Reports on 2012 Activities

The following reports give a flavour of what took place in 2012; see what you may have missed!

Byland Abbey Watercourses - June 2012

A group of nineteen - comprising Members of the Society and individuals from English Heritage - met at Byland Abbey on a balmy, summer's evening for a guided tour and explanation of the surrounding watercourses. Our guide was Marcus Jecock (Archaeological Investigator at English Heritage).

Marcus Jecock describing the  main entrance arch on the  Oldstead-Byland road - click to enlarge
Members heading westwards  from the west side of the dam DM2 towards Leat 1 - click to enlarge

Contrary to previous views that the monks created several bodies of standing water within and just outside the precinct for flushing latrines, farming fish and powering mills, it was opined that the engineering was actually directed at draining what was initially a very wet site, and reintroducing water in a controlled manner via a network of leats fed by springs. Two dams that exist just north-west of the precinct seem designed primarily as drainage works and flood defences rather than pond bays, although one doubled up as a millpond; a third, alleged, dam within the precinct is more credibly a post-medieval prospect mound.

The full report "Byland Abbey: Archaeological Survey and Investigation of Part of the Precinct and Extra-mural Area" is available as Part 1 and Part 2.

Our grateful thanks go to Marcus Jecock for his excellent tour and description!

Boltby Scar Excavation - May 2012

Four Members of Helmsley Archaeology and Historical Society joined a team under Dominic Powesland investigating a late Bronze or early Iron Age barrow and hill fort at Boltby Scar on the Hambleton Hills.

An early barrow had a ring of stones around the circumference; some of these were disturbed but not recorded during a 20th century dig. The oval depression which held a stone can be seen by the Memberís trowel; a later wooden post hole is being recorded by another Member.

Excavating - click for larger image
Wooden post hole being recorded - click for larger image

Thanks to Susan Hall for this report...

Visit to Shandy Hall, Coxwold

The evening of 16th May 2012 saw 20 Members of HAHS visit Shandy Hall, Coxwold for an excellent guided tour by Patrick Wildgust. The evening was bright, dry and chilly - but allowed Patrick to describe the history of Shandy Hall - and for Members to run loose around the gardens (specifically, the old quarry).

Patrick Wildgust pointing out features of the old Hall Members of HAHS and Patrick Wildgust Members of HAHS exploring the quarry at Shandy Hall

This YouTube video gives a flavour of Patrick's excellent narrative..

Rather than try and describe the content of each room, you are referred to pages on the first-rate Shandy Hall website. Inside, we visited the kitchen with its old range, the study (where most of Sterne's works were written) - and other rooms.

We finally visited the exhibition "Precious Cargo : Eliza Draper - An Absent Presence", after which we bade farewell to our host, Patrick Wildgust - to whom our grateful thanks!

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