Celebrating local heritage – De Brus Symposium

de brus symposiumA day of historical talks took place this weekend at the college focusing on the De Brus family and the influence they have had on our area.

The De Brus Symposium has been organised by the De Brus Project and featured a variety of knowledgeable speakers including Dr Ruth Blakely, Dr Alan Young, Peter Appleton, Canon Bryan Sandford, Jean Eccleston and the college’s previous Heritage Officer, Dr M Prior.

The event is part of a long term involvement with the De Brus Society starting three years ago when a group of students took on the challenge of designing a website to promote the area’s forgotten past and the role the medieval De Brus family had in making Teesside and North Yorkshire what it is today.

The De Brus Trail was created which links several locations across the area including Hartlepool, Yarm, Guisborough, Skelton, Danby and Staithes, highlighting local points of interest involved in the ancient story.

The website has proved to be very popular and now gets nearly 2,000 visitors each month. This interest led to the idea of holding a symposium at the college.

Sheila Atherton from the De Brus Society said: “We’ve got such a unique heritage here in Guisborough that we are trying to get the message across to the wider community and further afield. We are trying to use history as a resource and we couldn’t do what we’ve managed so far without the help of Prior Pursglove College.

“The college are doing such a fantastic job in the community that they are giving us the tools that allows us to bring our unique history to life.”

Mike Mackin, Faculty Manager said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the college but also the area as it is a little known fact that the ancestors of one of the most famous stories in the history of Great Britain are right on our doorstep.

Approximately 160 guests came to hear the history of the Debrus family and the links to the famous King Robert the Bruce. It was a fascinating day for all.”