Woolhope Club 2020 meeting cancellations
Since the interim newsletter, which was circulated not very long ago, the situation with regard to Covid 19 has rapidly deteriorated, and is likely to continue to do so for the immediate future. Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council has decided that even with social distancing the Town Hall where our meetings are scheduled to be held will not be available for meetings until Easter at the earliest. This is also true for the Shire Hall, and because of repair work to the ceilings this is unlikely to available until the autumn. As a consequence our lecture meetings which are due to be held in January and February will have to be cancelled. I very much regret that this has had to happen, but it is a consequence of the difficult times in which we live.
The Spring Annual Meeting still remains pencilled in, although there is some considerable doubt about that, and an alternative venue will be needed. Members will be kept informed, but be aware that unless the situation has drastically improved by then it could be cancelled at short notice.
Please note that details of the cancelled meetings remain under MEETINGS on the website for information only.
Investigations are still ongoing into recording at least one of the lectures that have had to be cancelled, so that it will be available over the internet, and when there is any news about that it will be circulated to members.
Meanwhile, I hope that members have had a safe and enjoyable Christmas, and that the New Year will soon bring more settled times so that we can return to a normal life, and meet properly once again.
Centenary Volume 1954 added to website
The Woolhope Club Centenary Volume was issued in 1954 and consists of a number of papers on Herefordshire by the experts of the day. Unfortunately it was unindexed and so, unlike A Herefordshire Miscellany published in 2000, only the titles of the papers and authors' names were added to the website SEARCH index. It has recently come to light that these details were incorrectly indexed as belonging to the 1954 Transactions so the document that could be downloaded was the 1952/1953/1954 volume. (In fact, practically all the entries for that volume are indexed as 1952 but fortunately all 1952-4 are in the same volume - another good reason for not SEARCHing for explicit years).
Images of the text of the Centenary Volume have just been uploaded and can be accessed here or via SEARCH. There are no plans for making a detailed index but the List of Contents is given here or can be accessed via 'Centenary' and 'Contents' using SEARCH.
Scudamore Kentchurch estate surveys 1790
The Scudamore family of Kentchurch commissioned a volume of maps and book of reference from surveyor Joseph Powell for its twenty-nine estates in Herefordshire and Monmouthshire in about 1790. By kind permission of the Scudamore family the Club has been allowed to put images from the volume on the website, using photographs taken by Club member David Lovelace
They can be accessed directly by this link, by going to TOPICS>ESTATE MAPS>Kentchurch Court Collection or by the SEARCH function where the keywords Scudamore, Kentchurch and/or parish name will bring up the page(s). After explanatory notes, the list of the different estates can be scrolled down, the link to the images can be seen by clicking on the estate name. The pdf of the map and book reference that opens can be downloaded by going to the top right of the window. Some extra information and maps for Herefordshire estates has been added, and also a link to the Monmouthshire equivalent of the Herefordshire Historic Environment Record (HER) where the grid reference can be found. This is useful if you wish to look at older OS maps via the links on TOPICS>MAPS>ONLINE MAP SOURCES> and go to, for example, the National Library of Scotland map website and scroll down the options for, say, Ordnance Survey England 25in where you can put in the grid reference and get a list of available maps.
In the pipeline for Summer 2020
David Lovelace has made available photographs of two volumes of estate maps and books of reference by kind permission of their owners. One is for 1790 from the Kentchurch Court archive, one from Downton for 1780. As they are large books the information will be loaded as the map plus book of reference for each individual farm. It will take some time. The information can be accessed from the Topics>MAPS>Local Maps>parish or by using SEARCH for the name of the farm and/or parish. Some farm names have changed and where possible the modern spelling will also be used as a keyword.
1662 survey map of Mocktree & Bringewood added
A 1662 survey map of land belonging to Lord Craven in Mocktree Forest and Bringewood Chase has been added, plus a copy of a report by David Lovelace on the history and natural history of Bringewood Chase and the surrounding countryside. The report has a transcription of the tenants' names and field names on the map as an appendix, as well as details of plants and wild life.
Access by putting Bringewood or Mocktree into the SEARCH function and choosing 'OTHER' . You can then either download or access just the map or the webpage for the introduction and links to the map and the report.
2020 Field Meetings
In view of the latest advice about the length of time the Covid19 emergency will last, the 2020 Field Meetings have been cancelled. Hopefully they can be re-scheduled for 2021
2020 Field Meetings re-scheduled
Club members would have been notified in the April mail-out of the dates of this year's Field Meetings. The first was scheduled in May (John Eisel to Warwick) and the second in June (Paul Olver to churches in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire). Both involved travel in buses or minibuses. This was agreed to be too risky in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
They have been re-scheduled to take place in late August/September after David Whitehead's trip to Berrington Hall and Croft Castle on 12 August. This is self-drive so less risk and also can be amended at short notice.
Details will be conformed in the April mail-out.
1628 and 1740 maps added
The 1628 is a map of Malvern Chase. Most of this is in Worcestershire but there are small parts of Ledbury, Cradley and Mathon shown and details of these parts are given.
The 1740 map is an estate map of the holding of Edward Holder in right of his wife Ann. This shows part of Cradley, Colwall and Mathon.
These can be accessed either by putting the date of the map and the parish name into the SEARCH at the top of the page or by choosing the Topic MAPS>LOCAL MAPS> and then choosing the parish you're interested in.
Alfred Watkins annotated map added
When Alfred Watkins was working on The Old Straight Track he plotted his 'sighting lines' on OS maps. A number of these maps were printed in the book. An unpublished example has been found in the Club's map archive and has been added to the website. Go to Maps>Alfred Watkins Sighting Lines or follow this link to the Golden Valley area example
1939 - 2002 Transactions now online
Images of the Transactions from 1939 to 2002 are now online. You can access them via the PUBLICATIONS tab (scroll down to find a year); via the SEARCH option (put TRANSACTIONS and the year into the search box) or when a search result has been found by selecting 'more'.
The Old Straight Track & Standing Crosses added
Alfred Watkins was a true polymath and his interests and publications were varied. Outside Herefordshire he is best known for The Old Straight Track and his theory of ley lines. Searching the Transactions alone brings up 173 references to his contributions. Shortly before he died he published The Standing Crosses of Herefordshire. Both are now online - just follows the links or use the SEARCH option.
Home Page Topics pictures now more interesting
On the Home Page the pictures for each Topic have been static since the new website was launched a year ago. now, every time you select the website 5 random pictures are selected from the pool of pictures for each Topic and these cycle around. If you want to know more about a picture just hover your cursor over the picture and information will appear.
New canals paper (No. 10) added
A short general paper on the historical background has been added to the Geology>Canals topic. Scroll down the list of papers at this webpage.
WEBLINKS tab added to Home Page
If you look along the green ribbon above the red alert banner you will see that WEBLINKS has been added. Different categories are displayed under WEBLINKS, and more will be added. At the moment there are no sub-categories as we wanted to keep it simple. However, you don't have to browse each category if you want to find a particular subject - you can use the website's SEARCH mechanism next to the magnifying glass. Into the keyword box put 'weblinks' and, say, 'Ledbury'. The search will bring up (at the moment) two 'hits' and if you select the link on the right the weblink page will open. In the example given, you will find 'Ledbury Naturalists' Field Club' under Nature and 'Ledbury Civic Society' under Local societies. Don't forget that the SEARCH is an 'AND' so if you're interested in two different places, for example, SEARCH for them separately.
Transactions Table of Contents added
Although Club non-members cannot see the last 10 years of Transactions online, they can now browse the Table of Contents for each issue which may help them to decided about getting copies. Each paper and illustration is described. Link here to the Table of Contents page or put 'table' 'contents' and year into the SEARCH field.
Transactions from 1890 to 1938 now online
Images of the Transactions volumes from 1890 to 1938 are now on the website and can be viewed online or downloaded. All the volumes for this date range cover several years and have single Contents and Index sections. This means that in some cases the files are quite large. If you are viewing online you can adjust the size of the images with options at the top of the screen.
A given year can be accessed by selecting the Publications tab, then Transactions and scrolling down to the year you want. Alternatively you can put Transactions followed by the year into the SEARCH box. The results of a SEARCH will give you a link to the volume concerned and you can download or view the Transactions (if it is now online). The Club is committed to putting all the historic Transactions online, but there are some copyright and privacy issues to be resolved.
The Leominster canal
Seven articles on the Leominster canal and associated subjects by Gerry Calderbank are now available under the topic Geology>Canals or by following the links below. The Archaeological Research Section (ARS) of the Club has paid a number of field visits to places along the route of the canal, and the results have been combined with archival research. Please note that it has not been possible to index all the place and personal names in the articles so please read them if you have an interest in the area.
This first article on researching the Leominster canal is an introduction to the subject, with suggested locations for investigation and notes on the underlying geology of the route.
The second article reviews the history of the proposals for a canal and the surveys that were done. The technical issues which were solved (mostly) included bridges, aqueducts, feeder streams and sluices. There are still questions about the choice of route and these are answered at the end of the article.
3. THE LEOMINSTER SUMMIT LEVEL and the PUTNAL TUNNEL
By the end of the 18th century canal surveyors had built up some practical experience of local geological conditions and how to overcome the constructional problems they caused. However, it would be many years before the geology of the area east of Leominster was understood and how this impacted on the canal, e.g. the construction of the Putnal Tunnel near Orleton. This article analyses problems faced by the engineers.
4. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND to TRAMROADS and CANALS
Travellers such as Coxe and Hoare were just as interested in describing industrial activity in Herefordshire and Monmouthshire as they were in historical monuments. This article gives the background to the development of tramways in these two counties and their connection with canals and major iron-working sites such as Blaenavon. The Club’s geologists have explored the high-level tramroad leading to Brynmawr and Nantyglo and found ironstone nodules in Clydach gorge.
5. THE SUMMIT WATER SYSTEM
The regulation of a fairly constant water level in a canal depends on having a system of feeder channels, sluices, water storage and waste water discharge. This article describes the complexity of the natural water courses around Leominster and some of the management systems which kept the canal levels within bounds.
6. THE COMING of the IRON HORSE
The development of railways spelled the end of further canal development, being both cheaper and less costly to maintain. The most suitable terrain for the canals was also suitable for the railway. This article explores the development of the railways in Herefordshire, the personalities involved and the inevitable conflicts.
7. ON THE LEVEL: A HIST0RY OF SURVEYING
This article covers the history of surveying instruments from Roman times until the 1970s, when Woolhope Club members devised their own instrument for surveying archaeological sites. The metric v Imperial measurement complications are also discussed.
Earth Matters available online to all members
Earth Matters is the newsletter of the former Geology section of the Club and has been published yearly since 2004. These issues are now available to all members via the website; non-members will not be able to see the last five editions. The newsletter is fully illustrated in colour and contains articles and reports.. At the moment non-members can only see the 2004-2013 editions. Access the Earth Matters webpage here.
1831 Census return for Wigmore
Although the 1831 returns do not have peoples' names and are not of so much interest for family historians, it is interesting to see the instructions to the overseers and the way the information was recorded. Printed versions of the returns were published, but the actual return brings the process to life. Go to this link for People Lists.
Local maps added
A number of local maps have been added to MAPS>LOCAL MAPS. These are mainly estate maps and are in the parishes of Bridstow, Canon Pyon, Dilwyn, Goodrich, Holme Lacy, Hope-under-Dinmore, Ivington, Llangarron, Marstow, Kentchurch, Rowlestone, Stretton Sugwas, Wellington and Whitchurch. There are also a number of Hereford city maps including an improved version of Isaac Taylor's 1757 map of Hereford city.. Go to LOCAL MAPS to see the list of parishes. If there is a link shown there under the parish name there will be one or more local maps.
Herefordshire Birds by Gilbert and Walker 1954
This 58-page Club publication has now been loaded in the Pre-2012 Publications section. It has notes of surprising vagrants identified in the county from the preceding century onwards. See it here.
Fonts in Herefordshire by George Marshall
George Marshall's 3-part work on the pre-19th century fonts of Herefordshire was published from 1949-51; he died in December 1950. Over 200 fonts are mentioned and were photographed. Link to the index of parishes and images of the work here. To find if your parish has an entry search for 'font' and 'parish name with 'other' ticked.
Poston Camp Iron Age hillfort
A 39-page monograph on Poston Camp, an Iron age hillfort by Dr I E Anthony was published in 1958. Excavations were made there from the 1930s and this report summarises the discoveries about the earthworks. It also contains descriptions and illustrations of pottery and bones. There is a short note on excavations at Timberline Camp not far from Poston. At can be accessed from the list of pre-2012 Club publications or here.
Seals belonging to the Dean & Chapter of Hereford
This monograph by F C and Penelope Morgan is a list of seals in the collection of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford cathedral. It is described as a 'concise list'. There are 4 pages of illustrations. You can see it here.
Links to Pre-2012 Publications
Some of the older publications listed in the Pre-2012 Club Publications section are available via links to other organisations such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Others are in the process of being scanned, or if originally published as part of a Transactions volume, will be available when it has been uploaded to the website.
Paper on the RCHME survey added
In 2011 the Club published Essays in honour of Jim & Muriel Tonkin. Although the full volume is not available, one paper has been made available . This essay, The Royal Commission’s survey of the historical monuments of Herefordshire , recognizes their work in the field of vernacular architecture. The paper is available by following BUILDINGS>RCHME from the Home Page or by clicking here.
2017 Transactions available as download
The 2017 Transactions pdf is now available (to Club members only) as a download. Follow PUBLICATIONS>TRANSACTIONS from the Home Page and scroll down to see the available issues. The index has been uploaded to the website SEARCH mechanism but be aware that some items e.g. many of the bird names have not been indexed and must be searched for in the document itself.
Transactions Extra paper and Topics pictures
The first Transactions Extra paper is 'The Monumental Mysteries of Goodrich church'. It is about research into some previously unexplained items in the church: a much-abused altar-tomb; two sculptured heads sticking out of the wall in a dark corner and the connections of these with John Talbot, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and lord of Goodrich who died in battle in 1453. As this publication is only online it's possible to have the colour illustrations throughout. The British Library has allowed beautiful images of the Talbot-Shrewsbury book to be included, and Lambeth Palace library has allowed images of the wills of John Talbot and his son from their registers to be added. see the paper here. The index to the paper has been added to the website SEARCH mechanism.
The images used on the Home Page for the Topics panel have been changed, but it's now possible to access more information about them by choosing a Topic e.g. Archaeology and at the top of the page there is a link to a file with all the images that have been used. See it here.
Hearth Taxes: 1665 and 1671 (Wormelow) loaded
1665 Hearth Tax: This was transcribed by John Hornden from a film in Herefordshire archives. He also produced a personal names index. From these he published a typescript, copies of which are held at the archives, at the National Archives and at the Society of Genealogists. This has been photographed and the page images made available. on the website. The names index is available as a single file which can be downloaded. From this the images for each hundred can be browsed and a search for individual pages made using the website's Search mechanism on the Home Page. Some work still has to be done linking individual page images to a total list of the individual pages but this is not essential to the searcher. The 1665 Hearth Tax can be found by going to topic People>Person Taxation>Hearth Taxes>1665 Hearth Tax or by clicking here.
1671 Hearth Tax for Wormelow: This was transcribed for Matthews' continuation volume of Duncumb's history of Herefordshire. It was published in 1912. You can go to it via People>Person Taxation>Hearth Taxes>1671 Hearth Tax Wormelow or by clicking here.