Lead Mining Guided Walk on a dry, beautiful Sunday afternoon 28th April

The group meet outside The Barley Mow

The group meet outside The Barley Mow pub Bonsall

What a good turnout for the guided walk on Sunday! About 20 local residents turned up to try out the first of the guided walks to promote the local history trails around Bonsall. After a quick pint in the Barley Mow http://www.barleymowbonsall.co.uk we were ready to face the hills and dales…….

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill

Walking past the site of the Calamine Mine near Puddle Hill just up hill from the Barley Mow

 One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor

One of the many capped lead mine shafts on Bonsall Moor – using railway sleepers from the disused railway line nearby, closed as a result of the Beeching Act. D.H. Lawrence wrote about the lead mining landscape in his short story ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’.

Peering down the shaft - this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Peering down the shaft – this one is about 80ft deep with a corner at the bottom

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws

Mike reads a poem written for the (mostly) illiterate lead miners to help them remember the lead mining laws, customs and liberties – he only read a short section from this very long poem.

Mike Lynch of the Bonsall History Society reads the lead miners poem by Edward Manlove.
 Titled: The Liberties and Customs of the Lead-Mines within the Wapentake of Wirksworth in the County of Derby.
London: 1653.

To find out more about Edward Manlove, a lawyer residing in Ashbourne and the full text of the poem visit https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Manlove,_Edward_(DNB00)

The dogs were engrossed

The dogs were engrossed

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

A picnic by the restored Lime Kiln near Hollowchurch Way

The official launch of the 6 History walks around Bonsall will be on Sunday afternoon 19th May – all welcome!

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Plough the fields and scatter – The Landscape of Bonsall Walk number 5

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall – a remnant of medieval farming practice

In walk number 5, The Landscape of Bonsall, you can see examples of different archaeological features on view, some made through medieval farming practices.
One landscape feature to look out for is the ‘corrugated’ look on some fields, created because of the ridge and furrow method of farming.  There are a few of fields with a corrugated look dotted around the village. “Each field was divided into furlongs (long furrows), which in turn were split into strips. An individual’s strip was not in one parcel but scattered throughout the open fields to include both good and less-desirable land.” Ridge&Furrow2
 “As oxen, and later horses, trudged up and down pulling a plough, earth was banked up forming characteristic ridges and furrows.”.  Bonsall – A Village and its History
Horse ploughing - courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton http://www.pegtopfarm.co.uk/

Horse ploughing – courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton http://www.pegtopfarm.co.uk/

For further information on Ridge and Furrow in the UK see:
Plough Plays, mummers plays and the like were performed in January for entertainment:  “Twelve Night was the period of celebration between the Winter Solstice and the New Year until the Reformation. Farm work traditionally resumed in England on the first Monday after Twelfth Night (January 6th), which was the end of the Christmas season. This was the time of year when plowing began for the spring grains. This isn’t really the most appropriate time to plow in England, where the winter rains are likely to make the ground too wet, or even worse, it may be frozen. Still this was the custom”. For more information see http://piereligion.org/plowsongs.html
Here’s a lovely performance of an old Plough song…….