Winter is here, but no snow—yet! However, the scenery in north Northumberland is stunning, whatever the weather.
A current project which is taking up much of my time is the inspection and recording of historic buildings in connection with the Branxton & Crookham Village Atlas Project. This is a community project administered by the Till Valley Archaeological Society with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition to the Historic Buildings Group, there are three other groups of volunteers dealing with archaeology, social history and oral history. There is more information on the TillVAS website—there is a link below.
My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, is available for sale, 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, articles and poems can be seen on my Books & Books (cont.) pages and copies of some may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.
Archaeological excavations that I was on last year include Wark Castle, Flodden Hill, Norham Castle and, shortly, Ladykirk, all in north Northumberland. However, a knee injury caused by hill walking over many years has meant that I have not been able to take part in excavations so far this year. I hope to do something in August/September. Please look at photos by clicking on the tab for 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. 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. We have also looked at sites at Ladykirk, Norham Castle and Wark Castle.
The excavations last year (2016) started in May for the last year of the Heritage Lottery funded digs under the umbrella of Flodden 1513. The excavations were all in the Scottish Borders and were associated with the possible routes taken by the Scottish army on its way to Flodden. The Flodden 1513 project finished at the end of the year and other opportunities for excavation are under discussion.
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. Please have a look at it. I wrote an article about it in FLODDEN LEGENDS AND LEGACY, produced by the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum.
Visitors to website since 16/02/2015