MINUTES of the Ninth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Hagg Wood held at the Reading Room, Dunnington, on Wednesday 23rd May 2007.
PRESENT Stephen Moorhouse, speaker, Jon Kenny, Community Archaeologist, Barry Wright, Ecologist, David Mayston, Chairman, Linda Maggs, Treasurer, Celia Moorhouse, Caroline Walmsley, Ron Bielby, Wendy Worsley, Michael & Janet Clarke, Kate Jones, Tony & Elaine Hudson, Ken Gill, John Rodwell, Carole Copeland, Dawn Rossiter, Alf & Moira Deuchars, Roger Widdowson, Harry Brockbank, Katie Jones & Richard Canham, Olwyn Fonseca, David & Lily Rowe, Colin & Janet Briant, Jo & Brian Casey, Stuart Kay, Margy Vernon and Jenny Brooks.
APOLOGIES There were apologies from John Maggs, Barbara Pyrah, Nigel Emery, Violet Price, John Vernon, Pat & George Staniland, Alan Worsley, Jennie Stopford, Ian & Lita Black, Mr & Mrs East, Caroline Stockdale, Irma Gemmell, Jo Rodwell and Paula Kendrick.
MINUTES The minutes of the eighth AGM, 10th May 2006 were accepted as a true record.
David welcomed everyone to the meeting, saying the wood looked magnificent this year, with bluebells, wood anenomes and primroses in abundance, as a result of our activities. It had been a very active and busy year, celebrating the tenth anniversary of FHW in September with a party; everyone was invited to join a drumming experience and tree-planting in the wood.
FHW had applied for and received a Local Heritage Initiative grant and a Breathing Places grant, which had enabled great progress to be made. The LHI grant had been spent commissioning BTCV to clear a wide area in the south-west of the wood, to enable Stephen Moorhouse to survey the ground, and BTCV had also cleared ditches to help with the historical dating. The Breathing Places grant had been spent on commissioning BTCV to clear a boggy area of land, by the beech trees, and transform it into a new plantation of deciduous trees. A Community Planting day was held in March, when two hundred trees were planted including alder, wild cherry, rowan and crab apple and over 100 shrubs planted along the perimeter. The remaining money is to be spent on a new interpretation board at the entrance to the wood.
Besides the 10th anniversary party, a cycle ride had been arranged which coincided with the Harvest Festival in Catton; cream teas were enjoyed. An autumn excursion to Thorp Perrow Arboretum had been a success and the trip to Duncombe Park to see the veteran trees had been awesome – the 800-year old trees were quite spectacular; we had special access, proving the benefit of FHW membership. During the year three illustrated talks had been given – all of great interest; Barry Wright on hedgerows, Tony Hudson on dry-stone walling and Stephen Moorhouse on Hagg Wood in its historical context. FHW held working parties at least once a month, the next on June 2nd, and Friday Walks by naturalist Ron Bielby. A member, Tony Hudson, had set up a web site, which had proved a great success: www.fohw.org.uk. Members were asked to view it, to keep up to date with our events.
It had been a very busy year and David thanked members of the Committee for their work and thanked the resigning members especially – they will be missed. David also asked that if any members had any ideas for events, lectures or excursions, please let the Committee know and we will try and arrange it. David also invited members to a special garden party on July 11th at Dr Mike & Isabel Ashford’s home, a lovely garden, open to raise money for Moor Monkton Church.
Linda thanked David for his leadership over the past eleven years – it was no mean feat to keep a community organisation alive and well and FHW was flourishing with over eighty members. The website had encouraged interest and had brought forth new members which was pleasing.
Linda presented the accounts, which had been audited, and they were accepted as a true record. A grant, £1300.00, had been received from York Neighbourhood Pride for work by BTCV, and the City of York Council had also provided £500 towards a noticeboard. The FC had given a grant to help with the insurance payment. 2 other grants had been received during the year, LHI £11,106.45 and Breathing Places £7,145.00. The receipts from the Katalyst Concert (2005) had provided money for the portable noticeboard display which members were asked to view. A booklet ‘York Green Places’ had been bought at a discounted price, with the profit going to FHW, with the agreement of the publishers. This money had contributed to the 10th anniversary party with the help of donations from members. Linda thanked members for renewing their subscriptions and gave special thanks to members who gave an extra donation.
ELECTION OF THE COMMITTEE
The following members had been nominated for election: Ron Bielby, Olwyn Fonseca, Linda Maggs, David Mayston, Jim Smart, Tony Hudson, Caroline Stockdale. They were duly elected.
ELECTION OF THE INDEPENDENT EXAMINER
Ken Sutcliffe was given warm thanks for acting as auditor for FHW and was re-elected to this position.
VOTE OF THANKS
David Rowe gave a vote of thanks to the Committee for their hard work and thanked Tony Hudson for his excellent website.
INTRODUCTION OF JON KENNY
Jon Kenny introduced himself as York Community Archaeologist and invited members to free study days that he had organised. If FHW members have anything in particular that they would like to study he would be pleased to consider it for a future programme. He was given a vote of thanks.
ILLUSTRATED TALK BY STEPHEN MOORHOUSE
Stephen started his fascinating talk by looking at the late 17th century map, included in the booklet ‘Hagg Wood – Past and Present’. The map represents the medieval township of Scoreby, and showed the field system, with ings, meadows and closes dictated by geology. Woodland was often found at the boundaries of a township and the names on the map suggest that the wood would have extended over a much big area than it does at present. The present civil parish encapsulates many medieval townships. The field system radiated outwards from the Manor House, which is where Stephen began his survey.
The earthwork survey undertaken in the field opposite the present Scoreby Manor Farm could possibly have revealed prehistoric/Roman settlement and certainly Anglo-Saxon Scandinavian settlement. The Manor where the Lord lived was a complex of buildings – the Hall, the Chambers, the Kitchen; the farmstead was often at the side or back, with gardens at the front. Unfortunately the next field, where the village would have been located, had been ploughed flat. The gardens, cut by a drain, were terraced with a lake at the bottom. The early settlement could have had a moat as water was seen as an ornamental feature, rather than defensive. There were viewing platforms, which may have had towers to view the Derwent. There were several phases of building work (at least 6), with possibly a grain storage building near the farmstead, behind the manor and crew yards for gathering sheep and livestock. The drainage system was complex, only 200-300 metres back from the river and then changing direction. Stephen said it will be interesting to follow-up his work with some geophysical work; he will liaise with Harry Brockbank of the Derwent Archaeology Group.
The earthworks in Hagg Wood were staggering – it was impossible to see them at this time of year but the earthwork survey had been undertaken in January, after the FHW and BTCV had cleared the vegetation. There were several raised rectangular platforms on a NW/SE orientation and some roundhouses, possibly from the late prehistoric/ Romano-British period. There were gullies filled in and ditches full of leaf mould, to be further examined. Stephen said that it was a fairly important landscape, not at present recorded and the wood had opened his mind to further explorations of woodland, as nothing had been disturbed. The woodland would have been managed in compartments and there would have been lodges in the wood (evidenced by reference:1391 underwood in hagg called Logehagg - Wray Wood, Clifton, Lane Fox papers and 1395, Langwith - Chamberlain Accounts)
In 1234 the Forest of Ouse and Derwent was deforested and the people living there were freed from the stringent forest rules. All the surrounding townships used the Common (mistakenly called Kexby Common by Jeffreys) and it helped to perpetuate early land units. It will be interesting to see if Barry Wright’s hedgerow survey down Hagg Lane, which led to the Common, provides further evidence for the early dating. Stephen emphasised how important and interesting it was to have a multidisciplinary approach to the subject of landscape history and said the work was just beginning.
David thanked Stephen for a very stimulating and lively talk and thanked the audience for their attendance.