Kate Fielden obituary


Kate Fielden, who has died aged 79 after a brief sickness, was many issues – an archaeologist, an editor, a curator – however to me she appeared virtually a tutelary deity: the guardian spirit of Wiltshire’s historical locations, maintaining watch over a few of Britain’s most sacred landscapes.

I first met Kate in 2013, when she invited me to develop into president of the Stonehenge Alliance, a bunch against harmful street developments within the Stonehenge panorama, and of which she was the main gentle. She was the gentlest, politest, most self-effacing of girls; however she was additionally the steeliest, essentially the most formidable, essentially the most forensic in defence of what she thought wanted defending. As president I used to be solely ever the merest figurehead; it was at all times Kate who was the doughtiest in combating the nice battle.

The oldest of the 5 youngsters of Rosemary (nee Hinchcliffe) and John Fielden, Kate was born in Oldham, however throughout her childhood the household moved to the North Downs in Kent. Her father labored for a tea-importing enterprise, her mom as a faculty secretary. Though a scholarship woman at Walthamstow Corridor in Sevenoaks, on leaving faculty Kate didn’t initially go to school, however joined the Royal Navy, then labored as a instructor at Bayham Street major faculty in Sevenoaks.

Solely in 1965 did she go to Soas in London to check archaeology. Kate’s preliminary focus was the traditional close to east – she spent the late Seventies in Syria – however in the end, after acquiring her doctorate at Oxford, she got here to dedicate herself as an alternative to the archaeology and wildlife of Wiltshire. Settling within the Vale of Pewsey, surrounded by neolithic earthworks and lengthy barrows, tending her backyard, she had discovered her nice mission in life: to assist protect the wonders and beauties of her adopted county.

For 28 years from 1985, Kate labored because the curator and archivist at Bowood Home, the Georgian home in north Wiltshire well-known for its gardens landscaped by Functionality Brown. Concurrently, she was turning into a seasoned activist. She campaigned efficiently towards obtrusive developments close to Avebury; performed a number one function in Rescue: The British Archaeological Belief; and was an award-winning activist for CPRE, the countryside charity.

Her biggest trigger, although, and one to which she devoted the ultimate a long time of her life, was the marketing campaign – nonetheless not gained – towards the federal government’s plans for a street tunnel that, if it goes forward, will desecrate the Stonehenge panorama for ever. Within the phrases of David Jacques, the distinguished archaeologist whose excavations are straight threatened by the event, Kate’s sense of ardour was “fierce however quiet, instilling confidence in others, at all times inspiring folks to attain their finest.” All who knew her will recognise the reality of this encomium.

She is survived by her siblings, Rowena, Rupert, Sandy and Jim.


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