The December meeting of the North Notts Association of National Trust Members was a week earlier because of the proximity to Christmas and although attendance was down, those that attended were kept spellbound by speaker Laura Parker (formerly Binns). The subject might, at first glance have seemed rather dry but in fact was extremely interesting and informative. Her talk was about archaeological excavations at Wingerworth Hanging Banks and Laura was an enthusiastic and informative speaker and clearly loved her work.
She talked about the reason the excavation was carried out, which was because Bellway Homes wanted to build a new housing development on the site and it is now a condition of planning permission being granted — that a geophysical report is carried out first to see if they might be building over ancient artefacts and ruins. Three areas within the proposed site were investigated and trenches and ditches were dug of varying sizes and depths. One revealed nothing of interest, but the other two revealed what could have been post holes in sets of four or more which would indicate buildings or structures of some sort, curved ditches which may have been drainage ditches for round houses possibly with thatched overhangs, and varying levels of ditches which could have indicated small fortlets, although it seemed more likely that the site had been farmsteads. Pottery of a fairly functional nature was found which could be dated back to between the 1st and 3rd centuries of early Iron Age and Roman periods.
Laura brought some examples of what had been found and also brought the finest find of the digs, which was part of a tiny altar. This was finely decorated and was only about 3cm high on what would have originally been four legs although one was broken, and there would have been several similar altars of larger sizes. These which would have built up to a larger one but would have all stacked inside each other like a Russian doll to be carried around with their owners at the time, and used whenever they wished to worship whichever gods they worshipped at the time. This was an exciting find, very rare and very valuable.
Despite the finds, this was not enough to prevent the building ultimately going ahead but Laura and the team are still investigating and researching the finds to determine more about the site.
The talk on 19th February will be on the subject of the History of Bracket Clocks by Adrian Overton and on 18th March the talk will be by Adrian Gray on the subject of The Pilgrim Fathers, ‘Why did they all come from here?’. Meetings are held at the Crossing on Newcastle Street, Worksop, starting at 7.00pm for tea or coffee and talks starting at 7.30pm. Admission is £4.00 for members and £6.00 for visitors. Membership is presently £4.50 for single members and £6.00 for couples.
Future events can be seen on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/north-nottingham-association. You can also email NthNottsNTAssoc@gmail.com or follow them on Twitter, @NthNottsNTAssoc.