News: October 2018

Graham Hannen reported that the visit earlier in the month to Liverpool to see the Terracotta Army was the last for this year.   He and Sandra are now planning next years visits and annual holiday.  He did indicate that he would be arranging a trip to see the Xmas Spectacular in Thursford.

David Slack announced that there would be a hotpot lunch immediately following next months meeting.

The This is your Life slot this month saw Jim Green in the chair with Keith Towns digging deeply into Jim’s life.

The speaker this month was Elizabeth Morris who is an amazing actress and historic story teller who has held us spellbound on many occasions.  Her topic this time was Edith Pretty (Nee Edith Dempster) who was born in 1883 in Elland, Yorkshire.  The family were very wealthy, her grandfather having founded a successful engineering works.

Her family moved to Manchester where her father and uncle formed a very successful engineering firm, exporting all over the world. As a consequence of the exporting, she and her father travelled widely particularly to Egypt where he took a great interest in archaeology.

In 1907, they moved to Vale Royal, renting a property from Lord Delamere who gave her father permission to excavate and expose the Cistercian Abbey within the grounds.  This work gave Edith a taste for archaeology.

In 1926, she married Colonel Frank Pretty and bought the 400 acre Sutton Ho in that year in Surrey.   The grounds contained a number of large mounds, believed to be ancient burial grounds.   She decided in 1938 to allow professionally directed excavations to begin.   True to folklore, an enormous treasure, later referred to as the now world famous Ship Burial,  was found buried in the mound.

She gave Sutton Ho to the nation in 1939 and the treasure remained hidden until after the war.   She did not live to see it recovered from its wartime hideout as she died in 1942.  The treasure was restored to its former glory and is now on display in the British Museum.      The property is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.