Oswestry & Border History & Archaeology Group

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OBHAG - Oswestry & Border History & Archaeology Group

by Gordon Hillier - July 11th 2005

The Border Counties Archaeological Group, as it was in September 1977, grew out of the discovery a year earlier of a substantial Roman marching camp at Rhyn Park, Chirk by Professor Barri Jones of Manchester University. Having supported this important excavation and reawakened an interest in archaeology in the area, two years later the group began a series of digs on the Castle and Town Walls that culminated in the publication of a 50-page report entitled Oswestry Town Wall .

In 1989, the Group became the Oswestry & Border History & Archaeology Group so as to broaden its appeal to those interested in historical topics, especially those of local interest. Membership increased steadily from under 20 to around 100, where it is today.

During the 1990s, a summer programme of excursions and occasional 'digs' was established. Some members were involved with the Wroxeter Hinterland Project, and others with the County Archaeology Service in further excavation of an Iron Age rampart on Llanymynech Hill. In 1998, several members produced a report titled 'The Morda Valley Research Project' after three years of research. Topics included local field and place names, details of Offa's Dyke within the area, the mills formerly operating in the Morda Valley, and the small 'Oswestry Coalfield' which was worked from about 1750 to 1891 together with its associated local transport system. Many of the sites associated with this once thriving coal mining industry in and around Trefonen and the Morda Valley have now been formally recorded. In the late 1990s the group received an Oswestry Hills Community Grant of 2,000 for the preservation of the top of a coalmine shaft at Trefonen.

Lecture meeting attendances, as a percentage of total membership has always been high, averaging over 50%, reflecting the continuing and increasing interest in local history and archaeology. Recent and forthcoming lectures include such varied topics as 'Antique Maps of North-West Shropshire', 'Piracy in Elizabethan North Wales', and 'Drovers and Drovers Roads'. Lecture meetings are held on the second Friday of the month in the Memorial Hall, Oswestry.

So, for all those interested in our local heritage, Oswestry & Border History and Archaeology Group would be delighted to welcome new and younger blood!


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