The Antiquary (Feb 1914) - Proceedings of Archaeological Societies

The following is a transcription of a historic article and may contain occasional errors.

The eighth ordinary meeting of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire was held on December 11, Mr. J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A., in the chair. The papers for the evening were read by Mr. Irvine, the first being "Some Further Notes on the Parish of Bidston," and the second "Extracts from the Sequestrators' Accounts for Wirral in their bearing on the Great Civil War." In the first paper Mr. Irvine showed some early plans of Bidston village dating from the middle of the seventeenth century, which proved that all the existing farmhouses still occupy the exact sites shown in these early plans, and, in fact, that the appearance of the village has not altered materially for the last 300 years, with the exception of the making of Birkenhead Road, which dates from the beginning of last century. The hope was expressed that the picturesque grouping of the houses in Bidston village would not be spoiled by the building operations which were now taking place in this district.

In the second paper Mr. Irvine read numerous extracts from some original documents in the British Museum dealing with the administration of this district during the time of the great Civil War, from which particulars as to the location of the various garrisons could be gathered. There were numerous references to garrisons at Hooton Hall, Puddington, Neston, while outposts seem for some time to have occupied positions at Wallasey, Woodside (Birkenhead), Higher Bebington, and Thornton Hough. That strikes among the Parliamentary soldiers were not uncommon was shown by the senes of entries of payments "to quiet tumultuous soldiers who came to disturb our meeting at Bromborough" — "Our meeting" being the fortnightly gathering of the local Justices of the Peace.

Mr. P. Ross lectured on January 7 before the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society on "The Roman Fort at Slack," Mr. H. Speight presiding, Mr. Ross, who acted as surveyor during the recent excavations made under the auspices of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and the Leeds University, said that when the Roman road book was compiled it showed that there was a fort somewhere on the road between Tadcaster and Manchester. Various sites were claimed for it, one at Almondbury, Huddersfield, and another at Slack, near Outlane, on the road from Huddersfield to Oldham. It was left to Watson definitely to locate the fort of Campodunum at Slack, for he found an altar there in 1757. An examination of the spot was made by the Huddersfield Archaeological Association in 1865, when the official buildings of the fort were found, and the rampart on two sides partly bared. In 1882 another altar was found at Longwood, two miles away, and that was now in Greenhead Park, Huddersfield. Now the Yorkshire Archaeological Society had decided to excavate thoroughly the site at Slack, the estimated cost of which was £600, to be spread over four years.

Explaining the result of the recent investigations, Mr. Ross said that the fort was probably a pioneer camp used in pushing forward the subjugation of the district, and was discontinued as the Romans conquered the country to the north. Another reason for thinking that the fort was not used for a long period was that there was evidence of only one occupation. It was 120 yards from the Roman highway from Manchester to York, and 150 yards further away again was the present road from Brighouse and Rastrick by way of Fixby Park to Outlane, Buck-stones and Oldham. Outside the fort had been traced the recreation and bath rooms of the soldiers, and in the fort, besides the officers' quarters, were granaries supported on pillars in order to keep the grain dry, while there had been a rectangular wooden frame with a groove, which had been probably used as a water cistern, and discontinued when a well was dug. That well was still existent.

The lecture was illustrated by a series of slides.