Saturday, 20 August 2011

Ancient monument goes to auction

From the Yorkshire Post.

An ancient scheduled monument is going under the hammer in East Yorkshire.

Moot Hill, Driffield, is up for auction on September 7 with a guide price of £25,000 to £30,000 – but is being marketed more for the surrounding land than the remains of the motte and bailey castle it contains.

Archeologists believe the castle, which is now just a large mound, was built in about 1071 – about the same time Skipsea Castle was built for the lords of Holderness.
Excavations by JR Mortimer – the 100th anniversary of whose death is being celebrated in Driffield today – in the 19th century revealed Saxon relics, including fragments of swords, spears and a bronze axe.

Auctioneers Dee, Atkinson and Harrison describe the 2.33 acre site as a “rare opportunity for buyers to purchase a large parcel of amenity land which is suitable for grazing horses, sheep and other livestock”.

Owner James Hood, a retired farmer who bought the land in 1973, disputes archeologists’ theories and claims an excavation in the mid-70s revealed nothing bigger than a cigarette.

He said: “It was supposed to be a burial mound, then they decided it was a motte and bailey castle. You wouldn’t build a castle without foundations whatsoever. In my opinion they just made it up to keep control of it.”

But he says it will make grazing for horses and ponies right in the middle of the town.

The site, close to the Old Highfield Country Club, is, however, protected by an English Heritage listing which states that “this monument is scheduled under the ancient monuments and archaeological areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of National importance.”

On top of the mound or motte there would once have been a timber palisade and a tower. The large embanked enclosure was known as a bailey. Documents from the early 13th century refer to an abandoned bailey at Driffield.

A blue plaque is being officially unveiled at the Masonic Hall on Lockwood Street in Driffield today to commemorate Mortimer and the museum he founded.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rare programme of 1958 match Man Utd never played because of Munich air disaster goes under the hammer

By Daily Mail Reporter

An 'incredibly rare' Manchester United programme is set to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.

The programme is for the game that was due to take place two days after the Munich air disaster.

It was recently unearthed after spending 25 years stashed in an under-stairs cupboard of a collector's house.

An auctioneer called to inspect a pile of matchday programmes was stunned when he saw the one for Man Utd v Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 8, 1958.

The 12-page magazine was printed at about the same time United's plane crashed on take-off in Munich on February 6.

23 people were killed in the tragedy, including eight players from the legendary 'Busby Babes' side.

The Man Utd team had been returning to England after playing a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade on the night of February 5.

There is even a write-up in the Wolverhampton matchday programme of United's 3-3 draw with Red Star that made it into the publication at the last minute.

After the disaster all the programmes that had been printed were ordered to be destroyed - although it is thought a handful were kept by printing staff.

This one was snapped up by the current vendor about 25 years ago. He has kept it ever since under the stairs of his home in Torquay, Devon, along with hundreds of other programmes.

Because the publication is so rare and so poignant it is being tipped to sell for £7,000 at auction this week.

Robert Adcock, of auctioneers Sporting Memorys, said: 'This programme is incredibly rare because only a handful of them made it out of the printing works.

'There is a big market for old football programmes, especially in the Far East, and this one must be the Holy Grail of them. It is the iconic programme that all serious collectors will want to get their hands on.

'Nobody knows how many of them were printed but however many there were they were ordered to be destroyed, but some staff at the printers took the odd one home.'

The 'Busby Babes' had played their European Cup tie in Belgrade and stopped at Munich to refuel.

The pilots attempted to take off twice but aborted and by the time the third attempt was made snow and slush had built up on the runway, leading to the plane crashing.

As well as the eight players, three of the club's staff were killed along with 12 others on the flight.

The short write-up for the Red Star game in the programme congratulated Man Utd for progressing through to the quarter finals of the European Cup.

The line-up for the team that was due to play against Wolves two days later also appeared in the publication.

Of the starting XI, five died in the crash including defender Duncan Edwards and striker Tommy Taylor.

Mr Adcock said: 'Most programme collectors believe the programme for the first game United played after the disaster - an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday - is highly-sought after but it is nowhere near as rare as this one.

'The vendor paid £200 for it 25 years ago so he knew how important and significant it was.

'He kept good care of it over the years, keeping it in a cupboard under the stairs. It is in excellent condition.'

The auction takes place on Thursday.


A very rare program and likely to make or even exceed the estimate. On two occasions, in the past I have auctioned the Belgrade/Man U program. On both occasions it sold for £2,000.