The April meeting was a talk from Colin Spackman of Wellington Museum on Wellington and its Dukedom. Prior to Colin’s research on the subject there was no proof that the Duke had actually visited the site of the Monument in any local archives or newspaper reports at the time. There were newspaper reports that he visited Taunton and Wellington when he was en route to Plymouth to be awarded the Freedom of Plymouth in 1819. He travelled in a coach and was mobbed wherever he stopped. Although Mr Fox was the local Lord of the Manor, William Kinglake was the estate manager and there was a report of Kinglake accompanying Wellington on his travels towards Plymouth. Colin searched through the family archives and found nothing new. However when he travelled to Southampton University and searched on the name Kinglake he found an original letter from Kinglake to the Duke asking for a favour and reminding the Duke of their visit to the site of the proposed Wellington Monument. The group are proposing meetings in Wellington during the summer months led by Colin around the historical attractions of the town.
The May meeting was a fascinating talk from Julian Hewitt on his field work in the South West over the last 25 years with his trusty metal detector which has found artefacts across some 3,000 years of history. Many Celtic burial mounds were searched but the hundreds of items that Julian has found include many Roman coins, a Viking metal stirrup mount, and many 18th and 19th century artefacts. Julian shared many tips on where to look and how to grid a field and proceed with the detection process. His latest work has been focused on canon shell cases from the Battle of Britain from which he has proved that a specific pilot in a hurricane shot down Goring’s nephew which crashed into Portland Harbour.
There are no open meetings during the summer months only the committee meeting on June 9th. The new season program of events will be published in the next issue.