How the vote was won

his year marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 granted women over 30 with certain property qualifications the right to vote

Heritage Calling

This year marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 granted women over 30 with certain property qualifications the right to vote.

It would be another 10 years until women are granted the vote on the same terms as men.
Here we look at some of the key people, places and moments in the campaign:

Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_Pankhurst via wikipedia Suffragettes Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst , members of the members of the Women’s Social and Political Union visa Wikipedia

1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Women is published

Early human rights advocate and educational pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft states the case for equal rights of women as the emotional and intellectual equals of men, 126 years before the first women get the vote.

Newington_Green_Unitarian_Church_with_Mary_Wollstonecraft_street_art Newington Green Unitarian Church in North London, featuring a life size artwork of Mart Wollstonecraft who lived in the village in the 1780s and attended the chapel. Image…

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Offa’s Dyke Path Signs


The material culture of the Offa’s Dyke Path has been a subject of previous blogs:

The signs, the stiles and the gates: these are an important ‘archaeological resource’. They record the story of our recent past: the emergence, maintenance and evolution of a national trail. Looking at their logos, texts, materials and positions, we learn about strategies of marking and guiding along a national trail. We learn about the significance for leisure activity, a conservation movement, and engagements with a particular landscape through its nature and its heritage experienced by walking.

Furthermore, some of these elements are the contemporary archaeology of death and memory: my favourite topic! Here I’m talking about votive deposits (feathers) and memorial benches, markers, rocks, and cairns, are all part of…

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The flight of the Bremen

Bremen (aircraft)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Bremen is a German Junkers W 33 aircraft that made the first successful transatlantic aeroplane flight from east to west on April 12 and 13, 1928.

After weather delays lasting 17 days,[1]:52 the Bremen left Baldonnel AerodromeIreland, on April 12 and flew to Greenly Island, Canada, arriving on April 13, after a flight fraught with difficult conditions and compass problems.

The crew was to be all-German. Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld, a wealthy German aristocrat, and pilot Captain Hermann Köhlhad made an attempted crossing together in 1927, but had to abandon it due to bad weather. For this new attempt, they enlisted as the navigator, Major James Fitzmaurice, of Ireland. Fitzmaurice had also attempted a previous crossing as co-pilot of the Princess Xenia with Robert McIntosh, but they had to abandon the attempt due to high headwinds in September 1927.[2][1]:52

Flight log

  • 12 Apr, 05:09 GMT: Started engine of the Bremen at Baldonnel Aerodrome (about 19 km (12 mi) southwest of Dublin).
  • 12 Apr, 05:38 GMT: Lifted off from Baldonnel Airport and headed west.
  • 12 Apr, 07:05 GMT: The Bremen passed the Slyne Head Lighthouse in County Galway, started across the Atlantic, and headed for Mitchel Field, Long IslandNew York while maintaining an altitude of 1,500 feet (460 m) and an airspeed of 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph)
  • 12 Apr, 09:00 GMT: The crew started their first meal aloft: hot bouillon and sandwiches.
  • 12 Apr, 13:45 GMT: Bremen crossed the 30th meridian west. Surface speed was over 90 knots (170 km/h; 100 mph).
  • 12 Apr, 16:00 GMT: Bremen climbed to 610 m (2,000 ft).
  • 12 Apr, 21:00 GMT: Crew made their last drift calculation. When the sun disappeared and the clouds obscured the stars, the Bremen climbed to 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Köhl estimated that they were then about three hours from land. If they had been able to stay on course, his estimate would have proven to have been correct. In fact, without the aid of the north star, they then relied on a magnetic compass and drifted far off course toward the north.
  • 13 Apr, 06:50 GMT: They saw Polaris again. James then estimated that their magnetic compass was in error by 40 degrees. Köhl immediately turned southwesterly to follow the east coast of North America towards Mitchel Field on New York’s Long Island, which was then about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south of the Bremen. They flew among the Torngat Mountains of Labrador and then (without recognizing any landmarks) followed the George River upstream. In order to minimize the adverse effect of a strong southwest wind, Köhl descended into the George River Valley and flew at an altitude of 10 feet (3.0 m).
  • 13 Apr, 14:00 GMT: The Bremen passed over the lakes at the source of the George. The crew saw nobody on the ground but people on the ground sighted the plane.
  • 13 Apr, 15:00 GMT: The Bremen was seen flying over North West River on the shore of Lake Melville.
  • 13 April: At about 17:50 GMT, with about two hours of fuel remaining, and only a general knowledge of their location, the crew spotted a lighthouse on an island with a pack of dogs and four people. The island was Greenly Island in the Strait of Belle Isle, which separates Newfoundland from Labrador and Quebec on the mainland. Greenly Island is about 4 miles (6.4 km) inside the boundary of the province of Quebec.


The Bremen, after the transatlantic crossing. The group at the right includes the noted Canadian aviator Roméo Vachon and Baron von Huenefeld of the Bremen crew.

Greenly Island is small, barren and rocky. It was fortunate for the crew that the airplane landed in a peat bog. The relatively soft landing saved them but damaged the plane.[1]:53

The clock in the lighthouse was remembered (by the family of the lighthouse keeper) as indicating 2 p.m. Atlantic Time when the Bremen was first sighted from the ground. Captain Köhl and Baron von Hünefeld said that they were in the air 36½ hours. If their statements of elapsed time had an accuracy of better than one minute, which is unlikely, then the time of touchdown was 18:08 GMT or 13:08 EST or 14:08 Atlantic Time.

Gretta May Ferris, a nurse from Saint John, New Brunswick, who was posted at nearby Forteau’s Grenfell Medical Station, travelled by dogsled some 15 miles (24 km) to attend to the crew’s medical needs; she was the first to write the story that was picked up by the international media saying that the Bremen had landed and that the crew were safe.

Alfred Cormier of Long Point (Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon), who operated the local telegraph office from his home, made contact with Marconi station VCL at Point Amour in Labrador—18 miles (29 km) east of Long Point. From there, his message went through St. John’s, Newfoundland (at 6:30 p.m.) and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. It was forwarded by land lines across Canada and via Radio Corporation of America (RCA) station WCC at Chatham, Massachusetts, for transmission to New York City.

The first message read: “German plane at Greenly Island, wind southeast, thick [fog].”

A short time later, a second message was sent: “German plane Bremen landed Greenly Island, noon, slightly damaged, crew well.”

By 7:15 p.m., the story was in all the newsrooms of the eastern seaboard.

Celebratory parade in New York City (April 30, 1928)

The first Canadian aircraft to reach the scene was piloted by Duke Schiller and the second machine was flown by the Canadian Transcontinental Airways Company‘s Chief Pilot, Romeo Vachon, who arrived two days later with a group of media representatives. Both Schiller and Vachon were flying Fairchild FC-2W machines; G-CAIQ (Schiller) and G-CAIP (Vachon). Ultimately, some 60 journalists would crowd onto the island to report on the successful crossing.[1]:53 The Bremen crew did not depart the island for two weeks as they attempted to repair the aircraft, but they were ultimately unsuccessful.[1]:54 On their arrival in New York on April 30, the crew were honoured with a tickertape parade.

On 2 May, the 70th United States Congress authorized President Calvin Coolidge, to confer the United States Distinguished Flying Cross on the fliers.[3] Back in Ireland on 30 June 1928, they were bestowed the Freedom of the City of Dublin in recognition of their trans-Atlantic flight achievement[4][5]

Later in 1928 they published a book about their experience called (in English) The Three Musketeers of the Air.


The Bremen belongs to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and is currently on display in a hangar at the Bremen Airport Museum, where it has been completely restored.[6]

See also


  1. a b c d e Gavin Will, The Big Hop: The North Atlantic Air Race, Boulder Publications, 2008
  2. “Fokker monoplane, the “Princess Xenia” at Baldonnel. Plane in hanger with engineers”. National Library of Ireland Catalog. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  3. United States Statutes at Large, Volume 45, p.482, Chapter 480, 70th Congress, 1st Session, H.R.13331, Public, No.341, 2 May 1928.
  4. “Freemen and Freewomen of Dublin”Dublin City Council. 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  5. “Roll of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin (1876–1999)”. Chapters of Dublin. 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  6. Wir holen die Bremen nach Bremen

Further reading

External links

Welsh Myth at Harlech


I come back to this blog’s theme of art and sculpture at Welsh medieval castle sites, most recently discussed in relation to Flint Castle.

In that recent post, I criticised some of the new art inhabiting these ruins and the intentions and connontations associated with it. However, my trip earlier this year to another Edwardian castle in North Wales – Harlech – gave me a completely different impression.

The new Cadw sign boards that I’ve criticised elsewhere are far more effective for this castle, partly because they seemed better written, partly because they were deployed in considerable number, rather than in isolation, so that the complex history of the castle could be articulated by them. The lack of phase-plans remains a curse.

I also liked how the World Heritage Site status has encouraged the logo to be integrated into the recently refurbished visitor centre. DSC07157

I have mixed feelings about the…

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Augsburg Master Builders’ Ledgers now available online

FEBRUARY 26, 2017 BY

Historians at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have spent three years working on an annotated digital edition of the account books known as the Augsburg Master Builders’ Ledgers, which are now online. The material offers incomparable insights into the medieval accounting practices in the City of Augsburg in the period 1320 to 1466.

The Augsburg Master Builders’ Ledgers document all of the imperial city’s income and expenditure over the years 1320 to 1800. The master builders entered not only columns of figures in their ledgers, but also recorded a descriptive account of life in their city thanks to various unusual features particular to the accounting practices of the time.

In contrast with the account books of many other imperial cities, the Augsburg Master Builders’ Ledgers have withstood the ravages of time virtually unscathed. They provide a comprehensive inventory of information of immeasurable value on the economic, financial, social, and cultural history of the early modern period that was previously available only to visitors to the Augsburg City Archive who were familiar with the writing styles employed. It is therefore even more satisfying to have a digital full-text edition in which the material is processed and presented in accordance with the latest technological and methodological standards obtaining in the field of the Digital Humanities.

The objective of the project supervised by Professor Jörg Rogge of Mainz University and sponsored by the German Research Foundation is to publicize the ledgers dating from 1320 to 1466.  The project employs a genuinely digital data processing method based on the virtual research environment “FuD” developed by the Trier Center for Digital Humanities. The volumes transcribed and annotated in FuD are then fed into an online framework for historical sources created by the Digital Academy of the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature. The project is a continuous work-in-progress so that there will be on-going augmentation of the digital edition. The registers already contain more than 4,500 keywords that reveal the contextual richness of the sources. The provision of links from individual words to online dictionaries provides for better comprehension of the Middle High German original.

The Mainz-based historians are unable to provide facsimiles of the originals for legal reasons as the Augsburg City Archive has reserved the right to publish digitized reproductions of its holdings. It thus became all the more important to generate a presentation form that offers replications as close as possible to the originals while providing optimum legibility and material that would be of use to academics. The online edition is available on both desktop and mobile end devices.

The digital edition represents a permanent and citable resource that offers both a full-text and register search as well as semantic indexing of the material at

Discovery of Lost Early Medieval Kingdom in Galloway

Discovery of Lost Early Medieval Kingdom in Galloway

Archaeological research has just been published which reveals the location of a hitherto lost early medieval kingdom that was once pre-eminent in Scotland and Northern England.

The kingdom of Rheged is probably the most elusive of all the sixth century kingdoms of Dark Age Britain. Despite contributing a rich source of some of the earliest medieval poetry to be composed in Britain – the poetry of Taliesin who extolled the prowess of its king, Urien of Rheged – and fragments of early medieval historical records of Urien’s dominance in southern Scotland and northern England, the actual location of Rheged has long been shrouded in mystery.

While many historians have assumed it was centred around Carlisle and Cumbria, no evidence has ever been found to back this up. However, new archaeological evidence from the excavation of Trusty’s Hill Fort at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway now challenges this assumption.

‘What drew us to Trusty’s Hill were Pictish symbols carved on to bedrock here, which are unique in this region and far to the south of where Pictish carvings are normally found,’ said Ronan Toolis of GUARD Archaeology, who led the excavation which involved the participation of over 60 volunteers. ‘The Galloway Picts Project was launched in 2012 to recover evidence for the archaeological context of these carvings but far from validating the existence of ‘Galloway Picts’, the archaeological context revealed by our excavation instead suggests the carvings relate to a royal stronghold and place of inauguration for the local Britons of Galloway around AD 600. Examined in the context of contemporary sites across Scotland and northern England, the archaeological evidence suggests that Galloway may have been the heart of the lost Dark Age kingdom of Rheged, a kingdom that was in the late sixth century pre-eminent amongst the kingdoms of the north.’

The excavation revealed in the decades around AD 600, the summit of the hill was fortified with a timber-laced stone rampart. Around the same time supplementary defences and enclosures were added to its lower-lying slopes transforming Trusty’s Hill into a nucleated fort, a type of fort in Scotland that has been recognised by archaeologists as high status settlements of the early medieval period.

Anyone approaching the summit of Trusty’s Hill passed between a rock-cut basin on one flank and an outcrop on which two Pictish symbols were carved on the other. This formed a symbolic entranceway, a literal rite of passage, where rituals of royal inauguration were conducted. On entering the summit citadel one may have been greeted with the sight of the king’s hall at the highest part of the hill on the west side, where feasting took place, and the workshop of his master smith occupying a slightly lower area on the eastern side, where gold, silver, bronze and iron were worked into objects. The layout of this fort was complex, each element deliberately formed to exhibit the power and status of its household.

The excavation also found the remains of a workshop that was producing high status metalwork of gold, silver, bronze and iron. The royal household here was also part of a trade network that linked western Britain with Ireland and Continental Europe. In fact, research now shows that over the late sixth and early seventh centuries AD Gaulish merchants were making a beeline for the Galloway coast, ignoring Cumbria entirely. The excavation revealed that one of the reasons for this may have been to acquire materials like copper and lead. Isotope analysis of a lead ingot found during the excavation of Trusty’s Hill was found to have originated in the Leadhills of south-west Scotland, demonstrating that this mineral source was being mined and used to make leaded bronze objects at this time.

Other activities apparent at Trusty’s Hill included the spinning of wool, preparation of leather and feasting. The diet of this early medieval household, with the predominant consumption of cattle over sheep and pigs, and oats and barley rather than wheat, was largely indistinguishable from their Iron Age ancestors.

‘The people living at Trusty’s Hill were not engaged in agriculture themselves,’ said excavation co-director Dr Christopher Bowles, Scottish Borders Council Archaeologist. ‘Instead, this household’s wealth relied on their control of farming, animal husbandry and the management of local natural resources – minerals and timber – from an estate probably spanning the wider landscape of the Fleet valley and estuary. Control was maintained by bonding the people of this land and the districts beyond to the royal household, by gifts, promises of protection and the bounties of raiding and warfare.’

It is in this context that the Pictish symbols at Trusty’s Hill can now be viewed. The new analysis of the symbols here leave no doubt that the symbols are genuine early medieval carvings, likely created by a local Briton, melding innovation, contacts with Atlantic Europe and deep seated traditions.

‘The literal meaning of the symbols at Trusty’s Hill will probably never be known. There is no Pictish Rosetta Stone,’ said Ronan Toolis. ‘But they provide significant evidence for the initial cross cultural exchanges that forged the notion of kingship in early medieval Scotland.’

The location of the symbols at the entranceway to the summit of Trusty’s Hill and opposite a rock-cut basin, mirrors the context of the inauguration stone at Dunadd, the royal centre for the kings of Dalriada, the early Scots kingdom that once covered what is now Argyll and Bute. The imported goods and production of fine metalwork at Trusty’s Hill is comparable in quality to Dunadd, showing that these two royal households were of equal status. Dunadd’s Pictish boar, footprint, ogham and rock-cut basin at the entrance to the summit enclosure are best viewed as a set of royal regalia where the rituals of inauguration took place. The only other Pictish carvings located outside Pictland were found near Edinburgh Castle Rock; another site attested by archaeological and historical evidence to be a royal stronghold of the sixth to early seventh centuries AD. Close comparisons can also now be drawn with the early sixth century royal site at Rhynie in the heart of what was once Pictland.

The 2012 excavation at Trusty’s Hill sought to reveal the archaeological context for the Pictish style carvings. They succeeded in showing that the site was very likely a royal stronghold and place of inauguration of the local Britons of Galloway.

A cluster of contemporary Dark Age sites, such as Whithorn, Kirkmadrine and the Mote of Mark, is now known in Galloway. Trusty’s Hill is the only one of these where there is evidence of royal inauguration and suggests that this site was at the apex of a local social hierarchy. The new evidence from Trusty’s Hill now provides a political context to the wealth and complexity of Galloway during the sixth century, the attraction of the region to continental merchants, and Galloway’s claim as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. The archaeological record for the establishment of Christianity in southern Scotland suggests that its elite communities were literate and well connected internationally. This could not have occurred without a powerful secular presence providing land and resources. With the corroboration of the literary, historical and archaeological evidence, we begin to see the tantalising clues to a vibrant and dynamic culture that is entirely consistent with Rheged, a kingdom that was pre-eminent in northern Britain in the later sixth century but which faded into obscurity through the course of the seventh century. The deliberate and spectacular destruction of Trusty’s Hill and the nearby contemporary fort at the Mote of Mark in the seventh century AD, which can also be surmised for a number of similar forts in Galloway, is a visceral reminder that the demise of this kingdom in the early seventh century AD came with sword and flame.

‘The new archaeological evidence from Trusty’s Hill enhances our perception of power, politics, economy and culture at a time when the foundations for the kingdoms of Scotland, England and Wales were being laid,’ said Dr Bowles. ‘The 2012 excavations show that Trusty’s Hill was likely the royal seat of Rheged, a kingdom that had Galloway as its heartland. This was a place of religious, cultural and political innovation whose contribution to culture in Scotland has perhaps not been given due recognition. Yet the influence of Rheged, with Trusty’s Hill at its secular heart, Whithorn as its religious centre, Taliesin its poetic master and Urien its most famous king, has nevertheless rippled through the history and literature of Scotland and beyond.’

The Lost Dark Age Kingdom of Rheged by Ronan Toolis and Christopher Bowles is published by Oxbow Books.

For more information visit the Galloway Picts website.

Major Viking Age manor discovered in Sweden

Major Viking Age manor discovered in Sweden

Birka, Sweden’s oldest town, has long been a major source of our knowledge about the Viking Age. New geophysical research has now uncovered the ninth-century manor of a royal bailiff at this site.

During spring of 2016 a number of large presumed house terraces were identified by the researchers at Korshamn, which lies outside the town rampart of Birka, which itself is situated on an island in Lake Mälaren, near Stockholm. As a consequence high resolution geophysical surveys using ground-penetrating radar were carried out in September 2016, which revealed a major Viking period hall on the site, with a length of around 40 meters. Based on the land upheaval the area of the Viking hall can be dated to sometime after 810 AD. The hall is connected to a large fenced area that stretches towards the harbour basin.

“This kind of Viking period high status manors has previously only been identified at a few places in southern Scandinavia, for instance at Tissø and Lejre in Denmark. It is known that the fenced area at such manors was linked to religious activities” says Johan Runer, archaeologist at the Stockholm county museum.

During the survey a predecessor for the Viking Age manor was also identified at the site: a high status manor that existed during the Vendel period, prior to the establishment of the Viking Age town of Birka. Both the identified buildings and their continued use from the Vendel period to the Viking Age correlate well with the “ancestral property” of Birka’s royal bailiff Herigar as mentioned in Rimbert’s Vita Anskarii. Herigar was Christianized by Ansgar, archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, during his first mission c. 830 AD, and he built the first church on his land.

“The consequences of our discoveries cannot be overestimated: in terms of the emergence of the Viking town of Birka, its royal administration and the earliest Christian mission to Scandinavia”, says Sven Kalmring, researcher at the Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie, Schleswig.
The results has been published in the journal Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt – click here to read the article: At Home with Herigar: a Magnate’s Residence from the Vendel- to Viking Period at Korshamn, Birka (Uppland / S)“The results highlight the benefits of using non-intrusive geophysical surveys for the detection of archaeological features and, once again, prove to be an invaluable tool for documenting Iron Age building remains in Scandinavia”, says Andreas Viberg, researcher at the Archaeological Research Laboratory at Stockholm University.