• Saxon obsequies: The early medieval archaeology of Richard Cornwallis Neville

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Ubiquity Press, 2013-04-04)
      This paper investigates the origins of British Anglo-Saxon archaeology by focusing on the work of one early Victorian archaeologist: Richard Cornwallis Neville. The seemingly descriptive and parochial nature of Neville’s archaeological pursuits, together with the attention he afforded to Romano-British remains, has impeded due recognition, and critical scrutiny, of his contributions to the development of early Medieval burial archaeology. Using his archaeological publications as source material, I will show how Neville’s interpretations of Saxon graves were a form of memory work, defining his personal, familial and martial identity in relation to the landscape and locality of his aristocratic home at Audley End, near Saffron Walden, Essex. Subsequently, I argue that Neville’s prehistoric and Romano-British discoveries reveal his repeated concern with the end of Roman Britain and its barbarian successors. Finally, embodied within Neville’s descriptions of early Medieval graves and their location we can identify a pervasive Anglo-Saxonism. Together these strands of argument combine to reveal how, for Neville, Saxon graves constituted a hitherto unwritten first chapter of English history that could be elucidated through material culture and landscape.
    • Scales of analysis: evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr.

      Robson, Harry K.; Little, Aimee; Jones, Andrew K. G.; Blockley, Simon; Candy, Ian; Matthews, Ian; Palmer, Adrian; Schreve, Danielle; Tong, Emma; Pomstra, Diederik; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-02-17)
      This contribution directly relates to the paper published by Wheeler in 1978 entitled ‘Why were there no fish remains at Star Carr?’. Star Carr is arguably the richest, most studied and re-interpreted Mesolithic site in Europe but the lack of fish remains has continued to vex scholars. Judging from other materials, the preservation conditions at the site in the late 1940s/early 1950s should have been good enough to permit the survival of fish remains, and particularly dentaries of the northern pike (Esox lucius L., 1758) as found on other European sites of this age. The lack of evidence has therefore been attributed to a paucity of fish in the lake. However, new research has provided multiple lines of evidence, which not only demonstrate the presence of fish, but also provide evidence for the species present, data on how and where fish were being processed on site, and interpretations for the fishing methods that might have been used. This study demonstrates that an integrated approach using a range of methods at landscape, site and microscopic scales of analysis can elucidate such questions. In addition, it demonstrates that in future studies, even in cases where physical remains are lacking, forensic techniques hold significant potential.
    • Sculpture and Place: a biographical approach to recontextualising Cheshire’s early medieval stone sculpture

      Gondek, Meggen; Williams, Howard; Kirton, Joanne (University of Chester, 2016-02)
      Researching early medieval stone sculpture has long been enabled and constrained by approaches devised and subsequently honed over the last century focusing on form and ornamentation. These approaches largely prioritise the physical appearance of sculptural fragments, often distancing them from the physical and cognitive contexts in which they operated from their creation to the present. This thesis brings together popular strands of research from other areas of archaeology - landscape, biography, materiality and monumentality - to explore how early medieval stone sculpture operated in place and time, from their construction through processes of use and reuse. The study recognises that sculpture did not function independent of physical location or the socio-political context with which it was connected and that many sculptures have life-histories which can be charted through individual monuments, assemblages of sculpture, and regional patterns. Using a tenth-/eleventh-century assemblage from Cheshire, the biographies of the county’s early medieval monuments and architectural fragments are explored in relation to their physical location and the local historical frameworks with which they are connected. Through this original and distinctive approach, Cheshire's corpus of early medieval stone sculpture is both revisited and reinterpreted to emphasis the power of place and the biographies of stone sculpture.
    • Sediments and stratigraphy

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Boreham, Steve; Rowley, Charlotte C. A.; French, Charlie; Williams, Helen; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, Independent, University of York, University of Cambridge, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      The sedimentary and stratigraphic record
    • Selective Remembering: Minorities and the Remembrance of the First World War in Britain and Germany

      Grady, Tim; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-06-17)
      Remembering the war dead, so historical writing suggests, was considerably easier for the victors than for the vanquished. Yet, as this essay suggests, this strict dichotomy was not quite as rigid as the historiography implies. In both Britain and Germany, ethnic, religious and national minorities did play some role in nascent memory cultures. However, while some groups were remembered, other minorities, such as Britain’s African troops or Germany’s Polish soldiers, were all too often missing from the commemorative landscape. The absence of minorities from the remembrance process, then, had less to do with the outcome of the war, but was rather contingent on place, time and the minority group in question.
    • A shared environment: German-German relations along the border, 1945-1972

      Grady, Tim; University of Chester (SAGE, 2015-03-20)
      The division of Germany into two militarised blocs during the Cold War fundamentally shaped the lives of people living in both East and West. Yet, as recent scholarship has increasingly highlighted, there were also numerous areas of contact and interaction, whether in the cultural, political or social sphere. One largely overlooked aspect of these Cold War relations, which this article explores, is the environment. Focusing on the history of the shared German environment from the end of the Second World War through until the early 1970s, the article argues that on a local level, environmental problems helped to ensure the survival of cross-border relations. Despite their repeated efforts, the two states failed to divide the German landscape in half. Rivers, lakes and forests continually crossed the fortified border, while animals and plant life traversed from one side to the other too. In attempting to maintain this shared border landscape, both East and West Germans were repeatedly forced into dialogue. Although relations gradually faded as the border regime was strengthened, it proved impossible for either side to escape fully the entangled German environment.
    • Sir Francis Wheler's Caribbean and North American expedition, 1693: A case study in combined operational command during the reign of William III

      McLay, Keith A. J.; University of Chester (SAGE, 2007-11-01)
      This article uses the evidence of an amphibious campaign undertaken first in the Caribbean and then off the north-eastern American seaboard during the Nine Years War, 1688—97 to rejuvenate an understanding of combined operational command, which harks back to the views of the principal eighteenth-century author on amphibious warfare, Thomas More Molyneaux. In this analysis, combined operational command is shown to be a negotiated operational construct between the service commanders and the government, as a result of which disagreements related to the command structure and the subsequent dilution of authority through an executive council of war significantly impacted upon operational success.
    • The Smiling Abbot: Rediscovering a Unique Medieval Effigial Slab

      Williams, Howard; Smith, Gillian; Crane, David; Watson, Aaron; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2017-11-06)
      The article reports on a newly re-discovered fragment of a recumbent effigial slab commemorating Abbot Hywel (‘Howel’), most likely an abbot of the Cistercian house of Valle Crucis, near Llangollen (Denbighs.). The slab was probably carved very early in the fourteenth century, and could have covered the abbot’s burial place. The stone was dislocated and fragmented at an unknown point in the abbey’s history, and most likely removed from the site during the nineteenth-century clearance of the abbey ruins. It was briefly reported on in 1895 and has been lost to scholarship subsequently. If indeed from Valle Crucis, the stone is the only known effigial slab commemorating a Cistercian abbot from Wales, and a rare example from Britain. Given that few similar Cistercian abbatial monuments have been identified from elsewhere, the ‘Smiling Abbot’, although only a fragment, is a significant addition to the known corpus of later medieval mortuary monuments. The article discusses the provenance, dating, identification and significance of the monument, including the abbot’s distinctive smile. The stone sheds new light on mortuary and commemorative practice at Valle Crucis Abbey in the early fourteenth century.
    • Social conflict in pre-famine Ireland: The case of County Roscommon

      Huggins, Michael; University of Chester (Four Courts Press, 2007-02-13)
      This book investigates the social conflict in Roscommon that existed before the Famine. Traditional nationalist historiography is considered but the author concludes that pre-Famine unrest originated from a more complex set of beliefs, influences and objectives.
    • Socio-semiotics and the symbiosis of humans, horses, and objects in later Iron Age Britain

      Pudney, Caroline; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-03-14)
      Using an approach derived from material culture studies and semiotics, this paper addresses possible relationships between humans and horses in the British Iron Age.Through a study of the dominance of horse imagery found on Iron Age British coinage, specifically the Western coinage traditionally attributed to the 'Dobunni', the author explores how it may reflect possible relationships between humans and horses and their personhood therein. Drawing on wider faunal and metalwork evidence it is argued that these coins could be interpreted as a manifestation of the complex perspectives surrounding a symbiotic relationship between humans and horses.
    • Sources for the study of elementary education in Victorian Cheshire: Tabulated reports by HMI

      Swift, Roger; Chester College of Higher Education (Cheshire Community Council and Chester College, 1995)
      This article discusses reports by HM's Inspector of Schools for five schools in Chester between 1852 and 1853.
    • Spatial Humanities: Present and Future. Special Issue.

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Gregory, Ian; Donaldson, Christopher; Rayson, Paul; University of Chester; Lancaster University (Edinburgh University Press, 2015-03)
      The spatial humanities constitute a rapidly developing research field that has the potential to create a step-change in the ways in which the humanities deal with geography and geographical information. As yet, however, research in the spatial humanities is only just beginning to deliver the applied contributions to knowledge that will prove its significance. Demonstrating the potential of innovations in technical fields is, almost always, a lengthy process, as it takes time to create the required datasets and to design and implement appropriate techniques for engaging with the information those datasets contain. Beyond this, there is the need to define appropriate research questions and to set parameters for interpreting findings, both of which can involve prolonged discussion and debate. The spatial humanities are still in early phases of this process. Accordingly, the purpose of this special issue is to showcase a set of exemplary studies and research projects that not only demonstrate the field's potential to contribute to knowledge across a range of humanities disciplines, but also to suggest pathways for future research.
    • ‘A Spectacle for the Cameras’: The survival of a Lakeland leisure tradition, 1930- c.1955

      Andrew, Rebecca; University of Chester
      This article examines the survival of rushbearing, a rural leisure tradition in the English Lake District. As a region popular with tourists throughout the 20th century, this case study offers important insights into how their presence shaped this ‘traditional’ leisure activity. Not only did annual rushbearing ceremonies offer opportunities for the region’s sense of place to be presented to outsiders, they were also an important way for local communities to reaffirm their connection to the Lake District and its past. These occasions were, however, increasingly influenced by an awareness of external influences and outside judgements, as the region’s popularity as a tourist destination boomed from the inter-war years. Although youth culture was increasingly standardised at a national level during this period, at a local level, young countrymen and women played an integral role in rushbearing’s survival, which promoted an idealised version of ‘traditional’ country life. This annual community event is therefore a useful example through which to examine the interplay between rural leisure traditions, tourism, and the role of young people in the countryside during this period.
    • St Guthlac and the ‘Britons’: a Mercian context

      Capper, Morn; University of Chester (Paul Watkins, 2019)
      Article analysing evidence for relations between Anglo-Saxon Mercia and the British peoples of the seventh-century west midlands during the lifetime of Guthlac, saint of Crowland and during the construction of his biography and cult in the early eighth century. Publisher Shaun Tyas: 1 High St, Donington, Spalding PE11 4TA
    • St Pientia and the Château de la Roche-Guyon: Relic Translations and Sacred History in Seventeenth-Century France

      Hillman, Jennifer; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2017-05-26)
      This article seeks to explore the connections between the translation of an early Christian relic to the Château de la Roche-Guyon in the mid-seventeenth century and the writing of local sacred histories by the priest and prior Nicolas Davanne. It finds that the translation of a finger bone of St Pientia was the culmination of efforts by a local scholar to revive the sacred history of the Vexin and to celebrate the regional liturgical traditions associated with its early Christian martyrs. In doing so, it finds support for the recent historiography on local, sacred histories which emerged during the Counter-Reformation in response to liturgical standardization. The article also discusses the unstable nature of relics as material objects and explores the ways in which relics were continually reinvested with meaning. It is shown that Pientia’s relic was not only part of a defence of a local spiritual heritage in response to Trent, but also part of a claim to an early Christian spiritual heritage for a deviant and heretical movement within the Church.
    • Star Carr, Volume 1: a persistent place in a changing world

      Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      This first volume of the Star Carr work provides an interpretation of the Star Carr site, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe. Discovered in the late 1940s, the site is famous in the archaeological world for the wealth of rare organic remains uncovered. The 2003-2015 excavations directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor aimed to answer questions about how the site was used. Much larger and more complex than ever imagined, the Star Carr site was in use for around 800 years. The excavations show that Mesolithic groups were highly invested in this place and continued to occupy the site despite changes in climate over this period. The findings include the oldest evidence for ‘houses’ in Britain, three large wooden platforms along the edge of the lake, antler headdresses and a unique, engraved shale pendant which represents the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain. The artefactual material provides new insights into Mesolithic life. Significant wooden artefacts were found which greatly enhances our understanding of how important wood (a material rarely recovered) was for Mesolithic people. In the analysis of other findings it is possible to see evidence for activity areas, such as crafts and tool repair associated with structures, an axe factory, as well as a number of caches. New finds of antler frontlets have increased our understanding of the diversity of human interactions with animals. Overall, despite the degradation, these excavations have provided a new understanding of life in the Early Mesolithic that challenges many of the preconceived views of this period in terms of the character and scale of activity and the degree of investment in a particular place in the landscape.
    • Star Carr, Volume 2: studies in technology, subsistence and environment

      Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      The second volume of Star Carr provides detail on specific areas of research around the Star Carr site, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe. Discovered in the late 1940s, the site is famous in the archaeological world for the wealth of rare organic remains uncovered. The 2003-2015 excavations directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor aimed to answer questions about how the site was used. Much larger and more complex than ever imagined, the Star Carr site was in use for around 800 years. The excavations show that Mesolithic groups were highly invested in this place and continued to occupy the site despite changes in climate over this period. The findings include the oldest evidence for ‘houses’ in Britain, three large wooden platforms along the edge of the lake, antler headdresses and a unique, engraved shale pendant which represents the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain. This volume looks in detail at focused areas of research, including wooden artefacts, the antler headdresses, structures, environmental and climate change data, plant and animal remains found at the site, and sediment data.
    • Stories Of The Past: Viewing History Through Fiction

      Pardoe, James; Williams, Howard; Green, Christopher (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      This thesis investigates how effective works of fiction are, through their depictions of past worlds, in providing us with a resource for the study of the history of the period in which that fiction is set. It assesses past academic literature on the role of fiction in historical understanding, and on the processes involved in the writing, reading, adapting, and interpreting of fiction. It contends that the creation and consumption of fiction has not been looked at in a holistic way in terms of an overall process that takes us from author to consumer with all of the potential intermediate steps. The thesis proposes and describes such a process model, each step within which contains a number of key elements, namely actors, actions, influences, artefacts, and finally the real and imagined worlds of the fiction. It begins with the author, who through actions of perception and adaptation, and affected by various external influences, social, political, and aesthetic, mediates with elements of his or her contemporary world and incorporates them into the imagined world of the initial artefact, the novel. It describes how at each stage in the process other actors (critics, adapters and curators) engage with previous artefacts such as the novel and previous adaptations, and their own set of influences, and through actions of reception, adaptation and interpretation create further artefacts such as critical reviews, adaptations and tourist interpretations that comprise further imagined worlds that can be compared to the author’s original imagined world, and by extension, the original past world. Using a number of case studies of English novels of the period from 1800 to 1930, the thesis assesses what the practical evidence of the process in action tells us about the ability of a novel to act as an adjunct to contemporary records in providing insights into that original real world. These studies incorporate analysis of the novels themselves, and of subsequent artefacts such as film and television adaptations, curated literary places and guidebooks, and both professional and lay reviews. The thesis concludes that fiction in its various forms, and especially in its adapted and interpreted forms, whilst not a pure historical document as such, has the ability to provide us with a vivid perception of a past world. It contends that the process model could be used as an aid in the teaching of History or English Literature, or as an aid to the general consumer of fiction, to help remove the layers of imagined worlds that potentially lie between us and a past historical world, thereby reducing the ability of that layering to create a misleading view of history.
    • A strange case of hero-worship: John Mitchel and Thomas Carlyle

      Huggins, Michael; University of Chester (Firenze University Press, 2013-03-07)
      The Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle might be considered a surprising influence on the Young Ireland movement of the 1840s and its most militant leader, John Mitchel. Carlyle has become notorious for his anti-Irish sentiments, expressed most forcefully in his Reminiscences of my Irish journey in 1849. Yet his critique of the Benthamite and liberal Zeitgeist was a significant influence on Mitchel. This article examines what it was in Carlyle’s thought that appealed to Mitchel. Carlyle’s antagonism to liberal conceptions of progress informed Mitchel’s intellectual development and prompted specific political perspectives that can in some measure be viewed as a Carlylean response to Ireland’s crisis in the 1840s. Mitchel made many of the same historic and philosophical assumptions as Carlyle, legitimising the present struggle for Irish nationality via a critique of contemporary laissez-faire doctrine. Thus, Swift’s saeva indignatio was inflected in Mitchel by his encounter with Carlyle’s work, shaping Mitchel’s anger in terms of the spiritual-material polarity at the heart of Carlyle’s Signs of the Times (1829). This ‘sacred wrath’ helps explain why Mitchel is often seen as someone who hated England more than he loved Ireland.
    • Streanaehalch (Whitby), its satellite churches and lands

      Pickles, Thomas; University of Chester (Cork University Press, 2017-01-03)
      This paper argues in favour of the identifying the early medieval monastery of Straenaeshalch with Whitby, North Yorkshire, and proceeds to argue for a network of neighbouring satellite churches and lands on the north eastern coastal plain of Yorkshire, before considering the relationship between monasteries and the early medieval landscape.