The Dorset County Boundary Survey Day School 2014

Lyme in Dorset and Lyminge in KentOn Saturday 15th November 2014 at Dorset County Museum from 9.30am – 3.30pm the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society ‘The Dorset County Boundary Survey‘ are holding their annual day school ‘Charting and Chartering the Borders of Dorset: county boundary-making set in a wider historical context’.

This years guest speaker Dr Mark Gardiner, who will be exploring the wider concerns, ‘the deeper history of boundaries; those processes involved in boundary-making over time.’
Katherine Barker will be picking up these themes with reference to the discoveries made in the exploration of Dorset’s boundary since 2007. Members of the Group will then be taking as base that ‘eye-witness’ evidence presented by those Anglo-Saxon charter boundaries coincident with Dorset’s border. To help ‘set the scene’ we will be pleased to welcome Dr Alex Langlands of the ‘Mapping Anglo-Saxon Charters Project.’ The day will provide a rare opportunity to explore and discuss the composite nature of this unique historic linear landscape feature, lengths of which are now being submitted for formal Dorset County Council listing.

During the intervals an aerial view-cum-perambulation of the Up/Lyme Anglo-Saxon charter boundary will be digitally-staged by Mark Ford on the big screen.

Day School Programme:

  • 9.30-10.00 Registration (coffee will be available). Welcome by Dr Jon Murden, Director
  • 10.00-10.10 Introduction by Andrew Morgan, Chairman
  • 10.10-10-50 Dr Mark Gardiner, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology, Queen’s
    University, Belfast; ‘Boundary-making as a Long-term Process: examples from
    Anglo-Saxon England and elsewhere’
  • 10.50-11.00 Questions
  • 11.00-11.20 Coffee with Dorset biscuits and apple cake
  • 11.20-12.00 Katherine Barker, Hon Research Fellow, Bournemouth University ‘Dornsaete-shire: charting the identity of Dorset’s boundary’
  • 12.00-12.10 Questions
  • 12.10-12.30 Robin Walls, ‘Latter-day Meresmen: the establishing of a contemporary methodology for recording and classifying boundaries’
  • 12.30-1.30 Lunch – please make your own arrangements. The Museum café will be open.
  • 1.30-1.40 Dr Alex Langlands, Winchester University, ‘The Mapping Anglo-Saxon Charters Project.’ Followed by short presentations by members of the Group on those lengths of Dorset’s boundary coincident with Anglo-Saxon charter boundaries.
  • 1.40-2.00 Andrew Morgan, ‘Dorset East with Damerham AD 944 & Ringwood AD 961’
  • 2.00-2.20 Graham Hoddinott, ‘Dorset North with Handley AD 956’
  • 2.20-2.40 John Newbould, Dorset West with Halstock AD 847 & Abbot’s Wootton AD 1044
  • 2.40-3.00 Katherine Barker; ‘Dorset South-west with Uplyme AD 938 and AD 151.
  • 3.00-3.30 Questions and closing session (the Museum closes at 4pm)

Tickets are £12.50 for adults and £5.00 for students available from the Museum Shop telephone 01305 756827 – or at the door on the day. Just phone and pay by card or, if you prefer, send your request with a SAE to ‘Charting and Chartering Dorset’ Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1XA. Cheques are payable to the ‘Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society.’

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An Englishman’s Home – a play by Major Guy du Maurier

An Englishman’s Home – a play by Major Guy du MaurierA dramatic play reading provides the final event associated with Dorset County Museum’s current exhibition, A Dorset Woman at War. On 16th October The New Hardy Players will be reading a play originally published in 1909. An Englishman’s Home caused a sensation when it came out anonymously under the name, A Patriot. It later came known to be the work of Captain Guy du Maurier, a British officer. An uncle to Daphne du Maurier, his play was said to have influenced her famous novel, The Birds. An Englishman’s Home went on to be a long-running success and was later made into a film.

“This play was politically provocative and was deliberately designed to frighten its audiences” says Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum. “Writers like du Maurier were frequently criticised as scaremongers by leading politicians of the day, but unfortunately their fears were ultimately proved correct by the outbreak of the First World War.”

The semi-staged play will be performed with some costumes and props and is set almost entirely in the sitting room of a suburban house in Essex. It tells the story of a fictional attack on England by an unknown enemy (generally assumed to be Germany). The alarming nature of the story, at a time of increasing tension between Britain and Germany, served to highlight the unreadiness of Britain to repel such an attack and was credited with boosting army recruitment in the years immediately prior to World War I. It also influenced Mabel Stobart, the subject of the Museum’s current exhibition.

Tickets for the play reading cost £7.00 and include a complimentary glass of wine or a soft drink. The event starts at 7.30pm on Thursday 16th October and all are welcome. Tickets are available now from the Museum Shop on 01305 756827. For further information see www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Museum fundraising event great success

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Collection presenting a cheque for £3000 to Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum.

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Collection presenting a cheque for £3000 to Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum.

Staff and volunteers at Dorset County Museum are thrilled with the success of a fundraising fair held in Dorchester on 30th August.

A total of £600 was raised by the event through many home and produce stalls, children’s activities and refreshments plus a raffle and tombola. The funds were supplemented at the end of the day by a surprise donation of £3000 made anonymously. This generous donation will enable the Museum to secure an important portrait for the William Barnes Gallery – a painting of Giles Dugdale. Dugdale was a founding member of the Museum and played a crucial role in bringing the literary genius of William Barnes, Dorset’s greatest dialect poet, to light. The Museum had already received £500 from the William Barnes Society towards the purchase of the portrait. The balance of the money raised will be put towards the refurbishment of the William Barnes gallery in the Museum.

William Barnes Collection Manager, Marion Tait with Dorchester Town Crier, Alistair Chisholm who opened the fair

William Barnes Collection Manager, Marion Tait with Dorchester Town Crier, Alistair Chisholm who opened the fair

Town Crier Alistair Chisholm opened the proceedings at St Peter’s Church hall and read a poem especially written for the day. Dorset folk musician and storyteller Tim Laycock performed a range of Dorset songs to a highly appreciative audience.

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes collection at the Museum organised the event together with Museum Trustee, Liz Arkell. Thanks also go to other members of the Museum, the William Barnes Society, St Peter’s church choir and the many friends and local businesses whose time and support made the event such a great success.

 

 

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Young Archaeologists Explore Roman Villa

Druce Farm Roman Villa Mosaic © EDAS 2014

Druce Farm Roman Villa Mosaic © EDAS 2014

This summer the East Dorset Antiquarian Society (EDAS) has enabled over 100 children to experience real archaeology. Led by Site Director Lilian Ladle, the society is into its third year exploring the Roman Villa at Druce Farm near Puddletown. With the support of the landowners, Tom and Ann Ridout, EDAS decided it was the perfect opportunity to encourage young people who are interested in archaeology and their heritage.

Members of the Dorset County Museum's Young Archaeologists’ Club clean finds discovered at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Members of the Dorset County Museum’s Young Archaeologists’ Club clean finds discovered at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Working with Nicola Berry, the Education Officer of Dorset County Museum, schools throughout Dorset were contacted about this opportunity. Several were able to visit, including: St Andrew’s Primary School Yetminster, The Swanage School, Poole High School, Thomas Hardye School, Bryanston School, The Gryphon School Sherborne and Poole Grammar School. In addition members of the Dorset County Museum branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) and a group from the seeUNT Home Education Group, based in Beaminster, were also able to visit the site.

Members of the Dorset County Museum's Young Archaeologists’ Club on site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

Members of the Dorset County Museum’s Young Archaeologists’ Club on site at Druce Farm © EDAS 2014

The visit comprised a guided tour of the site and a talk describing some of the most important artefacts found so far. This was followed by practical archaeology; finds washing, which is the first of the post-excavation processes, and trowelling when the pupils were able to work in newly opened trenches. One of the most memorable days was when 23 perfectly behaved children from St Andrew’s Primary School, Yetminster, descended with great energy and enthusiasm and they finished their visit by finding real Roman artefacts in a recently opened trench.

All the young guests were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The teachers were delighted that EDAS had been able to offer this unique opportunity to visit a real archaeology site. They were thrilled that their pupils were able to experience practical archaeology. Some of the older pupils have stated they want to return during the summer holidays.

EDAS would like to thank Nicola Berry who liaised with the schools, all the volunteers, especially Sue Cullinane, Bryan Popple, Geoff Taylor and Barbara Milburn who arranged the on-site activities, and not forgetting the teachers who enthusiastically supported this opportunity. Special thanks to all the young people who made this such a rewarding experience for everyone.

Andrew Morgan
EDAS Chairman


There is a chance to visit Druce Farm Roman Villa Excavation on a special ‘Open Day‘ on Saturday 27th September from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry to the site is FREE, but a donation of £3.00 is suggested, to help towards the publication of this important site

For more details details please visit: www.dorset-archaeology.org.uk

N.B Please note that there is a one mile walk from the car park and there are no toilet facilities. The excavation is on a working farm, SORRY, NO DOGS ALLOWED

Geology Lecture: Treasures from Space by Dr Caroline Smith

MeteroriteChance and a fascination for discovery brought a young geologist to the Natural History Museum – she now looks after the oldest specimens in the collection.

Dr Caroline Smith became a meteorite expert almost by accident. At the end of her geology degree, she badly injured her knee, meaning she was unable to go on fieldwork for her thesis. Instead, she went to the Natural History Museum in London and was handed a box of meteorites from Antarctica and asked to categorise them.

Ever since, she’s been attached to both meteorites and the Museum, looking after their important collection, planning exhibitions and talking to the public. She says some of the most thrilling days are when big news breaks and she’s asked to talk to the press, such as in February 2013 when a huge meteorite streaked across the sky in Russia.

Dr Caroline Smith at the Natural History Museum

Dr Caroline Smith at the Natural History Museum

The collection also includes two Martian meteorites that fell almost exactly 100 years apart. They contain evidence that Mars was once a wet place, and that some rocks could lock away carbon dioxide, as they do on Earth.

‘It’s another piece of the puzzle that shows that Mars and Earth are actually quite similar,’ she says.

Dr Smith will talk about these fascinating specimens and more during her lecture at Dorset County Museum on 8th October 2014. The lecture takes place at 7.00pm and doors are open from 6.30pm. The event is free but donations are welcome and all are welcome to attend.

For more information please Tel: 01305 262735 or visit our website at www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

A Smuggling Affray

Poole Museum Society Blog

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In the 18th century, smuggling was big business. Fleets of fast cutters and larger ships up to 200 tons were purpose-built for running illicit cargoes. Entrepôts in France and the Channel Islands had warehouses stuffed with goods to sell to the smugglers. Violent conflict, even murder, was frequent. The revenue men had the support of the navy and could sometimes call upon army detachments on land. The smugglers could summon gangs of 30 or 40 men, armed with sticks, loaded whips and sometimes firearms from the largely sympathetic population. Even when seizures were made, the smugglers were often able to wrest back their cargoes by attacking revenue officers or breaking into the custom warehouses. One such violent confrontation in 1787 was to cost at least two men their lives and another, his career.

A smuggling cutter
A smuggling cutter

 On the evening of 5th November, the smuggling cutter Phoenix with a…

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