Wednesday 5th November. This month we have our very own Eric Walter who will be telling us about his experience excavating in Cumbria on the Roman Fort at Papcastle. Eric has been volunteering there over a number weeks and was fortunate enough to make a significant discovery. In his first few days he uncovered an in-scripted stone, one of only a few from this site. Eric will also be explaining the significance of the fort in context with rest of the Roman Cumbrian coast defenses.
Wednesday 1st October. For our talk this month David Hampson from the Wyre Archaeological Group has agreed to to come down and tell us about some of the interesting projects they have been carrying out over the years on the Fylde. In particular excavations at Bourne Hill where we did a resistivity survey for them earlier in the year. They have also been looking at the Roman roads in the area particularly Dane’s Pad which runs past the Roman Fort at Kirkham. Lately they have been working on a corn mill which of interest to us as we have excavated two mills in the the Wigan area (reported on in our projects area).
Wednesday 3rd September. This month we have John Armstrong from the British Milestone Society giving us a talk on Mileposts and Boundary Markers in Lancashire. In particular he will be explaining about the dozen mileposts cast at the Haigh foundry. This is of particular interest to us, as part of our Routeway Furniture project introduced by Eric Walter, we have been trying to record and catalogue as many of these as we can. Six of these still exist, although one was presented to the Earl of Crawford In 1974 and is located on his Scottish estate – he later donated a replica in its place. A few years ago the Charnock Richard milepost was stolen but was later recovered having been spotted at an auction. It is now well cemented in place.
Wednesday 2nd July. Change of plan this month as John Johnson, who we had planned for this meeting can’t make it. In is place, at short notice, an old friend, Jack Smith has agreed to give us a talk on Horwich Loco Work. Jack served his time there and has fond memories of the place. He was also involved in a campaign to turn the site into a conservation area. This massive factory complex, built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co., started producing steam engines in 1887 and continued right up to the end of the era of steam in the mid 1950s. Famous names in the world of team engine design, such as Sir Nigel Gresley, also learned their trade there. Sure to be a great talk.
Wednesday 4th June. For a change this month we are having a guided tour of St Wilfred’s Church in Standish. Joe Bazeley, the treasurer, has agreed to take us around this grade one list building (the only one in the Wigan Borough). Built in the 16th century, it replaces earlier churches built on the same spot. It is inextricably link to the Standish family who built chantries on the site and supplied many of the church rectors.
Wednesday 7th May. This month we have our very own Patrick Maloney who has volunteered to give us a talk on Roman Coins which is a particular passion of his. Patrick was voted in as our new chairman at our AGM in February but has been doing the job since summer last year when Eric stepped down. I think every body agrees he has been doing a great job and I sure his talk will be just as good.
Wednesday 2nd April. This month we have Sam Rowe who is the Community Archaeology Project Officer for the National Museums Liverpool. He will be telling us about his on-going project entitled Rainford Roots. Over the last few years volunteers have been working with the Merseyside Archaeological Society and National Museums Liverpool on researching and excavating garden sites in Rainford village. Recent investigations have uncovered post medieval industrial material associated with the manufacture of clay tobacco pipes and pottery in the village from the 16th century onwards. Finds have included pottery from 16th-20th century in date, 17th century clay tobacco pipe bowls stamped with maker’s marks, locally produced bricks and tiles, and local glass. It will be very interesting to see the finds from this project as it resonates quite closely with our own Wigan Hall project.
Wednesday 5th March. At short notice, Boyd Harris from Chorley Arch Soc has kindly offered to give a presentation on the History of Withnell Fold, a Lancashire Village and Paper Mill. The village and paper mill were built on a green-field site in 1843 and the owner and builder,Thomas Blinkhorn Parke, kept detailed diaries about the mill & village. They give a first hand account of rural and industrial life from the mid 1840s.
Wednesday 5th February. This month it’s our AGM and we will be hoping to install a new chairman. Our acting chairman, Patrick Maloney, has been doing a sterling job since Eric Walter stepped down in September. He has also volunteered to carry on in the post and I’m sure he will continue his good work. After the formalities, there will be a presentation summarising the project work we have been carrying out over the past year. This includes the research and site surveying of both the Kirkless and Pingot sites. We hope to be doing further work on these sites and this will be explained in the presentation.
Wednesday 4th December. This month we have Richard Sivill, a local historian, who will be giving us a talk on the Kirkless Hall Coal & Cannel Company which developed into the Ironworks eventually becoming the huge Wigan Coal and Iron Company. This will be really helpful to us as we continue our investigations on this site. In October I reported on our progress (see Newsletter 167) and hopefully, when the vegetation dies down, we will be able to return to continue our survey.