A special road show event on Saturday, November 13 at Poltimore Village Hall will see experts from Exeter University help people identify local treasure and unusual finds.
There is a call to arms, for gardeners with a trowel and spade, metal detectors or those with a keen eye while out on a leisurely walk in the fields or on the beach to uncover hidden objects. It could be a small stone object, a coin, a tiny piece of pottery, a clay pipe, a metal or even a glass object. No matter how weird or wonderful the find, a team of experts from the university will do their best to identify it and may wish to record the object.
Dr Penny Cunningham from Exeter University and co-ordinator of the project told the Devon Week: “Such finds may seem small and insignificant, but they can give us a great deal of information about the past and help us a build a picture of the way people lived.”
This Arts Humanities and Research Council (AHRC) funded project objective is to establish a blueprint for engaging local populations in the development of landscape heritage and for promoting community ownership of the research. More detectives are required to assist on working out the varied history of Poltimore House a Grade II-listed country house and its gardens. The evolution of the Tudor estate on the outskirts of Exeter is being explored by the Exeter University and Poltimore House Trust with the aid of the local public and schools.
Alongside specialists from Exeter University experts from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, including Danielle Wootton (Finds Liaison Officer for Devon) will be on hand to help with identification and they will also have a collection of artefacts that have been found in Devon for visitors to handle.
Professor Henry French, a Historian at Exeter University said: “Having done a preliminary survey of the documents relating to Poltimore House in the Devon Record Office and elsewhere, we have not uncovered very much. We would, therefore, be very keen to hear from anyone who has historical documents relating to the Poltimore estate, and the house, in any period up to the late 20th century – because even its days as an NHS hospital aren’t well documented.
“These documents might be old leases, mentions in letters or diaries, newspaper cuttings, and any records relating to the estate (such as sale catalogues, maps, plans, drawings). Also, the activities of the family particularly in relation to the trust that ran Poltimore School, or events such as shows or entertainments in the village.’
There will also be displays from the Friends of Poltimore House, the Historic Environment Office and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum relating to the history and archaeology of Poltimore and its surroundings. Anyone is welcome to join in and or drop into Poltimore House to find out how they can get involved in this historic project. The Poltimore Community Landscape Project, finds and documents road show is at the Poltimore Village Hall and takes place between 2pm and 5pm.