Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society

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The Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society was founded in 1849. The Society bought Taunton Castle in 1874, and leases it to Somerset County Council to house the Museum of Somerset. A substantial proportion of the items held by the Museum were originally collected by the Society. [1] Since it opened in 2010, the Society's office and library have been located at the Somerset Heritage Centre, alongside the County Council's Heritage Service. [2]

Contents

History

The society was founded in 1849, by members of Taunton's society who had an interest in history and archeology and by 1851 it had grown to 420 members. It was originally based at the Victoria Rooms in Taunton until in 1874, the society purchased Taunton Castle for its new base of operations. [3] The castle was purchased for £2,850 (equivalent to £266,548in 2019) [4] and the society funded repairs to the castle, including a new roof for the large 'Somerset Room' in 1884, the refitting of the Great Hall to be a museum in 1899, and the creation of a library in 1908. [3]

The society was responsible for excavations at Glastonbury Abbey during the early 20th century, but the Director of Excavations, Frederick Bligh Bond, had to be dismissed as he claimed he had been helped by ghosts of Glastonbury monks. The present museum at the castle was fitted during mid 20th century, and around the same time the 18th-century staircase from St Mary Redcliffe's vicarage was installed in the Great Hall. [3] Taunton Castle is now leased to Somerset County Council and its museum has become the Museum of Somerset. [5]

Journal

The Society has published an annual journal, the Proceedings, since 1851 which contains scholarly papers on research into the history, archaeology and ecology of Somerset. [6] It also occasionally publishes books, [7] most recently a transcription of Edmund Rack's Survey of Somerset, a comprehensive survey of the county carried out in the late eighteenth century. [8] [9]

Notable members

Professor Mick Aston, well-known due to his involvement with the Time Team archaeology programmes on Channel 4, was a member and Past President of the Society, [10] and regularly contributed papers to the Proceedings. [6]

Robin Bush, the archivist and historian, was Chairman of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society in 1983–84.

Related Research Articles

Somerset County in South West England

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Glastonbury Abbey Former Benedictine abbey at Somerset, England

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History of Somerset Aspect of history

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Cadbury Castle, Somerset Hillfort in Somerset

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River Brue river in Somerset, England

The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham in Somerset, England, and reaches the sea some 50 kilometres (31 mi) west at Burnham-on-Sea. It originally took a different route from Glastonbury to the sea, but this was changed by Glastonbury Abbey in the twelfth century. The river provides an important drainage route for water from a low-lying area which is prone to flooding which man has tried to manage through rhynes, canals, artificial rivers and sluices for centuries.

Museum of Somerset Museum in Taunton, Somerset

The Museum of Somerset is located in the 12th-century great hall of Taunton Castle, in Taunton in the county of Somerset, England. The museum is run by South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity, and includes objects initially collected by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society who own the castle.

Taunton Castle

Taunton Castle is a castle built to defend the town of Taunton, Somerset, England. It has origins in the Anglo Saxon period and was later the site of a priory. The Normans then built a stone structured castle, which belonged to the Bishops of Winchester. The current heavily reconstructed buildings are the inner ward, which now houses the Museum of Somerset and the Somerset Military Museum. The building was designated a grade I listed building in 1952.

Burrow Mump

Burrow Mump is a hill and historic site overlooking Southlake Moor in the village of Burrowbridge within the English county of Somerset. It is a scheduled monument, with the ruined church on top of the hill a Grade II listed building.

Glastonbury Lake Village

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Robin Bush

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Taunton Priory Former monastery in Somerset, England

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Shapwick Hoard

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Cambria Farm

Cambria Farm is the site of a Bronze, Iron Age, Roman rural settlement, between Ruishton and Taunton, Somerset, England.

Down End Castle

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Scheduled monuments in Somerset

There are over 670 scheduled monuments in the ceremonial county of Somerset in South West England. The county consists of a non-metropolitan county, administered by Somerset County Council, which is divided into five districts, and two unitary authorities. The districts of Somerset are West Somerset, South Somerset, Taunton Deane, Mendip and Sedgemoor. The two administratively independent unitary authorities, which were established on 1 April 1996 following the breakup of the county of Avon, are North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset. These unitary authorities include areas that were once part of Somerset before the creation of Avon in 1974.

Arthur Bulleid

Arthur Bulleid (1862–1951) was a British antiquarian, known for the excavation of Glastonbury Lake Village and Meare Lake Village.

Harold St George Gray was a British archaeologist. He was involved in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and later was the librarian-curator of the Museum for the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.

References

  1. "Collection". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  2. "Library". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 "Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society; 1849-present". Natural History Museum. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. "Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society". Western Gazette. 21 August 1874. p. 6. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  5. "Taunton Castle". Somerset County Council. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Proceedings". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016. "Proceedings Index" (PDF). Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  7. "Publications". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  8. "Edmund Rack's Survey of Somerset" (PDF). Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  9. McDermott, Mark; Berry, Sue (2011). Edmund Rack's Survey of Somerset. Taunton: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. ISBN   978-0-902152-22-9.
  10. "Governing Body". Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Retrieved 1 September 2016.