Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 237 December 2018

    The next meeting of Chepstow Archaeological Society will be on Thursday 6th December at the Conservative Club, Moor Street, Chepstow at 7.30pm.  Paul Barnett will be telling us about the Severn Bridge Disaster – a little-known tragedy on the River Severn.

We still need a couple more short-talks for the January 3rd meeting – please let me know if you can do a 10 to 15-minute talk about anything with an archaeological or historical content.  The projector will be available if you want to use it.

We have had a good response to the suggested visits to Italy and Orkney. We will keep you posted.

So far, we have not had anyone come forward to replace Alan as Treasurer.  Please could you consider this post as the AGM is in February.  Please discuss with Alan at the next meeting or contact Colin on 01600 775656 or 07710 413373.


Felicity and Colin

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 236 November 2018

We have just received notification of a meeting on the latest revelations from the work around Chepstow at Lancaut Peninsular and Spital Meend promontory fort.  The meeting is at Chepstow Drill Hall on November 29th at 7pm.  For details see the attached poster. Also attached is the latest newsletter from the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), Wales.


Following the success of our trip to Burgundy this year, we are considering another two excursions.  It would be very useful to know how many people would be interested in joining the trips, so that we can plan accordingly.  At this stage we have no idea of price nor dates, so an indication of interest would be very helpful, but not commit you to anything: –

Italy, late Summer or early Autumn 2019 

Our guide in Burgundy was Andrea and he was so good that we asked him if he would be willing to be our guide for a trip to Italy (he is Italian).  He said he would love to do this. We are thinking of something along the lines of visiting Pompeii (lots of new work being undertaken there), Herculaneum, Ostia, sites in Rome and other places of interest that may not be on the tourist trail.

Orkney, May – June 2020

Accommodation on Orkney is always booked up at least a year ahead. We are therefore trying to organise this trip as soon as we can.  We know there is interest because several people have already asked about a trip to Orkney. We now need to know how many so that we can make early bookings.

If you are interested in either or both of these excursions, please let us know by responding to this email.

Thank you


Felicity and Colin

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 235 November 2018

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 1st November in the Conservative Club, Moor Street, Chepstow, starting at 7.30pm.  Our speaker will be Dave Scaysbrook with a talk entitled ‘Death of Stereo’.  This is the story of a forgotten local First World War tragedy that Dave has been researching.  All will be revealed on the night.

We need a treasurer – can anyone help please?  Alan Petts would like to hand over the job to someone at the AGM in February next year.  If you are interested or know of anyone who might be, please let us know. If you would like to know more about the role, please contact Alan directly at , or have a chat with him at our next meeting.

Does anyone have a 10 to 15-minute talk for our January social meeting?  You can choose any subject, as long as it has some (vague)connection with archaeology or history.  For example, would anyone who went on the Burgundy trip like to talk about the places we visited?

Below is a notice about the Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee Annual Conference at the newly-refurbished St Fagans in November.


Felicity and Colin



Saturday 10th November 2018
10am – 4pm
St. Fagans National Museum of History, near Cardiff, CF5 6XBThe annual conference of the Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee bringing presentations on the latest exciting discoveries from the wetlands surrounding the Severn Estuary, including:

Dr Rhianydd Biebrach – Swansea Bay Community Archaeology project

Mick Rawlings – Archaeological discoveries on the proposed M4 route around Newport

Dr Elizabeth Walker – From the National Museum Cardiff to the St Fagans National

History Museum – new approaches to the display of the Welsh archaeological Collection

Dr Jonathan Berry – World War II remains around the Severn Estuary

Dr Craig Lambert – Medieval trade and shipping in the Severn

Prof Martin Bell – The discovery of Mesolithic fish traps and footpaths at Goldcliff

Guest speaker: Dr Tom Booth on the latest amazing research in Ancient DNA

analysis that has revolutionised our knowledge of population change and migration

in a talk entitled ‘The Genetic Prehistory of Britain: Mesolithic to Bronze Age’


Tea, coffee and Welsh cakes will be provided as part of the entry price.

There are several places where lunch can be purchase at St Fagans – see for more details.

Tickets must be booked in advance: £12 available from Eventbrite at;

Note: if coming by car the parking at St Fagans costs £5 per day

The SELRC AGM will follow at the end of the conference 16.00-16.30

Organised by Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee and the National Museum of Wales.

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 231 July 2018

            We are venturing over the bridge for our July outing – to the 12th century Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire – just 45 minutes from Chepstow. Our visit is arranged for Saturday 7th July at 11.00am.

Please meet in the Abbey itself at 11am for a guided tour. There is a cafe in the Abbey if you would like refreshments beforehand.

Lunch, which is optional, will be in the Abbey Gardens Café. This is next door to the Abbey and separate from it. I am hoping to have the menu from them shortly, so we can pre-order.

At 2pm we will have a guided tour of the world-famous Abbey House which was originally part of the Abbey and is not open to the general public.

The cost for the day is £12.00 each, not including the optional lunch. Please pay by bank transfer (online or otherwise) to Lloyds TSB, 7 Manor Way, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 5HZ for the credit of Chepstow Archaeological Society (a/c 00736255 sort code 30-91-89) quoting your name as the reference. Alternatively, you may wish to send a cheque to Mr Alan Petts, 5 Bigstone Grove, Tutshill, Chepstow, NP16 7EN.

Please let me know you are coming as we need to know numbers for the day. Best route is M4 east to J17 and A429 north to Malmesbury. A picture of the gardens attached.

The Clay Pipe Research Group Conference. At our April meeting our speaker, Peter Taylor, mentioned a clay tobacco pipe conference being held in Cardiff. The conference is on the 29th and 30th of September and is open to everyone. Please see the attached form.

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 230 June 2018

Firstly, a big thank you to those members who came along recently to the Society’s Lecture at the Drill Hall on the Life of a Civil War Solder by Stuart Peachey. It was a success. Particular thanks go to Hilary Philips who organised it at the last minute and virtually single handed. Thanks Hilary

Our next outing is on Saturday 16th June when we will be exploring the ‘Three Castles’ – White castle, Skenfrith and Grosmont – three magnificent border castles all located in spectacular countryside just north of Monmouth.

Our guide for the day will be Will Davies, Inspector for Ancient Monuments with Cadw. Lunch is booked at The Bell at Skenfrith.

As there is very little parking at any of the castles, we have arranged to meet at Cross Ash Community Hall, which is next to Cross Ash School, at 10.45am. See attached map.

We will leave Cross Ash for White Castle at 11am in as few cars as possible. Even if you are starting out with a full car, please meet at Cross Ash Hall first. It is about a 10 – 15 minute drive between each castle.

From White Castle we will go on to The Bell at Skenfrith for lunch. Attached is a menu for you to choose from. I will need your choice no later than Wednesday lunchtime please. Pay the Bell on the day.

Skenfrith Castle is just across the road from The Bell, so we will go there after lunch and have time for a quick look in the beautiful Church next to the castle.

We will end the day at Grosmont Castle, the most intact of the three. It too has a very interesting Church across the road and very much worth a visit.

The cost will be £3 per head, payable on the day. There are no entrance fees to any of the castles. It will help to know numbers, so please let me know if you are coming and don’t forget your choice of lunch. If you would rather have a picnic there are benches along the river near Skenfrith Castle.

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 229 May 2018

The first of our outdoor meetings is on Saturday 5th May to Ruperra Castle. We will be guided through at least 2,000 years of history by Pat Jones Jenkins, Honorary Secretary of the Preservation Trust. Pat will take us around the Iron Age Hillfort, the medieval motte and the ruins of Ruperra Castle.  There are stunning views from the top of the Hillfort.  The sites are linked by a circular walk and there is a lower route for those who don’t want to walk to the top.  We will finish off our visit with lunch at The Holly Bush in Draethen.

Ruperra is some 7km north-east of Cardiff. The best route is via Bassaleg (A468) Lower Machen, turn left to Draethen and over a narrow river bridge and left in Draethen. After 1.4m turn sharp right onto a farm track. Park in the farmyard of Ruperra Home Farm on the left. There should be signs up for us. Map attached.  There will be a small charge of a few pounds each as a donation to the Trust. The cost of lunch is not included.

Please could you let me know if you are coming, even if you have expressed an interest on the list at the last meeting, as we need to book the Holly Bush Inn.

Apologies to those who have been expecting to see information on the web site.  We are currently having problems accessing the site but hope it will be resolved very soon.

.Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 228 April 2018

The next meeting, and the last of the winter programme, will be on Thursday 5th April at the usual time of 7.30pm in the Conservative Club, Moor Street, Chepstow. The speaker will be Peter Taylor from Bristol who will be talking about The History of Clay Tobacco Pipes. It is not uncommon to find fragments of clay tobacco pipes when digging. Usually, they are fragments of pipe stems, but occasionally an archaeologist can get quite excited when a complete bowl is found, as it can often help with dating. If you have any clay pipes to show Peter, please bring them along.

It was unfortunate that the meeting last month had to be cancelled due to the snow. However, we will not miss out as Paul Woollans has agreed to come along and talk to us in October later this year on ‘Metal Detecting in the Cotswolds’.

In the meantime, here is the Summer programme.

  • May Saturday 5th. 2000 years of history at Ruperra. Guided walk to the iron age hillfort, motte and castle with optional pub lunch
  • May 15th – 20th. Trip to Guedelon Castle and Burgundy region (fully booked)
  • June Three Castles tour. Skenfrith, White Castle and Grosmont – to be confirmed
  • July Saturday 7th. Malmesbury Abbey, guided tour of Abbey and monastic buildings
  • August Saturday 11th. Mathern Mill, talk and tour with optional pub lunch
  • September Saturday 8th. Llanfihangel Court near Abergavenny, tour of house with afternoon tea

Attached is the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) Wales Spring Newsletter

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 227 March 2018

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 1st March at the usual time of 7.30pm in the Conservative Club, Moor Street, Chepstow. The speaker will be Paul Woollins from Cotswold metal detecting group. Paul is very keen to come and tell us about his findings whilst Metal Detecting in the Cotswolds. He will also be bringing some of his finds along to show us.

On Friday 16th March there is an archaeological day school at the Drill Hall in Chepstow which promises to be an interesting event entitled, Lancaut Revelations – A Day-School on Recent Revelations from Archaeological Investigations in the Lancaut Peninsular & Spital Meend Fort.

It will be held on Friday 16th March, 10am – 3.30pm, at the Drill Hall, Chepstow.

There is a full programme of speakers chaired by Andrew Blake from the Wye valley ANOB:

Kate Biggs                Forest of Dean Building Preservation Trust

John Hoyle               Forest of Dean LIDAR Survey Project

Mel Barge                Management of Scheduled Monuments in the area (England)

Rob Iles                     Medieval Lancaut and its environs

Tim Hovered            Results of the archaeological fieldwork at Lancaut and Spital Meend

Dr Keith Ray             Interpreting the landscape of the Early Medieval Lancaut area

Dr Mark Redknap  Local artefacts in context and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Tickets £5 (includes light lunch & refreshments) from more info on

Flier attached if you wish to print it out and circulate it.

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society

Newsletter 226 February 2018

Firstly, we would like to thank all those who made the January members evening such a huge success. Our six speakers gave an amazing range of talks – Simon Maddison on a variety of fascinating archaeological sites in Europe, Keith Moseley on the study of beetle remains in Roman latrines, Ian Sewell on the survival of WW2 concrete defences, Keith James about how he researched his ancestor who fought at Waterloo, Del Samuel who challenged members to think about an alternative scenario on the origins of the Staffordshire Hoard, and Tony Valdamar on his huge amount of research into Dinham village, with an appeal for help to continue his work. Thank you all very much. Thanks also must go to everyone who brought contributions to a splendid supper.

Our next speaker is Dr Lucy Cramp, from the University of Bristol, who will be talking about the analysis of food residues on Prehistoric Pottery. The meeting will be on Thursday 1st February at 7.30pm in the Conservative Club, Moor Street, Chepstow. There will be a brief AGM to start with.

Attached are copies of our audited annual accounts which will be presented at the AGM.

The trip to visit Guedelon Castle and other sites in Burgundy in May is now fully booked. Watch the CAS web site ( for more on the forthcoming Summer programme. We also have a Facebook site. ( that informs members of what is going on in the wider world of archaeology and related subjects.

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity

Chepstow Archaeological Society Newsletter 225

January 2018

Our next meeting is on Thursday 4th January at the Conservative Club in Moor Street, Chepstow, starting at 7.30pm.  There will be a series of varied, and usually fascinating, very short talks by members followed by ‘bring and share supper’.  For those not familiar with this, we all bring a plate or bowl of savoury or sweet finger food to share.

The short talks include:

A Journey Through Europe and Time – Simon Maddison

Beetling in Roman Toilets – Keith Moseley

Alternative Thoughts on the Staffordshire Hoard – Del Samuel

Could speakers please make themselves known at the start to Ian and Colin so we can set up mic and/or projector if needed?

Members may be interested in the following events coming up soon:-

  • Tuesday 9th January at The Nelson Museum, Monmouth at 7pm ‘Nelson State Funeral, Lantern Slide Show’ presented by Sarah Amos. Tickets £5 (includes a glass of wine) available from Monmouth Museum 01600 710630
  • At Hereford Cathedral the ‘Weeping Window’ will be on view between 14th March and 29th April. ‘Weeping Window’ is a free display from the installation ‘Blood-swept Lands and Seas of Red’ that was originally at the Tower of London in 2014 and comprises the well-known red ceramic poppies by the artist Paul Cummins.  In addition, Hereford will be hosting a range of Home Front events, many of them a short walk from Hereford Cathedral.  Full details can be found at

The Committee would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year

Best wishes

Colin and Felicity