A local resident has contacted me about HS2, and the site of the Battle of Edgcote. Although he says that the exact location of the battle is contested, he claims that one of the possible sites is along the proposed route for HS2. I have written to both the chief executive of English Heritage and Philip Hammond in order to highlight this issue. Copies of the letters can be seen below, and I will post copies of the responses when I receive them.
Archive for the ‘History’ Category
That’s almost the title of a new exhibition at the County Museum that I opened on Saturday. Human: half a million years of life in Buckinghamshire displays a variety of objects to illustrate life in the county from the ice ages to the Tudors.
For me, two things in particular stood out. The first is the power of even simple things to excite the imagination. For someone like me who studied the Tudor age at university, loves C H Sansom’s Shardlake novels and has just read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, hats and shoes that were actually worn by our sixteenth century forebears give a direct and when you think about it poignant link to the past. These men and women were real. They got dressed, ate, laughed and wept and went about their lives as we do. Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney sweepers, come to dust”.
And then there is the ring from Merovingian France that founjd its way to Anglo-Saxon Buckinghamshire. How did it get there? We know that there were a lot of commercial toings and froings between England and France at that time, but did a trader take his boat across the sea, up the Thames and then perhaps the Thame to reach Aylesbury? Or did he travel on foot? Or perhaps the ring was brought by a Frankish noblewoman who came to marry a Buckinghamshire man.
The other thing that this exhibition reminds you is that archaeology in England did not start as an academic discipline – that all came a lot later. It began with a few quirky and inquisitive individuals like John Aubrey and developed in the nineteenth century into a search by local communities to discover and understand their past. The Buckinghamshire Archeological Society can trace its history back to 1848 and has been publishing Records of Buckinghamshire since 1854. It was actually the Society that in 1907 established the County Museum, now managed by the County Council. It’s fitting that to coincide with the new exhibition at the museum, the Society has published An Illustrated History of Early Buckinghamshire covering the same period.
Also good to see were the cases of exhibits provided by local detectorists and I was pleased to be told by the museum director that realtions between detectorists and museums are much better now that used to be the case. Museums recognise that detectorists will sometimes come across treasures that would otherwise remain hidden and the detectorists now appreciate the importance of careful recording and meticulous study of a site to understand the significance of a find. I hope that relations continue to improve.