Record for 2011

Goostrey Scouts view the roundshaft

Goostrey Scouts view the roundshaft

 

This is a record of events that have taken place during the year. Future events can be found on the events page.

The accounts are a useful source of information for people who would like to know about our activities before they attend a particular event.

They have also proved to be particularly useful to university candidates, writing their personal statements, by providing a reference for an interest, beyond the limits of the curriculum, in their chosen subjects.

Overview for the year: 2011

This year has been one of both consolidation and innovation. We have fine-tuned some of our regular courses, introduced new ones and instigated some new events; such as our Open Days, which were well attended and much enjoyed.  The number of Conducted Tours that we have given has grown, with some being organised by visitors who have been here before.  We have also taken our presence out into the local community by giving talks at History groups and U3A groups and having stalls and displays at the Alderley Edge May Fair, Goostrey Rose Day and Radbroke Hall Families Day - and further a-field at Plas Mawr in Conwy.

The generosity of our benefactors has enabled us to give a bursary to one of our participants and also to commemorate a much love champion of the young with an annual award in his name for the student, who we judge to have gained the most from the Trust and who has helped us the most during the last few years.  It is The Eric Morten Award and was presented at our Friends' and Benefactors' Day.  This is an event where the Trustees thank all those who have contributed to the Trust in a variety of ways and whose support we depend on to run our events and to secure our future.

Contents

  2011

  Wednesday, 19th October   Antiques Road Trip at the Old Medicine House  
  Saturday, 8th October   Science in Archaeology  
  Tuesday, 27th September   MGS GCSE Art Class  
  Wednesday, 21st September   Open Day  
  Saturday, 27th August   Friends  
  Monday, 22nd August   Archaeological Training Excavation  
  Sunday, 31st July   Frank Carter Memorial Plate - 2011  
  Saturday, 30th July   Medieval Cheshire  
  Friday, 22nd July   Variety at Home  
  Sunday, 26th June   Music of a House  
  Saturday, 18th June   Open Day  
  Thursday, 19th May   Demonstration at Plas Mawr  
  Saturday, 14th May   Tudor Blackwork Embroidery  
  Monday, 4th April   Hidden Histories  
  Saturday, 2nd April   Archaeological excavation for Young Friends  
  Saturday, 26th March   Uncovering the Story of Blackden  


Detail

2011

Jonathan Pratt and the red MG at Blackden

Jonathan Pratt and the red MG at Blackden

Antiques Road Trip at the Old Medicine House – 19th October 2011

Jonathan Pratt and his red MG visited the Old Medicine House as part of his journey through Cheshire. Griselda Garner described how the Old Medicine House had been dismantled at its original site in Wrinehill and how it was repaired in Holmes Chapel before it was re-assembled at Blackden. She showed Jonathan the artefacts that were found within the fabric of the house and those found in the garden and surrounding fields. Sue Hughes talked to him about the genesis of our herb collection and how herbs were used at the time that the house was originally built. We were a part of Episode 21 of Series 3 that was transmitted on 10th October 2011.  

Click here to read more on an external website 

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Science in Archaeology

Tutors: Professor Robert Cywinski, Professor Susan Kilcoyne

Working on various practical experiments

Working on various practical experiments  


Bob Cywinski started the day by introducing us to the advanced scientific techniques that are now an integral part of archaeological investigation. He showed us how the broad range of scientific methods now available, such as resistivity, ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and metal detecting can help us piece together and understand the often fragmentary evidence the past has left for us to decipher. He outlined the strengths and weaknesses of the different techniques and discussed the need to correlate the results of several investigative techniques of any site to get a fuller picture of its story. He also introduced us to exciting techniques that have only recently been adopted by archaeologists. These techniques use beams of exotic sub-atomic particles to probe deeply within objects, revealing the finest details of their inner structure and provide unique information on their origin, composition, manufacture, use, and even their authenticity. He showed us how future scientific developments will expand the essential role that science now plays in the finding and interpretation of archaeology.

We then had a chance work on practical experiments in some of the techniques, including a laser scanner that recorded objects in minute detail. With a mini resistivity meter, we surveyed a mini site of sand in a plastic trough, in which objects with varying resistivity had been buried. When the data was logged into a program to convert the data into a diagram, which would indicate where the objects were buried, it gave results that were extremely close to those of a full-scale resistivity meter.

Having learnt how they worked, we used metal detectors to survey an area of disturbed the soil, where a variety of metal objects of had previously been placed. Some were found, others were not, and more objects that had not been buried, but were lurking in the soil, were found.

'A very interesting and informative course. It was fascinating to learn about new technology.'

'Although I had used some of the equipment during my degree course, this is the first time I have understood the science behind it.'

'A fascinating day. Thank you.'

Uploading data

Uploading data
 

Working on the mini site

Working on the mini site
 

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Manchester Grammar School GCSE Art Class at The Blackden Trust

Alan Garner giving J. L. Paton's book to Rachel Kneale

Alan Garner giving J. L. Paton's book
to Rachel Kneale  


Boys in Mrs. Jo Dobbs' GCSE Art Class came to Blackden and were given a brief tour of the garden and The Old Medicine House before they chose what they wanted to draw. They occupied every room and several niches in the garden as they worked.

Alan Garner took the opportunity to give a Sanskrit Grammar that had belonged to the legendary High Master of MGS, J. L. Paton, to Rachel Kneale the school archivist.  In 1952, when Alan was in the Sixth Form, he rescued the book from being dumped into a skip by an over zealous librarian.  He had kept it until it could be safely returned to the Paton Library.

It was a pleasure to have a group of such highly motivated and concentrated people enjoying the structure of the house and the objects it contains.  We look forward to seeing the finished work that was stimulated by spending time at Blackden.

By the labyrinth

By the labyrinth
 

In the garden

In the garden
 

In a bedroom

In a bedroom
 

On the staircase

On the staircase

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Open Days

A tour of the garden

A tour of the garden

There was a range of activities to give visitors a taste of the variety of opportunities offered by The Blackden Trust: demonstrations of Tudor herbs and spices; period music played on instruments of the time; artefacts relating to the house and site to be puzzled over; a taste of archaeological skills in the washing and dating of pottery sherds found in the garden and surrounding fields; a chance to buy replica pottery based on those sherds; tours of the Old Medicine House and garden; and tea and cakes in the marquee.

Some comments from our visitors:

'Incredible! I love the cosy feel of a still used and loved home.'

'Excellent tour. Very friendly. Brilliant cakes!'

'Wonderful. Fascinating experience.'

'Superb experience -- hope to return for a course.'

'This is a wonderful magical place. Thank you for sharing it.'

Identifying artefacts

Identifying artefacts
 

Tea and cakes in the marquee

Tea and cakes in the marquee
 

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Friends' and Benefactors' Day

Alan Garner and Chris Lynch unwrapping Chris's gift to the Trust

Alan Garner and Chris Lynch unwrapping Chris's gift to the Trust  


This is an event that is developing an atmosphere all of its own.

We create displays of our activities for the event; and give tours of the archaeological training excavation and the shop is opened so people can buy John Hudson' s replica pottery based on the sherds that we have found in the garden.

This year we also made the presentation of the Eric Morten Award for the young person who we judged to have gained the most from the Trust and who, over the last three years, had passed the most on to others. The inaugural winner was Jenny Reddish, now in her second year of an Archaeology and Anthropology degree at Magdalen College, Oxford.

'The Blackden Trust has played an extremely important role in nurturing my academic interests. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in archaeology and history: it provides a unique space to think about new ideas and an excellent group of people to think about them with!

'I didn't know Eric Morten, but from what I hear he had a similar knack for recognising and kindling the interests of young people. He picked out books for them, sold them at reduced rates and even gave them the books they needed for their careers.

'I am delighted, then, to receive this award in commemoration of him, and hope that young people continue to benefit from the intellectual nourishment provided by people like Eric and all at the Blackden Trust.'

Then unplanned and unexpected, Chris Lynch, one of our benefactors, gave The Blackden Trust a very special gift: two Minton tiles designed by Christopher Dresser. The design of the tiles includes motifs found in the pattern of the plates that were the catalyst of Alan Garner' s novel, The Owl Service. This generous donation epitomised the atmosphere of warmth and good will that was generated among all those present.

Jenny Reddish accepting her award

Jenny Reddish accepting her award
 

Richard Morris presenting the Eric Morten Award

Richard Morris presenting the Eric Morten Award
 

A student explaining what the excavation has revealed

A student explaining what the excavation has revealed

John Hudson identifying and dating pottery sherds found in the garden of a Friend of The Blackden Trust

John Hudson identifying and dating pottery sherds found in the garden of a Friend of The Blackden Trust

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Interim report on Archaeological Training excavation at Blackden in 2011

Directors Dr Mark Roberts, Professor Richard Morris

Opening a trench

Opening a trench

A third season of excavations to characterise, date and explain traces of former outbuildings took place in August 2011.

In 2009 a small excavation successfully located a long building which partly lay within the present site and ran into the adjoining field, historically known as Barn Croft. This building is known to have existed by 1789 and was gone by 1900. In 2010 the area of study was extended with results summarised on this website.

In 2011 the substructure of the building was further examined. The building had been thoroughly robbed at the time of its abandonment and has since been heavily disturbed by ploughing. Nonetheless it is possible to see that it was largely timber-built, with substructures variously formed of dry-laid stone blocks, rammed brick and clay. Subsidiary structures stood against and within the main building, part of which had had a close-fitting stone-flagged floor.

The building emerges

The building emerges

Demolition debris suggests that the original building carried a thackstone roof; analysis and quantification of brick fragments points to their local manufacture linked with different episodes of modification or repair. The presence of cullet, fragments of window glass and lead calmes implies recycling on or near the site. Finds included pieces of slate lined out for writing, 17th- to early 20th-century ceramics, whetstones, and a small amount of worked flint.

The 2011 campaign also examined a length of a trackway that ran alongside the barn. The track ran out of the southern corner of the former farm complex and aligned with a former field boundary that appears on air photographs as a crop mark continuing south-east of the railway. Excavation found the track to have followed a ditch cut into interleaved fluvioglacial deposits of sand and clay. The ditch formed part of the surrounding system of field boundaries that is visible on 18th/19th-century maps. The origin of this system is uncertain, but we can see that it existed before the end of the Middle Ages.

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Dave Heath receives his memorial plate

Dave Heath receives his memorial plate

Frank Carter Memorial Plate - 2011 – 31st July 2011

Dave Heath won the Frank Carter Memorial Plate for the heaviest Premier Berry shown at the 2011 Goostrey Gooseberry Society Show. His winning berry was a Newton Wonder that weighed 31 pennyworths and 15 grains. Dave will be presented with his plate early in 2012. This is the second time he has won the plate. He was the winner in 2009 with a Bank View berry that weighed 31 pennyweights and 18 grains. 

Read more about the Gooseberry Project 

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Medieval Cheshire

Tutors: Jane Laughton, Tom Hughes, Sue Hughes

Listening to the pipe and drum

Listening to the pipe and drum


Jane started the day with an illustrated talk on how the daily life of the people of Cheshire in the Middle Ages can be reconstructed from manuscripts and how careful correlation of manuscripts can reveal the changing fortunes of families. She also led us through the evidence of long distance trade in Cheshire.

Sue described how medieval recipes used ingredients that, although common to us today, were used to produce a completely different flavour. She had cooked a range of dishes for us to taste. We found the use of sugar in savoury dishes particularly odd to our modern palate.

Tom told us folk tales and played some medieval music on replica instruments of the period; a performance we all enjoyed. He ended the day with a tour of the Old Medicine House. The whole day gave us an integrated experience of several aspects of medieval life.

Some comments from our visitors:

'Fantastic -- wonderful place -- great course -- THANK YOU.'

'A day of fascinating and very informative facts. That such information is given in such a special building just makes the whole day memorable.'

'Amazing house. Really informative day. Thanks for the food. '

'A day full of fascinating information with a number of ways of engaging with the subject -- listening, looking, eating and enjoying music. Thank you for providing a broad picture of Medieval Cheshire.'

'A really special day in a gorgeous house. Thank you.'

'The course was really enjoyable. It was my first time at Blackden. What an amazing place. The Old Medicine House has got to be one my favourite buildings. I know how much work goes into organising courses so thank you to everyone at Blackden.'

A medieval spread

A medieval spread
 

Tucking in

Tucking in
 

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Holmes Chapel Comprehensive Summer School visit to The Blackden Trust

Variety at Home

Tutors: Graham Massey, Dawn Parry

A Tudor welcome

A Tudor welcome


Year 7 students from Holmes Chapel Comprehensive Summer School came to Blackden for a variety of activities. They were encouraged to use their powers of observation; to develop their logical reasoning; and to consider the importance of herbs in the Tudor period. Using a set of riddles as clues, they found and walked a labyrinth that led them to a well; found ancient artefacts; and discovered plants that were associated with medicine and protection from evil spirits.

Inside the sixteenth century Old Medicine House, the students were introduced to some of the medical theories of the sixteenth century and the importance of herbs and spices in all aspects of life at the time; in cooking, in dyes, and for strewing to deter insects and sweeten the smell of the house, as well as in medicine. The students chose herbs and spices to make their own individually scented tussie mussies to take home. All these activities gave the students a practical experience of the information that can be deduced from the objects people leave behind.

'I liked trying to figure out what the different objects were and what they were used for. This was most interesting for me.'

'I enjoyed going into the medicine house and making the herb pouches. I also liked doing the ' mystery investigation' . I liked everything.'

'I enjoyed making the herb pouches and learning about different herbs and what they mean and do. I loved everything.'

'I loved the apothecary. The riddles were entertaining. I liked the labyrinth.'

'I enjoyed the riddles and the herb pouches making part. I would like to do it all again and I think it was great.'

Deciphering the riddles

Deciphering the riddles

Selecting herbs for tussie mussies

Selecting herbs for tussie mussies

Walking the labyrinth

Walking the labyrinth
 

Working out the function of a mystery object

Working out the function of a mystery object
 

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Music of a House

Musician: Richard York

Richard York with one of his harps

Richard York with one of his harps

After a simple buffet, we followed Richard York into the Old Medicine House, where he entertained us with music that could have been played in the two timber frame houses in the care of The Blackden Trust: the medieval Toad Hall and the 16th century Old Medicine House. Richard York played on period instruments as diverse as harp, dulcimer, bagpipes, shawm, and concertina in the main room of the Old Medicine House, giving us an opportunity to hear the music as it would have sounded when it was first performed. The highlight of the afternoon was when Richard played a tune on a melodeon that had belonged to Billy Bentley, who was born and died in Toad Hall. It was the first time its music had been heard in more than half a century.

Our visitors' comments: 'A wonderful day' 'Fabulous houses. We were made to feel most welcome. Thank you.' 'A superbly calm and creative house for music. Thank you very much.'

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Open Days

A tour of the garden

A tour of the garden

There was a range of activities to give visitors a taste of the variety of opportunities offered by The Blackden Trust: demonstrations of Tudor herbs and spices; period music played on instruments of the time; artefacts relating to the house and site to be puzzled over; a taste of archaeological skills in the washing and dating of pottery sherds found in the garden and surrounding fields; a chance to buy replica pottery based on those sherds; tours of the Old Medicine House and garden; and tea and cakes in the marquee.

Some comments from our visitors:

'Incredible! I love the cosy feel of a still used and loved home.'

'Excellent tour. Very friendly. Brilliant cakes!'

'Wonderful. Fascinating experience.'

'Superb experience -- hope to return for a course.'

'This is a wonderful magical place. Thank you for sharing it.'

Identifying artefacts

Identifying artefacts
 

Tea and cakes in the marquee

Tea and cakes in the marquee
 

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Demonstration at Plas Mawr
Plas Mawr, Conwy

Tom Hughes, Sue Hughes 

19th May 2011

We were invited to contribute to Adult Learning Week event at Plas Mawr.  Sue Hughes gave a demonstration of the properties and uses of Tudor herbs in the kitchen of the house, while Tom Hughes played music of the period of the building in the richly decorated parlour.  We were a part of a range of living history activities taking place during the day.

Visitors from as far as Scotland, Hampshire, Canada and Japan passed through the kitchen, where we had mounted a display of events at The Blackden Trust.

Sue in the kitchen with a display of Tudor herbs and spices

Sue in the kitchen with a display
of Tudor herbs and spices

Tom with his pipes and drums

Tom with his pipes and drums

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Tudor Blackwork Embroidery

Tutor: Bernadette Grantham

Embroiderers at work

Embroiderers at work

 

We gathered in the Old Medicine House, where Bernadette Grantham introduced us to the history of blackwork embroidery. She showed us copies of 16th century portraits, several by Hans Holbein, where floral and geometric designs characteristic of blackwork embroidery decorated the collars and cuffs of the nobility he painted.

Bernadette had created a design based on the quatrefoil carved into the timbers on either side of the windows of the gable ends of the Old Medicine House. Using her design as a guide, we adapted and created our own blackwork quatrefoils.

 

One circle completed

One circle completed

Starting on the third circle

Starting on the third circle

Finished quatrefoil

Finished quatrefoil

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HIDDEN HISTORIES
MGS at The Blackden Trust

Tutors: Melanie Giles, Sue Hughes, Tom Hughes, Graham Massey, Dawn Parry

Working out a puzzling thing

Working out a puzzling thing

During April and May boys from all the Year 8 forms at Manchester Grammar School spent a day at The Blackden Trust looking at evidence of past lives in the landscape, in the houses and in artefacts found in the area.

The boys walked the mile along the farm track from the Red Lion Inn, in Goostrey, to The Blacken Trust, looking for evidence of man's occupation of the land. They examined artefacts found on the site and in the surrounding fields; studied sherds of pottery to discover what the complete pot might have been; and by handling unfamiliar objects they worked out what the objects were and how they might have been used.

Inside the Old Medicine House, the boys were introduced to some of the medical theories of the sixteenth century and the importance of herbs and spices in all aspects of life at the time; in cooking, in dyes, and for strewing to deter insects and sweeten the smell of the house, as well as in medicine. The boys chose herbs and spices to make their own individually scented tussie mussies to take home.

'PERFECT. I really enjoyed the day - everything was good and perfectly timed as well. I think that it was interesting and I think that I could one day do some research myself.'

'I loved absolutely everything about The Blackden Trust. I learnt a lot about history and archaeology. Today has really sparked an interest for me in archaeology. Thanks for a superb day.'

'Very enjoyable & I thoroughly liked it. Lots of these things that have happened will stay in my mind for a long time. Thank you.'

'I really enjoyed the day it made me realise that one ordinary patch of ground can hold so much history. It was really enjoyable.'

'I enjoyed finding out what the different herbs are used for, the lateral thinking tasks was very interesting. There were also very puzzling things to work out, which was great!'

'This day was very good and a very memorable day for me. To begin with I enjoyed learning about medicine and the different uses of local herbs that were used in order to medicate people.'

'My favourite bit was when we made a tuzy wuzy so we could take something home to remember the trip.'

'I also enjoyed the talk about artefacts as I learnt how to deduce so much information from a piece of an object. It was also memorable to hold a ½ million old artefact. Very good.'

'Really enjoyed my day here! Enjoyed learning how much information can be inferred from a single object. I also enjoyed learning about the different herbs used in the Medicine House.'

'I think that today was a brilliant day and raised my already extremely high expectations.'

Demonstrating a Tudor water sprinkler

Demonstrating a Tudor water sprinkler

Examining artefacts

Examining artefacts

Expounding a theory

Expounding a theory

Selecting herbs for tuzzie muzzies

Selecting herbs for tuzzie muzzies

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Archaeological Excavation for Young Friends

Tutors: Dawn Parry, Tom Hughes

Digging for china

Digging for china

 

Students, who had shown a particular interest in the activities of the Trust when they visited us, but who are too young to attend our archaeological training excavation, were given the opportunity to learn a range of archaeological skills.

They excavated a linear test pit across undisturbed ground. They sorted and recorded the finds; washing and dating the pottery sherds that emerged. The course ended with a session when parents joined us and the students evaluated what had been discovered during the day and how it fitted into the knowledge of the place.

Sorting and dating pottery sherds

Sorting and dating pottery sherds

 

 

 

' I enjoyed the dig and I would really like to come back again. I liked learning about all the different types of pottery we found and how they got there. The things we were shown in the house were fascinating.'

' I liked that I could actually get into a real dig with archaeologists. I also liked finding out about this fascinating site.'

' I thoroughly enjoyed the digging of the trench and also the identifying of the pottery.' ' I enjoyed finding the pottery and matching today' s findings into groups.'

 

 

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Uncovering the Story of Blackden

Tutor: Richard Morris

Examining the display of Blackden Trust activities

Examining the display of Blackden Trust activities

 

The Friends of The Blackden Trust organised a Local History talk by Richard Morris at the Goostrey Methodist Church.

Richard explained how the places in which we live were shaped by ice and the effects of ice melt some twelve thousand years ago. Since then Blackden has seen hunter gatherers, early farmers, and medieval lords and peasants. What they cumulatively left behind: flint tools; a Bronze Age cremation; and thousands of pieces of pottery are among the artefacts that we study today.

Richard showed how the township boundary of Blackden can be recognized at least as early as the 13th century, and used census records for evidence of population and occupations to carry the story up to the twentieth century.

Those attending the talk in Goostrey Methodist Church were fascinated to discover such a long history in their own back yard, and interested to learn how they could become involved.

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Printed on: 16 Oct 2019

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