My new biography of Dr John Disney, founder of the John Disney Chair of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and benefactor of the Disney Marbles now displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, has been published by Archaeopress.
The family’s origins lay at Norton Disney in Lincolnshire where they had settled after the Norman conquest. Disney’s father, the Reverend John Disney, inherited The Hyde near Ingatestone in Essex from Thomas Brand-Hollis. The house contained the Grand Tour collection formed by Brand-Hollis and Thomas Hollis. The Reverend John Disney had met Brand-Hollis through the Unitarian Essex Street Chapel in London where he had ministered after leaving the Church of England.
John Disney inherited The Hyde from his father and presented much of the collection to the University of Cambridge. The objects were described in his Museum Disneianum. Some of the items can be traced back to his wife, Sophia, or uncle (and father-in-law), Lewis Disney-Ffytche, during their time in Naples after they had been forced to flee Paris during the Revolution. Disney-Ffytche had been the owner of Le Désert de Retz, the pleasure gardens near Paris.
Disney himself helped to establish a new museum in Chelmsford through the Chelmsford Philosophical Society. He was a key member of the Essex Archaeological Society.
1. The Disney family of Lincolnshire
2. The Break with the Church of England
3. Collectors of the Grand Tour: Thomas Hollis and Thomas Brand
4. The Disney family and Essex
5. The Hyde and its collection
6. Disney and Learned Societies
7. The Museum Disneianum and Cambridge
8. Going for Gold
9. The Disney legacy
The World of Disney: From Antiquarianism to Archaeology (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2020). ISBN 9781789698275.
This wonderful series of essays—journeys in the title—transports us from Mousa Broch on Shetland, to Abbotsford in the Borders; from Bell Rock Lighthouse off Angus, to Sweeney’s Bothy on Eigg.
Kathleen Jamie ignites our imagination with her reflection on Geldie Burn, and more specifically Mesolithic sites in their landscape. Her essay on Maggie’s Centre in Fife makes sense of contemporary therapeutic space by comparing this location with the prehistoric site at Links of Noltland on Westray.
Some of the locations are well-known and perhaps to be expected: Calanais (James Robertson), Iona Abbey (Alexander McCall Smith), and Edinburgh Castle (Alistair Moffat). But there are some unexpected gems here: James Robertson in Innerpeffray Library.
I was surproisingly gripped by Alistair Mofffat on Glenlivet Distillery and Inchmyre Prefabs, and James Crawford on Hampden Park and Sullom Voe. They were reminders of how society can leave its mark on the built environment.
James Robertson’s essay on Auld Alloway Kirk not only explores Tam O’ Shanter, but also rural parish churches, for example at Kiltearn and Croick. Alexander McCall Smith reflects on the Italian Chapel on Orkney.
This creative volume provides a range of insights and voices on Scotland’s history.
Baillie Reynolds was educated a Winchester College, and Hertford College, Oxford. His studies were interrupted by service in the Royal Field Artillery (1915–19) when he served in the 4th West Riding (Howitzer) Brigade. On completion of his studies he became a Pelham Student at the British School at Rome (1921–23). He published Thomas Ashby’s notes on the Castra Peregrinorum as well as a study of the troops based there in the Journal of Roman Studies (1923). In 1923 he was made an award by the Craven Fund to continue his research at the British School at Rome; the other awards were made to William A. Heurtley of Oriel College, and C.A. Ralegh Radford of Exeter College.
In 1924 he was appointed Assistant Master, Winchester College, and later the same year Lecturer in Ancient History, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1924–34) where the principal from 1927 to 1934 was (Sir) Henry Stuart-Jones, a former director of the British School at Rome. Baillie Reynolds published The Vigiles of Imperial Rome (Oxford University Press, 1926). From 1926–29 he directed the excavation of the Roman auxiliary fort at Caerhun (Canovium) to the south of Conwy in north Wales; the final report was published by him in 1938. In 1931 he was responsible for excavating the north gate, and in 1932 the west gate of Verulamium as part of the wider project directed by (Sir) Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (1929).
In 1934 he was appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for England, Ministry of Works. In 1936 in his capacity as Inspector he supported the proposal to preserve the remains of the Jewry Wall in Leicester that had been excavated by Kathleen Kenyon. In 1935 he was elected to the Council for the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, serving alongside Ralegh Radford. In 1947 he was one of the people who helped to acquire the Roman site of Wall from the National Trust.
Baillie Reynolds joined the Royal Field Artillery (TA) (1927–39) while he was in Aberystwyth, and during the Second World War served as a Major in the Royal Artillery (1939–45).
In 1954 he became Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Ministry of Works (1954–1961) replacing B.H. St John O’Neil; A.J. Taylor was appointed Assistant Chief Inspector. One of his projects was the intervention at Corfe Castle in 1959 to stabilise the ruins. Another was the restoration of West Kennet Long Barrow and Wayland’s Smithy; he defended his decisions in The Daily Telegraph (28 July 1962) describing the work as ‘no more a “fake” than is the reconstructed Portland Vase’. In 1960 he advised on the restoration of the Claudian aqueduct that ran through the grounds of the British Embassy in Rome. He retired in 1961 and was succeeded by Taylor.
In 1963 he was elected President, Royal Archaeological Institute (1963–1966) succeeding Ralegh Radford. He was made OBE (1950) and CBE (1957). Baillie Reynolds died in 1973.
The fort at Tilbury was designed to protect the Thames. The 17th century artillery fort was built on the site of a fort constructed by Henry VIII. The first English Heritage guidebook was written by A.D. Saunders, who prepared texts for other artillery forts. This contained the standard format of history and description. A ground plan of the fort was provided in the centre pages.
The fort was transferred from the War Office in 1948 after it had ceased to be used for military purposes. It was opened to the public in 1982.
The replacement English Heritage guide was by Paul Pattison. A colour bird’s eye view of the fort is provided inside the front cover, and colour coded plan inside the back cover. The guide contains a tour of the fort followed by a history.
A.R. Birley prepared ‘an illustrated guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall in 1963. This supplemented the guides to individual forts on the wall (Chesters, Housesteads) as well as the Stanegate (Corbridge). (See now the English Heritage guide to Birdoswald.) A foldout plan inside the card cover showed key locations between Wallsend and Bowness. There are some excellent reconstructions by Alan Sorrell (including one with an overlay to show the inside of the bath-house).
There was a fold-out MPBW guide to the Wall in 1970.
David J. Breeze prepared the Souvenir Guide to the Roman Wall, which is described inside the cover ass ‘The greatest monument to the Roman occupation of Britain’. Breeze has also prepared the Handbookto the Roman Wall. The guide includes South Shields and Vindolanda, as well as the Roman fort at Maryport on the Cumbrian coast.
The souvenir guide was replaced by Breeze’s ‘Red Guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall. The tour goes from west to east and includes non English Heritage sites such as Maryport, Vindolanda, Wallsend and South Shields.
These covers show the development from the first official guidebook (St Botolph’s) issued by the Office of Works through to English Heritage. These guides range from small booklets to concertina card guides.
For the development of guides in Scotland see here.
The Cistercian abbey at Furness was established at the present site in 1127. It was placed in State Guardianship in 1923. The official guidebook was prepared by J.C. Dickinson in 1965. This contains a history, followed by an itinerary and description. A fold-out plan is placed inside the back cover.
The ‘blue guide’ continued into the 1980s as an English Heritage guide. It was replaced in 1998 by a new illustrated guide, combined with Piel Castle, by Stuart Harrison and Jason Wood; the section on Piel Castle was prepared by Rachel Newman. A fold-out plan of the abbey as well as its surrounding area is printed on the fold-out back cover.
Brougham Castle in Cumbria was placed in State Guardianship in 1928. The first paper guidebook was written by John Charlton in 1950. It has a section on the history of the site, including the adjacent Roman fort. There is a separate section on the ‘periods of building’, followed by a description. A plan of the castle is provided on the centre pages.
The Ministry guide evolved into an English Heritage guide (1985) and a second edition was prepared in 1988. This contains a Tour of the Castle followed by a History. The text is considerably expanded. There is a short separate section on the Roman fort with an illustration of an altar to Mars.
This English Heritage guide is one of the ‘Gateway‘ sponsored guides.
The Charlton guide was replaced in 1999 by a joint guide with Brough Castle prepared by Henry Summerson. The histroy of each castle is presented followed by a tour. One of the sections is on ‘Wordsworth and Brougham’. Plans of both castles are placed inside the back cover.
Various people have contacted me since I started my gradual listing of useful journals for heritage-related research about the problems of accessing articles behind paywalls. There is an ongoing debate about this issue more widely in academia, but great progress has been made on making research more accessible via open-access decisions made in the publication process by authors; expectations now made by research funders for results to be open access; and publication materials being made available via institutional repositories.
Allied to this, it is worth flagging the UK’s excellent Access To Research scheme, which it not as well known about as it should be (and not well publicised by local library services either). Usually journals have their article abstracts fully available anyway, but a quick check via the search function on the Access to Research site shows if full availability is possible via a visit to a local UK library branch in person, and using a computer there. As a big advocate of the public library system (with weekly visits to our village branch), I think this is a great scheme – and helps to offer a fair way in to the gated community of academic publications for the general public and independent researchers.
Meanwhile, according to my spreadsheet, I have reached number 52 in my academic journals category on this blog. This is half way through my current ‘curated’ list – so hopefully another few months of ad hoc collating information and posting and I will get to the end of what started as a learning and teaching mission to signpost my students to the variety of places for accessing inter/cross-disciplinary heritage research (and ones which I considered useful). My intention is to upload the full spreadsheet as a resource page on the blog, and continue to add to it as I come across useful places where heritage research is appearing.