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Newsletter 592 – July 2020

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No. 592                             JULY 2020            Edited by Mary Rawitzer

Reminder: Our Annual General Meeting could not take place in June due, of course, to the corona virus situation and we still do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. Meanwhile, the committee remains in place. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. However, the monthly Newsletters should continue as usual, as well as Jim Nelhams’s regular informative, enjoyable and sometimes mind-stretching updates. These separate news sheets are only being emailed. If you are not getting a copy, please  email Jim, address on back page.

Curing the Plague                                                                        Peter Pickering

Our Prime Minister is known to be keen on Latin. I wonder if he is modelling himself on the emperor Titus (one of the few who have had a good press). Faced with a plague Titus, according to his biographer Suetonius, “did not refrain from any means, human or divine, for restoring health and alleviating sickness, trying every medicine and every kind of sacrifice.”

Whether he was successful or not in these efforts is not recorded.

Council for British Archaeology                                     Sue Willetts

The annual Council of British Archaeology festival normally takes place in July and this year there will be digital events from 11-19 July and, if it proves possible, a further week of events on the ground from 24 October to 1 November 2020. The theme is Climate and Environment.   

Events posted so far include: Two online tours of Roman London (11th July and 15th July); Archaeology from home with Emma Cunliffe using space technology (13th July); The campaigns of Septimius Severus in the far north of Britain (14th July). Their website is

Other Societies’ and Institutions’ Events

This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.  However overleaf is the announcement from Don Cooper of HADAS’s very own offering: the next Finds in Focus course, run by Jacqui Pearce.


The Next Finds in Focus Course                       Don Cooper

Hendon & District Archaeological Society Finds Group

Course Tutor: Jacqui Pearce BA FSA MCIfA

A 22-week course in post-excavation analysis to be held at Avenue House,  17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE on Wednesday evenings, 6.30–8.30, starting on 7th October 2020

This year we will be focusing on recording the finds from an excavation carried out by Birkbeck College in 2001 that has not been published.  We are aiming to identify, record, rebag and re-label all the finds including Pottery, Glass and Clay Pipe to Museum of London standards. Regular presentations and professional tuition will be provided throughout the course. This is an ideal opportunity to gain – or increase – your experience of working with and handling a wide variety of archaeological finds. Teaching sessions on the various types of finds will be complemented by practical handling and recording sessions. Our aims are to introduce the various types of finds and provide hands-on opportunities to become more familiar with post-excavation procedures. 

All are welcome – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have experience of working with archaeological finds!

Course fee: £295 for 22 sessions. To book, contact Don Cooper (; tel. 020 8440 4350) or Jacqui Pearce (; tel. 020 8203 4506). Please make cheques payable to HADAS and send to Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS.



Under the current coronavirus restrictions, I have since April 2020 taken a number of my permitted exercise walks around West Hendon Playing Fields, shown in Figure 1, a convenient 10-minute walk from my flat.  

These very pleasant 62-acre playing fields are just within Barnet Borough. Directly adjacent is the Silver Jubilee Park,which houses Hendon FC at its southern end. This is in Kingsbury which is part of Brent. Both appear to have a significant history which may well be worth investigating further, particularly as the playing fields are due for updating, and some ground works under a new Barnet Council scheme were approved early in 2020 following public consultation.

The Borough boundary between Barnet and Brent isalso a long-standing field boundary, marked by the substantial north-south hedge line that divides the playing fields from the park.  As summarised below, the site does have some history. To the south it includes Cool Oak Lane, referred to as Cold Duck Lane on some early maps, which divides the playing fields from the main area of the Welsh Harp (Brent) Reservoir. The reservoir was originally just a feeder from the River Brent at Kingsbury dug in 1809/10 when the Grand Junction Canal Co. needed water for their canal at Lower Place, Willesden.


In 1833 the Regent’s Canal Company decided to build the reservoir to supply the Paddington Canal at Harlesden, which opened in 1838. They did this by building a dam at Kingsbury to form the reservoir in 1835-39 using the existing feeder. 

Before this the area had been grazing land either side of the Silk Stream and the River Brent. The Silver Jubilee Park is now bordered on the south by the Brent Reservoir nature reserve. For a full history and description, see

Late  Bronze Age ‘cinerary urns of the  Ashford type’  were found on the Kingsbury side of the Welsh Harp/Brent Reservoir around 1930 at grid reference NGR TQ218872 and, during lowering of the water level and strengthening of the banks of the reservoir in 1974, members of the Wembley Historical Society found a copper as of Constantius II who reigned from AD337-361. (The as is a coin worth a quarter sestertius).

The playing fields and the neighbouring Silver Jubilee Park run roughly parallel with the Edgware Road, bounded in the north by the east-west Kingsbury Road, close to where it joins the Edgware Road in Colindale.  It is here that our friends the Romans enter the scene – much of the western border of Hendon being, since the time of the Medieval Parish of Hendon, formed by the line of the Roman Road from London to Verulamium and the Midlands, later named Watling Street in Saxon times and today called the Edgware Road, except in the area of West Hendon with part of the Welsh Harp and the Cool Oak area where there is a pronounced ‘bulge’ to the west away from the line of the road.

Sherds of Roman pottery were apparently found at the site of the former Hendon Isolation Hospital in Goldsmith Avenue, south of the Kingsbury Road, which is close to the Edgware Road and runs down towards Fryent Fields and the north end of the West Hendon Playing Fields – at grid reference TQ 213884; HER ref 081917. They were actually reported by Ian Robertson of the Passmore Edwards Museum and a HADAS member who directed the HADAS excavation at Church Farm.

The former isolation hospital, latterly a geriatric hospital by 1970, was built in 1929 , expanded by 1940, but demolished in 1984 and replaced by housing; see

In Domesday book the whole Parish of Hendon was in the Hundred of Gore, held by Westminster Abbey, the boundaries seemingly largely fixed by the late 10th century.  Hugh Petrie, in Hendon & Golders Green Past, and the Victoria County History (VCH) volume on Middlesex record that from 1442 All Souls College, Oxford, owned considerable amounts of land in Hendon, Edgware and Kingsbury, in scattered parcels giving a total of 224acres.

West Hendon Playing Fields were originally part of an estate given to the Knights Templar in 1243, passing to St Pauls Cathedral in 1544, the 110 acre estate being leased to the Duke of Chandos and his descendants in the 18th Century. In 1872 it was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and most of it was sold to Hendon U.D.C in 1919 for use as the West Hendon Playing Fields and park.

On the 1896 one-inch OS Map the general area south of Kingsbury Road is marked as Townsend; today the western edge of the Silver Jubilee playing fields is bounded by Townsend Lane. Open country still stretched south from West Hendon to Cricklewood railway sidings in 1914, while the badly drained ground on the Kingsbury border never attracted housing.  Latterly known as Reets Farm, producing hay for the London market by 1894, the playing fields area became Kingsbury Lane Playing Fields after the sale to Hendon Council in 1919. Since 1924 it has been called West Hendon Playing Fields. As noted in the  Middlesex VCH, in 1932 Hendon Borough Council owned 793½ acres of open spaces in Hendon and Edgware including Moat Mount open space (67 a.), Arrandene Park (57 a.),


Watling Park (46 a.), Montrose Playing Fields (30 a.), Copthall Park (146 a.), West Hendon Playing Fields (62 a.), Woodfield Park (40 a.) and Clitterhouse Playing Fields (50 a.).

Shown on the 1873 6-inch Ordnance Survey map under its earlier name of Rise Farm,  Reets farm is shown on the 6-inch OS map for 1897 sitting just below the sloping 200ft contour line.               By 1935-6 when the map was revised on the eve of sale of the land to Wembley U.D.C as Silver Jubilee Park, it had been demolished and the site cleared.

The Reets Farmhouse and outbuildings still survived amongst trees in 1929, with post-1912 allotment gardens between it and the Kingsbury Road in the area near the top of what is now the Silver Jubilee Park playing fields, and its former farmland area was occupied by the park, West Hendon Playing Fields, a nursery and  allotment gardens.  See

The farm is commemorated by a street name, Reets Farm Close, near Goldsmith Avenue and the junction of Kingsbury Road and Edgware Road. 

The allotment gardens, with Reets Farm, its extensive outbuildings to the east of the farmhouse, and the extensive newly built Isolation Hospital can be seen in aerial photographs taken in 1929. see and

Fig.2 View of site of Reets Farm, up-slope towards Kingsbury Road

For a view of Reets Farm see image at Barnet archives web page.

Today the West Hendon Playing Fields remain a public park with several football pitches forming a large grassed area and with scattered mature trees.


There are two quite marked hedge lines – one of them running north-south dividing West Hendon Playing Fields from Silver Jubilee Park and forming the Borough boundary, the other an east-west ditch, bank and tree line at the northern end which may be of some age, dividing the site in two. Both are clearly shown on the Ordnance Survey first edition 6-inch map of 1873 with no other hedge lines at that point crossing what is now the park. The eastern boundary of what is now the playing fields was formed by the Edgware Road on the 1873 map.

Rocque’s 1756 map of Middlesex appears to show the same hedge lines/boundaries; at this time the area was held by St Paul’s Cathedral and All Souls College.

In the West Hendon fields there is a distinct rectangular area at the NW corner, bounded by the above mentioned hedge lines. At the northern end of this field the dry weather of May 2020 revealed a very distinct east-west parch mark showing as a slightly raised bank on the ground. It appears to be a former roadway of unclear date that runs from a northern pedestrian entrance to the park and terminates at the north-south hedge line.

Fig. 3 View north, with east-west hedge line meeting north-south borough boundary,             with site of Reets Farm visible on slope through gap in hedge

There is a pleasant area of woodland at the southern and eastern edges of the playing fields.  There are also two tennis courts, several football pitches, a children’s playground, a private bowls club, and a car park.


The Eastern boundary of the playing fields is formed by the northern arm of the Brent Reservoir up to the Edgware Road where it narrows to become the course of the Silk Stream. 

The reservoir was enlarged between 1851 and 1853, though part of the northern arm reaching north-east of the Edgware Road was reclaimed when the stream under the road was culverted in 1921.

The area at TQ21487 (Cool Oak Lane) was the site of landfill – recorded in data from the British Geological Survey supplied to the Environment Agency. It is not known whether this site was made or worked land, and the date of the infill is unknown, although all finds were of 19th/20th century date, suggesting it was part of this work.                .

During the London Blitz September 1940-June 1941, the area of the playing fields was hit by at least three high explosive bombs near Fryent Grove and Goldsmith Avenue, and on the western side there is a heavily disturbed area of ground with one or more possible bomb craters  still visible on the ground, with at least one more hitting the Silver Jubilee Playing Fields– see

Former Royal Air Force Museum colleague Christopher Herbert suggests that the bombs that hit the playing fields were intended for the AA battery located in the adjacent Silver Jubilee Park to defend the nearby LMS railway marshalling yards at Cricklewood.

The first bombs hit the outskirts of the Hendon area on 5 September 1940, with the nearby Hendon airfield and its environs being bombed on 24-25 September and the nights of 7-8 October and 8 November, with sporadic raids on the area until the Spring of 1941.

This latest version of the report includes some changes made after the public consultation with various conservation bodies. It is intended to install two artificial turf pitches at the southern end of the site which may impact on any surviving archaeological features such as earlier field boundaries.

The planned changes to the park can be viewed at: report-and-draft-final-master-plan


In neighbouring Kingsbury by 1965 there were 262 acres of open space, most of which, having also been part of the medieval Hundred of Gore, had also been acquired from All Souls College, Oxford. The college sold the land forming Silver Jubilee Park (36 acres) to Wembley U.D.C. in 1936 and Fryent open space (160 acres) to Middlesex County Council in 1938. Roe Green Park (20 acres) had been acquired in 1934.

For a description of the hourglass-shaped Silver Jubilee Park see: Grid ref TQ209881. It is bounded to the north by the Kingsbury Road, to the west by the hedge line separating it from the West Hendon Playing Fields, and to the East by Townsend Lane, which, as with the northern part of the park, rises steeply towards its junction with the Kingsbury Road, the boundary here being a modern hedge line.


Rather more recent is the site of the Second World War heavy anti-aircraft battery located in the park, recorded in the 1990s CBA Defence of Britain survey; heavy anti-aircraft battery ZW14 at Silver Jubilee Park, West Hendon, was listed as armed in 1940-2. It was manned by 370 Battery of the 117th Royal Artillery Regiment in 1943. In 1946 it was retained as a Nucleus Force Headquarters Battery. 

The earliest date upon which the site is listed as present within the sources is Feb 1940 and the latest 15 Jan 1946. The site was unarmed/manning vacant in 1940; Regiment 71, Battery 325 on 30 July 1942; Regiment 137 (mixed), Battery 476 on 9 Dec 1943. NGR ref TQ211881.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors: 

Don Cooper, Peter Pickering, Andy Simpson and Sue Willetts 

Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman  Don Cooper   59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350)        e-mail:

Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts EN5 5HS

(020 8449 7076)        e-mail:

Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman   50, Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)           e-mail:

Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning   Flat 22, Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,

 East Barnet, EN4 8FH

(020 8440 8421)         e-mail:

Web site:



Newsletter 591 – June 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
No. 591                                   JUNE 2020                    Edited by Melvyn Dresner

The Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 June 2020 will not now take place due to the situation created by the coronavirus. At the present time we do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. The monthly Newsletters should continue as usual. Keep well and safe until we meet again.

Layers of London                                                                         Melvyn Dresner

Adam Corsini, of the Layers of London project gave a talk for HADAS on 10th March 2020, provided members with a practical session on how members can contribute and use this great resource. This website was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and brings together an amazing set of historic maps, and databases useful to anyone interested in the archaeology and history of London. You can add to data by contributing existing projects or can initiate your own. You can explore the map or the collections. The website allows users to overlay maps and data from different sources and periods, varying the order and fade. Datasets include the Archaeology of Greater London; London’s Archaeological Investigations 1972 – 2017 and Historic Environment Record.

Excavations at Clitterhouse Farm, Cricklewood by HADAS in 2019 (Part 8, Investigations beneath the café area in the north corner of the farm complex)                                                       Bill Bass and the Fieldwork Team

Clitterhouse Farm, Claremont Road, Cricklewood, NW2 1PH. Site code: CTH16, NGR: TQ 2368 8684, SMR: 081929, Site investigated August 2019. For background on this project please see HADAS Newsletters 539 (Feb 2016), 542 (May 2016), 543 (June 2016), 544 (July 2016), 556 (July 2017), 557 (Aug 2017) and 579 (June 2019).

Please also see other maps in HADAS Newsletters 542, 543 and 556 etc.



Clitterhouse Farm, a moated manor site, has a long documentary history. Archaeological research work is being carried out to try and establish the Saxon/medieval and later layout of the site and the surrounding landscape use. Following on from previous the work here, the Clitterhouse Farm Project was demolishing their temporary café to be replaced with a purpose-built structure and building of new studio spaces in the northern range of the farm. HADAS was asked to carry-out initial archaeological investigations after the café was demolished. The temporary café was built between a gap in the northern range and the ‘Farm Cottage’, although the farm buildings have been rearranged over the years this is thought to be the original farm entrance which led into the moated area from the south-west, at least from the 17th century and probably earlier as seen on various maps, also see Newsletter 543 (June 2016). The 2019 dig began with site-watching of the removal of the substantial concrete slab which covered the area approximately 6m (E-W) x 5.60m (N-S), this was carried out by the groundwork contractor’s machine.


Some 15 members took part over the length of the dig, in sometimes very hot conditions, in fact the hottest week of the year. With the concrete removed the excavation started, beneath the concrete a sandy/gravel and cobbled surface began to emerge. This mixed layer (001) consisted of a sandy-silt with small to medium size pebbles and occasional larger ones, impressed into this were random large granite sett cobbles, with brick and tile scatters, some of this material was patchy, others were better sorted. The ordnance-level (OD) of this surface was 57.38m. Below (001) was (002) another patchy layer but with a better sorted pebble/cobble consistency in silty clay, about 0.08 – 0.14m in depth. Beneath this context a yellow-orange sandy layer (005) was uncovered which was relatively clean with occasional pebbles, this covered most of the excavation to a depth of 0.10 – 0.20m.

Not all features are shown for clarity.

Features seen beneath these upper layers but embedded in (005) include a rectangular shaped collection of large cobbles (granite setts?) surrounding two flagstones (context 003) arranged in rectangular shape 1.00m x 1.50m it was one course deep. This abutted the west end of the northern range wall. The unbonded cobbles and flagstones were reused,


they had slots and notches cut into them, but we are not sure about their use. Elsewhere on site we noticed concrete ‘door sills’, our cobble feature seems to have replaced one of these  (had the previous sill been broken?), the truncated remains of which was could be seen in the wall, perhaps a more heavy-duty hard-standing of some kind was needed for hoisting materials to the loft hatch above.

Another feature excavated also surrounded by the sandy layer (005) and possible pebble surface layers was an east – west running brick and tile structure (012) on the east of the excavated area. The end-on bricks lined some flat tiles, this may have been the remains of a brick and tile drain, which was truncated by electric cable on the west side and by a modern sewer pipe through the central area. It is difficult to interpret due to the fragmentary remains, but we have seen a similar drain feature on a previous dig here but that was more substantial.

Two modern sewer drains crossed the site leading from a man-hole cover, it was decided to partially excavate the east-west branch of one of these to confirm this and to give an idea of the depth and nature of the section and deposits. The 0.50m wide cut was dug and the pipe was indeed found at 56.72 OD, adjacent to the north side were the remains of an earlier brick and tile drain. The sections at approximately 0.60m deep showed bands of smaller pebbles in a clay/sandy matrix.

On the western side of the excavated area adjacent to the ‘Farm Cottage’ we had a machine cut a slot of 4 x 1m, again to check the stratigraphy. Once again layers of pebbles, clay and sand sat on top of the natural London Clay at approximately 56.53 OD, Mike Hacker (pers comm.) comments – “I probed to c1.80m below the level of the cobbles. It was consistently moist, stiff, mid reddish-brown silty clay without inclusions. This is consistent with it being London Clay”.

Along the walls of both ‘Farm Cottage’ and the opposite northern range building, we noticed the construction ‘cuts’ (004) for the foundations of the structures. These were dug in various places to reveal a three-brick course ‘stepped’ foundation sitting on some gravel packing and the natural clay, this is a similar arrangement to what was found in the 2015 dig. A trench was dug immediately south of the cobble and flagstone hard-standing which gave us sections below this structure, a section in southern area of the site and a section of the northern range building foundation. Initially this was done by hand and later extended by machine. The sections showed varying bands, deposits and layers approximately 0.60m deep of gravel, pebbles, occasional lager cobbles, brick and tile deposits with bands of silty clay of various colours, all given one context (017). A silty black clay deposit approximately 0.10m thick runs through the central area of the section sloping from east to west. The section appears to show a continuous depositing action of dumping, tip-lines, levelling, infilling and repairing of the farm entranceway down to the natural clay level. We also reached the ground water-table level here as seen in the ‘moat’ trench in 2015.

Finds & Dating,

not all contexts are listed here is a selection.

Context (001)

Pottery: This upper layer beneath the concrete slab contained a variety of pottery, mostly smaller sherds including Refined Whiteware, REFW – (china), Transfer Printed Wares TPW, these have a general date of between 1800-1900. 8 English Porcelain sherds ENPO, have a wider date range of 1745-1900. There were 76 sherds of English Stonewares ENGS 1700-1900, mostly jars including a small ink jar, some of the sherds could be refitted, so some of the vessels were intact when deposited. Some samples of Post-medieval Redwares PMR 1580-1900 were found – mostly identified as flower pot.

Building Material: A selection of brick (whole or partial) were recorded, some glazed red tile, fragments of paving slab, peg and slate roof tile, mortar, sewer-pipe and other modern materials, were processed.


Stone: A possible worked flint interpreted as a blade was recorded as Small Find [005].

Animal bone: Four rib fragments showed evidence of gnawing and cut marks, some oyster shell fragments.

Metal/glass: An assortment of modern window and vessel glass fragments were recovered together with a variety of metal objects including nails, copper tubing, window latches and others.

Context (004) wall foundation cuts.

Pottery: 18 sherds of REFW including samples of dishes, cups and saucers, 4 sherds of a Yellow-ware plate 1820-1900 and minor amounts of ENPO, PMR and a sherd of Tin-glazed Ware C TGWC 1630-1846.

Other finds included 51 sherds of roof tile, some brick and a floor tile. An unusual find was a ‘lead weight’ domed in shaped, 118mm dia x 9mm depth, possibly a ‘greengrocer’s weight’ Small Find [001].

Context (005) sandy layer.

Pottery: Sherds of YELL, ENPO, TPW4 and REFW with part of a figurine foot (? lion). A ceramic bead, 11mm dia [small find 002]. 10 fragments of bottle glass including neck and rim sherds. Small samples of brick and slate.

Context (006) modern drain-pipe fill.

Context (012) brick and tile ‘drain’ feature

A complete brick sample was retained from this feature: possibly hand-made with no frog, it had possible organic tempering was red-purple in colour, possibly dating to 17th– 18th C. The drain and brick may date to before the current buildings and is similar to a drain seen in the 2015 excavations at the west end of the northern range.

Context (013) and (014)

Both these contexts were associated with the tile ‘drain’ (012) above, both, a brown sandy clay with pebbles. They contained similar pottery finds TPW, ENGS, REFW and SWSG Salt Glazed Stone Ware 1720-1780.

Of the Transfer Printed Wares a foot rim of a bowl had a Chinese style building design with the partial lettering ‘C&H HACKWOOD’. There were a number of potters of that name in operation in the potteries, of one these Hackwoods – “In 1856, the works passed into the hands of Cockson & Harding, who manufactured the same kind of goods, using the mark C & H, LATE HACKWOOD impressed on the bottom. Cockson retired in 1862(, accessed 17/3/20).

Fragments of a late 18th century ‘Mallet’ bottle were recorded as well as small amounts of peg/roof tile, nails and animal bone.

Context (017)

This mixture of contexts (see above) was deposited above the natural clay.

Pottery: Small sherd examples of PMR, ENGS – bottle, TPW- plate and saucer, CREA Creamware 1740-1830 plate and bowl and REFW – bowls.

Building materials: consisted of fragments of brick, pantile (roof), a substantial but incomplete floor tile and some drain pipe. An unusual find here was 2 sherds of co-joining Delft, blue on white decorated Wall Tile, with one corner design of part circle with the feet of two male figures, c 18th century, Small Find [006]. An amount of corroded metal ‘sheeting’ was found together with a hefty iron spike and nails.

Animal bone: fragments of rib, horn and a cattle-pubis were recorded together with some oyster-shell.


Other finds included minor amounts of bottle and mirror glass, and parts of shoe leather.


The earliest features would appear to be the remains of the two brick and tile ‘drains’. The first, just seen in the north section of the modern drain cut (007), the fragmentary remains of this feature was truncated and disturbed by its more modern replacement. The second (012) excavated in plan and at a higher level was again disturbed, a complete brick sample (described above) indicates this ‘drain’ was constructed of reused materials because the brick was worn and had 17th– 18th  century features, but the layers it was dug into were of mainly 19th century in date. It’s possible the brick may be part of the demolition rubble from the nearby ‘wheat barn’ excavated in 2016 (HADAS Newsletter 556). As with a similar drain excavated elsewhere in 2015 this may be the remnants of the drainage system of the farm complex before “in the late 19th to early 20th century the main farm building is rebuilt in brick into a dairy farm.”

The other features were recorded – the granite cobble sett hard-standing, and the building foundations are described above. But for the most part much of the area was made-up of bands of pebble surfaces, cobbles, sand/clay deposits and dumps of brick and tile. All the layers had a mixture of finds dating to c1700-1900 and were all disturbed. These layers were excavated to a depth of 80cm and were sitting on top of the natural clay. Local geologist Mike Hacker commented in 2016 and it’s worth repeating “The well-rounded flint pebbles in the cobbled surface look as if they may well have come from the nearby deposits of Dollis Hill Gravel. One of the characteristics of DHG is that it is a poorly sorted mix of clay, silt, sand and pebbles.  This makes it ideal for use as ‘hogging’ for roads and paths”. 

Most of the finds were 18th – 20th century in nature (and later) with no sign of the earlier phases of the farm. It appears much of the area has been disturbed and truncated as part of the re-ordering history of the working farm and its buildings.


Paulette Singer & The Clitterhouse Farm Project; HADAS Fieldwork Team (including site supervisors Andy Simpson, Melvyn Dresner and Roger Chapman); HADAS Post-Excavation Team; Gerald Gold & team, groundwork contractors; Mo – Tool Hire business owner and employees; and Mike Hacker – geologist.

HADAS Newsletter reports on Clitterhouse Farm investigations.

539: Part 1 – Introduction and Timeline.

542: Part 2 – The Excavations (2015).

543: Part 3 – Site Phasing and other things.

544: Part 4 – Report on the Animal Bone and Marine Molluscs and some small finds photos.

556: Part 5 – Investigations of the north corner of the farm complex (2016).

557: Part 6 – More information on a find (Char Dish) from Clitterhouse Farm.

579: Part 7 – History of Clitterhouse Farm, Hendon (lecture report).

During the dig, HADAS made a record of the standing buildings, a report on these findings will be published in a future newsletter.



What did you do in lockdown – another option?                         Don Cooper

For some time past, there has been a small hole in our lawn at the back of our house. Every time I fill it in the local fox (or some other animal) digs it out again. I wanted to know why the animal wanted to keep digging there and nowhere else in the garden.

So when that lovely spell of fine weather came along I determined to find out what was happening underground and being in lockdown and having little else to do I decided to do the project as a proper archaeological dig.

On Tuesday 14th April 2020 I marked out a 1m by 1m trench at TQ25866, 96442. I put down a tarpaulin for the spoil heap, oriented the trench north south, got the tools out including my trusty trowel and made a start de-turfing. By the end of the day I had made a good start on the trench as can be seen from the photo below.

On the next day I started bright and early at 10.30am. Digging down 20cm and turned up lots of finds of pottery, building material, clay pipe, window glass and animal bone. One totally surprising find was a hen’s egg with a green stamp! The egg was in a small hollow surrounded by leaves and twigs. I took the photo and left it on the spoil heap; it was gone next morning. How it got there and who deposited it, I haven’t the faintest idea. Most eggs as far as I know are stamped in red. It might explain why an animal kept digging out the hole.

By the end of day 2, I was down about 30cm all round. The southern section was showing a lot of building material in the form of brick, tile and sewer pipe.

On day 3, as I continued down, there were few finds and at just over 40cm down I came to the iniquitous London clay. I then dug a small sondage to be sure that I had reached natural.

On day 4, I decided to extend by 0.5m south to explore the building material tumble. I measured out the extension and deturfed. This was easy digging as there was a good deal of building rubble. Again, I dug down until I reached the London clay, which appears to be the natural.

On day 5, I backfilled the trench and restored the turf.


I spent day 6 washing the finds and recording them on an Excel spreadsheet.  I disposed of much of the finds having recorded them. I photographed samples see below.

In summary, there were 101 sherds of pottery (many of them very small) weighting 449 grams. They consisted of post medieval redware (PMR) mostly flowerpot, refined earthenware (REFW), transfer-printed ware (TPW), and English stoneware (ENGS).

There were four sherds of clay pipe stems.

There were 63 sherds of glass mostly window glass (although there were 3 different thicknesses), but some bottle glass both green and white, as well as a sherd of a lovely scalloped bowl. The glass weighted 210 grams. There was a substantial amount of brick and tile.

There were a couple of animal bones and a small number of rusty nails.

My speculative conclusion is after looking at the deeds of the house, which was built in 1888, I think the builder’s rubble and hence the artefacts date from that period. I did not find anything earlier or anything that could not fit into that timescale.


The dig was a splendid experience. The weather was perfect, the ground reasonably soft after so much rain. I was outdoors and got lots of exercise and who cares if the lawn does not look great! I would recommend it to anyone!!

Æthelflæd, the Lady of the Mercians                                           Dudley Miles

June marks the anniversary of Æthelflæd’s death; Dudley Miles tell her story 1150 years since her birth

Æthelflæd, who was the eldest child of King Alfred the Great of Wessex and his Mercian wife, Ealhswith, was born around 870, just before the Viking Great Heathen Army invaded England. By 878 they had conquered Northumbria, East Anglia and the eastern half of Mercia, but in that year Alfred won a crucial victory at the Battle of Edington.  Ceolwulf, the last king of Mercia, is not recorded after 879, and he was succeeded as ruler by Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians. In the mid-880s he submitted to Alfred’s overlordship, uniting those Anglo-Saxons who were not under Viking rule. Alfred sealed the alliance by marrying Æthelflæd to Æthelred by 887. Æthelred was much older than Æthelflæd, and they had one known child, a daughter called Ælfwynn. Alfred’s eldest grandson, Æthelstan, who was to be the first king of England, was also brought up at the Mercian court.

Æthelred played an important role in defeating renewed Viking attacks in the 890s, together with Æthelflӕd’s brother, Edward the Elder, who became king on Alfred’s death in 899. Æthelred’s health probably declined sometime in the next decade, and Æthelflæd may have become de facto ruler of Mercia by 902. She re-founded Chester as a burh (fortified settlement) and probably enhanced its defences in 907, assisting the town to defeat a Viking attack. The archaeologist Simon Ward, who excavated an Anglo-Saxon site in the city, sees the later prosperity of the city as owing much to the planning of Æthelflӕd and Æthelred.

In 909 Edward sent a Wessex and Mercian force to raid the northern Danelaw. It seized the remains of the important royal Northumbrian saint, Oswald, from Bardney Abbey in Lincolnshire and brought them to St Peter’s Minster in Gloucester, which was renamed in his honour. Mercia had a long tradition of venerating royal saints, and this was enthusiastically supported by Æthelred and Æthelflæd. Anglo-Saxon rulers did not have capital cities, but the town became the main seat of their power and a centre of learning, at a time when western Mercia was the last stronghold of traditional Anglo-Saxon standards of scholarship.


The next year the northern Vikings retaliated for the attack on their territory with a raid on Mercia, but on their way back an English army caught them and inflicted a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tettenhall, which put an end to the threat from the northern Danelaw and opened the way for the recovery of the Danish Midlands and East Anglia over the next decade.

Æthelred died in 911, and Æthelflæd became sole ruler as Lady of the Mercians, although she had to give up the Mercian towns of London and Oxford to her brother. The accession of a female ruler was described by the historian Ian Walker as “one of the most unique events in early medieval history”. This would not have been possible in Wessex, where the status of women was low, but in Mercia it was much higher.

Edward and Æthelflӕd then embarked on the conquest of the southern Danelaw. Alfred had built a network of burhs (fortified boroughs) to strengthen the defences of Wessex, and his son and daughter constructed a string of new burhs to consolidate their defences and provide bases for attacks on the Vikings. She built forts at towns such as Bridgnorth and Tamworth, and repaired the Iron Age Eddisbury hillfort. Other towns she fortified included Stafford, Warwick, Chirbury and Runcorn. In 914, a Mercian army repelled a Viking invasion from Brittany.

In 917 three invasions from the Danelaw were defeated, and Æthelflӕd sent an army to capture Derby, which was the first of the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw to fall. Her biographer Tim Clarkson, who describes her as “renowned as a competent war-leader”, regards this as her greatest triumph. However, she lost “four of her thegns who were dear to her”. At the end of the year the East Anglian Danes submitted to Edward, and in early 918 Leicester submitted to Æthelflӕd without a fight. The leading men of Danish ruled York offered to pledge their loyalty to her, probably for protection against Norse (Norwegian) raiders from Ireland, but she died on 12 June 918 before she could take up the offer. No such offer is known to have been made to Edward.

Statue in Tamworth of Æthelflæd and her nephew Æthelstan, erected in 1913 to commemorate the millennium of her fortification of the town.

Æthelflӕd was succeeded as Lady of the Mercians by her daughter Ælfwynn, but in December 918 Edward deposed her and brought Mercia under his direct control. Æthelflӕd was buried next to her husband in St Oswald’s Minster in Gloucester.

The West Saxon version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ignores Æthelflӕd’s achievements and just describes her as King Edward’s sister, probably for fear of encouraging Mercian separatism. But to the Mercians she was Lady of the Mercians, and Irish and Welsh annals refer to her as a queen. She has received more attention from historians than any other secular woman in Anglo-Saxon England.  The twelfth-century chronicler, William of Malmesbury, described her as “a powerful accession to [Edward’s] party, the delight of his subjects, the dread of his enemies, a woman of enlarged soul”. The historian Pauline Stafford sees her as a “warrior queen”.  “Like…Elizabeth I she became a wonder to later ages”.

The first biography of Æthelflӕd was published in 1993, but another five have been published in the twenty-first century, including a Ladybird Expert book by Tom Holland! By far the best is by Tim Clarkson. See also my article, ‘Æthelflӕd, Lady of the Mercians’, WikiJournal of Humanities, volume 1, issue 1, 2018, atÆthelflæd,_Lady_of_the_Mercians.

During the C-19 crisis, HADAS would like to keep in touch with our members, through our social media and email, as well as through this newsletter and our C-19 News sheet provided by Jim Nelhams (thank you very much Jim!), if you want to be included, or assist with ideas to help run the Society during this difficult time. We welcome all contributions.


Obituary for John Heathfield   Don Cooper with thanks to David Berguer

We are sad to report that John Heathfield, a long-time member of HADAS, died on Friday 27th March 2020 of coronavirus aged 91. John was born on 11th September 1928 and spent his working life in education first as a schoolteacher, then a headmaster and ending up as Inspector of Schools.

On his retirement, John started investigating the history of the local area and, in conjunction with his lifetime friend, Percy Reboul wrote a regular series of articles for the Barnet Times. They also wrote a number of books, either together or separately including “Around Whetstone & North Finchley”, “Barnet at War”, “Barnet Past & Present”Days of Darkness” “Finchley & Whetstone Past” and “Teach Us This Day (All Saints School)”.

John was President of the Friern Barnet & District Local History Society and while president wrote “All over by Christmas” a 282-page book on what was happening on the Home Front in Barnet. Then in conjunction with David Berguer wrote “Whetstone Revealed” in 2016. I met John at Barnet Archives when they were briefly based in Daws Lane. He was researching away but had enough time to help me find what I was looking for. People with John’s amazing knowledge of the local area are few and far between. He will be sadly missed. RIP.

Obituary for Irene Gavorre                                                             Jim Nelhams

It was with some sadness that we heard of the death of Irene Gavorre on 21st February at her house in Edgware. Irene was a very private person. A non-driver, she did not attend our lectures but was always one of the first to register for our long trips away, up to and including our 2019 trip to Aberavon.

We bumped into her at the beginning of February on Edgware High Street. When she had not booked for our now cancelled trip to Stoke, we wrote to her house and received the news in response from a long-time friend of her daughter. Further information came from Sue Trackman.

“I knew Irene. She was a solicitor. She was clever, with a sharp wit who did not suffer fools. For a while (in the 1980/90s) we worked in adjoining offices in the legal department of the City of London Corporation and lunched together every day. Irene’s parents died young and she was brought up by an aunt. She brought up her daughter on her own. It was not an easy relationship but, after her daughter married an Israeli (and moved with him to Israel), matters improved and Irene had a good relationship with her granddaughter. Irene left the City Corporation in the 1990s to work in BT’s legal department and she remained with BT until she retired. We lost touch a few years after she left the City Corporation.”



This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:

Bill Bass, Jim Nelhams, Don Cooper and Dudley Miles


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman          Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

                          (020 8440 4350) e-mail:

Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams 61, Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS

                          (020 8449 7076) e-mail:

Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman 50, Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

                           (07855 304488) e-mail:

Membership Sec. Stephen Brunning, Flat 22, Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

                          East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)


Web site:  



At the Annual General Meeting, which will be held on a date to be decided, Don Cooper is standing down as Chairman after many years of service, and Jo Nelhams as secretary is standing down as well, as is Sue Willetts. Please give some serious thought to how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years. At present, we have four committee meetings each year.


Newsletter 590 – May 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

No. 590                 MAY 2020                 Edited by Dudley Miles

The Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 June 2020 will not now take place due to the situation created by the coronavirus. At the present time we do not know when it will be possible to arrange another date. There will also be no Tuesday lectures until further notice. The monthly Newsletters should continue as usual. Keep well and safe until we meet again.

Squires Lane Railway Sign                                                                        Bill Bass

This photo is of a cast-iron sign adjacent to the north-east corner of a road bridge on Squires Lane, Finchley.  The bridge crosses over what is now the Northern Line between East Finchley and Finchley Central. But the sign dates to the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) period 1923-1948 when the railway was steam operated, with passenger and goods trains running between the likes of High Barnet and Edgware to Finsbury Park and beyond. In the late 1930s, the Northern Line was extended from Highgate to join at East Finchley and in 1940 the system became part of the Northern Line. Steam and diesels were still used to deliver goods until the early 1960s.



Sadly, we have to report that this remarkable survivor disappeared, probably in early March 2020. Whereabouts unknown?


What did you do during the Lockdown?                               Roger Chapman

What’s the link between the HADAS 2020 Accounts, COVID 19 and the discovery of a new brickworks in North Wales? 

Well, in these strange COVID times, I find myself as HADAS Treasurer, with my wife, helping to shield her 93-year-old mother in her mountainside house above Llangollen in North Wales. We are likely to be here some time.

Putting the HADAS accounts together is a joyful task and has helped to pass the time in the Dee Valley, but every now and again I need a break. The house I am staying in has a large, and recently neglected, garden so there is scope for many projects. Vegetable beds have been dug and planted, a small pond created and most recently some paths widened. The current house was built in 1913 but tithe maps and historic Ordnance Survey plans show development on the site back to at least the early 19th century. This has been reflected in the numerous bits of Victorian and early 20th century pottery and glass coming up during these works. Widening the paths involved removing bricks set on edge. One of these (see photograph below) was different. It had a crude handwritten name – Tower Bk. Wks inscribed on one face. I thought this looks interesting and decided to see what more I could find out about it.

Closing the HADAS accounts spreadsheet on my laptop I opened up Google and searched for bricks in north Wales. I have to say I did not appreciate beforehand how many websites and people are devoted to bricks e.g.  But however hard I looked I could find no reference to Tower Brickworks. There is a Tower Farm within half a mile of where I am staying, and North Wales had numerous brickworks. I checked out the National


Library of Scotland and its extensive collection of Ordnance Survey maps but nothing showed up. The next step was to put a message up on the local history Facebook page to see if anyone had heard of such a brickworks. A couple of responses suggested a place a few miles away, but further research showed this was known by another name. 

I emailed the owner of one of the websites above and sent him a picture – not expecting to hear back for a while. In under 12 hours I had my answer. He replied, “What a cracking brick, a most unusual find!” He had spent some hours web searching without success but had then turned to mapping evidence.

He found that the 1898 revision of the 1:10,560 and 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey maps shows what looks like a small brickworks just north-east of Tower Farm under half a mile away from the house. “There appears to be a brick preparation building with signs of a claypit to the east. There is also a single circular kiln. By the 1910 map the kiln has disappeared and I would guess that the works had already closed.” How did I miss that? Easy – the National Library of Scotland didn’t have a copy of that specific map edition. It was on the Old Maps website, which I hadn’t checked – I’m not sure I would have recognised a brickworks anyway.

So, as a result of COVID 19 and finding myself during a break in working up the HADAS 2020 accounts in North Wales I managed to find a brick which has led to the rediscovery of a short-term brickworks business in Llangollen and the discovery of a wealth of websites on bricks. Strange times indeed. 

I hope you are staying safe and well.

Hendon Hall Hotel                                                                                       Bill Bass

This substantial Grade II listed building with extensive grounds on Ashley Lane, Hendon, built c. 1757 as Hendon Manor House, is being redeveloped as a care home. Whilst it is not in


an Archaeological Priority Area (APA), its closeness to other APAs in the Hendon area, and also information from HADAS member Roger Chapman, indicated that that there might be traces of pre-existing building(s), and made it worthwhile that an Archaeological Evaluation be undertaken.

The evaluation was done by Archaeology South-East on behalf of the RPS Group during Nov/Dec 2019, opening up three trenches. The trenches showed the existence of a possible post-medieval house and garden pre-dating Hendon Manor House. The later evidence (post 1757) revealed walls that are believed to be from Hendon Manor House’s stable block, which matches well with the OS Mapping.

Many thanks to Peter Pickering for monitoring planning applications on behalf of HADAS.

Bibliography: Archaeology South-East, Archaeological Evaluation Report, Hendon Hall Hotel, Ashley Lane, Hendon NW4 1HF.

Roman Bathing                                                                              Peter Pickering

Last month’s newsletter included a note by Jim Nelhams about Caerleon and an evocative picture of the baths. Those who were on the South Wales trip may remember being told that men and women used the baths at different times. The November 2019 issue of Britannia produced evidence for this in the form of rules inscribed on bronze tablets from Vipasca, a mining town in Portugal. The rules provide that whoever wins the contract to manage the baths there must keep them heated and open to women from dawn to the seventh hour and to men from the eighth hour of the day to the second hour of the night. I wonder if this means that women got the cleaner water, while men came to the baths after a hard day at the mines, or, in Caerleon, on military exercises? (In some periods, mixed bathing was allowed. Marcus Aurelius tried to prohibit it. DM)

The article, incidentally, is primarily about a copper-alloy fragment of unusual shape found at Vindolanda in 2008. The fragment is apparently part of a calendar; it is inscribed with ‘SEPTEMBER’, ‘K’ for Kalends (the first day of a Roman month) ’N’ for Nones, in September the fifth day, ‘ID’ for ‘Ides’, the thirteenth day, and ‘AE’ for Aequinoctium, the equinox, which of course falls in September.


And now for something completely different…                        Stewart Wild

(A report on one of the odder visits during our trip to South Wales)

In an investigation as far removed from conventional archaeology as could be, about half the members of our group accepted an invitation to visit the National Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, only a bean can’s throw from our hotel in Port Talbot.

This, Trip Advisor’s Number One attraction in the area, is the creation and pride of Captain Beany, and is located in his small third-floor council flat.  The Captain, born in September 1954 and thus qualifying for his state pension next year, is well known in South Wales for his eccentricity and massive charity fundraising.

The National Baked Bean Museum of Excellence

The Captain’s small kitchen is sponsored by the Heinz Company, with brand-name stickers on every surface; the kitchen clock displays Greenwich Bean Time.  His bathroom is similarly sponsored by Branston.  In the lounge area, a wide variety of baked bean cans, toys, artefacts and bean-related memorabilia on display has grown exponentially since the museum opened in 2009.

How has he bean managing?

Our host, who was originally known as Barry Kirkbut, changed his name by deed poll in May 1991 to Captain Beany; he showed us his passport to prove it.  His motive for such a change in lifestyle was “to raise money for the beanifit of others less fortunate” and his dedication over three decades has so far raised well over £100,000.  

Stunts to raise money have included sitting in a bath full of baked beans for 100 hours (that’s nearly four days, a world record!); having his bald head tattooed with sixty baked bean images, each bean containing the initials of a sponsor (which raised £3,600); and running a dozen marathons (seven in London, five in the US) attired in baked bean costume, gloves and boots, a bit like Superman (that should be Superbean, Ed.).Participating in marathons became a habit when he was invited to become a runner bean for the CLIC Sargent children’s cancer charity and raised £5,000.  His best time is just over three hours – beantastic! 


Photo by Kevin McSharry Political aspirations

Our hero has stood many times in local and general elections throughout Wales, often as a Real Bean Independent candidate, and usually coming last despite winning the votes of several hundred supporters.  

In 2000, he formed the New Millennium Bean Party and stood as their only candidate in Aberavon the following year.  He came last but one with 727 votes (a respectable 2.4%); the candidate he beat was too embarrassed to mount the platform when the results were declared and was dubbed a has-bean!

Having made a donation, we thanked this eccentric and entertaining Welshman for the visit and made our way back into the real world.

Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Home, Barnet: watching brief.                Graham Javes 

I’ve just heard of this watching brief undertaken way back in October/December 2017 and August 2018 by Archaeology South-East, (the commercial wing of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.) on the Ice House at Sir Thomas Lipton Memorial Home, Barnet, on the edge of Southgate. See the report, which the London Borough of Barnet has recently put up on its website:

My thanks to Rob White, hon. secretary, East Barnet Residents Association (EBRA.) for drawing our attention to this.

Judging by the large number of similar residences in the borough there must be other extant ice houses. Perhaps one for HADAS members? 


My maternal grandfather was a laundry designer and he designed Lipton’s laundry. He was the oldest  member of Finchley Victoria Bowling Club in Victoria Park, and was given a silver napkin ring with FVBC on it in tribute. It was my only memorial of my grandfather, but was unfortunately stolen by a caller to my flat. He died in the Great Smog of 1952.      Dudley Miles



Denis Ross                                                                                             Jim Nelhams

Some newer members may not know Denis. He was born on 10th July 1923. Sadly, he died on 29th March 2020 aged 96. 

During World War II, Denis served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery (112th Wessex Field Regiment) and afterwards, in 1952, qualified as a solicitor, becoming a Senior Partner in his law firm. His son Jonathan has followed in his footsteps as a solicitor.

At the end of 1988, he joined HADAS, and from 1998 to 2008 served on the committee as Hon. Secretary. His legal advice was invaluable, particularly when negotiating our lease for our rooms at Avenue House.

He also created a script still used today to direct our Annual General Meeting. On his retirement from the HADAS committee, Denis was elected a Life Member. Denis and his wife Shifra were keen supporters and even spent their Golden Wedding anniversary on our long trip based in Plymouth in 2006.

Outside HADAS, Denis served on the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust from 1977 to 1984 and was also Chairman of the PTA at Garden Suburb School. He was also Chairman of Reynolds Close Residents Association for many years. Our sympathy goes to those that Denis leaves behind.      

Knap Hill                                                                                               Dudley Miles    

Summary of a Wikipedia article by Mike Christie

Knap Hill earthwork is on the northern rim of the Vale of Pewsey in Wiltshire, a mile north of Alton Priors. It dates to about 3450 BC and it covers around 2.4 hectares. Its main claim to fame is that it was the first structure to be identified as a causewayed enclosure, an area surrounded by a ditch and bank which is frequently interrupted by gaps or causeways. It is one of the most common types of early Neolithic site in western Europe, with about a thousand known examples, including over seventy in Britain. The archaeologist Roger Mercer considers Knap Hill to be “the most striking of all causewayed enclosures”.

The enclosure is surrounded by a ditch, with a bank inside it, which runs along the north-western side, and part way along the south-western and north-eastern sides. No ditch or bank has been found on the steeply sloping southern edge of the hill. There are seven stretches of ditches and bank, separated by six causeways. Knap Hill is unusual in that the causeways on the ditches and banks correspond, whereas in most sites there at least three times as many gaps in the ditch as the bank. The ditches and banks were constructed in a short period of time, which implies considerable organisation and a large labour force.

Knap Hill was mentioned by John Aubrey in 1680, and John Thurnam investigated barrows on the hill in the 1850s, but the site was first identified as a causewayed enclosure by Benjamin and Maud Cunnington, who excavated it in 1908 and 1909. Maud’s published reports pointed out the gaps in the ditch and bank surrounding the enclosure. By the late 1920s, it had become clear that causewayed enclosures were characteristic monuments of the Neolithic. 

Knap Hill causewayed enclosure

Graham Connah excavated the site again in 1961, and some his finds were analysed in the Gathering Time project, which produced radiocarbon dates by Bayesian analysis for    Knap Hill causewayed enclosure almost forty British causewayed enclosures. Connah had got radiocarbon dates on two samples, and due to his excellent stratigraphic records the Gathering Time researchers were able to analyse another five samples associated with the construction of the ditch. They concluded that there was a 90% chance that Knap Hill was constructed between 3530 and 3375 BC, and that the ditch had silted up between 3525 and 3220 BC. The researchers concluded that a lengthy use was possible, but “we believe that a short duration, probably of well under a century, and perhaps only a generation or two, is more plausible”. 

The purpose of causewayed enclosures is unknown. An early suggestion was that the inhabitants lived in the ditches! However, this was soon abandoned in favour of a proposal that people lived in the enclosures. It has also been proposed that they were intended for defence, but in that case it is difficult to explain the frequent causeways. Other suggestions are that they were ritual sites, seasonal trading centres, headquarters for tribal chiefs, or venues for funerals. 

A smaller site known as the plateau enclosure adjoins the Neolithic site. It was occupied before and during the Roman occupation of Britain, and pottery was found including Samian ware. There is evidence of an intense fire, which may mean that it came to a violent end. The plateau enclosure was also occupied in the seventeenth century, perhaps by shepherds. Other finds included an Iron Age burial and a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon sword.



This section is temporarily cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:  Bill Bass, Roger Chapman, Graham Javes, Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, Stewart Wild


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350) e-mail:


Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS   

(020 8449 7076) e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)   e-mail:


Membership Sec.   Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)  



Web site: 



At the Annual General Meeting, which will be held on a date to be decided, Don Cooper is standing down as Chairman after many years of service, and Jo Nelhams as secretary is standing down as well, as is Sue Willetts. Please give some serious thought to how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years. At present, we have four committee meetings each year.



Newsletter 589 – April 2020

By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments
No. 589                                    APRIL 2020                Edited by Sue Willetts
HADAS DIARY – No forthcoming lectures and events!

For information: Lectures, the finds group course, and the film are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the lecture.   

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been agreed that there is no need to list any events for May. For members to be aware the HADAS talks for April & May were Signe Hoffos – Lost City Churchesand Tim Williams – Archaeology of the Silk Roads – to be re-arranged when possible.  The proposed bus pass outing to the Docklands Museum is also on hold.

This newsletter can also give notice that the AGM in June is postponed, and the committee will remain in place for the time being.

September 2020 trip, 20th – 24th September    

The long trip to Stoke in September is still planned, and you can still sign up.  No money has been paid to the hotel or to Galleon Coaches, and I am not banking any cheques at present.

This trip will be based at The Best Western Stoke City Centre Hotel, 66 Trinity Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5NB. This was previously a Quality Hotel. Do not confuse with the Best Western Plus Stoke on Trent Moat House which is currently rebranding and considerably raising their prices.

We have tried to keep costs unchanged for several years, normally making a small profit, but prices have gradually risen and in 2019 we made a loss, so this year we are having to adjust. The price will be £580 for a single room and £530 per person sharing a room (double or twin). Costs include dinner, bed and breakfast and we will provide a packed lunch each day except the Sunday.


When it takes place – at the Annual General Meeting Don Cooper will be standing down as Chairman after many years of service, also Jo Nelhams as Secretary and Sue Willetts, responsible for overseeing the Newsletters and arranging printing. Please give some serious thought how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years.  At present we have four Committee meetings each year.


2019 Trip:   Our last day                                                                    Jim Nelhams

It’s Friday and time to head homewards. The weather does not look wonderful, so keeping an eye on it, we head to the far side of the Neath valley to visit Aberdulais. Aberdulais means the mouth of the River Dulais – in this case where it reaches and flows into the River Neath. The valley has steep sides, so there are waterfalls immediately above the junction. David & Beverley take up the story.

Aberdulais Tin Works and Falls          Beverley Perkins & David Bromley

It is hard to imagine that the now peaceful site of Aberdulais once rang with the din of metal-working. The waterfall still thunders over the sandstone ridge – impressively so when we visited after a prolonged spell of rain – but the noise and smells of industry vanished when the site was abandoned in the 1930s.

Aberdulais works began its industrial life in 1584, when a German engineer, Ulrich Frosse, pioneered a method of turning copper into coins. These coins were needed by Queen Elizabeth I to fund the


construction of ships to fight the threat of Spanish invasion.  The site, well hidden in the gorge of the river Dulais, lent itself perfectly to metal smelting, as it had a ready access to water, wood, charcoal – and later coal – and metal ore.  However, copper ore became increasingly scarce and copper smelting ended here in 1605.

The works were then used successively for the fulling or tucking of wool (1631-1653); as an iron forge (1667-1713); and as a corn mill (1715-1810).   The picturesque location attracted Victorian travellers, among them Ruskin and JMW Turner, who painted the site – with some artistic licence – in 1796.  His watercolour, now in the National Library of Wales, shows two waterwheels powering a flour mill.  However, the gorge is no longer quite so picturesque, having been dynamited in the 1820s to provide stone for building the canal to Swansea.

In 1832 the works were acquired by William Llewellyn, who initially operated an iron works but then converted it to the production of tinplate.  By 1835 he had also established the Lower Works further down the valley.  In 1842 there were 138 people working on the two sites, including 34 children.  Llewellyn, a Quaker, looked after his workforce, building a schoolroom, library, Baptist church, stores and providing instruments for the brass band.  Tinplate workers were highly paid compared with agricultural workers, so jobs were sought-after in spite of the heat, noise, pollution, 12-hour working days and gruelling conditions.

The widespread development of cheap tinplate revolutionised food preservation.  Tinned products became readily available, improving people’s diets, and sailors no longer had to endure the appalling effects of scurvy.  Tinplate had many other uses, including toy-making, miner’s lamps and household goods.  While America pioneered the tin can industry, tinplate produced in the South Wales valleys was widely regarded as the best in the world.  In 1887 Britain exported nearly 500,000 tons of tinplate.  By 1891 there were 205 tinworks in South Wales.

The Aberdulais works was among the first to use rollers rather than noisy and less efficient trip hammers.  Iron ingots were brought to the site by horse-drawn carts on rails or, later on, by barge along the canal.  The ingots were heated in a furnace, then repeatedly passed through the rollers, after being folded in two between each pass.  The result was a stack of eight thin plates which were cut at the base to separate them into sheets.  These sheets were then “pickled” in acid before being annealed to temper the metal and make it less brittle.  The trimmed sheets were then hand-dipped three times in the tinning house.  Following this, the sheets were dipped in oil by “grease boys”, polished with bran or lime, usually by young girls, and then packed into crates for transport.  Young boys also had to clean the ashes out of the cooled furnaces.

In 1891 America imposed heavy taxes on Welsh tinplate to encourage local production, knocking the bottom out of the Welsh industry.  While the works struggled on well into the 1930s, many tin-workers emigrated to the USA to work in their growing industry.


Aberdulais tinworks site is now managed by the National Trust, who use the former schoolroom as their tearoom and shop.  The modern waterwheel, which is 8.2m in diameter, turns in the original wheel pit and is Europe’s largest hydro waterwheel.  It provides enough electricity to run the site, feeding the excess into the National Grid.

Caerleon                                                                                                 Jim Nelhams

Leaving Aberdulais and joining the M4, we headed eastwards towards Caerleon. By now, light rain had caught up with us.

At the time of our visit, The National Roman Legion Museum, another of Wales’ National museums, was closed because of problems with the roof, so we headed to the Caerleon Fortress Roman Baths partly to keep out of the rain. The baths, which were in Roman times outdoors but are now covered, included a large swimming pool which originally held 80,000 gallons of water. The pools have been enhanced by modern lighting and projection, so that among other things, you can see a legionnaire taking a swim.

For most of us, a walk back to the coach, though the more adventurous diverted across the wet grass to visit the assorted impressive ruins. 


Finally, back home to complete our busy 5 days. Our thanks to Paul, our driver for his hard work and smooth driving.

Note from Ed. Recent heavy rain in Wales made the amphitheatre (above left) look like a swimming pool!

Ted Sammes Clay Pipes – Additional Notes                              Andy Simpson

Since publication of the original Ted SammesPipe collection notes in the August, October and November 2019 editions of the newsletter, further excavation of the archives held in the basement room at Avenue House has yielded a few more.

Firstly, there are three more fragments to record from Hill Close, NW11 (off Hampstead Way) in addition to the two bowls of 1740-1780 and 1840-1880 recorded in the November 2019 newsletter.

The label with them records a more precise finds spot and date for all of them – ‘from back garden of Mrs Ansett, 2 Hill Close Golders Green NW11 March 1986’

There is a single short length of unmarked stem, a nice early bowl of type AO9 but with a damaged rim which retains traces of milling, dated 1640-1660, and a small fragment of even earlier spur/bowl possibly of type AO6, 1610-1640.

The other newly uncovered bag of clay pipe fragments is from 44 Erskine Hill (off Addison Way) Temple Fortune NW11.

This contained 21 short, unmarked lengths of pipe stem of varying diameters, plus an unusual length of stem with a flattened side or base. There is also a badly damaged bowl of probable type AO29, dated 1840-1880 with broken spur and missing top.

It is accompanied by another early bowl, again of type AO9, dated 1640-1660 with a damaged rim.

Although overall a useful collection of finds spots, it does also reflect the distribution of active HADAS members in the 1980s!

In addition to these, recording is ongoing of the long-held clay pipe bowls, and a few sherds of post-medieval pottery, from the Old Bull excavation in High Barnet in 1982. This may also feature in a future newsletter.

Open day by Pre-Construct Archaeology                                              Bill Bass

Several HADAS members visited an open day by Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) in Tottenham Hale in February. PCA were digging a redevelopment site on Chestnut Road when they came across medieval archaeology in the form of pottery and animal bones etc found in drainage ditches, which they were half expecting. Then unexpectedly lithic scatters including blades came to light and then a hand-axe which dated to the mesolithic period. 


All this material was displayed for us to inspect with members of PCA to explain it. Excavation was carrying on for a few more weeks and then post-ex will take more research to specify the dating further. A selection of photographs provides a good overview of the day.            

Pioneering Courage: Housing and the Working Woman 1919-1939. Exhibition planned to be shown at the London Metropolitan Archives 1st -30th April  Jennifer Taylor  

About three years ago, Women’s Pioneer approached the U3A to provide volunteers to research their archives, and this initiative has developed into a Heritage Lottery Project, whose first findings are published at the LMA exhibition in April.


The archive, which is now housed at the LMA, consists of papers covering the inter-war years, setting out the development of the Association, its investors, and includes a valuable cache of original architectural drawings by Gertrude Leverkus, one of the first women to qualify as an architect in the UK.  Women’s Pioneer bought large houses in West London that had been built to house large families with servants and which became surplus to requirements after the First World War. These houses were converted into small flats for ‘single women of moderate means.  One of the four volunteer researchers on the project is basing a PhD on this part of the archive.  Two others have been researching the tenants who lived in the flats, finding details of the first women scientists employed by the Natural History Museum as well as the many women who moved into the new areas of work that were opening up in the 20s and 30s.

As the fourth volunteer researcher, my digging has taken place amongst dusty papers of management committees and shareholders records, finding out more about the many well-known ex-suffragettes, early professionals and capable women who ran Women’s Pioneer. They had incredible networks that allowed the Association to raise the capital needed for its establishment and growth. Individuals featured range from Lady Astor, the first woman to take up a seat in Parliament, through in-laws of the Bloomsbury Group, to Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce.

You will find out a lot more detail in the exhibition itself – when it can be held. The plan was for an exhibition at the London |Metropolitan Archives and also four London libraries.

Archaeology news:                                                                               Sue Willetts

Council for British Archaeology in March announced Neil Redfern would succeed Mike Heyworth as Executive Director of the CBA. Neil has had a distinguished career in heritage, most recently as Development Advice Team Leader and Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England.  While at Historic England Neil led teams delivering award-winning development advice in Yorkshire, and their response to major environmental threats as part of the National Heritage Protection Plan. He also initiated a major project on the Yorkshire Wolds to address monuments at risk from cultivation, amongst other achievements. 

Beatrice de Cardi Lecture November 2019.  Richard Osgood gave a lecture at the British Academy on ‘The healing bones: Archaeology as wellbeing’ about Operation Nightingale This is an initiative to assist the recovery of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans by getting them involved in archaeological investigations. This lecture is available to watch on You-tube using this link Beatrice De Cardi lecture 2019 by Richard Osgood   


This section is temporarily on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. When it is possible to advertise events again, this section will return.

For information:  An event planned for Saturday 6th June was to have been the British Association for Local History. Local History Day at the Institute of Historical Research, Malet St, London, Senate


House, WC1E 7HU [Closed until further notice] Annual lecture by Prof. Andrew Hopper on ‘The Human cost of British Civil Wars’. This lecture was to have examined how wounded soldiers, war widows and other dependants negotiated with local and national authorities to obtain pensions and welfare. Also planned was a talk from Prof. Catherine Cooper (IHR) ‘What is local history?’ as well as Local History awards, AGM, bookstalls, society displays. Cost £25 members of BALH or £30 for non-members and includes tea/coffee/lunch. Wait and see if / when this might be re-arranged.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:  

Bill Bass, Jim Nelhams, Beverley Perkins & David Bromley, 

Andy Simpson and Jennifer Taylor


Hendon and District Archaeological Society 

                 Chairman         Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS

(020 8440 4350) e-mail:


Hon. Secretary    Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS   

                                (020 8449 7076) e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer    Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

 (07855 304488)   e-mail:


Membership Sec.   Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road, 

East Barnet EN4 8FH1 (020 8440 8421)  



                 Web site:


Newsletter 588 – March 2020

By | HADAS, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 11 : 2020 - 2024 | No Comments

No. 588                                    MARCH 2020               Edited by Deirdre Barrie

HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events 

Lectures, the finds group course, and the film are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3  3QE. Buses 13, 143, 326 & 460 pass close by, and it is five to ten minutes’ walk from Finchley Central Station (Northern Line). Tea/coffee and biscuits follow the lecture.  

The March talk has been changed due to other commitments by our advertised speaker Lyn Blackmore. 

Tuesday 10th March 2020: Adam Corsini – Layers of London. This is a free online map-based resource. By overlaying historic maps and data sets, users can fade them in and out to discover how their area has developed. The project also encourages anyone to contribute their own local histories, memories, images and stories, building records and collections that enrich this unique historical resource for the future. This talk will give a background to the project, focusing on the site’s archaeological information, and demonstrate how you can be part of the project.

Tuesday 14th April 2020: Signe Hoffos – Lost City Churches 

Tuesday 12th May 2020: Tim Williams – Archaeology of the Silk Roads 

Tuesday 9th June 2020: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

September 2020 trip, 20th – 24th September.

A reminder that the proposed 5-day trip for 2020 will take place from Sunday 20th September to Thursday 24th September and will be based at The Best Western Stoke City Centre Hotel, 66 Trinity Street, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5NB. This was previously a Quality Hotel. Do not confuse with the Best Western Plus Stoke on Trent Moat House which is currently rebranding and considerably raising their prices.

We have tried to keep costs unchanged for several years, normally making a small profit, but prices have gradually risen and in 2019 we made a loss, so this year we are having to adjust. The price will be £580 for a single room and £530 per person sharing a room (double or twin). Costs include dinner, bed and breakfast and we will provide a packed lunch each day except the Sunday.


At the Annual General Meeting in June, Don Cooper is standing down as Chairman after many years of service, and Jo Nelhams as Secretary is standing down as well, as is Sue Willetts. Please give some serious thought how you can help the Society to function as it has done successfully for many years. At present we have four Committee meetings each year.


PREHISTORIC  LONDON,  SOME  PROBLEMS, PROGRESS  AND POTENTIAL The second Dorothy Newbury Memorial lecture – Jon Cotton              Peter Pickering

This, the second Dorothy Newbury Memorial Lecture, was given on 11th February (four days before what would have been her hundredth birthday) by Jon Cotton, now a freelance archaeological consultant after more than thirty years at the Museum of London. Jon’s subject was ‘Prehistoric London, some Problems, Progress and Potential’. To make his subject manageable, he passed over the Palaeolithic, and covered the long period from the Mesolithic to the pre-Roman Iron Age. Even though the evidence for prehistoric activity in the London region has been reduced by ploughing and by Roman and subsequent development, and by the concentration of antiquarians and, until fairly recently, archaeologists, on Roman remains, there is still a lot more than I, for one, had realised. Most of that comes from gravel terraces and from the Thames itself, but recently it has become clear that there was prehistoric activity on the large areas of clay that had been thought neglected.

Antiquarians had seen and recorded prehistoric constructions, but tended to believe they were Roman – for instance William Stukeley in the early eighteenth century had recorded earthworks on Hounslow Heath (now under Heathrow airport) but called them ‘Caesar’s Camp’.

The Thames in pre-history was a multi-channel meandering river, with gravel highs that became eyots; boreholes during the construction of Crossrail have elucidated a lot about ancient land surfaces. The river divided north from south London, and the limit of tidal activity divided west from east. Its flood plains were an enduring feature until modern embankment – some believe that the name ‘Londinium’ derives from something like ‘Plowonida’, meaning ‘the flooding one’; the view from Richmond Hill makes it evident how flat the Thames Valley bottom is. For much of the twentieth century the Thames was biologically dead, but it now teems with fish. The river was immensely important to prehistoric people, and a large number of artefacts have been found, many probably consigned to the water for religious reasons. The river was full of bronze spearheads – though some might be accidental losses or the consequence of battles, the prime motive might be showing off a person’s disposable wealth or the appeasement of an elemental force – perhaps gifts to the river would buy off floods.

The construction of Heathrow Terminal 5 enabled the archaeological investigation of a wide area of land, and greatly increased knowledge of how it was developed and occupied before the Roman invasion. There were field systems, neolithic houses, and great earthworks, one with a raised bank over two miles long – vivid evidence of the availability of manpower and good project management. Similarly, the remains of an aurochs with six arrowheads in it was vivid evidence of prehistoric hunting – wisely, the fearsome beast had been shot from behind. The Bronze Age apparently saw a reduction in population.

Tributary valleys of the Thames have produced much evidence of mesolithic activity. Besides HADAS’s important dig on West Heath, with which Dorothy Newbury was greatly involved and the second instalment of whose publication is well under way, significant mesolithic finds have been made recently in Carshalton, and Uxbridge in the Colne Valley. The crossing of the Colne valley by HS2 may very well produce further discoveries.

It was clear that there was no Iron Age precursor in the City of London. But there had been an important settlement in Woolwich, and Uphall camp in Ilford was a major site, whose excavation has still to be written up. Investigations relating to the Thames Tideway Tunnel were revealing an important Iron Age crossing between Fulham and Putney. A remarkable find had been a Bronze Age anchor. Evidence was emerging of an Iron Age oppidum at Barn Elms.


Even within the City there were some hotspots for prehistoric finds: Cornhill, Ludgate Hill, and most recently Principal Place. Particularly interesting were a neolithic axehead turned into a pendant and found in a Roman context, and neolithic pottery which had absorbed animal fats and milk products. One sherd was impressed with the hoof mark of a roe deer fawn.

Jon finished by looking forward to some new techniques. Baysian analysis could produce much more precise dating that had hitherto been possible. DNA analysis was very promising – enabling the colour of a person’s eyes and hair to be identified from their bones. He also emphasised the ways in which people could take part in ongoing research – including Citizan. He inspired us all to want to see the Havering hoard exhibition shortly to open in the Museum of docklands.


Enfield at War – 1939 – 1945                                                                      Jim Nelhams              

As an experiment, this year’s lecture was held in the afternoon rather than the evening.

Our speaker, Ian Jones, is Chairman of the Enfield Archaeological Society, our two groups both having Harvey Sheldon as President. Ian has extensively researched the history of Enfield in both world wars and is a published author on the subject, but also a keen photographer, as demonstrated by the numerous pictures shown.

Ian told us that Enfield was quite well prepared in 1939 and quite a few structures, or evidence of them, remained, though their wartime use may not be apparent. Others had gone but records of them existed.

A wartime pill box at Trent Park is being recorded and preserved, and the history of the main building is well documented. (HADAS had a lecture from Dr Helen Fry on this subject in March 2017.) The pill box may have been intended to keep prisoners in rather than defend the main building.

A large number of air raid shelters, both public and private, still exist partly because they are expensive to demolish, though some that are below ground have had the tops removed for safety and have been filled in, as that excavated by HADAS at the Martin School in East Finchley. Ian listed a number with illustrations.

Some buildings had been used as centres for the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) but these had mainly gone.

A gas decontamination centre similar to that excavated by HADAS near Cromer Road School, Barnet exists in Broomfield Park and is one of four that survive within the Borough of Enfield.

Signs of some air raid sirens could still be seen.

The only remaining anti-aircraft battery in the area is at Slades Hill, with associated buildings to store ammunition and to provide rest areas for those manning the guns.

Some efforts had been made to protect the railways, with pill boxes. Most of these were safe as it was expensive and pointless to remove them. Large moveable concrete blocks to provide obstructions against tanks and other vehicles had been positioned at various points on the railway. 

In addition to the various buildings, smaller evidence, such as shrapnel, was still being found. A number of walls constructed from air raid rubble had been identified including repairs to the banks of the New River.

Ian noted that many people would not now recognise much of the evidence he had listed. It was increasingly important that these should be fully recorded. A fascinating, informative and enthusiastically delivered presentation which was met with a warm round of applause.


BURIED BONES AND HORNS                                                                           Bill Bass

In the August 2019 Newsletter, mention was made of finds including bone, pot and clay pipe found in service trenches and pavement widening on the west side of Barnet High Street, in the vicinity of “The Spires” shopping centre. Since then, an article seen in a cutting from the “Barnet Press” in April 1939, retyped below, may give some background and context to this. Thanks to Alan Last of the Barnet – A Trip Down Memory Lane website, and to Barnet Museum for flagging the article.

BONES BENEATH THE HIGH STREET – Relics Rescued by Museum Curator

A number of oxen bones and horns were unearthed on Thursday afternoon by an employee of Barnet District Gas and Water Company when excavating a pit on the west side of Barnet High Street, outside the premises of Messrs. W.H. Smith & Sons.

The pit was in the roadway, about four feet from the kerb, and the bones were found about three feet below the road surface. Their condition indicates that they had been buried for well over a century. Mr. W. McB Marcham, Hon. Curator of Barnet Museum, was told of the discovery, and he straight away visited the scene and “claimed” the relics for the Museum.

Seventy Years Ago

This is not the first occasion on which such a discovery has been made in the vicinity. A similar find was recorded in the “Barnet Press” on June 19th, 1869, and was referred to by the Editor in a talk on the history of the “Barnet Press” which he gave to the Barnet Record Society a year ago. The report recorded the discovery of the bones in front of Battenburg House, (now occupied by Smith’s bookshop and the offices of Messrs. Vyvyan Wells and Son), and stated: “They were principally the bones of oxen, and one explanation is that the shops adjoining were occupied by a butcher and a tallow chandler at a period when the Barnet side of the High Street was marked by a row of trees, where now is a row of shops, and that these bones, which were refuse from the butcher’s and tallow chandler’s  shops, were buried in a hole at a time when the value of bones had not developed as it has now. But who can say these bones are not the remains of a great feast held by the victorious soldiers after the Battle of Barnet?”

Harts’ Horns?

A correspondent, in the same issue of the paper, mentioned several suggestions: (1) that the spot where the bones were discovered was, some hundreds of years old, a rinderpest* pit, and that the bones were all that was left of the animals slaughtered under an Order in Council of that period, and (2) that they were not bones of oxen but harts’ horns, for which Hertfordshire was noted, though the writer dismissed the second suggestion as one coming probably from somebody who had just come out of the “Harts’ Horns” public house, which stood on the northern corner at the junction of High Street and Union Street.

(hand-written) Barnet Press 15/4/39                                      * rinderpest: an infectious viral disease of cattle

Wales Trip – DAY 4                                                                       Jim Nelhams
The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint was for many years within the Tower of London. As the UK Government prepared to introduce a decimal currency in the 1960s, the decision was taken to move The Royal Mint out of London.


A larger site was needed to cope with the production of the new coins as well as the increased demand for coinage from international markets. 

The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in December 1968. After decimalisation in 1971, all UK coin production moved from London to Wales, with the last coin struck at Tower Hill in 1975.

When the mint moved, Llantrisant was given the soubriquet “the hole with a mint”.

There is limited space for tour groups, so, on arrival, we were divided into two groups, each with its own guide and escorted through security and across a road to the main building. We were guided through the production process with the different metals including the stamping and milling processes before viewing the main production area, with a splendid view of all the machinery involved. The Royal Mint can produce 90 million coins and blanks a week – almost five billion coins a year, many for overseas governments.

The site operates round-the-clock for 52 weeks a year.

In recent years, more coins have been produced for collectors, especially 50p coins which they sell for £10 though some do get into normal circulation. See newsletter 582 of September 2019. Recently a set of coins minted to celebrate leaving the EU in 2019 had to be melted down when it did not happen. New coins were minted for the end of January 2020. 

At the end of the tour was a splendid museum covering the history of coin production, followed by the inevitable shop.

A brief stop for a coffee before making the short trip in the coach to St Fagans.

St Fagans National Museum of History

St Fagans opened in 1948 as part of the National Museum of Wales network. In 2019, it was voted the Art Fund Museum of the Year.

In the main building is a museum with some archaeology, though its main purpose seems aimed at interesting children in history. There is also some military history.  Readers may be familiar with other museums where buildings have been collected from surrounding areas to give an idea how people lived worked and entertained themselves. St Fagans is similar, with over 40 buildings of different types from all parts of Wales, but unusual in that most of the building are built of stone, not wood which would have given some interesting problems in moving them. Further buildings are still being added. It is located in the grounds of St Fagans


Castle, only a small part of which is open to the public.

Staff in some of the buildings demonstrate the skills which they would have supported. Looking at everything would probably require a couple of days. 

The medieval church of St Teilo at St Fagans                             Graham Javes

Little did I expect the scene which greeted me when I stepped through the door of the little church of St Teilo at the open-air museum at St Fagans National Museum of History, a part of the Welsh National Museum. Every wall is covered with brilliant devotional paintings. For me, the use of fine line and vivid colour was stunning. What a contrast to whitewashed walls!

St Teilo’s was formerly the parish church of Llandeilo Tal-y-bont, near Pontarddulais, only one of about 24 churches in west Wales with this dedication), which had become progressively redundant from the 1850s onwards until it was offered to the museum. The building had survived largely unscathed at the hands of the Victorians and later restorers, remaining principally in the original state when it was built – thought to be in


the 12th or 13th century. As such it meets the judicious collecting policy of the museum: being common and typical, representative of others of this area, and not too far gone to be capable of restoration to something like its former glory. As an artefact (heavily restored and repainted) it shows the sheer brilliance of Welsh Christian art, if not when it was built but at the eve of the Reformation. 

So who was St Teilo? 

St Teilo was a 6th-century Welsh monk and bishop whose importance in Wales was second only to St David. When he died at Llandeilo Fawr a dispute arose between three places – Penally, (his birthplace), Llandaff, (his bishopric) and Llandeilo (where he died), over which should have his body. This was resolved when it was miraculously multiplied into three over-night, so that each could have it!  HADAS members may have spotted the ‘supposed’ tomb of St Teilo in the chapel of St Teilo in Llandaff Cathedral. 

Reference was made to G. D. Nash, (ed.) Saving St Teilo’s: Bringing a medieval church to life (2009) National Museum of Wales; D. Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, (5th edn, 2003) OUP. 

Photographs by Graham Javes.

Membership Renewals                                                                         Stephen Brunning

The HADAS membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March, and so all members who pay by cheque will now be required to renew (except those people who have joined since January this year).

Members who pay their subscription by standing order need take no action.


Please therefore find enclosed a renewal form, and I would ask that you fill it in and return it to me along with the appropriate amount as soon as possible.  The current rates and where to send your payment are on the form.  Many thanks.

If the renewal form is not enclosed and you require one, please contact me (details on back page).  

INVESTIGATING THE PERIVALE WOOD EARTHWORK                                             Bill Bass

Members of HADAS have been assisting Kim Wakeham of the Selbourne Society to investigate a large ditch and bank feature near Perivale Wood in Ealing.  The society (which is involved in nature conservation) owns the wood and an adjacent strip of land.  

Photo by Melvyn Dresner – shows Kim and HADAS members.

Kim who is an archaeologist, noticed an earthwork crossing the strip of land (and beyond) and started some research using maps, documents, aerial-photos, LiDAR and such like. The results have been inconclusive, so last year Kim put in a trench to test several theories e.g. is it pre-historic or maybe a boundary or encampment of some sort? 

The fieldwork reveals the tops of a bank and at least two ditches with medieval roof-tile, other finds are post-medieval in date, there may also be some struck flint. As the trench has grown to 2 x 14m and the ditches have yet to be fully excavated Kim asked if HADAS could help in this task during February, unfortunately the weather was not kind to us that week but we managed to tidy up and clean the trench, record features including post-holes and do some finds processing, but with trench underwater a lot of the time we could not excavate the ditch fills, so that will be work for another day. 


Thanks to Kim for her hospitality and HADAS members for making their way to Perivale.

TROY: MYTH OR HISTORY?                                                         David Willoughby

Notes from the lecture by Michael Wood at the British Museum on 6th December 2019                                      

The first person to excavate Troy was British consulate official Frank Calvert, who had previously offered the site at Hisarlik to the British Museum for £100. Seven years later he teamed up with Heinrich Schliemann, a German business man turned archaeologist. Schliemann was a showman with a penchant for telling dubious stories. Schliemann’s destructive excavation methods involved driving a deep ditch into the mound down to the lowest levels. This caused him to fall out with Calvert, who suspected he had excavated clear through the contemporary Mycenean levels.  At the lower levels Schliemann discovered ‘Priam’s treasure’ which dates from about 2,200 BCE.  He claimed to have discovered the treasure with his wife, despite her being out of Turkey at the time.

As Schliemann’s account has been discredited, this brings into some doubt that all the articles were found together in situ.  Schliemann also excavated at Mycenae, and discovered the royal gold funerary masks, one of which became known as the ‘mask of Agamemnon’.  These in fact pre-dated the likely date of the Trojan War, and doubters at the time questioned the similarity of the mask to the face of Bismarck. These masks are now believed to be genuine.

From 1932, the American archaeologist, Carl Blegen excavated at Hisarlik on the opposite side of the mound from Schliemann’s excavations, to reveal the sloping walls of Troy VIh (destroyed by earthquake

c. 1,300 BCE) and Troy VIIa (sacked c. 1,200 BCE), which are the most likely candidates for the Troy of the Iliad, as they are contemporary with the height of Mycenean power, and pre-date the collapse of Mycenean palace culture around 1,200 BCE.  More recent excavations of Troy have revealed an extensive lower town surrounded by a large defensive ditch.

There was a large inlet in front of Troy, but this has since dried up. It is most likely that the Greek ships were beached at the smaller Besika Bay to the South. This would fit in with the Iliad that describes the location as out of sight of Troy and requiring the Greeks to cross rivers to reach Troy. Also here is one of the sites of the ‘Tomb of Achilles’ (Sivri Tepe) in which high status Mycenean burials have been discovered. Harbour installations have also been found here. Bore-holes drilled at the location reveal the beach was backed by a lagoon at the time of the Trojan War. This also ties in with the Iliad.  The Iliad describes the Greeks as sleeping on ‘battle bridges’ under the stars. These are thought to be military dykes constructed to cross the marshy ground.

Michael Wood has constructed a possible timeline for the Trojan War around 1250 BCE based on the Hittite texts of King Muwatallis. This is the king who fought the Egyptians at Kadesh in 1300 BCE, which resulted in the first-ever recorded peace treaty. These texts deal with Hittite relations with a people called the Ahhiyawā (Achaeans). In the Hittite text can be found the names of Ilium (Wilusa), Troy, Alexander (Alakshandu), Paris and Priam.  Also can be found the name for Apollo, and the archaic Greek God of war, Enyalius, who is also mentioned nine times in the Iliad.                

Apollo appears to have been initially an Anatolian god later adopted by the Greeks. Early versions of the Iliad open with the ‘Wrath of Apollo’ rather than the ‘Wrath of Achilles’, creating the possibility that the Iliad may have been influenced by Anatolian myths. Also in the Iliad the mention of boar tusk helmets and tall shields clearly derives from an earlier period. Ajax also seems to be from an earlier story.


Troy, Asia and Enyalius also feature in Mycenaean Linear B tablets. Asian women appear as slaves picking flax in tablets from Pylos (flax was still being picked around Pylos until the 1950s). Only a single Luwian seal has been found at Troy, and it is likely that the Trojans spoke Luwian. The Hittite tablets were discovered at Hattusa, the Hittite capital. However, the capital was moved (probably for religious reasons) to Tarhuntašša in the early 2nd millennium BCE.  Although well documented, the site and its presumed written archive are yet to be discovered.


Barnet Museum: Dennis Bird is arranging two Barnet Museum Outings later this year. The first is on Saturday 27th June to Bletchley Park; and the second on Saturday 5th September to Winchester. HADAS members will be welcome to join if they are interested. Cost will be about £35, coaches leaving the Everyman Cinema at 8.30am and leaving for return trip at 5.30pm.  Make a note of the dates. 

Tour of 2 Temple Place: book by Friday 20th March for a tour of this extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor, which is located near the Temple Station and the Embankment.

It was originally designed for use as Astor’s estate office by the foremost Neo-Gothic architect of the late 19th C, John Loughborough Pearson, with work taking place from 1892-5. It contained the largest strong room in Europe, as well as two enormous fortified safes. In addition to the 45-minute tour focusing on its history and architecture, there will be an opportunity to visit the exhibition “Unbound – Visionary Women Collecting Textiles.” 

Members of the Mill Hill Historical Society £12, non-members £14. Meet outside the house at 1050 am for the 11am tour. Please send a cheque and SAE to Julia Haynes, 38 Marion Road, London NW7 4AN.

Cheques to be made payable to Mill Hill Historical Society. Tel: 020 8906 0562, email  [Website:]

Heritage Alliance:                                                                                      Sue Willetts

HADAS members might like to know about the organisation Heritage Alliance which has membership fees and unites over 130 independent heritage organisations in England and isa powerful, effective and independent advocate for heritage.Organisations include theNational Trust, English Heritage, Canal & River Trust and Historic Houses Association, as well asmore specialist bodies representing visitors, owners, volunteers, professional practitioners, funders and educationalists. They have a free fortnightly electronic newsletter which you can sign up for using this link

OTHER SOCIETIES’ & INSTITUTIONS’ EVENTS                            compiled by Eric Morgan 

Friday 6th March, 7.45 pm, Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 OAJ, Layers of London – Get Involved With Mapping London, talk by Adam Corsini (UCL) Visitors £1.50, refreshments.

Wednesday 11th March, 7.45 pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Ferme Church Road/ corner of Western Park, N8 9PX, Ernest Shackleton and the ‘Endurance’ Expedition, talk by Carol Harris, visitors £2, refreshments. Sales and information from 7.30 pm.

Wednesday 18th March, 7.45 pm, Edmonton Hundred Historical Society, Jubilee Hall, address as above. London’s Lea Valley – Home of Britain’s Growing Food and Drink Industry – talk by Jim Lewis, preceded by AGM.


Thursday 19th March, 7.30 pm, Avenue House (Stephens House and gardens) Quiz Night. Drawing Room, East End Road, N3 3QE. Cost £15 including supper and cash bar. HADAS do have a regular team. (Please see February HADAS Newsletter for further details.)

Saturday 21st March. 11.00 – 17.00 Museum of London. Lamas conference. Monastic archaeology in London.  Details and booking Cost includes registration / tea in the afternoon break

Monday 23rd March, 6.30-8 pm, Finchley Church End Library, Regents Park Road, N3 2LN. Hidden London – a Journey into Some of London’s Most Secret Spaces. Talk by Siddy Holloway (L.T. Museum) on the London Underground, about the Hidden London Programme which takes visitors behind the scenes of the London Transport Network into disused stations and tunnels to discover a different side of the tube, questioning why they get abandoned, and what happens to them. Talk lasts 45 minutes, followed by Q&A, with a mystery prize for the best question. Tickets on email: FREE.

Monday 30th March, 6.30-8pm, Finchley Church End Library, address above. Jewish London, talk by Rachel Kolsky (Blue Badge Guide), Mile End to the West End and Beyond, including synagogues and soup, Radicals and Rothschilds, not forgetting bakeries, the big screen and the printed page.

Wednesday 1st April, 8 pm, Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society, Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High Street, Wealdstone, HA3. The Manchester Ship Canal, talk by Richard Thomas, visitors £3.

Thursday 2nd April, 8 pm. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park, Pinner HA5 1 AB, The Devil’s Acre. Talk by Charlie Forman on A Victorian slum near Westminster Abbey. Visitors £3

Friday 3rd April, 7.45 pm, Jubilee Hall, address as 6th March. The Excavations and Fieldwork of Enfield Archaeological Society, 2019. Talk by Dr. Martin Dearne (EAS), preceded by AGM. Visitors £1.50, refreshments.

Tuesday 7th April, 8 pm. Historical Association: North London Branch. Jubilee Hall, address as 6th March, The First World War’s Effect on the British Monarchy. Talk by Heather Jones, visitors £1.

Wednesday 8th April, 7 pm, Hornsey Historical Society, address as 11th March above, Entertainment in the Second World War, talk by Mike Brown. Visitors £2, refreshments. Sales and information from 7.30 pm.

Saturday 11th April, 11am-2.30 pm, North London & Essex Transport Society, Barnet Transport Fair. Pennefather Hall, Christ Church, St Albans Road, Barnet, EN5 4LA. Railway, military and aviation transport with books, photographs, DVDs, timetables, maps, and memorabilia, etc. Admission £2, refreshments available.

Wednesday 15th April, 7.30 pm, Willesden Local History Society, St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS (near Magistrates’ Court), St. Paul’s Square and Kilburn High Road, talk by Alan Hovell on the past High Road scene. Please note the venue shown for the 18th March talk was shown as   St Anne’s in error. 

Friday 17th April, 7 pm. COLAS, St Olave’s Church, Hart Street, EC3R 7BN. Londinium, Britannia  and the Rhine Frontier, talk by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS President). Visitors £3.

Monday 20th April, 8.15 pm, Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local Historical Society, St Martin’s Church Hall, High Street, Ruislip HA4 8DG. Roman Leicester, Life in the Roman World. Talk by Malcolm Morris (Leicester University). Visitors £2.


Wednesday 22nd April, 7.45 pm, Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 ONL, Alexandra Palace, speaker TBA. Visitors £2, refreshments and bar. Please note that the title for the 25th March talk was shown as “Conference” in error instead of “Society.”

Friday 24th April, 7 pm. E.M.A.S Archaeological Society, Clore Learning Centre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. A Viking Age Funeral – an Eyewitness Account. Talk by David Beard, visitors £3. LAMAS and E.M.A.S members free.

Amendments to February Newsletter: please note the time for the 12th March Highgate Society should be 7 pm; and that for the 20th March for the Wembley Historical Society should be 7.30 pm.


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:   

Bill Bass, Stephen Brunning, Melvyn Dresner, Graham Javes, Eric Morgan,  Jim Nelhams, Peter Pickering, Sue Willetts and David Willoughby. 


Hendon and District Archaeological Society 

Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet, Herts

(020 8440 4350) e-mail:


Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS  

(020 8449 7076) e-mail:


Hon. Treasurer  Roger Chapman 50 Summerlee Ave, London N2 9QP

(07855 304488)   e-mail:


Membership Sec.   Stephen Brunning, Flat 22 Goodwin Court, 52 Church Hill Road,

East Barnet EN4 8FH1

(020 8440 8421)   e-mail:


Web site:

Discussion group: