News for Spring 2016

Success for the Segelocum archaeology project

A new project is aiming to unearth the secrets behind what is believed to be Nottinghamshire's largest Roman settlement. Archaeologists from Nottinghamshire County Council have been working with Sturton-le-Steeple Parish Council to improve understanding of the environment and way of life for people living in the former Roman town of Segelocum, modern day Littleborough, to the east of Retford on the River Trent.

Segelocum is thought to have been the largest of our five known Roman towns in the county, the other four sitting on the historic 'Fosse Way', which stretched from Exeter to Lincoln. Part of the town lies beneath what is currently a farmer's field. Crop marks in the field have clearly shown the outline of roads and buildings in the past and a number of items have been recovered from the site during previous archaeological work, including pots and metal objects which are stored in the Bassetlaw Museum.

Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery fund, the Parish Council has secured a £36,000 grant which will be used to carry out a geophysical study of the former town along with fieldwalking and digging test pits in village gardens to examine how the area around the town developed.

The geophysical work, which will include the use of specialist equipment to scan the remains under the field and construct an image of the layout of Segelocum, is set to begin next month. The fieldwalking and test pits are likely to be carried out next spring, with local volunteers invited to work alongside Nottinghamshire County Council archaeologists on the scheme.

Lorraine Horsley, Community Archaeologist at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is a really exciting project which will help to lift the lid on what life was like in Nottinghamshire's largest Roman town. "Many of the previous studies on Roman life have centred on major cities or large villas, but this project will give us a fascinating insight into the lives of people from all walks of life, giving us a better understanding of where and how they lived, worked and interacted. The fact that the majority of the site is directly beneath a field makes it a perfect location because we have no subsequent development to work around. It's fantastic that the local community will be so heavily involved in this project and that they will be able to discover, with us, the amazing history that lies beneath their feet."

Karen Howard, Chair of Sturton Le Steeple Parish Council said "We are delighted that we have been able to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support this project. We know that there is a lot of interest amongst local residents, and we are particularly pleased to receive support from the local primary schools and neighbouring Parish Councils. We are all now looking forward to getting stuck in to discover for ourselves more of the Roman heritage on our side of the River Trent" Further information about the project can be found at Volunteers will be welcomed.

370th anniversary of Newark's fall to be marked by major civil war event

Newark Castle. Picture courtesy of David Crook

The National Civil War Centre has revealed details of a major event to mark the 370th anniversary of the fall of Newark during the British Civil Wars. Re-enactors from across the UK will descend on the town on 1 and 2 May to garrison key locations, including the National Civil War Centre, nearby Newark Castle, which was a major Royalist bastion during the epic clash between crown and parliament, and Friary Park, which stands on the site of major civil war fortifications

During the last of three sieges over the bitter winter of 1645 to 46 Newark was assailed by 16,000 Parliamentarian and Scottish soldiers, desperate to destroy the staunchly pro-monarchy outpost. The ordeal lasted for six months and was made even worse by the outbreak of typhus and plague with a third of the population dying. The town surrendered on the direct orders of King Charles on 8 May 1646, an event that marked the end of the first phase of the nation's deadliest ever conflict. Michael Constantine, manager of the National Civil War Centre, explained:

"We staged a massive re-enactment last year to mark the opening of the UK's first National Civil War Centre in Newark. This spring we have refined our plans and promise another event full of colour and noise to mark the 370th anniversary. Troops will march through the historic streets, musket fire will echo through the town and there will be plenty of chance for people to try on civil war armour and learn more about this amazing period in our history. It will be another great couple of days for Newark"

Those appearing will include the Marquis of Winchester's and Colonel Robert Overton's Regiments of Foote, together with other members of the English Civil War Society and the popular History Re-enactment Workshop. There will be a tented encampment at the castle, while drill and musket displays take place at Friary Park. It is likely there will also be a wreath laying ceremony to mark the town's fall. More details will be revealed nearer the time.


Geoffrey Bond, a long-standing member of the Thoroton Society, generously provided funds last year to support research into the history and archaeology of the county of Nottinghamshire (the remit of the Thoroton Society). Geoffrey's award continues for a further four years for which we are most grateful.

Last year, the first year of the award, we received some excellent submissions and it was decided that two of them should share the £1000 available, each receiving £500 to help support their ongoing research projects. One was a community project exploring through various means, including archaeological investigation, the role of Kelham in the Civil War; the other comprised research into the historic dissemination of political information and of the formation of political ideas. We look forward to reading more of their work in due course, hopefully in future editions of the Transactions.

Due to the success of the 2015 award, it has been decided to increase the amount available - the Society will be making a further £1000 available from its funds, making a total of £2000. This we hope will encourage more of our members, as well as other organisations and individuals, to undertake research into areas of the county's history and archaeology of interest to them and, hopefully, that we will all wish to learn more about. Again, it may well be that the amount available will be awarded to more than one project.

The terms and conditions of the award are as last year. They can be found on the Society's website and are also reproduced below. The closing date for submissions is 1st September 2016.

Warner's Paddock, Bingham, Saved!

The recent good news from Southwell was followed shortly afterwards by similar good news from Bingham. Warner's Paddock - the only remaining green space surviving in the centre of the town (not to be confused with the protected Crow Close site on the edge of the town) has also been saved from future development. Along with some 2000 acres of arable farmland in the parish it belongs to the Crown Estate, which acquired it in the 1920s on the sale of the property of the Earls of Carnarvon (inherited from the Stanhopes, Earls of Chesterfield, who had purchased it in 1591).

Warner's Paddock is ancient pasture land grazed by horses and surrounded by trees, orchards, ancient hedgebanks and wild flowers and retaining its old village atmosphere. It is in the Bingham Conservation Area and bounded on one side by an attractive sunken footpath called Jebbs' Lane - one of the 'cross lanes' which formed part of the mediaeval grid layout of the town. One corner is rented by the Bingham Bowling Club who use a converted 18th Century dovecote as a clubhouse.

The site has been threatened with development on at least four occasions over the past 40 years, each of them narrowly staved off by protests from concerned locals, aided on one occasion by the intercession of the Prince of Wales! A new application for housing was recently proposed by the Crown Estate, despite having already been granted permission to build 1000 houses over part of their farmland. This attempt to squeeze an additional 'pound of flesh' from such a small and sensitive site outraged many inhabitants, especially as the access road would have ruined the ancient lane. After protracted negotiations the Crown finally relented and agreed to rent the land to the Town Council for 21 years for a much-needed public open space.

The site is especially important because in the last two years six archaeological test pits were dug along Jebb's Lane and in the Paddock by Bingham Heritage Trails Association (BHTA) as part of a community project of digging pits in gardens all over the town. These six pits included some of the richest in Bingham, containing material from the Iron Age, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and early Mediaeval periods, suggesting the lane had been a trackway for centuries. It is hoped that now further excavations will be possible to shed further light on the town's past.

Adrian Henstock


The Friends of Nottingham Museums was established in 1977 to provide support to the City Council's museums and galleries in raising funds to help purchase new items for the collections, and assist in volunteer projects and work at events.

There is a regular programme of talks, visits to galleries and historic sites and all members receive a quarterly newsletter.

Our programme from March 2016 to February 2017 is as follows. Lectures are held in Studio 1 at Nottingham Castle, 2 pm prompt.

12 March East Midlands Country Houses: Colin Groves
16 April William and Mary Howitt - a literary marriage: Rowena Edlin-White
14 May Half day outing to Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirby
21 May Footpads, Kings and Highwaymen - along the Great North Road in Notts: Ian Morgan
18 June Plans for Nottingham Castle - the Trust Chief Executive: Heather Mayfield.
16 July Day outing to Gunby Hall and Gardens, nr. Spilsby, Lincolnshire
23 July History of the Malt Cross Music Hall: Rebekah Wood
17 September Bromley House Library: Carol Bairstow
15 October Lady Arbella Stuart - The Queen that never was: David Templeman
12 November So you think you know Nottingham, Part 3: Peter Hammond
10 December The Christmas carol from ancient to modern: Marion Allen
14 January 2017 Isaac Newton, Part 2: Alan Lievesley
11 February 2017 Annual General Meeting (members only)

Non-members are welcome at meetings and outings on payment of an additional charge of £2 (normal entry charge to The Castle applies). For further information tel. 0115 922 1734

Membership: Non-senior citizens £14; two adults living at the same address £20. Senior citizens £12; two seniors at the same address £18. Membership applications are dealt with by Daphne Hartley, tel. 0115 9283688, and members of the Thoroton society are most welcome to join The Friends at one of their talks.