Some EDAS members may be aware that our Chairman, John Day, has been in hospital recently for some treatment. He is now out and recuperating at home. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.

Sun 20 June - Walk around Woodlands, Horton and Chalbury with Peter Walker

Over the years, I have often treated the expression 'soaked to the skin' with some scepticism. Until then - thanks to a prolonged downpour, and the fact that I had forgotten my rainwear. None of this, of course, was the fault of Peter, who had researched an interesting walk, but could not be expected to control the weather (or my wardrobe!). We started from the Woodlands Cricket Club, walking via Woodlands Park and Ferndown Forest to Chalbury. Little remains of the old village, except the beautiful white-walled church which sits on a hill-top with spectacular views. Because of the inclement weather, we were unable to enjoy the views, but the church gaves us welcome sanctuary. Dating from the 13th century, the church is simple and is furnished with high-side box pews, each with a door.

Emerging from the church in better weather, we progressed across the fields to Horton Church. This is a quaint Georgian building, the only church in the country dedicated to Saint Wolfreda, who died in Horton as the Abbess of a nunnery. The church is built on the site of the Priory, founded in 961. We then returned to Woodlands.Two ladies diverted to Drucilla's Inn for coffee, whilst the stoic menfolk returned to the cars. Many thanks are due to Peter for a memorable day.
Phil Roberts

The 2004 Down Farm BBQ was attended by about 40 people and once more it was a very successful evening, made so by the splendid demonstration of barbecuing, an array of sumptuous food and a superb band playing our favourite tunes. This latter once more arranged by Karen Brown. We are grateful to Haydn, Wendie, Henry & Gail for the planning and execution of the event, Karen for the music and Martin & Karen for the Down Farm facilities. Importantly, we thank also he who controls the weather, after a suspicious day with dark clouds and showers we remained dry and cheerful.

Sunday 18th August. Pam and Len’s Walk around Wimborne St Giles (or 'One Man and his Dog').
After a little early rain the weather settled for a fine walk which started at St Giles church. After a stroll through the village streets where the cottage gardens were bursting with the vibrant colours of high summer, we proceeded towards Harley Down. Lunch was taken near Ackling Dyke overlooking Down Farm where we tried to make out the Cursus Route. Then following a grassy bridleway along the edge of Harley Woods we returned to the village passing all Hallows Farm where we were given a tour by the Farmer of a very modern high tec combine harvester which had just been delivered. We were soon on our way past a very atmospheric deserted graveyard towards the Bull inn where Len bought all the walkers a drink. The village Flower Festival coincided with our walk and we all visited the Church flower arrangements and Art exhibitions which were a delight. Thanks to Pam and Len’s two friends,our only member Alan and Ben (the dog) for attending the walk thus making the drinks bill small.


Badbury Excavation
Martin Papworth informs us that it is not now possible to work the proposed first week-end, 11th and 12th. September. The first week itself will be unaffected, and is therefore still Monday 6th.

Hod Hill Surveying
There is an archaeological week-end at Hod Hill on the 4th and 5th September to which members are invited to help with geophysical surveying. There will be tours, displays and English Heritage are going to carry out an earthwork survey.

Dorset Archaeological Days
There are a 22 varied archaeological day visits and walks in Dorset from June to October, which are being organised by Dorset County Council as part of ‘National Archaeology Days’. These are led by many well known local archaeologists such as Bill Putnam, Lillian Ladle, Peter Woodward and Trevor Steptoe, to name but a few. There is a small charge for some of these walks, and for others pre-booking is advisable. Contact Claire Pinder at for a leaflet or more details.

22nd August - Walk around Abbotsbury with Karen Brown
Monastic Monkey Business, Tales of Tax Evaders, Sordid Stories of Smugglers and Ship Wrecks and Wily Ways to Win a Husband

This could be the highlight of your month and definitely not to be missed

On Sunday 22nd August you could be there with us enjoying this fascinating village with its wealth of archaeology, history, myth and legend. The historic Abbey House is opening its doors especially for us to look at the excavation of the Medieval Mill/Malt house and have a morning coffee. In the fascinating church we will tell you of the origins of the bullet holes in the pulpit, and in the Abbey Ruins relate the story of the Abbot that brought the Abbey to ruin with his passion for Wine, Women and Song and talk about its history and final demise. We will look at the old Abbotsbury Branch Line so beset with disaster and death and visit St Catherine’s Chapel steeped in myth & legend. Here there will be a song or two so as you can experience the beauty of the acoustics. Pauline will then give you another chance to experience hands on dowsing (Rods will be provided)

Please come. The more the merrier. We will meet in the car park in the centre of the village at 10.30. The entrance is along side the Swan Inn. It costs £1 a day but there is free on road parking if you prefer. You can either bring a picnic or enjoy one of several excellent hostelries Further Info:- Karen 01305 812876

13th – 17th September - Practical Archaeology Training Course, Down Farm
This 5 day course will be run by Wessex Archaeology and take place at Martin Green’s farm (Down Farm on Cranborne Chase) – one of the most carefully studied areas in western Europe. The Down Farm landscape includes parts of the Dorset Cursus and Ackling Dyke, Bronze Age barrows and Roman and Iron Age buildings. It is a rich, multi-period site in a wonderful setting.

The Trust for Wessex Archaeology is one of the largest and most successful Archaeological contractors operating in Britain today. One of the fundamental aims of the Trust is to increase the public’s understanding and knowledge of archaeology.

This course will include instruction and practice in site surveying, excavation recording (the production of both written records and scale drawings) and finds processing. During part of each day there will be lectures and workshops on environmental sampling, pottery analysis, faunal remains (bones) and surveying techniques.

The course is suitable for both beginners and those with some experience.

5 day Practical Archaeology Training Course: £100 waged, £60 concessions.

For further information and booking please contact:

Hilda Young, Management Assistant, Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, SP4 6EB
Tel: 01722 343444 email:

Sun 26th September - Spetisbury Rings and Tarrant Crawford with Steve Smith
Lots of interest on this 4½ mile easy walk. Iron Age hillfort, Water Mill, 12th Century church with wall paintings, wayside cross, medaeval bridge and deserted steam railway! Meet at the junction of A350 and B3075 (ST918019). Parking is along the main road in Spetisbury village (mind the speed camera!) or there is a layby south of the village on the main road (care needed when walking back). Packed lunch or a pub lunch at the Drax Arms after the walk. Any queries contact Steve on 07798 832958.

Bristol University Extramural Courses – local interest
The new brochure for Bristol University courses has just come out, and the following local courses might be of interest to EDAS members.
Roman Technology – Bill Putnam (Course No. D04J006RP)
8 weekly meetings at Stratton Village Hall starting 11 January 2005. Cost £40
The Geology of the Central Dorset Coast–Prof. John Cope (Course No. D04H001SI)
Weekend course (Fri evening to Sunday) with site visits, 15th – 17th Oct 2004 at The Library, Weymouth. Cost £45.
The Geology of Western Purbeck – Prof. John Cope (Course No. D04H002SI)
Weekend course (Fri evening to Sunday) with site visits, 4th – 6th March 2005 at The Library, Wareham. Cost £45.

(A number of EDAS Members have been on the previous Stratton evening courses given by Bill Putnam, and we can recommend them highly.)

Documentary Research
Anyone who has researched an historical topic knows the importance of first-hand factual evidence compared with opinion, hearsay, or written quotations. Indeed, some quotes may be requotes from previous quotes. (even oft repeated quotes), which can lead to an academic version of Chinese Whispers. The problem, of course, is finding original documents which can lead to many frustrating hours in public records offices and other libraries. Thus, any metaphorical fingers that point in the correct direction can be a Godsend.

The usefulness of two short papers by John Day should not be underestimated. In the first, "Letters to the Wimborne Overseers of the Poor", a revealing glimpse is given of many aspects of early nineteenth century social aid routine, and those people who were helping the destitute. Also of interest is the structure of the letter: for example starting with "Gents" rather than the present day "Dear Sir".

The second, entitled "Wimborne Minster, Early 14th Century", is a valuable source of factual historical information. It will be of particular interest to those researching either properties in Wimborne and the people of substance who owned or occupied them, or legal documents of the period. The paper contains summaries of Title Deeds, and, for the people named in them, summaries from relevant Feet of Fines. There is also an alphabetically ordered index of those people, connecting them with a 1327 Lay Subsidy Roll. The author ends with a very useful discussion. Both papers are in the EDAS library, the Priest’s House Museum and Poole Museum.
Barry Perratt


The dates for EDAS events are underlined. The monthly evening lectures start at 7.30 pm.
Walks and field visits usually meet at 10.30 am at the published Grid Reference. Ring the leader if the weather is doubtful or if more details are required.

Sun 22 Aug Walk around Abbotsbury with Karen Brown.
Wed 8 Sep In our first lecture of the seaon, Martin Papworth of the National Trust talks about ‘The Archaeology of Golden Cap’.
Sun 26 Sep Walk with Steve Smith.
Wed 13 Oct Talk on ‘Later prehistoric and Romano-British landscapes of the Quantock Hills, Somerset: evidence from the Southern Quantocks Archaeological Survey, 2000-2004’ by Dr Keith Wilkins of University College, Winchester.
Sun 24 Oct Walk with Barry Perratt. More details in a later Newsletter
Wed 10 Nov John Gale of Bournemouth University talks on the ‘Knowlton Environment Project’.
Wed 8 Dec Our Chairman, John Day, talks on ‘EDAS – Past’, plus a Christmas Quiz by an EDAS Member.
Wed 12 Jan ‘Past from Pots: advances in the scientific analysis of ancient pottery’, with Dr Kevin Andrews of Bournemouth University
Wed 16 Feb Davina Freedman of EDAS on ‘The Rock Art of Mid Argyll: An Archaeological Investigation’.