Brigg Heritage Centre

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The history of the Brigg area goes back over several thousand years when early stone age man settled here. This small exhibition in the Angel Hotel gives an insight into the history of the area. There are display boards with a certain amount of information and display cases of some of the local finds. This complements the display in the North Lincolnshire Museum in Scunthorpe, and I would say has the edge.

Pride of place goes to the “Brigg Raft”:, from the late Bronze age, about 800BC and originally discovered in 1888 by workmen digging for clay. The remains were fragile and susceptible to drying out so it was covered over to preserve it. It was eventually lifted in 1974 and kept in storage at the National Maritime Museum in London. It returned to Brigg a couple of months ago and is now the prize exhibit. Measuring up to 40ft long it is made up of five separate strakes (planks) nearly 9ft wide. It is the longest prehistoric boat to be found in Britain. Each of the strakes has a series of cleats carved at intervals along the length. These had holes in them for cross timbers which helped keep the strakes together. Joints were caulked with moss and covered with wooden battens. Stripped willow was used to ‘sew’ the structure together.

There is a short video and a small display cabinet shows the stages in construction as well as a model of what the boat may have looked like. There are two theories as to its use. The first is that it was a flat bottomed boat used on the Ancholme as a ferry. If so, it is estimated that it would have been able to carry either 40 sheep with 10 men, or 30 cows with 20 men. The other suggestion is that it had a rounded hull which was capable of sailing round the coast.

There is a small display of stone and flint tools from sites found around the area. The iron age finds include pottery and pins used to hold clothing together. Roman finds include more pottery, coins, broaches and pins.

Saxon finds include cremation urns, and a lot of jewellery including a comb and a glass bead necklace. Moving on the the Middle Ages, there is pottery, spindle whorls, coins, broaches, buckle and belt plates as well as a small model of “Gainsthorpe Deserted Village”:

There is also information about the Saxon churches , and medieval monasteries around Brigg as many of the parishes had small monastic houses attached to them.

On the first floor in the Angel above the library, there is full disabled access. Entry is free. Opening hours are limited and vary during the year, so check the “website”: before visiting.

Children aren’t forgotten either and there are clothes for them to dress up in and pencils and paper. Visit the Cafe Courtyard for a cup of tea and cake afterwards.

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