Harry James was born in Ruddington in 1922 and spent all his childhood in the village. At the age of 10 he discovered the old churchyard at Flawford on a cycling expedition. After several visits he became fascinated by the impressions left by the Church ruins and the number of ancient gravestones. Determined to find out more about this mysterious place he asked his parents, the school teacher and other people in the village but they knew nothing about the site other than it was referred to as "Flawford Old Church Yard."
Eventually he found out that the church was built there to serve the surrounding villages and was supposed to have been built by the Saxons when Christianity was first being introduced to England. He also found out that it was totally demolished in 1779.
After the war Harry moved away from Ruddington to follow a teaching career but during that time took a keen interest in archaeology. Most of the family holidays were spent visiting castles, ruins and archaeological sites around the country. During this time he never lost his childhood fascination with Flawford and carried on collecting information about the place. In 1956 Harry and his friend Harry Walch surveyed the site which revealed the position of the church.
In 1964 Harry got a job as Headmaster at Elston School near Newark which was quite close to Flawford. Shortly afterwards, Stan Wright, a friend in Elston, had been carrying out drainage work near Ruddington and told Harry that he had seen people digging in a disused church yard near the village and asked if he knew anything about the site. That was all the encouragement Harry needed and he was soon on his way to Flawford to find out what was happening.
The person digging turned out to be Mrs Shrimpton, an amateur archaeologist, with a keen interest in the site. She was also the vicar's wife so she had some influence in getting permission to dig on the site. She invited Harry to join her and a number of others who saw the project through from start to finish in1984.
If you would like to contact Harry please email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mid Bronze Age
Where to find the evidence
The Hermitage Museum