News Round Up 345

FASCINATING skeleton discovery by workmen carrying out water pipe repairs in Oxfordshire, reports the Daily Express.

The ancient bones date back to Iron Age and Roman settlements 3,000 years ago and the 26 human remains were given ritual burials.

They were found during a Thames Water £14.5m project to ease pressure on a rare chalk stream.

Cotswold Archaeology excavated the site at the Iron Age site at Childrey Warren.

Chief executive Neil Holbrook commented: “The Iron Age site was particularly fascinating as it provided a glimpse into the beliefs and superstitions of people living in Oxfordshire before the Roman conquest. Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice.”

A story in The Guardian also delves back into British history.

An abandoned chalk pit, which has been a dense jungle of bramble, gorse and fallen trees for more than a century, has turned out to be a lost garden created by two former prime ministers.

The lost garden of Walmer Castle in Kent was laid out in the early 19th century by William Pitt the Younger and completed by Lord Liverpool.

English Heritage’s head gardener at the castle Mark Brent said: “You couldn’t get in there. It was literally scrambling through brambles that were head high and fallen trees.”

Brent, together with senior properties historian Paul Pattison, have led a project to bring the garden, known as the Glen, back to life and back to how Pitt imagined it.

Up for auction are a handful of youthful poems by acclaimed writer Daphne du Maurier found in an archive of letters, with two previously unknown discovered hidden behind a photograph frame.

The Guardian says that the two unknown poems were found tucked underneath a photo of a young Du Maurier in a swimming costume standing on rocks.

It was part of an archive of more than 40 years of correspondence between the author and her close friend Maureen Baker-Munton, now put up for auction by Baker-Munton’s son Kristen.

Auctioneer Roddy Lloyd said he believed they were written by Du Maurier when she was in her 20s.

The lot of letters will be sold by Rowley’s of Ely on April 27.

According to The Independent, senior judge Keith Cutler has revealed that he was called for jury service and was only excused from the duty when he insisted that he was actually going to sit as the judge in the case.

Judge Cutler has been the resident judge of Winchester and Salisbury since 2009,.

He said: “I told the Jury Central Summoning Bureau that I thought I would be inappropriate seeing I happened to be the judge and knew all the papers.

“They wrote back to me, they picked up on the fact I was the judge but said ‘Your appeal for refusal has been rejected but you could apply to the resident judge’ but I told them ‘I am the resident judge.’”

Scientists have been able to confirm that rabbits have been hopping around the UK since the Roman period.

The BBC says that tests on a rabbit bone, found at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex, have shown the animal was alive in 1AD.

Professor Naomi Sykes, from the University of Exeter, said there have been many previous claims of discoveries of Roman rabbits, and even some from the Bronze Age, but they had not been backed up by evidence.

“The bone fragment was very small, meaning it was overlooked for decades, and modern research techniques mean we can learn about its date and genetic background as well,” she added.

The Daily Mail tells us that a 200-year-old ring worth £25 has been valued at £20,000 by antique experts, after it was discovered to contain a lock of hair believed to be from Jane Eyre author Charlotte Brontë.

The jewellery is inscribed on the inside with Brontë’s name and the year of her death, 1855, and opens at a hinge to reveal a lock of braided hair.

The Yorkshire-based Brontë Society said it was ‘very likely’ to have belonged to the celebrated writer.

The ring was featured in an episode of the TV show Antiques Roadshow, filmed in Arddig, north Wales.

The Roadshow’s jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn said he believed it was ‘utterly and completely credible’ that the hair had been Brontë’s.

Reference list

  • The Express (
  • The Guardian
  • Daily Mail

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