Hoby Village HallAll Hoby and District Local History Society events will take place in Hoby & District Village Hall and start at 7.30pm, unless otherwise stated. Membership of the Hoby & District Local History Society costs £5.00 per annum and gives free entry to meetings. The charge for guests is £2.00 per meeting. Tea, coffee and very good cake is served after our meetings for a donation of £1.00. We pride ourselves on a welcoming and friendly atmosphere so why not come along and learn more about the area we live in.

Previous years events can be viewed here: 20142015, 2016 , 2017 , 2018 , 2019, 2020, 2021 ,2022 and 2023

2024

17th January Garderobes & Gongfermors: Going to the Privy in the Medieval Era – James Wright

Going to the toilet is an everyday event for literally everyone that has ever lived. However, there has been a prudish reticence among architectural specialists to research and present the archaeology of this apparently ordinary practice. Despite this, there is a wealth of data which can be drawn upon to explain the latrinal habits of people in the mediaeval period.

This data is not just limited to the functional – Where in the building were the privies located? What did they look like? How were they kept clean? There are a whole host of other considerations: What were the mediaeval attitudes towards going to the toilet? Who was allowed to access the garderobe? What were the social implications of doing so? How were privies used to promote notions of elite prestige? This talk will plumb all of these depths…

Dr James Wright of Triskele Heritage is an award winning buildings archaeologist. He has two decades professional experience of ferreting around in people’s cellars, hunting through their attics and digging up their gardens. He hopes to find meaningful truths about how ordinary and extraordinary folk lived their lives in the past.

20th March ‘Roman Lifestyles in Rural Rutland: Further Excavations at the Rutland Roman Villa.’ – John Thomas

Following the discovery and excavation of a unique Roman mosaic showing scenes from the Trojan War cycle on Rutland farmland in 2020/2021, archaeologists from University of Leicester and Historic England joined forces in 2022 to return to the site of the newly discovered villa to find out more.  A highly detailed image of the Roman villa complex had been provided by geophysical survey, which gave an excellent indication of where other buildings lay within the field surrounding the .  John Thomas will describe the results of these new excavations at one of the best preserved Roman villas in Leicestershire & Rutland, discussing what they can add to the story of this remarkable discovery, and setting the villa into the wider context of Roman rural life in Leicestershire and Rutland.

15th May – “Burning Passions. The Story of the Struggle for Women’s Suffrage in Leicestershire”– Jess Jenkins

Many in Leicester and the county were committed to the fight to secure votes for women. All faced violence and intimidation. Several were even prepared to face the threat of imprisonment and the hunger strike. A few were even prepared to commit arson… Although suffragettes like Alice Hawkins are well known today, other significant players have been largely forgotten. This is the tale of some of the women -and men – who were prepared to sacrifice everything in the face of the government’s intransigence over the issue.

Jess Jenkins worked as an archivist at Leicestershire Record Office for over thirty years. She accidentally volunteered to prepare an exhibition to mark the centenary of the local branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union in 2007 and was amazed at the array of interesting characters who were active locally. Her book on the subject – ‘The Burning Question’ appeared in 2008 and she is currently updating the work with all that she has learnt since then. The new book will be published shortly. She is the author of several books on local history and most recently of ‘Nursing in Serbia with Lady Paget in 1915’ which tells the story of a Leicester woman who went out to Serbia during the First World War.

17th July – The siege of 1645 for the guided walk of Leicester  – Jim Butler

18th September – Leicester Cathedral Revealed – Mathew Morris

20th November – The Archaeology of Brooksby Quarry & The River Bytham – Matt Beamish

11th December – members evening – a family object/subject of interest/ DNA results

2025

21st May – Historic Building Mythbusting – James Wright

James Wright said: “Go to any mediaeval building in the land and there will be interesting, exciting and romantic stories presented to the visitor. They are commonly believed and widely repeated – but are they really true?” He goes on to say: “These stories include those of secret passages linking ancient buildings, spiral staircases in castles giving advantage to right-handed defenders, ship timbers used in the construction of buildings on land, blocked doors in churches which are thought to keep the Devil out, and claims to be the oldest pub in the country. Delightful as these tales are, they can be a tad misleading in some cases and absolute myths in others.”

For example, tales of hidden tunnels are often connected to the Reformation and an emerging cultural identity which was suspicious of Catholicism. The spiral staircase myth was invented in 1902 by an art critic obsessed with spirals, left-handedness, and fencing – it is intricately bound up with the Victorian obsession with militarism. Ship timber yarns can be linked to the ideals of a seafaring nation. Blocked doors in churches are connected to forgotten processions on church feast days. The talk even looks at the archaeological evidence which points to the possible identification of what may genuinely be the oldest pub in the land.

Understanding the truths behind the myths is just one part,  he will also seek to understand how those tales came to be.

Dr James Wright of Triskele Heritage is an award winning buildings archaeologist. He has two decades professional experience of ferreting around in people’s cellars, hunting through their attics and digging up their gardens. He hopes to find meaningful truths about how ordinary and extraordinary folk lived their lives in the past.