Thursday, February 15, 2018

Will it be "Time, Ladies & Gentlemen, please" for the very last time at the Air Balloon?

Plans may finally be afoot to put a road through the Air Balloon.

CHM spots this in Gloucestershire Live.  This too.  And this on ITV.

And here's the Highways England consultation.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

CH Reunion 2017

The Crickley Hill 2017 reunion picnic will be held on top of the hill on Saturday, 8 July 2017 from 1 p.m. onwards. All former diggers and their friends and relatives are, as ever, most welcome!

Hillfort Atlas

Dr Ferris draws my attention to Oxford's very fine map of all the hillforts you could ever want.

Here's what it says about Crickley:

EN0748 Crickley Hill, Gloucestershire

HER: Gloucestershire 170
NMR: SO91NW 44
SM: 1003586
NGR: SO927161
Status: Confirmed

Summary: Important, excavated promontory fort located on a W-facing Cotswold spur overlooking vale and Gloucester to E. Very steep surrounding slopes on N, W and S, moderate along ridge to E. Single bank and ditch cuts off the promontory in curving line N-S, encloses 3.85ha. Excavations by P. Dixon 1969-93 found evidence of earlier causewayed enclosure and Neolithic settlement and phased construction of hillfort with three phases of timber-laced ramparts and dry-stone wall facing, E ramparts dating from early Iron Age. Earliest phase (Phase 2) of timber-laced ramparts enclosing rows of rectangular buildings, with clusters of small square buildings, possibly 7th century BC. On flat approach and W tip of hill, ramparts with regular pattern of timber internal uprights, horizontal timber lacing. Elsewhere diminished in width and height to become dry-stone wall. Whether this continuous around promontory unknown because of landslips and quarrying. More substantial defences on W interpreted by Dixon as unfinished site. Later hillfort burnt and deliberately slighted. In Phase 3a some refortification of ramparts for 75m N-S of entrance, possibly first stage of reoccupation. Phase 3b intermittent reconstruction of entrance with large out-turned hornwork and solid stone bastions at gate, expansion of ditch to E, and digging of second ring of ditches outside main rampart. Neither completed. This ramparts enclosed settlement of roundhouses on different alignment to the previous settlement of 5th century BC. One larger round house (diameter of 15m) sited just inside entrance. As Phase 2 hillfort, all destroyed by fire and site abandoned. In Phase 3c, later Iron Age unenclosed occupation within old ramparts. Hornwork at NE entrance in third re-modelling phase. Pottery and metal working evidence. On 1st Ed. OS map (1884).

References: Clifford, E.M. 1964. An enclosure on Crickley Hill, Gloucestershire, Trans Bristol Gloucestershire Archaeol Soc, 83, 40-8. Dixon, P. 1976. Crickley Hill, 1969-1972, in ed D.W. Harding , Hillforts. Later prehistoric earthworks in Britain and Ireland, London: Academic Press, 162-176. Dixon, P. 1994. Crickley Hill, volume 1 : the hillfort defences. Dixon, P. 1988. The Neolithic settlements on Crickley Hill, In eds Burgess, C., Topping, P., Mordant, C. and Maddison, M., Enclosures and defences in the Neolithic of western Europe, Bar British Series. Dixon, P. and Borne, P. 1977. Crickley Hill and Gloucestershire prehistory, Gloucester: Gloucestershire County Council. Guilbert, G. C. 1975. Planned hillfort interiors, Proc Prehist Soc, 41, 209, 211, 219. RCHME 1976. Ancient and historical monuments in the County of Gloucestershire, Vol. I: Iron Age and Romano- British monuments in Gloucestershire Cotswolds, London: HMSO, 5. Savage, R. 1988. Village, Fortress, Shrine: Crickley Hill, Gloucestershire, 3500BC - AD500, Gloucester: Crickley Hill Archaeol Trust.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CH Reunion 2016

The Crickley Hill 2016 reunion picnic will be held on top of the hill on Saturday, 2 July 2016 from 1 p.m. onwards. All former diggers and their friends and relatives are, as ever, most welcome!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy New Year to all Crickley diggers

Dr Ferris writes: "I am sure Crickley Hill Man is all too aware that summer 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of his precocious debut on the Hill. I wonder if he has any special commemorative event planned for the 2016 reunion? Perhaps a crack team of historical reenactors could recreate CHM's finest moments of that year, although given the nervous state of many of the regular reunion attendees that might not be advisable without a medical team present on site. Maybe he will let us all know what he might have planned." It's not about me Dr Ferris and your suggestion made me blush.

More seriously I have been neglecting this blog for far too long. Now that I am safely and happily ensconced in Louth in Lincolnshire I think it might be time quietly to post thing or two.

I found this postcard apparently from 1935 which shows the 'Devil's Stable Rocks'. I never knew they had a name but it would appear that the photographer mislabelled this picture as there are a number of references on the web to the Devil's Table, which makes a bit more sense.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CH Reunion 2014

The Crickley Hill 2014 reunion picnic will be held on top of the hill on Saturday, 5 July 2014 from 1 p.m. onwards. All former diggers and their friends and relatives are, as ever, most welcome!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dr Christopher Phillpotts, MA (London), PhD (Liverpool), BA (York) AIFA, FSA

It is with the greatest regret that Crickley Hill Man records the death, peacefully on 27 January 2013, of his dear friend known on this blog as Dr Phillpotts or The Chronicler. Our sympathies go to his family.

Dr Iain Ferris has kindly drawn my attention to the following item in the newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London: "Finally, the Society has been informed of the sad news of the death of our Fellow Christopher Phillpotts, who was elected as recently as 1 November 2012 and who was one of the authors of the paper on ‘The King’s High Table at the Palace of Westminster’ published in last year’s Antiquaries Journal. Christopher was widely known as a specialist in medieval towns, to whose history and archaeology he brought extensive field experience combined with palaeographical skills in medieval French and Latin. He contributed many specialist reports and papers to monographs and journals on the London suburbs of Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Southwark, on medieval Winchester, Kingston, Uxbridge, Northampton, Bristol, Bath and Newport (Gwent)."

Chris dug at Crickley for many seasons and it was a rare summer when he did not put in an appearance. His first season was 1972 , an account of which appears here. As he wrote then this was his first publication. I've found at least the first page of his next publication in the 1984 EHR:

He worked for the Museum of London Archaeological Service for many years and then practised as a consultant in history and archaeology. I have compiled an online bibliography of some of his work set out below

Books to which he contributed as author or joint author:

Winchester Palace: Excavations at the Southwark Residence of the Bishops of Winchester

A Quietly Active Community: The Historyof the Kennet Centre, Newbury

Charter Quay: The Spirit of Change - TheArchaeology of Kingston's Riverside

Other articles by Dr Phillpotts include

His entry in British and Irish Archaeological bibliography shows further the breadth of the assessments and studies he wrote over the years.

He will be much missed.

Chris at Conwy Castle, September 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Alan Ford writes:

"Having lately returned to the dwell in the Five Valleys of my youth I am now within a jar of limestone polishes throw from the hill.  As such it has come to my notice through a work colleague and fervent member of the Ermin St Guard that he and his father will be responsible for the setting of a beacon on that hallowed ground in celebration of the Jubilee. I'm not sure exactly where on the hill the beacon will be lit, but my money is on the end of the Long Mound. 

Weather and young lordling permitting I shall attend to watch the good loyal burghers of the district throw a few of the more radicalised local whigs on the fire in honour of our good Queen Bess 

In so doing I will also indulge myself in a bit of experimental archaeology as pretty much every beacon and hillfort on the scarp will have its own conflagration; and i'll warrant a goodly many more locations within that broad vista too. I shall see if I can make out how many and where.  

About the hour of ten and fifteen in the evening on Monday is, I am told, likely to be the time of the  incendiary event for those of you who may also want to enjoy the view."


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What did Mr Boden hear next?

Mr Boden & C-H-M have been to Pembrey, Carmarthenshire to see Dr Ferris and Dr Bevan (a.k.a. Dr Mrs Dr Ferris). Very jolly it was too, with healthy walking on the delightful beaches nearby and not too much misbehaviour.  And on the way home we dropped in to see Richard & Lydia Savage to plot a little more for this year's reunion, of which more very soon.

Inevitably, as we were so close, the Boden Saab was irresistibly drawn to the top of the Hill after a quick snack at the Air Balloon.  Once Mr Boden had recovered from the shock being gouged for parking charges, we completed a circuit of the Hill in fabulous weather, noting blackthorn, hawthorn, vibernum, cowslips, speedwell, buttercups, a solitary campion, ditto an aquilegia.

And as we strolled C-H-M and Mr Boden had an experience neither of us has ever had before whilst atop Crickley. Nor, we suspect will many, if any, of those who dug the hill have ever had this experience unless you happen to live close by and time your visit as we did. As we stood drinking in the view, we heard cuckoos singing. Rather splendid.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Splendid photos from Kirsten Jarrett

Kirsten has published a number of sets of interesting photos from her Crickley Hill research on Flickr here. The sets are Iron, Finds drawings, Enclosed post-Roman settlement, Views of Crickley, Unenclosed late- to post-Roman settlement, Hand-made coarseware rim sherd, Hand-made coarseware bases, Hand-made coarseware body sherds, Lid, Short Mound bowl, Romano-British ceramics, Copper alloy. I was particularly interested to see that some of the sherds actually fit together! So do go and have a peek ...

Click on this title for interesting material from Kirsten Jarrett about Crickley

Kirsten Jarrett recorded a day of research on the Roman and early medieval phases at Crickley Hill, for the 'Day of Archaeology'

CH Reunion 2012

The Crickley Hill 2012 reunion picnic will be held on top of the hill on Saturday, 7 July 2012 from 1 p.m. onwards. All former diggers and their friends and relatives are, as ever, most welcome! Here's a photo of PWD, in the old days, bringing the crockery for lunch ...

Friday, June 10, 2011

CH Reunion 2011

This year's reunion will be held on Saturday 2nd July 2011, with the picnic on top of the hill beginning at 1 pm.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Good afternoon ...

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Well, good afternoon all. My apologies for the long interval on the blog. I rather ran out of steam after 18 months of continuous posting. The resumption of the blog features this rather strange picture from Alan Ford from the 1991 season: as he says "Kate Wescomb appears to be blowing up an inflatable Richard Ozanne." Alan must have waited hours in his hide on top of the photographic tower to capture the moment to perfection.

I have emailed everyone on the mailing list today with the revised date for the reunion this year: the picnic will be Saturday 24th July. My apologies for having to change the date at relatively short notice: the clash with the Fairford Airshow meant that those of us coming from afar were unable to find accommodation in the Crickley vicinity on the previous weekend.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Squeal Pig ...

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Malc White sends the following intriguing piece of intelligence: "Just a quick note to report that the Cheeserollers pub in Shurdington is now selling a cider called Squealy Pig. Now I don't know if Squeal Pig as used by Mr Parry (and referring to Woodpecker Cider if I remember correctly[may well have been: or otherwise GL cider? Ed.]) is an original or whether it's a local term for cider but it struck me as a coincidence that a pub which was used by diggers occasionally is selling a cider described so eloquently by one of them."

Strange indeed, and best illustrated by a photo of JP clasping a glass, most probably of Squeal(y) Pig, at the 2009 reunion picnic, courtesy of Terry Courtney. Also in view, Dr Phillpotts & Andrew Powell.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A bit bedraggled ...

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Apologies for the recent lack of postings: C-H-M has been mildly poorly as well as being frantically busy at the cookery school and cooking dinners on the odd evening for clients, which has left me short on energy and inspiration though I am now on the mend. Feeling slightly bedraggled was probably what made me select this picture from Anna's collection of the assembled diggers sheltering from a bit of a downpour. I think I can spot Kathy Scott, Anna Behan, Elsa Charlot and Dr Phillpotts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A normal evening at the Air Balloon ...

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From Anna Behan's collection, an evening in garden of the 'Air Balloon' in 1978 or thereabouts: Dr Phillpotts, C-H-M beginning his entry for that night's gurning competition, Anna turning away in horror being comforted by Ollie Crick, Ranging Rod & Mike Webb looking on and Mike Taylor watching the unknown photographer. It is surprising that Flt Lt Southwood is not in the frame but perhaps the photographer was he, unless he was getting the next round in. It looks as though the lights of the bar, small as it was in those days, are in the background.

C-H-M has, somewhat unromantically for the time of year, been abed with a gastric bug (- what other kind would a student of cookery get?), which is why postings have been lacking, for which my apologies. Perhaps Bacillus cereus was the culprit or indeed Clostridium perfringens. Each can stalk a curry house ...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spot the bow ties

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Apologies for the recent hiatus in postings: it was largely caused by the need to plan and cook lunch for 50 in 3.5 hours and recover from the (mainly splendid) experience. On a food theme, here's a 1977 shot of the lunch with tablecloths & waitress service that was enjoyed by Messrs. Irvine, Howell, Glaskin & Roberts. Here they are in mid-trough snapped by Anna Behan. Love the bow ties.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Unprepossessing heaven

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It may not have been a thing of beauty, but to a Crickley digger at the end of a long, hot, hard-labouring day, the sight of the Ablutions block in the early evening was welcome together with the knowledge that soon you could scrub away the grime of the day. Even a wash in a basin was bliss, let alone the heaven of a shower on the days when it was your turn to have one. From Mike Sims 2004 end of Ullenwood series.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ahem ...

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Alan Ford gave this 1991 picture from the Knell/Ford Ermine Street Guard debut in Martigny in Switzerland the caption "What was I thinking?" about which, I suspect, we may not wish to have too much clarity ...

Friday, February 5, 2010

What on earth did John Parry just say?

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On the stage in the mess hall at Ullenwood in 1979. Plainly, from the fact that everyone is falling about laughing JP must just have said something hilarious to Randal Motkin who clasps a ceremonial block of oolitic limestone (probably that season's 'Personality of the Year' award. Why John is wearing a crash helmet is lost in the mists. Back row, L to R, Dmitri, C-H-M, Bernard Dawson, Randal, Terry Courtney, JP. Front row, David Hole, Zoya Spivakowska, Ros Cleal and Anna Collinge.

Stop press: following a recent straw poll of Crickley veterans this year's reunion will be on the weekend of 16 to 18 July, holding the picnic on the hill on Saturday 17th. This at least gives Noakesy a chance to hotfoot it from his foreign tour just to make it in time ... I will email the usual suspects soon about the arrangements.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The conversation must have been scintillating ...

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L to R: Rowena Dutton, Terry Courtney, Philip Dixon, Anna Collinge, Jane Dineen's legs. Anna was plainly so gripped by the elevated conversation during this break that she is deep in her book. From her own photo collection, probably from the 1980 season.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A picture of concentration

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Dr Cleal was, I suspect, concentrating so hard on her tracing that she may well have been unaware that Eric van Dorland was taking this rather fine study of her labours in the planning hut in 1990. Update: Jane Dineen thinks this is a misidentification and so does Eric: possibly someone called Emma, he thinks & not Ros.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting it straight

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Feeling a little jaded? Alan Ford, in 1991, shows how he straightened himself out: a couple of scaffold poles down the trouser legs does the trick. The spoil heap was to hand for a soft landing and Julie looks on in the background.