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Jack Sweet, our local historian, writes about the activities of the YEOVIL SCHOOL ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY in 1948/9.

Yeovil School, the town’s Grammar School, closed in 1974 to become a Comprehensive, but for many years an Archaeological Society flourished in the school under the enthusiastic leadership of the Senior History Master, the late Mr L. C.  Hayward, B.A., B.Sc., F.C.A., the founder and a chairman of YALHS.  I joined the School (and the Society) in September 1948 and left in July 1954 and here is the report which appeared in the School magazine The Yeovilian  for the school year 1948/49.

‘The  Archaeological Society has completed two terms’ enjoyable work and looks forward  confidently to a long summer term with some Excavating at Lufton in August.  Many meetings have been held both in and out of school and attendance at most has been good.  (But will our younger members please restrain themselves when ascending church towers!)

‘During the Autumn Term meetings were held at Muchelney Abbey and Kingsbury, and a series of talks on Excavators and Excavations was arranged.  These were illustrated by lantern slides and given by Miss Rogers (of Yeovil High School), Mr. Hayward and Gillingham[a pupil].  Two members attended the Conference of School Archaeological Societies held at Salisbury in March.

‘A party of twenty went to Bristol on March 19th to see the Cathedral and an exhibition of photographs of excavations at the Museum.  The Cabot tower was also visited by those members who propose to take up the profession of Steeplejack.

‘We are looking forward to a visit to Longleat House at the end of this term and hope our weather will be favourable for our work at the villa.  One final word  –  we can do with more members!  M.J.G.’

I remember the visit to Longleat when we were met by Lord Bath and the days of excavations at Lufton which always seemed to be sunny and warm; also occasionally  when Mr Hayward and the seniors were absent for a short time we juniors enjoyed re-enacting the Western Front in the trenches and on the spoil heaps!!

Jack Sweet

Next month Jack will give us the report from The Yeovilian of July 1954

One Response to Yeovil School in 1948/9

  • Jean Harper writes

    A view of the excavations at Lufton in 1946

    Jack Sweet’s account of the activities of the Yeovil School Archaeological Society in1948/9 prompted me to look back to the account produced by Norma Walters (née Dunn) in the Yeovil Girls’ High School magazine of 1946.

    “On Monday, 8 April, members of Yeovil School began to excavate a Roman villa at Lufton. The girls joined in on the following Wednesday . By then the boys have uncovered a fine medallion of a portrait. It is the picture of a woman, probably a goddess. The boys had also found half a glass and many pieces of pottery. The Roman villa was found by Mr R. Walrond who unearthed two coins minted in the second and fourth centuries.

    “10 April. I was thrilled at the first piece of New Forest ware pottery which I found. It is a great sensation to handle something which was used 1700 years ago.

    “Meanwhile the boys were working on another piece of tessellated pavement. The design was in red, white and blue, but this time, the pictures were of fishes, some leaping, some swimming quietly. At first, we thought it was going to be a covered garden, but later we found that it was an octagonal-shaped bath. The pavement around it is almost intact, but the larger room with the medallion is very fragmentary.

    “24 April. We have found little metal. I found the bowl of a bronze spoon; we have also found a chain. We have discovered much pottery, mostly black, but some imitation Samian. I found a cup with a handle and so did Stella.

    “An interesting find was a hypocaust tile with a huge dog’s paw mark, as though he had trodden on it before it was dry. This was found on the 16th. The boys are to continue making trial trenches on Saturday, but the girls cannot go again until the summer.”


All YALHS talks start at 7:30pm and are held at the Holy Trinity Church & Community Centre, Lysander Road, YEOVIL, BA20 2BU (Non-members Welcome – £2 at the door)

Click H e r e for a Detailed Programme

Winter Talks 2018/19

Fri 2nd Nov – ‘Talk on the World War One – about the Local Lads who went to War and the Lasses, how they helped to win the War’ – Speaker – Darren Berry
Fri 7th Dec – ‘The Unfortunate Captain Pearce & the wreck of the Halsewell‘ – Speaker – Philip Browne
Fri 4th Jan 2019 – Members’ Evening – all welcome – Join us for various talks, a quiz and light refreshments
Fri 1st FebProgramme Change – now  ‘A Victorian Head Gardener’ – Speaker – Dr Francis Burroughes
Fri 2nd Mar – ‘Walter Bagehot – Langport’s Unknown Celebrity’ – Speaker – Barry Winetrobe (Brought forward from last year)
5th Apr (Fri) ‘The Lost Islands of Somerset’ – Speaker – Richard Brunning
3rd May (Fri) AGM followed by a talk – ‘Parish Boundaries in and around Yeovil’ – Speaker – Jim Hart – (Non-members – free entrance!) – bring a friend

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