Calendar

Jan
9
Wed
Society Lecture – Stories from Needingworth Mapping @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Jan 9 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Peter Cooper – Stories from Needingworth Mapping

Peter began developing an interactive mapping system two years ago that provides users with a multilayer view and a multi-time view of the mapped area. He began his work building up information for his ‘One Place Study’ of Holywell-cum-Needingworth overlaying land maps, 1800 enclosure maps, estate maps, OS maps, land valuation documents, Bartholomew and other historic maps and census information.

Peter is a recipient of a 2018 Goodliff Award and will talk about what he has discovered as part of his research and will demonstrate his interactive mapping system and how this will be able to support local history and family studies.  

Feb
13
Wed
Society Lecture – Windows into a Tribal World: Iron Age Coins @ Methodist Church, Huntingdon
Feb 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Windows into a Tribal World: Iron Age Coins – Dr Rodney Scarle

BelgaeRodney is a member of the Longstanton and District Heritage Iceni Gold Stater Norfolk Wolf 65-45BCSociety, whose interest in early coinage and what they can tell us about the people who used them was stimulated by his interest in local archaeology.

Over time he has built up quite an interesting and varied collection of coins and considerable expertise in them. In 2012/13 Rodney assisted with the examination and identification of over 30 Iron Age and Roman coins found during excavations at Wimpole Hall. Also, in 2015 he was actively involved with the digging of community test pits at Longstanton when they found lots of pottery and coins. 

Mar
13
Wed
Society Lecture – The Changing Fields of Huntingdonshire @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Mar 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The Changing Fields of Huntingdonshire – William Franklin

If you have wondered about the shape and structure of field boundaries, how they were formed, when they were laid out and by whom, and how this was influenced by the then owner of the land, the King, Church, Lord or State. Then come along to the Methodist Church on Wednesday 13th March and get to know about the intricate and often bizarre shape of our field boundaries.

The speaker tonight is William Franklin, whose most recent book, “An Agricultural History of Ely” was given an award by the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History (CALH). This is, however, only part of his broader investigation across the county into the development of fields from antiquity to the age of parliamentary inclosure. 

Apr
10
Wed
Societ Lecture – The Curious History of Labyrinths and Mazes @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Apr 10 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The Curious History of Labyrinths and Mazes – Julie Boundford

Following a book on Heffers, the Cambridgeshire bookseller, Julie was commissioned to write one on Mazes and Labyrinths. From prehistoric times mazes and labyrinths have served as different symbolic, ritualistic and practical purposes. She will tell us about her discoveries, local and further afield.

We have our own mystical labyrinth at Hilton, which the Society visited in 2016 

 

 

 

 

The symbolic meaning of labyrinth is often associated with the various symbolic meanings of the spiral in that we can trace our footsteps (both metaphorical and literal) back to and from the centre.

Jul
17
Wed
President’s Lecture and Goodliff Awards Ceremony @ Huntingdon Town Hall
Jul 17 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The 2019 Goodliff Awards are being presented at the Society’s President’s Lecture, which this year is taking place during the Huntingdonshire History Festival. Because it is being advertised with other events and we fully expect a full room, admission, even for members, will be by prior booking.

After the presentation of the Goodliff Awards, Dr Thurley will give his lecture, HERITAGE and HOUSING, for which he has provided the following introduction:

Providing enough houses for people to live in is one of the great issues affecting Huntingdonshire and indeed England today. It is an issue for people looking to buy new homes and settle into this area, but also one for those wanting to protect the distinctiveness of their historic towns and villages. Most new house building is undertaken in disregard of the vernacular traditions of the places in which it is undertaken. Historic settlements all over England are fighting what they regard as inappropriate development on their doorstep. Does it have to be like this? Can heritage and conservation be reconciled with the ambitions of the volume housebuilder? I will look at the issues in historical, geographical and economic context and suggest a way forwards.

Please use the BOOKING FORM accompanying the Summer 2019 Almanack to tell us you are coming, or otherwise let David Smith know by email info@huntslhs.org..uk or phone 01480 350127  by Sunday 30th June at the latest

Oct
9
Wed
Society Talk – Churches and Chapels – the Past, Present and Future @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Oct 9 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Michael Dudley will talk about the growth of chapels and churches in the local area and how the church landscape has changed over the centuries.

All Saint’s Church, Huntingdon

Throughout the country there are today more places of worship than clergy to conduct weekly services in them. Church attendance and communicants has declined significantly and our churches are now in a position where the cost of upkeep and maintenance is being bourn by fewer folk. Sadly, a great number of our churches, a lot of them listed buildings, are beginning to fall into decay; not helped by the thoughtless actions of some thieves stealing the lead of the roof resulting in enormous cost of damage to the fabric of the buildings. 

St Margaret’s Church, Abbotsley

Many of the older churches are fine architectural edifices that should be preserved regardless of declining finances. We have seen charitable organisations such as The Churches Preservation Trust, The National Trust and Heritage England, formed to stem the tide of decay and dereliction of our architectural heritage, helping to restore and preserve these old estates and building for everyone to enjoy. So, what is to become of our churches and chapels? Will more be sold off to become desirable homes for the few?

Come along to hear Michael Dudley’s talk and get to know what can be done.

 

Nov
12
Tue
Society Talk – Opium Eating in the Fens in the 19th Century @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Nov 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Opium Eating in the Fens – Talk by Dr Eric Somerville

In the 19th Century opium was commonly used as a remedy for a large number of common ailments. It is hard to believe that it was possible to walk into a chemist shop and buy without a prescription cocaine and laudanum. Opium preparations, (‘little white powder’) were freely sold in towns and markets and in the countryside by travelling ‘hawksters’. Taking opium became as popular as alcohol. Surprisingly, opium was also used as a ‘quieten’  tincture for children.

Dr Eric Somerville is coming to speak to us about “Opium-eating in the Fens in the Nineteenth Century”.  It’s interesting to learn that fenland folk didn’t smoke opium, they consumed it, and did so in quantities, to the extent that it has been calculated that half of imported opium went there.  Dr Somerville has made an extensive study of the subject and since he’s a retired Wisbech G.P. expect some reflections on drug use today.

Admission free to Society Members, guests are welcome and we ask for a small £3 donation for the evening.

Parking: Building work has now started at the church and there is only Disabled Parking there, so please allow a few minutes more to park in Malthouse Close or Ingram Street car parks.

Jan
8
Wed
Society Talk – Cromwell’s First Campaign, 1643 @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Jan 8 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Stuart Orme, the Curator of the Cromwell Museum will talk to us about Oliver Cromwell’s first campaigns in 1643 at Huntingdon, Peterborough, Crowland and the Battle of Gainsborough on 28th July. Cromwell went from a small landowner MP to a significant General and a force to be reckoned with in Parliament.  Cromwell was first elected to Parliament in 1628 but by 1631 he was in financial difficulty and was forced to sell his land. He returned to Parliament in 1640 but by 1642 armed conflict had begun between Charles 1 and Parliament. It was in 1642 that Cromwell’s career as a military leader began. He distinguished himself in battle at Edgehill in 1642 and again in the East in 42 and 43. By 1644 he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General. 

Stuart Orme will look at the early career of Cromwell and his meteoric rise to the highest ranks of the New Model Army.

Visitors are welcome and are invited to donate £3 to defray costs.

Feb
12
Wed
Society Talk – John Howland of Fenstanton, The Mayflower and the Great Migration @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Feb 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Adrian Moss will talk about John Howland of Fenstanton. He was born in 1599, the son of Henry and Margaret Howland. In 1620 he sailed on the Mayflower as an indentured man servant of Governor John Carver to settle in Plymouth in the ‘New World’. John’s voyage was not without drama. During a storm he fell overboard and it was only through luck that he was able to grab hold of a trailing rope and was eventually rescued. In later years he became personal secretary to the Governor and was instrumental in the making of a treaty with the local native American tribe, Sachem Massasoit.

 

See the source imageJohn married Elizabeth Tilley in about 1624 and they had 10 children. John died in 1672/3 at Rocky Nook, Plymouth USA. But, that’s not where the story of John Howland ends, for his many decedents, including Theodore Roosevelt, George Bush and George W. Bush held the highest office in the USA.

Today there is a thriving John Howland Society (https://pilgrimjohnhowlandsociety.org/Society)  founded in 1897 that catalogues the story of this amazing man and his decedents.

Mar
11
Wed
Society Talk – History and Collections of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Mar 11 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

SPALDING GENTLEMEN’S SOCIETY

Founded in 1710 The Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, is one of the oldest learned societies in the UK and is reputably the earliest provincial association for the encouragement of antiquarianism. Founded by Maurice Johnson (1688-1755), the Society began with a series of informal meetings of a few local gentlemen at a coffee house in the Abbey Yard, Spalding. Initially a ‘Society of Gentlemen, for the supporting of mutual benevolence and their improvement in the liberal sciences and in polite learning’, it was a male preserve for over 300 years. Although in 1971 five notable female local historians were created Fellows of the Society in acknowledgement of their work, they were still not conferred as members. It wasn’t until 2006 that a historic vote was taken to admit women as members of the Society. The first woman joined as a member in 2007. The Duke of Buccleuch have been the patrons of the Society since 1732 and the current 10th Duke of Buccleuch, Richard Montague Douglas Scott is the present Patron.

This prodigious Society is able to count as its members some notable figures; Sir Isaac Newon, Sir Hans Sloane, Alexander Pope, Dr William Stukeley, Sir Edward Bellamy, Sir G. Gilbert Scott, Lord Tennyson, Lord Curzon of Kedleston and Lord Peckover of Wisbech.

The Society’s home is a Grade II listed building on Broad Street in Spalding, purpose built to house the Society’s collections. The Society, has an extensive archive of manuscripts, drawings, maps and prints dating from the 13th century to the present day. Also amongst its most treasured possessions are the Society’s minutes of meetings, account books, lecture notes and collections of correspondence. Important manuscripts from Crowland Abbey and Spalding Priory are preserved in the collection.

The Society also has an extensive museum collection that, with the exception of the Ashmolean, is the oldest in the Kingdom. On display are a rare specimen of Jas Christopher le Bon’s tapestry ‘A head of Christ’, a fine astrolabe dated at 1565, a map of 1732 Spalding by John Grundy.

The Society has a large active membership today and holds regular public lectures from September to March on cultural, scientific and antiquarian subjects.

To find out more about this fascinating and ancient Society, come and listen to the talk by Tom Grimes, the current President of the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, and join us later in the summer on our visit to the Society in Spalding.

You can access the Society’s webpage at https://www.sgsoc.org