Sunday, 1 June 2014

10th Year of the Berkeley Dig - Talk by Dr Stuart Prior, 2 May 2014

Once again, a large group of Friends of Berkeley Castle were entertained by the inimitable Dr Stuart Prior as he brought us up to date on the Berkeley Dig, now in its 10th year, and in the process managed to turn history on its head!
This year’s Dig in Berkeley will concentrate on the Paddock, hoping to find more evidence of Robert Fitzharding’s ‘Norman Town’ with its houses down both sides of High Street; the Norman Hall, or house, discovered a couple of years ago at the west end of the paddock, alongside the High Street, is very similar in layout to a rare ‘Jew’s House’ in Lincoln and indeed to Robert Fitzharding’s own house in Bristol which was excavated in the 1980’s.  Also under investigation will be Anglo Saxon layers in the Paddock and the Norman Cess Pits which were placed on top of a massive Anglo Saxon ditch and which have already yielded good finds.  As there are also signs of a Roman road or trackway, it looks as if there may have been continuity of Christianity in Berkeley from Roman times to the present day! 

Much more to follow in the next issue of “The Buttress”!

Being an Auctioneer of Fine Art & Antiques

Immediately after the 14th April 2014 FoBC AGM, the Friends and guests were given an excellent talk on “Being an Auctioneer of Fine Art & Antiques” by John Harvey, Director of Chorley’s Art & Antiques Ltd.

John gave some fascinating insights into his visits to country houses for the purpose of assessing their contents for house sales. One example concerned the discovery of a valuable sundial pedestal and gnomen, signed by Thomas Tompion, which had been produced for a specific house to accompany a Tompion clock. This was of particular interest to the Friends, bearing in mind the splendid Tompion longcase clock in the Dining Room at Berkeley Castle.

Full article to follow in the next issue of “The Buttress”.....

John is shown below (centre), together with Mr Berkeley and  Paul Walkden, Friends of Berkeley Castle Chairman.