A trip through Norfolk’s history

Norfolk is largely thought of, even today, as a rural county – yet the evidence of settlements there dates back to the Lower Palaeolithic period or last Ice Age. The county’s Grimes Graves are a group of some 400 Neolithic flint mines, suggesting considerable human activity in the area by this time. The Iceni tribe … Read more

A nonconformist family

One Buckinghamshire family was proudly nonconformist – despite the impact of war and loss on their lives, writes David Rolfe. Shepherds Lane in Beaconsfield runs from the centre of the Old Town, down the side of the White Hart pub, to the Amersham Road at the northern end. One hundred metres along on the left … Read more

Harvest festival

Cate Williams looks at the origins and history of this autumnal event. Origins ‘Harvest’ originally comes from the Old English word ‘hærfest’, meaning autumn, but has come to refer to the season for reaping and gathering crops. Harvest time was, historically, one of the most important periods of the year, as the quality of the … Read more

Beating the bounds

Cate Williams looks at an old tradition that reinforced knowledge of parish boundaries. Origins Beating the Bounds is a tradition dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. It is thought to have derived from the Roman festival Terminalia, which was celebrated on 22 February in honour of Terminus, the god of boundaries. The purpose of beating the … Read more

Exploring the Yorkshire Dales

This rugged area may be less populated than other parts of Yorkshire – but it still has a history of textile manufacture, mining and tourism, as Mike Bedford explores. Today, the centres of population in Yorkshire are the industrial conurbations in the modern day counties of South and West Yorkshire. However, the Yorkshire Dales, which … Read more

The mop fair

Nell Darby details the history of the statute fair, or mop fair, where servants tried to find work, but could became the victims of crime instead. In my local town, a fair is held twice a year. It’s a rather standard event; there are fairground rides, stalls where you can shoot a can to win … Read more

Exploring Cornwall’s heritage

Mike Bedford, a Camborne School of Mines researcher, has long been fascinated with Cornish mine engine houses. Here, he looks at the county’s history and industrial heritage. Although it’s rightly popular as holiday destination, it is all too easy to think of Cornwall as a bywater far removed from the UK’s industrial powerhouses and business … Read more

Well dressing

Cate Williams looks at how the plague revived the tradition of dressing wells. Origins The practice of well dressing involves decorating a water source with a picture created from natural materials. It is thought to have originated in the southern part of the Peak District, known as the White Peak. Here, porous limestone rock lies … Read more