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Musings from the Museum 18. 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Musings from the Museum 18.

 

A Tale of Four Rivers                                                                      

 An article by Dr Martin Blake                                                                                                             

    Our corner of South-East Lincolnshire, the area historically known as Holland, is largely defined by its relationship to water, and in particular to four rivers which flow into the Wash, namely the Witham, the Glen, the Welland and the Nene.

Some rivers are believed to retain the oldest names surviving in our landscape. Most can be identified as deriving from known Celtic, Old English (Anglo-Saxon) or Old Norse words, but there is a significant corpus of river-names which, philologists assure us, cannot be related to any known language. These, it is assumed, date back to an era before the arrival of Celtic speakers in these islands, in other words to the Bronze Age or before, when we can only characterise the language spoken here, of which we know nothing, as early Indo-European.

These names can also be shared across huge areas. The River Don which gives Doncaster its name appears to derive from a root also found in the River Don in Russia, and even the Danube. It’s also a relatively modern convention that rivers maintain the same name along the entirety of their course. Parts of the Great Ouse in medieval times shared the name of the Severn and the Thames, the latter fossilised in the settlement name of Tempsford. The name of the village of Pinchbeck, ‘stream with minnows or with finches’, suggests that it was transferred from an early name for that section of the Glen.

Rivers tend to change their course over time due to geological and other factors. The Witham flows in part along a course taken by the River Trent before the last Ice Age, when it flowed through central Lincolnshire into The Wash. The Nene now has two courses, the Old and New, from where it was canalised centuries ago to aid navigation. Rivers also tend to silt up over time, the Welland being a case in point: its present-day lower course, on the whole unimpressive, belies Spalding’s status as a port for sea-going vessels until a couple of centuries ago.

So, let’s examine in detail the names of our four rivers:

Witham  The earliest known forms are Withma from about 1000, Wythum and Whithum from the early 12th century, and Widme from 1147. It falls into the category of river-names which cannot be related to any Celtic or Germanic element, and may well therefore  belong among the pre-Iron Age names mentioned above.

Glen  aqua de Glenye 1276, Glen 1365, le Glene 1390. The name is shared with a river in Northumberland, and probably derives from an early Celtic (so-called Primitive Welsh) word *glen, meaning clean or clear (Modern Welsh glan).

Welland  Early forms are diverse: Vueolod c1000, Weland mid-12th century, Wailand 1199, Weiland1199. No satisfactory explanation has been put forward for the name, and again it may well be pre-Celtic.

Nene  to Nen in a 963 entry in one recension of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Neen later 12th century, Nene 1232 (from a 14th-century document). There is a River Neen in Shropshire/Worcestershire from the same root, suggesting that it is Celtic in origin, but the meaning is obscure. The name is famously pronounced ‘Nen’ through its upper course in Northamptonshire, but ‘Neen’ once it crosses the border into Cambridgeshire. This is purely a dialectal variation, and the latter is generally considered to be older.

Bibliographical note

The only single-volume work on river-names remains Eilert Ekwall’s English River-Names, published as long ago as 1928 (OUP). Despite its age, it is still acknowledged as a work of enormous erudition. More recent detailed studies are to be found in the volumes of the English Place-Name Survey, published by the English Place-Name Society (EPNS) based at the University of Nottingham. Unfortunately, the relevant volumes for our part of Lincolnshire are still in preparation, but will presumably be published over the next few years. In the meantime, an excellent introduction to Lincolnshire place-names generally, including its rivers, is Kenneth Cameron’s A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names (EPNS, 1998). There is a detailed discussion of river-names in their topographical context in chapter 15 of the same author’s English Place Names (B.T. Batsford, 1996).

New SGS Charity Quiz 150 150 Dave Jacobs

New SGS Charity Quiz

I have created a new quiz to help pass the time, and to continue exercising those little grey cells etc.

It is a ‘Picture Quiz’ with 100 questions.

Please email quiz.sgs@gmail.com and you will be emailed a copy with instructions, or download a copy from the following link:

Picture Quiz

Please consider printing the pages back to back, to save on paper.

It is the usual £1 entry fee, a prize of £20 for first, £10 for second, and a £5 random prize, picked from all entries.

The closing date will be the 1st August 2021.

You will also be able to purchase a copy from Bookmark in Spalding.

Many thanks, happy quizzing.

Dave

SGS Lanternist

Fenland and Heritage Network April 2021 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Fenland and Heritage Network April 2021

Fenland Heritage Network_April 2021_V1.doc

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FENLAND HERITAGE NETWORK

The table below shows the contact information for the organisations involved in the Fenland Heritage. If any of the details are incorrect or you would like to provide more information then please email michael.gilbert@woadman.co.uk. If there are any other group who would like to be added to the list or there are any errors then please get in touch.

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

Ayscoughfee Hall

Medieval merchants house and local history museum.

Boston Hanse Group

History of the Hanseatic League in Boston

Chain Bridge Forge Museum

Blacksmiths museum and local history archive.

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum

Aviation and local history.

Deepings Heritage

Local history of the Deepings.

Fane Road Archaeology Group (FRAG)

Archaeology of Peterborough.

FenArch

Archaeology of the Fenlands.

Fleet Delvers

Local history of Fleet and surrounding area.

Gosberton Local History Group

History of Gosberton and South Holland.

Heritage Lincolnshire

History and heritage of Lincolnshire.

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

 

Holbeach Cemetery Chapels

Local history.

 

Louth Museum

History of Louth and surrounding area.

 

Peakirk Archaeological Survey Team (PAST)

Local history and archaeology of Peakirk.

 

Peterborough Archive Services

Archive of Peterborough records.

 

Pinchbeck Engine Museum

Industrial Archaeology.

 

Red Barn Creative

Heritage, creativity, craft and digital skills.

 

Sleaford Civic Trust

Heritage and history of Sleaford.

 

Sleaford Museum

Local history.

 

Spalding Cemetery

(Friends Of)

Local History

 

Spalding Gentlemens Society

Museum, archive and research hub for general/local history.

 

Spalding U3A History Group

General and local history.

David Lawson

Djl1943@outlook.com

 

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

Strawberry Glass

Stained glass crafts.

Thorney Museum

Local history and heritage museum.

Trigge Library

Sixteenth century library.

Trues Yard Museum

Local history and heritage museum.

Welland Rivers Trust

Conservation, restoration and education.

West Deepings Heritage Group

Local history and heritage.

Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Local history of Wisbech and the Fenland

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 1 150 150 Dustin Frazier Wood

Stukeley Memoirs Project Volume 1

SGS is pleased to release the first volume of William Stukeley’s Memoirs of the Royal Society in an open access digital edition created by SGS and u3a members over the past year. Tremendous thanks go to the 36 volunteers who gave their time and energy to the project.

Title page of William Stukeley, Memoirs of the Royal Society, vol. 1

William Stukeley (1687-1765) was a physician, clergyman and antiquary, and one of the founders of what is now known as archaeology. Born in Holbeach, Stukeley was a long-time friend of Maurice Johnson and joined the SGS in 1722. Although Stukeley rarely attended SGS meetings, he remained a regular and active correspondent for the next four decades. Along with letters to Johnson and the SGS, he contributed books, sketches, specimens and the five manuscript volumes of the Memoirs.

Stukeley compiled the Memoirs to document the activities of the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific body. Covering the years 1740 to 1751, the Memoirs provide an entertaining first-hand account of a pivotal period in the history of science in Britain. As a narrative written for friends and fellow SGS members, they also provide insights into the politics and personalities of Britain’s scientific community.

Engaging, informative and often funny, Stukeley’s Memoirs allow us to imagine the early life of both the Royal Society and the SGS through the words and drawings of one of their most remarkable members.

We hope you enjoy reading Volume 1. Further volumes will appear on the SGS website over the coming months.

The Editors

Dr Dustin M. Frazier Wood, SGS Librarian

Dr Mandy Topp, u3a Research and Shared Learning Coordinator (East Midlands)

Abstracts from Symposium 24/04/2021 150 150 Sharon Hoult

Abstracts from Symposium 24/04/2021

SGS SYMPOSIUM

Morning Session

 

The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey (Erik Grigg)

I will discuss the early medieval kingdom of Lindsey, which probably covered the north half of Lincolnshire and flourished in the centuries after the end of Roman rule. I will discuss the written and archaeological evidence, its possible origins and the role of religion in its fall. Finds, from recent excavations as well as those reported by metal detectorists, suggest the area was affluent and well-connected, but the kingdom is only known from a single list of its kings, why did it leave such a faint impression on history? I will re-evaluate key evidence to suggest that while many other kingdoms were bolstered by embracing Christianity, the kings of Lindsey seem absent from the narrative of conversion. Perhaps they are the test case that proves the rule that embracing the new religion and becoming connected to other Christian leaders helped solidify the rule of early medieval kings

 

 

The Anglo-Saxon Transformation of the Fens (Michael Chisholm)

The long-standing belief has been that only the Romans or Normans were capable of early major hydraulic works in the Fens.  That belief has been eroded by the realisation that an Anglo-Saxon sea-bank was built round the Wash, protecting the silt fens; and, since the 1980s, that they dug some artificial channels in the peat fens.  I am the first person to have undertaken a systematic search to try to answer the following basic question: How much hydraulic engineering did the Anglo-Saxons undertake?  Piecing together archaeological and other information, it becomes clear that the answer is: A great deal more that has been realised.  The implications of this finding ramify quite widely.  

 

Invasion of Settlement? Anglo-Saxon and Viking Place-Names in the Fens (Martin Blake)

Context:

People of Scandinavian (Sc) origin settled in eastern England from the late 9th century onwards, after the arrival of the (mostly Danish) Great Army in 865. How great were their numbers, and what was the impact on the existing Anglo-Saxon population? Written records for our area from this period are sparse, so we have to look closely at ‘secondary’ evidence, such as place-names (PNs). Cautionary note: the lack of written evidence means that we do not have very early forms for most PNs, and are reliant on Domesday Book (DB) or even much later sources. In addition, PN studies are neither scientific nor static; intensive research is ongoing, particularly for the (hopefully soon to be published) English Place-Name Survey (EPNS) volumes for southern Lincolnshire. Researchers may consider the same corpus of evidence and come to different conclusions. In our context, it is also important to remember that Old English (OE) and Old Norse (ON) were closely related languages, and cannot always be distinguished in PN forms (cf ON thorp and OE throp).

Density of Sc Settlement:

The Great Army probably consisted of a few thousand warriors, a substantial army by contemporary standards but not sufficient in itself to explain the apparent density of subsequent Danish settlement. It seems likely that, once Danish control of eastern England had been formalised by the establishment of the Danelaw, further waves of settlers, mostly farmers, crossed the North Sea to settle in areas newly under Danish control. A further wave may well have followed the conquest of England by Swein Forkbeard in 1015.

Sc place-names are densely distributed through Lincs and other eastern counties (though not in the fens – see below), but it is not possible to extrapolate directly from this to estimate numbers of inhabitants. In recent years, DNA evidence has shown considerable Sc influence on the present-day gene pool of long-standing inhabitants of Lincolnshire.

Where did they settle, and what were relations between the English and Sc populations?

Where settlements with English and Sc names are situated in close proximity to one another, it is often the case that the Sc settlement is on poorer, more marginal soil, e.g. on the Lincolnshire Wolds. This does not suggest that the existing population was driven out by the newcomers, or indeed intimidated by them. Having said this, Sc settlements were doubtless still being established well after the conquest of the Danelaw by the kings of Wessex in the 10th century.

An interesting group of PNs is the so-called ‘Toton hybrids’. These consist of a Sc personal name combined with an English habitative suffix, particulary -tun. Earlier scholars believed that these were former English settlements taken over and renamed from a military leader in the Great Army. It is now considered more likely that they result from a much later land redistribution, perhaps as late as the 11th century, indicating that the settlement’s new overlord had a Sc name. (There are examples of Sc names being adopted by the English aristocracy, e.g. the Godwins). Another group of hybrids consists of a Sc suffix, particularly by, attached to an English personal name or other element. These are generally considered to be later formations, from a time when -by had been absorbed into the English language, and hence are not evidence in themselves of Sc settlement.

From primary PN evidence (towns,villages and parishes), the Sc incomers appear to have had little interest in settling in the fens of Cambs and southern Lincs. Such terrain existed in Denmark, albeit probably not on the same scale, but it requires long experience and specialist knowledge to exploit its resources, and people possessing these were presumably not among the settlers in England. Alternatively, settlements in this marshy area occupied limited areas of higher ground, which were presumably fully occupied and left little opportunity for new settlement. Having said this, it is noteworthy that ‘secondary’ PN elements, particularly field-names, are common in this area. These are believed to belong to a later stage of PN-formation when terms such as -carr, -garth and –wong/wang had been absorbed into the English language, a process which seems to have continued well into the post-Conquest period.

Finally, it is worth noting the literary evidence from both English and Icelandic sources, in some cases contemporary, suggesting that, as late as the 11th century, OE and ON were mutually intelligible. If there is any truth in this, it would presumably have been even more true in the late 9th century andwould have aided the integration of the English and Sc populations if they had been minded to do so.

Afternoon Session

 

Crowland Abbey and the Battle of Threekingham (Freya Trotman)

In 869 during Theodore of Croyland’s Abbacy, the Danes who had landed all along the east coast and were encamped at Thetford for the winter. The men and monks of Crowland along with hundreds of others living in the Fens met them in battle at Threekingham on the Fen edge. The battle was brutal and hundreds were killed on both sides. Bodies were rumoured to have lain three deep and the slaughter was appalling.

The Anglo Saxons who had survived the battle made their way home through the Fens to tell others that the Danes had won and to warn of the danger. The Danes followed the monks back through the marshes and waterways. On the flat landscape of marsh and water the low lying island of Crowland with the whitewashed Abbey would have looked like a beacon on the horizon. As they came from Threekingham the Danes attacked the other churches on the fen edge. St Firmin’s Church at Thurlby was one of many others that suffered at their hands.

Before the inevitable reprisals, the brothers at Crowland hastened to move the Abbey’s treasures to safety, transporting them across the water to Anchorigg at Thorney, where the treasures were alleged to have been hidden in a pond, (which still exists). When the Danes came they slew all the brothers as they were at Mass. One young brother was saved by a Dane who took pity on the boy. My talk aims to tell the story of the battle and the aftermath in the context of the modern landscape and buildingsthat have survived.

 

Hereward and the Saxon Resistance: The Ely Rebellion (Michael Gilbert)

The Ely Rebellion was one in a series of uprisings against the Norman invaders in the ten years following the conquest. It has generally been overlooked and regarded as of minor importance not posing a serious threat to Williams rule. However, the rebellion combined three powerful elements; local rebels under the leadership of Hereward, surviving members of the Saxon nobility and a Danish fleet that together had the potential to provide a credible challenge to the Normans. This talk considers how serious a threat the Ely Rebellion posed and why it failed? It also asks what do we know about Hereward as a leader of the Saxon resistance and can we separate fact from fiction?

 

Countess Lucy: AngloNorman Heiress (Neal Sumner)

The focus of this session will be on Lucy, Anglo-Norman heiress, founder and benefactress of the Benedictine Priory of St. Mary and St Nicholas in Spalding. Drawing on recent research I will discuss what is known of her ancestry and its influence on her life and marriages. I will examine how her roles as daughter, wife, mother and widow contribute to our understanding of this crucial period of transition between the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods. How does Lucy’s life reflect themes of gender, identity, and the limits of female power and agency in the era of the Norman Conquest? The discussion concludes with an evaluation of the ways in which her legacy was preserved and extended by her children.

SGS Symposium 2021 Abstracts.doc

Latest ‘Double Letters’ Quiz Results 150 150 Dave Jacobs

Latest ‘Double Letters’ Quiz Results

The latest Spalding Gentlemen’s Society quiz ‘Double Letters’ has now closed, and the results are in.

Many thanks to all those that took part, a total of £175 was raised, which is a great achievement during these trying times.

A special thank you to all those that sent in a donation as well.

With twelve entries scoring maximum points, two people sharing first and second prizes.

V Ries of Chelmsford

E Barker of Nantwich

The £5 random prize went to A Peters of Brothertoft

All entrants who supplied an email have been contacted, and all SAE’s have been posted.

I hope you all enjoyed the challenge, I am working on another quiz now.

Kind regards,

Dave

SGS Member

Charity No. 216131

 

The Vikings and Anglo-Saxons Symposium 150 150 Sharon Hoult

The Vikings and Anglo-Saxons Symposium

Don’t forget to book for this event.

Heritage Network 20/02/2021 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Heritage Network 20/02/2021

HERITAGE NETWORK

The fourth Heritage Network event was held online on Saturday 20th February 2020 and, building on the success of the earlier events, there were 23 people participating from 15 different organisations. This included two new organisations; Thorney Museum and the Welland Rivers Trust.

As the pandemic is coming towards the end organisations are starting to think about coming out of lockdown and planning to reopen and recommence events and this was the focus of much of the discussion. Many activities have been moved online with remote talks and lectures to maintain interest and these have attracted large audiences. One of the challenges will be to combine the realand the virtualworlds as we start to return to something approaching normality.

Some of the updates and possible ideas discussed at the meeting are shown below, if there is anything important that I have missed please let me know.

National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant Application:

An application has been made to support the work of the Heritage Network and includes;

Development of a shared website and virtual museum,
Website development and social media training, and
Support for museum training and engagement.

An announcement on the success of the application has been delayed until March 2021.

Website and Social Media Training:

An outline was given of the type of training that could be provided through the network including website development and maintainence as well as the use of social media to promote activities and projects. The emphasis was on the different platforms for communication that are available and how they can be linked.

Welland Rivers Trust:

Perry from Welland Rivers Trust explained the role of the trust and some of the projects in which they are involved. In particular they are looking for history and storys from the Welland. If anybody has any information they would like to share then please email Perry on perry@wellandriverstrust.org.uk.

Projects:

Chain Bridge Forge Museum are working on a number of projects including memories of the Spalding Flower Parade. If anybody has any photographs or other material please visit the CBFM website or contact them on chainbridgeforge@gmail.com.

Volunteering:

A number of organisations are having difficulties in attracting and retaining volunteers, particularly during the current coronavirus pandemic. If anybody has any ideas or strategies that have been effective please get in touch.

Below are some of the websites discussed during the meeting and which may be of interest/use to members.

www.aim-museum.co.uk

www.heritagetrustnetwork.org.uk

www.gettingonboard.org

www.charitydigital.org.uk/heritage-digital

www.subbrit.org.uk (Subterranea Britannica)

www.waterways.org.uk/waterways/discover-the-waterways/boston-to-peterborough-wetlands-corridor

www.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/archive/collections/aerial-photos

www.cambridgeairphotos.com/map

The date for the next online networking event is Saturday 17th April 2021, details to follow. If you know of other groups or individuals to include in the network, please let me have their contact details and I will send them an invitation. If there any other topics you would particularly like to talk about at the next session let me know and I will include them on the programme.

This note and the contact list will also be available on the SGS website (www.sgsoc.org).

[2]

FENLAND HERITAGE NETWORK

The table below shows the contact information for the organisations involved in the Local History Network sponsored by Spalding Gentlemens Society. If any of the details are incorrect or you would like to provide more information then please email outreach@sgsoc.org. If there are any other group who would like to be added to the list thenplease get in touch.

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

Ayscoughfee Hall

Medieval merchantshouse and local history museum.

Boston Hanse Group

History of the Hanseatic League in Boston

Chain Bridge Forge Museum

Blacksmiths museum and local history archive.

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum

Aviation and local history.

DeepingsHeritage

Local history of the Deepings.

Fane Road Archaeology Group (FRAG)

Archaeology of Peterborough.

FenArch

Archaeology of the Fenlands.

Fleet Delvers

Local history of Fleet and surroundingarea.

Gosberton Local History Group

History of Gosberton and South Holland.

Heritage Lincolnshire

History and heritage of Lincolnshire.

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

Holbeach Cemetery Chapels

Local history.

Louth Museum

History of Louth and surrounding area.

PeakirkArchaeological Survey Team(PAST)

Local history and archaeology of Peakirk.

Peterborough Archive Services

Archive of Peterborough records.

Pinchbeck Engine Museum

Industrial Archaeology.

Red Barn Creative

Heritage, creativity, craft and digital skills.

Sleaford Civic Trust

Heritage and history of Sleaford.

Sleaford Museum

Local history.

Spalding Cemetery

(Friends Of)

Local History

Spalding Gentlemens Society

Museum, archive and research hub for general/local history.

Spalding U3A History Group

General and local history.

David Lawson

Djl1943@outlook.com

Organisation

Interests

Contact (email)

Strawberry Glass

Stained glass crafts.

Thorney Museum

Local history and heritage museum.

Trigge Library

Sixteenth century library.

Welland Rivers Trust

Conservation, restoration and education.

West Deepings Heritage Group

Local historyand heritage.

Wisbech and Fenland Museum

Local history of Wisbech and the Fenland

If there are any errors in the above information or any other organisations that should be included please let me know so the list can be amended.

Musings from the Museum 17 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Musings from the Museum 17

SNAPSHOTS IN TIME.

by Alastair Goodrum.

4. Colour: Littlebury Holbeach 2011/2.​Side view of the tomb in 2011. ©AJG 2011

  It seems such a long time ago when, one evening at the end of October 2011, at an informal gathering in the Lecture Room, a sample of photographs taken from the Society’s glass-negative collection was shown as a Powerpoint presentation to members for the first time. This came about because, over a couple of years, I had made steady progress in the (self-imposed) process of digitising this rather vulnerable collection of about 800, 5″x7″ glass plates into positive computer images. With about 60% completed, I felt it was time to let some of them see the light of day for the first time in over one hundred years. It also echoed the president’s view that more ought to be done to utilise the Lecture Room to air some of the Society’s collections and presentations like this one seemed like a step in the right direction. Since this early work, many more negatives have come to light, in out-of-the-way corners and the collection has been found to be about twice the size first thought.

  The collection includes both glass negatives, smaller glass lantern-slides (positives) and some examples of early ‘plastic’ film, all estimated to date between 1890 and 1910. Much of the material is thought to be the work of E. E. Smith, a past member of the Society and at one time its curator. His main interest, apart from photography, lay in the production and study of stained glass and there are a number of negatives of examples of the latter art. However, it is known that other members of the Society were active in the local Photographic Club and so it is possible we are seeing some of their work, too. The collection is an eclectic mix of events; panoramic views; streets and buildings; people at work or posing in groups or as individuals.

  Card boxes containing the plates are numbered and the very basic original index lists about half of the collection’s contents. Sadly, many items are described as ‘unknown’ and it is hoped, now that the back of the digitization task has been broken, investigation can be carried out to identify the ‘mystery’ images – although I fear many will never be resolved. However, it is satisfying to report that some successes have already been made on this front.

  By way of illustration, in Box No.53 contains twelve negatives originally indexed as ‘unknown views’. These show hilly, rocky countryside, a croft, steam ships, piers and a small community with a church and to me, the views suggested Scotland. Paper prints were sent to a friend who is a Scottish local history ‘buff’ with a simple plea: “any ideawhere these are?” His response was: “probably Iona and Mull.” Sure enough, when the community/church view was compared to a modern view (via Google and my own holiday snaps) they had both been taken from an almost identical camera position: on a ferry from Mull – “over the sea to Iona” – as the song goes.

1. B/W: 53j Iona 1900.​Isle of Iona from steamer ferry from Mull, circa 1900. Church in need of repair to roof and tower. Note shape of hill in background and row of cottages near a small inlet.

 

2. Colour: Iona 2012 1 Box 53.​​Isle of Iona taken from the ferry to the island from Fionnphort harbour on the southern tip of the Isle of Mull. Church repaired. ©AJG 2012.

 

  Closer to home, in Holbeach Church is the Littlebury tomb – photographed on twelve plates in Box 21. A local monument, of course, but nothing informative was written in the collection index. It is simply listed as ‘Littlebury Monument.’ So, with notebook in hand, I called in at the church to see Sir Humphrey for the first time. My visit coincided with an art &craft exhibition and I hoped there were ‘people who knew’ present. However, it seems the sum total of all knowledge was on view in a single small piece of typescript (about A5-size) mounted in a picture frame, propped up against the recumbent form of our trusty knight. This short note was copied and will be added to the SGS collection index. During this small investigation, it was found that the tomb had been moved within the church since the original photos were taken.

3. B/W: 21.008 Holbeach Church Littlebury.​​Overhead view of the Littlebury tomb in Holbeach Church, c.1900.

 

4. Colour: Littlebury Holbeach 2011/2.​Side view of the tomb in 2011. ©AJG 2011

 

There is a small quantity of Kodak plastic-film negatives that have intriguing Alpine views among them – probably taken by a member with one of the new-fangled compact Pocket or Box cameras becoming available at the turn of the 19th/20thcentury, who seems to have travelled via Paris and Geneva to the (then) unspoiled area around Chamonix. Having consulted the Alpine Club of Great Britain, they quickly identified these views of mountains, valleys and glaciers around Mont Blancand thus the previous ‘unknown views’ index entry has been vastly improved.

8. Google image of Mont Blanc Hotel in 2010 with buff-coloured Hotel Couronne on left at end of street. Road level has been raised and front door area of Hotel Mont Blanc altered; but the name is still visible on the wall.

 

7. B/W Box 5.020.​Ladies outside the Mont Blanc hotel with Hotel Couronne in background. Chamonix c1900.

 

  An ‘unknown chapel’ turned out to be a bit of a teaser, but was gradually narrowed down to Weston St John, near Spalding. The chapel is almost unchanged but the whole area surrounding it has been entirely built upon, to the extent that the chapel can no longer be seen from the original camera viewpoint – a factor applying to many of the collection’s images. The growth of trees and houses over a hundred years have, understandably, greatly hidden the old views.

5. B/W 47.007.​A south Lincs chapel? – one of the ‘unknown locations’ – identified now as St John The Evangelist church, Broadgate, Weston Hills; with school building at right.

 

6. Modern view of St John’s church, Weston Hills, now enclosed by housing development. ©AJG 2015.

 

  I am sure that the SGS Council will, in due course and Covid-rules permitting, make the collection and perhaps its accompanying Powerpoint presentation, available to a wider audience, since there seems little point in keeping such a fascinating collection of bygone images in a dark cupboard far from the light of day.

27/7/2020.

Musings from the Museum 16 150 150 SGSocAdmin

Musings from the Museum 16

Musings from the medal department.

The inter allied victory medal 1914-19

Of all the medals in the world the allied victory medal must surely be the most collected as the variants created, often in small numbers, combine to make a fantastic collection as very often there are many variants of a single medal found. I only intend this to be an introduction to the subject as Alexander Laslo has managed to fill a book on the whole subject. At the close of the great war at the Paris peace conference it was proposed by marshal Ferdinand Foch that the allied nations should issue a medal to commemorate the conclusion of hostilities. It was decided that each nation would make its own medals, and to avoid wholesale exchange as souvenirs between combatants, be similar with the wording appearing in the language of the issuing nation. The basic brief was as follows,

The ribbon would be of the double rainbow type with the red to the centre and colours merging to violet at the outer edges and be 39mm wide.

The medal would be a 36mm bronze disc with a winged figure of  victory on the obverse or the nations own interpretation of victory.

The reverse would have the wording “The great war for civilisation 1914-1919” or the national equivalent. National alms or symbols were permitted.

The nations who agreed to the medal are as follows  Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Great Britain and dominions, Greece, Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Siam, South Africa and lastly the united States of America. It is important to note that of these nations who agreed to the medal, Poland never actually produced one.

Examples of allied variants.

Top L-R  Belgium, France, USA,

bottom L-R  Czechoslovakia, Italy, Japan.

The British medal designed by William McMillan followed the brief with a very stylish winged victory on the obverse but with a fairly plain reverse with the stated wording within a wreath border. This same medal was also used for those who qualify for the award in the dominions. South Africa had a medal which differed from the British version in that the wording on the reverse was written in English and Dutch, approx 75 000 were issued and made at Woolwich arsenal. The British version was originally made in a dull bronze as are those of the other nations, however it has been reported that senior officers complained of this as it looked dirty against highly polished silver medals normally issued for gallantry and campaigns. The result was the medal was re-issued with a polished and lacquered finish with those having been given the dull versions able to exchange them for the lacquered example which most did but dull early issues are still found. Approx 5.75 million British victory medals were issued. These were made between Woolwich arsenal and Wright & son.  All British, dominion and South African examples are found with machine impressed naming of the person awarded around the circumference of the rim. A point to note is the dating of the British medal, although the war on the western front finished in 1918 certain operations carried out in Hedjaz and by the Aden field force carried on until the end of January 1919.

Left, front and reverse of South African Issue

Right, original British and Commonwealth Front and later reverse.

We have in the society collection half a dozen of the allied issues which at present are not on general display. On top of these we hold many of the later British issue which are found widely throughout the museum mainly in groups. To my knowledge and as far as I can remember we do not have an example of an early dull issue. In between the lockdowns I managed to get into the museum and start a re-vamp of the display of medals. A cabinet to the right of the Grundy map once contained lots of medals in envelopes and not on display these have now been removed and ribboned as required and are on display in the new drawers in the lecture room. Labels are still required for these as handwritten tatty scraps of paper are doing the job at present. It is my intent that in the future when we are allowed back into the museum the cabinet under the Grundy map will be cleared out and medals housed elsewhere. This will then give us a cabinet of four compartments dictated by the glass top panels to be used as a special exhibition which can be changed frequently so when the public view the museum there should be new items to look at including the stories of those to who the medals belong. The victory medals will be part of  the first instalment supplemented by some loans. While in lockdown Ian and Sharon have been working hard finding information and research hidden in the society with reference to the medals. So we are on the verge of putting together the stories which have for so long been hidden and dormant. If anyone has an interest in the collection and would like to help I would like some assistance with some of the more mundane chores , labelling, researching and sorting out the collection although not that interesting these tasks do take up loads of time and I am not the best at computer skills and work full time.

Although there are no time limits on the medals side of things and exhibits will be constantly changing around as new information is found, I hope the temporary display cabinet will be in use by the end of the year ready for public viewing in 2022. All this though is subject to covid policy but it does require doing to preserve the stories of our collection for future generations, When I took over as the curator I had no idea of what  information and objects were present to supplement the medals as they have been spread around the museum and not properly catalogued, little by little this is changing. My mission is to tell the story, any recruits out there please contact me then I can sign you up for the duration.

Simon Thompson

Curator of medals