It has been confirmed that Sheffield University Archaeology Department, rated as one of the top 50 archaeology schools in the world, is to lose its funding. Similar threats hang over the archaeology departments of the Universities of Chester, Aston, London South Bank and Leicester. It is to be hoped that some archaeologists and academics will […]Archaeology no longer to be studied in Britain, just legally mined in secret for money? — The Heritage Journal
To our dismay, we have now learned that another well-respected archaeology unit is under threat of cuts and closure: the world-renowned Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. The options for Sheffield’s Senior Executive Board are apparently threefold: 1. Invest in the department 2. Close the department and make all staff redundant 3. Make […]Save Sheffield Archaeology — Archaeo𝔡𝔢𝔞𝔱𝔥
A glance at the buildings open to you.Historic Mills and Where to Find Them — The Historic England Blog
A new flagship exhibition showcasing Coventry’s impressive heritage and architectural history has opened in the space above the new Metropolis restaurant in Earl Street. The exhibition has been curated by two CovSoc members, Sabine Coady Schäbitz (Associate Professor in Architecture at Coventry University) and Dr Mark Webb (Chair of Medieval Coventry). The exhibition – Metropolis: […]Metropolis Exhibition — Coventry Society News
DR HANNAH YOKEN I’m a Finnish historian who lived in the UK for nearly a decade. When I tell my British friends and colleagues where I’m from, they often respond with an air of admiration, complimenting the relatively egalitarian principles upon which Nordic social democracy has been built. Certainly, this notion that the Nordic countries are […]Men and Feminism: Gender Equality in the Nordic Countries, 1960s to Present — History Journal
This blog is dedicated with thanks to Steven Dowd in recognition of the kind help he has given me. Without him I would have composed a blog about Winchcombe without actually discussing Winchcombe. I remain in your debt.
As I have already said my skill set involves knowing things and telling people what I know. One morning I was driving and came through this fascinating town, Winchcombe.
Now what interested me about the name of Winchcombe was the Winch element which has eluded me for a long time. This is a bit embarrassing because its one of those short cuts between two pieces of knowledge. I come from a village in Cheshire called Wincham. Here we see the Winch element combined with the Saxon ham which means hamlet. The Winch element is a bit confusing because we are descended from the Anglo-Saxons and not directly from the Romano-British. In Latin there is no V. Any V is pronounced W. This means via meaning road is pronounced Weir and so the Winch is a spoken not written latin which could more accurately be written as Vinch. Vinch is related to the word Vicus, pronounced Weekus so we see that Wincham was once Weekusham. The village probably has its origins with the Roman Fort at Castle in Northwich (probably derived from the Latin Castorum meaning fort) and is easy march of that place. The villages relating to forts were called Vicus and it is from this word we get village. When the Roman legions leave Britian in the 4th century plus they settle in existing settlements. In the case of Wincham they identify it as a hamlet by adding ham to the end of its Roman name, thus we have Village Village. Winchcombe is equally interesting.
Before I start explaining Winchcombe I must express a debt of gratitude to Steven Dowd. Mr Dowd is a gentleman. He has pointed out to me that I wrote this blog about Winchcombe and completely forgot to actually discuss Winchcombe. The name Winchcombe combines two elements. The first is the now familiar Winch from the Latin Vicus pronounced Weechus meaning the village surrounding or near to a Roman Fort. The second is the Saxon Combe which means valley. From this we get Village in a valley. I think but can not be sure that it means wooded valley. What might be of further interest is why did Roman forts have villages around them. Well the first is the uncomfortable truth about soldiers. They like guns, girls and gold. The Roman soldier was not armed on his off duty and his weapons were kept in the Secellum under the watchful eyes of the Signifers who were also the pay masters. Nobody wants off bored armed soldiers. Bored armed soldiers often wander off and find something to do, kill or over throw. So denied weapons the Romans would wander off to the vicus where there were girls and that proportion of their pay they did not spend or gamble they wasted. Amongst these distractions lived their wives and families. Roman soldiers could not lawfully marry and if they unlawfully married their families could not enter the fort. So lets imagine Winchcombe maybe 1700 years ago. The Romans are in control of their empire but storm clouds are on the horizon. A young soldier goes to the Principia where the Signifer signs over his pay less deductions for food, armour, pension and burial fund and then he makes a generous donation to his centurion. After this generous and voluntary payment he leaves the fort and enters the vicus. Lets imagine him walking through the valley, past the prostitutes and the dice games, he smells the oysters and goes to a small house where his new Celtic wife is waiting for him, maybe nursing a baby. Now lets imagine two hundred years in the future. The young soldier is long dead and cremated in the graveyard with a monument to his distinguished service during which he rose to become a centurion himself. Leaning against the grave stone with his arm around his Romano-British wife is a pale man with a slightly hunted expression. He looks over the wooded valley and the strange remains of the forts ramparts. Maybe he was Deor who composed the poem we now call “The Ruin” (yes I know but if it was good enough for Tolkien it is good enough for me!). He looks over the valley, the woods and the safety and asks his wife, “What do they call this place?” Her accent would sound Spanish to us. A combination of Greek, Latin and the Celtic languages, probably quite savage and classical, “Weecus” she replies. He thinks, that’s an interesting name, “I shall call it the woody valley of Weecus.”
I hope you all enjoyed this blog, below is a short video of me trying explain this against the background of car traffic.
The works of leading Victorian writer George Eliot were brought into sharp focus last week when Silas Marner was staged in Allesley. Allesley Silas, a musical version of the story about a weaver who arrived in the imaginary village of Raveloe. It could well be Allesley and was adapted as such by Coventry dramatist Alan […]George Comes Back to Allesley — Coventry Society News
England’s medieval system of justice has a bad reputation, and it came by it honestly. Come, let’s be horrified together. Medieval courts came in two flavors: Local courts were presided over by the lord or his steward, and we’ll skip those for now. The King’s Court was initially presided over by the king personally but […]Medieval justice in England: trial by ordeal, by jury, and by combat — Notes from the U.K.
Wayland’s Smithy On a rather bleak day, when I was feeling low for some unspecified reason, the first complete chapter of Dark Sage landed in my inbox and had me laughing out loud. The story that began in The Ætheling Thing is developing beautifully. Now, I suppose I shouldn’t say it, but I really love […]Author’s Note — The Silent Eye
Further to our report in February the new visitor information centre at Coventry Railway station is now open and ready to welcome visitors to the City of Culture. A striking new visitor information centre has been opened outside Coventry Railway Station to help The futuristic pod on Station Square will provide help with information about […]New Visitor Information Centre Opens — Coventry Society News