Society News

18th July 2018

The First Siege of Newark : 1218

A successful event which attracted an audience of over 100. Many stayed afterwards for light refreshments and stimulating conversation.

8th November 2017

Saxon and Norman Newark and Lincoln

With his easy style Professor Philip Dixon took us on a relaxed tour of Anglo Saxon and Norman Lincoln and Newark which drew heavily on his personal experience as a leading archaeologist and expert in historic architecture over many decades. Professor Dixon’s use of superimposed maps was extremely useful in aiding our imagination to appreciate the earliest origins of Newark around the Saxon ‘Burgh’ site and later Norman castle and church. The early development of Lincoln cathedral, for whom he currently acts as an archaeological consultant, was also analysed in detail. Professor Dixon told us about a book he is currently writing on this topic which several of us will be queuing up to purchase.

 18th October 2017

The 17th Century High Street: Trade and Tokens in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire : Ben Alsop

Mary Scrimshaw – Mercer
Thomas Ridge – Grocer Mercer

Ben Alsop is the curator of the Citibank Gallery in the British Museum, a fascinating room which tracks the story of ‘money’ around the world. The talk was extremely interesting, showing us many examples of coins from the 17th  century with a special focus on the East Midlands. The use of tokens during this period was also discussed. Tokens were used as units of small ‘currency’ produced by individual businesses and bearing their own special marks. Locally of course we have the use of the ‘siege coin’ produced in Newark in the Civil War as a good example of this practice.  The talk ended with two example of business tokens from Collingham at this time.

There were many questions following the talk and it was obvious how much everyone had enjoyed the presentation.

20th September 2017

The Old Hall, North Collingham: Nigel Priestley

Nigel Priestley, Deputy Chair of CDLHS, gave members and visitors an entertaining and enlightening talk on one of Collingham’s oldest buildings and some of the people who have lived there over the centuries. Although there are few records of its origins it is possible that it was the Manor House for North Collingham. Nigel hoped we may be able to determine the age of the existing building by dating of timbers with the assistance of current owner Mark Woods. Mark also told the audience of his research on the building and showed some small items that he had found buried in the garden of The Old Hall.

Nigel then told us some interesting anecdotes of previous owners from the 17th Century to more recent times. The most recent of these awakened memories for many listening members and a lively discussion followed during question time.

27th October 2016

The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King

22nd September 2016

‘Fantastic’ Talk Given on Crimean War

Pat Smedley, Chair of CDLHS, delivered an outstanding lecture on ‘Balaclava, Two Collingham  Kinsmen Killed’ to a rapt audience in the Memorial Hall on September 21st. Starting with the ornate and much-visited headstone in All Saints’ Church, Pat traced the backgrounds of the three men to whom the headstone is dedicated and led us deftly through the history of the Crimean War and the ill-judged 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade.


The headstone dedicated to William Bacon of the 17th Lancers (killed) George Broome (killed) and John Bacon who survived. The epitaph is completed by a verse from Tennyson’s famous poem, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’

Supported by excellent images, maps and photographs, the talk gave a fascinating insight into events leading to the debacle in which so many lives were needlessly lost, and to the aftermath, where the lack of medical care for soldiers led to one of Britain’s most known figures, Florence Nightingale, advocating radical changes in how soldiers were treated. One interesting tit-bit was that the original bugle used to sound the Charge of the Light Brigade can be seen at Thoresby Hall Museum, home to the Queen’s Royal Lancers.

pat screen

Dressed as a nurse might have appeared in Scutari Hospital, Pat’s enthusiasm for her subject shone through. At the end, she finished with additional background information on the Bacon Family of Collingham; a family who, it can be said, gave to King, Queen and Country, time and time again (see previous post on World War One Commemorative Plaque).

Helena Pielichaty

July 10th 2016

Books in the Castle

King John debate : Professor Stephen Church and Dr Marc Morris

As part of the Newark Literary Festival Pat went along to the debate on King John between Professor Stephen Church and Dr Marc Morris.

Both these historians have published recent, highly acclaimed lives of King John so it promised to be an interesting debate. Unfortunately Professor Church was held up, but when he did arrive, the two academics shared their thoughts on the character of this King. It was an interesting session and the two shared many points of agreement. There is no question that both considered King John was a bad monarch, a King whose reign was a decided failure and for whom revisionist history theories cannot rehabilitate.


Professor Stephen Church

Professor Church will return to Newark for our CDLHS 800th year anniversary of King John’s death lecture at the Town Hall : The Last Journey of the Magna Carta King on Wednesday 19th October. Tickets for members of CDLHS are £8 [including refreshments] and are available at Collingham Post Office.

King John

7th July 2016

CDLHS Visit to Holocaust Memorial Centre, Laxton :

A group of CDLHS members visited the Holocaust Memorial Centre in 7th July this year and enjoyed a memorable and worthwhile afternoon.

Memorial Garden, Holocaust Centre

Memorial Garden, Holocaust Centre

Our visit started with a talk from Simon Winston who shared with us his escape, with his family, from the Holocaust all those years ago.  It was very moving to hear this account and to talk to Simon afterwards.

We were made very welcome by the staff at the Centre throughout the visit and after a delicious tea were taken round the Kinder Transport exhibition. This traces the story of  ficticious young Jewish boy living in Berlin who, as life becomes more desperate for his family, is finally put on the train [Kinder Transport] to England.

Our afternoon was so full we did not have time to visit the main Exhibition or to visit the Memorial Garden.  We were all given a ticket to allow us one visit within the year and I have no doubt we will all use these tickets to complete our tour.  I would certainly highly recommend the Holocaust Centre.

Pat Smedley

21st May 2016

The first open day on Saturday, May 21st, was a huge success. Over forty people visited the archives during the course of the day. The first visitors, Doreen and Ken Townsend, had travelled all the way from Buckinghamshire.

2016-05-21 11.20.40

Doreen and Ken Townsend outside the Jubilee Room

27th April 2016

Around 40 people attended a talk in the Memorial Hall on ‘Newark’s Black Friday’, the story of the 1941 bombing of the Ransome and Marles’ ball bearing and munitions factory in Newark. Speakers Trevor Frecknall and Shaun Noble, authors of the book, ‘Newark Black Friday’, spoke for an hour about the event. Their talk was supported by pictures of the damage caused in the aftermath, and photographs of some of those killed such as 21-year-old Edith Makins of The Thatched House, South Collingham. Shaun Noble also filled in details about the background of the German crew who had dropped the bombs on the factory. The speakers were thanked by Helena Pielichaty

Black F talk

Trevor Frecknall (hidden) and Shaun Noble. Shaun’s collection of shells and cartridges kept everyone on their toes!

‘Newark’s Black Friday’ is available for sale in WH Smith, Newark. Price £9.99

17th February 2016

Family of Soldier’s WW1 Commemorative War Plaque Traced

A World War One commemorative plaque dedicated to John William Bacon and found in a coal shed in Low Street, has been reunited with the Bacon family.

22-year old ‘Jack’ Bacon, a Lance Corporal in the 11th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on the Somme on September 3rd 1916. Before enlisting he had lived with his widowed mother, Mary Ann, and his siblings in part of the house now called ‘Cleave Cottage’, owned by Mr and Mrs C Allen.

After finding the slightly damaged bronze plaque in his coal shed, which was formerly the pig sty, Mr Allen put a notice in Fleet magazine and descendants of Jack’s family came forward.

Brenda and Alice

Mrs Brenda Sills (left) of Saxilby and Mrs Alice Bellamy of Collingham. Mrs Sills’  grandmother was Jack’s younger sister, Florence (born c 1898). Mrs Bellamy’s grandmother was Louisa Bacon, Jack’s great-aunt.  

John W Bacon plaque

The plaque found in the coal shed

John William Bacon’s older brother, Thomas, was also killed in WW1.

Bacon family

Photograph c 1902 kindly donated by Mrs Sills shows Mary Ann Bacon with her children, Thomas, Jack, Sarah, George (on lap) and Florence. Another child, Arthur,  was born shortly after Mary Ann’s husband, George, died in 1904, of yellow fever. Mary Ann is said to have taken in washing to make ends meet. She died in 1939. At the outbreak of the first world war, Jack  was working as a porter for the Midland Railway and Thomas was a baker and confectioner in the village.