Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Next meeting. 3 August 2016

ESAH/EIAG Industrial Events 2016

The next visit of industrial interest is on Wednesday 3rd August at 10:00 to the Essex Fire Museum, Grays.

A guided tour of the museum will be followed by refreshments. The museum provides a fascinating look at the history of the Essex Fire Service through historic fire engines, firefighting equipment, uniforms and photographs. Those of you who attended the Industrial Heritage Fair last October will recall their very popular stand at the event.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Sandford Mill, Chelmsford, Big Weekend. Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 August 2016

Information courtesy of the Essex Industrial Archaeology Group.
Includes talk on Marconi

Monday, 25 July 2016

ESAH: Website News

Council, on 23 July 2016, has appointed Sensei Intelligent Solutions Ltd. to develop a new website for the Society.  John Hayward and Andrew Smith are core members of the Project Team which will see our new online offering develop in three stages.  Firstly, the migration and upgrading of the current website; secondly, the creation of an Archives area which will enable online access to our previous publications; and thirdly and most ambitious, a new and additional way in which the Society engages with its members through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to use the jargon.  You can follow the latest news on website development on this blog, 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Announcement: ESAH to absorb Essex Congress

Senior officers and trustees of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History agreed yesterday (Saturday 23 July 2016) to absorbing the activities of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress.   Congress had been the umbrella organisation for Essex local history groups since its foundation in 1964.  The process of dissolving Congress as a Charity is under way, and officers of ESAH will be discussing how the activities of Congress are incorporated into its own programme. Institutional members will be contacted in due course.

The Society's Council also confirmed acceptance of the ownership of the title of Essex Review and Essex Journal.

The following announcement has been made on the Essex Congress website home page:

At the 2016 Congress A.G.M. held on Saturday 25th June, the ongoing difficulties related to the running of Congress, and options for its future, were discussed.

It was the unanimous decision of the meeting that Congress should be dissolved, and that its key functions, including the staging of Symposia, the publication of the Panel of Speakers, and the co-ordination of the various local societies falling within the remit of Congress, will pass to ESAH (Essex Society for Archaeology and History).

As further details of this change become available they will be circulated to members. 

Essex Churches Then and Now

All Saints Church, Hutton, before restoration in 1873.
One of many fascinating Essex church photographs
 in the Society's collection.
'Essex Churches Then and Now' has been launched online today by the Essex Society for Archaeology and History. 

Andrew Smith, Hon. Deputy Librarian says, "We have been looking through and cataloging our archives and have come across two volumes of Essex church photographs and postcards dating from c1870 to c1910. These are important because some of the photographs pre-date Victorian church restorations, and could therefore be a unique record."

Andrew has digitised over 650 pictures in the collection and produced an index, which has just been published online.

"Publishing the list of photographs online is only the start of the process.  We would be pleased to hear from anyone with an interest in Essex churches, and are happy to share digitised copies with researchers and local history groups".

Andrew plans to visit some of the churches over the next few months and is devising a one-hour talk entitled 'Essex Churches Then and Now' which he hopes to premier in spring 2017.

Initially the photographic collection was thought to have been compiled latterly by John Edward Knight Cutts[1] (1847-1938) (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._E._K._Cutts ), member of the Essex Archaeological Society from 1883, and church architect (see http://archiseek.com/tag/j-e-k-cutts/ ) whose name is and date is credited to later photographs in the collection.  According to The Buildings of England: Essex by Pevsner / Bettley (2007) J.E.K. Cutts was architect of the now demolished St Augustine’s Church, Lower Dovercourt, 1883-84, and the Arts Centre, formerly the Great Burstead Board School, in Billericay, 1877-78.  All Saints, Dovercourt, restored 1897-98; St Paul Church, Elmstead Market, now a house, built 1908; and, St Mary, Little Oakley, now a house, restored 1895-1902 are all the work of J.E.K. & J.P. Cutts.

It was tempting to think that the work was begun by Edward Cutts.  Having compared the pencil labelling to the handwriting in the EAS Minute Book during the time Cutts served as Secretary, it is clear that the labelling is not his work.  Equally there are errors in labelling: South Benfleet should be North Benfleet, Coopersale should read Theydon Garnon, Stock should read Laindon, Blackmore End should read Stisted, the omissions of East Mersea, Stondon Massey and Chigwell.  Warley is, in fact, Great Warley not Little Warley, a church demolished in the 1950s.  The photograph labelled “Litt. Oakley ?” is clearly not Little Oakley but Ugley[2], and is compelling because Cutts was its restorer.  On the same page a corrected entry from Great to Little Oakley is in fact, from Internet images research, Great Oakley.  There is therefore sufficient evidence to determine that the volumes did not belong to the Cutts family.

The various sizes of photographs, as well as the revelation that copies appear elsewhere, suggest that the mystery compiler was not the photographer but acquired copies probably from perhaps other gentlemen members of the Society, sharing the same taste and concern to record changes in church buildings.  The contents list below gives sizes for some of the photographs, which may indicate the same photographer or equipment employed.

“THERE is no need to stress the importance to the ecclesiologist of photographs and reliable drawings of churches before they were subjected to nineteenth-century reparation.” (Benton, TEAS n.s. xxiv).  Benton makes reference to the Chancellor collection of photographs in the Society’s collection, now at the Essex Record Office.

A further important collection of Essex prints, exquisite sketches, photographs and newspaper cuttings in the name of Probert (ERO A13366) was deposited by the Society at the Essex Record Office in 2012.

The collections of photographs may be supported by contemporary narrative: Suckling (1846), Buckler (1856), Chancellor (as published in the Transactions of the Society, and Essex Review), and manuscript notes by King (1856-93) and C. F. D. Sperling.

[1] On the Membership List in 1915, Cutts was living in Ontario, Canada having retired there in 1912.  His parents were Edward Lewes Cutts (1824-1901), clergyman and founder of E.A.S., and Mariann Elizabeth Knight (see http://www.vangoozen.ca/bios.html ).
[2] Identified by Martin Stuchfield who sent an identical modern photograph following the Society’s AGM on 25 June 2016.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Colchester Roman Circus: Summer Season 2016

Colchester Roman Circus is open for a full programme of summer events.  The Friends Group has sent this information.

Our summer season of events started on 16th July and continues until the 24th September: all event details are available in our free circus centre leaflet. We also re-opened our cafe as a tea room on Monday 11th July.

Summer opening times for the circus centre and tea room are Monday-Saturday, 11.00am-4.00pm.

*** The summer season of special free events at the circus centre:
* Saturday 23rd July: Blue Badge guided tour of the circus site and centre, at 12.30 and 1.30, by Colchester Tourist Guides Jonathan or Dinah. Each tour lasts 45 minutes. £2.50 per head. Children under 11 FREE.
* Saturday 23rd July: ‘Making cutlery 300 years ago’ – illustrated talk with finds display by archaeologist and bone specialist Pip Parmenter about an industry which once flourished in Thaxted in Essex. 45 minutes starting at 2.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday 30th July: ARCHAEOLOGY ROAD SHOW. Dug up anything archaeological you want an opinion on? Do you have any mysterious finds under your bed or in the attic? Bring them along and try them on our panel of experts! 11.00am-4.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday 30th July: ‘Walking the Martello Towers of Suffolk’, illustrated talk by Trust archaeologist Howard Brooks. 45 minutes starting at 11.30am. FREE.
* Saturday 30th July: guided tour of the circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.
* Saturday 6th August: Blue Badge guided tour of the circus site and centre at 12.30 and 1.30, by Colchester Tourist Guides Jonathan or Dinah. 45 minutes. £2.50 per person, children under 11 FREE.
* Saturday 13th August: ‘Things they buried with the dead’ – hands-on finds session with Trust archaeologist Emma Holloway. 45 minutes starting at 11.30am. FREE.
* Saturday 13th August: guided tour of the circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.
* Saturday 20th August 20th: Blue Badge guided tour of the circus site and centre at 12.30 and 1.30, by Colchester Tourist Guides Jonathan or Dinah. 45 minutes. £2.50 per person, children under 11 FREE.
* Saturday 20th August: Kids’ dig – come and try your hand at excavating with a real archaeologist, and keep what you find! Sessions might be limited if popular. 11.00am-3.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday 20th August: Aquila game session with Alex (for players aged 10 and over). 11.00am-2.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday 20th August: the Two Daves concert. Triumphant return of the Two Daves to the stage at the circus centre with favourite songs from the Sixties. Quality! Starts 2.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday August 27th: Blue Badge guided tour of the circus site and centre at 12.30 and 1.30, by Colchester Tourist Guides Jonathan or Dinah. 45 minutes. £2.50 per person, children under 11 FREE.
Saturday August 27th: ‘1971-1985: giant sites – big finds’ – illustrated review by Trust director Philip Crummy of his work in Colchester from 1971. 45 minutes starting at 11.30am. FREE.
* Saturday 3rd September: ‘1986-2016 – the Roman circus and much more’ – illustrated review by Trust director Philip Crummy of his work in Colchester from 1971. 45 minutes starting at 11.30am. FREE.
* Saturday 3rd September: guided tour of the circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.
* Saturday 10th September: HERITAGE OPEN DAY – part of the National Heritage Open Days 2016. 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Visit the former NAAFI of the Artillery (Le Cateau) Barracks of Colchester’s old garrison, built in 1937, which now houses the Roman circus centre. Small display about the NAAFI including some vintage NAAFI artefacts. Try 1940s NAAFI-recipe cakes in our tea room. Vintage military vehicles in the garden. FREE.
* Saturday 10th September: tour from Castle Park to the Roman circus – guided tour with Trust director Philip Crummy. 10.30am-12.30 pm. Meet outside the castle and see the remains of the Roman theatre, Duncan’s Gate, the Roman temple arcade and the Roman circus. FREE.
* Saturday 10th September: guided tour of the circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.
* Saturday 17th September: ‘More to pots than meets the eye’ – hands-on session with Trust archaeologist and pottery specialist Steve Benfield. 11.30am-12.30pm. FREE.
* Saturday 17th September: Aquila game session with Alex (for players aged 10 and over). 11.00am-2.00pm. FREE.
* Saturday 17th September: guided tour of the Roman circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.
* Saturday 24th September: ‘The Fenwick gold and silver treasure’ – illustrated talk by Trust archaeologist Adam Wightman who found the treasure. 45 minutes starting at 11.30am. FREE but best to pre-book to guarantee a seat (01206 501785 orinfo@romancircus.co.uk ).
* Saturday 24th September: ‘Digging deep for sound’ – an interactive family experience led by COMA East Firewire, a band that uses music to explore the present and the past. The band brings life to things long buried under our feet in Colchester through instruments and voices. 2.00pm to 3.30pm. FREE.
* Saturday 24th September: guided tour of the Roman circus site and centre by Trust guides, at 12.30 and 1.30. FREE.

Admission to the Roman circus centre is free. The circus site and centre are wheelchair-/pushchair- accessible.

We look forward to seeing you!

Archives Update

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has this week delivered to the Essex Record Office its archives in series S/LIB/9 (with the exception of S/LIB/9/20-25,48-49) and S/SEC/4/1.  Content will be reviewed with the intention of deposit on permanent loan.

Conference. 'Roman Roads: Past, Present, and Future Research. 3 & 4 September 2016

I am writing to to let you know about a welcome and exciting development concerning the Conference at Portsmouth on the 3rd & 4th of September. A very private Roman roads enthusiast, who feels that the success of this first ever Roman roads conference is vitally important to bring together learning, enthusiasm and planning for the future for the study and interest in a key part of our national heritage, has stepped in to subsidise  ticket prices. Thanks to him, we are now able to provide places at the conference for all, whether members of the public or professional archaeologists and researchers, at a conference fee of £25 per person for the weekend, including two course buffet lunch on both Saturday AND Sunday and tea / coffee and biscuits provided at each break.

The Roman Roads Research Association is proud to host two conferences to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Ivan D. Margary, whose name, through his work “Roman Roads in Britain”, has become synonymous with the study of Roman roads. Perhaps his best known legacy is the numbering system he devised for Roman roads which is still in general use today. In all, his contribution to British archaeology has been profound, and, we feel, not given the national recognition which it deserves. As far as we are aware, these conferences, in Portsmouth and in York, are the first ever conferences in Britain devoted to Roman roads, and the first to be dedicated to Margary’s memory.

The first of these events will be held at the University of Portsmouth on 3rd & 4th September. The conference has a number of nationally recognised expert and entertaining speakers contributing to a day and a half of lectures and discussion groups. This will be followed by an optional guided visit to Fishbourne Roman Palace,  the survival of which was due to Margary taking up the news of the discovery and enabling excavation and subsequent preservation of the site, where we have also arranged a finds handling session run by museum staff.  

We are keen that news of the conferences is broadcast as widely as possible to interested parties both Romanist and those with a more general interest in archeology and our history;  I would be extremely grateful if your society could distribute this email to your membership, affiliated societies and other contacts if possible  to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of these events.

Our website  http://www.romanroads.org  gives more information about the RRRA. If you would like copies of the flyer, or any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on  mike [at] romanroads.org.  We will be communicating further with regard to the York conference in the near future.

With kind regards

Mike Haken

The Ivan D Margary Memorial Conferences 2016
Roman Roads: Past, Present & Future Research
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September 2016, University of Portsmouth
(also Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th November 2016, Burn Hall Hotel, York)

Margary’s name is synonymous with the study of Roman roads, indeed he has had more influence over our understanding of the Roman road network in Britain than any other individual researcher. His gazetteer, “Roman Roads in Britain”, remains the most comprehensive and detailed work ever written, over 60 years since it was first published. Margary numbers, the system he devised for numbering and classifying Roman roads are still used by archaeologists today. Ivan Donald Margary died on the 18th February 1976 and to mark the 40th anniversary, the Roman Roads Research Association is hosting two conferences in Portsmouth and in York.

The conferences will examine just how much our knowledge of the Roman road network in Britain has developed since his death in 1976. Nationally renowned Roman archaeologists, researchers, and academics will describe some of their recent work and discoveries in this field and will demonstrate how new technologies and approaches have moved and will continue to move forward our understanding in the years to come. Speakers will show how Roman Roads research has delivered a great number of new discoveries, both roads and associated sites. The range of speakers and discussion groups will provide a stimulating and rewarding programme.

The Portsmouth conference comprises one and a half days in which five key themes are explored and a multiple choice discussion group.

What’s Included?

Access to all conference sessions, discussion groups, stalls and displays. A two course lunch is provided free of charge on both Saturday and Sunday and tea, coffee and biscuits at breaks throughout the conference programme. The cost is £65.00 per person. In addition there is an optional visit to the Roman Palace at Fishbourne with guided tour and finds handling session, and the optional Margary Memorial conference dinner on Saturday evening. Bookings can be made online http://www.romanroads.org/conferences or complete the form on the flyer.

En-suite accommodation can be booked through RRRA at Rees Hall, University of Portsmouth.

Displays/Stalls/Book Sales

There will be space in the Eldon Building for displays, stalls and posters for delegates to view during breaks. If any delegate, on behalf of their organisation, wishes to set up a stall, please let us know well in advance by email and we will contact you to discuss. There will be no charge for this facility, within certain guidelines.
Contact Details

If you have any queries, please contact Mike Haken, Chairman RRRA, mike [at] romanroads.org 

Ivan D Margary Memorial Conference, University of Portsmouth
Programme: Saturday 3rd September 2016
8.30  Enrolment, networking & coffee
9.00  SESSION 1 – Margary and his legacy
Prof. Anthony King, University of Winchester - ‘The importance of enhancing our knowledge of the Roman road network’
‘The Life and work of Ivan D Margary’
David Staveley – ‘Revisiting Margary’s network in Sussex’
11.00  SESSION 2 – Recent Research in Southern England
Prof. Mike Fulford, University of Reading – ‘Silchester and the development of the early Roman road network’
David Millum & Rob Wallace from the Culver Project - an update on their recent work in Sussex
12.40  LUNCH provided free to all delegates
13.30  SESSION 3 – New Technology, New Approaches
Graeme Erskine ‘GIS as a Predictive Tool in Roads Research’
David Staveley – ‘Geophysics in Roads Research’
Bryn Gethin, Warwickshire Archaeology – ‘LiDAR – The game changer’
15.40  SESSION 4 – New Thinking on Roman Roads
Dr. M.C. Bishop, University of St. Andrews - ‘Medieval Progresses, Military Campaigns, and the Roman Road Network’
Mike Haken, RRRA – ‘Margary Numbers – Fit for Purpose?’
16.40  QUESTIONS & Coffee, leading on to DISCUSSION GROUPS
Group 1. What questions remain to be answered by researchers in the field of Roman roads?
Group 2. What contribution can volunteers make to ongoing work on Roman roads?
Main Hall, Discussion Group Leaders report back to Conference
18.00  Close of Day One
19.30  MARGARY MEMORIAL DINNER. An optional two-course dinner with guest speaker

Programme: Sunday 4th September 2016
8.45  Coffee and welcome
9.00  SESSION 5– Roman Roads Planning and Surveying
Rob Entwistle – ‘Could Roman road alignments sometimes be boundaries?
Dr. John Peterson, University of East Anglia – ‘How was the course of a Roman road in Essex predicted by a land survey hypothesis?’
John Poulter – ‘The use of long-distance alignments in Roman planning’
10.50  SESSION 6 – The Road Forward – creating a co-ordinated approach and honouring the work of Ivan D Margary
Mike Turpin, Roman Roads Research Association, The RRRA Online Database and Archive – A Critical Resource for research
11.45  Discussion groups
Group 1. A Lasting Legacy to Ivan Margary – a Visible Reminder in the Landscape?
Group 2. Road Planning Alignments & Their Function
Group 3. Margary Numbering – the Road Forward to Meet Future Needs
12.45  LUNCH, provided free to all delegates
2.00  Optional Guided Tour of Fishbourne Palace, talk and finds handling session
5.00  Close of Portsmouth Margary Memorial Conference

Monday, 18 July 2016

University of Essex Library: temporary closure

The Special Collections at the University of Essex Library, including the ESAH Library, will not be available until Monday 25 July 2016 at the earliest due to carpeting work and that details of the closure are posted on the University Library website.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Dengie From The Air: The Blackwater as a London Airport

A London Airport we never had.

Following the 2nd World War the Government sought to improve transatlantic and long distant air transport.  Flying boats were considered suitable and Saunders-Roe were approached in 1945 to design a suitable plane.  The following year they received a contract for three of what were to be the largest flying boats – the S.R. 45 ‘Princess’. 

Steps were then taken to find a suitable site for a Flying Boat air port to serve London.  The Chichester area and the Blackwater were the two suggested locations and assessments were made in 1947 of their suitability.  Initial conclusions stated :

“At  Chichester, the ideal terminal cannot be provided without the engineering difficulties of building on reclaimed land.  At Blackwater, it cannot be provided without a larger terminal basin and mooring area than is proposed in the Blackwater Survey Report.  If neither of these courses should prove practical, then, in terms of taxying distances, Blackwater, with a terminal at Bradwell and Maintenance and M.O.S. at Ramsey, would be preferable to Chichester …

Extendibility of Alighting Area.  -  Chichester, once built could not be extended, whereas the length of run at Blackwater is practically limitless.

Availability.  -  Chichester would not be available for use until the end of a lengthy development period.  On the other hand, most of the alighting area at the Blackwater is available now and would be so during the development period.”

The three terminal sites suggested were at Osea Island, Ramsey Wade between Stansgate and Ramsey Island, St. Lawrence, and Bradwell Creek. The Bradwell basin would have utilised an enlarged Creek. At Ramsey it would have occupied the Wade, previously sealed off from the Blackwater in 1815. Both basins would have been deepened by excavation and at Ramsey Wade the sea wall demolished to gain access. 

The plans do not indicate where the Osea basin might have been but the terminal would have been on the island itself with a new causeway constructed to give road access towards the A12.

It was envisaged that the then redundant Bradwell Bay aerodrome could act as a feeder airport for the south bank sites.  They estimated that the road journey from these two sites would take 3 hours compared with today’s 1½ hours.

Consultations were held between several government ministries and local authorities.  Maldon’s M.P. Tom Driberg also requested to be kept informed.

One consultee put forward the Medway Estuary as a better alternative – a precursor to ‘Boris Island’ ?

The scheme came to nothing as it became obvious that land based airfields would cater more economically and safely.  Only one of the Princess aircraft ever flew, in 1952.

Small sea planes did operate on the Blackwater during the First World War in conjunction with H.M.S. Osea fast motor boat base.  Sea planes may still return to the Blackwater as there is currently a proposal to operate a service between Osea and small airports around London.

“The Dengie Hundred in the Air” is this year’s exhibition to be held at St Lawrence Heritage Church from 9th July until 11th September, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

TNA BT 217/1777   River Blackwater, Essex: proposed flying boat base
Maldon & Burnham Standard March 2016

Saturday, 9 July 2016

St Lawrence: 'Dengie From The Air' Exhibition. 9 July to 11 September 2016


As things were and might have been.

2.30 - 4.30

Entry free. Donations welcome.

Light refreshments.

This exhibition explores the early involvement of the Dengie Hundred in the development of pioneering powered flight including that by Horatio Phillips at St Lawrence. Early seaplanes, WWI and WWII, bombing range, Bradwell Bay air base and Stowe Maries, forced landings, and more recently, bomb disposal, air-sea rescue and commemoration day at Bradwell in 2015. 

Friday, 1 July 2016

Ingatestone: Somme Commemoration

Blackmore Area Local History: Ingatestone: Somme Commemoration: The events of the first day of the Battle of the Somme were remembered at 8am today with a simple service by the War Memorial to mark the centenary of its commencement. Gordon J W Francis, born 1891 at 21 High Street, died 1 July 1916. Muffled bells were rung in remembrance of the one-time bell ringer.

1 July 1916: The Opening Day of the Battle of the Somme

The Revd. Edward Reeve, rector of Stondon Massey, kept a diary called ‘Notes for a Parish History.  In it he wrote his observations of the First World War from his study in what is now Stondon Massey House.

“1st July 1916: As I write, the reverberation of the great guns and explosion of mines are shaking the windows of the Rectory and of all the other houses, I suppose, in the southern and south-eastern counties of England.  There is evidently a very heavy bombardment in progress."