28 February 2011

Time Team avoid Nottinghamshire again

I'm enjoying the current series of Time Team (while quietly hoping that Channel 4 don't mess about with the scheduling like they did last year) but find myself musing on the fact that this is series 18 of TV's longest-running archaeology show and yet again the team give Nottinghamshire a wide berth! Is it something we said???

What sites in the county would be sufficiently interesting to lure Tony and his chums here? Here are a few suggestions:
  •  Haughton Hall, near Walesby, was a magnificent medieval house, surrounded by a moat, set in impressive parkland. There is a ruined medieval chapel a short distance away from the site of the hall, presumably associated with the deserted settlement of Haughton, and a duck decoy refashioned from a motte and bailey castle (see the following articles on the Notts History website "Haughton to the verge of splendour" and "Haughton Hall")
  • Greasley Castle, a mid-14th century fortified manor house near Eastwood (see article covering brief excavations in the 1930s and the Greasley Parish website for further information)
  • Cromwell Roman villa just north of Newark is clearly visible from the air but (as far as I know) hasn't been excavated
  • Medieval-18th century coal pits near Strelley village on the western outskirts of Nottingham
  • The English Civil War defensive earthworks around Newark-on-Trent
  • Clipstone Peel in Sherwood Forest, identified by Dr David Crook, was "a sophisticated wooden palisade with external ditch and gates ...  [it] included a gatehouse, hall, royal chamber, a chapel, bakehouse, grange, and animal sheds" - it only lasted a few years in the early 14th century before being dismantled (further information on The Gatehouse website)
Any others?!

22 February 2011

Nottingham University Museum of Archaeology 'Prehistory Day', 23 February 2011

There's a chance to connect with our prehistoric forbears at the The University of Nottingham Museum of Archaeology's 'Hands on Prehistory Day' tomorrow. See the article on the BBC Nottingham website for further details:

19 February 2011

Latest 'The Nottinghamshire Historian' published

The Spring/Summer edition of The Nottinghamshire Historian has just arrived through my letterbox and contains the following articles:
  • Sutton-in-Ashfield: The Unwin Dynasty and the Bag Hosiers
  • Homes fit for Heroes: Nottingham's First Council Houses, 1919–1927
  • The centenary of the first cinemas in Nottingham

Further information is available on the Nottinghamshire Local History Association website.

18 February 2011

Searching for the grave of the 5th Duke of Portland

During a recent visit to London I spent a couple of hours wandering around the impressive monuments of Kensal Green Cemetery. Not only is it a superb example of an early Victorian cemetery but it also contains the grave of the eccentric 5th Duke of Portland, best known for being "The Underground Man" or "Mole Duke" who spent much of the family fortune constructing tunnels and underground rooms at Welbeck Abbey.

The Duke's monument is quite difficult to find*, despite being the largest plot in the cemetery, and is surprisingly plain (in stark contrast to those of many of his contemporaries). It consists of a pink Peterhead granite slab surrounded by grey granite kerbs and posts. The memorial was damaged by World War 2 bombing and bronze chains and fittings were stolen in the early 1950s. The inscription reads "SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM JOHN CAVENDISH BENTINCK SCOTT FIFTH DUKE OF PORTLAND. BORN 17TH SEPTEMBER 1800. DIED 6TH DECEMBER 1879."
* Thanks to John Clarke of Brookwood Cemetery for help with locating the monument.

14 February 2011

Bid for funds to investigate prehistoric site near Newark-on-Trent

Farndon Archaeological Research Investigations (FARI) are applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £50,000 to enable them to further investigate a prehistoric site in the fields near Farndon. It is likely that the site was a camp (or several camps) where hunters processed killed animals.
Further information on the BBC Nottingham website: