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Archive for the tag “Historic England”

History in Peril: The Carved Cave at Royston

Beneath the street in the little town of Royston lies an unusual cave filled with medieval carvings that appear to date mainly from the 14thc, although some may vary. Discovered only in the late 18th century, Royston Cave has been ascribed to pagan cults and to the Knights Templar–however, I think, much more prosaically, it was probably a hermit’s cell or, as has been suggested, connected in some way with the nearby Augustinian Priory. Whatever the case, it is full of mysterious and evocative carvings, including  the Holy Family, St Lawrence with the gridiron that killed him, a St Michael (or George)  with an impressive sword, and a very fine crowned St Katherine. The carvings were at one time painted; in the 1800’s traces remained of yellow in Katherine’s dress and flecks of red paint on the Holy Family. Niches in the wall below the figures would have contained candles or lanterns.

Sadly, this ancient and evocative cave  has now been placed on the ‘at risk’ register with Historic England, as water is seeping from the street above and causing noticeable new damage to the carvings. An earlier infestation of worms that caused erosion of the figures was successfully eradicated several years back.

The owner is hoping that bringing attention to the latest plight will enable restoration work and new repairs and conservation work to be done.

Hopefully, this will happen in the near future, and perhaps an upside of the added publicity might be easier, more frequent access to the cave. At present it is only open for a few hours on a few select days per week, mainly during the summer months.

ROYSTON CAVE

ROYSTON

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The latest on the hunt for Richard’s Y-chromosome

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, was born today in 1338, although he died just before his thirtieth birthday. He is, of course, a mixed-line direct ancestor of Richard III but he is the brother of Edmund of Langley, Richard’s male-line great grandfather.

Here, John Ashdown-Hill spoke to Nerdalicious about his attempts to locate Lionel and secure a little DNA. You may compare it with our earlier piece about a similar search.

Which place would YOU choose to define England….?

100-places-logo-300

This enterprise by Historic England was drawn to my attention by an item on the BBC News channel. It certainly set me thinking. Just what place or thing would I nominate to represent the heritage of our land? So, I ask the same of you. Where or what will YOU choose?

 

Towton battlefield – the future

As you can see from this post, the protected area near Tadcaster has now been extended by Historic England. This means that, every time it rains or snows near March 29, the annual re-enactment  can be cancelled for health and safety reasons in the knowledge that it can go ahead on future occasions and that further archaeological discoveries are possible:

Information board near the battlefield

An interview with Phillippa Langley – Part One …

… in which we question the “Kingfinder General”:

1) Did your name, shared with two of Richard III’s great-grandparents, interest you in him?

I remember being intrigued by seeing the name Langley and the Philippas in his Plantagenet ancestry and family tree but it wasn’t what interested me in Richard. I was captivated by his extraordinary historical story, why it had never been placed centre-stage on our screens and why the Shakespearean grotesque was (and is) continually, and endlessly, rolled out in its stead.

2) Do you have any news from Reading on their quest for the abbey church?

No further news as yet but the Hidden Abbey Project is Reading’s exciting new research initiative that aims to uncover as much as it can about one of Western Europe’s most important medieval buildings. Research gets underway in 2016 with the first-ever Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of the site. The landowners will be working with Historic England (formerly English Heritage) as the site holds National Monument status so it will be a step by step process under their auspices.

3) Are you planning to research the Stanley family’s archives?

Short answer is yes. The Princes Project aims to leave no stone unturned in the hope that we can help shed new light on the enduring mystery surrounding the disappearance of the sons of Edward IV and inform ongoing study into the life and times of King Richard. Is it possible that the mystery can be solved; is there anything to be found? We cannot of course know, but what we do know is that for the very first-time we are looking and this is what is important. The project is also looking at the mystery in an entirely new way and asking questions that to my knowledge have never been asked before. If Richard is to be finally laid to rest, this mystery is for me the final frontier in terms of research into the last Plantagenet and we are fortunate to have a growing team of researchers and experts behind it.

4) Many families and guilds are opening their archives to help with your quest to find out what really happened to the sons of Edward IV. Are there also people, or institutions that have declined to help? If so, what reason did they give?

The Princes Project has been incredibly privileged with everyone we have contacted thus far (and who have contacted us) moving heaven and earth to help. Only one connection was not quite as helpful as we’d hoped but this was probably because their records had been moved from the family home to the National Archives in London.

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