Cheslyn Hay History Society Newsletter – 5th April 2020

As you are aware, we are unable at the moment, to offer our normal events on Tuesdays at the Salem, or our Chat N Char and Speakers Evenings, we would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our members who have been affected by this exceptional situation.

Annual Membership of £5.00 (per household) for the coming year 2020/21 is now due from 1 April 2020.
Following the Covid-19 Lockdown and the recent Government Advice on social distancing, it will not be possible to collect your renewals personally or at any of our usual meetings, in the normal way.
Our Membership Secretary (Rob Allan) managed to see some of you at the last Chat N Char, before the lockdown arrived. However, if he did not collect your membership renewal, please consider one of the alternative methods of renewing.

Please send a cheque (made out to CH&DLHS) or cash to Rob at:

Membership Secretary CH&DLHS,
C/O – 9 Coltsfoot View,
Cheslyn Hay,

If you have already paid Rob or you normally pay via PayPal – you do not need to do anything – as your membership will renew automatically.We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding and your continued support of your Society and look forward to returning to normal operations as soon as this crisis is over

What Happened This Week 50/100 years ago…by Mike Belcher

Cannock Advertiser  2nd April 1970  Members of Cheslyn Hay Salem Coffee Box watched a demonstration of flower arranging by Mrs. D. Wilkes.
2nd April 1970  Cheslyn Hay’s new telephone exchange in Darges Lane which is to replace the existing one and two existing ones is to be opened today.

Cannock Chase Courier  3rd April 1920  The body of Arnold Parbrook (22) a married man living at Wolverhampton Street, Walsall and a Cheslyn Hay man, was found at the bottom of the Great Wyrley Colliery shaft.  His parents are well-known and reside at Station Street.
3rd April 1920  Mr. W. Adamson, the Prospective Labour Candidate for the Cannock Division visited Cheslyn Hay on Monday.
3rd April 1920  Mr. T. Weetman occupied the chair at the Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday evening.  Mr. A. E. Hawkins presented the usual accounts and these were passed as satisfactory.
Vikings by Peter Cadman…. continued

Although Vikings are often depicted wearing helmets with horns, this is a modern perception and without doubt inaccurate.
The Viking helmet was usually constructed from a simple bowl shape with a nose guard attached by rivets. All helmets were dome shaped, and some in addition to the nose guard, had an iron spectacle shape added for additional protection for the face. Occasionally, a helmet had a curtain of chain mail hanging from the back to protect the neck. The helmet weighed anything from 2kg (4.4lbs) upwards and was kept in place by a sturdy chin strap. A Viking warrior highly valued the helmet and it was often passed down from generation to generation until it became so old and the metal so thin that it was no longer used.
Viking Sagas report that helmets were marked so the wearers could be identified in battle to distinguish which side they were fighting for. These markings were most often made by applying a chalky substance to the metal. It should be noted that the wearing of a helmet presented somewhat of a challenge to a Viking warrior. The aim was to cast the structure asunder and continue with their skull- shattering activities!
The majority of Viking helmets consisted of several pieces of iron riveted together, the ‘spagenhelm’ style of helmet. Historians have suggested that many Viking blacksmiths were unable to produce a single piece of metal large enough to create a helmet. The iron that the smiths used was known as ‘bog iron’.
Obviously something was needed to lift the helmet up from the skull, as a powerful blow to the head gear would be transmitted directly to the head of the wearer and little protection would be afforded. It is likely that some sort of strong leather suspension system was used and an absorbent material, such as sheepskin was added.
This would ensure the force of the blow to the wearer was diminished and that sweat and blood was absorbed.
As already suggested Viking helmets were considered a prized possession and therefore expensive to produce. The Viking warrior didn’t always own a helmet and those who did and wore them in battle, were often of some stature in the Viking social structure.
Finally, few Viking-age helmets have survived, most of them are fragmented. The ‘Gjermundbu’ helmet
being the only more-or-less complete Viking helmet in existence. However, ritual helmets with horns and inscriptions have been discovered. These helmets bear no scars or marks indicative of the fact they were never worn in battle or any form of conflict. Historians recently put forward the theory that they were used in ceremonial activity, with the detail inscribed on them relating to ‘wolf skins’. But that’s another story!

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