Wednesday 1st May. This month we have Dorothy Kazer from Leyland who will be giving us a talk on the history of Leyland with particular reference to the Farington and Charnock families. Both were and ancient landed Lancashire families. The Faringtons lived at Farington Hall until it was lost to them in the mid 16th century. Its successor Old Worden Hall on the ROF site, was abandoned in favour of Shaw Hall in the early 18th century, which was rebuilt as Worden Hall in the mid 19th century. Worden Park was eventually obtained by the council in 1950.
Last Sunday a team of 4 from our Society began to survey this site which lies to east of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Higher Ince. We have been asked to get involved with this project by Liz Vango-Smith, of the Wild Life Trust. The intention is to see if we can identify and record features of the old iron works that may have have survived recent landscaping – for more details see the Kirkless tab.
Wednesday 3rd April. This month we have Alex Miller from the Wigan Archive Service. This Service is based at the Leigh Town Hall and Alex will be explaining how it can be used by anyone wanting to research all manner of things from family histories to sites of historical interest. They have thousands of archives which have been meticulousness catalogued for ease of access and a wide range of photographs which can now be viewed online.
This month we had our old friend Ian Miller form Oxford Archaeology North. Last year his company were commissioned to carry out an investigation of a former industrial site at Tottington. It started as a small investigation ahead of a planned removal of a culvert to improve the flow of the Kirklees Brook. This developed into a large scale area excavation involving various volunteer groups from around the district. It revealed quite a lot of evidence of the dyeing and printing operations that was once carried out there in the early 19th century. Ian as usual always gave a great talk on a subject he’s really passionate about.
Wednesday 6th February. This month it’s our AGM but after the usual formalities, Eric Walter (our Chairman) will be giving a presentation explaining the future research projects we are planning for the Society. This year we plan to initiate these projects so that we can hopefully involve members who are not able to do excavation work. The research will involve visiting libraries, visiting sites, photographing and recording the features we see. The Projects include a Town Centre Survey, a Routeway Furniture Survey, a Graveyards Project and a Historic Building Survey. We will also be carrying on with our survey of the Pingot site which was reviewed in last month’s Newsletter (No. 159).
Wednesday 5th December. This month we have our old friend John Johnson from the Horus Egyptology Society who will be telling us about the latest developments on the West Bank at Luxor and particularly the excavations at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The only evidence for this temple are the two huge statues entitled Colossi of Memnon. It turns out however that this temple was enormous, even bigger than Karnak itself. It disappeared quite early on, probably because it was mainly made of mud brick and the constant flooding from the Nile caused it to deteriorate quickly – the rest was robbed by later pharaohs to built their temples and his statues reused changing his name with theirs (even the massive granite statue of Rameses the great in the Ramesseum was probably originally Amenhotep’s). Excavations by German archaeologists over that past 40 years have uncovered more and more remains from this site and are gradually piecing together evidence to show the this pharaoh was probably the greatest builder the New Kingdom and maybe of all time in ancient Egypt. Sounds like a great talk.
Our attention was drawn to this site last year by Derek Winstanley who now lives in the US. He had noticed on a recent visit that there were remains of the old lime kiln marked on the 6 inch OS map of 1849. I’d looked at the site last year but other commitments at the time meant that it’s only now that perhaps we’re able to spend some time on it (see new ‘Pingot Valley‘ tab for details).
Wednesday 7th November. – This month Norman Redhead, from the new Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Services, will be joining us to give us a talk on the Historic Landscape Characterisation project. This nationally commissioned initiative started in 2007 and ran for 4.5 years. It culminated in the production of a huge database which is controlled by a programme called a Graphic Information System. By linking historic, geographic and social records together with maps, both historical and modern, it can be used to display all kinds of useful information. Norman will be bringing the database with him on his laptop to demonstrate how it can be used. Of particular interest to us will be its use in identifying areas of archaeological sensitivity and how the historic character of these areas can be studied.
On a misty morning Last Sunday Andy Wilock and I visited a site on the edge of Chat Moss near Glazebury. We were invited there by Marlene Nolan of Culcheth History Society who had spotted the site while field walking. It seemed to her to be some kind of defensive earth work lying at a strategic point on the banks of the River Glaze. You may be wondering why she asked us to look at this site so far away from Wigan – but, surprising as it may seem, quite a lot of Chat Moss does lie within the Wigan Metro Borough.
The site is located north of Moss Lane which branches off Hey Shoot Lane about 200m east of the River Glaze near the Raven Pub. It’s surrounded on three sides by a large bank with a ditch on the south side. The interior is flooded up to a point where a cut in the bank allows the water to escape.
Judging from the maturity of the trees we perceive the site must be at least a 200 or 300 years old but a quick check on the 6″ OS map of 1846 gives no indication of its origin. The history of the area suggests a possible Civil War connection as apparently there was a large skirmish in the vicinity. Another slight possibility is that it could be much older as an Iron Age site had been discovered a few years ago only about one mile south of this one.
More likely however it’s the product of some pre-Victorian industrial activity such as sand, stone or clay extraction – a trench across the embankment may give the answer but whether we’d get permission is another thing.
For those who missed our last meeting here is the talk I presented on our trips to our twin city in France (see tab)