Guidebooks to the Roman Frontier

1952 [5th impress. 1960]

The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne has had two features on the official Ministry and English Heritage guidebooks of Hadrian’s Wall in their News Bulletin:

David W. J. Gill, ‘Guiding us along the Roman wall’, 69 (September 2020), p. 3

Nick Hodgson, ‘Guiding us along the Roman frontier, Part II’, 70 (December 2020), p. 5

Corbridge (with update); Chesters (with update); Housesteads; Birdoswald; Hadrian’s Wall

Tynemouth Priory and Castle: guidebooks

Tynemouth Priory and Castle © David Gill

Tynemouth priory and church are located on the north side of the mouth of the river Tyne. The first guidebook, by R.Neville Hadcock, was published in 1936; the second edition appeared in 1952, continuing as an English Heritage ‘Handbook’ in 1986. It followed the standard format of History followed by description; there is an extended glossary.

The guidebook was replaced by Andrew D. Saunders (1993).

1986

The most recent guidebook is by Grace McCombie (2008). This starts with a tour followed by the history. It includes a section on the headland in the First and Second World Wars, with detailed descriptions of the gun batteries.

2008

Dunstanburgh Castle: guidebooks

Dunstanburgh Castle © David Gill

Dunstanburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast was placed in State Guardianship in 1929. Construction had started in 1313. The first official guide was published in 1936 with the section on the history of the castle by C.H. Hunter Blair, and the description by H.L. Honeyman. The cover carries the arms of Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster (1277–1322). There is a foldout plan inside the back cover. The guide continued into the 1970s.

1936 (2nd ed. 1955, 4th impress. 1962)
10th impress. 1973

A colour illustrated guide was prepared by Henry Summerson (1993). The main section is dedicated to a tour of the castle, and there is a helpful bird’s-eye view to help to orientate the visitor. There is a short section with biographical notes on Thomas of Lancaster and John of Gaunt.

1993

Alastair Oswald and Jeremy Ashbee prepared the English Heritage red guide (2007). This contains a bird’s-eye view and a plan of the castle on the fold-out card cover. The tour contains helpful thumbnail plans to help the visitor located their position. There is a section on Dunstanburgh and coastal defence during World War 2.

2007 (repr. 2016)

Brunton Turret: Ministry of Works signage

Brunton Turret (1985) © David Gill

Brunton Turret (T26b) is included in a well preserved stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, just to the east of the River North Tyne (and Chesters Roman fort). The Ministry of Works sign (since removed) reminded visitors not to damage the monument. It is perhaps ironic that Brunton Turret was the target of illegal detecting.

Brunton Turret from the west © David Gill

Finchale Priory: Prior’s lodgings

Finchale Priory © David Gill

The prior’s lodgings are at the east end of the complex.

Finchale Priory © David Gill
Finchale Priory © David Gill

A chapel was placed on the south side of the rooms, and a study to the north.

Finchale Priory © David Gill
Finchale Priory © David Gill

Heritage sites in England reopening

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle looking north from the gatehouse. © David Gill

English Heritage has started to reopen a number of its key sites. Further locations are due to reopen in August.

Details are available here.

The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor

The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

The Hurlers are located on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Parts of three circles can be identified.

The site is in the care of English Heritage and is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

Top 10 Heritage Sites for Wiltshire

IMG_5598
Avebury © David Gill

This is a personal list of heritage sites for Wiltshire.

DCP_1380-Edit
Avebury © David Gill

Avebury. This must be one of the most impressive prehistoric sites in England. The village of Avebury sits within the Henge. The monument is placed in the middle of a rich archaeological landscape.

IMG_2220.JPG
Silbury Hill © David Gill

Silbury Hill. This artificial hill dominates the land around it and forms part of the Avebury landscape.

Stonehenge_6
Stonehenge © David Gill

Stonehenge. This must be one of the most iconic prehistoric sites in England with the trilithons.

IMG_1010-Edit
Old Sarum © David Gill

Old Sarum. The foundations of the original cathedral and the medieval castle sit within an Iron Age hillfort.

IMG_2012-Edit
Salisbury Cathedral © David Gill

Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral dominates the city of Salisbury. The foundation stone was laid in 1220 and it was consecrated in 1258.

IMG_0844.JPG
Bemerton © David Gill

Bemerton. The exquisite Bemerton church has associations with the poet George Herbert.

IMG_0481.JPG
Wilton House © David Gill

Wilton House. This is one of the most impressive houses in Wiltshire granted to the Pembrokes in 1544.

IMG_2366-Edit
Lacock Abbey © David Gill

Lacock Abbey. Parts of the former nunnery can be seen within the later house. Lacock is important for the birth of modern photography (in 1835).

IMG_2476.JPG
Bowood © David Gill

Bowood. The orangery (part of the 1768 south front) and the grounds hint at the grandeur of this estate. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1955.

IMG_2202.JPG
Stourhead © David Gill

Stourhead. This is one of the top landscapes gardens in Britain. It was originally laid out between 1722 and 1787. Among the buildings is Henry Flitcroft’s Pantheon (1753).

 

VE Day 75: Pendennis

IMG_5813-Edit
Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

The Half Moon Battery at the south end of Pendennis was placed to defend Carrick Roads and the port of Falmouth was first built in 1793, and then remodelled in 1894–95. The concrete bunkers were constructed in 1941 to defend against aerial attack. They battery housed 6-inch Mark VII guns, and from 1943 Mark XXIV guns.

IMG_5834-Edit
Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

VE Day 75: Landguard

IMG_3971
Landguard Fort © David Gill

The 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since the end of fighting in Europe (VE Day). The towers on Darell’s Battery at Landguard Fort, opposite Harwich, were constructed in 1939–40 to direct guns (twin 6-pounders) defending this strategic port.