The Future for the Fieldgroup
The Newport History Society’s Fieldgroup has over the past twelve years, been very successful in discovering previously unknown historical sites, transforming our understanding of the local area and its history.
A total of eight previously unrecorded Roman sites, including a Roman military ‘Marching Fort’ have been discovered by the group and a further four possible sites are still under investigation. Five previously unknown Medieval sites have been added to the archaeological register and these include a ‘Moated Settlement’ in Forton and a high statued Medieval site near Edgmond. An incredible amount of Roman and Medieval pottery and metal artefacts have been recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme in recent years, making the Newport History Society and its members the schemes chief contributor in Shropshire and Staffordshire.
Unfortunately, the Society does have to compete in some areas with detecting clubs, who quite legitimately gain permission and search sites that the group are interested in. This has been the case in Woodcote for a number of years and has resulted in the group ceasing to search the Pave Lane area, due to the complete lack of finds.
Lilleshall is another area where detecting clubs tend to have the upper hand as the two major landowners require a fee to search their land and as a result the group have effectively had to abandon searching the Lilleshall area for the time being.
Longford is another area where the group are struggling to gain a foothold, this time because the major landowner is the ‘Duchy of Cornwall’ who does not allow metal detecting on its land. It is hoped through negotiation and the support of Peter Reavill (Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire) the group may yet be allowed access. Only time will tell.
All of this means the group have had to move further a field to search, mostly in Staffordshire. The area now covered by the group stretches from Newport to Woodseaves, following the ridge of high ground running between the two. Over the past two months, four farmers in the area have expressed an interest in allowing the group to search their land and it will be these farms the group will concentrating on over the next few years.
Field walking and metal detecting continue to be the groups main forms of investigation, although a number of test pits were dug near Woodseaves recently, in an attempt to locate a Roman building. Unfortunately, the group failed to locate any evidence on this occasion. It is hoped however, to dig further test pits in the Newport area, should the group gain permission to do so. Due primarily to the rapidly vanishing local open spaces, digging in gardens may soon be the only way to search within the towns borders. When the Society has gained permission, for example behind ‘Five ways Insurance’ and two garden sites along Station Road, the results have been rewarded with 13th and 14th century Medieval pottery. It is hoped that the group may yet gain permission to search areas close to the High Street, particularly properties at the rear of the Guildhall, where Roman and Medieval artefacts have been found by homeowners whilst gardening.
The future looks secure for the group, at least for the next few years and it is hoped further unrecorded historical sites will be discovered, enhancing still further the Newport History Society’s field groups reputation.
16 November 2014
We have a very active field walking and metal- detecting group of members, who go out most Sunday mornings.
From time to time, we publish reports on our various finds and recordings in and around the Newport area.