Audit 2 Jan Jun 2008

Great Ayton Community Archaeology Project
Ayton’s Story Project
Second Report to Audit Panel (January to June 2008)
(Revised version 10 September 2008)

1 Summary

Initial project preparation has now been completed. We have an agreed framework of topics relevant to village development, and groups and individuals are working away at topics which interest them. A series of general presentations was held in the spring, with slightly disappointing attendances. Good progress has been made with IT systems, a subject that has proved to be more difficult than at first envisaged. We now have our recording systems in place and have purchased most of the new equipment.

Expenditure has been below budget, and our voluntary time contribution has greatly exceeded requirements.

2 Responses to First Audit Panel

The Audit Panel, Barry Hallam (Chairman), Linda Polley and Shirley Hetherington, met on 30 April 2008. Several actions arose from these conclusions, requiring the group’s attention.

1) Review the project’s digital archiving system. This is dealt with later in this report.
2) Introduce a system for controlling hardware, especially computers. The borrowings register, which had fallen into disuse, has been re-introduced.
3) Check insurance cover for items taken away from the Friends’ Meeting House. The cover is considered adequate. Our insurance through the Council for British Archaeology includes cover for loss or damage to equipment which is taken away from premises. The overall sum insured is £4500 with a limit of £2000 on any one item and an excess of £250 per claim.
4) Consider how to maintain interest. We recognise this as a problem. A high level of interest continues among the original members of the group, and we have welcomed quite a few enthusiastic newcomers, there are many others in the village who have yet to be actively involved. With any voluntary group, it is up to individuals as to how much time and energy they commit to the group.
5) Communications with the wider group. The main routes are through the newsletter, the fourth issue being overdue, and the website at
6) Securely recording data gathered from NYCRO and presenting it in a user friendly manner. This is dealt with later in this report.

3 Project progress

This table is an abbreviated version of that in the original project submission. Where an action was completed in the first six-month report, it is shown in lighter type.

Original HLF timetable Comments on progress

Q1 - Q2 Obtain funding for Ayton’s Story project approved.
A third application to NYCC made in April 2008 was rejected. After discussions with Councillor John Fletcher, a further attempt will be made. If unsuccessful all of the non-HLF funding will come from our own reserves.
100% of funding now secured
Q2 - Q3 Engage professional staff.
Q3 Agree list of topics for research Achieved
Q3 - Q4 Establish digital archiving system for all project information.
In-house system designed and operational by end of Q2 2008. System now operational, but members need further training and experience.
Some replacement equipment still to purchase.
90% achieved by end Q2 2008
Q3 - Q4 Involve as many local people as possible in the project. Achieved
Q3 - Q4 Set up internet-based system for enabling all people involved in the project to access information. Achieved

Q3 - Q4 Run seminars on specific aspects of village development Achieved
Q4 First Audit Report. First report issued March 2008, first Audit Panel meeting 30 April 2008.
Achieved by end Q2 2008
Q1 GACAP AGM Held 9:30am to 9:40am on 20 February.
Q1 Teams and individuals begin research on agreed topics Achieved
Q2 Project information begins to appear on website Increasing number of transcripts of sources posted onto (this website is for members to access source information)
Nothing yet posted on (this is the public access website, which will need some minor redesign)
Q2 Progress meeting Progress meeting delayed until there was more to say on the research topics. Rather than have one big meeting it was decided to have a series of presentations, each covering one or two specific topics. These will take place in Autumn 2008.
Objective modified and postponed
Q2 Second Audit Report Written August 2008.

4 Research topics

The main action is now devolved down to the teams and individuals studying various topics. A progress summary is included as Appendix 1.

5 IT systems

After some delays, we have now put together the equipment and software to meet our requirements for collecting, storing and retrieving information. We now have a master computer with six satellites, all laptops. Laptops can share information through WiFi links, and with common data on at least five computers back-up has ceased to be a problem. Access to the internet has been achieved via a WiFi link to the broadband ISP of one of our members who lives nearby, which save us paying for a separate ISP. Dan O’Sullivan has initiated a new website, using a free ‘wiki’ website, for members to gain easy access to source materials.

A comprehensive digital archiving system was developed during the period, capable of storing and retrieving all current project information and all previous records. All information (text, images, maps, etc) is catalogued and searched through a proprietary digital asset management system. Standard formats for controlling entries to the archive, and for entries themselves, have been introduced.

There is a more comprehensive description of our IT systems in Appendix 2. We are gradually replacing equipment purchased at the start of the original project. We have a new digital camera and voice recorder; still to replace are the projector, scanner and printer (we will change to A3 format).

6 Financial

Income and expenditure

A statement of income and expenditure for this project is shown in Appendix 2. After the first year of operation the project is significantly under budget. Expenditure, including a provision for work done but not yet invoiced, was approximately £15,100 compared with a budget of £19,900. The difference is due to the delayed purchase of some equipment, and to some items included in the original budget not being required. At some stage permission will be sought from the HLF to use this money elsewhere.

The issue of corporation tax on some of the group’s income has still to be resolved.

Efforts are continuing to obtain a further £3,527.00 from North Yorkshire County Council. In the unlikely event of this being successful, it will reduce the group’s contribution to the Ayton’s Story project and release an identical amount for other purposes.

Volunteer time

The HLF budget included 120 hours of volunteer time for a six-month period. We recorded 1056 hours in the period January to June 2008.

7 Looking ahead

The main challenge in the next six months is to maintain the interest of people already involved with the project and to actively involve others who have previously registered an interest. In the autumn we will hold a series of public meetings to report progress on specific topics. At these meetings we will invite additional people to take part.

Ian Pearce 10 September 2008

Appendix 1 - Progress topic-by-topic

Agriculture (no leader at present)
A large body of information from previous projects needs transferring to the new recording system.

Antiquarians (Yvonne Bentley)
Relevant extracts from the classic nineteenth century authors (Graves, Ord and Atkinson) are being transcribed.

Ayton in the context of Cleveland (no leader at present)

Ayton family histories (no leader at present)

Bricks and brickyards (Derek Capes)
Information about brickyard sites in the parish, along with the properties of Ayton clay and bricks, is being gathered.

Education and schools (David Brook)
There have been at least ten schools in Ayton from the first Postgate School to Roseberry. The group has plans to interview ex-pupils and to examine the Friends’ School Archives at the NYCRO.

Family histories (no leader at present)

Three features from early twentieth century Pathé Newsreels have been supplemented by historic film from the Yorkshire Film Archive. This organisation has converted the 1990’s video material on Ayton into digital format.

House History Ken Taylor)
This is a large group, with 27 people having registered an interest in investigating the history or their (or another) house in the village. Most of the recorded research has been conducted in the area of the village called ‘California’ and relates to the houses built in this area to satisfy demand during the mining boom towards the end of the 19th Century.
Specific houses being investigated include:
- The Recess, Newton Road built for the Cleveland Bard, John Wright in 1872 (researched by Ken Taylor)
- Outram Cottages, Guisborough Road (researched by Barbara Gray)
- ‘Birch View’ and the area known as ‘Mount Pleasant’, on and behind Newton Road (researched by Margaret Cumbor)
- ‘Woodville’ in John St (inspected by Cath Small and Ken Taylor with the kind assistance of the owner Eileen Mercer)
Over 20 other houses have been listed with individuals keen to research their history, for example Bank House Farm (Irene MacDonald), 33 Newton Road (Tamzin Little), 47 High Street (Hazel and Dan O’Sullivan).
Reference sources include the register of deeds at NYCRO; the censuses of 1861, 1881 and 1901; various trade directories dated 1834, 1890 and 1929; old OS maps, photographic archives and personal family documents. There has been some research into the deeds of Post Chaise Cottage, off Bridge Street, and Herdholt, Little Ayton Lane.
Assistance has been provided by NYCRO and a lecture was given by Linda Turnbull to the group in Great Ayton followed by a more ‘hands-on’ session at the records office. The intention is to gather the full group together in the autumn for a more extensive exchange of information and transfer onto the project records.

Inns and brewing (Ian Pearce)
Paul Jennings delivered a talk on the history of inns and brewing in Yorkshire, and has offered to provide other assistance to this group. Recent licensing records have been transcribed.

Law and order (John Crocker)
The major initial task has been the transcription of the accounts of the Overseers of the Poor for the village, going back to 1791. Some work has been done to extract and transcribe the items relevant to Ayton in the Quarter Session records from 1605 to the mid-eighteenth century. However the NYCRO has recently been given funding to index the Quarter Session records (our group provided a letter of support for this application), and we will wait to se how the indexing proceeds before doing any more work ourselves.

Leather tanning (Peter Morgan)

Linen and weaving (Dinah Lane)

Mills and milling (Peter Morgan)
Presentation available covering all sites in village.

Motor transport (no leader at present)

Population studies (Alan Bunn and Dave Taylor)
Research into this topic has been held up until the key sources, particularly the census records and parish registers, have been transcribed and placed on the internet. This work is now almost complete, and so the group will shortly be able to start their researches.

Public Health (Dennis Tyerman)
Great Ayton was the first place in the district to have a modern sewage system. The minutes of Parochial Sanitary Committee have been fully transcribed, and relevant extracts from the Stokesley RDC minutes are being recorded. The original map of the 1899 Drainage Scheme has been found at the NYCRO. A history of Ayton doctors from 1800 has been produced.

Railways (Ian Wilson)
The planned visit to the National Railway Museum in York to look for information in their archives had to be postponed until their search engine is fully operational. Copies of the original maps showing the route of the railway have been located at NYCRO and will be copied. Discussions have taken place with the Esk Valley Railway Development Company and Network Rail about filming the route through the parish from the cab.

Recording individuals’ memories (no leader at present)

Religion and church history (no leader at present)
Roger Arkell has almost finished a thesis on All Saints’ Church as part of a 3-year course of church history. His findings will be incorporated into the project.

Retail (no leader at present)
Marwood School’s project on the history of Ayton shops will be incorporated into the project.

River Leven (Peter Morgan)

Sources (Dan O’Sullivan and Alan Bunn)
The principal objective of this group is to provide computerised data on a website which will enable existing sources to be searched and relevant information extracted. Work has been done at the North Yorkshire County Records Office in Northallerton and at individuals’ own homes. Initially effort has been directed to the two most important sources: the census records from 1841 to 1901, containing comprehensive details of everyone in the village, and the parish register from 1749 to 1901, containing baptism, marriage and burial records. About 80% of both these sets of data have been transcribed so far, with completion expected by end September.
Work is also progressing on transcribing other parochial records for transfer to the website. These are the Churchwardens’ Accounts, Constables’ Accounts, Overseers of the Poor Accounts, and church records of the Methodist Church and the Society of Friends. Progress here has been slower, with fewer people involved, but should speed up once the census and parish register transcriptions are completed. These records require transcription from microfilm at NYCRO but trials using digital camera images, which can be taken away for home-working, have proved successful.
David Sills has copied some of the Trade Directory entries for Great Ayton using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. These need checking and the remaining directory entries copied in the same manner.

Sport and leisure (Gary Readman)
A history of cricket in the village is well under way. Mike Newton has written a history of the tennis club.

Tom Kirby newspaper files (Malcolm Race)
For many years Tom Kirby collected cuttings from the Darlington & Stockton Times. As a pilot, the year of 1957 has been part transcribed in full, and partly summarised. It will take a lot of effort to treat other years in the same way.

Utilities (no leader at present)
Information about water supplies available from Public Health topic.

Village Development (Robert de Wardt and David W Taylor)
The group has started by concentrating on the period from the probable Saxon settlement at the end of the Roman occupation to the arrival of the Normans. People were living in the vicinity before the Saxons. There are Mesolithic, Bronze and Iron Age sites around the present village and the name of the River Leven is Celtic in origin. But there is no doubt that the village, as we know it, grew up around the river in the area of Low Green with a much later, and initially separate, settlement around High Green. It was only comparatively recently that there has been a continuous line of buildings between the ‘top end’ and the ‘bottom end’.
Facts about the early development are difficult to find: written sources are very scarce and often produced more than a hundred years after the event, and there is not much known archaeological evidence. The group has done a lot of background reading about the Saxon period and the kingdom of Northumbria, which included the lands around Ayton. Discussions with Sarah Semple of the University of Durham have confirmed that the key sites around Low Green (All Saints’ Church, the Manor and Ayton Hall, in close proximity on higher ground adjacent to the river) are typical of an early Saxon settlement. The fragments of stone crosses associated with All Saints’ Church are of high quality and indicate a prosperous local society in the ninth and tenth centuries.
A series of earth auger borings across Low Green, from the higher ground of Ayton Hall to the river, may provide evidence of early settlement, and should reveal something of the changing course of the river. Depending on the results, a geomagnetic survey might be commissioned.

Wills (Dan O’Sullivan)
Wills, some with accompanying inventories, are an important source of information about how people lived and what they owned. Over 150 Ayton wills have been listed, and five transcribed. Permission has been given by Dan O’Sullivan, Carol Cook and Barry Harrison to transcribe their previous summaries of many of the wills, but no work has yet been done on this.

Appendix 2 - IT systems

Requirements for Ayton’s Story IT

1) To enable individuals working at home to access important sources of information. Good examples of these source materials are the Parish Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1600 onwards, and the complete census records for Ayton from 1851.

2) To provide a forum for individual discussion and cross-contributions between topics. An example of this is the history of the development of housing in the area known as California in the 19th century, a topic being looked into by one of our sub-groups. The Parish Sanitary Committee minutes, transcribed by our Public Health sub-group, contain a great deal of information about the extension of the sewers to cope with the new house building.

3) To allow source material and project reports to be searched for keywords.

4) To provide a secure archive for storing source information and project research. This could be in the form of text documents, images, maps, video, etc. Effective back-up and anti-virus controls would be essential.

5) To facilitate making our findings available to the wider public through the internet.

Equipment and systems

One year into the four-year project we have purchased equipment and established systems to meet these requirements, under the guidance of Mike Newton.

With the new project funding, we have purchased five new laptops (four H-P and one Dell). Our existing two Dell laptops have been updated and continue in use, but our old master PC is now redundant. The seven laptops are arranged as one main computer (GACAP 0) and six satellite (GACAP 1 to 6). Whereas the new computers all operate on Microsoft Vista, the two older computers remain on Microsoft XP. When the computers are brought together, usually at the Friends Meeting House, they can all be linked by WiFi. They can also access the internet via a member’s WiFi broadband connection in a nearby apartment.

The laptops (GACAP 0 to 4) contain all the project information to date. Revised and new material, signed-off from the ‘work-in-progress’ sections of individual topics, is transferred to the main computer on a regular basis. This is done monthly at the Friends’ Meeting House, either by WiFi link from a satellite laptop or by memory stick. When all new or revised material has been inputted to the main computer, all the satellite laptops are automatically updated via the WiFi link. This is done by SyncToy software which looks for differences between existing records on GACAP 1 to 4 and the new records on GACAP 0 and then makes the necessary changes.

Project information is filed in Topics, with Topics grouped into Categories. For example the Community category contains topics such as Population Studies, Education and Schools and Public Health. There are standard formats and procedures for recording information, with particular emphasis on referencing sources and keeping track of revisions. For example each topic folder contains a Document Control Sheet and a Topic Summary, and every entry starts with a standard heading. Project records can be accessed through a digital asset management system called Portfolio, which has good search facilities.

Each of the satellite laptops is dedicated to one of the larger topics (GACAP 1 Village Development, GACAP 2 Sources, GACAP 3 House History, GACAP 4 Population Studies, GACAP 5 Powerpoint Presentations, GACAP 6 Administration). The lead researcher in each of these topic keeps the laptop, and uses it to develop material in a ‘work-in-progress’ section. Smaller topics, such as Education and Schools and Public Health, each have their own memory stick serving the same purpose. These memory sticks are used on individuals own computers.

Since the laptops GACAP 0 to 4 each contain all the project material, there is a good back-up of data. In addition we have a stand-alone hard drive which can be used for backing up data. We have a subscription to Norton Anti-Virus.


So that everyone involved in the project has access to key records, and can make additions or revisions, material can be posted onto the website initiated by Dan O’Sullivan. This is a free website with password-controlled access.

In the longer term, we plan to use our previous project website at for posting material accessible to the general public. Material will only be posted onto this website when it in a final form.

Outstanding actions

There needs to be a period of training and experience before people are fully conversant with the equipment and systems.

We are still in the process of obtaining some replacement equipment, this having been delayed by the problems with the NYCC grant. The equipment concerned is an A3 scanner and printer, and a digital projector.

We need to encourage more people to place information on the website.

We must decide what to do with the website and have it modified accordingly. This will be the way the wider public access our project findings.

Appendix 3 - Income and expenditure - See attached filke

Ayton’s Story Project Income and Expenditure Account (to June 2008)

Income £ Expenditure £ Budget

Capital equipment:
HLF grant first payment 21,850.00 Computer equipment 2 3,831.54
GACAP cash contribution 1 8,275.00 Digital sound recorder 385.36
Digital camera 256.96
Sub-total capital equipment 4,473.86

Operating expenses:
Adviser/tutor Comm Arch Ltd) 4,914.60 4,200.00
Professional experts 3 25.00 600.00
University seminars 4 0 2,100.00
Accommodation 2,340.00 2,880.00
Maps, books, etc 5 304.78 750.00
Subscriptions 6 78.00 85.00
Insurance 249.42 300.00
ISP 7 0 250.00
Website expenses 8 211.36 500.00
Auditors’ expenses 9 0 100.00
Office expenses 129.25 200.00
Inflation 0 150.00
Sub-total operating expenses 8,252.41

Total income 30,125.00 Total expenditure 12,726.27 19,870.00

Bank balance 17,398.73
1 We are still trying to obtain a grant from NYCC. A revised application for £3,527 has been submitted. If successful, this will lower the GACAP contribution to £4,748.
2 Hardware - 5 laptops, optical mice, internet router, WiFi hub. Software - Operating systems etc for new laptops, Norton AV, SyncToy updating, Portfolio record management.
3 Linda Turnbull of NYCRO.
4 Delivered but not yet invoiced by the university.
5 Maps, Northumbria book, Home history starter packs, paper.
6 Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Council for British Archaeology
7 Not now needed since ‘piggy-backing’ on a member’s ISP.
8 Hosting
9 Auditors are not claiming expenses so this will not be spent

Provision for work not yet invoiced

Adviser/tutor (Comm Arch Ltd) 1,400.00
Accommodation 1,000.00
Total provision 2,400.00

14 October 2008


Audit Panel

Barry Hallam (Chairman), Linda Polley, Shirley Hetherington


Barry Hallam reminded members of the background, noted the panel had received the second audit report dated 10 September 2008 and it was agreed this would be used as the basis of the review. They met with Bob de Wardt, Dave Taylor, Barbara Gray, Rob Weston, and David W Taylor to discuss the project in more detail and ensure it was achieving its objectives and complied with the criteria agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Conclusions from discussions

1) All items raised at the first audit had been addressed. Control of equipment and insurance were considered adequate. The project was making good progress.
2) The digital archiving system was demonstrated and backup arrangements explained. The system was operational. It was agreed it was possible to lose data in the time it took from its production on an individual laptop to the time when all were linked together with the main computer (normally monthly). Procedures where the individuals downloaded their new information to a fob and held it as a copy until all computers were brought together could reduce the risk.
3) The plan to establish a digital archiving system is now over 90% complete. Members need further training and experience. Currently Mike Newton transfers the data. A timetable to enable more people to do this work should be considered in order to reduce the dependency on this person.
4) Maintaining interest. A high level continues among the original members and there are some newcomers. It was agreed to discuss the subject at the next audit when participation in the autumn meetings could be measured.
5) The newsletter and enabled communication with the wider group. Measuring the number of times the website was accessed could be a useful indicator. Minor change to site needed.
6) Finances are under control and corporation tax is not seen as a serious issue. There could be a liability on interest from deposits but not profit from the book.
7) It was noted several topics did not have leaders. The list was produced from a brainstorming session to generate areas of potential interest. It would not be productive to engineer interest in all areas but let it evolve as appropriate. Some topics may not be covered but that was not a serious issue.
8) Linda Polley noted “historic directories “could be of use. Bob de Wardt explained that plans were in hand to gather data where there were few or no records, for example taking core samples and geophysical surveys. The latter could cost £600 but would be done within the current budget.

Barry Hallam, Linda Polley, Shirley Hetherington

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