New exhibitions at town museum

From left - chairman of Old Sleaford Heritage Group Dale Trimble with committee member James Robertson and their collection of artefacts on display at Sleaford Museum. EMN-180323-145226001
From left - chairman of Old Sleaford Heritage Group Dale Trimble with committee member James Robertson and their collection of artefacts on display at Sleaford Museum. EMN-180323-145226001

A new exhibition of local archaeological finds dating right back to the stone age opens this weekend at Sleaford Museum.

The new display at the town’s Museum on Southgate will be open both days this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) between 10am and 3pm for Discover Lincolnshire tourism week.

Detectorist Ray Hilliard and some of his local finds on show at Sleaford Museum. EMN-180323-145148001

Detectorist Ray Hilliard and some of his local finds on show at Sleaford Museum. EMN-180323-145148001

It will show a collection of archaeological and historical finds by local detectorist, Ray Hilliard and some of the artefacts from the dig from the Old Place area of Boston Road that was carried out two years ago by the Old Sleaford Heritage Group with Heritage Lottery funding.

Museum Trust vice-chairman Jan Spooner said: “This is just what we have been wanting, as people have asked to see older and archaeological exhibits and there are some fascinating finds in display.

“It is the first time we have had Roman artefacts from Sleaford in the museum, so now we are on a par with The Collection in Lincoln and the British Museum!”

Chairman of Old Sleaford Heritage Group, Dale Trimble, said, that as well as display boards and power point display about the project and a timeline dating all significant finds in the recent dig, there were several display cases of finds from the latest dig but also from other previous excavations around the town.

These included coin pellet moulds and shard of pottery with the alphabet scribed on it.

On the most recent dig, Dale said they were still writing up analysis reports ready to publish later this year.

Items uncovered ranged from late Iron Age (Saxon) to 17th century, including a bone pin, 17th century window glass and leading.

Dale said: “It is a fantastic story thanks to the great range and depth of finds from the site, taking the history right back and showing continuous occupation.”

A lot of the work was by volunteers from the community, right through to the processing and analysis of finds afterwards.

Ray Hilliard has been detecting for over 40 years, since he was 16.

Most of his finds on show are from the Sleaford area, all acquired with the landowner’s permission and cooperation.

The pieces range from a neolithic stone axe head that Ray found lying on the surface, and some Roman items including brooches and silver coins. He has found three rare Saxon period stirrup straps and a silver brooch pin from around the 13th or 14th centuries.

Items also come from medieval times such as a trading weight and some buckles and then a George III silver ‘emergency bank shilling’ issued as token coinage when currency was in short supply.

As an ex-RAF man he was proud to find a uniform button from the second World War on Boston Road Recreation Ground, plus a button labelled as being from W H Spite the hatter and tailor of Sleaford Market Place from the first half of the last century.

“With your headphones on, you can detach yourself from the world - it’s so therapeutic,” he said. Ray is always willing to do a survey of any plots of local land.

Activities for children especially will be going on too with the museum’s Outreach Officer and children can pick up maps to go out and follow the When in Sleaford Arts and Heritage Trail by doing rubbings of the brass roundels dotted around places of interest in the town over the weekend.

From March 31, the museum will have a window display and information boards on the centenary of the RAF.