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quackers

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  1. quackers

    The Origin Of The Broads

    I am just catching up with a lot of stuff, having been in dock for seven weeks. It all depends what you mean by "scientific", Aristotle, doesn't it, although at the elevated levels of the Philosopher, I am sure you are right. Sherlock Holmes' dicta seem to have derived, via Conan Doyle, from Dr. Joseph Bell, the Professor of Pathology at Edinburgh University, and at the rather more mundane levels of medical diagnosis and forensic medicine seem sound enough. You pose this question in philosophical terms: "The web site then proposes a better explanation for the origin of the Broads, the question now is whether the new theory is falsifiable and how do we test it?" I see the position in forensic terms, relating to the body of evidence currently available: 1. There is enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the presently accepted theory of how the broads were created is wrong. They cannot have originated as great big pits which were dug out and kept/remained dry, only to flood subsequently in the 14th century. 2. There is enough evidence to prove on the balance of probabilities that the methods which used to create the broads were similar to those which I propose. They originated as small adjacent pits, each of which flooded as soon as it was completed, and each isolated from its neighbours by thin walls of uncut peat. These wall were then systematically removed to create the large areas of open water we see today. 3. To prove 2 or any other theory beyond a reasonable doubt more evidence is required. New evidence in the form of historical documents is unlikely to come to light, but the methods used for geophysical research by Lambert and Jennings in the 1940s and 1950s were extremely primitive by current standard. The way forward is more geophysical research using modern techniques. Bill Saunders
  2. To my relief nobody, not even Tom Williamson, suggested that the peat diggings flooded in the 14th century, so maybe it wasn't a coincidence, Peter. I too thoroughly enjoyed the programme, but is that all we are getting? I was hoping for more than one episode.
  3. quackers

    Roman Reedham Rediscovered

    The short extracts which I quoted were from Michael Fulford's own Press Release. This is his final sentence: "Our Reedham structure could have fulfilled most of the functions previously speculated: watchtower, lighthouse, signal station, watching over the then open waters of the estuaries of the Bure, Yare and Waveney, and co-ordinating communications between other nearby, late Roman coastal forts at Caister and Burgh Castle and the fortified capital of the Iceni (Venta Icenorum), a dozen or so miles to the west." The words which I have put in italics will, I fear, do your blood pressure no good at all, Timbo, and I personally would rule out the pharos/lighthouse idea, because I don't believe the state of the "estuary" could ever have been such as to provide a viable anchorage at Reedham away from the main river channel. I'm confident the watchtower/signal station concept is correct. As Vaughan rightly points out, both Caister and Burgh Castle are still, despite trees, in direct line of sight from the vicinity, even at ground level. There is higher ground blocking a direct view towards Norwich, but it is solid ground, so messages from Reedham to Caister St.Edmund could have been by galloper. Bill Saunders
  4. In the late 19th century the then rector of Reedham unearthed the remains of what he described as a Roman lighthouse, the inference being that its function was to guide shipping across the "great estuary",( which the Victorians believed - to Timbo's fury- to have existed at the time of the Roman occupation), towards a safe harbour in the embayment which is evident in the marshes to the south of Reedham church. The rector wasn't very specific about the location of these remains, subsequent efforts to find them were unsuccessful, and the whole business had rather assumed the status of an unsubstantiated local legend. Recent researches by Michael Fulford OBE FBA of Reading University have, however, come up trumps. Here are a couple of extracts from his report dated 8th May. "Geophysical survey using ground penetrating radar inside the church and in the surrounding churchyard produced promising results which have been followed up with targeted small-scale excavations. Two weeks ago these produced convincing evidence of a substantial Roman foundation running over a distance of over 23 metres more or less parallel with and adjacent to the north wall of the church and its great tower at its west end . . . . ." "What can we deduce from these preliminary results? First that the church of St Jon the Baptist is on the site of a substantial Roman building, the dimensions and scale of whose foundations already imply a defended or military structure rather than a domestic building such as a villa. Second the overall dimensions, while indicating rather more than just a lighthouse, do not suggest a fort of any great size. Perhaps what we are looking at are the remains of a fortified watch tower (or burgus), with the tower at the west end of a small rectangular, defended enclosure, capable of housing a small garrison . . . ." Anybody interested will find the full report on the Facebook page of the Reedham and District Local History and Archaeology Group. Bill Saunders
  5. quackers

    Berney Arms Windmill

    This in today's EDP: http://www.edp24.co.uk/home/search?submitted=true&searchSlot=true&q=Berney+Arms+Windmill&Submit=true All this "heavy rain" seems to have missed us in Reedham. Bill Saunders.
  6. quackers

    Sorry

    Sorry about the multiple postings for Herbert Woods, but I kept being told that the page wasn't accessible when obviously it was! Can somebody clean up my mess, please? Bill Saunders
  7. quackers

    Well Done Hw

    I couldn't find a link, but hope the attached will serve to provide wooden motor boat fans with some (in my opinion) excellent news from Herbert Woods. Bill Saunders.
  8. quackers

    Broads Authority Posts

    If Thorpe Green was established as a parish staithe by Act of Parliament, as many were in the early nineteenth century, the council could well be entitled to regulate its use as they see fit. The classic example of this is on South Walsham Broad, where the parish staithe used to provide a very nice overnight mooring, albeit only for one cruiser, until the parish council restricted mooring to dinghies only - as presumably they were entitled to do. A public quay on the other hand is a place where the right to free public mooring has become enshrined in common law by long established custom and practice - a much rarer animal. Bill Saunders.
  9. quackers

    Broads Authority Posts

    That's interesting, and slightly ominous, Peter. I trust this is not a prelude to another attempt at introducing mooring charges at Reedham, which is a Public Staithe, (as opposed to a Parish Staithe). Is Thorpe Green listed by Roy Kemp as a Parish Staithe? Bill Saunders
  10. quackers

    Wherries

    On second thoughts, the first pic looks as if something has been smoothed out a bit round the side, so you could be right!! Bill Saunders.
  11. quackers

    Wherries

    Here are a couple of pics of Solace slipped at Lake Lothing in 2010. Nigel Royall got over thirty wheelbarrow loads of the dreaded fresh water mussels off her hull, which looks to my untutored eye like clinker-built, Clive. Bill Saunders
  12. quackers

    Norwich - A Salt City?

    "Although they were clearly a valuable resource by later Saxon times, we should not assume that the marshes already had a landscape like that of today. In particular, they were crossed by a number of tidal creeks: for as well as sheep and pasture, Domesday records a number of salt pans in the area, especially on the island of Flegg. Some of these were presumably situated close to the coast - the vill with the largest number was Caister, with no less than 19 - but others were probably located on tidal creeks. In fact, there are considerable problems with Domesday's account of salt pans. Some vills with large numbers - such as Rollesby - cannot possible have had direct access to tidal waters by this time. Although the present parish of Rollesby does contain areas of low-lying ground which comprise a continuation of the main body of the Halvergate Marshes, these are occupied by areas of relatively recent peat which cannot have formed in saline conditions. Like other high-value resources listed by Domesday, salt pans may often have been located some way away from the parish which now bears the name of the vill under which they are listed, and thus a detailed analysis of their location is meaningless. Nevertheless, when combined with the evidence of slightly later documents, Domesday can sometimes provide an indication of the extent of tidal penetration. Domesday records that, included in St.Benet's holding in South Walsham, there were two salt houses: and in the 1140s, when the abbey leased its demesne lands in South Walsham, the property included a marsh with 300 sheep and salt pans. This marsh, which later became the detached section of South Walsham parish in the heart of the [Halvergate] 'triangle', had no river frontage and any salt pans here must have made use of tidal water flowing up what is now the Halvergate Fleet, which forms its southern boundary. Perhaps the pans which Domesday lists in Halvergate and Tunstall were similarly located beside this lost watercourse." (Professor at the UEA) Tom Williamson, "The Norfolk Broads, a landscape history", MUP, 1997 at p. 46 Phew!! I shall now go and soak my two typing fingers in hot water. Those seeking to wind up Timbo on the subject of the Great Estuary should bear this in mind: even its most ardent Victorian proponents concede that whatever once may or may not have existed had disappeared by about 500 AD, long before the Saxo-Norman times about which Tom Williamson was writing. Bill Saunders
  13. quackers

    Broads Authority Suspect Curriculum

    "Please, miss!! Did the Vikings wear their helmets when they were digging out the broads?" "No, Johnny. They used them to bail out all the water, so the broads didn't flood until the fourteenth century"
  14. quackers

    The Origin Of The Broads

    They had two similar problems, Vaughan: yours and the reverse of it. The first was getting turves up and out of the deep pits once they had been cut, and the second, which you pose, was getting them down in to the hulls of the keels or whatever the cargo carrying vessels were called, and then out again, of course. They could have used the system you describe (although TheQ may well be right about planks being a costly item), they could have used TheQ-style baskets and step-ladders, they could have used hods and stepladders, or they might even have thrown each turf up or down to a catcher on the different level. Who knows - all we can do is speculate, because there is no direct contemporary evidence. All we can say with certainty is they did it in the way they found the simplest, easiest and quickest.
  15. quackers

    New Business Opportunities

    Here's two more to add to the list: http://uk.businessesforsale.com/uk/successful-river-front-inn-and-restaurant-in-reedham-for-sale.aspx, which has recently appeared on the interweb, plus the Angel at Loddon, which may have been advertised for some time. Bill Saunders
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