Final Report to Heritage Lottery Fund – November 2018

HLF Evaluation and Final Report by Gemma Tallis – Project Leader

Disclaimer

This report was written as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund evaluation for the project ‘Bosworth Links’ undertaken by the Market Bosworth Society.  The conclusions of the report are the result of the committee’s and chairman Nigel Palmer and Project Officer Gemma Tallis’ judgement.  The archaeological report contains findings and data assessed and concluded by Mathew Morris from the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services.  This has been based upon information and data from the excavation results and previously known information about the area of Market Bosworth.  Any third party using the report should do so with diligence. Decisions based upon this report will have no liability accepted by the Market Bosworth Society.  The finds analysis report is subject to copyright and may not be used without the permission of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services.

About ‘The Market Bosworth Society’.

The Market Bosworth Society is a conservation and historical society and has been active in the local community for over 40 years. The society was initially formed following the creation of the Market Bosworth Conservation Area, to ensure that the history and heritage of the conservation area was protected and preserved for future generations. Subsequently the Society worked closely with Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Conservation Officers and the Planning Committee in reviewing and extending the conservation area to its current extent, which includes part of the Country Park. The Society is recognised as a statutory consultee by the Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, Planning Department for all planning applications pertaining to the Conservation Area. It also holds regular monthly lecture meetings, or field visits for our its members and guests where its aim is to inform, educate and entertain. The society also provides Guided Walks around Market Bosworth and have developed an expertise on many of the building’s history and architecture. Thanks to a previously successful request (HLF project; Market Bosworth Heritage Connections) it also publishes a Town Trail Guide, now in its second edition which is very popular with locals and visitors to the historic town of Market Bosworth.  The society makes monthly contributions to local magazines and supplies interviewees for local TV and Radio media. More recently it have been assisting local businesses celebrate significant anniversaries with the use of its extensive archive. An archive which has been built over many years with help from the local community and others. An archive which is regularly accesses by researchers not only from the UK but internationally.

Summary

What did we set out to achieve?

Opportunity

The Market Bosworth Society’s committee created a sub-committee under the name of ‘Bosworth Links’ in order to steer the community archaeology test pitting project.  A new logo was created depicting a chain which represents the unbroken chain of history in Market Bosworth back to the Domesday Book.  The chain also represents the community of Market Bosworth and the intention of the project to bring together members of the community irrespective of age or ability.   It was hoped to be able to extend that chain of history back beyond the mention of Market Bosworth in the Domesday Book and link fragments of earlier known settlement together.  The annual ‘Festival of Archaeology’ was already an event of increasing interest to the general public and professionals alike.  It was hoped that by coordinating the Bosworth Links excavations to coincide we the festival, the project would be able to tap into the momentum, awareness and resources of this national festival.

 Understanding of the heritage in Market Bosworth

The Project was designed to improve the knowledge and understanding of the archaeological landscape and wider heritage of Market Bosworth.  It was hoped that the community would be involved in an archaeological project which would give Market Bosworth a historical identity beyond the history of Richard III which has dominated its historical narrative, especially in more recent years with the discovery and reinternment of King Richard III remains. The project set out to provide evidence about the early history of Market Bosworth which in turn would contribute to the understanding of the town’s heritage.  It was also hoped that it would present an opportunity to validate landscape research already undertaken by local historians.

Methodology

The methodology of test pitting had already been proven, by other archaeological groups both professional and community led, to be a highly effective way in which to discover significant information about the origins and spread of a town or villages settlement pattern.  It was decided that this methodology would be the most effective way to be able to involve previously unexperienced volunteers and excavate meaningfully in an area which is otherwise significantly developed with housing.  The aim was to excavate 50 test pits in total.

Community involvement

Market Bosworth has had a history of successful community involvement, winning the East midlands in Bloom competition for example. The judges of the competition have been impressed over many years at the enthusiasm and involvement of community members.  There are often community events hosted within the town which always boast excellent turn outs.  It was hoped that Bosworth Links would be no exception and that all members of the community would feel able to participate regardless of gender, age, ability and mobility.  Plans were put in place to include school aged children and elderly residents for example. There was already a strong body of community interest in Market Bosworth, building on the events organised by volunteers in March 2015 to accommodate and manage over 10,000 visitors to see the cortege of King Richard III pass through the Medieval Market Place. Community involvement also extended to running a library, the award-winning Bosworth in Bloom and the annual Arts Festival.  It was hoped that by building on already strong community foundation, Bosworth Links could provide training and experience to the volunteers that would provide them with long lasting transferable skills and a new-found excitement and engagement for and with their local heritage.  Skills would range from generic team working, team building, networking, communication and organisation to more specific archaeological skills including excavation, recording and finds identification.

The aim of the project was to provide opportunities for everyone who wished to be involved.  This ranged from young children to the elderly or disabled.  It was envisaged that volunteers would be able to select role suitable to their needs and wishes, including excavation, recording and finds washing/analysis.  The project wished to target those who may be socially isolated and encourage them to participate in a community project.  In turn this would forge relationships and friendships and promote self-confidence.  The involvement of the schools was not to be underestimated with opportunities for the three local schools to participate and learn about their own local history.  It was also an opportunity to involve local and peripheral societies and groups who also wished to share the opportunity.

Analysis

The analysis and excavation report would also be invaluable to the Market Bosworth Neighbourhood Development Plan which is vital in planning and developing in the area.  There would also be an opportunity for the Market Bosworth Society, to expand their profile resulting in greater awareness of their important work within the community.

The Market Bosworth society set out to professionally record the finds and data from the test pit excavation with the assistance of the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services.  They wanted to record the data in a manner which was long lasting and accessible to anyone who wished to view it and learn from it.  They wanted to promote awareness of the findings through community events and awareness and contribute to a revision of the Neighbourhood Development Plan should areas of archaeological significance be discovered.

In short, the aims and objectives were outlined by the following:

 Bosworth Links Objectives:

To investigate the archaeology of the environs of Market Bosworth through test-pit excavation carried out by members of the community in properties throughout the settlement.

  • To enable members of the community to excavate 50 test pits over a two-year period.
  • To make a written, photographic, and video record of the excavations which can be used to inform local residents and academia.
  • To support and engage with members, of all ages, of local communities through involvement with the project.

Bosworth Links Aims:

  • To increase knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the setting, origins and development of Market Bosworth and its environs.
  • By engaging with the residents of Market Bosworth, the schools, businesses and societies it will widen the participation of people, of all ages, in the heritage of the area.
  • To allow participants to develop a wide range of practical and analytical archaeological skills.
  • To link the young people of Market Bosworth and those who study here in a practical learning opportunity which will benefit their broader curriculum requirements.
  • To enable teachers to utilise the experiences gained from a hands-on archaeological excavation and use the evidence of the early history of the settlement as a basis to develop the student’s understanding and appreciation of the life style of our ancestors.

Community Objectives:

  • To involve local people in excavating archaeological test pits to discover when and where historic

settlement took place. All archaeological work will be considered in relation to the region’s Research Framework and Agenda. This has highlighted the origin and development of medieval rural settlements, particularly how they appear, grow, shift and disappear, as an important research topic. It is also hoped that information gained from this project can feed into the broader regional and national studies.

  • To inspire and stimulate wider interest in the history of a settlement by giving the community the opportunity to take part in a hands-on archaeological project.

General Archaeological Objectives:

  • To identify the presence/absence of archaeological deposits or earlier building remains.
  • To establish the character, extent, survival and date range for any archaeological deposits, structural remains, artefacts and ecofacts found.
  • To appropriately record any archaeology found.
  • To advance understanding of the heritage assets
  • To produce an archive and report of any results

How successful was the project?

Community

The community engagement in Bosworth Links has been truly exceptional.  Volunteer numbers during the weekend itself increased from around 110 in year one to approximately 130 in year two, excluding committee members.  Volunteers ranged in age from 3 years to old to 90 years old.  Bosworth Links was successful in providing volunteering opportunities for elderly people or those with a disability who were able to select a role which they felt suited their needs and requirements.  The diversity of the volunteers is shown in the figures below.

Figure 1: Gender range of volunteers not including participants at the school’s events .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphs Figure 2: Age range of volunteers not including participants at the school’s events.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: Disability range of adult volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Employment status of volunteers not including participants at the school’s events.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5: Sexual Orientation of adult volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 6: Religious orientation of adult volunteers.

 

 

 

 

 

Attendance numbers at community events were high and the venue for these was moved to St. Peter’s Church in anticipation of this.  Around 50 volunteers also attended the finds masterclass by Peter Liddle MBE in year one and another 50 in year two.  Here volunteers were able to learn about the sorts of archaeological finds that they may encounter, handle them and ask questions in order to improve their knowledge and understanding.

During the first season (July 2017) The public were invited to visit public areas, the finds processing hall and selected gardens in order to take part in the weekend if they were not volunteering.  A map was produced with the accessible areas clearly marked on it.  Local and county wide societies and groups set up displays on the Parish Field so that visitors could see and handle a variety of archaeological finds.  Children’s activities were also provided including historical colouring activities and a sandpit with hidden archaeological treasures in it!  The weekend was covered by two county newspapers and local press also.  BBC Radio Leicester also located a clue for their weekend Clueless program at one of the test pits which added to local interest and excitement.

During the second season (July 2018) a larger public event was set up.  This included accessible test pits on the Parish Field, a flint knapper demonstrating the ancient art of flint tool making, a medieval tile expert and other finds displays.  Members of the public were able to participate in flint knapping, tile making and finds processing and there were a number of children’s activities also.  This family friendly event attracted around 500 visitors during the course of the weekend.  The weekend was covered by a live radio broadcast and also attracted notable visitors such as the Mayor, Professor Carenza Lewis (formerly of Channel 4’s Time Team) and local historians, such as Peter Foss for example.

The community feedback meetings, held in November 2017 and again in November 2018, also experienced considerable interest.  There were approximately 140 people present at the 2018 meeting where the results of the excavations were shared.  Meetings began with an opportunity for people to browse finds from all of the test pits followed by a viewing of the professionally produced video and concluded with a lecture on the finds, their analysis and what they mean for Market Bosworth and the surrounding area.

The local community have been very vocal in expressing their enjoyment of the project.  Feedback to the committee has included testimonials from volunteers who have delighted in telling us that it was the highlight of their year.  There has been firm evidence of new friendships and relationships being formed and many volunteers have come forward and expressed an interest in finding out more about archaeology and participating in other local events and/or joining other groups.  Bosworth Links was also successful in encouraging participation from members of the community who may be socially isolated.  Such examples include widowers or elderly couples who had previously had little contact with the community around them.  Such participants were supported by members of the committee and measures put in place to ensure that they felt safe and comfortable.

The project has also been successful in engaging children and young people.  Around 550 children participated at test pit excavations at their schools and more children attended the main excavation weekend either as diggers with family members or as visitors to events.  Members of the young Archaeologists Club also participated during both of the main weekends of excavation.

The Video and photographic record of the events really highlights the community’s involvement and enjoyment.  Both can be viewed at the following address:

http://marketbosworthsociety.com/bosworth-links/

Around 80 volunteers have resigned to the Market Bosworth Society in order to receive updates about any future/legacy projects.

Please see Appendix (A) for a testimonial written by the chairman of the Market Bosworth Parish Council in relation to an award that the Bosworth Links project was entered for.   See Appendix (B) for a letter of support for the award entry from local historian Dr Peter Foss.  See Appendix (C) for a testimonial written by Johan Verspay a PhD student from the University of West Bohemia.  Please note that all testimonials were written before the second year of results had been published.

-Finds analysis

Please see links to reports for a full and detailed excavation and finds analysis.

Impact and Outcomes

Local Heritage

The Bosworth Links project has a considerable impact on local heritage.  We are now in possession of the knowledge as to where and when the settlement of Market Bosworth began, how it developed and at times, how it retracted.  It is now known that the Silk Hill site was significant during the Anglo-Saxon period and potentially in the Neolithic period also.  This site is protected from development as the residents of a neighbouring road own the land.  However, the knowledge gained about other areas of the town will help when making decisions about conservation and development of the town.

What information we have been left with?

Impact on people

People have been empowered with knowledge about the community that they live in.  They have been left with the memories of the excavations themselves and the experience and knowledge gained from the community meetings and training sessions.  Many of them have found new friendships or been able to access parts of the community that they had become isolated from.  The video which can be found at the following link http://marketbosworthsociety.com/bosworth-links/ features some of the highlights of the excavations from both a community and an archaeological perspective.

The Bosworth Links project has also impacted on the young people within the community.  The second year of excavations were met with even more enthusiasm than the first by school children.  Every school pupil who participated did so with excitement as they learnt new skills and made discoveries about the town and the site on which their school sits on.  The excavations have been followed up with assemblies to continue to build the students knowledge and enthusiasm.

Impact on Environment

The community has been left with an understanding of the environment and landscape around them.  This has certainly generated a renewed appreciation for the local environment and how to take care of and preserve the history of the town.  There is an increased awareness of the work that the Market Bosworth Society undertakes to conserve the local area.  The results will also be able to be fed into new Neighbourhood Plans or decisions for planning applications.   All tools used during the excavations were loaned from The Victoria County Trust or the University of Leicester’s Archaeological Services and so no new items needed to be bought or disposed of.

Maintaining long term benefits of the project

There are long term benefits of the project including the impacts on planning proposals and developments for the town and also on the community’s knowledge, experience and friendships gained.  There is also a large sector of the volunteers who have requested to be kept on the mailing list and updated with any future plans or opportunities.  There is certainly an opportunity for elements of the results of the excavations to be built into the local school’s curriculum.  For example, the primary school studies a topic on prehistory.  The results from their excavations included prehistoric pottery and flint debitage, all examples which can be incorporated into their studies.

The committee has now begun to look at legacy work for Bosworth Links.  The community have expressed a huge interest in the work on Bosworth Links continuing and building upon what we have already learnt.  It is the plan of the committee to build a website which disseminates and showcases the historical data learnt from the project, into a user friendly and accessible way.  This will then be able to be used by members of the community and school children alike.  The committee has also begun to look at legacy projects involving further survey and/or excavation.  Several areas of interest have been identified within Market Bosworth and we are also exploring the option of community test pit excavations in the surrounding villages.  Little is known about many of the surrounding villages and their historical relationship to the town of Market Bosworth.

Bosworth Links and the Market Bosworth Society has also gained valued relationships with partners and networks such as community members, other local groups and initiatives, local businesses, local press, countywide press and radio and organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.

There has certainly been such an incredible momentum and community spirit and involvement surrounding the Bosworth Links project that the committee feels committed to continuing it’s work in the form of such legacy projects.

Review of lessons learned

Overall, the project has been an incredible success.  We have successfully budgeted for expenditure, created community and network relationships, worked with a broad range of volunteers, collaborated with the Festival of Archaeology, excavated more test pits than were originally intended and produced a comprehensive and professionally written analysis of the results.

There are some lessons learned which we will carry forward to any future projects.  An active committee and committed project officer are both vital for the project to be successful as is the involvement of a professional archaeologist.

During the first year Bosworth Links were able to collaborate with the National Festival of Archaeology and therefore were covered by the relevant insurances.  This was not possible during the second year and so we are now covered by own our insurances.  A lesson learnt was to have our resources in place instead of relying on others.

We have also learnt lessons on how best to engage the public and recruit volunteers and we took this best practice forward with us into the second year of excavations.  We actively tried to recruit volunteers across the sectors of society and were largely successful. However, in future we may need to put other plans in place for groups that may only be able to participate with carers during weekdays for example.

Testimonials

As Chairman of Market Bosworth Parish Council, I wholeheartedly support the nomination of the Bosworth Society for the outstanding archaeological project they masterminded and implemented.

The project required many months of planning, fund raising and general masterminding by the Bosworth Society but once the if’s and buts had been overcome, the awareness building and interest phase quickly gathered momentum as the community saw this challenge as a unique opportunity with a potential and significant learning experience for all generations. Market Bosworth is a key rural centre and sites 3 schools, 1 primary, 1 secondary and an all age independent school, who were all involved. The support of ULAS the University of Leicester Archaeological Services giving further credibility for any sceptics within the community.

The initial aim was to dig fifty 1 metre squared test pits in public spaces, gardens and school fields, 25 in year 1 (2017) and a further 25 in Year 2 (2018). There was no shortage of volunteers, and the pits in year 1, randomly gave a wide cross section of coverage. Residents hosting test pits brought in friends, neighbours and family members to help with digging, whilst teams of volunteers carried out other key tasks e.g. ferrying finds back to a central station, washing and cleaning finds, helping the public locate digs and so on. The first event was held on the 22nd/23rd July 2017, with a buzz of excitement as some 200 people were briefed on complexities of undertaking an effective ‘dig’. Fortunately, members of the ULAS team and other amateur archaeologists from across the East Midlands were on hand to help to share their expertise. A test pit was dug on the Parish Field, which was used also to host a team of metal detectorists and local activities of a relevant nature for children.

As an active participant in the dig, I might be biased, in saying it was a terrific event not least because of some stunning finds across most of the pits.

The ULAS team spent several months analysing the yields – some 8,534 individual finds (76.43kg) recovered from the pits and the school hall was packed when the results were announced showing examples of archaeological material ranging in date from the early Bronze Age to the present day.

The analysis revealed significant trends and the finds mapped showing the distribution and population growth in different parts of the town at different periods in history. The full report can be found at https://ulasnews.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/2017-177.pdf whilst a video ‘Pits Pots and Pipes’ captures the essence and enthusiasm of those participating. See https://vimeo.com/241023767

The project continued into 2018 and was reinvigorated by Professor Carenza Lewis’ interest in the results from the project. She attended a subsequent meeting and outlined the local, regional and national significance of this work. This gave a huge boost to the event of 2018 which was as enthusiastically undertaken – despite being in the middle of a long hot spell of weather. We are aware of more fascinating finds but the ULAS team are still carrying out the full analysis, so we look forward to later this year when the results from year 2 will be published. Already the interest of this project is spreading, and neighbouring settlements are looking to work with Bosworth Society to emulate the project albeit perhaps on a smaller scale.

John Wasteney

Chairman – Market Bosworth Parish Council

To Whom it May Concern

I am happy to support the nomination of Bosworth Links for the Marsh Award for Community Archaeology, 2018. Bosworth Links, a community archaeological project employing test-pit excavations, was set up by the Market Bosworth Society in 2016 in conjunction with ULAS, the University of Leicester Archaeological Services. The Society has stimulated considerable interest and financial support from a variety of local bodies including the Hinckley and Bosworth DC, the Parish Council (through the Community Initiative Fund) and the town’s Dixie School Educational Foundation, and in the process has succeeded in capturing the enthusiasm of the whole community of this small market town. I have been immensely impressed by the passion, commitment – and sheer hard work – shown by so many in the local community, particularly in view of the fact that test pit excavations by their very nature have to be dug by hand by volunteers and take place in urban environments on private property and in people’s gardens. The stimulus afforded by the project has encouraged many to continue exploring the history of the settlement through archaeology.

So far there have been two weekend digs (2017 and 2018), both in July at the beginning of the school holidays to enable children to take part in the project. This has also provided the opportunity, through well-focussed publicity (and through engagement with local heritage groups, who have set up stalls and ‘open days’) for the wider community to understand more about archaeology in general as well as the history of the area. One detailed report has already been published (analysing the results from the dig in 2017) and a second report is awaited. The results are likely to add new evidence to explain the origins and development of the settlement (with finds dating from Prehistoric, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval times). Fresh assessments might be made as to past agrarian, commercial and manufacturing activities within the core of the town, which will add significantly to our understanding of its history.

Dr Peter Foss MA (Oxon.)

Author of The History of Market Bosworth (1983)

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’d like to recommend Bosworth Links for the Marsh Archaeology Awards 2018.

As a PhD student of the University of West-Bohemia I had the privilege to take part in the Bosworth Links Dig event as part of my internship and in preparation of a similar project we will initiate in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Poland. It provided me with a great opportunity to engage with Community Archaeology, get a hands-on experience with the methodology of test-pitting within a currently occupied historical village and see the inner workings of the project up close. Especially managing a group of volunteers and seeing some of the pitfalls and how to negate them was insightful. The Market Bosworth Society was most welcoming and kindly showed me anything and everything I wanted to know about the logistics, organisation and management of the project. As such it was an excellent preparation of our own project CARE-MSoC.

Yet most of all, it was very nice to see a community get together around the history of their home town and passionately engage with archaeology! We got wonderful response from the participants. Both from an archaeological and a social perspective it was a definite success.

Bosworth Links has done a great job!

Sincerely,

Johan Verspay

Doctoral researcher

Department of Archaeology

University of West-Bohemia

 

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