Monday, 21 October 2019

Henley Historical and Archaeological Group

Henley Historical and Archaeological Group

ON July 11, members visited Calleva at Silchester in Hampshire.

We had a very interesting visit to the site identified as the bath house complex when first excavated and recorded around 1900.

The many different layers, alterations and additions, as well as the use of the buildings over some 300 centuries, leaves the visitor marvelling at the archaeologists’ ability to interpret this large and very complex site.

Luckily, after a further summer’s season of excavations, Professor Michael Fulford will come and tell us more about it when he gives us a talk on Silchester in November next year.

On Wednesday, September 25 there will be a visit to Bourton House gardens and Sezincote House in the Cotswolds.

The award-winning three-acre garden of this 18th century manor house in the Cotswolds was restored in the Eighties.

The house was built on the footprint of a 16th century Jacobean house but its towers were retained and the slits replaced by Georgian sash windows.

Sezincote House, which is Grade I listed, is a splendid example of Neo-Mogul architecture, a 19th-century reinterpretation of 16th and 17th-century architecture from the Mogul Empire.

It was the 1805 design of Samuel Pepys Cockerell, whose family owned the estate and had connections with the East India Company. The surrounding landscape is the work of Humphry Repton.

The Prince Regent visited Sezincote and it is said to have been the inspiration for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

The coach will depart at 9am from Sacred Heart Church in Vicarage Road, Henley. The return coach will leave Sezincote at 4pm. The journey time is about 90 minutes.

The lecture season will begin again in the autumn by which time we may have normal access to King’s Arms Barn, but don’t hold your breath!

On Tuesday, October 1 Nicola Tallis will speak on “Elizabeth’s rival: the tumultuous tale of Lettice Knollys”.

Lettice Knollys was the granddaughter of Mary Boleyn and a close kin of Elizabeth I.

Her fall from the Queen’s favourite lady-in-waiting to bitter and lifelong rival when marrying Lord Robert Dudley is revealed through Nicola’s painstaking research and great storytelling, weaving a fascinating picture of life at court and away in exile for life.

Nicola is passionate about English history and has a BA in history, an MA in public history and a PhD on the jewellery collections of the queens of England from 1445-1548.

On Tuesday, November 5 Matt Nichol and Duncan Coe, of Cotswold archaeology, will speak about “Boxford Villa and its mosaic”.

The small village of Boxford lies in the Lambourn Valley in West Berkshire. Some local residents were keen to use their local heritage to promote community action and engagement.

They were aware of a number of finds of Romano-British material and some 19th century references to discoveries around the village, but little other information was known.

A partnership was set up with the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group and Cotswold Archaeology and funding was secured to undertake three small excavations, with lots of training and education activity.

The three sites proved to be very rich with a large and complex villa at Hoar Hill, a farmstead with evidence of malting at Wyfield Manor and, to cap it all, the discovery of a mosaic floor in a small villa at Mud Hole.

The mosaic caused a great stir as it contained imagery and techniques not seen in the UK previously and has been described by one expert as the most important mosaic found in England in the last 50 years. This talk will describe the project and the results from each site, including from the excavations taking place this month.

Matt is a senior project officer at Cotswold Archaeology. He has been a professional archaeologist for more than 20 years with a range of experience in the UK and on the Continent.

He has worked on the Boxford project as a fieldwork director since the initial investigations in 2013.

Duncan is head of Cotswold Archaeology’s Andover office and a principal heritage consultant. He has more than 30 years’ experience and worked for local authorities and English Heritage before joining Cotswold Archaeology.

He spent eight years at West Berkshire Council, where he supported the development of community projects, including the Boxford investigations.

The annual meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 3. All lectures are held at King’s Arms Barn, starting at 7.45pm. All are welcome, non-members pay £4.

For more information, visit www.henley-on-thames

Ruth Gibson

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