My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, has been published this year by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 Price £10. Net proceeds of sale will go to the Society.
Information about the book can be seen on my Books (cont.) page and copies may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.
In September 2014, we had our annual pilgrimage to the Lake District and I have included a photograph of Bowfell at the head of the Langdale Valley. If any explanation is needed for my love of the Lake District, this says it for me!
Since the Australian trip, we have been fortunate in going on a National Trust for Scotland cruise in June 2014 to Orkney, Shetland, the Faeroe Islands, St. Kilda and Caithness. All in one week! But, a very good cruise. Selected photos in the Gallery.
Archaeological excavations have now ended for the season at Flodden Hill. Selected photos in the Gallery
At the end of March we returned from a visit to our Australian family and I have put a few photos in the Gallery.
Earlier in the year, I took part in an excavation at Wark Castle overlooking the R. Tweed. A large, defensive wall was discovered on the west side of a large enclosure to the west of the castle. There was medieval pottery, animal bones and a well-preserved iron 'bodkin' arrowhead, probably dating to the 16th century. The next excavations will be at Flodden during the last week of this month and the first week of June.
Also earlier in the year I took part in a poetry reading in Hawick on a Sunday afternoon. It was a chance for local, Borders poets to read some of their work to microphone and camera. It took place in the Drum Beat cafe, a cafe/bookshop that hosts events and book reviews for local writers. There were about twelve of us plus our guests and other people in the cafe. I read two of my poems, 'A Helping Hand' and 'St. Kilda People' and they seemed to be well received. See http://www.youtube.com/bordersopenmic
Following on from the above, I was asked to submit a poem for the 'Poetry Corner' for publication in the Hawick News.
My photograph of a winter sunrise over the River Tweed at Coldstream was reproduced in the Berwickshire News on 30 January. I have put it in the Gallery.
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.
This is me in my previous garden—it shows that the sun does shine in these parts! I hope to update the photo when the summer sun returns to our new garden in Northumberland. In fact, the eastern Borders (of England and Scotland) has a good sunshine record and the average annual rainfall figure is not nearly as high as in the west, although the Cheviot Hills in England and the Lammermuir Hills in Scotland do attract more rain. Also, the River Tweed and its tributaries can produce some dramatic local flooding particularly after prolonged heavy downpours in the hills to the west. This is a fantastic place to live with attractive scenery on both sides of the Scotland/England border as seen from the photograph in the heading which is a view of the distant, snow-capped Cheviot Hills from the back of my previous house. The photographs below shows the ruined Etal Castle which is near my house and is in the care of English Heritage. The castle, which was one of a number of English border castles, was sacked by James IV's army before the Battle of Flodden in 1513
For the last five years, TillVAS volunteers (including me) 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.
These excavations have continued in May/June 2014 and funding means that we will be able to return to Ladykirk (built by James IV and perhaps used as a lookout post overseeing Norham Castle) and we may also be returning to Ladykirk later this year. The photograph shows work in progress at Flodden Hill.
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 this month. Evidently, this is an unusual specimen with some unusual features so I hope to learn more about it. Please have a look at it.
In April 2014, I was appointed Chairman of the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS). This will be for one year as the new Constitution limits the length of appointment for office-bearers and committee, to encourage new people and new ideas to come to the fore. I will continue with my other Society job as Website Manager.