Antony Chessell
Antony Chessell

News

SEPTEMBER 2015

 

My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, is published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 Price £10. Net proceeds of sale go to the Society. 

Information about this and other books can be seen on my Books & Books (cont.) pages and copies may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.

 

Archaeological excavations that I have been on this year include Wark Castle, Flodden Hill, Norham Castle and, shortly, Ladykirk, all in north Northumberland. Please look at photos by clicking on the tab for Gallery.

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Thank you for visiting my website. I am Antony Chessell and I am a writer living in Northumberland in Border country, having moved from the Scottish Borders in October 2014. The photograph in the Header above shows Cheviot and adjoining hills in Northumberland as seen from Coldstream, just across the Border in Scotland.

Please click on the tabs to the left to find out about me, my books and various activities. Also, there is a collection of photographs in the Gallery which I add to on a regular basis. If you need to get in touch with me, you will see that there is a Contact tag.

This is me at the National Trust for Scotland cafe before setting off on a walk to St. Abbs Head on a sunny day in late summer. The eastern Borders has a good deal of sunshine with relatively low rainfall. The photos below show views of the ruined Etal Castle which is in the care of English Heritage and which is near to my house. The castle was sacked by James IV and his army before the Battle of Flodden in 1513 and was never restored to its original condition. The first photo shows the Tower House (there was never a keep) with the Gatehouse in the background. The second photo gives an impression of the many dramatic sunsets that appear behind the ruins.

For the last seven years, volunteers (including me) from the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS) have been working on excavations associated with the Battle of Flodden 1513. That year was the quincentenary of the battle and there were many events leading up to the commemoration of the battle on 9 September and these will continue for many years to come. 

We have worked under professional guidance at the supposed site of the encampment of James IV of Scotland on Flodden Hill and we have excavated and field-walked in many fields around the positions of the Scottish and English armies before the battle and the site of the battle itself, below Branxton Hill. 

The excavations this year (2015) started in April and funding means that we have been able to return to Wark Castle, moving back to Flodden Hill in May/June. There will be other 'digs' this year at Norham Castle and Ladykirk (built by James IV and perhaps used as a lookout post overseeing Norham Castle) and .

October 2013. I was quite excited when I found this beautiful worked flint whilst field-walking with TillVAS at a newly ploughed and sown wheat field just north of the village of Branxton. A section of the field had been marked out in 10metre square grids so that any finds lying on the surface could be 'bagged up' and their positions recorded. This flint, like all flints was clean of any attached soil. It has a long rectangular edge on one side which might have been glued into a wooden shaft with , perhaps, birch resin. The other edge has been tooled to enable the flint to have been used for cutting or scraping.

On the Gallery page I have included another photograph of a black flint scraper that I found another time. Evidently, this is an unusual specimen with some unusual features so I hope to learn more about it. Please have a look at it.

 

This is a small group, including Gwen and me (the two in the middle), field-walking on part of the Flodden battlefield site. It was cold!

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