Meeting Report Feb 2012

Notes from FONC meeting February 2012.

Apologies from Joe, Lindsay and Howard. Also from Ruth and Andy ( picked up after the meeting).

We are now very close to putting our proposal for the medieval square on the website. Marie and Ellen met Brian Binley MP with David Mackintosh ( leader NBC ) and walked the area. DM responded very positively – he is supportive of a heritage gateway/medieval square and of the use of NBC land to realise the vision. There will need to be a negotiation about timing. BB reported that WNDC had now included the heritage gateway in the documents it is submitting to govt re: the enterprise zone and redevelopment of railway station.

Marie has also met with Churches Conservation Trust (new regional director/ Peter Aiers and Chana J ). The CCT is rethinking its Heritage funding bid and wants to work with us on a bid based around an interpretation centre based outside the church grounds.

CCT offered to use Chana’s time to put together a small grants bid for a community archaeology event during National Archaeology weeks ( 14th -29th July) as a first step to cooperation. Jon/John and Marie to meet with Chana urgently to put together the bid. This may include a dig in school grounds and/or teachers working with a school group/ or a more general big dig. Safeguarding children issues will need to be dealt with. We will need qualified volunteers to assist.

The meeting AGREED that these developments were welcome and that they represented a real change in gear for FONC. We now must consider becoming a membership organisation rather than just a working group so that we can take forward the negotiations and funding bids in partnership with others. It was agreed to use one of the forthcoming events to launch the membership organisation.

Ellen reported that she had secured a VIP endorsement for our website : Alison Weir ( historical novelist) is willing to advertise our group on her website and to be quoted on our website. She is also willing to come to Northampton and do a book signing etc. Ellen/Howard and Lindsay to follow up website actions. Ellen/ Marie and John to work up an event.

John reported progress on the Castle Revels: it is now fixed for Bank Holiday Monday 7th May and the NBC has agreed to allow the use of the Chalk Lane car park. The next steps include ensuring health and safety, litter picking and food and drink (with OBL if possible). A number of volunteer singers/musicians etc ) seem interested but we still need more. It was suggested that we crown a King and Queen of the Castle as part of the event. People should be encouraged to come in costume and we still need some strolling players to tell the tale of Becket’s escape . Volunters to assist please report to John urgently-

Jon reported on his very successful talk at the Museum. He plans another talk at Carnegie Hall ( the Central Library) to keep the momentum up.

Jon also showed a draft leaflet for the historic trail – all agreed that the general style was good but that we needed a long run of leaflets to cover all the upcoming events – a minimum of 5000. John and Jon to negotiate – taking into account the need for publicity for the Castle Revels.

Tom and Jon explained that they were very concerned about the County submissions about the history and archaeology of the whole castle area – as they strongly influenced the way developers behaved in allowing archaeological examination. The standard of work submitted seemed not to be of a high standard. Jon read out a letter to be sent on behalf of FONC to English Heritage, WNDC and NCC to challenge some of the assumptions that have been made.

A copy of the letter should be put on the website. There is also available a report of meeting held by local people trying to prevent the destruction of the castle site before the railway station was built. Jon and Tom have also discovered a reproduction of a painting of the castle which we hope to trace and show on the website.

The 3 D model of the castle for the website should soon be available. Could Sanaa and Jon report on this to our next meeting.

Next Meeting: 30th March 6pm Old Black Lion (open to all!)

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