Maurice Barley 1909-91
With the death of Maurice Barley on the 23rd June, 1991, the Trust lost a key and very active member. He was born in Lincoln and went on to study history at university at Reading. An academic, he trained as a teacher, teaching first at Hull University before taking up a post as tutor at Nottingham University. He went on to become first lecturer in 1962, then later professor, in archaeology, combining his interests in history and archaeology, which he continued throughout his later life.
Maurice Barley contributed numerous articles to a number of interest groups, and the Trust were particularly lucky to have the benefit of his considerable expertise and enthusiasm. He contributed extensively to the transactions of the Thoroton Society, his first article appearing in 1948, the Trust’s Bulletin and the Nottingham Civic Society Newsletter.
He was a member of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England and also the Council for British Archaeology. His best-known involvement in the world of archaeology was his work in connection with the York Archaeological Trust from 1972 to 1990. The world-famous Jorvik Centre was opened in 1984 and his memory was honoured when restored mediaeval buildings in the centre of York were named The Barley Hall. The Barley Hall has featured in the Channel 4 television series, Time Team.
In his involvement with the Trust, he was prominent in the listing of a number of buildings, particularly in the Lace Market area of Nottingham. Another of his passions was his concern for the safeguarding of the history and existing farming practices of the village of Laxton, particularly for what he saw as the need for a positive planning initiative for the village.
Maurice Barley will probably be best-remembered for his work on the history of houses, particularly vernacular houses. Amongst his many publications, he wrote “The English Farmhouse and Cottage”. (1961).
A former chairman of the Trust, Maurice Barley remained a member of the Management Committee of the Trust until his death in 1991.
The Maurice Barley Annual Lecture is held in Nottingham in his honour.
Recently (2018) Historic England have started to catalogue the Maurice Barley collection of more than 5000 photographs, which can now be seen on the Historic England website as follows: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/archive/new/maurice-barley-collection/
See also The Thoroton Society Transactions – Volume 95, pages 10-14.