Community projects rely on the efforts of those willing to donate their time and expertise and the Heritage Project was no different.
For over three years more than forty people volunteered doing all sorts of things, from building surveying and document researching to supervising children as they paddled in a fake mixture of pee and foul-smelling fullers’ earth. There were no casualties.
So what did we find in Darshill, Ham and Bowlish? This website gives full details, but the highlights of what we found were:
- the remains of a 13th Century mill, carbon-dated and documented
- a far-greater impact of cloth making on the locality than we could possibly have imagined
- the importance of family dynasties in shaping the local world and beyond
- several species of flora and fauna previously unknown in this part of Somerset
- changes recent renewal has had on what was previously a run-down, ex-industrial, suburb
As more people become aware of our work and pick up our baton, we hope our legacy will become broader and deeper but at the moment it is this website which includes the outputs of all of our efforts. Look out for signs soon to come at Bowlish, Darshill and Middle Darshill identifying key historic properties. Detailed material and lesson plans for primary schools to use to make local history and geography come to life are available now. You can also download the audio App for the History Trails which start from the Market Place, four of which include material uncovered by the Project.
So, our thanks goes to all those teams and individuals who worked so diligently to produce such a superb output. There are too many people to list individually, but mention has to be made of those who gave more than most:
- the Outreach team led by Sue Dickerson and Jane Nicklin who worked particularly with Vicki Davis of St. Paul’s School to produce materials for and then deliver learning days for schools
- the Archaeology team led by Alan Marter who discovered the surviving medieval tunnel for the mill at Middle Darshill and laboured mightily without success at Primrose Hill, off Forum Lane, looking for a lost mansion
- the Biodiversity team led by Jane Williams who sustained a programme of numerous diverse surveys over a period of two years
- the Architectural team provided by Somerset Vernacular Building Research Group led by John Rickard who completed a marathon programme of surveys and interpretation on around twenty buildings
- the Historical Document Research team led by Sue Shaw whose work, diligence and product was just exemplary
- the Fundraising team led by Brian Allen who delivered the contributions needed to complement the funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund
- George Webb who designed and built the website and Amanda Hirst who edited parts of its material
- and to the three people who managed the project overall, Eddie Oram, Alan Marter and Ian Keys
We fervently hope that the energy and community spirit which has brought this project to a successful conclusion will continue and be passed on to the new families and others who move into this fascinating part of Somerset. We owe nothing less to the numerous past generations who lived, loved and worked here.