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Transactions (1887-1916)


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1887:

* Special Section reports: Entomology; Lepidoptery; Geology (mention of "the great depression in the iron trade" meaning that fossils are rare from ironstone mines); the first ever Microscopy report; Zoology (notes a historical record from Cheadle: "11th January, 1733. It is agreed that from henceforth nothing shall be paid for hedgehogs." the people of Cheadle having realised that they were not vermin); Archaeology.

* Accounts of Excursions: including an essay on "Keele and its Historic Associations"; "Parish Registers of Whitmore" (earliest records printed); Hanchurch...

"Leaving the park, the excursionists were taken to the Yew enclosure at Hanchurch, a field bounded on all sides by yew trees, some of noble proportions, and all of great age. The President explained that there was an old tradition that on this spot in early ages stood a church, Han, 'the church of the high field'."

"The following plants were collected in and about the stream in Trentham Park:— Nupharlutea, Butomus umbellatus, Alisma plantago, Scutellaria galericulata, Sparganium, simplex and ramosum; Potamogeton natans, Ranunculus aquatilis,iVeronica beccabunga, Mentha aquatica, Helosciadium nodiflorum, Scrophularia aquatica, Galium palustre, Myosotis palustris, Stellaria aquatica."

* Short paper on "The Trentham Gravel beds and their Leadings" with some notes on fossils.

* Short descriptive paper on "Haughmond Abbey"...

"The water supply came from a conduit in the wooded hill-side to the east, and it is said that the fish ponds lay in the valley to the north, whilst the entrance gates with their chapel and almonry were to the west."

* Very short descriptive paper on "Battlefield Church".

* "The Celebration of the Coming of Age of the Club", Exhibition and gathering at the Town Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, 21st October 1886. Detailed description of the Exhibition. Included "a family party of thirteen Egyptian mummified cats and kittens" ... "Mr. Thomas Cartlich, of Woore, sent a live badger, which excited much interest" ... "during the three days about two thousand persons were admitted."

* "The New Red Sandstone of the Midland Counties."

* Accounts of several evening meetings, paper on the preparation of diatoms for the microscope, paper on "The present state of botanical study in England", long survey paper on types of mites (no local interest).

* "The Hare in Danger of Extermination in England", including some history and folklore on the animal, price as meat.

* Annual Address: Overview of the Club's history to date. Funds do not yet permit the building of a Library.

* Meteorological Observations, 1886, with Register of Rainfall at Burslem, Weather charts for the year including temperature.

* List of Associated Societies and Members,


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1888:

* Section reports: Entomology; Geology; Microscopy; Zoology; Archaeology.

"Our honorary secretary has himself lately made the discovery of a small earthwork near to Madeley and not far from "Byrth Hill" ... Then there is a camp at Hawkstone, very little known".

"Elijah Fenton's Monument at Stoke".

Excursion reports and short papers:

* "Certain Plants found in Maer Pool".

* "Plants found Around Bala Lake" (Wales).

* "The Manchester Royal Jubilee Exhibition".

* "Notes on Caverswall Castle".

* "Norbury".

* "High Offley Church".

* "The Possessors of Biddulph".

* "Aut Gladstone aut Huxley" (evolution debate).

* "Lapp Fj-elds" (Account of a visit to Norway).

* "The History of the Manor of Tunstall" (very short abstract).

* "Alluvial Deposits in the Trent Valley, near Stoke" (long detailed account including notes on many borings to the gravel). Notes an ancient stone structure discovered under the new cemetery in Stoke, near the Red Lion Inn.

* "Insectivorous Plants" (general survey, no local interest)

* "Odonata, or Dragon Flies: with special reference to North Staffordshire". Includes annotated list of 32 North Staffordshire species.

* "The Botany of the Biddulph Valley" (mostly in list form).

* Address by the President. Mr. J. E. Worth, whose valuable meteorological observations had been published for the last five years, has now left the district. Notes "the restoration of the tomb of the father of Elijah Fenton, the poet, in Stoke churchyard".

"The Derivation and Distribution of the British Flora".

* Rainfall at three Stations in North Staffordshire.

* Meteorological Observations at Burslem, and Chart. Rainfall in 1887.

* Associated Societies and list of members.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1889:

* The usual Section Reports. A very late spring. Unusual amount of Sand Grouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus) in 1888, several thousands.

* "The Land and Fresh Water Mollusca of North Staffordshire" (in list form).

* "A description of an Inlier of Carboniferous Limestone at Birchwood Moor".

* Detailed list of fossils found at Matlock.

* Paper on "Wybunbury Church".

* "The Entomology of Silk" (short, summary of a new book published locally).

* "Dieu-la-Cresse" (old abbey at Leek)

* "Notes of some interesting Geological Sections visited in North Staffordshire during the past year"

* "Notes on Rookeries near Stoke" (surveys Stoke and the entire district).

"the rookeries in this neighborhood are becoming split up into small colonies. Mr. Yates has observed this amongst other rookeries in the district, and Mr. Bladen amongst those along the side of the Trent near Stone. This has also been noticed amongst the heronries in England, where the difficulties in procuring sufficient food in one spot for the young ones, induced by the more perfect drainage of the country, is the alleged cause".

* Report of the Cheadle meeting (many details of the local coal measures).

"The Effect on the Tails of a Family of English Kittens of one strain of Manx Blood during three and a half years". (no local interest).

* Annual Report. Expenditure exceeds the Club's income.

* "Some Canal and Pond Life" (microscopy, no local interest).

* Associated Societies and list of members.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1890:

Section Reports.

Excursion Reports.

“On the Work of the Club, &c”.

* "The Royal Boscobel Oak".

* "The Common Wasp, chiefly as contrasted with the Hive Bee”.

* “List of Birds in whose nests the Eggs of the Cuckoo were found” (Stone).

* “Insect Instinct”.

* “Nature of Mining Operations”.

* “Germs, and the Germ Theory”.

* “The Glacial Period”.

Address by the President, and " The Preservation of our Local Fauna &c.".

Weather reports for 1899.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1891:

Section Reports. Inc. List of Staffordshire Lepidoptera and locations. Need for a collection of photographs of county subjects in history. The Club has a new Publication Committee.

Excursion Reports.

* “Geology of Whitmore”.

* “St. Michael's Church” (Cannock Chase).

* “Notes on a Pre-Glacial River Bed, at Stoke Road, Shelton”. Short. With two cross-section diagrams.

* “Notes on a Staffordshire Witch Brooch”. Short, with illustration.

* “Weather Forecasting”. Abstract.

* “Variety of Eggs of Birds which nest in North Staffordshire”. (Egg variety within species)

* “Scandinavian Antiquities and Museums”. Abstract.

* “OBSERVATIONS ON THE PHYSIOGRAPHY OF NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE.” On the natural ecological divisions into area. With maps and “Hypothetical List of North Staffordshire Species showing the Method of Tabulation according to Natural History Provinces”.

No weather records.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1892:

Section Reports. Meteorology gives a detailed month by month account of the weather. There is a new Photography report, but it states that the Camera Section “has not shown as much vitality” having had its ambitions deflated by “The birth of a new society called together for the purpose of making a photographic survey of the county”.

* “Etymology and Uses of Silk”.

* “AN INTRODUCTORY PAPER ON OUR LOCAL REPTILIA AND AMPHIBIA”.

* “Notes on Hive Bees".

* “NOTES UPON THE PLANTS IN BIDDULPH”. Extensive list annotated with locations.

* “GYPSUM MINES AT FAULD”.

* “BRASSES AT NORBURY, IN DERBYSHIRE”.

“A few jottings on some Staffordshire Camps” — “1, Maer, called "Berth Hill" 2, Darlaston, known as "Bury Bank" 3, Billington, near to Stafford, marked on the Ordnance Map as "Berry Ring" 4, "Castle Ring," on Beaudesert Park, near Rugeley, and 5, Kinver Edge, near Dudley, and to these is added another at Chesterton, near to Newcastle-under-Lyme.” General descriptive survey. Mentions several watercolours painted on site, but these are not shown.

Excursion Reports, including a short report in “The Headwaters of the Trent”, which appears to have been a rather slight and chilly pursuit. The formation of a dedicated “Meteorological Section” is suggested.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1893, Part I:

Annual address, “Bacteria”.

Section Reports. List of Summer Migrant Birds and the dates of their arrival that year. Notes on various invasive species: polecat and many new types of freshwater fish.

Summary of “The Weather of 1892” and tabulation of rainfall by month.

* “Superstitions of the South Sea Islanders”.

* “The Archaeology of Ilam” (excursion report, mostly churches).

* “The Progress of Geological and Paleontological Work in North Staffordshire”. Long paper by Ward, with detailed bibliography by date to 1893.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1893, Part II:

* The Birds of Staffordshire - history, monograph and species collations.

Including detailed list of summer migrants and arrival dates, 1881. Detailed list of dates of typical bird activity.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1894:

Section Reports including Photographic Section.

Excursions and Evening Meetings.

Annual Report and Address. Lament for the state of public education: "It cannot be denied that a large number of the members of a Field Club join simply for the sake of amusement, but it is at least a hopeful sign that they do evince a certain interest in matters scientific ... It is really appalling to mark the small demand that exists in this so-called enlightened age for definite courses of instruction, unless with a mercantile object. Here in the Potteries, where in four at least of the towns courses of lectures and demonstrations are annually given in Chemistry, Geology, Botany, Physiology and Physics during the Winter, the only remarkable fact is the paucity of students. It is easier and more pleasant [for them] to read novels and employ the hands by billiards, or one of those forms of needlework that in turn become the fashion".

* "Local Fresh Water Fish" including "North Staffordshire Rivers, Canals, Meres and Pools" (Outline checklist).

* "Slugs and Snails" and "Hydrobia Jenkinsi in Staffordshire" (snails, in canal near Dudley).

* "The Nesting Box".

* "Hymenomycetes".

"Earliest observed dates of the flowering of 80 common plants" for 1892 and 1893.

* "List of North Staffordshire Fungi".

* "Notes on Sections in the Drift in N. Staffs, and S.W. Derbyshire." (geology).

* "The Trap Dykes in the Llanchurch Hills" with two good maps. (geology).

Weather and Rainfall in 1893, including detailed records from three stations.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1895:

Annual Address. "The last year has been a momentous one in the annals of our Club. At last, after 28 years, definite steps have been taken to obtain a Home, and the Committee have taken the New Gallery at Stoke-on-Trent for nine months on trial." Lecture on the flint geology of North Staffordshire.

Section Reports. "The dates of arrival of our Migrant birds last year", tabulated and compared for Stoke and Cheadle.

* "Colours of Birds" (re: evolution)

* "An Ornithological Excursion to Aqualale".

* "Bird Life during Severe Frost" (early 1895).

* "Geological Literature of North Staffordshire" (updates previous list, 1892-1895).

* "On Glacial Theories and their application to North Staffordshire" (long paper).

* "Marine Fossils in the North Staffordshire Coalfields" (Ward).

The Weather of 1894, including Rainfall at Cheadle. Excursion Reports.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1896:

Annual Report: Mentions "the recent Congress of the Archaeological Association at Stoke", gives outline description of the activities during their visit. Attendance at Excursions was down significantly, winter meetings expanded to five, inc. one in Cheadle. Numbers are also down for the winter meetings. The Club will in future "hold all Sectional and Committee meetings in the North Stafford Hotel" rather than its previous inconvenient rooms. Membership remains firm: 424 members including 75 ladies.

Mr Robert McAldowie ("Notes on a Staffordshire Witch Brooch", "Birds of Staffordshire" et al) has passed away, and there is a short account of his activities with the Club - see also a paragraph in the Annual Address.

"The Zoological Section has the satisfaction of knowing that its efforts to induce the County Council to put into force the Act of Parliament which was passed two Sessions ago with the object of prohibiting the taking of the eggs of certain birds have been successful, and an Order to this effect has been promulgated, and a list of birds scheduled, the eggs of which are for the future protected." (See specific details in the Zoology report, page 47, and a copy of the Act is given on page 51-52).

Annual Address: Croxden Abbey ruins are being allowed to fall into decay. Lecture on the Cuckoo, with a list of birds whose nests are known to have had cuckoos eggs in them.

Report of a delate to the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Zoology report: "The Chartley Herd of White Cattle". Reprint of a detailed account of a Club excursion, as sent to the Field journal. Badgers were then, it seems, a rarity - the capture of two a remarkable thing, and one of them said to be "blue" in colour. The Swift arrived "very early" in the year, on 29th April. And "last Swallows and Martins seen on 17th October." A few sea gulls, not normally seen inland, were noticed that year.

"Life in the Hotwater Reservoir at the Tape Mill, Cheadle, Staffordshire". A short detailed paper, with some industrial history interest.

Entomology report: "1895 was an exceptionally good year for the Lepidopterist, and probably until after July there was never a better". An extensive list of finds and sightings.

Botany report: "an abnormally early start for the new season" of plant growth. Lists of the observed flowering times of plants.

Microsopy report: A paper on the use of the microscope at the seaside, in rock pools.

Geology report: Various summaries of excursions, including a detailed account of the one to "Hartshill, Basford and Highfields. The section met near Hartshill Church, and after noting the presence of grey sandstone on the summit of the hill north of the Church, proceeded to examine in detail the whole of the marlpits and other exposures on the western side of the valley as far as Highfields."

Paper on the climate of the Carboniferous period of prehistory.

Meteorology report: "The weather of 1895". "the great frost of last year appears to have been, with one exception, viz., that of the winter of 1813-14, the most severe that has been experienced in the present century" ... "the great heat of the last week [of September] is absolutely without a parallel in any previous September on record." Rainfall and temperature records.

Archeology report: an account of the unsuccessful August excavations near the probable site of the Roman camp at Chesterton... "it was remarkable how many of the villagers at Chesterton shewed their curiosity in what was going on at the Camp, and indeed the poor old Irishman who left Newcastle workhouse to come and dig for us (because he had "seen foundations on the ground long ago") grew wondrously keen in our pursuits." The other local activity was... "Wild-boar-Clough, &c, led by Mr Barke. It was an impressive day. The wild, open, and almost mountainous country we passed through, the subjects brought to our notice in the Clulow Cross, the little Church of Forest Chapel, the distinctly defined Roman Camp on the hill to the west of it, and that great hill of Shutlandslow, and the very distant views obtained on that clear bright day made it altogether one which we could hardly expect to see again. That the district should be so near home and yet so little known is something to be wondered at."

W. Wells Bladen. "Osseous and other Remains found at Stone in the recent excavations". Ensemble photograph, and item-by-item discussion, of the finds. Discussion of the timing of the local introduction of various ancient cattle breeds. Comparison photo of the skull of the Auroch found at Etruria, 1877.

Charlotte S. Burne, "What Folkore is, and how it is to be collected". Items of note...

i) "Cricker" - Wrekin word for the driver of a packhorse.

ii) "Aqualate Mere, a sheet of water on the Shropshire border of the county, nearly two hundred acres in extent, is said to be inhabited by a mermaid. On some occasion there was an idea of draining it, but the mermaid put her head out of the water and exclaimed:— "If this mere you do let dry, Newport and Meretown I will destroy," and the plan was abandoned. A similar tradition attached, I believe, to the Black Mere near Leek, where the mermaid threatened to "destroy all Leek and Leek Frith" if her abode was disturbed."

iii) Tradition at Bagot's Park of an especially large... "Beggar's Oak, beneath whose branches, so the popular belief has it, any wayfarer has the right to a night's lodging. ... some prehistoric common right, disregarded at the time of the enclosure, but still existing in the popular imagination". [Presumably the various "Beggar's Bush" pub names of the Midlands arise from this forgotten tradition, e.g. the pub on what is now the edge of Sutton Park and on the Roman road].

iv) "while the agricultural hiring-time in North Staffordshire is Christmas, the potters' ancient hiring-time is Martinmas. [which is also the Derbyshire farm hiring time]"

v) The signature character of the men of the northern Midlands: "The racy humorous speech, the shrewd sense, the genial hospitable temper, are found everywhere."

A long detailed paper on "Cromer geology", with cliff cross-sections.

Accounts of the Club excursions:

* The salt-mines around Northwich.

* Wild-boar Clough.

* Norfolk Broads, with plant list.

* The Upper Dove and Croome Hill. (a very short report).

* Wirksworth and Hopton Wood Quarries (extensive account of the church at Wirksworth).

* Lichfield.

* Cauldon Low and Ribden. Half of the account is a note on the local poetess Mary Howitt, wife of the poet William Howitt, and local lines by her...

And where have you been, my Mary ?
And where have you been from me ?
I've been to the top of Cauldon Lowe,
The midsummer night to see.

Notes also "her reminiscences of the child life passed in North Staffordshire [Uttoxeter], and in the tales with local colour" set in Needwood Forest [called "Wood Leighton" by Howitt]. He recalls...

"Some pleasant articles from Mrs Howitt's pen appeared in the Eclectic Review, 1859, called " Sun Pictures," a delightful account of a journey through this country, and giving a charming description of Alton, Ipstones, and the district. I remember the landlord of the Inn at Ipstones was very indignant at his portrayal, and breathed out threatenings and slaughter at the author of what everybody but himself thought a life-like picture."

Accounts of the evening meetings:

At Cheadle, a great number of curiosities shown - "a white rook killed at Stallington"; "a great bat from Trentham"; the Rev. C. F. L. Barnwell's photographs of "groups of the famous Chartley wild cattle"; and "Lantern slides of Professor Rontgen's new photography by means of the rays from a Crooke's radiant-matter tube". The vicar, the Rev. G. T. Ryves... "mentioned that when he first came to Tean the 'guisers' were in full force, and that he had got together as much as possible of the text of the dialogue. On piecing the fragments together, he obtained an interesting play, which had undoubtedly been handed down by tradition and memory for hundreds of years." Belief in witches still alive in the district... "within the last four years he met with a young farmer who positively declared that he knew a man who had bewitched all the cattle on the farm in order to spite the dairymaid. "

Associated societies. List of Members. Club Rules.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1897:

Annual Report: Mentions new additions to the usual programme, a two-day Excursion and a week-long Excursion. The two-day trip to Kinderscout and Castleton was dogged by very wet Autumn weather, but the five-day trip to Ludlow and district had glorious weather and a fine local guide. The Club's range of evening meetings has newly added Trentham to the list of venues. Club membership had slightly dipped, and the Club had lost two stalwart men to illness.

Annual address: Barke, F. "The Physical Geography of the British Islands during the Carboniferous Epoch".

Short report from a delegate to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Liverpool Meeting, 1896. Appendix with suggestions of national organisation of local societies. Further Appendix with notes on the systematisation of geological photographs.

Zoolology section report: Local name for a polecat was a "Fitchet" - the last such being known locally... "about the year 1840, when one was caught in a trap at Wootton Park Farm, near Cheadle." Local and dialect names of animals are being collected for a Dialect Dictionary [Wright, Oxford], which will have a Staffordshire Glossary. Notes on the increase of the herd of the ancient Chartley white cattle, and remarks on their ancient horn shape. List of birds known to be breeding on the Roaches. Trentham Pool had recently emptied and scraped of mud, attracting seagulls (then, it seems, a rare sight in inland parts).

Entomology section: A full report on another good year for butterflies.

Paper on "Plant Galls": A thorough introductory survey paper on the topic. No local interest.

Report of the Botany section: A short report. Has another remark on the wet autumn which "kept plants from flowering" and many seeds did not ripen. The late frost in may did not help matters. Long list of late-flowering plants in the wet season, by month (Oct/Nov/Dec), showing how the poor weather affected various species.

List of plants seen within five miles of Biddulph Church. Including some recent known extinctions.

"Note on the colour of leaves". Introductory scientific paper. To local interest, save to evidence a likely interest in variegation and grafting among the gardening members of the Club.

"The Breaking of Copmere", this being a large lake near Eccleshall in North Staffordshire. Summary of the current plants and fish there. "Breaking" alludes to the strange phenomena there, namely that a flood of "minute bright green particles" in Autumn turns the lake bright green. The term is a local one... "It is simply a colloquial expression, best known and used in Shropshire where Meres occur more frequently than in our County, and where the phenomenon is well known to the Mere-dwellers. It is also called "middling," no doubt from a resemblance to the breaking of milk into curd and whey on the introduction of rennet. But the term "Breaking" is said to be derived from an analogous appearance in brewing, when fermentation takes place. ... At certain times in each year, generally in autumn, the Shropshire Meres become turbid with these green particles, the water becomes unfit for domestic purposes, and it defies the powers of filtration". This has local consequences where the meres are used for drinking water. In Scotland the lakes are similarly affected and turn purple rather than green. The cause has now been discovered: an annual natural 'flowering' of microscopic algae which normally live down in the sediment. In Shropshire, "upwards of half a dozen species of algae" and a list of these is given. At Copmere two species were involved, one on the surface and the other more dispersed in the waters. Drawings of the magnified forms of these. An observation from the floor of the meeting stated that... "Copmere was perhaps the most celebrated rendezvous for aquatic birds there was in Staffordshire", and added a few more fish and bird species to the list for Copmere.

Report of the Geological section: Local excursions were undertaken, including one to inspect the cuttings and diggings of the new Cheadle Railway. Followed by a paper on the fossil flora of the North Staffordshire Coalfield. Notes on the geology of Mow Cop, with reference to its cementing material. Notes on haematite in limestone at Cauldon Lowe. Notes on the Bunter pebbles at Trentham. Colour plates. A paper on sand and clay in limestones of Staffordshire and Derbyshire, with a map of the sand pits and plans of the pit sites, together with many cross sectional drawings.

Monthly rainfall tables for 1896, and monthly weather observations at Cheadle.

Report of the Archaeology section: A Sketchers sub-section has been formed. A new Saxon cross shaft had been found near Leek, following a portion of the church wall falling into the street. A paper on the cross follows, "Pre-Norman Carved Stone Lately Found at Leek, Staffordshire". The stone was taken to Sir Thomas Wardle, who carefully removed the encumbering mortar to reveal the mill-stone grit and patterning. Four such shafts have now been found in the churchyard. Three photographs of the shaft, one with serpents and a figure carrying a cross, two with 'Staffordshire knot' designs.

"The Earthquake of December 1896". Collation of reports from all around the district of the "earth-wave". "Dr. McAldowie estimated that about two-thirds of the adult inhabitants of Stoke were roused [in their beds] by the shock." Also reports of atmospheric disturbances, flashes of light like lightning. The Revd. G. T. Ryves was investigating the strange local reports of 'lightning', but he died before his investigations could be completed. A national report on the "luminous phenomena" was published by another researcher in the Meteorological Magazine, and a summary list is given of the observed phenomena noted in the article: at Bridgenorth the "streets seemed to be on fire". A large collation of press notices of the earthquake is given, drawn from further afield.

EXCURSIONS:

Local Club trips included: "Hartington and Arbour Low", the Low being the impressive and ancient stone circle (no mention is made of of local folklore); "Ludchurch and Swythamley" near Leek (no mention of Gawain, then seemingly unknown in connection with the locations - but late local lore had it that 'Robin Hood' once lived in Back Forest); "Eccleshall and Copmere", giving several pages on the church and its history; and "Alderley Edge", with extended discussion of the history of the mining of cobalt and copper there.

LOCAL EVENING MEETINGS:

The meeting at Trentham appears to have turned into 'a cabinet of curiosities', showing a scold's bridle, an Indian peace pipe, the weapon of the saw-fish, an Anglo-Saxon bell, "a numerous collection of natural and abnormal sections and growths of wood", "a remarkable collection of cuckoos' eggs" and a Turkish passport, among other items.

The meeting at Stoke managed to 'one-up' Trentham by showing the complete head of Chartley white bull, together with a variety of the horns of this ancient breed.

List of Associated Societies.

List of Members.

Rules.


North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club, Annual Report and Transactions, 1898:

* Annual report. The club is stable and thrives. One remote evening meeting was held at Market Drayton, out on the far western border of Staffordshire. An evening meeting at Burslem was a success and picked up 20 new members. Note on the death of James Bateman of Biddulph Grange.

* Presidential Address, "The making of Staffordshire". Geology, rainfall, concise account of clay in North Staffordshire and the industries that arose from it...

"Ancient cinerary or sepulchral urns, containing calcined bones and neolithic flint implements, have been from time to time dug up in North Staffordshire and N.W. Derbyshire. Of special interest are the finds at Shelton Iron Furnaces [Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent], almost on the site where in later ages Mr. Wedgwood established his chief factory and his home, now the offices of the Shelton Coal, Steel, and Iron Company, and at Trentham. Both these urns have been described by Mr. Ll. Jewitt in his " Grave Mounds and their Contents," and in his "Life of Josiah Wedgwood." In his opinion they were modelled by female members of the tribe, and were baked in the funeral fire, this opinion being based on delicacy of touch and the actual imprint of finger-marks on the clay."

"The Wareham clays of Dorset were exported as early as 1666, and the natural kaolin of Bovey Tracey in Devonshire in 1730: these were known as "Chester Clays" at Burslem [suggesting the clays were transported to the Potteries by a coastal route and through the port of Chester]."

* Delegate report.

* Section reports.

Zoology: "Our Staffordshire herd of Chartley Wild Cattle have recently increased in number ... 56 altogether." and "The number of Curlews nesting on the moors in the north of our county, I am informed, increased considerably last year".

Botany: Ferns were investigated in "the caves near Stone during the August excursion", presumably the "Lion's Den". An unusually mild Autumn in 1897, and then "the extreme mildness of the recent winter season." Long comparative list of earliest/last flowering dates for 1896 and 1897.

Geology: Local excursions included the Fenton marl pits. Paper on the geology of the new Buxton and Ashbourne railway, with detailed cross-section map.

Meteorology: Rainfall tables from various observers.

Archaeology: Spade-work investigation of a possible barrow mound "in the valley near to Cookshill Mill", but nothing was found. Digest account of the Club's Scottish trip. A Sketching sub-section has been formed and appears to thrive, with a great exhibition of work at the Annual Meeting.

* NOTES ON PRE-NORMAN CARVED STONE RECENTLY FOUND AT LEEK. One page of expert observations on the stone, which shows Christ and a dragon.

* THE JOLIFFE FAMILY AND THEIR HOUSE AT LEEK. With curious ceilings, these shown in two large photographic plates.

* TERRACES AND EARTHWORKS AT STONE. Finds more terraces on what is known as the "Common Plot" than on the O.S. map records, and the wrong name of "Mudley Pits" given by the map-makers. Local documents show "Motley Pits", and to the author this suggests a meaning of "the field where the 'folk-mote' held its meetings". Local experts find no evidence of a military encampment or station there.

The paper also gives a short account of the area's military history and makes an interesting observation on the possible early history of the adjacent Bury Bank hill-fort, Wulphere-cester... "The most feasible theory is that the 'cester' was already in existence, and that its early English distinguishing term was applied to it because Wulphere captured it. [from the British]".

* THE STONE TERRACES AND THEIR POSSIBLE ORIGIN. Brings a deep knowledge of geology into play in discussing the formations. Solicits various expert opinions. Discussion of early antiquarian finds in the area. The author evidently wishes to believe that they were the work of early man. Detailed map and photos.

Club Excursions: reports from Kinver; "Burnt Woods, on the borders of Staffordshire and Shropshire"; Scotland; Morridge and Swainsley; Stone (herons then very uncommon locally, but one seen); Axe Edge and area; Shrewsbury.

Evening meetings: reports.

List of Associated Societies.

List of Members, Rules.

Index to previous volumes, including list of previous illustrations.


More tables of contents coming soon.