham University manuscripts department, one of which was a "fire and brimstone" tirade against the poor of his parish for not being sufficiently pious!

Intriguingly, his wife Anne emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1850s, leaving Charles and their nine children behind. A few years later she came back to Retford and most of the family emigrated to New Zealand. However, in 1859 Charles left the family and headed back to England but tragically drowned when the steam clipper Royal Charter sank off the coast of Anglesey on its way to Liverpool. Anne remained in New Zealand and died there in 1890.

The programme can be viewed on the BBC's iPlayer site:

9 August 2010

BBC Hands on History website

The BBC Hands on History website has recently been launched. Initially the website focuses on the Normans and includes an interactive map of the UK featuring walks, trails and great day trips to Norman sites and buildings around the country: Southwell Minster and the early Norman church of St Mary and St Martin in Blyth are included.

The website also includes free activity packs which families can download, including 'I Spy' guides for Norman churches and castles.