Sunday, 25 March 2018

Newsletter (Spring 2018)

Although the weather has not looked much like Spring, all members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History received their 24-page Spring 2018 Newsletter (NL185) a fortnight ago. Included in this edition:
- From The President
- Beryl Board Obituary
- New Membership Secretary: Martin Stuchfield
- Halstead Heritage Museum Open
- Chelmsford Museum Redevelopment
- Sir Humphrey Mildmay of Danbury's Missing Diary
- English Greeting Customs
- Richard Symonds: An early collector of Essex historical material
- Symonds Essex Church Notes
- The Rise and Fall of Writtle Brewery 1750-1920
- Another Grangerised Copy of Salmon's History of Essex
- Nicholas Tindal's Work as a Translator
- London's Fourth Airport
- The Society Archives
- Further Concerns at Wimbish
- Insulation Time Bomb for Old Buildings?
- Reducing Fire Risk in Thatched Buildings
- The Concealed Revealed Project
- Orchards East
- Round Mounds Project
- Colchester Archaeological Trust Prepares Peter Froste's Exhibition: Tuesday 27 March to Saturday 28 April 2018
- Yet another Killer Threat: Xylella Fastidiosa
- Reader's Letter
- Events in Essex
- Book Review. Letters from Leigh. Edited by Ann Brooker, Jennifer & Ed Simpson, Pat Wood.
- Books for Sale.  Essex Review.  Essex Full of Profitable Thinges

ESAH Asking Questions About The Essex Record Office

Adrian Corder-Birch, the President of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History has been in contact with Councillor Susan Barker, Essex County Council Cabinet Member.

Set out below is further correspondence since October 2017, posted earlier http://esah160.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/esah-asks-questions-about-essex-record.html

From: Adrian Corder-Birch
Sent: 15 October 2017 19:38
To: 'Cllr Susan Barker, Member CC'
Subject: RE: Essex Record Office

Dear Susan,

Thank you for your message with answers, which I conveyed to the ESAH Council meeting yesterday.   Although it was considered that £40,000 for the Future Gov report is very high, it is difficult to judge without seeing the report.    

I look forward to hearing from you again as copies of the Future Gov report, the ERO Business Plan and the ERO Collecting Policy can be disclosed please.  In addition will you please keep me informed of progress with regard to the parking area adjacent to the ERO.

I also look forward to hearing from you regarding a ‘follow up’ stakeholders meeting during the autumn please.

Thank you.

With kind regards,
Adrian Corder-Birch)
President,  Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

From: Adrian Corder-Birch
Sent: 21 March 2018 12:06
To: 'Cllr Susan Barker, Member CC'
Subject: FW: Essex Record Office

Dear Susan,

I refer to our exchange of emails below and wonder if you are in a position to let the Essex Society for Archaeology and History (ESAH) have an update please?   ESAH is particularly seeking the following please:
1.       Disclosure of the Future Gov report.
2.       Disclosure of the ERO Business Plan, for which a major update was expected during December 2017.  The original Business Plan has not yet been disclosed let alone the update. 
3.       Arising from the Business Plan, the proposed second Stakeholders meeting, which was planned during autumn 2017 did not take place.  Is there any news of another Stakeholder’s meeting please?      
4.       Disclosure of the ERO collecting policy, which was expected at the end of 2017.
5.       The present position with regard to the ‘empty’ parking area adjacent to the ERO.  When we met at County Hall on 18 July 2017 you kindly offered to speak to your contacts at Chelmsford City Council to expedite negotiations and ascertain if users and volunteers of the ERO could use this parking area.  It seems a great pity that it stands empty and access is prevented by a locked gate, when it would make an ideal car park for ERO users.  I expect users would be willing to pay a reasonable car parking charge, but the cost of the multi storey car park a few hundred yards further away is horrendous, quite apart from its distance away from the ERO.  I can assure you that the parking problem often deters users, who often think twice about visiting.
6.       Has any further progress been made with improving the digital service please?      

The next Council Meeting of ESAH will take place on Saturday, 28 April, so if you are able to let me have an update upon the above points before the meeting it would be much appreciated please.  Thank you.

With kind regards,
Adrian Corder-Birch
President.  Essex Society for Archaeology and History

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Save The Willingale Treasure. Epping Forest District Museum crowdfunding to buy Medieval Gold Ring

Save the Willingale Treasure!

Epping Forest District Museum has launched an appeal to save a medieval gold ring found in the parish of Willingale before the item goes on sale on the open market.
It is the first medieval gem set ring to be found in the district, and the first known finger-ring to be discovered in the parish of Willingale. The decoration is of an extremely high standard and, to the best of our knowledge, unique.
In total £11,500 is needed to acquire the ring and purchase a secure display case to house it, ensuring the ring  can be on free public display for generations to come. The campaign has already received support from the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and SHARE Museums East and Epping Forest District Museum has committed funding from its reserves leaving £3000 to be raised.
If the target’s reached the ring will go on public display in the museum’s newly renovated Core gallery, saving it for current and future residents to enjoy. The museum would also ensure the long term preservation of the ring making it widely available to the public through free exhibitions, inclusion in the school education programme, public talks as well as the ring being made available for loan and research.

If the funding is not raised, the ring may be sold on the open market and possibly leave the UK permanently.
About the ring
Recently unearthed by a metal detectorist the ring is thought to date from c.1200-1399 based on stylistic similarities with other rings of this date. The method of manufacture is typical of the period, but is a particularly fine example of application and techniques.

This very well preserved example of a medieval sapphire set finger ring would have been worn by a wealthy medieval nobleman. The maker of this item is unknown – there are no identification marks.  However the craftsmanship of the piece demonstrates great skill and technical ability, from which it is possible to infer that the goldsmith responsible was highly accomplished in their craft.

Jewellery at this time was increasingly used to signify rank, especially after the passing of the 1363 Acts of Apparel, which restricted the wearing of jewellery, especially that containing precious metal or gemstones to the highest and wealthiest social classes.

Goldsmiths were always highly regarded, but as gold became more easily available, and people wealthier, trade flourished and they prospered during the 14th Century.  This ring would allow this topic to be explored in more detail than the museum’s current collections allow.

Gemstones were thought to possess magical and medicinal powers in the medieval period - sapphires supposedly protecting chastity and uncovering deception, in addition to treating eye-ailments and hysteria, providing another area of investigation that would be enabled by the acquisition of this ring.

About Epping Forest District Museum
Epping Forest District Museum’s remit is to tell the human history of the Epping Forest District and is the only museum in the district that covers archaeology and social history acting as the archaeological depository for the area.

The museum holds a significant medieval collection, which is related to or was excavated from the Abbey of Waltham, including a 12th Century bible. Other secular examples of medieval precious metal at the museum are coin hoards; this would balance our interpretation, demonstrating the aesthetic appeal of gold and its more obvious financial uses. 

The collection also includes some costume accessories; this would be a valued addition to show jewellery of the medieval period, and the changes of fashion in precious metals and gem-cutting.

The ring will serve as a resource for the museum’s education programme, showing the themes of metalworking including: development of decorative styles and manufacturing techniques; wealth, power and status; craft guilds and companies; and fashion.

This will serve to spark interest in new areas of history and attract new audiences to the museum as well as giving the museum the opportunity to engage with colleagues and institutions on regional and national levels, increasing the profile of the district and the service.

To make a donation towards Epping Forest District Museum’s campaign please visit www.spacehive.com/willingaletreasure
If you would like to know more about our campaign please get in touch with the team at the museum on museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or 01992 716882.

Epping Forest District Museum
39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1EL
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
Twitter: @EFDMuseum  Facebook: facebook.com/EFDMuseum

Friday, 2 March 2018

Church Open: St Mary's Church, Woodham Ferrers

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has received this note from the treasurer of St Mary's Church, Woodham Ferrers, giving details of church opening aside of Services.

"As your group has previously visited us, this is just to let you know that once again St Mary’s Church, Woodham Ferrers, CM3 8RN  will be open for visitors from 2.00 pm until 5.00 pm on the first Sunday of each month during the summer which this year will be 5 May, 3 June, 1 July, 5 August and 2 September.  Refreshments will be available.  We also continue to open the church from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon each Tuesday morning.  

"If you wish to bring a large party at any other time, please contact Sharon Hutton-Mayson our Churchwarden on maysons  [at]   talktalk.net and she can arrange to open up our overflow car park if required.  Anyone with mobility problems can be driven right up to the church door.

"We also have the Essex Police Choir performing in concert in the church on Saturday, 7 July 2018 from 7.30pm until 10.00pm."

JULY 7th 2018
7.30 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
01245 328480/07773 644326

Fundraising for Friends of St. Mary’s Church Woodham Ferrers