Shap Abbey: guidebook

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1963 (3rd impress. with amendments)

The Premonstratensian abbey at Shap was founded in the 12th century. The remains were placed in State Guardianship by the Lowther Estates in 1948.

The MPBW guide was first published in 1963. It was divided into two sections, each by separate authors (a pattern found for other sites, e.g. guides prepared by James S. Richardson). The history was prepared by H.M. Colvin of St John’s College, Oxford (pp. 3–5), followed by the Architectural History (pp. 5–6) and Description (pp. 6–15) by R. Gilyard-Beer. A fold-out plan of the abbey was placed inside the back cover. There are four black and white plates, including a pen drawing of 1859 and a Buck engraving of 1739.

Hadrian’s Wall: Pike Hill tower

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Pike Hill tower © David Gill

The tower on Pike Hill lies between MC52 (Bankhead) and T52a (Banks East). Only the south corner survives after the road was adapted in 1870. The tower was excavated in 1931, and associated pottery suggests that it was probably constructed around the reign of Hadrian. Unlike the turrets on Hadrian’s Wall, the wall is attached at an angle suggesting that the tower predates the later defensive line.

An inscription recording Antoninus Pius was found  here in 1862 (RIB 1957). The slab is now in the Tullie House Museum.

Brougham Castle: Latin Inscription

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Latin inscription, Brougham Castle © David Gill

The 13th century keep of Brougham Castle, Cumbria incorporates reused masonry from the Roman fort (Brocavum). A Latin funerary inscription is built into the ceiling of the second floor (RIB 787). The person named is Tittus M[..] who died around the age of 32 (‘[pl]us minus’). The monument was set up by his brother.

The hunters of Banna

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Inscription, Birdoswald © David Gill

An inscription found at Birdoswald in 1821 is now displayed in the small site museum (RIB 1905). It had previously been displayed in the undercroft at nearby Lanercost Priory (and where it features in Charles M. Daniels, Handbook to the Roman Wall 13th ed.).

The altar was dedicated to the ‘holy god’ Silvanus, and the dedicators were the venatores or hunters of Banna. Banna is almost certainly Birdoswald, and is a name also known from the Rudge cup found at Froxfield in Wiltshire (for the replica, now in the British Museum) that shows some of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall.

It has been suggested that the inscription should be dated to the 3rd century (supported by David Breeze in his Handbook to the Roman Wall).

A Greek inscription from Maryport

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Greek inscription from Maryport © David Gill

Among the inscriptions from the fort at Maryport in Cumbria (and now in the Senhouse Museum) is one in Greek (RIB 808). The dedication to the Greek god of healing, Asklepios, is made by Aulus Egnatius Pastor.

The inscription is known from 1720.

George C. Boon has suggested that Egnatius Pastor was a freedman of the governor Egnatius Lucilianus (“Potters, Oculists and Eye-Troubles”, Britannia 14 [1983] 7 [JSTOR]), and therefore dates to 238-244 (see RIB 1091, from Lanchester; 1262, from High Rochester).

Bonawe Iron Furnace: Charging House

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

The Bonawe Iron Furnace was established in 1753 by the Newland Company of Cumbria. This event is marked in the series of Ministry style signs that help to interpret the buildings and installations. The site is in the care of Historic Scotland.

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

The water wheel was installed in the pit adjacent to the blowing house. It was around 3.7 m in diameter. Water was fed from a lade. The wheel provided the power to work the bellows in the adjacent blowing house.

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

The casting house was located adjacent to the blast furnace.

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Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace © David Gill

 

Stott Park Bobbin Mill

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Stott Park Bobbin Mill © David Gill

The Stott Park Bobbin Mill in Cumbria was in use from 1835 (when it was founded by John Harrison) until its closure in 1971. It was placed in State Guardianship in 1974 (and is now in the care of English Heritage). One of its chief functions was to make bobbins from locally harvested wood for use in the cotton mills. The mill is located at the south-west corner of Lake Windermere.

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1983

The first DOE guidebook was prepared in 1983 by Ian Ayris and Peter White. The introduction states: ‘The mill buildings and the machinery are predominantly Victorian. It is scarcely different in appearance today than it was over 100 years ago. It is, therefore, a unique and important monument’. The cover indicates the then vision for the bobbin mill: ‘An Industrial Museum’.

The fully illustrated guide has sections on the products; the bobbin masters; the bobbin mills; the bobbin makers; and bobbin making.

The acknowledgements notes that the DOE ‘will be pleased to hear from people who have further records, photographs or information on the history of the bobbin industry’.

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2015

The present fully illustrated English Heritage guidebook by Peter White is divided into two main sections, tour of the site, and history of the mill. There is a description of each feature of the mill and its outlying buildings. There are several special features including child labour; powering the mill; apprentices, journeymen and masters; the cotton famine; and the workhouse. There is a section on the 1980 interview with Jack Ivison and his memories of the working mill.