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

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Avebury © David Gill

This is a personal list of heritage sites for Wiltshire.

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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.

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Silbury Hill © David Gill

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

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Stonehenge © David Gill

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

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Old Sarum © David Gill

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

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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.

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Bemerton © David Gill

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

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Wilton House © David Gill

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

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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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

VE Day 75: Landguard

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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.

Leicester: the Roman baths

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Leicester © David Gill

The ‘Jewry Wall’ forms part of the bath complex in the Roman town of Ratae Coritanorum (Leicester). It is now dated to c. AD 160 (rather than AD 125–130). The masonry remains are in State Guardianship.

See English Heritage.

Alan Sorrell: creating visions of the past

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2018

How do you interpret archaeological sites to make them understood by the public? This book looks at the influential work of Alan Sorrell: the subtitle, ‘The man who created Roman Britain’, perhaps indicates the impact of his work.

Roman Britain features prominently: Hadrian’s Wall (fig. 99; Cover), the Carrawburgh mithraeum (fig. 102a–b), Housesteads fort (fig. 110), Caerleon legionary fortress (figs. 1), 80, the forum at Leicester (fig. 25), London (figs. 87, 104a–c, 106), Caerwent (figs. 28, 84a–b, 86a–b), Wroxeter (fig. 118), Bath (fig. 119a–b), Llantwit Major villa (fig. 85), and Lullingstone villa (fig. 98c). Medieval structures in state guardianship appear: Harlech and Conwy Castles (fig. 54a–b), the Bishop’s Palace at St Davids (fig. 69), Tintern Abbey (fig. 65a) and Jedbergh Abbey (fig. 65b).

Looking to Greece there are reconstructions of the Palace of Nestor at Pylos (figs. 17, 105), excavated by Carl Blegen, and the Palace at Knossos on Crete (fig. 41a).

The section on his work for the National Museum of Wales was particularly helpful. The reconstruction of Maen Madoc in the Brecon Beacons was instructive (fig. 89). Sorrell’s work with William Francis Grimes was given prominence.

The commissioning of reconstructions for sites in state guardianship is presented in some detail. We are presented with the views of P.K. Baillie Reynolds, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments: ‘They should have a good public appeal’. Yet at the same time Baillie Reynolds opposed the use of such reconstructions. This was in contrast with A.J. Taylor: ‘I should, personally, very much like to see in due course Sorrell drawings of all our North Wales Edwardian castles’. The use of Sorrell reconstructions in the Ministry’s ‘Blue Guides’ is itself constructive.

Sorrell, Julia, and Mark Sorrell. 2018. Alan Sorrell: the man who created Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.

Tilbury Fort: guidebooks

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1980 (1985, repr. 1987)

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.

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2004 (rev. repr. 2014)

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.

 

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