Plumpton

ARDINGLY WALK: on Wednesday May 4 meet members of the Footpath Society at Ardingly Reservoir car park (Map Ref: 335 288) at 10.30am. The walk will include Lynwood Common, Bluebell Railway, Oddynes, Brook House, Ardingly College and the Church. There will be a lunch stop at The Royal Oak. For more details call the walk leader Jo Taylor on 01273 890450 or 07870142108.

ANOTHER WALK: with the Footpath Society takes place on Saturday May 7 starting at 2pm. Meet at the car park Aythons Wood (Map Ref 533 365) for a 5½ mile walk including Harrisons Rocks, Motts Farm, Bullfinches Farm and Mottshill. For more details call the walk leader Diane Ellis on 01825 723716 or 07990710521.

JUMBLE SALE: in aid of the Guides will be at the village hall on Saturday May 7. There will be a tombola, refreshments, good as new items, bric-a-brac, books, toys, clothes and linen. Please take jumble donations to the hall from 9am and do go along at 2pm; there are sure to be lots of bargains.

‘BETTY JOEL 1930’S INTERIOR DESIGN’: is the subject of the Newick & District Decorative and Fine Art Society meeting at the village hall on Tuesday May 10. Born Mary Stewart Lockart in Hong Kong, her father was the Colonial Secretary and one of the foremost authorities in Britain on Chinese affairs. She married David Joel in 1918 and on their return to England they began a manufacturing business although neither had any formal training. The business expanded rapidly and her clients included the Queen Mother, Churchill and Mountbatten. Betty sought to create pieces that were beautiful, practical and finely crafted. The lecturer Clive Stewart Lockart has been a specialist on the BBC Antiques Roadshow for 22 years, so this should be a particularly interesting lecture. Visitors are always welcome, £7 on the door with tea and biscuits afterwards and a chance to talk to the speaker. If you require any further information please contact Marjorie Blunden on 01825 723250.

FLOWER CLUB: meet on Wednesday May 18, at 7.30pm, in the village hall and the demonstrator will be Pat Macdonald. There is always a raffle giving you the chance of winning one of the arrangements created by the demonstrator. Visitors and prospective members (£2.50 admission) are always welcome.

JUMBLE SALE: in aid of the Monday Group takes place at the village hall on Saturday May 21. Please take jumble donations to the hall from 9am and do go along at 2pm; with clothes at 20p each there are sure to be lots of bargains. Along with jumble there will be a tombola, refreshments, good as new items, bric-a-brac, books, toys, clothes and linen.

WALK AGAIN: on Sunday May 22 (4½ miles) through farmland and tracks, with fine views of South Downs and Chanctonbury Ring. There is the possibility of a cream tea in Steyning afterwards. Meet at Fletcher’s Croft Car Park (free) in Vicarage Lane, opposite the Church (Map Ref: 179 114) ready to start walking at 2pm. For more details call the walk leader Bernie Kempton on 01825 722649 or 07791247025.

PLUMPTON ROMAN VILLA: The villa site was first discovered in 1973 when a rectangular pattern of flint and chalk was noticed in one of the Agricultural College fields. Surface artefact collection and geophysics showed it to be the site of a small c.3rd – 4th century Roman villa. Further geophysics in 2014 carried out on behalf of the college revealed the chalk and flint walls of a ‘winged corridor’ villa, prior to an area being excavated over the last two summers revealing the wall foundations of several rooms. During late June and July 2015 excavations were undertaken at the site of the Romano-British villa dating mainly to the 3rd-mid 4th centuries AD which is located in a field to the north of Plumpton College. This work was undertaken by the Sussex School of Archaeology in association with the Sussex Archaeological Society as a research and training excavation. It continued and enlarged investigations begun in the previous year. It was thus possible to fully expose both the centre and the eastern end of the winged building. The exposed wall foundations were made of flints with chalk used in the lowest foundation levels and in all cases the surviving footings were below floor level. The central room of the villa was c. 4.7m wide and c. 6.4m long. In contrast, the eastern most room was slightly wider (c. 5.1m). Although the front (southern) wall of the eastern wing-room is internally apsidal, the outer face of the wall is straight. Much of the large end room to the north of the wing-room contains the remains of what is thought to be a large rectangular corn-drying oven or possibly a channelled hypocaust (heated floor). This feature, which has not yet been fully investigated, occupies the middle and western parts of the room. A probable furnace or stoke-hole was located adjacent to the north wall of this room. The excavations are undertaken as a programme of 5 and 1 day training courses and Monday-Friday volunteering opportunities. This year it is intended that further investigation will take place between Saturday June 18 and Saturday July 30, and those wishing to join in should register an interest with the Sussex School of Archaeology (SSA) at info@sussexarchaeology.co.uk or visit www.sussexarchaeology.org .SSA’s popular and comprehensive 5-day Excavation Training Courses start each Monday from 20th June. They will also run a range of Saturday Excavation Techniques for Beginners ‘taster’ days. Both courses provide an excellent start in field archaeology. Other 1-day courses cover more specialist topics. Volunteering opportunities at Plumpton are available from £5 a day with a maximum charge of £50 for the season. Details of local accommodation/camping are available on request, and they are interested in receiving details of additional local B&B and camping opportunities (please phone 01273 843026 or email info@sussexarchaeology.co.uk).

OPEN GARDENS: in aid of St Peter & St James Hospice takes place on Sunday June 26 from 2pm to 6pm. This year the Support Group are concentrating on the “middle of the village” with all the gardens being within reasonable walking distance of the village hall, where teas will be available. If you wish your garden to be included please contact Gill on 01273 891218 or Terry on 01273 891256.

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