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No.77 October 2004

Monthly Newsletter

Dog Kennel in Haigh Hall?

dog kennel.jpg (88064 bytes)What is this strange structure? Last month Adrian and I took a guided tour of the Upper Plantations at Haigh Hall, as part of this year’s National Heritage Week. For some reason this particular event was not well advertised and as a consequence was poorly attended. Nevertheless we were expertly guided through the grounds by one of the park rangers who enthusiastically described the many and varied species of plants and trees which populate the grounds. He also explained the origin and purpose of some of the strange features and monuments that are dotted around the plantations. The strangest of all was this feature, which he referred to as the ‘dog kennel’. Surprisingly though, our guide had no idea what its function actually had been. Although it appears on the 1st edition OS map of 1849 labelled ‘kennel’, it is difficult to see how it could have worked as one. Evidence on the ground shows that there were once iron rails mounted on top of the outer circular wall and an entrance with steps led into it from one side.

There was a second internal circular structure concentric with the first and the area in between had been divided into 4 sections. Large cast iron pipes 20cm in diameter emerge from the surface in a number of places. The first impression is that it was an ornamental feature such as a fountain or fishpond. Its position in the grounds, however, suggests that this was not the case as it lies off the main track at the edge of the plantations. In this area in the 19th century there were a number of cottages and a building labelled as the Laundry House. The close proximity suggests that there must have been some connection. This is a strange and intriguing structure for which the park ranger would be only too glad for somebody to investigate (maybe we can help).

BM’s Finest on Show

Mildenhall bowl.jpg (7105 bytes)This year the British Museum is running a travelling exhibition and this month it finds its way to the Manchester Museum in Oxford Street. It offers the opportunity for everybody to see some of Britain’s finest treasures unearthed in the countryside over the years. It includes the famous hoard of Roman silver found at Mildenhall in the 1940’s. Also on show will be the Bronze Age Ringlemere gold cup unearthed in Kent in 2001. Other treasures include the Winchester gold necklace ‘torcs’ and brooches. The Amesbury Archer will be on view as well as the Fishpool hoard of gold coins, which is the largest hoard ever found in this country. Many treasures will be on display for the first time. The exhibition starts on the 4th October and carries on till January next year (by the way the entrance is free).

CBA Northwest

This year’s Autumn Report Meeting is to be held on Saturday 23rd October at the Blackburn Cathedral Crypt and is designed to have a Pre-historic theme. It will be based on the new agenda for the Regional Research Frameworks, which is indented to coordinate and summarise archaeological resources in the Northwest (see Newsletters No.50). The Resource Assessment has recently been published and this meeting will be an excellent opportunity to see what the experts have been discovering over the last few years. Speakers will include, Ron Cowell, Dan Garner, George Nash, Mike Nevell, Jack Smith and Ann Worsley. Topics covered will range from the Coastal Environment to Rock Art at Heysham to Pre-historic Manchester Airport. The cost to members will be 6.50 (or 12.50 if you want a buffet lunch). Morning coffee and afternoon tea are included in the cost. Lunches must be booked in advance (vegetarian option available) so if you fancy going please let me know at the meeting.

The ancient parish church of Blackburn is dedicated to St Mary and was recorded in the Domesday Book when it held lands Blackburn and Whalley. The present Cathedral building dates from the early 19th century and there will be ample opportunity to explore it during an extended lunch break.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 6th October at the Baden Powel Centre (Scout HQ) in Greenough Street, starting at 7.30 pm as usual. This month Mark Fletcher from Matrix Archaeology will be presenting the final report on the work being carrying out at Lathom House.

Hope to see you there. B.A.