Midsummer Meander: A history walk in the grounds of Temple Newsam

Date: 21st June 2018

Time: 19.00

Starting Point: The Stable Courtyard, Temple Newsam, Leeds

Cast: £3.00 (Concession available to members of South Leeds Archaeology)

Sphinx Gate Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam House is a prominent landmark in the Leeds City Landscape. This evening walk explores the history and archaeology of it’s extensive parkland. We will talk about the development of the house and grounds, the deserted medieval village of Colton and the prehistory of the area.

The walk is moderately easy, though there are a couple of stiles and some hills to negotiate. The pace will be easy and the whole walk should last no longer than two hours.

Visitor information about Temple Newsam can be found by going to  the Leeds City Council website.


Pudsey and District: People, Resources and Heritage

A new history course starts 25/04/3017

Venue: Parish Church of St James the Great, Pudsey

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Cemetery lodge, Pudsey

For seven Tuesdays mornings starting on April 25th, 2017 (with a break for half term) I will be teaching another heritage course for the WEA based at the Parish Church of St James the Great, (Galloway Lane, Pudsey, LS28 8JR). The standard fee £48.00 though the course is FREE if you are in receipt of income related benefit (only SEA funded).

Course details

Bankhouse Well, Pudsey

The course considers the interaction between people and landscape. It focuses on how natural resources have been exploited through history and on how this affects the character of the region today.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • The geological past, Withdrawal of the ice, plant cover and the natural world, the coming of the first people
  • Hunter gatherers, the creation of moorland, uses of the moors in medieval and early modern times
  • Neolithic Revolution, fields from hedgerow to stone walling
  • Water, as an object of devotion, Iron Age burials, spring line settlements, the siting of dams and weirs, water power Canals, drinking water supply, sewage
  • Woodland and its management, woodland clearance, coppicing and standards, wood as a construction material, import of timber, import of exotics for estates and gardens
  • Coal, railways, the Age of Steam
  • Stone: quarrying, houses, Victorian towns

For further details or to book in please in advance visit the WEA website

Austhorpe Excavations 2016

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

Fragments of clay tobacco pipe

It’s nearly three years since I last dug at Austhorpe Primary School on the outskirts of Leeds (West Yorkshire, UK). We’ve started on a on a second dig there today. We’ve not done any excavation yet just some classroom teaching and some site preparation. Fieldwork starts in earnest tomorrow. However, I can’t help wondering what we are going to find. Perhaps there’ll be more pipe stems like these from the 2013 excavations.

There are more pictures of finds from the 2013 excavations at Austhorpe on my Facebook page.

History and Folklore in the Meanwood Valley: A free guided walk

Suicide Stone, Meanwood Woods

Suicide Stone, Meanwood Woods

I have been asked by the WEA to lead a guided walk In the Meanwood Park (Leeds, UK) on the evening of the 22nd of June 2016. The walk will start at 7.00 pm  from the public car park at the end of Green Lane and will follow the course of Meanwood Beck through the Park to Parkside Road and back. The walk is free of charge and all are welcome.

The Meanwood Valley is an oasis of quiet among the bustling suburbs of Leeds. In past centuries it was a centre of the Leeds tanning industry and must have been a much busier place. The present Meanwood Park was formerly the grounds of a large house called Meanwoodside which was developed by Edward Oates in the 1830s. The house has now gone but the park remains as a recreation facility for the citizens of Leeds.

The route follows park paths but some of these can be muddy; suitable outdoor shoes and outdoor clothing should be worn.



Leeds Trinity Site Report now available

Students at work on the project

Students at work on the project

Earlier this year I worked on an education project at Leeds Trinity University. The major focus was to show trainee teachers how archaeology could be fitted into the national Curriculum and offer practical opportunities to engage children in the study of history. I have now written a formal report on the project which you can download by clicking on the link below.

Trinity Site Report v 1

Cobden Archaeology Project Report Now Available

Finds work at Cobden

Finds work at Cobden

In June of this year I spent a very pleasant couple of days working with children at Cobden Primary School on the outskirts of Leeds (West Yorkshire, UK). The project consisted of several elements – a garden pottery survey, some classroom based work and a small-scale excavation in the school grounds. I’ve now completed the report on the excavation element of the project which details the finds which were made. For a more general reader the report also includes a summary of the history of the area around the school.

You can download a copy by clicking on the link below.

cobden Site Report v 1

Cobden Archaeology Project: Garden Survey

Fragments of an early 20th century bowl with a flower Patten

Fragments of an early 20th century bowl with a flower Patten

Yesterday I asked children on the project to see what they could find in their own gardens and to bring them into school this morning to see what they might have found. Much of it was what you might expect if you cultivate your own garden: pieces of Victorian teacup, broken plates and the odd fragment of plant pot.


However one child brought in a bag of bits and pieces which contained two large lumps of flint. This came as something of a surprise as there is no natural flint in West Yorkshire. They show no signs of working

Two pieces of flint found in a garden near the school.

Two pieces of flint found in a garden near the school.

but nevertheless are important finds. There is no natural flint in West Yorkshire so these pieces must have arrived here by human agency. The best guess might be that they came from the Yorkshire Wolds sometime in prehistory.


Today we also started gigging. Finds are coming up by the minute. Tell you about them later…