Monasteries in the Somerset Landscape

Mick Aston VCH ML-15On Thursday 8 October James Bond FSA will give the second Mick Aston Memorial Lecture, titled ‘Monasteries in the Somerset Landscape.’

The Somerset landscape is scattered with traces of its monastic past.  One of Mick Aston’s major research interests was the monastic landscape of Britain and he always looked fondly at the range of sites that make up the monastic landscape of Somerset.   James Bond is a leading landscape archaeologist who worked with Mick Aston for many years.  In this lecture James will describe several Somerset sites ranging from the abbeys of Glastonbury and Muchelney through to Athelney and other less well known sites.

The talk is being given on behalf of The Somerset County History Trust, with all profits going towards the publication of future volumes of the Victoria County History of Somerset. Booking advised with tickets available from the museum – £8, £6 students. Starts at 7.30pm. Call the museum on 01823 255088.

King Alfred’s Somerset Talk on Thursday 22nd October

The Alfred Jewel 1

On Thursday 22 October, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, Tom Mayberry will be giving an illustrated lecture entitled ‘Alfred’s Somerset’, tracing the creation of the Anglo-Saxon county and telling the dramatic story of King Alfred’s retreat to Athelney. On the same occasion,  Head of Museums, Steve Minnitt will be describing the famous Alfred Jewel and its continuing significance more than 1,000 years after it was made.

The event starts at 7.30pm. Booking is advised, with tickets available from or by calling the museum on 01823 255088

Stone Carving Course on Saturday 17th October

Early Medieval Stone Carving Course

The early medieval period is particularly rich in bold carved decorative patterns and designs. This one day stone carving course led by stone carver and sculptor Nick Durnan will give participants the opportunity to carve a simple piece of Anglo Saxon or Romanesque decoration in local limestones based on early medieval carvings and sculpture in Somerset churches and at the Museum of Somerset. The course is inspired by the Museum’s recent acquisition of an Anglo-Saxon carving depicting St Peter that was found at Dowlish Wake.

The course is suitable for complete beginners and those with some experience of stone carving. Stone and tools are provided along with a wide range of drawings and prints of carvings which can be used by the participants as a basis for their carving. Examples of studies of Saxon and Romanesque stone carvings will also available.

Saturday 17th October 2015

10am to 4pm

The Museum of Somerset

Cost £15, including tea and coffee.  All places must be booked.  Ring 01823 255088.

The event is sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Museum of Somerset Collections Inspire South West Artists

Poster-Imprints-webThe Museum of Somerset’s outstanding collections have been providing South West artists with the inspiration behind two upcoming exhibitions in Taunton.

Imprints textile exhibition, Oct to Jan 

Opening on Saturday 10 October, The South West Textile Group’s exhibition is titled ‘Imprints’, with 35 members showing work across a range of techniques including stitching, quilting, felting, weaving, printing, dyeing and mixed media. Some of the museum’s stand-out objects provided inspiration, including the Roman Low Ham mosaic, which depicts a tragic love story, and the Frome Hoard, the second largest collection of Roman coins ever discovered in Britain. 200 million-year-old ammonites, 17th century cauldrons and skillets, and a Zulu shield from the Military Museum also captured the imagination of the textile artists.The ‘Imprints’ exhibition runs until 2 January 2016.

Imprints events

  • The ‘Imprints’ exhibition includes a special ‘Talk and Tea’ event with some of the artists on Friday 13 November (£5, booking advised).
  • For children there will be a museum trail (£1) running during October half term (Saturday 24th to Saturday 31st.)
  • For families there will be free drop-in session from 11-1pm and 2pm-4pm called ‘stick, print and rub’ on October 29.

Museum’s finest objects reimagined by local artists

On behalf of the South West Textile Group, Tricia Hubbard, the co-ordinator for ‘Imprints’ said: “Our thanks go to The Museum of Somerset for providing the inspiration for our latest exhibition.  Our group aims to promote public awareness of textile arts by exhibiting members’ work and this exhibition will also showcase some of the county’s wonderful history in a different way.”

Sam Astill, Exhibitions Curator at The Museum of Somerset said: “Our local history is rich in fascinating stories and beautiful objects and we are delighted that some of the museum’s finest objects have been reimagined by local artists.”

Coming up in the new year – New Dimensions

The second exhibition, titled ‘New Dimensions’, will feature work created by a group of professional artists who have been granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the museum’s extensive stores. In an innovative partnership between Somerset artists and museum curators, rarely seen objects will be brought to life in film, photography, sculpture, textiles and poetry. The ‘New Dimensions’ exhibition runs 16 January to 16 April, 2016 – details to be released.

You can follow the artists’ blog here >

The South West Heritage Trust

The Museum of Somerset is part of The South West Heritage Trust, a new independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. As well as the widely-praised Museum of Somerset and the current redevelopment of the Rural Life Museum, in Glastonbury, the Trust manages state-of-the-art facilities in Taunton and Exeter to care for the extraordinary archive collections of the two counties. The Trust also provides essential advice about the historic environment and manages historic sites. Individuals and businesses are invited to support the new charity through its Founder Member scheme.

Oak Furniture Land tribute to the museum


Museum of Somerset representatives were honoured by Oak Furniture Land as the retailer celebrated the opening of their first store in Taunton. The Mayor of Taunton and the new store manager presented a life size cake replica of the Museum’s famous Frome Hoard Roman coins to the Head of Museums Steve Minnitt (pictured left.)

Oak Furniture Land, the UK’s largest retailer of solid hardwood furniture, commissioned the amazing confectionery creation to celebrate their arrival in town and to show their support for the Museum and to assist in their fundraising.   The store located at Taunton Retail Park, Hankridge Way is 15,000 sq. ft. with a mezzanine floor and has created seven new local jobs.

Jason Manley, Oak Furniture Land Taunton store manager says: “We are looking forward to the Mayor of Taunton officially opening the store, welcoming customers through the door and helping us with the cake presentation. This is our first store in Taunton, and our 10th in the South West.”

Steve Minnitt, Head of Museums for the South West Heritage Trust, says:  “The Museum of Somerset is based in Taunton Castle and as one of the longest standing and most popular attraction in the area we are delighted to welcome Oak Furniture Land to the Taunton community and wish them every success for the future. The museum houses the largest hoard of Roman coins ever discovered in a single pot, in Britain, and a cake replica is a wonderful gesture to highlight one of our most famous exhibits.”

The Mayor of Taunton Councillor Mrs Marcia Hill says:  “This new Oak Furniture Land store is a welcome investment in terms of job creation, and is a good addition to the choice of shops for local residents. I am delighted to be officially opening the store and giving them a warm Taunton welcome.”

The amazing cake replica has been designed by award winning and acclaimed local South West based cake artist Christine Jensen and CakeBomb. Christine is famous for her historically correct cake creations. Visitors to the museum were later able to try a slice of the cake.