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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Friday, 3 May 2013

History in the Making: Weston’s Heritage Day

One year ago, Michael McCarthy put in a call to the Roman Baths with the dream of having a Heritage Day for the Parish of Weston.

A year later, on 20th April 2013, Weston celebrated the first Heritage Day with the help from local historians, the Moravian Church Hall, Students working on a project from the Bath Spa University, and members of Bath and North East Somerset Council's Heritage Services Team from the Roman Baths and Record Office, and the Libraries Team.

A happy Susan and Jenn staffing the Roman Baths display at Weston

Items brought from the Roman Baths collection included fragments of Roman and Medieval pottery including jugs, cooking pots, and Roman roof tiles found during excavation work at Purlewent Drive in the early 1900s. Additional archaeological finds include coins from the Roman and the Georgian eras, and the famous Iron Age Spoons.

Replicas of the Iron Age spoons from Weston

The spoons are thought to have been used as a divining tool the Celts used to tell the future. The theory is that by placing the spoons one on top of the other, the diviner would then blow a liquid (blood, wine, or water) into the whole of the top spoon and when they were separated, the bottom spoon would hold a pattern that could be used to predict a future event.

Minister of the Moravian Church, Beth Torkington, is intrigued by the Spoons

Additional items that the Roman Baths displayed were historic photographs of the hospital when it opened in the 1930s, a property tax slip, and post cards of the area. The most intriguing postcard holds the image of the Brewery which at the beginning of the Heritage day could not be located in the current plans of Weston. But that’s what is amazing about a community coming together with information that not everyone has access too. It was after a visit to the table by the Tithe Maps & Weston Estates historian Tony Bray with his map from the 1800s that the Brewery was discovered to be located on Trafalgar Road.

Some of the pottery found in Weston

Every table was a popular stop, including the other members of the Heritage Services team from the Record Office at the Guildhall. Residents were interesting in picking the brains of Colin and Lucy.

Colin from the Record Office shares his knowledge

This event was not just about what items could be brought to Weston, but about how the community came together to explore their history and share their knowledge with others and preserve it for the future. The Bath Chronicle, who wrote up a nice article from the day, quoted Michael McCarthy ‘...this day will inspire a younger generation to continue to tap into the rich seam of local history that still remains to be uncovered.’

Lucy explains the Parish Register indexes

Even the MP of Bath, Don Foster, stopped by to open the event, stopping at every table to chat with the presenters, and spending time with the locals by having some tea and cake.

Michael McCarthy welcoming MP Don Foster

The final total count of visitors to the Heritage Day was estimated to be around 200 members of the community. Michael is hopeful to have another Heritage Day next year to explore other historic finds of the area and possible, if we are lucky, new finds as well.


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