This post has now been updated (28th Nov.) with a link to our Meeting Agenda (directly below). A hardcopy of this flyer was also distributed to each house in Norton and Cuckney on Monday 25th November.
Sorry for the lack of recent posts but rest assured – it doesn’t follow that nothing has occurred.
In summary, we are experiencing difficulties with the excavative progression of Preference 1 (reinterment pit, central east side), which was informally declined by the Diocese of Southwell in December 2017. Having met the County Archaeological leader, Ursilla Spence and her colleague, Emily Gillott in April 2019, we were given informal encouragement re. Preference 2 (bodies still in situ in the original ‘mass burial pits’) on the North side of St. Mary’s.
As per the Ground Penetrating Radar (G.P.R.) results from our Heritage Lottery project in November 2015, the pits were inside the church and extended outwards by 9.84 feet.
Additionally, the 100 years rule which has hampered Preference 1, is not applicable to Preference 2, as the adjacent graves relate mainly from the 1860s or 1870s, the oldest one being from 1894 – hence even that is 125 years old.
Also, (like Preference 1), Preference 2 is not covered by the Section 42 (Scheduled monument) status that covers a large area of St. Mary’s, and therefore many of the other Preferences.
We asked Ursilla Spence to formalise her support in writing shortly after our April 11th meeting but have since been told that they cannot support our Society. We countered that we were not asking for societal support, rather just support for the operational feasibility of Preference 2 – formalised with the other parties to our fortunes – namely (but not exclusively), the P.C.C. at St. Mary’s, the Diocese of Southwell, Tim Allen at Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
However, whilst this request has not been formally declined by Ursilla Spence, unfortunately, neither have we been notified of its progression with the aforementioned parties, which is of course, disappointing.
Additionally, the Parochial Church Council (P.C.C.) at St. Mary’s, also notified us on the 26th June that they would NOT support a Faculty Request re. Preference 2, although the reasons given were less than satisfactory in our opinion. For example, one of the declination reasons was that the bodies still in situ ((ie. constituting Preference 2) were not part of our original societal brief, which was supposedly limited to the reinterments.
Yet considering that the G.P.R. (of November 2015) was allowed by the P.C.C. to be performed INSIDE St. Mary’s and that we were also granted permission to remove the unfixed pews in the arcade to enable this to proceed, then obviously it was known by the P.C.C. that we were analysing where the mass burial pits started in the church and how far they extended externally on the North side with a view to potentially trying to operationalise this evidence via excavation.
It was recorded that the bodies from the pits only extended 9.84 feet externally (previously Professor Maurice Barley was unsure as to how far), so that clarified one issue. The P.C.C. had visibility of this information (via the RSK Stats GPR report) in very early 2017, as part of their meeting to discuss whether they would support Preference 1, so a potential request to undertake Preference 2 was within their domain.
Further, we presented a ‘Supporting Information for Faculty Request’ document to the P.C.C. in early 2017 as part of that P.C.C. decision making process, which detailed all the Preferences we had identified for potential excavation.
You should also note that we were aware of the long standing opposition to excavation WITHIN St. Mary’s church and have constantly reassured the P.C.C. that this was not our intention. So, Preference 2 was always to be limited to the areas external to the church (on the North side – i.e. those 9.84 feet).
Preference 2 was part of those supporting document choices, hence we are confused as to how they are arrived at their conclusion that our ‘Terms of Reference” only included reinterments (ie. reburials as opposed to bodies still in situ in the mass burial pits).
We are currently seeking an audience with Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell, to discuss our case.
Hence we have decided that we might need to look wider in the landscape (to include excavation, metal detecting and field walking – where appropriate) and have detailed 3 events (see below) which we would like to happen, commencing early in 2020.
One of these we already have permission for and we will be seeking further permissions from the Welbeck Estates Company and tenant farmers plus the farmer who owns the (non Welbeck) land the Warsop side of Cuckney hill.
Our aim in 2020 is to reveal battle related artefacts that will be represent compelling evidence that the 632AD Battle of Hatfield did take place around Cuckney and hence occasion a change of heart by the P.C.C. regarding Preference 2.
We hope that you would like to get involved in these activities which will be monitored and attended by MERCIAN CIC, our excellent archaeological provider.
Some meeting details now …
Our 14th Meeting & A.G.M. is at Cuckney Village Hall on Friday December 13th 2019 @ 7:30pm.
There will be Free Admission & Refreshments (to include chocolate biscuits !)
Please come along and show some crucial support.
A BRIEF REMINDER ..
A Reminder of Agenda Items at the last meeting of 12th July 2019
(by Jennie Johnson)
- Planned visit to York Minster “Collections, Archive & Library” (between Dec 8th & 15th 2018) to research if St. Mary’s was originally “St. Michael’s” … and to assess its significance – UPDATE
- Meeting with Notts CC Archaeological Leader Ursilla Spence on 11th April 2019 .. progress – request to support Pref. 2 not forthcoming in writing
- Proposed meeting with the Parochial Church Council at St. Mary’s .. UPDATE : on hold .. pending decision on whether to present Desk Based Assessment (DBA) and a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI)
AGM & Membership Related News
- Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) Related – present accounting statement
- Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) Related – re-election of Committee
- Membership for Year 7 is now Due – please continue your support
Please renew your membership at the end of the meeting – Thank you !
Since our Last Meeting of 12th July 2019 …
- Contact with Nottm University – re. Barley Collection Addendum & General search for Photos of 1950/1 skeletons
- Sep19 – Contact With Edwinstowe Historical Society re. claim that St. Mary’s, Edwinstowe was first built in 633AD
- Sep19 – Events at St. Mary’s Cuckney on 19th Sep and official complaint lodged in Oct about Notts C.C. archaeological team behaviour
- Letter to Rev. Richard Hanford
- Letter to the Bishop of Southwell – Request Meeting / Explain Aims
Presentation – “Battle of Hatfield – “Strategy For Progress” (by Paul Jameson)
- Field Walking – ploughed farm land adjacent to Ulvers and possibly adjacent to Old Mill Lane / Donkey Lane (MERCIAN involved) Proposed for Feb/Mar-20
- Test Pitting – offered at private house grounds (adjacent to river) in Cuckney (finds to be supervised by MERCIAN) Proposed for Apr-20
- Battle Artefacts Search – Field Walking and Test Pitting on south side of Cuckney Hill ? (Proposed for 2020)
Any other late breaking news …
- Open Forum … your chance to air your views and influence the project …
- Refreshments and further questions
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