• Cheshire castles in context

      Ainsworth, Stewart; Gaunt, Peter; Williams, Howard; Swallow, Rachel E. (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      This thesis considers a little-examined region of medieval Britain through the concept and significance of power and place applied to the architecture and landscapes of castles. Over the last thirty-five years, castle studies have shifted in their interpretations of the defensive, offensive and aesthetic landscape contexts of medieval fortified residences and have adopted a new line of research. It is now understood generally that, apart from occasional military activity, most castles were used less for military purposes and more for administration and display as the lords’ residences. No such study has been made of castles in medieval Cheshire, to critically evaluate and apply new approaches in castle studies to the Cheshire evidence. This thesis concerns the number, location and distribution of castles raised in medieval Cheshire — which included current areas of north-east Wales and Greater Manchester — under the quasi-independent earls of Chester and their tenants, c.1070–1237. The study is primarily one of landscape history and archaeology, which together span many disciplinary boundaries. It draws upon previously un-studied or under-studied documentary and cartographic sources, as well as new interpretations of archaeological features at and around castle sites. An original research approach is thus employed to revisit and reinterpret the changing social, political and historical frameworks of fortified élite residences in medieval Cheshire. Within the context of current debates on the historic landscape, in-depth exploration situates related castle case studies within their respective spatial and temporal environs.
    • Deteriorative Influences Upon the Morale of the British 21st Army Group in the Shadow of Operation ‘Market Garden’.

      Grady, Tim; Kirby-Jones, Harry, D, B. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-19)
      Operation ‘Market Garden’ was initiated by Allied forces on the 17th September 1944, ending on the 25th of the same month. Up until that point of the Second World War, it was the largest airborne landing to have ever been undertaken. The main aim of Operation ‘Market Garden’ was to open up an invasion route for the Allied forces into the north of Germany from the Netherlands. In order to do this, the operation sought to capture and cross a number of bridges over a series of rivers and canals, including the Rhine and the Maas. The first part of this operation - ‘Market’ - involved the landing of paratroopers in proximity to these bridges in order to capture and secure, awaiting part two of the operation. ‘Garden’ involved the movement of heavier units from Belgium, up through the Netherlands, relieving the units holding these bridges (See Source 0.01, 0.02, 0.03).
    • Discourses in stone: Dialogues with the dissenting dead 1830-1919

      Smithson, Alison-Mary (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-04)
      Graveyard studies have been rich sources for archaeologists, historians, social scientists, anthropologists, genealogists, art historians and others to investigate a diverse range of interests in death and the mortuary practices of former societies. Evidence from the size, material properties of gravestones and other memorials has advanced theories about characteristics of the lives of earlier people; the environment they lived in; their health; domestic situations; familial and social relationships; status; employment history and personal religious observations and beliefs. Rather fewer are studies that consider what memorial epitaphs and inscriptions can convey about some of these factors, and particularly the meaning and expression of emotion conveyed by choice of text chosen to commemorate the dead. This thesis engages with the ‘conversations’ on gravestones: salutations (‘In loving memory’ etc.); inscriptions and epitaphs, and imagery (motifs and carvings) on nineteenthand twentieth-century memorials of four religious Nonconforming denominations. Sample locations offer contrasting social, linguistic, economic and religious environments, and suggest comparisons between practices in west Cheshire and north-east Wales. The research questions are as follows: • is there a consistently characteristic style of Nonconformist epitaphic and decorative memorialisation in the sample area? if not, are there recognisably distinct denominational characteristics? This study has concluded that each denomination exhibited a number of distinct characteristics earlier in the study period, but these distinctions eroded over time, in particular after the 1880 Burials Act, and under the influences of commercialisation of memorial media; increasing secularisation, and the effects of religious union.
    • From Siege to Emerging Leisure Town: Chester’s Recovery from the Civil War, 1646-1745

      Gaunt, Peter; Beech, Rachel (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      By the end of 1647, Chester had been reduced to a damaged and diseased shell, suffering from the twin effects of civil war siege and plague. Reports stated that most of the capable working population had fled leaving only the poor and dying.1 However, only thirty years later Chester began to see marked improvements, with fashionable architecture, growing marketing and port trade, and a wealthy population of urban gentry. How the city was able to recover from its low state towards a comfortable and prosperous new identity – the ‘leisure town’ – will be explored in this dissertation
    • Handling the dead: a haptic archaeology of the English Cathedral dead

      Williams, Howard; Nugent, Ruth (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      This thesis takes a longue dureé approach to the manifold ways in which those engaging with English cathedrals have been able to physically interact with the bodies, burials, and monuments of the dead. Three themes are explored to that effect: Haptic Experiences, Haptic Interactions, and Haptic Connections. Haptic Experiences takes a fresh, nuanced look at the evolution of English shrine architecture in relation to tensions between the sight and touch of pilgrims. Haptic Interactions employs new and different data surveyed from monuments within five cathedral interiors: historic graffiti, iconoclastic damage, and haptic erosion and staining. This is explored through a lens of touch as a component of early modern masculinities. Haptic Connections explores the presencing of the absent and displaced dead through touch and bodiliness of both the living and the dead in the (late) modern cathedral. Such an approach requires a multi-strand methodology, harnessing archaeological and documentary evidence, and multiple datasets. This allows the thesis to examine both period-specific practices and recurring themes of touch and emotion, identity, and re-connection which have been central to haptic explorations of the dead in past and present incarnations of the English cathedral.
    • Manchester and its press under the bomb: Britain’s ‘other Fleet Street’ and its contribution to a myth of the blitz

      Huggins, Michael; McLay, Keith A. J.; Hodgson, Guy R. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2014-01)
      The Manchester Blitz was relatively short, lasting two nights in December 1940, when around 1,000 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured in the city centre, Salford and the residential areas near Old Trafford. This thesis focuses on the reaction to this heavy bombing by the local and regional newspapers of Manchester, which was Britain’s second press centre at the time. The newspapers, the Manchester Guardian, Manchester Evening News and Evening Chronicle, are studied over an eight-week period from mid December 1940. According to these editions, Mancunians were unbowed by the death and destruction wrought by the Luftwaffe and had a steely determination to win the war. Contemporary writing, including individual diaries and reports from Mass Observation and Home Intelligence, tells a more complicated and nuanced story. The thesis finds that the Manchester newspapers submitted their coverage to more self-imposed censorship than was being demanded even by a government desperate to maintain morale. They did so partly because they feared they would be closed down if they offended the censor, but also because they felt that patriotism had a greater priority than maintaining the news values of the time. The newspapers could have exposed local authority incompetence and shortcomings in the emergency services but chose instead to paint a rosy picture of defiance by omission, distortion and, in some cases, deceit. They did not do so independently, but in accordance with the reporting norms in Fleet Street and other British provincial cities during the Second World War. Circulations rose for both national and local newspapers during the war, but the cost was a further severing of the confidence people had in their press. When readers themselves became the story by being the victims of the Blitz they discovered there was often a gap between the truth and what appeared in print. It is a trust that has not been recovered to this day.
    • No Contemptible Commander: Sir William Howe and the American War of Independence, 1775-1777

      McLay, Keith A. J.; Gaunt, Peter; Smith, David (University of Chester, 2013-10)
      This thesis examines the period in command of British land forces during the American War of Independence of Sir William Howe. The previously untapped resource of a draft of Howe’s famous narrative to the House of Commons underpins the original contribution made by this thesis, which also draws original conclusions from more familiar documents. Howe’s command is considered in the light of four major factors: his relationship with subordinate officers; the composition and quality of his army; his relationship with the American Secretary, Lord George Germain; and his personal qualities and experience. These four factors are then combined to consider key tactical and strategic decisions made by Howe while in command of the British army in North America. No attempt has been made to examine every decision or event during Howe’s period in command. Rather, those most contentious and controversial events, and those that can be reconsidered using new evidence and new interpretations of existing evidence, have been focussed on. This thesis does not (nor was it intended to) systematically counter the prevailing opinions of Howe set down over more than two centuries of historical works. However, it can be seen that Howe had more reasonable grounds for some of his most contentious decisions than has previously been argued and his overall strategy for 1776 was more coherent than he is generally given credit for.
    • The Royalist and Parliamentarian War Effort in Shropshire During the First and Second English Civil Wars, 1642-1648

      Worton, Jonathan (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      Addressing the military organisation of both Royalists and Parliamentarians, the subject of this thesis is an examination of war effort during the mid-seventeenth century English Civil Wars by taking the example of Shropshire. The county was contested during the First Civil War of 1642-6 and also saw armed conflict on a smaller scale during the Second Civil War of 1648. This detailed study provides a comprehensive bipartisan analysis of military endeavour, in terms of organisation and of the engagements fought. Drawing on numerous primary sources, it explores: leadership and administration; recruitment and the armed forces; military finance; supply and logistics; and the nature and conduct of the fighting. The extent of military activity in Shropshire is explained for the first time, informing the history of the conflict there while reflecting on the nature of warfare across Civil War England. It shows how local Royalist and Parliamentarian activists and 'outsider' leaders provided direction, while the populace widely was involved in the administrative and material tasks of war effort. The war in Shropshire was mainly fought between the opposing county-based forces, but with considerable external military support. Similarly, fiscal and military assets were obtained locally and from much further afield. Attritional war in Shropshire from 1643 to 1646 involved the occupying Royalists engaging Parliamentarian inroads, in fighting the garrison warfare characteristic of the period. Although the outcome of both wars in Shropshire was determined by wider national events, in 1646 and again in 1648 the defeat of the county Royalists was due largely to their local Parliamentarian adversaries. Broadening this study to 1648 has provided insight into Parliamentarian county administration during the short interwar period.
    • 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.
    • 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 study of the deposition of, and taphonomic processes affecting, plant macrofossil records for an island in Palaeolake Flixton, North Yorkshire

      Taylor, Barry; Clarke, Pauline (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      Plant macrofossil analysis is used in the study of developing environments and is especially applied to the study of the formation of a hydrosere, due to the excellent preservation conditions usually found in the peat associated with the lakes infilling. Modern studies of the flora present in an area and the correlation to the associated macrofossils give proxies for the study of a Palaeolake, such as Lake Flixton in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. While the proxy studies broadly concur in the approach to be taken, the deposition and taphonomy of specific plant species and the value of any results, there are elements not considered in them, one being that here are no extant studies of the dispersal of macro-remains and the associated taphonomic processes that are particular to islands within a lake. This dissertation aims to correct this by studying No Name Hill, a former island within Palaeolake Flixton. Cores for examination were collected from the island during excavations in 2018 and the resultant data compared with previous studies from other sites around the lake. While the hydroseral succession was demonstrated consistently across the lake environment, the cores from the island highlighted differential processes of deposition and taphonomy affecting the macrofossil record. It is probable that the shoreline cores give a more generic picture of the environment of the lake and surroundings, while cores taken from an island produce results which are more reflective of the localised flora.
    • The use of photogrammetry and film in fostering understanding of early medieval history

      Lang, Roger (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The recent arrival of a growing body of freely available photogrammetric 3D models of early medieval stone sculptures gives the opportunity for educators to use them as virtual primary sources, either directly as navigable objects or through the medium of film. The research investigates their potential role in schools following the current national curriculum in England. The curriculum requirements are reviewed and their implementation investigated through a study of school websites and Ofsted reports in an English shire county. A search is made for suitable stone sculptures with 3D models, new ones are made where necessary, and the academic literature on the sculptures is reviewed. Lesson plans and resources are created and trialed in three primary schools in a method closely resembling cyclic Lesson Study methodology. The conclusion is that the process has demonstrated the potential for the use of 3D models to serve as the focus of engaging and challenging lessons.
    • When the roof fell in: Counterinsurgency in South Vietnam, 1961-1963

      Jackson, Donna; McLay, Keith; Poole, Darren (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      According to Sir Robert Thompson, the beginning of the 1960s saw ‘the roof fall in’ across South Vietnam. This was because the military campaign being waged against the Viet Cong began to falter and collapse. This thesis examines the period from 1961 to 1963 and focusses in particular on the Strategic Hamlet Programme implemented by Ngo Dinh Diem’s South Vietnamese government. The research assesses the impact of the strategic hamlets on South Vietnam and argues that the programme needs to be re-evaluated. The thesis will claim that although the strategic hamlets are often considered to be a failure, this is an incomplete picture of events at this time: a re-assessment of the strategy is long overdue. In fact, when executed correctly, the Strategic Hamlet Programme was effective and was damaging the Viet Cong insurgency. However, this also led to its downfall. A concept termed ‘Paradoxical Duality’ will be introduced to help explain this process. This theory argues that the hamlets could simultaneously be both a success and a failure. Essentially, the more the hamlets protected the people, the greater the alienation they caused within rural Vietnam; the more they damaged the insurgency, the more violent the insurgent response. In effect, the success of the programme contributed to its own destruction. What gives this thesis its niche within the historiography is that it combines the views of the Viet Cong, the Vietnamese people and the American Military into a coherent, evaluative whole. A feature of the research is the way in which it uses captured guerrilla documentation to present its argument. The views of the Vietnamese fighting ‘on the ground’ are essential to this thesis because they provide an alternative perspective to the established, Western-dominant historiography and American-centric accounts of the war. The thesis will show that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was well-planned, was hurting the Viet Cong and was an effective counterinsurgency measure in large parts of the country. It will also examine the insurgent response, show how they held the advantage when it came to winning popular support and discuss why the counterinsurgent forces were, despite their successes, unable to alter the direction of the conflict. In addition, the thesis will examine the way in which so many well intentioned initiatives had counterproductive outcomes. Ultimately, the thesis will argue that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was a missed opportunity. It created the conditions for military success. However, the Diem regime and its American allies were unable to build upon these achievements and claim victory in the wider war.
    • Why is China absent from the human remains debate

      Wu, Hukeyao (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The display of human remains has been widely studied and discussed by archaeologists and museum curators all around the world. The discussion on this topic involves the ethics, policies, and display methods faced by museums concerning the repatriation, storage, care, management and interpretation of human remains. China, however, has been absent from this debate. It is not that Chinese museums do not display human remains. On the contrary, some Chinese museums do exhibit human remains and proper practices and respect have been shown in some museums. In order to find out the reasons of China’s absence from the human remains debate, this article will review the relevant literature of Britain and China and analyse the possible reasons from four aspects, respectively: repatriation claims, authority, changed Chinese culture and display tendency. Besides, one case study of a Western Han dynasty female corpse displayed in the Hunan Museum will be reviewed as access to the Chinese context.