Exciting results from Coldingham archaeological dig

Today DigVentures announced that they have radiocarbon dating results from their recent Coldingham dig. The results date their finds as Anglo-Saxon, and with other evidence found suggests that they’ve found the lost Anglo-Saxon monastery they were looking for.

The story has been getting coverage today on the BBC and elsewhere, but for the full details see the detailed report on the DigVentures site.

BBC News article about upcoming Coldingham dig

The BBC News website today ran a story about the upcoming dig at Coldingham to try to find the lost 7th century Anglo-Saxon monastery. Archaeological crowdfunding specialists DigVentures are still seeking public support. You can back the project at various levels, allowing you to get involved in various ways, from following the dig progress online right up to even taking part in the excavation on site yourself.

Theft from a Coldingham shop in 1740

Looking through some of the earlier newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive I just found this report of a theft at Coldingham in 1740. It was reported in the Caledonian Mercury of 5 February 1741.

Whereas upon Friday Night betwixt the 19th and 20th of December last, the Shop of Thomas Anderson Merchant in Coldingham was broke, and the following Merchant Goods, viz. English Chacks, Cotton Napkins, Stockings and Cambricks of several sorts, Linnen, Blue, Green and Brown Camblet Stuffs, and a great many other Goods and Ware of Considerable Value, and 20 L. Sterl. In Cash, with a Pocket-book and 10 L. In Bank Notes, and several Papers and Accompts therein, stoln [sic] out of the said Shop; Whoever will discover the Person or Persons guilty of the said Theft, or Art and Part therein, in as he, she or they be thereof lawfully convicted, such Person is hereby entitled to, and shall receive from the said Thomas Anderson a Reward of Four Guineas; And any Person who will inform where the said Goods, Money or Notes, or any Parcel of the said Goods, are lodged, shall receive Two Guineas Reward, and no Questions asked.

At this time “merchant” in Scotland could mean an importer/exporter, but more usually meant a small shopkeeper. Often they sold a variety of goods: cloths, everyday items such as buttons, tea and sugar etc. But in this case it looks as though Thomas Anderson in Coldingham may have specialised more than usual.

DigVentures asking public where they should dig at Coldingham

DigVentures are returning to Coldingham to dig in summer 2018, and are currently asking the public to take part in the decision making over where exactly to place their trenches. They are considering six locations for possible trenches. To find out more and to cast your votes see here.

DigVentures back at Coldingham in 2018

Last year crowdsourcing archaeology initiative DigVentures were at Coldingham, investigating the history of the Priory.

They are returning to the site in summer 2018, and are currently advertising for supporters. Depending on the level of support you can follow the dig online, or even participate as a digger on the spot. See their website for full details.

Coldingham Abbey 1592 household account

Dr Michael Pearce, historian of Scottish furniture and furnishings in the early modern period, recently discovered a household account book for Coldingham Abbey in 1592, covering the time when Lord and Lady Home were staying there.

It is a fascinating record, covering issues as varied as the furnishings and structural changes made to the property for the couple’s stay, food and drink supplied to them, and payments to various servants.

Many local people are recorded in this document, including brewers, carpenters, and various servants employed by the family.

Michael has blogged in detail about this document, and I strongly recommend that people interested in Coldingham history read this.

A New Year Brownies party at Coldingham in 1945

I thought I’d look to see if I could find anything nice in the old papers in the British Newspaper Archive for Coldingham New Years in the past. And I found this report in the Berwick Advertiser on 18th January 1945:

The 1st Coldingham and St Abbs Brownies had a New Year’s tea party in the Parish Room. The games and dancing helped to spend an enjoyable time. The expenses were raised by the Brownies’ Christmas bazaar with the two Santas during December.

Goals for my Coldingham one-place study in 2018

Looking ahead to the New Year I thought I’d jot down things that I’d like to tackle in this area in the next 12 months.

Now that I have a new website for the one-place study which I’m happy with the focus is on adding more content, both transcripts and indexes, and interesting new blog posts.

I’d like, for example, to add 1700-1709 to my lists of surnames per address in Coldingham parish.

Another priority is to focus on kirk session minutes, indexing interesting references, for example cases of fornication and illegitimate births.

My Coldingham WW1 servicemen and women project is still ongoing, with new material to be added online soon.

I have lots of ideas for new blog posts to add, about interesting people, places and events.

I’d also like to blog more about unusual sources. For example I’ve previously indexed Coldingham parish testimonials (ie migrants) between 1710 and 1744, and should blog more about that sometime.

Many ideas anyway. Looking forward to it!

Upcoming Dig Ventures archaeology dig at Coldingham Priory

Crowdfunded archaeological company Dig Ventures are following up their successful digs at Lindisfarne to look for the related Anglo-Saxon monastery at Coldingham. Members of the public can sign up to join the dig, for a fee, and will learn how to use a trowel and take part in the archaeological excavations and any discoveries made.

The dates of the dig are Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October 2017. For more information, and to sign up, see here.

St Andrews University students from Coldingham

An online database of St Andrews University students between 1747 and 1897 was recently launched. This provides a searchable biographical database of alumni between those years. The biographies were compiled by the former Keeper of the Muniments at St Andrews, Dr Robert Smart. For more descriptive details see the blog post here, and search the database here.

Seven students associated with Coldingham show up in the database:

  • Patrick Brydone (1736-1818) son of the Rev. Robert Brydone minister at Coldingham. Student 1750-1754.
  • William Paterson, b. 1810 son of Thomas Paterson, Coldingham, and Jane Young. Student 1829-1830. Later missionary and minister at various places, including Cockburnspath.
  • David Munro (1817-1902), son of Alexander Munro, merchant St Andrews, and Isabel Walker. Student 1831-1839. Later teacher at Ayr Academy and minister at Tweedmouth and Coldingham.
  • Andrew Henderson (1825-1904), born at Kirkwall, son of Andrew Henderson, custom house officer Dundee, and Margaret Loutit. Student 1839-1843. United Presbyterian minister at Coldingham and Paisley.
  • John Greenfield, from Coldingham. Student 1855-1856. Possibly my relative, son of John Greenfield and Janet McKay, later teacher at Hawick and Denholm, and died 1915 at Paisley aged 80.
  • Thomas Young, b. ca 1845/6 at Ayton/Galashiels, possibly son of William Young, Coldingham, and Ann Cockburn. Student 1866-1875.
  • John Ramsay (1871-ca1940), son of Alexander Ramsay, mason Cupar, and Jessie Miller. Student 1886-1890. Later teacher at Cupar, Castle Douglas, Culross and Coldingham.