Winter Programme 2017 - 2018

 

Most meetings are held at 7.30pm on the third Friday of each month during the winter, at the Committee Room of the North York Moors National Park Offices at Helmsley, courtesy of NYMNPA.

Google Map of the location.

These are invariably lectures by a visiting speaker, and cover a variety of subjects.


The Winter Programme for 2017 - 2018 is:

Date Time Subject / Presenter
Friday 15 Sept 2017 7.30pm

The 2nd Earl of Feversham remembered on the 101st anniversary of his death at the Somme”

Martin Vander Weyer (Journalist and Writer)

Recollections of ‘Charlie Helmsley’, 2nd Earl of Feversham as a young man at Oxford, on the hunting field, as an up-and-coming Unionist MP, and as commanding officer of the ill-fated Yeoman Rifles battalion raised at Duncombe Park.

Friday 20 Oct 2017 7.30pm

The writing on the wall: the concealed communities of the East Yorkshire horselads"

Dr Kate Giles and Dr Melanie Giles (Senior Lecturers in Archaeology at the University of York, and the University of Manchester, respectively)

Tucked away in the granaries and barns of East Yorkshire are the remains of 19th and 20th century graffiti, created by the horse lads of East Yorkshire. The horse lads were part of a distinctive way of farming on the High Wolds, where groups of men lived and worked the land together with their horses. Their lives were hard and the farms remote, but this created strong hierarchies within and bonds between these communities. The graffiti records their everyday lives but also experiences during the first and second world wars, including the Wolds Wagoners and the presence of Land Girls. Gradually, as horses gave way to tractors, the graffiti also records the impact of mechanisation on farming practices and the loss of traditional farming practices.

Several years ago, archaeology twins Dr Mel Giles (University of Manchester) and Dr Kate Giles (University of York) carried out survey work in and around the Birdsall Estate, recording her rapidly-disappearing evidence of this graffiti. This research resonated closely with a major oral history project on the horse lads, carried out with the surviving horse lads by Dr Stephen Caunce. In this lecture, they share the results of their findings and consider the way in which this research has impacted on archaeologists' broader attitudes to recording these ephemeral traces of traditional life.

Friday 17 Nov 2017 7.30pm

Excavations at York Minster 1829 - 2012”

Ian Milsted (Lead Archaeologist at the York Archaeological Trust)

YAT excavated beneath York Minster during the 2012 renovation works in the undercroft. This space beneath the cathedral was created during the emergency engineering works of the 1960s and 70s when the central tower was saved from collapse by major underpinning works. These works revealed the archaeology of the site reaching back to the Roman period when it was the location of the fortress headquarters of Eboracum. Records from work done at the cathedral since the early 19th century were vital in piecing together what was revealed in 2012.

Friday 19 Jan 2018 7.30pm

Helmsley Castle - fortress or home?”

Dr John Kenyon (Honorary Research Fellow with the National Museum of Wales)

This talk will examine the history of the building of the castle, and discuss whether Helmsley should be seen as more stately home than fortress. Its role in early modern times, along with other castles of the period, will be touched upon. The talk will also stress that there is more to be learnt!

Friday 16 Feb 2018 7.30pm

“Archaeology without excavation - how remote sensing has changed our perception of the past”

James Lyall (Geophiz.biz)

Friday 16 Mar 2018 7.30pm

“Prehistoric, Iron Age and Roman Crambeck: A Pottery Production Landscape in Context”

Dr Rachel Wood (Freelance Archaeologist, rwarchaeology.com)

Friday 20 Apr 2018

6:50pm
(AGM)

7.30pm
(talk)

 

AGM, followed by:

The York Helmet: biography of an iconic object ”

Dr Sonia O'Connor (Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford)

Disclaimer

Click here for a printable copy of this programme...


Past lectures are listed below:

Date Time Subject / Presenter
Friday 21 Apr 2017

6:50pm
(AGM)

7.30pm
(talk)

 

 

 

 

 

AGM, followed by:


"Aldborough - new research on the Roman town of Isurium Brigantum" - Prof. Martin Millett (University of Cambridge, Department of Classical Archaeology)

Isurium Brigantum (Roman Aldborough) was the administrative centre of a large part of northern Britain, but because it is overlain by a medieval village, it is comparatively poorly understood. Since 2009 a project based at Cambridge University has been seeking to provide a better understanding of the town through the use of a variety of remote sensing methods. This survey provides much new evidence, and allows us to think more clearly about the history of the site. This lecture will present the results of our work.

Friday 17 Mar 2017 7.30pm

"Climate change and human occupation at the end of the Ice Age: Star Carr and Flixton Island, North Yorkshire - Prof. Nicky Milner (University of York, Department of Archaeology)

The talk will cover the last 12 years of excavation at the internationally renowned site of Star Carr, which dates back 11,000 years. It will provide an insight into how hunter gatherers coped with climate change at the end of the last Ice Age, and how they built substantial timber structures on the edge of the lake, created art in the form of a pendant and made headdresses out of red deer skulls.

Friday 17 Feb 2017 7.30pm

Forty years of excavation at Wharram Percy in hindsight: time for a fresh start?" - Alastair Oswald

The surface remains of the world's favourite deserted medieval village - Wharram Percy - were first mapped in the 1850s and a larger-scale, more detailed plan of the earthworks was made and revised in parallel with the excavations that continued for most of the second half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, as almost the final chapter of fieldwork on the site, in the early 2000s English Heritage carried out a comprehensive new survey of the 'humps and bumps', coupled with new geophysical surveys. Far from merely 'dotting the i's and crossing the t's' left by previous research, these new investigations served, on the one hand, to explain some of the most puzzling findings of some of the earlier excavations and, on the other hand, to raise a series of new questions about the site, which as yet remain unaddressed.

Friday 20 Jan 2017 7.30pm

"An Honest Gyles" - Susan Harrison (Curator (collections) North Territory, English Heritage)

This talk will focus on a window made by the eminent glass painter of York, Henry Gyles, in 1699 and reveal the story of its discovery, research, conservation and display.

Friday 18 Nov 2016 7.30pm

Archaeology and Architecture of Byland Abbey - Stuart Harrison (Cathedral Archaeologist of York Minster)

This presentation will show how the stonework revealed by excavation of the site relates to the remaining structure, enabling a clearer understanding of the architecture of this important Cistercian abbey.

Friday 21 Oct 2016 7.30pm

"Reinterpretation of human remains from the Ryedale Windypits" - Dr Stephany Leach

This presentation will discuss the results of an archaeological and anthropological reinvestigation of the human remains recovered from the Ryedale Windypits in the North York Moors. Prior to this reanalysis, the skeletal collections had received only minimal anthropological study and were all generally considered to be Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age in date and derived from complete burials.

Through direct radiocarbon analysis of human bone samples, a much greater temporal range of use of these fissures was identified. Evidence for high levels of interpersonal violence was also identified during this investigation. The significance of these findings will be explored and discussed in relation to other contemporary sites and activities. Human skeletal remains are an incredibly important resource; they have much to contribute to our knowledge of these subterranean sites. This evidence enables us to build new theories and hypotheses relating to past cultural behaviour at these sites and so further explore the ramifications of 'going underground'.

Friday, 16 Sept 2016 7.30pm

"Roman Wealth: Interpreting the 'Helmsley' hoard of silver coins" - Dr Andrew Woods (Numismatic Curator, Yorkshire Museum)

The ‘Helmsley’ hoard of Roman silver coins was buried at an interesting time for Roman Yorkshire and its currency. The hoard was buried in the years after the emperor Septimius Severus died in York. The hoard is dominated by his coins and those of his family. The coins are also amongst the last coins hidden before the chaos of the Roman empire in the third century would alter the coinage forever.

This talk will examine the coins found in the hoard, comparing them to other hoards across Yorkshire and considering what we know about the local area at the time of its burial. It will consider by whom, when and why this cache of Roman wealth was buried.

Friday 15 Apr 2016

7.00pm
(AGM)

7.30pm
(talk)

 

 

 

 

AGM, followed by:


"Pioneer settlers: Yorkshire at the forefront of colonisation of Britain" after the Ice Age" - Don Henson (University of York, Department of Archaeology)

The talk will look at conditions in Britain at the end of the last Ice Age and how people recolonised it as the global climatic began to warm. We will encounter some of the earliest people to make their homes in what is now Yorkshire, at a time when they could have walked across dry land to Copenhagen! The excavations at Star Carr have revealed their way of life, one very different from our own and yet surprisingly advanced.

Friday 18 Mar 2016 7.30pm

"The Origins of York" - Dr Mark Whyman (University of York, Department of Archaeology)

The talk will consider the implications of archaeological discoveries in the landscape around York over the past twenty years, and re-examination of the results of some older excavations in the centre of the city, to suggest new interpretations of the role and significance of its site before the Roman conquest of the region, and establishment of a legionary fortress at York, in AD 71.

Friday 19 Feb 2016 7.30pm

"Chariot Burials of Britain" - Dr Melanie Giles (Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Manchester)

The Iron Age chariot burials of North, West and particularly East Yorkshire, are an internationally renowned phenomenon. Containing the complete or dismantled remains of two-wheeled vehicles and horse trappings, these burials are often accompanied by other marvels of Celtic art, including weaponry, mirrors and boxes, as well as lavish portions of meat for the afterlife. The individuals interred with them frequently have fascinating stories to tell about daily life, injury, disease and violence, which helps us understand the power of these particular ancestors for their wider community.

The lecture will also investigate the myths behind the Celtic chariot, and its links to Continental traditions: using the archaeological evidence to examine its technology and use, its particular significance for Yorkshire communities, and some of the possible meanings it held as a vehicle for the afterlife.

Friday 15 Jan 2016 7.30pm

"This Exploited Land: the trailblazing story of ironstone and railways in the North York Moors" - Dr Louise Cooke (Heritage Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority)

The perception of the landscape of the North York Moors today as something ‘natural’ is challenged by understanding the scale and extent of exploitation of the landscape from the end of the last Ice Age through to today.

These issues are explored through the This Exploited Land project - a HLF Landscape Partnership Scheme which aims to understand, protect and enhance the landscape and its legacy of ironstone exploitation in the North York Moors.

Friday 20 Nov 2015 7.30pm

"Richard III and the Middleham Jewel" - Dr Kate Giles (University of York, Department of Archaeology)

The Middleham Jewel is one of the most important examples of a late medieval pendant, discovered near Middleham Castle by metal detectorists in the 1980s. Since its discovery, the jewel has been linked to Richard III, and today, it forms the centrepiece of the Richard III: Man or Myth exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum.

This lecture will explore the discovery of the Jewel and debates about its origins, ownership and display. It will set these in the context of what we know about the jewel's creation thanks to research by the British Museum and share the results of recent analysis and interpretation by students and staff at the University of York and the Yorkshire Museum.

Friday 16 Oct 2015 7.30pm

"Lightnings, clouds and saints: Lastingham and its neighbours in the seventh and eighth centuries" - Prof. Richard Morris (University of Huddersfield, Department of Archaeology)

The talk will ask why so many religious houses were founded in Anglo-Saxon Ryedale, introduce new evidence for their devotional life, surroundings and connections, examine Lastingham's links with Bede, and suggest reasons why the influential historian Alcuin ignored them. Taken together, these themes offer fresh perspectives on Lastingham's re-foundation in the late eleventh century; the talk will end by reflecting on archaeological evidence for the significance of the crypt.

Friday 18 Sept 2015 7.30pm

"Meat, Markets and Provisioning - the Many Bones of Fishergate" - Prof. Terry O'Connor (University of York, Department of Archaeology)

Archaeological excavations in York usually produce large quantities of animal bone fragments, the remains of livestock, pets and vermin that have shared the city with its human inhabitants. It was no surprise, therefore, when excavations in 1985-6 on the old Redfearn's glassworks on Fishergate, York, yielded a lot of bones from the Anglian and medieval deposits. The initial study of Fishergate bones was published in 1991, but we keep returning to the bones to ask different questions about Fishergate, especially about the 8th and 9th centuries, the time of Alcuin and the rebirth of York as a city. What were people doing at Fishergate that led to so much bone being deposited? Why so few fish? And whose cows were they anyway? This talk reviews the main results from Fishergate, and discusses them in the light of other studies of animal husbandry in Anglo-Saxon England.

Friday 17 April 2015

7.00pm
(AGM)

7.30pm
(talk)

AGM, followed by talk:

"York: the Lost Centuries" by Dr Ailsa Mainman (York Archaeological Trust). This will cover Dr Mainman's current research on Anglo-Saxon and early Viking age York.

Friday 20 March 2015 7.30pm

"Helmsley’s Baron and the Magna Carta" by Martin Vander Weyer

"Helmsley’s Baron” — Robert de Ros (1182-1227) — is chiefly remembered in local history for having rebuilt the timber fortifications of Helmsley Castle in stone. But he had a larger role in English history which we shall commemorate at the Castle on 14 June this year; he was among 25 barons elected to compel the observance by King John of the terms of Magna Carta as agreed at Runnymede. Having previously been loyal to John, de Ros emerged as one of the chief ‘incentors of this pest’ — the resistance to monarchical absolutism of which Magna Carta was the first symbol, and from which the modern rule of law and liberty of the citizen descend.

Martin Vander Weyer will remind us of Robert de Ros’s life story, and lead a discussion on the significance of Magna Carta today.

Those of you unfortunate enough to have missed Martin's excellent presentation may be interested to know that essentially the same talk is available on YouTube, here...
Friday 20 February 2015 7.30pm “In the Footsteps of the White Monks” by Jan Cooper

The presentation starts with a short talk about the foundation and the aims of the Cistercian Order of monks - how they lived, evolved and finally declined; it is followed by a pictorial tour of some Cistercian abbeys, past and present.
Friday 16 Jan 2015 7.30pm

"From Yorkshire to the Caribbean: the Archaeology of the Lascelles Family and Harewood House" - Dr Jonathan Finch (Department of Archaeology, University of York)

The talk will explore the archaeology that tells the story of the Lascelles family's extraordinary rise to power. It starts by revealing the lost house of Gawthorpe, demolished when the New House at Gawthorpe - Harewood House - was completed in the 1770s. The material left behind - ceramics and glassware - reveals much about how they lived, but also about how ambitious they were to improve their social status. The story of their wealth moves to the Caribbean to explore the archaeology of the sugar plantations on Barbados which is in marked contrast to the riches of Harewood. Together these very different assemblages tell a fascinating story about the dawn of the modern age.

Friday 21 Nov 2014 7.30pm "The North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Local Industrial History" - Mark Sissons (Archivist for the NYMR)
Friday 17 Oct 2014 7.30pm "The Vikings in Yorkshire" - Prof. Joyce Hill

The Vikings came to Yorkshire as invaders, and remained as settlers. We can see evidence of their presence in surviving artefacts and they live with us still through our place-names, street-names and everyday language. This illustrated talk will set the scene historically, and will then go on to explore some of these local signs of their presence, including recent finds such as the Vale of York Hoard, earlier finds from the Coppergate Dig, and the eventual integration of the Vikings’ descendants in Christian Anglo-Saxon society as evidenced in church monuments and buildings.
Friday, 19 Sept 2014 7.30pm "The Battle of Fulford - History, Archaeology and Tapestry" - Charles Jones
Friday, 11 April 2014 7:00pm
  • Annual General Meeting
  • Presentation by Brian Walker (formerly Wildlife Officer with the Forestry Commission in North Yorkshire) whose responsibities included managing the 160 Scheduled Ancient Monuments of Forestry Commission Land.
    Title: ‘Heritage on the public forest estate – a risky business’
    Brian will look at the nature of heritage on Forestry Commission land, the threats and what can be done about them. He will also take a closer look at some of the extensive rabbit warren remains in Wykeham Forest.
  • Social, with refreshments
Friday, 21 March 2014 7.30pm "The Parisi - Britons and Romans in the Landscape of Eastern Yorkshire" - Dr Peter Halkon
Friday, 21 Feb 2014 7.30pm

"Richard III and Sheriff Hutton" - Tony Wright

Why would England's last Plantagenet King have had any interest in a small Castle far from London? Did he spend any time there? These are just two of the questions often asked about Sheriff Hutton, in which the castle ruins loom like tall crags over the village but occupy only the space of a paddock.

The answer starts when we learn that the castle was not so small in 1485, when Richard sent his surviving family there and Sheriff Hutton not just an insignificant hamlet. Tony will show just how large the Castle was and why a large castle had been built there, what Richard's connection was with it and why it is possible that we will find out whether or not the monument in the parish church really is that of his only son, Edward.

Friday, 17th Jan 2014 7.30pm

"Iconoclasm: the dissolution of the monasteries" - Susan Harrison (Curator, Archaeology Collections, English Heritage):

This talk sets the scene on the eve of the dissolution in the 1530s and explores the destruction of Northern Abbeys, with a particular focus on Rievaulx Abbey

Friday, 15th Nov 2013 7.30pm "A Church Scandal in Victorian Pickering" - Edward Royle (Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York)
Friday, 18th Oct 2013 7.30pm

"The Romans in North Yorkshire" - Dr Pete Wilson

Friday, 20th Sept 2013 7.30pm "Restoration of Stone Buildings, with reference to York House, Malton" - Nigel Copsey
Friday, 19 April 2013 7.00pm

AGM, then Social (with refreshments), followed by mini-talks by Members, including:

Friday, 15th March 2013 7.30pm "The Valley of the First Iron Masters: an exploration of an ancient East Yorkshire landscape" - Dr Peter Halkon
Friday, 15th February 2013 7.30pm "The Medieval Frescoes of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering Parish Church" - Dr Kate Giles
Friday, 18th January 2013 7.30pm "The History of the Pickering North York Moors Railway" - Mark Sissons (Archivist for the NYMR)
Friday, 16 November 2012 7.30pm "The Restoration of Howsham Mill" - Ms Mo MacLeod
Friday, 19 October 2012 7.30pm "The Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard" - Prof. Joyce Hill
Friday, 21 September 2012 7.30pm "Twelve Ryedale Men who Fought at Waterloo" - Paul Brunyee
Friday, 20 April 2012 7.00pm AGM, then Social (with refreshments), followed by mini-talks by Members
Friday, 16 March 2012 7.30pm "Hungate, York - a five year excavation" - Dr Peter Connelly
Friday, 17 February 2012 7.30pm "Manors and Manorial Estates in North Yorkshire" - Dr Barry Harrison
Friday, 20 January 2012 7.30pm "Shandy Hall, Coxwold" - Mr Patrick Wildgust
Friday, 18 November 2011 7.30pm "Duggleby Howe, one of the largest Neolithic monuments in Britain" - Dr Alex Gibson
Friday, 21 October 2011 7.30pm "Pre-conquest parish development in NE Yorkshire" - Ms Christiane Kroebel
Friday, 16 September 2011 7.30pm "The Harrison Collection, illustrated with some items from the Collection" - Mr Edward Harrison
Friday, 15 April, 2011 7.00pm

AGM, then Social (with refreshments), followed by mini-talks by Members - including:

  • "A Religious Guild in Ryedale: the Guild & Chapel of St Crux in Sheriff Hutton" - Tony Wright
  • Barbara Hickman - subject to be announced

There will also be a display about the Watercourses Continuation Project

Friday, 18 March 2011 7.30pm "The Iron Ore Industry in Rosedale" - Mr Graham Lee
Friday, 18 February 2011 7.30pm "Archaeology of The River Foss Navigation" - Mr Christopher Dunn
Friday, 21 January 2011 7.30pm "The View From Above" - English Heritage and the National Mapping Programme, Mr Dave MacLeod
Friday, 19 November 2010 7.30pm

"The Spanish Flu Epidemic in York", Mr Martin Knight

Sunday, 17 October 2010 2.30pm

Visit to Cawthorn Camps

Friday, 15 October 2010 7.30pm

"Cawthorn Camps", Dr Peter Wilson

Friday, 17 September 2010 7.30pm "The Viking Age in North Yorkshire", Dr Martin Arnold
Friday, 16 April, 2010 7.30pm AGM, mini-talks by Members, and Social
Friday, 19 March, 2010 7.30pm "The Dead Sea Scrolls" - Very Revd. Dom Henry Wansbrough, OSB
Friday, 19 February 2010 7.30pm "The Crimean War in general, and the battle of Balaclava in particular" - Peter Bleach;
Friday, 15 January 2010 7.30pm

"Mesolithic excavations at Star Carr: past, present and future" - Dr Nicky Milner, York University

Friday, 20 November, 2009 7.30pm

"A royal Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Street House, NE Yorkshire" - Stephen Sherlock

Friday, 16 October, 2009 7.30pm

"Beyond the Vale of Pickering: recent excavations at Boltby Scar Hillfort" - Professor Dominic Powlesland, Institute for Medieval Studies,University of Leeds

This is a change of subject: Prof Powlesland has just finished excavating there and will be talking about it...

Friday, 18 September, 2009 7.30pm "Meaux Abbey " - Dr. Mary E. Carrick
See also Summer Programme visit on Wednesday 23rd September
Friday, 17 April, 2009 7.30pm

A.G.M., mini-talks by Members & Social:

  • Basil Wharton - "The Benefits of Coastal Erosion"
  • David Johnson - "Rievaulx Great Arch"
  • Jim Halliday will be mounting a small exhibition, including finds from Byland Abbey and Norton cemetery
  • Alfred Williamson will be bringing along some old photographs of Helmsley
  • Paula Ware will be available to check on any finds we may bring along
Friday, 20 March, 2009 7.30pm

"Letting in the Light: The Yorkshire Museum's Treasures" - Dr Andrew Morrison, Curator of the Yorkshire Museum.

"A quick run through the museum's history, treasures and plans for the future in a light hearted and hopefully entertaining way - whilst still filling the talk with information
"

Friday, 20 February, 2009 7.30pm "The Landscape of Rievaulx Abbey" - Trevor Pearson, Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society
Friday, 16 January, 2009 7.30pm "The First World War - generals had no choice in the way they waged the war, given the state of military technology and communications at the time" - Peter Bleach: English Heritage
Friday, 17 October, 2008 7.30pm Working title: "E.H. Conservation Principles in Action" - Keith Emerick, Inspector of Ancient Monuments: English Heritage.
Friday, 21 November, 2008 7.30pm "Carved in Stone - geology and vernacular architecture" - Rod Mill, Chairman: Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Trust
Saturday, 11 October, 2008
10.00am - 12.30pm
"Hildenley Quarry" - click here for much more detail
Sunday, 5 October, 2008 10.00am - 5.00pm "A Celebration of the Local History and Archaeology of the Region" - various speakers
Friday, 19 September, 2008 7.30pm "Memorandum Book of Richard Cholmeley of Brandsby, 1602-1623" - Michael Hickes