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By | HADAS, Latest Newsletter, News, Past Newsletters, Volume 10: 2015 - 2019‎ | No Comments

No. 570 September 2018 Edited by: Sandra Claggett


Thursday September 13th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.

Saturday September 15th. RAF Centenary event. Hendon Pageant. See p.2 for details

September 17th – 21st – Long trip to East Anglia staying in Brome.

Wednesday 3rd October – Finds Group Course recommences.

Tuesday 9th October 2018: STOP PRESS: Gabriel Moshenska has moved from the UK and will be unable to give the lecture on Unrolling Egyptian Mummies in Victorian London. Membership Secretary will arrange for another speaker on a different topic to be announced.

Thursday October 11th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.
HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning (see p.12) if you would like to be involved.

Until 12th October – Bluecoats in the City – FREE Exhibition at Museum of London.

Until 28th October – “Roman Dead” at London Docklands Museum.

Tuesday 13th November 2018: The Rose – Shakespeare’s Secret Playhouse – a film made by Suzanne Marie Taylor, Anthony Lewis and Siegffried Loew-Walker. The documentary film will be introduced by one of the filmmakers, Anthony Lewis. In the film Ian McKellen speaks about his own personal experience during the 1989 Save the Rose Campaign when the Rose was partially excavated by the Museum of London. The film has been shown at Canada House and the Birkbeck Archaeology Society in 2017.

Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full Christmas dinner, quiz. Application form to follow with next newsletter

Until 30th December 2019 – Star Carr exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Downing Street, Cambridge. See article below.

All Lectures are held at Stephens House & Gardens (Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8.00 pm, with coffee /tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central Station (Northern line) is a short walk away.

RAF Hendon Pageant Saturday 15th September 2018 11am – 5pm Free

The pageants of the past drew huge crowds and were a chance for spectators to see aircraft fly, to experience technology they had never seen before and to see the Royal Air Force in action.
This Centenary year we they will be bringing this tradition back to the Hendon Aerodrome, which is now home to the newly transformed Museum. This family festival will capture some of the magic of the past with re-enactors, traditional fairground games, live music from the 1930’s and much more! The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be flying the Dakota ZA947 over the Museum, times are still to be confirmed and the flypast is subject to change. It is possible that HADAS will have a display stall.

Fifty years of archaeology in London

This year marks the 50th anniversary of London Archaeologist magazine and there is a conference to celebrate. Speakers include Harvey Sheldon, Peter Marsden, Jane Sidell and Jelena Bekvalec. The venue is the Waterloo campus of King’s College from 10.00am to 5.30pm on Saturday 6th October. Ticket details and the outline programme are at:

London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Conference

Saturday 17th November. 10.30 – 6.00 pm. “An emporium for many nations: London shaped by trade” Tickets before 31st October are £12.50, thereafter £15.00. Also Local History Societies will have displays. Afternoon tea / biscuits included.

Forthcoming exhibition: Sue Willetts

The British Library have announced Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War which will run from Friday 19th October until Tuesday 19th February 2019.
The following text is taken from their website: Treasures from the British Library’s own collection, including Beowulf and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, sit alongside stunning finds from the recently discovered Staffordshire Hoard. Domesday Book offers its unrivalled depiction of the landscape of late Anglo-Saxon England while Codex Amiatinus, a giant Northumbrian Bible taken to Italy in 716, returns to England for the first time in 1300 years.

Read some of the earliest-surviving words inscribed in English on objects large and small. Come face-to-face with manuscripts of Old English poetry and prose and the first letter written in English. Wonder at the wit and wisdom in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Encounter handwritten books intricately decorated. Discover finely crafted metalwork and sculpture unearthed in recent times. See the deep artistic connections between Anglo-Saxon England and its European neighbours. Glimpse into the past through original manuscripts to explore the corners of the kingdoms. Many books were produced, but few survive – this is your opportunity to follow the journeys of these magnificent manuscripts, brought together for a major landmark exhibition.
Full Price: £16.00; Senior 60+: £14.00; Concessions £8.00; National Art Pass Full member £8.00 and Senior National Art Pass rate: £7.00; Child 0-4: Free; Child 5-17: £5.00

Finds in Focus
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 Stephens House (formerly
Avenue House), East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE on Wednesday evenings, 6.30–8.30, starting on 3 October 2018

This year we will conclude our recording of the finds from the Birkbeck training excavations at Lant Street in Southwark (LNT99). Some pottery and other finds remain, and we will aim to produce a short article summarising the work of the Finds Group on this site over the past two years. 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. We will also embark on the recording of smaller new sites in Barnet, excavated by HADAS. The aims will be the same – to introduce the various types of finds and provide opportunities to become more familiar with post-excavation procedures, while working toward publication.

All are welcome – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have experience of working with archaeological finds! There are only a couple of places left on the course.

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.

Hornsey Historical Society

This organisation has a local history surgery for those conducting their own local history research. This takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 10.30 am – 2.30 pm. Members of the public are invited to attend as well as HHS members. Please phone 07531 855714 or email to book a half hour appointment.
The Old Schoolhouse, 136 Tottenham Lane, Hornsey, N8 7EL

Further details at

Exploring the Oceans Jo Nelhams

An exhibition of the achievements of Captain James Cook was recently displayed at the British Library. The story of Cook’s three round the world voyages was told through original journals, maps and artwork, which were the records compiled while on board the ships.

The first voyage was from 1768 to 1771 in the Endeavour. The Endeavour was a Whitby Coal Cat, the type of boat in which Cook learnt his skills sailing down the east coast to London delivering coal. They were strong, comparatively shallow draught, good carriers with plenty of room for men and stores, which was Cook’s description.

The Endeavour set sail carrying 94 people in the 109-foot vessel, also loaded with supplies.

Cook had instructions from the Admiralty and the Royal Society to observe the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun in Tahiti in June 1769. The route was to sail south through the Atlantic Ocean, round Cape Horn across the Pacific and search for land in the South Pacific.

Although there had been many previous explorers who had sailed to the Pacific, half of it remained quite unseen and wholly unexplored. Cook had experienced sailing across the Atlantic, but the voyage of the Endeavour was far longer than anything he had done before.

Supplies need to be replenished and many naval ships would stop over in Madeira. The Endeavour stopped here for six days and replenished supplies taking on fresh fruit that would keep well, water and a large quantity of Madeira wine. The voyage continued round Cape Horn and on to Tahiti.

Cook was not only a very competent sailor, but a navigator and astrologer, which qualified him to understand the significance of the Transit of Venus. Also, on board were scientists and artists who were to document information of wildlife and flora and fauna.

Leaving Tahiti and sailing south, after six weeks on October 6th 1769 land was sighted. This was the beginning of Cook’s circumnavigation of both main islands of New Zealand. New Zealand’s coast was familiar to no man. One of Cook’s skills was cartography and his maps have proved to be extraordinarily accurate. It took over six months to chart the coasts of both islands.
They sailed on westwards and came to the east coast of ‘New Holland’ (Australia) and turned northwards following the coast. The only way to properly examine this was by using smaller boats and going ashore frequently. As the coast was about 2,000 miles, to do this would take years. Much was missed such as Jervis Bays and Sydney Harbour. He landed at Botany Bay (first called Stingray Bay and then Botanists Bay), which was not the best harbour.

Further north off Queensland, the Endeavour became grounded on the coral. She began to leak but at the top of high water she floated again. Although leaking she was gently sailed to a harbour to beach and somehow to repair the ship. A large piece of coral broken from the reef was found. It took many weeks to make the hull sound again and eventually leave the Great Barrier Reef. The passage had been a nightmarish, nerve-wracking experience for months. In his subsequent voyages Cook never approached the area again.
They made their way via the Cape of Good Hope back to England arriving in July 1771 having been away for nearly 3 years

To be continued: Second voyage next newsletter.
The Star Carr Mesolithic exhibition at the (maa) Sandra Claggett

Although not a large exhibition the Star Carr Mesolithic exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge is very interesting. It focuses on the Mesolithic site of Star Carr (in Yorkshire) on the shore of Lake Flixton from around 11,500 years ago. This site has remarkable preservation due to waterlogging which means there is more than the typical lithic remains and it has preserved bone, antler and wooden objects. This makes Star Carr one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe.

This link to the Wikipedia page shows the location of the site. It was discovered in the late 1940s by John Moore and then excavated by Grahame Clark from 1949-1951. There were more excavations between 2003-2015, directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor who were investigating the nature of the site and its use. They found evidence that the site was in use for Figure.1 shows the location of the site. It was discovered in the late 1940’s by John Moore and then excavated by Grahame Clark from 1949-1951. There were more excavations between 2003-2015, directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor who were investigating the nature of the site and its use. They found evidence that the site was in use for around 800 years despite climate change during this period. Structures for houses and three large wooden platforms were found along the lake edge and lithic activity areas with intensive manufacture and tool repair.

Mesolithic people made use of the natural environment such as iron pyrite for making fire at Star Carr. Iron pyrite would be struck with flint to make sparks. Bracket fungus that grew
naturally on trees was also used as tinder when dry it becomes flammable. Tightly wound birch bark rolls could be used as portable tinder, one showing signs of burning. Birch bark can also be
heated to make resin to fix flint arrowheads and barbed points to wooden shafts. Another use of the natural environment is flora, a drink which can be made from pine and other plants could also be eaten such as crowberry, yellow water lily and bogbean. Tools were made from animal bones; Antler harpoons were used to hunt pike and perch. Other animals hunted in the landscape were deer, elk, wild boar and aurochs which were large cattle now extinct. The animal bones and hide were used for food, clothing and tools such as pins from elk antlers. A wooden paddle has survived from a boat. Another famous find from Star Carr was the Antler headdresses made from deer skulls with holes bored into them. Twenty-four have been found these are thought to be used for hunting and or ritual Shamanic purposes. More than 90% of all European prehistoric headdresses come from Star Carr.

Fig. 1 Antler headdress from Exhibition Fig 2. Author’s photograph of engraved pendant Both mages reproduced with kind permission from the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (maa)
There have been other recent examples of the use of Antler headdress including from about 100 years ago by shamans of the Orochen culture of Inner Mongolia.
The earliest Mesolithic art in Britain is found here in an engraved pebble of shale with a deliberate perforation. As in Figure 2. Other engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are rare and found only in Amber pendants from southern Scandinavia. The engravings were hardly visible until computer imaging techniques were used. Analysis shows barbed lines typical of Danish motifs and it is suggested that the lines may have been made visible by the use of pigment as possibly for the Danish amber. Near Star Carr at Seamer Carr and Flixton School House an ochre crayon and pebble have been found. An ochre crayon measuring 22mm has been discovered with heavy striations caused by scraping to remove the red powder.

According to Dr Needham the tip is faceted and has gone from a rounded to a sharpened end through use.
Why not make a trip to Cambridge and go along to the MAA, there is plenty of time to plan your trip as the exhibition is on until the 30th December 2019!

Links to Star Carr information and publication details for further reading:
Milner N., Taylor B., Conneller C., Schadia-Hall., T. (2013) Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice age. (Archaeology for all) Council for British Archaeology.
Exhibition details are entitled ‘A survival story- prehistoric life at Star Carr on until the 30th of Dec 2019.
Here is a link to the Star Carr website where it is possible to download the two monographs produced for the site for free.
An academic article on the pendant.
An academic article on the analysis of the Red Deer headdress from Star Carr.
An academic article on the fish remains.

Charing Cross Jim Nelhams

When Jo was teaching, each year she would take her class on an outing into London. One year, it was decided to take all three classes from Year 1 (5/6 years old) to investigate Queen Eleanor, Eleanor of Castile, the wife of King Edward I as part of a history project.
When Queen Eleanor died in Harby in Northamptonshire on 28th November 1290, King Edward decreed that her body be carried back to London for burial. The procession could only move in daylight, so it took 12 days to reach London. The King also ordered that a cross be erected at the places where they stopped for the night, the first being at the Castle in Lincoln and the last at what we now call Charing Cross.

Eleanor’s tomb is in St Edward the Confessor’s chapel at Westminster Abbey, behind the High Altar, as is that of her husband, so Westminster Abbey was the start of our self-guided walk.
From there, we crossed Parliament Square and Westminster Bridge stopping to admire the statue of Boadicea on the north east corner of the bridge, then along by the river in front of the old County Hall, now the London Aquarium, to have lunchtime sandwiches on the grass on the old site of the 1951 Festival of Britain where the London Eye now stands. A quick toilet stop at the Royal Festival Hall before crossing Hungerford Bridge to reach Charing Cross Station and look at the stone cross in the forecourt. Those that have been on our HADAS trips might recognise that we try to know where there are toilets available, though the children on our trips are a little older.

Finally, we went back to the Embankment to re-join our coach by Cleopatra’s Needle. Quite a distance for 5/6-year olds. In fact, one mother was concerned that her daughter was not good at walking and came with us. To our surprise, we discovered later that she and her daughter had so enjoyed themselves that the following weekend they repeated the walk with the rest of their family.
The original wooden cross stood on an island at the south end of what is now Trafalgar Square which is occupied by an equestrian statue of Charles I see Figure 1.

If you look at the street names at that point, there is a short section of road named Charing Cross between Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall. It must be one of the shortest roads in England, though it was at one time longer.

The cross was replaced by a stone cross which was demolished in 1647.

Charing Cross Station and the Charing Cross Hotel were built in 1864, and it was decided as a marketing initiative to erect on the station/hotel forecourt a replica of the stone cross based on drawings in the British Museum. See Figure 2. It is 70 feet tall and octagonal. Next time you are in the area, why not take a closer look.
Opinion about the place name varies. Some say that there was a small village named Charing at the spot, very near to the Palace of Westminster. Folk etymology is that it was actually named “Chėre Reine” – ‘dear Queen’ in French. The royal court at that time spoke Norman French and the inscription on Queen Eleanor’s tomb is in this French dialect. But we cannot ask those involved.
What about the other crosses? Well they are the subject of another article to be published later.

Figure 1 Author’s own photo

Figure 2 Author’s own photo

Below is some information from the Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee

We have spaces open – come and find out what we do!
The historic built environment disappears – sometimes by outright demolition, at other times by disfigurements by new owners; or adjacent redevelopments ruin the setting of a building or a whole area. Important internal as well as external features of Listed buildings can be at risk. Does this cause you concern?

LAMAS has many new members and we hope some may be interested in assisting the Society with one of its important activities – the work of the LAMAS Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee. This Committee reviews applications for listed building consent and seeks to ensure a sustainable future for vital aspects of London’s built heritage.
The Committee’s remit fills the gap between amenity societies working within boroughs and national amenity societies who consider only the more high-profile cases.
The Committee is composed of individual members of LAMAS, or members of its Affiliated Societies, and meets monthly to consider cases. The meetings take place on a Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 8.30 pm and are held at 75 Cowcross Street, close to Farringdon Station. The Committee secretary sends an agenda out in advance.
This is one of LAMAS’s important activities and cannot work without the co-operation of its members in bringing their knowledge of buildings across London, and particularly in areas with which they are familiar.

An interest in historic buildings is all you need. Although some Committee members have an architectural or heritage background, others are just ordinary interested people who will give some time to the matter.

If you wish you could come to a meeting to see how it works. If you are interested please contact Vicki Fox (e-mail: for more information.

Details of other societies’ events Eric Morgan

Tuesday 11th September, 7.45pm. Amateur Geological Society, Finchley Baptist Church Hall, East End Road, N3 3QL. Sharks in the desert, Laboratory and ocean by Charlie Underwood.

Tuesday 15th September, 10.50am. Mill Hill Historical Society visit to the London Transport Museum Depot, Acton Town, 118-20 Gunnersbury Lane, W3 9BQ. A behind the scenes private tour of over 370,000 objects including rare road and rail vehicles spanning over 100 years. Members £13.50, Non-members £15.50 to book send a cheque payable to Mill Hill Historical Society and s.a.e. to Julia Haynes, 38 Marion Road, Mill Hill London, NW7 4AN. Contact Julia Haynes on 020 89060063 or (see also 22-23 Sept, Open weekend.

Wed. 19th September, 6pm. Gresham College at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Painting, patronage and politics under the Tudors by Professor Thurley. Free.

Friday 21st September, 7pm. CoLAS St. Olives Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. The archaeology of Fulham Palace by Alexis Haslam. Visitors £3. Light refreshments after.

Friday 21st September, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society, English Martyr’s hall, Chalkwall Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW talk on the Shree Swaminorayan Mandir building by Somar Savani. Visitors £3. Refreshments.

Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd September,11am-5pm. London Transport Museum Depot, W3 open weekend admission £12, concessions £10.
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September. Open House weekend buildings not normally open will be open and it is free. Local buildings included are Myddelton House Gardens and the Old Vestry House both in Enfield.

Saturday 22nd September, 11:00 – 4:00pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society with Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society – St John the Baptist Church, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW. Day conference including –
 12:00 “Warwick & Edward IV” with questions at 1:00. By David Santuiste.
 1:30 Lunch break
 2:30 “Richard III, man or Myth”. Gillian Gear memorial lecture by Alison Weir with questions.
Tickets on door – £3, non-members £5.
Wednesday 26th September, 7:45pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “Hendon School Excavations” by Don Cooper (our chairman). Non-members £2.

Saturday 29th September, 11.30am-4.30pm CoLAS and Totally Thames, Fulham Palace, Bishops’ Avenue, SW6 6EA. A day of family archaeology activities as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival.

Thursday 4th October, 8pm. Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Pinner, HA5 1AB. Pinner’s old roads and paths, tracks, travellers, turnpikes and tarmac. By the research group. Visitors £3.

Saturday 6th October, 2pm. London Parks and Gardens Trust. Humphry Repton and the Wembley Park Barn Hill landscape. Wembley Park and Barn Hill guided walk by Leslie Williams and

Susan Darling. Details on This is part of Repton 200 and is one of the events planned in and around London to celebrate landscape designer Humphry Repton who died 200 years ago.

Sunday 7th October, 2.30-4.30pm. Heath and Hampstead Society. Flagstaff, Whitestone Pond, Heath St. Hampstead Heath from the 1820’s to the 1920’s. Guided walk by Thomas Radice. £5.

Monday 8th October, 3pm. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Church House, Wood St, Barnet, EN5 4BW. Katebrygge: 100 years of East Finchley by Richard Selby. Visitors £2.

Monday 8th October, 6.20-7.50pm. Finchley Church End Library. 318 Regents Park Road, N3 2LN. An evening with Dr Fraser in association with the RAF Museum Hendon. The story of the established British Jewry’s involvement with the royal flying corps in WWI. A mystery prize for the best question after the talk. Book by email on

Saturday 13th October, 1.30-3.30pm. Barnet 1471 Battlefield Society. St John the Baptist, Barnet Church, High St, Wood St, Barnet, EN5 4BW. English fashion and art of the 1470’s by Mario Carvana. Non-members £5.

Monday 15th October, Museum of London Docklands, Canary Wharf. Finds of the dead in roman London and beyond. Roman finds group autumn conference with MoLA. Info at email Details were in the HADAS August newsletter.

Friday 19th October, 7pm CoLAS. Address as above. Respect your elders: old swords in Anglo-Saxon England by Dr Brunning. Visitors £3.

Wednesday 24th October, 7.45pm. Friern Barnet and District Local History Society. North Middx Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. The history of almshouses by Simon Smith. Non-members £2.

Thursday 25th October, 8pm. Finchley Society. Major Cartwright’s obelisk … and other fine tombs in Finchley Churchyard. Dr Roger Bowdler NB venue is St. Mary-at-Finchley Church, Hendon Lane, Discussion and tea. Visitors £2. Free for members – but if you join at the same meeting, the charge is waived.

Thursday 25th October, 8pm. Heath and Hampstead Society. Burgh House, New Square, NW3 1LT. John Constable and Hampstead Heath: in the foot-steps of a contemporary artist. The Springett lecture by Lindy Guinness exploring Constable’s passion for Hampstead Heath. Free.

Saturday 27th October, 10.30am. Enfield Society. Relaunch of Pymmes Brook trail. Part 1: High Barnet to Arnos Grove. Guided walk by Colin Saunders. Meet at High Barnet Station to depart at 10am. 6-mile linear walk ending at Arnos Park.

Sunday 28th October, 10.30am. Part 2 of above. Arnos Grove to Tottenham Hale by Colin Saunders meet at Arnos Grove Station. 7-mile linear walk ending at Tottenham Hale Station.

Thanks to this month’s contributors Jo and Jim Nelhams, Don Cooper and Eric Morgan, Sue Willetts
Apologies for the late arrival of this newsletter, which was due entirely to Sue Willetts’s holiday from 18th August – 3rd September with very limited access to email / computer.

Hendon and District Archaeological Society
Chairman: Don Cooper, 59 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS Tel 020 8440 4350
Hon. Secretary: Jo Nelhams, 61 Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS. Tel 020 8449 7076.
Hon. Treasurer: Jim Nelhams, 61 Potters Road, Barnet, EN5 5HS Tel 020 8449 7076.
Hon. Membership Sec: Stephen Brunning, 1 Reddings Close, Mill Hill, London NW7 4JL.
E-mail: Tel 020 8959 6419
Web site:
Discussion group:


By | Latest Newsletter, Past Newsletters, Volume 10: 2015 - 2019‎ | No Comments

No. 569                                   AUGUST 2018          Edited by Jim Nelhams


HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming lectures and events

Thursday September 13thQuiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.

HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.

September 17th – 21st – Long trip to East Anglia staying in Brome.

Wednesday 3rd October – Finds Group Course recommences.

Tuesday 9th October 2018: Unrolling Egyptian Mummies in Victorian London by Gabriel Moshenska, Senior Lecturer in Public Archaeology, UCL

 Thursday October 11th – Quiz at Avenue House – 7:30 – £15 including a cooked supper.

HADAS regularly fields a team. Contact Stephen Brunning if you would like to be involved.

Until 12th October – Bluecoats in the City – FREE Exhibition at Museum of London. Article below.

Until 28th October – “Roman Dead” at London Docklands Museum. See following article Throughout October – Huguenot Month – Information below.

Tuesday 13th November 2018: The Rose – Shakespeare’s Secret Playhouse – a film made by Suzanne Marie Taylor, Anthony Lewis and Siegffried Loew-Walker. The documentary film will be introduced by one of the filmmakers, Anthony Lewis. The film’s highlight is HADAS member Suzanne Marie Taylor’s interview with one of the world’s greatest and most respected actors – Ian McKellen, who speaks about his own personal experience during the 1989 Save the Rose Campaign when the Rose was partially excavated by the Museum of London. The film was premiered at Canada House on February 2nd 2017.

Sunday 9th December – HADAS Christmas Lunch at Avenue House. 12:30 – 4 p.m. £30 including full Christmas dinner. Application form to follow.

Lectures start at 7.45 for 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, 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 talk. .



ROMAN DEAD – Exhibition at London Docklands Museum

Piecing together burials and beliefs in Roman London                                                             Deirdre Barrie


This compact exhibition at the London Docklands Museum is well worth a visit. Not only are there the expected skeletons and cremated remains of over 30 Roman Londoners, but a great deal of other interesting material.

It was the discovery of a huge stone coffin in Harper Road, Southwark which inspired this exhibition. The coffin was for the burial of a wealthy woman – costly, because no local stone is available. Most cremations use only pottery vessels, but higher status cremations have lead or glass vessels.

The burials and cremations in London demonstrate the diversity of the local population, who came to London from all over the Empire. One gravestone commemorates a man who came from the modern city of Arezzo, in Italy. Another third century tombstone was set up in memory of Marciana, a ten-year-old girl. and hints at her origin being from the Rhine or Danube area. Roman gravestones are often discovered reused in later buildings.

Burials had to be outside the central city, and there would also have been tombs beside roads leading there. (Think of the tombs lining the Appian Way). However, babies or newborns were sometimes buried near threshholds or under the floors of buildings.

I was intrigued by a mass of clumped, corroded soil enclosing a pair of Roman sandals. The X-ray photograph beside it showed clearly the outline of the soles by their studs, and beside that was a shiny, new reconstruction of similar sandals.

The millefiori glass dish found in Prescot Street, near Aldgate was worth more than a year’s wages for a Roman army officer. Its patterned glass was once brilliantly coloured red and blue, but after 2000 years has faded.

Entry to the exhibition is free, but donations are welcome. Minimum visitor age: 8.


Open until 28th October 2018; open 10 am-6pm. The Docklands Museum entrance is two minutes’ walk from West India Quay Station. Access is good, wheelchairs are provided, but there are cobbles outside the entrance.

Tomb fragments Millefiori glass dish



Cremations and vessels


Huguenot Month Launches in Spitalfields

October is Huguenot Month!  Huguenots of Spitalfields have a packed programme of events to celebrate these extraordinary, creative and talented people.

Huguenots were French Protestant refugees who fled persecution during the 16th to 18th centuries, many of whom settled in London. They contributed their skills to many fields, including silkweaving, furniture design, spinning and dyeing, silversmithing, clock making and jewellery.

Highlights include:

 Take a step back in time – Visit the unique and atmospheric ‘still-life drama’ of Dennis Severs’ House – a beautiful Georgian house in Folgate Street.

Enjoy a Georgian-Style ‘Back in Time for Dinner’ 

Find out how to trace your Huguenot ancestors

Hear how Queen Anne’s ladies- in- waiting prepared for her dazzling candlelit birthday ball, at the Townhouse in Fournier Street.

Hear Dan Cruickshank talk about Queen Mary II, and enjoy a gin and tonic.

Take a room-by-room tour of a Georgian house in Spitalfields to eavesdrop on those living and working in the kitchen, parlour, bed chamber and garret.

Come along to a ‘Skills Day’ for all the family : Try craft activities from collage and embroidery to paper making and plant dyes,  admire and buy the work of talented artisans including textile art, stained glass and jewellery, inspired by Huguenot skills.

Saturday 20th October, in the Crypt of Christ Church and Hanbury Hall Spitalfields, 11am to 4pm.

For full programme visit:

Contact: Charlie de Wet at or telephone 020 7247 0367.

Huguenot Month is supported by the City of London Corporation as part of their initiative, ‘Women: Work and Power.’

Huguenots of Spitalfields is a registered charity (no. 1151801) promoting public understanding of Huguenot heritage and culture in Spitalfields and beyond.


Bluecoats in the City: 350 Years of Christ’s Hospital      Jim Nelhams Museum of London until 12th October

Explore the history of the ‘Bluecoat School’ in London in this small free display.

In 1546, the former buildings and church of Greyfriars monastery in Newgate Street were given to the City of London for the benefit of the poor, elderly and sick. The buildings were used to establish Christ’s Hospital; founded in 1552 for the education of poor children. The School became known as the ‘Bluecoat School’ because of its distinctive uniform of navy coats and yellow stockings.

Two pupils in normal uniform in the cloisters which adjoin the quadrangle.


Painting of the old school in Newgate Street.  The tower of Christ Church is on the right.

After 350 years in London, the School moved to the market town of Horsham in 1902, but its strong bonds to the City of London remain. Since opening, Christ’s Hospital has educated, lodged, fed and clothed more than 65,000 children. Today the School continues its mission to advance the education of children, mainly for the benefit of those whose families are in social, financial or other specific need. Although officially a public school, over 80% of the pupils do not pay the full fees, with some 15% paying nothing.

This new display delves into the history behind the School’s creation, its iconic uniform, historic practices, charitable benefactors, and some of its famous pupils including Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The original site was on Newgate Street close to the Old Bailey. When the school moved to Horsham, the site was used by the Post Office. The church of Christ Church Greyfriars was used by the school pupils among others, but total attendances declined after 1902. The church was badly damaged in the blitz in December 1940, though has not been fully demolished. Part of the old churchyard became “Postman’s Park”.

The school site is now occupied by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and in 2017, they sponsored a sculpture to commemorate their predecessors on the site.

Sculpture erected  in 2017 at junction of Newgate Street and King Edward Street with ruins of Christ Church in the background.


The school has a strong musical tradition and boasts a large marching band, well used since pupils march from their boarding houses to lunch on most days. The band has played at lunchtime for Lord’s test matches, and at Twickenham for rugby internationals. It takes part each year in The Lord Mayor’s Show. In addition, parts of the school march through the City of London to a church service marking St Matthew’s Day (21st September). Should you choose to visit the museum on this day, you will be able to see the march. (Check the times.)

The school also boasts its own railway station on the line between Horsham and Arundel, and had a steam locomotive in the Southern Railway “Schools” class carrying its name – 30913 “Christ’s Hospital”.

Akiva School                                                                                                                           Jim Nelhams

Members will be aware that, as a charity, we include education in our remit. This is not just the education of ourselves, it includes the wider public. Over the years, we have had much contact with schools in the borough, and have carried out digs with some of them.

Akiva School is a Jewish school in East End Lane on the site of the medieval Bibsworth Manor and a few hundred yards from Avenue House. Back in November 2017, we received an email from one of the teachers at the school asking if there was any way the children could be involved in an archaeology project or if somebody could talk to them about archaeology.

There have been previous digs on the school site and it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. School security is tight. A dig within the school was not therefore practical.

This year, when we planned a dig near the water tower in Stephens House and Gardens, I contacted the school to see if, with this dig, we might help them, though for insurance reasons, having the children dig was not possible.

During the dig, the six classes in years 3, 4 and 5 (ages 8-10) were all given a half-hour presentation on archaeology and Avenue House before visiting the dig to see what we had done, some of the finds and some of our equipment. They also used measuring tapes and the dumpy level. Some 170 children were included.

Appreciative feedback has been received from the school.

A full report on the dig will appear in a later newsletter.

Wallingford and Dorchester Abbey                                                                                                 Don Cooper

This was a coach outing with the Barnet Museum and Local History Society (BM&LHS) to Wallingford and Dorchester Abbey on Saturday, 23rd June 2018. The coach with 44 eager passengers set off at 08.30 from the layby outside the BP garage on the Great North Road. It was a lovely sunny day.

On arrival at Wallingford we were “set free” to do our own thing. Wallingford is a pretty town by the banks of the Thames in Oxfordshire. It has a long history. In 1066 William the Conqueror came to Wallingford to cross the Thames with his army to negotiate terms for the surrender of the kingdom. The following year he ordered the building of a royal castle. It became the third great royal castle on the Thames after the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The castle remained the main source of the wealth of Wallingford right up to the end of the Civil

War when Charles II ordered it to surrender to Cromwell. Cromwell ordered and paid for the castle’s demolition. There is little left of the castle, but it was lovely to walk along the bank of the Thames and marvel at how large the castle had been.

A stroll around the town with its market square and three lovely churches was thirsty work and a pint and sandwich at one of the many pubs was welcome.

The museum at Wallingford deserves a special mention for both good and bad reasons. The bad is it charges £5 entrance fee (although we were told we could come back as many times as we liked during the next year!). The good is that is it jam-packed with items from the area and from every period. It especially has memorabilia of Agatha Christie who lived in Wallingford with her archaeologist husband.

Then it was back on the coach at 15.30 for the short ride to Dorchester Abbey. Dorchester on Thames as its name implies was a Roman town and the seat of a bishopric from AD634 when Pope Honorius had sent St Birinus to be its first bishop.

The bishopric was transferred to Lincoln in 1085. The abbey was founded in 1140 by the Augustinian canons although there are traces on the north side of Saxon masonry. The abbey is famous for its lead font, one of the few surviving lead fonts in England; its surviving effigies, especially the well-known “Swaggering Knight”; its Jesse Tree window; and an ornately carved sedilia and piscina dating from 1330. We were given a conducted tour by volunteer guides who were both knowledgeable and helpful.

At the end of the tour we were treated to a magnificent cream tea. A beautiful abbey well worth another visit.

Then it was back on the coach for the return to Barnet. It was a splendid day ably organised by Denis Bird.

OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS                                                                                      compiled by Eric Morgan

Sunday 5th August, 2:30 – Finchley Society – unveiling of information panel about Octavia Hill – Green Man Community Centre, Strawberry Vale, East Finchley, N2 9AB.

Until 28th August – Exhibition at British Library – “James Cook – the voyages” – £14 entry but concessions. Booking suggested. Daily times vary. Check for more information.

Friday 7th September, 7:45 – Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall Chase Side, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. Lecture “Exploring the Material Culture of Roman London” by Michael Marshall (MOLA). Visitors £1.

Saturday 8th September, 8:30 am. Barnet Museum and Local History Society. Coach trip to West Stow AngloSaxon Village and Bury St Edmunds. £25. Contact Dennis Bird, 020 8449 0705 for more information.

Monday 10th September, 3:00 – Barnet Museum & Local History Society. Church House, Wood Street, Barnet, EN5 4BW. Lecture “Miss Marjorie Honeybourne – an avid local historian” by Yasmine Webb. Visitors £2.

Thursday 13th September, 2:30 – London Parks & Gardens Trust. Tour of New Southgate Cemetery, Brunswick Park Road, N11 1JJ, led by Colin Barratt. £10.

Saturday 15th September, 10:30 – 4:00. Metroline Holloway Bus Garage, 37A Pemberton Gardens, N19 5RR. Open Day. Vehicle displays and Heritage vehicles. Admission by programme. Proceeds to charity.

Wednesday 19th September, 7:30. Willesden Local History Society. St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane, NW10 2TS. “An Evening with Brent Archive” by an archive team member about resources available to local historians.

Saturday 22nd September, 11:00 – 4:00. Barnet Museum and Local History Society with Barnet 1471 Battlefields Society – St John the Baptist Church, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW. Day conference including –

  • 12:00 “Warwick & Edward IV” with questions at 1:00. By David Santuiste.  1:30 Lunch break
  • 2:30 “Richard III, man or Myth”. Gillian Gear memorial lecture by Alison Weir with questions. Tickets on door – £3, non-members £5.

Wednesday 26th September, 7:45. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “Hendon School Excavations” by Don Cooper (our chairman). Non-members £2.

Thursday 27th September 8:00. Finchley Society – Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Lane, N3

3QE. “The Story of London’s Buses” – talk by Dr John Hodgson. Non-members £2. Refreshments at interval.

Saturday 6th October – 10:00 – 17:30 – London Archaeologist 50th Anniversary Conference at King’s College London, Waterloo Campus, Stamford Street, SE1 9NH. Booking for non-members opens August. Book online or contact Becky Wallower on £16.76


With many thanks to this month’s contributors:

Deirdre Barrie, Don Cooper, Eric Morgan


Hendon and District Archaeological Society

 Chairman Don Cooper 59, Potters Road, Barnet EN5 5HS  (020 8440 4350)


 Hon. Secretary Jo Nelhams   61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS      (020 8449 7076)


 Hon. Treasurer Jim Nelhams 61 Potters Road Barnet EN5 5HS    (020 8449 7076)


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

East Barnet EN4 8FH  (0208 440 8421)       e-mail:

Join the HADAS email discussion group via the website at:


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No. 537                                   DECEMBER 2015                             Edited by Don Cooper

Doesn’t time go quickly, here we are in the middle of November looking forward to that end-of-year holiday period again!! Do the years go faster as we get older?  It seems like only yesterday that I edited last December’s one! 

May I, on behalf of the HADAS community, wish you and yours the compliments of the season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016. 


Tuesday 12th January, 8pm. Royal Palaces of Enfield. Lecture by Ian Jones (EAS)

Tuesday 9th February, 8pm. Medieval Middlesex – The Archaeological Remains     by Adam Corsini.

Tuesday 8th March, 8pm. The Crossrail Archaeology Project. Lecture by Jay Carver.

Tuesday 12th April 2016, 8pm. In the lift to the beach: a visit to the Lundenwic waterfront by Douglas Killock

Tuesday 10th May, 8pm. Hadrian’s Wall: Life on Rome’s northern frontier. Lecture by Matt Symonds.

Tuesday 14th June 2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Tuesday 11th October 2016 To be arranged

Tuesday 8th November 2016, 8pm. The Cheapside Hoard. Lecture by Hazel Forsyth

All the above events, unless otherwise stated, will be held at Stephens House & Gardens (formerly Avenue House), 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE, starting at 8pm, with tea/coffee and biscuits afterwards. Non-members are welcome (£1.00). Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 and 460 pass nearby. Finchley Central Station (Northern Line) is a short walk away.

Church Farm House                                                                                     by Don Cooper

Church Farm House, Hendon (formerly Church Farm House Museum) is STILL vacant. The museum was closed in March, 2011, so it won’t be long until the 4th anniversary of its closing. We are being assured by Barnet Council that it is secure and being properly maintained and Historic England have not felt it necessary to add it to the buildings-at-risk register published last month (October 2015). Negotiations, we are told, are proceeding with Middlesex University but have yet to result in the signing of a lease. 

Recent discoveries about Roman Britain                                        By Peter Pickering

On 7th November I went to a conference organised by the Roman Society and the Association for Roman Archaeology. There were four lectures describing very recent excavations with remarkable new discoveries from Roman Britain. One was of a late Roman temple site in south-west Wiltshire, with a spectacular set of finds, especially miniature amphorae and hammers, and a large number of coins, over 30 of which have iron nails in them – perhaps originally attached to pieces of cloth, or hammered into a wooden post. There are also some lead curse tablets. But no indication, as yet, of what god or gods might have been worshipped there.

Professor Michael Fulford took us over the eighteen years of his excavation of part of Insula

IX of Silchester, which has finally come to an end, discovering so much more than the Society of Antiquaries had been able to find at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We were all fascinated by the evidence of a flourishing business of skinning dogs, presumably to make fur cloaks – a knife was found carved with an image of mating dogs. It seemed at the end that Professor Fulford was weaning himself and his students slowly from the excavation, having done some work on another insula, re-excavating some of the trenches of the Society of Antiquaries.

Sam Moorhead then gave an account of the Romans west of Exeter. 

Although he was standing in for a lecturer who had been prevented from telling us about Binchester, the ‘Pompeii of the North’, no-one would have guessed this from his polished and fluent presentation. The discovery of the site at Ipplepen was due to two active and responsible metal detectorists (who recorded the GPS data for the many coins they found). The coins demonstrated that the Romans had not lost interest after they got to Exeter; geophysical surveying and excavation has already found many archaeological features over several acres, including a roadside cemetery. The dig has a strong community focus. Finally, Andrew Birley told us about the most recent work at Vindolanda, which continues to be one of the most important Roman sites in the country. He is the third generation of Birleys to work there. Among the finds he described were a gold coin of Nero, and the wooden toilet seat. The anaerobic conditions in parts of the site continue to reveal wooden writing tablets and other things which are usually lost. It looks as if the Vindolanda excavations will continue for many years.


The Sandridge Hoard                                                                                   by Jean Lamont

Members of HADAS may be interested to know that the Sandridge Hoard has now been conserved and has gone on display at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans. The Museum is open all year round and every day (Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 17.30 and Sunday from 14.00 to 17.30), for public holidays such as Christmas check with the Museum, tel. 01727 751 810.

The Sandridge Hoard consists of 159 gold solidi and is the largest collection of solidi ever found in this country: they date from 375-408 AD and represent more wealth than most people could earn in a lifetime. There is no trace of the original container. The guidebook suggests a connection with one of the local villas and mentions Turnershall Farm a few miles away, itself subject of a separate display. Well worth a visit. Website gives details of entrance fees / parking etc


Lyndhurst Trip – continued

Our aim on our trips is to visit a variety of places without spending too long on the coach. These cover a range of interests, with twenty of our travellers submitting interesting newsletter contributions about our stops, and related topics. Our thanks to all who have put pen to paper. 

Day 2 started with one of our longer excursions – one hour to Stonehenge.

Visit to Stonehenge                                                                                                       Liz Gapp



Our coach dropped us at Stonehenge in time for entry timed for 10.30. As the threatened rain was holding off, most of us decided to get the shuttle bus to visit the monument first, before visiting the visitor centre. Some people walked the 1¼ miles to the site; some later also walked back.


We had all been provided with audio tour guides. There were numbers on the site which went from 1 to 8 corresponding to the audio descriptions. These descriptions also gave additional numbers for more detailed information about specific aspects. The descriptions pointed out that Stonehenge is the only stone circle with lintels; there are 300 later mounds around the circle using it as a focal point; the monument is not a true henge as the ditch is inside the defensive mound, not outside it; it was all built over a period dating 3,000 – 2,000 BC; the famous bluestones reputedly from the Preseli Hills in Wales are the smaller of the upright stones, the larger ones being the Sarsen stones from a more local area, most likely the Marlborough Downs in North Wiltshire; the stones had been rearranged at various times in the past.  As you walk round the circle of the monument various features such as the Heel Stone and the Slaughter Stone are described. You are kept to the edge of the monument by barriers, as the archaeology inside the barriers is deemed too fragile to be walked on.


Talking to people who knew the site from previous visits, it was felt the new approach, whether by shuttle bus or foot, was more atmospheric and a good way to enter the landscape. 

After returning to the interpretive centre (around midday), we went to the café and ate our lunch. Then we went to the exhibition, not large but with quite a few interesting video displays. After this we briefly walked round the reconstructed village of round houses. There we also saw two sample bluestones and a Sarsen stone, the latter in a frame to enable it to be moved. This was so that it was possible to feel the difference between the two stone types. The Sarsen frame was set up with a challenge for people to try and move it, with pressure gauges to highlight how much effort it would take to move it, and showing that in practice it  would have taken 200 people to move it.


We returned to the coach just after 13.00, although it wasn’t due to depart until 13.30. We were lucky, the rain had held off until just as we were due to leave the site, despite forecasts predicting an earlier start to the rain. Although not the warmest, it was a very enjoyable and rewarding visit.


Old Sarum                                                                                                          Peter Nicholson


The grey skies which had threatened, but mercifully held off during our visit to Stonehenge began to rain at a sprinkle on the coach trip to Old Sarum, then dampened us more and more. This curtailed both the time we spent on site and the proportion of it we explored.

The boundaries of the site are those of an Iron Age hillfort probably from about 400 BC.

When the Normans arrived, ready-made defences seemed a bonus too good to ignore and William the Conqueror raised a motte and bailey castle inside in about 1070. Our access was easy – the coach park is in the outer bailey, so no need to climb a hill as at Danebury. The view in front of us was impressive. A deep ditch was crossed by a modern wooden bridge and, rising above us, the inner bailey with rubble cores of walls of extensive ranges of buildings remaining.

Besides castles, the Normans were great cathedral builders and, at Old Sarum, they built two in quick succession inside the hill fort. The first, begun about 1075 was small by their standards with three apses at the east end. The second, larger, cathedral is shown by the rubble cores of its walls, which remain to a little above ground level. The wall lines of the first cathedral, where they do not coincide, are shown by lines of modern paving.

Time moved on and so, unusually, did the cathedral. A hilltop site exposed to extremes of weather and inconvenient for trade had obvious disadvantages. Proximity to a Royal castle, which was politically advantageous in the eleventh century, had ceased to be so in the thirteenth when the Pope had excommunicated the King. After years of dissatisfaction and discord, the foundation stone of the present cathedral, on its site in the river valley below, was laid in 1220. After the cathedral went downhill, literally, Old Sarum did so metaphorically, suffering depopulation, and eventually became notorious as one of the rottenest of rotten boroughs.


With the inclement weather, we opted to return to the hotel. The rain having relented, it gave an opportunity for a brief walk around Lyndhurst itself. The town is quite small, with roads that do not lend themselves to modern traffic with frequent queues of traffic for some 400 yards from the traffic lights onto the High Street. Our hotel was at the northern end of the town opposite some open ground.

Race Course View  by Vicki Baldwin

Although the ‘view’ is now open ground where the New Forest ponies come to graze, in the 18th Century there really was a popular racecourse here that appears on contemporary maps and continued in use until the 1880s.



The Custards                                                                                                        Vicki Baldwin

Opposite the hotel a turning, Race Course View, had a sign stating that it led to The Custards, which turned out to be a rather unremarkable road with houses on either side.  It seemed a very strange name so I started to look on-line for an explanation.  The reason given on the website for ‘Rhubarb Cottage, The Custards, Lyndhurst (I know, I know!) was that there had been orchards on the site and the apples were eaten with custard.  This seemed rather an odd link until I remembered that there was a variety of cooking apple named Costard.  It would seem rather more logical that ‘The Custards’ is a corruption of ‘The Costards’ and these were the apples grown in the orchards.


Report on HADAS Lecture – October 2015                       by Ken Sutherland-Thomas Scientific Methods in Archaeology


Lecture by Dr Caroline Cartwright from Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum.

The speaker’s primary areas of scientific expertise were identification and interpretation of organics such as wood, charcoal, fibres and other plant remains, shell, ivory and bones from all areas and time periods in the British Museum’s collections. She has led expeditions in many parts of the world.

The quite technical talk was illustrated with digital images of many of the objects under investigation. The many techniques used in analysis and investigation were discussed. She highlighted the fact that the processes used for this apply pre-excavation, during excavation and post-excavation as well as in conservation. Also highlighted was the need for outreach with emphasis on the requirement to publish results in an understandable form both in print and online; and to stage exhibitions.

The advance in analysis techniques including ever more sophisticated microscopes in the last couple of decades has been phenomenal and the hardware and software required mean an expenditure of many millions of pounds. Very few organisations can afford this expenditure.

The storage and archiving of objects is important as future techniques not yet discovered may well enable more information to be extracted from these objects.

The meeting, which was well attended, concluded with a question and answer session. Dr Caroline Cartwright was thanked for a very interesting lecture.

CROSSRAIL at Liverpool Street 

We have a lecture in March 2016 on the Archaeology discovered during the Crossrail project. Here is a taster from the Crossrail website  

The Bedlam burial ground was in use from 1569 to at least 1738, spanning the start of the

British Empire, civil wars, the Restoration, Shakespeare’s plays, the Great Fire of London and numerous plague outbreaks. 2015 marks the 350th anniversary of London’s last Great Plague in 1665 and archaeologists hope that tests on excavated plague victims will help understand the evolution of the plague bacteria strain.

The Bedlam burial ground, also known as Bethlem and the New Churchyard, is located at the western end of Liverpool Street. Over 20,000 Londoners are believed to have been buried at Bedlam between 1569 and 1738. It got its name from the nearby Bethlehem Hospital which housed the mentally ill, although only a small number of Bedlam residents are believed to have been buried there.

In June last year Crossrail invited 16 volunteers to scour parish records from across the capital to create the first extensive list of people buried at Bedlam. 

The resulting database of over 5,300 names and backgrounds is published on the Crossrail website and will inform Crossrail’s archaeological excavation.

The Roman remains that archaeologists uncovered at the Liverpool Street station tell a very different story from the Bedlam burial ground skeletons. Initially, skulls found in a small river channel were interpreted as wash-out from a Roman cemetery somewhere upstream.  But the discovery in May 2015 of a reused cooking pot full of cremated human bones changed archaeologists’ minds…..

Be sure and put a note in your diaries for what I’m sure will be an exciting lecture.

A Member’s Lecture                                                                         by Don Cooper

Stewart Wild is giving a lecture to the Mill Hill Historical Society at Trinity Church, Mill

Hill Broadway, on 13th January 2016 at 14.30 to 16.00 on the following subject: “History of Stevens’ ink and its Finchley connection” 

Other Societies’ Events                                                                     by Eric Morgan

Thursday, 7th January 2016 at 10.30 am. Pinner Local History Society, Town Hall, Chapel

Lane Car park, Pinner. “Memories of the Queen’s Coronation.” a talk by Terry Jenkins. Visitors £2, Please note the earlier time.

Monday, 11th January 2016, at 15.00 Barnet Museum and Local History Society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opposite Museum). “Photographic History of Charing Cross Road.” Talk by Bob Kayne. Visitors £2.

Wednesday, 13th January 2016 at 19.45 Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park N8 9PX. “The Friern Hospital Story.” Talk by David

Berguer (Chair, Friern Barnet and District Local History Society). Visitors £2 Refreshments.

Friday, 15th January 2016, at 19.00 City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS), St Olave’s Church Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. “The Temples and Gods of Roman London.” Talk by Dominic Perring (Institute of Archaeology University College London). Visitors £2.

Thursday, 21st January, 2016 at 19.30 Camden History Society, Venue details not yet available.Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park.” Talk by Professor Joe Cain. Visitors £1. Further details, visit or Telephone Mrs. Jane Ramsay on 0207586 4436 (acting secretary)

Thursday, 28th January 2016, at 14.30 Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, (now Stephens’ House and gardens) East End Road, N3 3QE. “Women and Medical Care in the First World War.” Talk by Dr. Susan Cohen. Non-members £2, refreshments (Please notice earlier time. 


Thanks to our contributors: Peter Pickering, Jean Lamont, Vicki Baldwin,  Ken Sutherland-Thomas, Liz Gapp, Peter Nicholson and Eric Morgan.



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No. 549                                   DECEMBER 2016                             Edited by Don Cooper

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year.


Sunday 11th December 2016 HADAS Christmas Party at Stephens House and Gardens (formerly Avenue House) from 12.30 to 4.00 pm

Tuesday 10th January 2017: My Uncle, the Battle of Britain VC, by James Nicolson

Tuesday 14th February 2017: London Ceramics at time of the Great Fire, by Jacqui Pearce

Tuesday 14th March 2017: Bugging the Nazis in WW2: Trent Park’s Secret History, by Helen Fry

Tuesday 11th April 2017: to be confirmed

Tuesday 9th May 2017: The Cheapside Hoard by Hazel Forsyth

Tuesday 13th June 2017: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Tuesday 10th October 2017: The Curtain Playhouse Excavations, by Heather Knight, MOLA

Tuesday 14th November 2017: The Battle of Barnet Project, by Sam Wilson


Lectures start at 7.45 for 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Road,

Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 82, 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 talk.

Women in Medieval London – Professor Caroline Barron                      by Vicki Baldwin

Professor Barron’s talk dealt mainly with the period following the Black Death (1348-9) during which women appeared to become more prominent as members and practitioners of skilled trades.  Her sources were Custumals, Mayor’s Court records, City Livery Company records, Parish Records, Indentures and Wills. Custumals were compiled over time and record the obligations and acceptable practises in a particular manor or town.  The records of City Livery Companies mainly date from the 15th Century, although a few have material from the 14th Century.  There were 100 parish churches but only around 30 have records that are Pre-Reformation.  Few original Indentures of Apprenticeship survive as once the term of apprenticeship had expired they had no use.  Wills could be made by married women with their husbands’ consent, and by single women and widows, and provide some indication of the financial status of a certain group of women.  Personally I suspect that even though the general workforce was diminished by the ravages of the Black Death, the majority of women would never have been in a position to be apprenticed to, and subsequently follow independently, a trade.

Custumals afforded women a number of opportunities not available outside towns.  If a woman followed a trade that was not that of her husband, the City Custumal allowed her to claim the status of a feme sole, a single woman, as opposed to a feme covert or married woman.  This enabled her to make contracts, sue or be sued, and to take on male or female apprentices to her trade.

Girls could be apprenticed to a Master or a Mistress, and some fathers left money in their wills so their daughters could be indentured.  In some cases women apprenticed themselves to a trade.  At the end of the period of apprenticeship boys became Freemen or citizens, whereas the skills the girls had acquired probably made them more marriageable.  As some of the female apprentices came from minor gentry, presumably their skills would help swell the family coffers until such time as they married.  The City of London oversaw the welfare of both male and female apprentices, and would punish their Masters and Mistresses for mistreating them.  For example, one Alice Boston who had prostituted her apprentice, was imprisoned and on three market days led from prison, accompanied by pipers or other musicians, and made to stand in the pillory for an hour with the reason for the punishment proclaimed.

The status of feme sole allowed a woman to claim the legal and economic advantages of a Freewoman and she could petition to be allowed to trade outside London, unlike a Freeman she could play no part in the political life of her guild or trade.  In addition, women who were living with their husband at the time of his death could also claim to be Freewomen as long as they remained unmarried and ran their husbands’ businesses.

In conclusion, this was an interesting talk that covered the opportunities available for a relatively small number of women at a specific point in history.

From Peter Pickering

I was interested to read the reference in the November newsletter to Gildas, since I recently went to a lecture at the British Library about this gentleman by Dr Rowan Williams, who was recently Archbishop of Canterbury, and is now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge. He was talking about Gildas’s education and the books to which he had access (which was why it was appropriate to the British Library). Gildas was more a polemicist than a historian in the sense we know it to-day; his prime purpose was to excoriate the kings and clergy of the Britons after the end of Roman domination, and to blame them for the terrible state the country was in (does this remind you of today’s politicians?). He does not speak of Arthur by name, but rather of the British victory at Mount Badon, at which other writers tell us Arthur led the British.

The lecture on Gildas was the first of a series of three. The second was on Bede and his library; Bede was much more a historian in the modern sense – interested in dates, and quoting sources – though he is biassed towards the Anglo-Saxons and against the Britons, whom he regards as inferior Christians. The third lecture, which I was unfortunately unable to go to, was about Nennius, a very shadowy figure who may have been the author of a ninth-century history of the Britons which connects Arthur with the battle of Mount Badon. I hope the lectures will be published in due course.

I also look forward to the results of the excavations at Tintagel; I viewed the site in the distance from the Victorian hotel now called Camelot Castle (run by scientologists) on a trip to Cornwall in the summer.


The Greek Pompeii                                                                                                  by Don Cooper

Akrotiri, a Minoan site, on the volcanic island of Santorini (called Thera in classical times) it is known as the “the Pompeii of Greece”. After a volcanic eruption, which destroyed the settlement and covered it with metres deep of pumice in 1627 BCE the site disappeared from view for 3½ thousand years. Although known about from the mid-19th century, excavations were not begun until 1967 and are still being carried out despite a number of pauses. They were initially carried out by Spyridon Marinatos of the Archaeological School in Athens, who died on site in 1974 and is buried by the side of it.

It seems that the volcanic eruption was preceded by severe earthquakes probably causing the population to leave the site (and go to Crete?) as no evidence of human remains have been found. The settlement was large about 20 hectares (c.50 acres), and with its sophisticated three-storey buildings, elaborate drainage system and street layouts it was an important place. It also seems to have been wealthy as witnessed by magnificent wall paintings, furniture and pottery vessels.

My wife and I visited Akrotiri in September 2005 where sadly about an hour after our visit and while we were driving back to our hotel, the “bioclimatic” roof over the site collapsed, killing one British tourist and injuring six tourists from other countries. The site staff had been watering the grass roof when one of the pillars supporting it gave way. Eight people were persecuted and subsequently jailed. The “bioclimatic” roof had recently replaced an asbestos one. The site then remained closed for seven years.

My wife went back in October this year (2016) and the change was amazing. The new entrance see (fig. 1) was landscaped and there are picnic areas and good toilet facilities.

Figure 1:  The new entrance

In the interim, there have been further excavations which have highlighted the multi-storey nature of many of the buildings as well as improving the definition of the street layout. So far only about 40 buildings have been uncovered which probably represent no more that 5% of the site. The whole Akrotiri harbour has not yet been excavated.

The volcanic ash which gets everywhere, has provided great preservation but means that the place looks as though it could do with a good hoovering! (Fig: 2 & 3).

The journey around the site is now largely on raised walkways so that you are looking down on the various features.

Figure 2: Earthquake damage to staircase

Figure 3: New areas


There are information plaques on the walkways around the excavation but it is a feature of the site is that there isn’t an official guide book nor indeed any book on the site for sale locally. However, there are local human guides that will show you around for 60 Euro.

The museum associated with the site is in the islands capital – Thera. It is an excellent museum with the artefacts well displayed – but still no written literature! The museum highlights the magnificent wall paintings – many now in Athens museum, the furniture, tables and chairs as well as the extensive pottery vessels. The various imported artefacts highlight the extent of Akrotiri’s trade links with items from Cyprus, Egypt, Syria and the Greek mainland. The photos below show various aspects of the displays: a wall painting, pottery vessels and an oven.

If possible it is best to visit the museum first before going to the site as it gives you a better understanding of this amazing site. Further information can be gleaned from the many web sites that have write-ups on the site.

Report on the Gillian Gear Memorial Lecture 4th November 2016

It is hard to believe that it is over a year since Dr Gillian Gear PhD MBE died and those of us who knew her still miss her. She was the driving force at the Barnet Museum and a fountain of local knowledge.

This inaugural lecture took place at Chipping Barnet Library and between 45 and 50 people heard a fascinating lecture about Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known as the “Kingmaker”) by Karen Clark. Karen Clark is a historian and author who has just published a book entitled “The Nevills of Middleham”, the book is for sale at Waterstones in Barnet.

The lecture was entitled “Warwick’s War” and she described the many battles that the Earl was involved in. Indeed it seems that if there was a battle then Warwick was there, he fought on both sides of the War of the Roses. He was also involved in fighting at sea. After success at the first battle of St Albans, he was made Captain of Calais, later Admiral. During his time there he acted inter alia as a pirate capturing and plundering a fleet of Hanseatic salt ships on their way to Lubeck and capturing six ships of the Castilian fleet. England was not, at that time, at war with either Castile or the Hanse.

His luck ran out at the Battle of Barnet in 1471 where he was killed. His body was brought with other nobles killed to London and put on display at St Pauls Cathedral to prove to the populous that he was dead. He was later buried at Bisham Abbey.

This was a very enjoyable lecture although the complexities of the relationships during the “War of the Roses” was difficult to understand.

Editor’s note:

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as “The Kingmaker” as a pirate.

Following the lecture, and not having known that Warwick indulged in piracy, I consulted the annuals of British Naval history notably “The Safeguard of the Sea” A Naval History of Britain 660 to 1649 by N.A.M Roger (Professor of Naval History at Exeter University) published in 2004 by Penguin Books, from which I quote.

“The Earl of Warwick became Captain of Calais in 1456, and soon showed himself a skilful and unscrupulous exponent of sea power, building his squadron on the revenue of the Wool Staple* and the plunder of unrestrained piracy. In 1458 he took six prizes out of a Castilian fleet. They at least were enemies, which the Hansa and Genoese, whom he plundered soon after, were not. All this was extremely popular in England where people cared nothing for legality or diplomatic consequences and saw only an English commander whose bold deeds did something to restore battered national esteem.” P153.

“In May 1460 Warwick’s squadron met the Lancastrian fleet under the Duke of Exeter at sea in the Channel, and Exeter ran away. The next month Warwick raided Sandwich, where the royal fleet lay and captured the entire force.” P154

In 1469 Warwick was at war with the Hansa. He captured a Flemish fleet in the Channel and was blockaded in Honfleur by an English and Burgundian fleet from which he escaped.

The Hansa and the Burgundians had their revenge when in March their fleet brought Edward 1V back to England and on 14th April 1471 Warwick was killed at the Battle of Barnet and his fleet surrendered.

In between all this piracy Warwick found time to change sides and help to install Henry V1 in October 1470 having previous helped to install Edward 1V after the battle of Northampton in 1461 – thus earning the title of “The Kingmaker”

N. A. M. Roger, 2004. ““The Safeguard of the Sea” A Naval History of Britain 660 to 1649” London/ Penguin Books. P153-154

The Wool Staple

The Wool Staple was a trading stratagem whereby a government required that all trade in certain designated goods could only be transacted at specific towns or ports. Calais was designed as the port for wool. All wool sold overseas was taken first to Calais, then under English control. Under this system, Calais itself was called ‘the Staple’. The trade was dominated by the Merchants of the Staple who, from 1363, had been granted the exclusive right to trade raw wool in Calais.

The English system remained in place for nearly two centuries, though it would decline in importance as exports of finished cloth were substituted for exports of raw wool. With the fall of Calais to the French, in 1558, the staple moved again to Bruges.

Warwick was able to impose and extract levies on the trade.

Jenckes, A L. 1908. “The Origin, Organisation and the Location of the Staple in England” Philadelphia/ University of Pennsylvania

Report on the lecture by Lyn Blackmore                           by Peter Pickering

Many thanks to Lyn Blackmore of Museum of London Archaeology for stepping in at very short notice when Hazel Forsyth cancelled the advertised lecture. Lyn took as her subject From Londinium to Lundenburgh – the development of Anglo-Saxon London. Her talk, well-illustrated with slides of pottery and other artefacts was, actually, almost as much an account of the steady development since the war in our knowledge of the area between the City of London and Westminster as it was of the development of Anglo-Saxon London itself.

The defences of the Roman walled city of Londinium were being strengthened as late as the beginning of the fifth century, but for whatever reason, the early Anglo-Saxons avoided it, though St Paul’s cathedral is mentioned in a seventh-century charter. For a long time where actually the Anglo-Saxons had lived in the London area was a mystery. Then, from the 1960s, when excavations at the Treasury site in Whitehall uncovered a well-preserved ninth-century settlement, the real Anglo-Saxon London began to emerge. In 1972 Saxon pottery was identified on the site of Arundel House on the Strand; evidence accumulated over the next ten years, and from 1984 the major excavations at the Royal Opera house, Covent Garden, found Lundenwic, a planned town established from AD 670s by Wulfhere of Mercia, or Hlothere and/or Eadric of Kent, which became the port of Mercia. Here, then, was the metropolis described by Bede in the early eighth century. To the east of Lundenwic, towards the Treasury, recent discoveries of sarcophagi and a tiled structure (perhaps a temple) near the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields have confirmed antiquarians’ accounts and show that Anglo-Saxons did not avoid this significant late Roman site. There were major fires in Lundenwic late in the eighth century, but it continued to flourish into the ninth century; then came Viking attacks, and people began to return to the old Roman city, which was re-established and refortified by Alfred the Great in 886. Lundenwic was forgotten, though some memory survived in the name ‘Aldwych’, (the old ‘wic’).

Lyn believes that there is still more evidence of the Anglo-Saxons waiting to be discovered; the small excavation for a lift-shaft in the Adelphi building, described for us at our May meeting, which found some of the Lundenwic waterfront, is a good omen. But Lyn thinks there is unlikely ever to be another site like the Royal Opera House – the Law Courts in the Strand will not be redeveloped for a long time, and shall we ever know if there was a temple of Apollo where Westminster Abbey now is?

BRADFORD Trip – Day 2   Jim Nelhams

Unlike Henrietta Barnet, who had long visits to Bristol (see November newsletter), the HADAS contingent had only a few hours to explore, starting at SS Great Britain.

“SS Great Britain”                                                                                                   Kevin McSharry

Day 2 of the HADAS expedition to Bradford-on-Avon and environs, was to Bristol.

The highlight for me was the visit to the “SS Great Britain”. The story of this mighty vessel, and the many, many people associated with this ship, is both epic and heroic.



Fig: 5 Launch of the SS Great Britain by Prince Albert 18th June 1843



Fig 4 Isambard Kingdom Brunel



Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a visionary engineer designed “SS Great Britain”. The “Britain’s” supersize hull made her, at that time, the biggest, strongest ship ever built.. She was fitted with a ground-breaking steam powered screw propeller, instead of the conventional paddle wheels, the very latest in maritime technology; the most powerful steam engine ever afloat; a balanced rudder, designed to make steering the ship easier for the crew … …. I could go on but suffice it to say “The Britain” was at the cutting edge of technology for its day.

“The Britain” had a long working life from 1845 to 1933. A working life brilliantly recounted in the inter-active exhibition that tells the life-story of this Leviathan of the seas from its inception to its abandonment in Sparrow’s Cove in the Falklands in 1937.

“The SS Great Britain” has been lovingly and meticulously restored, as a result one experiences what the “Britain” was like in its heyday for the crew and the passengers, 1st Class to Steerage. It would take days to do justice to this magnificent restoration of our heritage. My appetite was whetted for further visits.

Just as it was ground-breaking technology that enabled the building of the “SS Great Britain” it was ground-breaking technology that enabled its rescue from Sparrow’s Cove in the Falkands and its later restoration e.g. the floating pontoon which returned the “Britain” to Bristol, her birthplace, to the desert-like moisture reduced atmosphere that prevents the deterioration of the iron hull.

The visit left me with a kaleidoscope of reflections and emotions. The heroism of the men, who crewed the “Britain” through the “roaring 40s”, the genius of those who collaborated with Isambard Brunel to bring his brain-child to fruition; the intrepid daring and boldness of our Victorian forbears. In these post-Brexit days and the hysteria about immigrants, I pondered the fact that Brunel was the son of an immigrant and how Isambard enriched and garnered with honours this land of Britain that his father had adopted. I believe there is a message, a lesson for us.

Hoorah!  For the “SS Great Britain” and for all that the “Britain” and the people associated with it, from its birth to its honourable retirement, stands for. An epic saga filled with heroes.

I heartily commend a visit to the “SS Great Britain”.


    SS Great Britain as she is today.

Clifton Suspension Bridge                                                                                       Sylvia Javes

Figure 6: The Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension bridge is an elegant structure almost 75 metres above the Avon Gorge, between Clifton and Leigh Woods, Bristol. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who won a competition to design a bridge in 1830 at the age of 24. Work began, but the Bristol riots in 1831 caused investments to dry up. However, work resumed and by 1841 towers on the Leigh side were completed, but again money ran out and work was abandoned.

Brunel died in 1859, and it was decided to complete the bridge in his honour. Two engineers, John Hawkshaw, a railway and bridge engineer, and William Henry Barlow, who designed the St Pancras rail terminus, picked up the brief and completed it. The bridge finally opened in 1864.

Four wrought iron chains from Brunel’s Hungerford pedestrian bridge (demolished to make way for a rail bridge) were used, together with new ones for the uppermost layer. They built a more robust deck than Brunel had planned and there were other variations caused by the reuse of the existing chains. Its 214m span was the longest in Britain at the time.

The towers, 26.2 meters high, are in unadorned rough stone, rather than Brunel’s formal Egyptian style, complete with lions.

The bridge was constructed by workers working from a ‘traveller’ suspended on ropes, from which they joined individual links to make up the chains. The chains are anchored in tunnels 25 metres long at each end of the bridge. Suspension rods were hung from the links in the chains, girders hang from these to support the deck. The deck is almost a metre higher at the Clifton end than at Leigh Woods, but it appears horizontal.

The Bridge is a Grade 1 listed structure which still has around 99% of its original parts. When maintenance work takes place, care must be taken to replace parts like for like. It is maintained by the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, a non-profit making charity. The Trust receives no financial assistance and all maintenance and operating costs must be covered by the toll, £1 for cars and motor cycles. Pedestrians, cycles and horses cross free of charge. About 11-12,000 vehicles cross every day.  There is a weight limit of 4 tons, which meant that our coach had to park on the Clifton side and we walked across to the visitor centre on the Leigh Woods side, enjoying the view along the gorge as we crossed.


BRISTOL MUSEUM and ART GALLERY                                                                     Jeffrey Lesser

It was with a depressing feeling of déjà vu that I entered the 1st floor of the Museum by the side entrance. The exhibits of glass cupboards stuffed with tableaux of stuffed animals and birds were very similar to those in the pre-War local museum of my childhood; they might have been taken over directly. My spirits were only slightly lifted by an irrelevant, but donated, fully furnished Gipsy caravan.

But my mood was instantly changed by going up to the top floor to the Ceramic section.  One could see why Bristol in the 18th century was a noted centre of production and many examples were displayed with appropriate explanations. Particularly of note were specimens of the famous Bristol blue glass. An explanation of soft and hard porcelain was given together with some beautiful Chinese and Persian pieces which had stimulated British production. There were also examples of modern design including those from the 1930s.

The Museum was formed from two neighbouring buildings on a steep hill so there was a half-floor difference of level on each of the floors – a source of confusion when following the ground plans of the three floors. But the French Art, Old Masters and Age of Enlightenment galleries were comprehensive, the French Impressionists being well represented. In contrast there was an 17th century 4X3 metres piece of English art; it was a representation of all the animals entering the Ark and was marked by the ping-pong bats and balls which had struck it when displayed in the hall of its aristocratic owner. It was noticeable that there were many art students attempting their own versions – some very idiosyncratic. Reluctantly it was time to hurry on, lingering to see one of the earliest experimental aircraft, suspended in the central hall; a Bristol Boxkite. It was accompanied by an equally experimental – it seemed – short film of the ‘plane in flight. One can only marvel at the bravery of its pilot.

The ground floor is notable particularly for the section on Egypt, covering several periods with explanations of their developments. This, with the neighbouring display of Assyrian reliefs, seemed designed to stimulate the interest of children older than those for whom the nearby ‘Curiosity’ gallery was intended. I was interested to see this as it might have been similar to an 18th century ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. But it was intended to whet the appetite of young children to ask “What” and “Why” and “When” by means of carefully designed interactive displays. From this approach, they could gain so much more from the otherwise static displays of geology and maps, metalwork and art, dinosaurs and sculpture that had tempted me.

After a stimulating afternoon, it was time regretfully to leave the Museum and literally go downhill towards the Cathedral and it’s Green.

Bristol Cathedral                                                                                                      by Peter Pickering


Figure 7: Bristol Cathedral

When we got down the hill from the art gallery, Bristol Cathedral appeared prominent across the grass, colourful flowers and water feature of College Green. The building is rather deceptive, in that the large nave, through which we entered, is much more recent than the eastern parts; it dates from the nineteenth century, and is the work of G E Street, architect of the Law Courts on the Strand.
Bristol was not built as a cathedral, but as an Augustinian abbey, and was made into a cathedral when the monasteries were dissolved; for three hundred years after that, there was no nave, but the heart of the church was the chancel. Archaeological investigations connected with the installation of underfloor heating may however reveal something about a mediaeval nave.
The earliest thing visible is a late Saxon carving of the ‘Harrowing of Hell’, though the cathedral as it stands contains no existing or known Saxon structure. There are however important Norman features, especially the remarkably complete chapter house, its walls covered with patterned arcades and geometrical forms. The Elder Lady Chapel is of the early thirteenth century, with carvings including one of a monkey dressed as a King and playing a pipe. But the chancel itself and the Lady Chapel behind it are from the beginning of the fourteenth century, in an innovative ‘Decorated’ architectural style.
Throughout the building are tombs and wall-monuments, perhaps most notably those to abbots, to the Berkeley family, and to eighteenth century citizens of Bristol, many of whom prospered from the slave trade.
A fascinating visit to a major building. It was salutary to learn that it was almost burnt down in 1831, in riots when the bishop voted against the Reform Bill.


Visiting Bristol                                                                                                                     Jim Nelhams

Our reconnaissance to Bristol for the trip proved an interesting exercise. How better than to use God’s Wonderful Railway as the GWR was known, and follow the route designed by Brunel. His grand plan was that you left London on his railway to Bristol, where you would board one of his ships to complete your journey to New York. So we started at Paddington without our marmalade sandwiches, but with time to visit Paddington’s statue on Platform 1 and his shop on Platform 11 before boarding our standard gauge train.

A bonus on reaching Brunel’s Temple  Meads station: Bristol busses accepted our London freedom passes for the ride to the city centre.

Our trips only provide a flavour of possible places to visit, during the Hadas trip we scheduled only four, but there are lots of other places, museums and churches worthy of interest. And a day trip by train is very straightforward.

Our return journey was by a different route (with work going on elsewhere), and included an unscheduled stop at Bradford on Avon for 5 passengers who had boarded the wrong train.


Other Societies’ Events by Eric Morgan

Thursday, 16th December, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT. “Images of Camden Past and Present”. Talk by Gillian Tindall & Richard Landsdown. Visitors £1 with wine and mince pies from 7.00pm

Sunday, 18th December, 2.00pm, Jaywalks Enfield, Bush Hill Park, Meet Bush Hill Park Station, Queen Anne’s Place, Enfield. History guided walk lead by Joe Studman. Discover a conservation area with a surprising selection of historical associations. Cost £5 (Concessions £4). Lasts 90 minutes.

Thursday, 5th January, 10.30am, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner, “Cassiobury – The ancient seat of the Earls of Essex”. Talk by Paul Rabbitts on the untold story of the estate and family behind the Watford Park. Visitors £3

Monday, 9th January, 3pm, Barnet Museum and local history society, Church House, Wood Street, Barnet (opp. Museum). “The B to Z of street furniture”. Talk by Rob Kayne. Visitors £2

Wednesday, 11th January, 2.30pm, Mill Hill Historical Society, Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7 “Fair shares for all – rationing in Britain during and after the 2nd World War”. Talk by David Evans.

Wednesday, 11th January, 7.45pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, cnr Ferne Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 9PX. “Hornsey in WWI”. Talk by Nick Allaway. Visitors £2 Refreshments & Sales% information from 7.00.

Thursday, 12th January, 8.00pm, Historical Association (Hampstead and N W London Branch), Fellowship House,136a Willifield Way NW11 6YD (off Finchley Road in Temple Fortune). “Why was there no Socialism in America?”. Talk by Professor Lawrence Goodman.

Monday, 16th January, 8.00pm, Enfield Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, EN2 0AJ. “Alms of Enfield and Edmonton between 1930’s and 1970’s”. Presented by Film London incl. Edmonton & Enfield charter days, Joint Meeting with Edmonton Hundred Historical Society.

Thursday, 19th January, 7.30pm, Camden History Society, at Camden local studies and & archive centre, 32-38 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8PY. “Twenty extraordinary Buildings on Primrose Hill”. Talk by Martin Sheppard. Visitors £1. (For further details visit

Friday, 20th January, 7.00pm, COLAS, St. Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7BB. “Creating the Museum of London’s –Fire! Fire! Exhibition”. Talk by Meriel Jeater (MoLA). Visitors £2, Refreshments after.

Friday, 20th January, 7.30pm. Wembley History Society, English Martyr’s Hall, Chalkhill Road, Wembley, HA9 9EW9 (top of Blackbird Hill, adj. to the church). “From fire to fountain – Film and Television at Wembley Park”. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) commemorating over 100 Years of cinema and TV programmes made at Wembley, as its last TV studio closes. Visitors £3

Wednesday, 25th January, 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. “New Southgate”. Talk by Colin Barratt. Visitors £2, Refreshments including bar.

Acknowledgements:   Thanks to our contributors: Eric Morgan, Peter Pickering, Vicki Baldwin, Jeffrey Lesser, Sylvia Javes, Jim Nelhams, Kevin McSherry


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 9: 2010 - 2014 | No Comments


Number 515                           February 2014                 Edited by Andy Simpson 


Lectures are held at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE, and start promptly at 8 pm, with coffee/tea and biscuits afterwards. Non-members: £1. Buses 82, 125, 143, 326 & 460 pass nearby and Finchley Central station (Northern Line), is a 5-10 minute walk away.


Tuesday 11th February 2014

Ian Blair – Senior Archaeologist (MOLA) Anglo-Saxon finds at Southend.

This covers the investigations at Prittlewell near Southend. An Anglo-Saxon burial was discovered along with a large collection of ornate grave goods.  This led the experts to believe they were dealing with a 7th century prince.


Tuesday 11th March 2014

David Thorold – Curator, Prehistory to Medieval. Verulamium Museum; The Sandridge Coin Hoard


Tuesday 8th April 2014

Brian James-Strong, River Lea Tidal Mill Trust; Restoring House Mill (working title)


Tuesday 13th May 2014

Malcolm Stokes (HADAS member); The bishop’s hunting park in Highgate


Tuesday 10th June 2014



Tuesday 14th October 2014

Dr Nick Ashton – British Museum; Finding Neanderthal tools in Norfolk cliffs


Tuesday 11th November 2014



Jo Nelhams adds; Long outing to Kent, 29 June to 3 July; we need your support to swell the numbers booked to make sure the trip is viable!


Sunday Mornings at Avenue House… 

Continue in the usual vein for post-excavation work. Our three ‘master sets’ of HADAS Newsletters have been checked over and gaps filled, duplicate books and journals weeded out – as those of you attending the monthly lectures will have noticed – and cleaning and recording of the remarkably varied finds from the 2013 Avenue House greenhouse/water tower excavations are ongoing.


Buxton day 4 – the grand tour  Jim Nelhams


One of the objectives we have when planning our trips is to minimize the time spent on the coach. Although the countryside in the Peak District is delightful, we wanted to see as much as we could. This day was a challenge, with a number of visits planned and booked. At Eyam and Bakewell, there were small museums, so our numbers dictated splitting the group and “swapping over”. We also hoped to stop at Arbor Low stone circle on the way back to the hotel – which we managed, though with the weather closing in. But let our correspondents take up the story.


The Cathedral of the Peak  Micky Watkins


St John the Baptist at Tideswell is known as the Cathedral of the Peak because it is surprisingly large for a parish church. The church dates from the 14th century and is in the Gothic style, except for the chancel and tower which were built after the Black Death, at the end of the 14th century, and are in the Perpendicular style.

The woodwork is a most delightful feature of the church This is one of the few churches which has an original wooden screen, and even a screen door which is beautifully carved. On the organ case there are carvings of birds, leaves and plants and all sorts of animals. On the choir stalls there are carvings of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Visiting the Sick, all about ten inches high. There are further carvings on the pew ends. This beautiful work was done by in the early 20th century by Advent Hunstone, a local carver.

There was an earlier church on this site, and the font which appears to be Norman must have been in that church. In the Lady Chapel there is a very old window and a curious tomb with two female stone figures which date from before 1300.


In the De Bower chapel there is a stone monument of a knight and his lady, probably Sir Thurstan de Bower and Lady Margaret. A large tomb in the centre of the chancel is that of Sir Sampson Meverill, a famous knight and soldier who fought Joan of Arc and died in 1462. There are several brasses, one to Bishop Purseglove who was born in Tideswell and became Bishop of Hull.  He was an agent of Thomas Cromwell and was involved in the dissolution of the monasteries, becoming rich in the process.


This medieval church was sensitively restored in 1875, and a fine Jesse window was made in the east window behind the altar. In 1907 the vicar paid for a new and very colourful west window. The 19th and 20th century craftsmanship has added to the glory of this big church.


“Ring a Ring of Roses”  Kevin McSharry


Eyam (pronounced ‘eem’) is a small village in the heart of the Dales of Derbyshire. Picturesque?  Oldy worldy?   Yes, to a degree, but probably no more so than many a neighbouring village or hamlet.  Yet Eyam is a name with which to conjure; a name that has resonated down the years; and a name that drew the HADAS intrepid explorers on the third day of the 2013 visit to Buxton.


Eyam made its stamp on history and entered into National and International Chronicles during the fateful thirteen months from September 1665 to October 1666 – the fifth and sixth years of the restored Stuart monarchy, in the person of Charles II.  Years better remembered in the school history books for the Great Plague and Great Fire of London.


The Great Plague was the fatal portal by which Eyam entered into the history books.  The Great Plague, The Black Death, Bubonic Plague by whatever name one wishes to call it meant a painful death for the individual and for the population, as a whole, decimation.


The Plague came to Eyam from London on a wagon carrying a bolt of cloth which was delivered to George Viccars, the village tailor.  The cloth was flea infested.  It was the flea from the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) which carried the Bubonic Plague.  George, the tailor, was the first to be infected.  Within two days he was struck down by a raging fever, swellings (buboes) on his body followed by a rose-red rash and finally death.  Hence,

“Ring a ring of roses

A pocket full of posies

Atishoo, atishoo

We all fall down.”

In this simple children’s rhyme, a grim legacy of the plague, the complexities of the plague, its symptoms, how it is spread (a red rash, sneezing), its possible prevention (a nosegay of posies) and its inevitable outcome death (we all fall down) are succinctly summed up.


The plague spread rapidly; and, at this point in the story of Eyam two names figure prominently: the Reverend William Mompesson, village Rector, and the Reverend Thomas Stanley, Mompesson’s immediate predecessor. Under their strong leadership, putting aside their deep doctrinal differences, they persuaded the villagers to enter voluntary quarantine to prevent the plague spreading to neighbouring settlements; to bury their own dead; and to worship in the open air, in the Delph, to limit the spread of the disease.  This self-imposed quarantine, this self-sacrifice prevented the spread of the Plague, it saved lives.  One hears echoes of the Evangelist John:

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.


The cost of this self-sacrifice by the villagers of Eyam, was a high one. Painful death after painful death resulting in 260 mortalities, probably a third of the population of Eyam. Some families were wiped out. Some left but a sole survivor such as Elizabeth Hancock who buried her husband and six children in just eight days. Each body Elizabeth dragged or carried from her home, dug the grave and filled it herself


The call to sacrifice came from the clergymen, Mompesson and Stanley, but the response was a communal one – hesitant perhaps but nonetheless a resounding yes!  The self-sacrifice of the good people of Eyam was not typical of the rest of society:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured and far away.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862).


Today’s Community of Eyam, the spiritual heirs of the Eyam Community of three and a half centuries ago, have ensured that the heroism and self-sacrifice are remembered, that they are not forgotten.  Their sacrifice is kept ever-green through its excellent Museum, its craft centre, which served a welcomed cup of tea, well-maintained Parish Church of St. Lawrence, excellent signage to dwellings and graves of those who lived and perished in the Plague, the provision of car-parking and public toilets; an annual service of Thanksgiving, held at the open-air Delph, their place of worship during the plague, on the last Sunday of August.


The poet Wilfred Scawen Blunt said that there was:

“No truce with Time nor Time’s accomplice Death.”


The weathervane on the top of Eyam Museum.


There is no truce with death but Eyam seems to have gained a kind truce with time, because the name of Eyam and the place of Eyam, in history, has not faded.  Why is Eyam remembered?  Why does its name endure?  The answer lies in the eternal verities of love of neighbour and self-sacrifice so poignantly manifested by the good people of Eyam centuries ago.  Surely humanity at its best.


Monsal Head  Jim Nelhams

Having left Eyam on our way to Bakewell, time for a brief coffee (or something stronger) stop at The Monsal Head hotel. The hotel is situated at the top of Monsal Dale, giving a splendid view over the dale, and of the famous railway viaduct built by the Midland Railway in 1867, and the River Wye meandering below. Was that Andy disappearing into the distance? (It was!!  With great views from the viaduct, adjacent tunnel, and station remains a short walk away -Ed)


Bakewell  Dot Ravenswood


The church of All Saints stands on a steep hill overlooking the town. It may have been founded as early as the 680s, and a church building was almost certainly there by 800. The two crosses in the churchyard, not on their original sites, date from the early 9th century. The fenced-in cross on the west side is particularly well preserved, having its original socket stone and part of its head.



The west front and part of the north and south arcades of the nave are 12th-century work. The main part of the church was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, when an amazing number of Anglo-Saxon and Early English stones was discovered beneath the north and south transepts and the crossing, including decorated cross shafts, grave slabs and standing stones.

Many of the grave slabs had symbols inscribed on them, a chalice or sheep shears or a sword, to indicate the occupation of the deceased.


Some of these stones, piled up and cemented together, line the south porch and the northwest arch. What they are doing at Bakewell is a mystery. One theory, based on recent research sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is that they may relate to Edward the Elder’s reconquest of the northern lands held by the Danes, which was affirmed at a meeting at Bakewell in or about 920. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Edward built a fort at Bakewell in that year, and the northern tribes assembled there to acknowledge his authority.


At the top of the south aisle there is an unusual alabaster wall monument commemorating Sir Godfrey Foljambe (d. 1376), and his wife Avena (d. 1382). Their small, waist-length figures are in a recumbent attitude, with hands closed in prayer, but set upright inside a window-like frame. On the right is the “Newark,” an extension of the south transept, so called because it was “new work” in the mid-13th century. It was rebuilt in 1841-52. The screened-off area was a mortuary chapel for the Manners and Vernon families, whose tombs include a spectacular wall monument to Sir George Manners (d. 1623), with two tiers of kneeling children and arches inscribed with verses from the Bible; the alabaster tomb of Sir George Vernon (d. 1567), and his two wives, with effigies; and a wall monument to Sir John Manners (d. 1611), and his wife Dorothy (d. 1584).


It was a surprise to see that the church contains work by several distinguished modern artists and architects. The stained-glass window of the Adoration of the Lamb was designed by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday, and the striking black and gold altar in the north transept is by Ninian Comper. The chancel was redesigned by Gilbert Scott the Younger about 1880.

The Old House Museum, behind the church and further up the hill, occupies a building which was described as “a competant dwelling house” in 1534, when it was leased to the tax collector Ralph Gell of Hopton by the Dean and Chapter of Lichfield. In 1777 Sir Richard Arkwright leased it from the Gell family and converted it into six homes for mill-workers. The house was saved from demolition in 1935 by the Bakewell and District Historical Society, who run it as a local history museum, with displays of costumes, lace, toys and tools, and Tudor and Victorian room settings.

Much altered and extended, the building is roughly H-shaped, with a two-storey porch and mullioned windows. It has oak beams and floorboards, a two-storey timber partition with some original wattle and daub infill, a garderobe, and big ashlar fireplaces on both floors. The ground-floor fireplace is flanked by the original stair turret (occupied by a modern staircase).

(Note – Emma Robinson has conducted further research on the cross and stones at Bakewell – to be included next month.)

Arbor Low Stone Circle  Jean Lamont



Our visit to Arbor Low was the last we made – at the end of our “3 churches and a Plague” day, before setting off home on Thursday. A gentle ½ mile climb along a farm track brought us to the site 1,230 feet above sea level. We could immediately see why it had been chosen by the Neolithic builders, because of the nearly-360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.


The site is thought to date from the 3rd millennium BC and to have been developed in at least 3 stages: first a long barrow on the adjacent Gib Hill, then in the late Neolithic an elliptical henge (a 2m high bank with a 7-12 m wide ditch inside) broken by two opposing entrances in the NW and SE. The diameter of the bank is around 90m to 85m externally. Finally a ring of stones was erected on the inner platform: these vary in size around 1.5 – 2m tall, with monoliths 2.6m and 2.9m tall at the entrances. A small group of 7 stones was placed in the centre of the ring. Allowing for broken stones it is estimated that there were originally between 41 and 43 standing stones. The site would have been very impressive, but all the stones have now been flattened, possibly, at the suggestion of English Heritage, for superstitious reasons.


Buxton Museum has a display of artefacts found at or near the site including a skull, discoidal flint knives, flint knives and scrapers, a stone “mace head” and stone axe and some delicate flint arrowheads, all dating from the period 3,200 – 1,400 BC.


Unfortunately the rain which had held off until we reached the site started to come down in a chilly wind, and this discouraged us from exploring and experiencing the site as we would have liked, so we made a hasty retreat to the coach.


As always, prehistoric monuments like Arbor Low raise many questions: what ceremonies took place there? What beliefs did the communities who built it hold, so strong that generation after generation continued their work? It is frustrating that we shall never know.




Site of Cricklewood Locomotive Shed evaluation                                               Bill Bass


During November 2013, Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) undertook an evaluation dig at this site before a planned housing development is built. The site is bordered by the Edgware Road and the Midland Main Line at the end of what is now Geron Way, south of Staples Corner.


Edgware Road is well known as being the line of Watling Street Roman Road. The steam shed buildings were closed in 1967 and mostly demolished c1969. Eventually a thick concrete raft was laid over the entire site with latterly ‘Parcelforce’ using it as a depot.


A series of large trenches were opened up through the concrete, much of this revealed that most archaeology had been truncated away by various demolition and levelling works. However, the remains of concrete foundations, cast-iron drains and what could be the bottom levels of brick lined ‘inspection pits’ of the loco shed were seen. Inspection pits were used to gain access to the underneath of locos for servicing. At Cricklewood there was a brick built double-roundhouse with a turntable for each, these ‘inspection pits’ may be the ones surrounding the turntables. The above features were directly built into solid London Clay.


Many thanks to MoLA Site Manager Paul Thrale and Project Manager Michael Smith, and also Sandy Kidd of EH for their time.




Some recent Roman finds in Kingsbury        by Philip Grant (Wembley History Society)


Back in its early days, in 1953, Wembley History Society campaigned to try to save what was thought to be a Tudor farmhouse at Blackbird Hill in Kingsbury from being demolished. Although there was talk of an archaeological dig, no record appears in the Society’s early Journals to show that any such work was done. Blackbird Farm was demolished around 1955, and “The Blackbirds” public house opened on its site a couple of years later.

A sketch of Blackbird Farm in January 1927,
by local amateur artist, L. Hill. [Source: Brent Archives – Wembley History Society Collection]

Scroll forward to 2010, and the pub had closed like many others, despite an attempt to revive it as the Irish-themed “Blarney Stone”. Developers put in a planning application to build a five-storey block of flats, with an underground car park and retail unit on the ground floor, on the site. Luckily, the location had been identified as one with archaeological potential in a document drawn up in the 1980’s by Brent’s then Planning Conservation Officer, Geoffrey Hewlett, a Wembley History Society member and now a well-known local history author. The Society, backed by Brent Museum, supported the Planning Officer’s recommendation that there should be a condition in the planning consent for a proper archaeological assessment of the site, and this was agreed by the Planning Committee, including a requirement that both the Museum and the Society should be consulted about the archaeology work.


The desk-based archaeology assessment for the site suggested that, although there was a good prospect of finding post-medieval material, the chances of finding anything earlier were low. The information that we provided was that there could well be earlier material, based on the possibility that what is now Blackbird Hill was part of a pre-Roman trackway from a Thames crossing near Westminster up into Hertfordshire (known as Eldestrete, or the old street, in Saxon times), and that the Roman tiles and other domestic material included in the rubble walls of the nearby St Andrew’s Old Church (which dates from around AD1100) may have come from a local building.


A photo taken during our visit on 18 September, with cabins in the background.

In the Summer of 2013, we learned that building work on the site was about to begin, and that Archaeology South-East (“ASE” – the commercial arm of University College London’s archaeology department) would be carrying out the excavations.  Preliminary work by ASE had involved three trial trenches at various locations around the pub building, which established that the only area worth full excavation was at the lower end of the site alongside Old Church Lane. This agreed our own ideas, based on the 1950’s building plans. Because the contractors were already on site, excavating for the underground car park, ASE could not allow public access to their “dig”, but did allow a group from Wembley History Society to visit on 18 September 2013, in hard hats and high-visibility jackets and under close supervision.


One of the brick pads

Among the first excavated remains we were shown were the brick pads which would have supported the wooden frame of the square timber building (seen in the sketch on page 7) at the corner of the site. This was probably a store for grain or a similar crop, which needed to be raised off of the ground to protect it from damp and rats, and the bricks were thought to be 18th century. A range of buildings with brick foundations had been uncovered, with a wall which the site manager thought probably dated from the 18th or late 17th century butting on to another which could be 16th century, but which had then been used as the base for 19th century brickwork. These finds tend to confirm continuous occupation of the site from Tudor times, when a freehold smallholding called “Findens” is shown here on the 1597 Hovenden map produced for All Souls’ College, with a succession of barns or other ancillary farm buildings.


Close-up of a pit showing the different brick wall and floor details

Among the “finds” we were shown at the end of our visit, mainly pieces of pottery dating from between around 1600 and 1800, the most interesting was a shard from an Iron Age pot, one of four that had been unearthed at the site.


A shard of black Iron Age ware found at the site.


We were told that such finds are quite common on “digs” in the London area, but although there was no evidence linking them with Iron Age activity at the site, their presence must surely lend some support to the belief that Blackbird Hill may have been on the route of a pre-Roman trackway.


Although our visit was towards the end of the scheduled two-week excavation, it was only several weeks later that I heard news of the exciting final discoveries at the site. There were several cabins at the north-east corner of the “dig”, and while excavating close to these, the archaeologists saw signs that there might be interesting features underneath the cabins, so they arranged to have them moved. When they returned, clearance down from the surface level indicated several areas where trenches were needed to investigate further. Two trenches revealed a clearly defined ditch, which from its shape and other evidence leads the archaeologists to believe that it probably dates from the Roman period.


View of part of the last area excavated, previously under the cabins.
[This and subsequent photographs all courtesy of Archaeology South-East]


The second feature uncovered was a shallow pit.

The ASE Project Manager, Andy Leonard, explained that although this pit ‘admittedly does not look very impressive’, the “rubbish” thrown into it (almost certainly by the occupants of the ditched area) was of great interest to the archaeology team. It included some pieces of what were initially thought by the archaeologists to be Samian ware pottery. After cleaning up, and following close examination by ASE’s Roman pottery expert, Anna Doherty, it has now been identified as some sherds of Oxfordshire red-slipped ware, a Romano-British pottery type which is later in date than genuine imported Gaulish Samian ware but which is of a similar stylistic tradition. It probably dates from the 3rd or 4th  century, and is definitely from the Roman period.  

Some of the Oxfordshire red-slipped ware pottery found on the site.

We will have to wait until the post-excavation work has been carried out by specialists, and the final report on the excavation has been approved, but what appears to have been found here is the first “in situ” evidence that there were people actually living in Kingsbury, on a permanent basis, in the early centuries of the first millennium. This takes Kingsbury’s known history back by at least 500 years from the Saxon origins of the parish and its name.

It is interesting to note that Blackbird Farm stood on top of a low hill, with gravel deposits covering the underlying London Clay. About one kilometre due east, on the other side of the River Brent valley, archaeologists from the Museum of London uncovered evidence of another Roman period farm on a similar gravel-covered hill top at Brook Road, Dollis Hill, in 2000. Their “finds” also included red-slipped ware from the 3rd or 4th centuries. In the 21st century it is beginning to appear that this side of Brent, between the Watling Street Roman road and the earlier Eldestrete trackway, may have been part of an agricultural area serving Londinium around 1,700 years ago.

If you would like to know more about the history of Blackbird Farm, Kingsbury, before these latest archaeological discoveries, you can read an article about it in the online local history resources collection on the Brent Archives website:,%20Kingsbury.pdf



Illustrated Talks at Guildhall Library (Aldermanbury, London EC2) by Robert Stephenson (a CoLAS stalwart known to several HADAS members)

Free- but please book a place with Eventbrite


Friday 26 February 2014 2pm – 3pm The Knights Templar and their London Connections – an overview of their London properties and sites connected with their brutal suppression.



Lecture by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum         Sylvia Javes


The society’s lecture on Tuesday 8th October was given by Robert Hulse, Director of the Brunel Museum. The museum beside the Thames at Rotherhithe is on the site of the shaft of the Thames Tunnel. When it first opened in 1843 the Thames Tunnel was described as the Eighth Wonder of the World: the first tunnel to be built with a tunnelling shield under a navigable river.


The tunnel was proposed in 1824 by Marc Brunel, a French engineer who had fled France in 1793. The Thames was extremely congested, and it was difficult to take boats across the river. A tunnel would allow horses and carts to cross with goods. Money was raised, and work began in 1825, with the building of a 50ft wide brick tower at Rotherhithe.  The tower sank into the clay under its own weight as it was excavated, creating a 50ft wide lined shaft.


To excavate the tunnel, Marc Brunel had devised a frame, or shield, in which there were 36 miners’ cells. Each miner excavated his own cell. As the cells were excavated, the frame was jacked forwards, and bricklayers lined the walls behind. A mechanised version of this system is used in tunnelling today. Working conditions were extremely difficult. Miners were continually showered with foul Thames water, and many suffered from infections. Oil lamps lit the workings, and marsh gas caused sudden flares. Men could only work in these conditions for two hours at a time.


In 1827 there was a flood, but no lives were lost, and Marc’s son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel repaired the breach.  Money ran out, but a fund-raising banquet was held in the tunnel, attended by the Duke of Wellington and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. Work restarted, but another inundation occurred in 1828 killing six men, and almost killing Isambard, who was swept along the tunnel to the shaft. He was seriously injured and sent to Clifton (Bristol) to convalesce. Although immediate repairs saved further damage, money had run out, the tunnel was bricked up, and work stopped for several years, until finally in 1834 the government loaned money to restart work. It took another nine years of difficult excavation and building before the tunnel finally opened – as a foot tunnel only, as money could not be found to build ramps for horses.


On opening day 50,000 people walked through the tunnel paying one penny each. Soon there were souvenir shops in all 60 of the archways, but the tunnel attracted thieves, preying on the crowds.  Shops closed as visitors decreased. Despite various carnivals and fairs, the tunnel eventually fell out of favour and it was finally sold to the East London Railway in 1865, and in 1869 incorporated into the East London Line eventually to become part of the London Overground  The Grand Entrance – the original shaft – still remains, and the Brunel Museum is planning to restore and use it as a space for concerts and other events. The museum opens daily and there are occasional tunnel walks arranged through the museum.


Gresham College lectures – a prompt from Guy Taylor…


Wednesday 12 March, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘War Halls: Royal Houses from the Saxons to the Hundred Years War.’

Wednesday 16 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Nicholas Flemming (Southampton University) ‘Humanity and a Million Years of Sea Level Change.’

Wednesday 23 April, 6pm at the Museum of London – Simon Thurley: ‘Playing Catch-up: Palaces from the Hundred Years War to the Wars of the Roses.’

Tuesday 6 May, 1pm at the Museum of London – Gustav Milne: ‘The Gresham Ship: An Armed Elizabethan Merchantman.’ Further details at



OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS compiled by Eric Morgan


Friday 14 February 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane Junction, Chase Side, Enfield EN2 0AJ ‘By the Waters of Nineveh’; The Archaeology of Iraqi Kurdistan. Talk by Ian Jones Visitors £1.


Friday 21st February, 7.30pm Wembley History Society English Martyrs Hall, Chalkhill Road (top of Blackbird Hill adjacent to church)  Wembley HA9 9EW. Wembley’s Nigerian Village, 1924. Talk by Philip Grant (Brent Archives) Visitors £2.


Thursday 27 February 2.30pm Finchley Society Drawing room, Avenue House, East End Rd

N3 3QE.   Ally Pally Prison Camp.  Talk by Dr. Maggi Butt, Visitors £2.


Sunday 2 March, 10.30am – 12.30 approx. Heath and Hampstead Society Meet between Old Kitchen Garden and Entrance to English Heritage Staff Yard, East of Kenwood House. The Hidden Heath. Walk by Michael Hammerson (HADAS Member) Cost £3.


Wednesday 5 March, 8pm. Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone. Three Women of Pinner Talk by Pat Clarke (Pinner L.H.S and LAMAS) Visitors £1.


Thursday 6 March, 8pm Pinner Local History Society Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park. Pinner Research Group Presentation: Various Speakers. Visitors £2.


Monday 10 March, 3pm Barnet Museum & Local History Society Church House, Wood St, Barnet ((opposite Museum). Maria Merian, an early C17th Scientist and Artist.  Talk by Helen Walton.


Wednesday 12 March 2.30pm Mill Hill Historical Society Trinity Church, The Broadway, NW7. Pugin; The Architect of the Palace of Westminster. Talk by Malka Baker. Preceded by A.G.M.


Wednesday 12 March 7.45pm Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, Corner Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 9PX.  She Dared to be a Doctor; The story of Elizabeth Garett Anderson.  Talk by Eileen Rowlands. Visitors £2.


Friday 14 March, 8pm Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, 2, Parsonage Lane, Enfield EN2 0AJ.  Remarkable Pots & Extraordinary Vases – Some unusual byways of Archaeological Ceramics.  Jacqui Pearce (HADAS course tutor) Visitors £1; refreshments, sales and info from 7.30pm.


Wednesday 19th March, 7.30pm Willesden Local History Society St Mary’s Church Hall, Neasden Lane NW10 2TS (nr. Magistrates Court).  The Beauty of Gothic Architecture in Willesden.

Talk by Julienne McClean.


Wednesday 19 March, 8pm Stanmore & Harrow Historical Society Wealdstone Baptist Church Hall, High St, Wealdstone.  History Book evening Visitors £1.


Thursday 20 March, 7.30pm Camden History Society Joint with Friends of Highgate Cemetery 10A, South Grove, N6 (Highgate Village).  Who Lies in Highgate Cemetery?  Talk by writers involved in new guide. Please Note; The venue for their talk of 20 Feb is Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 – details in January HADAS newsletter. Visitors £1.



Thursday 20 March, 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society Crypt Room, St John’s Church, Church Row, NW3.  The Star-crossed Stone – the archaeology, mythology and folklore of fossil sea urchins.  Talk by Dr Ken McNamara. Part of Science Week. Refreshments at interval.


Friday 21 March, 7pm CoLAS St Olaves’ Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3R 7NB.  Roman coins – a window on the past. Talk by Ian Franklin, visitors £2.


Friday 21 March, 7.30pm Wembley History Society English Martyr’s Hall, Chalk Hill Road, Wembley HA9 9EW. The Life and Legacy of George Peabody. Talk by Christine Wagg. Visitors £2. Refreshments available.


Saturday 22 March 11am–5.30pm L.A.M.A.S Archaeological Conference Weston Theatre, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN.. Morning session 11–1;  Recent Work Afternoon session 2-5.30:  Entertainment in Tudor and Stuart London (including all those Southwark theatres and bear baiting venues – Ed)


Tuesday 25 March, 1pm Gresham College Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH. The Museum and Historical Collections of the Bank of England. Talk by Jennifer Adam. Free admission.


Wednesday 26 March, 7.45pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society North Middlesex Golf Club, The Manor House, Friern Barnet Lane, N20 0NL. The Turin Shroud.  Talk by Colin Barrett.  Visitors £2. Refreshments before and after meeting.


Thursday 27 March, 8pm Finchley Society Drawing Room, Avenue House East End Road, N3 3QE.  Discussion – please see March/April newsletter for further details. Visitors £2.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 8 : 2005 - 2009 | No Comments



Page 1


Saturday 22 July, Outing to Leicestershire with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward. Details were sent out last month.

Wednesday 30 August — Sunday 3 September, HADAS Long Weekend in Devon and Cornwall, staying at Plymouth University. Now fully booked with a small waiting list.


Tuesday 10th October 2006, Nadia Durrani (assistant editor, Current Archaeology), The Queen of Sheba.

Tuesday 14th November 2006, Barry Taylor & Steve Ellwood (both of English Heritage), The Sites and Monuments Records for Barnet.

Tuesday 9th January 2007, Stephen Knight (curator, Colne Valley Postal Museum, Essex), British Post Box Design and Use: the first 150 years.

Tuesday 13th February 2007, tba.

Tuesday 13th March 2007, Eileen Bowlt (Chairman, LAMAS) The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) in the early days.

Tuesday 10th April 2007, Denis Smith (Lecturer, Industrial Archaeologist) title tba.

Tuesday 8th May 2007, TBA.

Lectures start at 8.00pm in the Drawing Room, Avenue House, 17 East End Rd, Finchley N3 3QE. Buses 82, 143, 260, 326 & 460 pass close by, whilst Finchley Central station (Northern Line) is a five to ten minute walk.


At the time of writing this note (13 June) the HADAS Fieldwork Team is very busy, assisting on a number excavations. The UCL excavation at Kingsbury old parish church, mentioned by Andy Agate in his May lecture (see below) is now underway, with assistance from HADAS. This dig is scheduled to continue for four weeks. At Hendon School a UCL excavation is due to start on 19th June under the government’s Widening Participation and Social Scheme. HADAS has been involved in carrying out the resistivity survey and researching the background to the site. HADAS is due to return to Pinner Golf Club for a small excavation on 4-6th July. We regret numbers are very restricted on this dig, as golfing must go on! There may be more opportunities for members to dig on our return to Kingsbury School in early July. We are hoping to carryout a resistivity survey, and possible metal detecting scan at Wrotham Park over what is believed to be the site of the mortuary chapel from the Battle of Barnet. Also, perhaps in late July carry out another resistivity survey at Swanley Bar where a considerable amount of medieval pottery has been found. Meanwhile the sorting of flints from the West Heath excavation continues in the Garden Room at Avenue House on most Sunday mornings from about 10.30 am onwards. Members new and old are welcome to come along, but do check emails or contact Bill Bass, to confirm the room will be open. One hardly needs to say that this is a good place to keep up to date with HADAS fieldwork. Arrangements for field working are usually at short notice and members interested in taking part should inform Bill Bass or Don Cooper and watch out for emails.

Page 2

News in Brief

Don and Liz hosted a nibbles and wine ‘get together’ for members in the Dining Room at Avenue House on Sunday afternoon, the 21st May. The event, which brought out some familiar faces, saw a number of new members present. It was pleasant to chat; there never seems to be enough time after lectures! Thanks to Don and Liz and other committee members.

HADAS usually has a stall at Cricklewood Festival but the festival has been cancelled this year due to the uncertain future of Hendon Football Club and its Claremont Road ground. which is earmarked for redevelopment.

Rosemary Bentley remembers Julius Baker Julius Baker, ‘possibly the world’s oldest demonstrator’, was a sufficiently public figure to be featured in the BBC obituary programme, Brief Lives, on April 30th. A South African lawyer, he was involved in the anti-apartheid movement and was one of the many arrested during a demo after the Sharpville shootings in 1960. Released on a technicality he fled to Swaziland and escaped, with Donald Trelford after the Observer newspaper sent a light plane for them. Settling in north London he had secret meetings with ANC members and also protested against the Vietnam War. At the age of 97 he joined the march against the Iraq war and walked all the way from the Embankment to Hyde Park. He was proud to receive a telegram from Mandela on his 90th birthday, and later that year visited South Africa. After various ceremonies he took a holiday alone at Victoria Falls. A notice read ‘See the Falls from the air-, so he took a ticket and was taken by jeep to a small, high hilltop by silent young South Africans. Apprehensively he asked where the airfield was. There was no airfield, and Julius became probably the world’s oldest hang glider. Dorothy remembers going to Julius’s 90th birthday party, held at Regents College, Regents Park, and still has her invitation.

A mystery dump of Clay pipe bowls found in Hadley Woods by Graham Javes

A phone call some months ago from Barnet Museum’s Gillian Gear brought Jim Nelhams and myself together with Mr J M Lee, Curator of Monken Hadley Common, to Hadley Woods one cold morning. A few days earlier a volunteer worker cutting brambles in the woods had reported finding a large number of clay tobacco bowls among the brambles. He had in fact collected together some sixty claypipe bowls with a section of stem attached. Our visit netted a further 100 similar pipes within a short space of time, just by trowelling around in the soil filth, in a compact radius of some four to five feet. The topsoil here is very shallow, lying on very hard layer. We suspect the pipes to have lain in the wood for only two or three years and could have been thrown down from a sack. Why not just put them in a dustbin? This dump is unusual in a number of respects. It is usually pipe stems, not the bowls, which are found; the half-dozen or so stems found can be accounted for by breakage. More unusual, not one pipe is decorated or has a maker’s mark, suggesting that these are someone’s rejects after sorting through a much larger assemblage. It is possible that they have been washed previously before dumping. The absence of any marked or decorated pipes is compensated by the rich variety of bowl shapes and sizes. Stephen Brunning is working on the pipes and is to use them to form a reference typology. The pipes found by the volunteer have only recently reached Stephen. Of the 100 pipes which Jim and I found, Stephen reports that 50% are 17th century and 50% 18th century, including quite a number which span the turn of the century. No pipes are 19th or 20th century. The earliest type is dated between 1610 and 1640 and the latest between 1740 and 1770. Those yet to be examined might produce other types and dates and a full listing should be available by the next Newsletter.

Page 3

Letter to the editor

8 Watford Heath Farm Pinner Road

Watford WD 19 4ER

01923 210 752 15 June 2006

To: The Editor

HADAS Newsletter

We should perhaps remind ourselves that the HADAS Newsletter purports to be a journal of record. As such, Philip Bailey’s speculative article on the origins of Whetstone (June issue) sits uncomfortably on its pages and raises the issue about the need for some form of peer review on such contributions. His attempt to link the surname Bywestern, which he found in modern transcripts of Barnet manor court rolls needs several caveats. First, if Westen means the western settlement of farm, there is an equally strong or stronger candidate in Barnet manor’s own West End which lay towards the present hospital site and is obviously still commemorated in West End Lane. Secondly, absolutely no weight can be placed on whether such settlements were exactly west, or any other compass point of the main settlement or its church. Think of East End in Finchley, which is south east of the church and clearly south of the parish. Mr Bailey’s article also relies upon the assumption that what he saw in the 1930’s translation and transcription of the Barnet court rolls was entirely reliable. We should take account of the fact that Richard Bywesten would probably have spoken a form of Middle English and been dealt with in the court baron by a Norman French speaking clerk acting as the lord’s bailiff. The record of the court’s proceedings would have been taken down in rough by a clerk writing in Norman French and then translated into legal Latin by the lord’s steward, who was usually a trained lawyer. By 1246 legal Latin was almost a language in itself with many short forms and legalistic conventions. There was no agreed spelling at that period as Mr Bailey demonstrates in his article by listing some of the spellings of the name ‘Whetstone’. Richard’s name might well have been Weston, Westen or Westun. The opportunities for mishearing, mis-spelling and misunderstanding were manifold. The whole subject is a minefield for anyone untrained in its complexities and even worse, is a beacon for those afflicted with what we might call the Da Vinci syndrome! Yours etc. John Heathfield, Percy Reboul, Pamela Taylor

Page 4

St Andrew’s Old Church Kingsbury — A topographical approach by Andy Agate

In May, Andy Agate spoke to us on the old parish church of Kingsbury, Middlesex and the work he has undertaken as part of his MA studies at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. In place of our usual lecture report, Andy has written the following article based on his lecture. On the southern border of the ancient parish of Kingsbury, just to the north west of the Brent reservoir, sits St Andrew’s Old Church. The church, which is now redundant, is rarely open to the public and its secluded location makes it vulnerable to vandalism. Past work at the church has generally been narrowly focused upon dating the building itself, however, a new project aims to assess the significance of the site by considering it in a wider landscape context. Through the examination of a range of existing evidence. for example documents and maps, combined with new evidence from topographical survey and archaeological excavation it is hoped to build a better understanding of the significance of this sadly neglected site. Early documents relating to Kingsbury (the name means ‘the King’s Stronghold’) include a charter of AD 957 referring to Kingsbury as Tunworth, whilst at Domesday there was a priest who had one virgate of land (about 30 acres). The church itself is not mentioned, however. the three fields directly north of the church were known as ‘Church Fields’ in 1597. These amount to just over 30 acres and provide some circumstantial evidence of a link between the Domesday priest and a Saxon church. But was it this particular building? The main clues to the age of the church are the architectural features and whilst the corner stones of the church resemble Saxon ‘long-and-short’ work the style of the Romanesque doorway in the south wall suggests a mid to late twelfth century date. It is conceivable that the church was built post-conquest by workmen who still employed some of the older techniques. However there is much more to this site than the standing building. The site was first recognised as being significant by the antiquarian William Stukeley who visited and sketched the site in 1757. Two features of the site led him to believe that the church had a Roman connection; firstly the Roman tile which forms part of the building material used and secondly, a rectangular earthwork which surrounds the site. Stukeley imagined the site as one of ‘Caesar’s camps’ and concluded that the Roman tile must have come from Verulamium (St Albans). The origin of the Roman tile may be disputed, however, the existence of complete hypocaust box-flue tiles inside the church and the inclusion of Roman pottery in the building fabric strongly suggest a more local origin than St Albans. Meanwhile the surrounding earthwork, recorded by Stukeley is now barely visible. A topographical survey carried out last year shows that there is perhaps some trace of a bank on the south and east sides of the church but that the supposed ditch was not detected. This survey also showed that the church and the earthwork followed different alignments; a feature also picked up on by Stukeley. I he topographical survey also showed that the church was built on the very edge of the highest contour in the area. This means that the church was constructed in a prominent location in the landscape; on the end of a spur of land which overlooked the valley of the river Brent. Indeed the church can be seen from almost a kilometre away on the far side of the Brent valley. It has been noted that there existed a Middle bronze Age cremation cemetery in the valley (now under the Brent reservoir), which leads to a tantalising question; does the site have a prehistoric origin? I his question, and many others which surround this enigmatic site, may only be answered through archaeological excavation. Such intervention is difficult in the crowded graveyard, however there are some areas which are accessible and this summer a limited excavation project will take place. It is hoped that the results of this may be presented in a future edition of the newsletter.

Page 5

Hendon House — the paper trail by Jim Nelhams

As mentioned by Don Cooper at the AGM, HADAS has been working with UCL on a ‘dig’ at Hendon School. It is recorded that the house, once occupied by John Norden, the famous 16th century mapmaker stood on the site now occupied by the school. The aims of the dig are to see if the house can be located, and to introduce pupils and staff at the school to archaeology. Andrew Coulson, Don Cooper and myself have assisted in a survey of the school field, covering an area 80 metres by 50. Although this did not reveal any striking features, the plan is to dig at least one small trench on the field. This was planned for late June, and an update will follow in a later newsletter. As part of the research, I located a copy of the 1895 OS map at Hendon Library, and Andy Agate has used his computer skills to overlay this on a satellite picture taken from the Google Earth internet site. Those present at the AGM will have seen the results, which clearly show Hendon House to the east of the school site. We know that this house was built in the early 18th century to replace the earlier house. The map also shows a walled garden, and if, as believed, the then owner, John Cornwall, first Director of the Bank of England, lived in the old house while the new one was being built, the walled garden may well be the site of the original house. We wait to see. The later house was demolished in 1909 — the school dates from shortly after this. I have also been using other internet facilities to find out more about the later Hendon House. The story, like the dig is incomplete, but this is what I have found. The 1841 census shows the house, with the address as BRAINT Street, occupied by Major General Christopher Fagan, a 55 year old retired soldier who had served in Bengal. Also in the household are his 30 year old wife, 5 children and 8 servants. The Times recorded later in 1841 the wedding of his son from his first marriage. Major General Fagan died in 1843 at his estate in Wiltshire (register of births, deaths and marriages), having left Hendon. In the 1851 and 1861 censuses the house is shown as a private mental institution. This caused some amusement to the current school staff! I have not been unable to find any residents in the census records of 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901. This seems to be because the owner at that time had several houses and was elsewhere each time the census was taken. The new owner was Mr Ardwick Burgess, eldest son of Henry Weech Burgess of the Temples. This house was at the southern end of the parish of Hendon at Childs Hill, near where the Watford Way joins the Finchley Road today. (There are roads in this area called Weech Road, Ardwick Road and Burgess Hill.) Since Ardwick Burgess also served in the army, it is possible that he was overseas for at least one census. Ardwick Burgess had married in 1871, and it seems that he purchased Hendon House at this time. His first wife died, and he remarried in 1881. The Times of April 6th 1886 reports the birth of a daughter at Hendon House. While helping on Andy Agate’s dig at Kingsbury Old Church, I noticed in the churchyard the family vault of Henry Weech Burgess, and on one face is records the death in 1908 of Ardwick Burgess. So perhaps that is why, in early 1909, The Times is advertising the sale of Hendon House by auction. (The price required was £15,250.) My documentation has been passed on, and will help the school in the understanding of their history and the project.

Page 6

How Calendar Confusion came about. by Stewart Wild

Most people in the Western world are aware that Islam works to a different calendar, based on moon cycles, with the result that this year of 2006 is 1427 AH and that the holy month of fasting (Ramadan) comes around about eleven days earlier each year. But few are aware of how this difference came about, a lacuna I seek to fill with this offering. And what is the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars? The hijri calendar In the year we know as AD 638, six years after the death of the Prophet Muhammed, Islam’s second Caliph Umar recognised the need for a single calendar to govern the affairs of Muslims throughout a rapidly expanding empire. This was first of all a practical matter. Correspondence with officials in newly conquered lands had to be dated. But tribes in Persia used a different calendar from Syria; Egypt used yet another. Each of these calendars had a different starting point, or epoch, and none accorded with systems used in the Arabian peninsula. The Sasanids, the ruling dynasty of Persia, used June 16, AD 632, the date of the accession of the last Sasanid monarch Yazdagird III. Syria, which until the Muslim conquest had been part of the Ottoman Empire, used a form of the Roman calendar, with an epoch of October 1, 312 BC. Egypt used the Coptic calendar, with an epoch of August 29, AD 284. And although all were solar, geared to the seasons and containing 365 days, each had a different system for compensating for the fact that the true length of the solar year is not 365 but 365.2422 days. In tribal pre-Islamic Arabia, a number of systems of measuring time had been used. Some calendars were lunar, while others were lunisolar, using months based on the phases of the moon but intercalating days outside the lunar cycle to synchronize the calendar with the seasons. In central Arabia, the course of the year was charted by the position of the stars relative to the horizon at sunset and sunrise, dividing the ecliptic into 28 equal parts corresponding to the position of the moon on each successive night of the month. The names of the month in that calendar have continued in the Islamic calendar to this day. There were two other reasons why Umar rejected solar calendars. Firstly, the holy Qur’an advises that time should be reckoned by the moon. Not only that, but calendars used by the Persians, Syrians and Egyptians were identified with other cultures and religions. He decided therefore to create a single calendar specifically to be identified with Islam: it would be lunar, and would have twelve months, each with 29 or 30 days. This gives the Islamic lunar year 354 days [6×29 + 6×30], eleven days less than the solar year. Even today, the official start of each month is only decided when a gathering of senior clerics in Saudi Arabia first spots the new moon. Umar chose as the epoch for the new calendar the hijrah, the date of the legendary journey of the Prophet Muhammed from Makkah to Madinah, where Muslims first attained religious and political autonomy. The hijrah thus occurred on 1 Muharram 1 according to the Islamic calendar, which was named hijri after its epoch. This date corresponds to July 16, AD 622 in the Gregorian calendar. Today, in the West, it is customary, when writing hijri dates, to use the abbreviation AH, which stands for the Latin anno hegirae, `year of the hijrah’. Because the Islamic lunar calendar is eleven days shorter than the solar one, it is therefore not synchronized with the seasons. Its festivals, which fall on the same day of the same lunar months each year, make the round of the seasons every 33 solar years. This eleven-day difference between the lunar and the solar year accounts for the difficulty of converting dates from one system to another. The Julian calendar The early calendar of the Roman Empire was lunisolar, containing 355 days divided into twelve months beginning on January 1 (after Janus, an ancient Italian god, and the guardian of doors and gates). To

keep it more or less in accord with the solar cycle, a month was added every two years. The system for doing so was complex, and cumulative errors gradually misaligned it with the seasons. By 46 BC, it was some three months out of alignment, and Julius Caesar decided on its reform. Consulting Greek astronomers in Alexandria, he created a solar calendar in which the year we call 46 BC was extended by eighty days. Every fourth year one day was added to February (from Februa, a festival of purification held in the middle of the month), effectively compensating for the solar year’s length of 365.25 days. Although, even this turned out to be not entirely accurate. What came to known as the Julian calendar continued in use throughout Europe and the New World until 1582. The use of epoch AD 1 dates from the sixth century, becoming widespread over the centuries that followed, in part due to the writings of the Venerable Bede (c. 673-735). Because the concept of zero had not yet reached the West from Islamic lands (an innovation credited to the arrival of the Moors in Spain in 711), there was no year between 1 BC and AD 1. During the seventh century, the spread of Christianity led to Christmas Day being recognised as the start of the year. However, during the twelfth century, the Church changed its mind and decided that the year should begin on Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, which fell on March 25. In the Middle Ages, the Christian liturgical calendar was further grafted onto the Julian one, and took into account traditional pagan festivals, and the computation of lunar festivals like Easter (after Eostre, goddess of Spring), which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. It exercised some of the best minds in Christendom. The Gregorian calendar The Julian year was however 11 minutes and 14 seconds too long. By the early sixteenth century, due to the accumulated error, the spring equinox was falling on March 11 rather than when it should, on March 21. Copernicus and others provided the calculations, and advised the pope that each year was in fact 365.2422 days long. As a result Pope Gregory XIII ordered that Thursday October 4, 1582 would be followed by Friday October 15. Most catholic countries accepted the new ‘Gregorian’ calendar, but protestant countries held back and it was not adopted in England and the Americas until the eighteenth century, and in Turkey and Russia not until 1917. Its use is now almost universal worldwide, although in Islamic countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, the traditional hijri calendar is still in common use outside the business and scientific world. The ‘loss’ of eleven days in the calendar, which in Britain took place after an Act of Parliament when September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, is the reason our current tax year ends oddly on April 5. Simple folk were furious that their lives were being shortened by eleven days, while taxpayers objected to paying a full year’s tax on 354 days’ income. Moreover, rents were traditionally due on March 25, a quarter day, and the end of the financial year. Tenants rioted when they realised that they were being cheated out of eleven days for the same rent, and demanded that the due date be advanced by a similar amount. Thus rents and taxes henceforth became due on April 5, 1752.

Page 7

OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS Compiled by Eric Morgan

Sunday 2 July, 1am-4.00pm, Kensal Green Cemetery, Open Day. Tours, band.

Tuesday 11 July, 8.00pm, Amateur Geological Society, The Parlour, St Margaret’s Church, Victoria Ave, N3. Paul Craddock (BM), Prehistoric Metal Mining in Britain.

Tuesday 11 July, 7.00pm Edmonton Hundred Historical Society & Enfield Preservation Society, Guided walk, starting from gates of Millfield House, Edmonton and ending in Church St Conservation Area.

Saturday 15 July 11.00am, Willesden Local History Society. Tour of St Matthew’s Church, Willesden, led by Fr. Alex Hill, proceeding to Roundwood Park for coffee/ lunch & tour of park. Meet: St Matthews Church, St Marys Rd, NW 10.

Saturday 15 July 9.00am, Barnet & District Local History Society, coach outing to Faversham and Downe House with coffee at Maison Dieu, Ospringe. Meet Barnet Odeon. Cost £20 (£15 EH members with card) Contact: Pat Alison, 37 Ladbrooke Drive, Potters Bar, EN6 1QR. n 01707 858430. Cheques payable to Barnet & District Local History Society.

National Archaeology Week, Saturday 15 July— Sunday 23 July. Many local events, including:

COLAS, Sat-Sun 15-16th, COLAS at the Tower of London, Free displays & activities held in open space by the River Wall. Artefact handling of COLAS and LAARC collections, replicas & games.

Enfield Archaeological Society & Enfield Preservation Society, Sun.16th, 11.00- 4.00pm, Forty Hall, Under you Feet: the Archaeology of Enfield, a free family activity day. Details from Enfield Museum Services 8379 1468 or

Museum of London. Events throughout the week, including adult lectures and family activities. Families can join in a ‘Real Dig’ in Haringey. Information leaflets or see museum website. Some events must be pre-booked.

Friday 21 July, 7.00pm, COLAS, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3 Lucia Gahlin (Petrie Museum) Digging in the City of the Sun: Amarna in the Petrie Museum, visitors £2.

Friday 21 July, 11.00am AND Sunday 23 July, 11.00am. Amateur Geological Society, The Roman Wall from Tower Hill. Walks led by Mike Howgate. Cost £7. Contact Mike Howgate 8882 2606, Cheques (payable to Mike Howgate) to Mike Howgate, 71 Hoppers Rd, Winchmore Hill, N21 3LP.

Tuesday 25 July, 2.00pm, Harrow Museum, talk by Tony Earle, The Thames Sailing Barge. Cost £2.


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Number 405                                              December 2004                                      Edited by Liz Holliday


Tuesday 11 January

COLCHESTER Lecture by Kate Orr. A follow-up to our summer visit.

Tuesday 8 February

THE SILK ROAD Lecture by Dr.Susan Whitfield.

Tuesday 10 May

THE ROAD TO ROME in the steps of a medieval pilgrim. Lecture by Mark Hassell

Lectures start at 8.00pm in the Drawing Room at Avenue House. East End Road, Finchley, N3. Non-members £I. Tea or coffee 70p. Meetings close promptly at 10.00pm.

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS at Church Farmhouse Museum Every Winter, the Museum’s 1850s Dining Room is decorated for a Victorian Christmas.The display reveals that so much of what we think of as the ‘traditional British Christmas’- Christmas trees, Christmas cards, crackers, turkey for dinner, even Father Christmas and the giving of presents on 25 December – was either invented or introduced here from other countries in the 19th Century. The Dining Room display will be on show from 6 December until 6 January 2005.

Note: the museum will he closed on 25 and 26 December and I and 2 January.


There are still some places available as the change of date due to a double booking at Avenue House has led to some cancellations. Please phone Dorothy on 8 203 0950 as soon as possible if you would like to come, or if you have already booked,


Enclosed with this Newsletter is a booking form for the HADAS trip to Northumbria next year Members who attended the November lecture were able to collect booking forms and many places have already been taken. If you wish to come, please complete the form and send it with your deposit to Jackie as soon as possible.

SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENT MOVES AGAIN! It is always pleasing when an oganisation achieves its aims and can disband. After nearly 30 years the Temple Bar Trust can do just that, for Temple Bar is once again resplendent in London’s Square Mile.

Members who joined the HADAS outing to Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills in August 2001 will remember that we visited Temple Bar in its leafy but lonely setting in Theobald Park. Hertfordshire. where it had been re-erected after removal from its original Fleet Street, Strand location. Designed by Christopher Wen and inaugurated in 1672, the huge gateway had become an impedance to London trafic and was demolished in 1877. Fortunately for us its 2,650 stones were numbered and saved on the orders of brewing magnate Sir Henry Meux and his wife who relocated the famous arch to their country estate north of London.

Now, thanks to the efforts of the Temple Bar Trust and as part of the redevel­opment of Paternoster Square, Temple Bar once again enjoys a splendid setting in the shadow of St Paul’s, Wren’s other great masterpiece. It was officially opened with great ceremony on November 10 by the Lord Mayor of London. Alderman Robert Finch. For further information and a view of the City’s newest landmark, a visit is recommended, either in person or on the Internet at Stewart J. Wild


HADAS member Dr Okasha El Daley has discovered evidence in Arabic texts that scholars could decipher hieroglyphic signs in the 9th century The medieval alchemist Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Washiyah knew that hieroglyphs had associated sounds and could be read as a phonetic script. Howe\ erArab scholars had little interest in the grammatical structure of hieroglyphs. script and it wasn’t until 1822 that the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion deciphered the language by using the Rosetta Stone which is carved with hieroglyphs, demotic Egyptian and Greek.

Okasha’s discoveries will appear in his book The Missing Millennium due to be published shortly (Source: New Scientist)

News from Church Farmhose Museum

THE EXPLOSIVE HISTORY OF FIREWORKS on show until 5 February 2005

The current exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum gives a wonderful overview of the history of fireworks and it has proved to be very popularwith over a thousand visitors by 15 November

Fireworks probably first appeared in China about two thousand years ago and were introduced into Europe, via Arabia, in the 14th centuryThe first record­ed use of fireworks in England was in 1242.

By the 17th century elaborate firework shows were common throughout Europe. Fireworks are often associated with religious festivals – saints days in Spain and Portugal, Diwali (the Hindu Festival of Light), Chinese New Year, Independence Day in America and of course, 5th November in England. The exhibition is based on the amazing private collection of Eileen Amabilino. It includes books, posters and photos of 19th century displays as well as numerous postcards and hundreds of examples of fireworks (explosives removed!). In 1989 a set of stamps were produced based on photos taken by fireworks photographer Davis Amabilino.


A smaller exhibition currently on show in the Dunlop Room at Church Farmhouse Museum until 9 January features dolls’ houses from the collection of Anne Styles. Anne is a former TV costume designer and now an interior designer and romantic novelist. The dolls’ houses are decorated to represent different periods, with many fixtures and fittings made by Anne herself. There are also some fascinating miniature room-sets on show including a grand Edwardian house, a Victorian haberdasher’s shop, a scene from Gone with the Wind and a bedroom from the swinging sixties. A perfect exhibition for Christmas!


From 17 January until 11 February 2005 a special exhibition to mark Holocaust Memorial Day will be on show in the Dunlop Room.I Never Saw Another Butterfly will feature drawings and writings by children caught up in the horrors of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.


22 February 1922 — 21 October 2004

We regret to report the death of Norman Burgess, a keen HADAS member who, amongst many other interests, dedicated his life to preserving the historical aspects of Finchley and district. Although Norman only joined HADAS relatively recently, he and his wife Betty took a keen interest in all our activities ties and were with us on our outing to Greensted Saxon Church and Colchester only a few weeks ago. Unfortunately Norman suffered a minor stroke at the beginning of October and died peacefully in Barnet Hospital three weeks later as a result of complications.

Norman was born and educated in Finchley and spent his life as a teacher and school principal. He was an energetic member and archivist of the Finchley Society and led the editorial committee for Finchley Remembered, a book of residents’ memories published with much success in 2002. He was also the driving force behind the establishment of the Stephens Collection, the museum in Avenue House dedicated to the work and achievements of ink magnate Henry Stephens, who bequeathed ‘Venue House to the people of Finchley in 1918. From its inception in 1993, Norman was Chairman of the Collection management committee and its principal fundraiser well known throughout the Borough for his talks about the Stephens family

Our sympathy goes out to his wife Betty three children and four grandchildren. A memorial service held at Ballards Lane Methodist Church on October 28 was attended by several hundred people and followed by a gathering of friends and family at Avenue House. Stewart Wild


We send our condolences to our Vice-Chairman Peter Pickering fol­lowing the death of his wife Marie. Since her retirement Marie had been coming on HADAS outings and to Christmas dinners. Her quiet, friendly presence will be missed by all her friends in the Society.

DOROTHY AT THE PALACE My investiture at Buckingham Palace on 3 November; accompa­nied by Jack, Christopher and Marion went without a hitch ­except that both the Queen and Prince Charles were unavoidably absent and the Princess Royal stepped into the breach.

On arrival all recipients are given their instructions and then you arc on your own. However because of my failing eyesight, 1 was allocated my own footman to guide me throughout. He was a smasher and treated me like a queen!

It occurs to me that 1 am the fourth member of HADAS to receive the M.B.E., all of them connected with archaeology.

Daphne Lorimer received her award for servces to archaeology in Scotland. Members will remember that she was our guide and hostess on HADAS visits to Orkney

Ann Saunders, our recent President for two years received her M.B.E. for services to history.

Ann Kahn, whose earliest interest was archaeology; actually received her award for services to yachting. Ann is one of our regular Newsletter editors.

Is this a record for a small society’ like ours? Are there any other mem­bers who have been honoured?

Dorothy Newbury


Detailed analysis of the skull of a 40-year-old man from the cemetery at the deserted medieval village of Wharram Percy has revealed sophis­ticated Anglo-Saxon cranial surgery. Evidence of trepanning to remove depressed bone fragments has been found. The patient survived, lived for many more years and died of other causes. (From: The Times 6/10/04)



Archivist Hugh Petrie introduces “The Free to View Internet”

Only eighteen months ago it could have been argued that the Internet was no place for the serious local history researcher However, in the last few months a number of digitisation projects (the putting images of old documents, pictures, and maps, on to computers) have just come “on line” including the Ordnance Survey County Series and Clive Smith’ Memories postcard collection, as well as a number of irregular collections, such as: Corbis, Frith, British Pathe, the pie ture collection of the Guildhall in London. By simply filling in a box with an appropriate place name, and waiting a minute or two, the image appears before us (albeit with a watermark to preserve copyright).

In the old days we would have had to visit various institutions and companies, spent a morning consulting their lists, filling in slips to order the material in from the back, and then paying for a copy to be made. Even if the collections themselves have not been put on the Internet, many of their lists have. For example A2A, quite literally Access to Archives, substantially lists the collections of many archives in the country (including Barnet Archives). This enables the user to search all these lists at once, and even if the material is not fully transcribed it is still of benefit when it is found. Who would think that Coventry City Archives had records pertaining to the manor of Hendon for example.

There are also a number of word searchable transcriptions online. These include some which are regularly used by local historians, like the Middlesex sections of the Victoria County History. Others are more unusual. There are the Reports of the Old Bailey which list over a hundred cases involving Hendon from about 1675 to 1800. The Times online (avail­able now at Hendon Library) list over 13,000.The British Library has started to put its newspaper collection on line, a process which will take a very long time; but already it is testing a selection. This morning I found a reference to cases of scarlet fever in London in 1886, which emanated from “a model dairy” in Hendon, using this site.

On the other side a number of diferent institutions are keeping their records on line, as with HADAS and the Finchley Society, and no doubt the Barnet and District Historical Society are not far behind. Most particularly are the local news papers. A site called “thisislocallondon” represents the Hendon and Finchley limes, and they have already archived nearly all their articles back as far as 1998 as well as many of the accompanying picturesThe Archer, East Finchley’s local paper, has done much the same.

Many of us will have heard ofEbay, the Internet auction site. At this site it is possible to search for objects for sale on a given subject, such as Hendon. I have noticed that objects sold, particularly images and documents, are often sold again a few weeks later It is clear that people are buying historical pictures, copying them (presumably) and then selling them on. This means they have the copyright to the copy and can, with a minimum outlay create picture libraries, which they can store on computer or copy for sale on to DVD. If this is the trend then we could be awash with cheap local history pictures in a few years time.

Despite all the benefits, is all this a good thing? I am not sure myself. The pleasure in finding something few living peo pie have seen or touched will not be there and it has to be said that there is a certain value in seeing a document the way our predecessors saw it and understood it. However we feel about this, the Internet is here to stay



British Libraries newspaper catalogue

British Libraries digitised collection 

British Pathe

Corbis Photographs:

Francis Frith

Guildhall Picture Collection

John Norden

Cary’s survey of 1786

Memories Postcards

Ordnance Survey 1st edition

The Old Bally on Line

Times on line 1785 — 1985is available at Hendon Library

Victoria County History.

1914 Kelly’s Hendon



Prepared by Eric Morgan

Thur. 2 Dec. 7.30pm             London Canal Museum 12-13 New Wharf Road, Kings Cross, NlCanals From Before 1940 to the Present Talk by Hugh Compton with illustrations from the Railway & Canal Historical Society collection

Concessions £2 Preceded by Christmas shopping in the museum shop ,linn 6.00pm with a glass of wine and mince pie. Discount on purchases.

Fri. 3 Dec.      6.30pm            Geologists’ Association Lecture Theatre, Geological Society Burlington
House, Piccadilly W.1 The Evolution of the River Medway in the Context of Quaternary Paleoclimate and the Palaeolithic Occupation of North West Europe Talk by David R. Bridgland. Tea at 6.00pm

Sun. 5 Dec.      10.30am         Heath and Hampstead SocietyBurgh House, New End Square, NW3
Artefacts of East Heath Walk led by Michael Welbank, Donation £1

Tue. 7 Dec.    8.15pm            The Finchley Society: Local History Group 31 Court House Gardens, N.3
(off Nether Street, near West Finchley Underground station) The Role of a Local History GroupTalk by Hugh Petrie (Borough Archivist) The Finchley Society proposes to set up a local history group and need committee members and people interested in doing research. This first meeting is to hear about proposals at the home of the Chairman, David Marcus. The future work of the group will be discussed.

Wed. 8 Dec. 6.30pm        London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Will, EC2 “Where there’s Muck There’s Brass” – Doulton Pottery and the Sanitary Movement in the 19th Century. Talk by John Brown. Refreshments at 6.00pm

Wed. 8 Dec    8.15pm            Mill Hill Historical SocietyThe Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway
NW7 The History of the English Public House Talk by Graham Javes (a HADAS member)

Wed. 8 Dec. 8.00pm              Hornsey Historical Society Union Church Hall, corner of Ferme Park Road, Weston Park, N.8 Charles Dickens in LondonTalk by Michael Slatter

Sat. 11 Dec.  10.15am            Amateur Geological Society, St. Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane, Finchley N3

to 3.30pm Mineral and Fossil Bazaarincluding rocks, crystals, gemstones, jewellery
Refreshments. Admission 50p

Tue. 14 Dec. 8.00pm             Amateur Geological SocietySt. Mary’s Hall, Hendon Lane, Finchley N3 Now I Understand – Geology Texts Come Alive in the Field Talk by Marilyn Carter from the Natural History Museum

Thur. 16 Dec 7.30pm            Camden History Society Burgh House, New End Square, NW3Sir Henry Cole: from Agitator to Autocrat in ArtTalk by Anthony Burton with wine and mince pies before and after the meeting.

Fri. 17 Dec.    8.00pm           Enfield Archaeological Society Jubilee Hall, at junction of Parsonage Lane and
Chase Side, Enfield Cursus Publicus: the Roman Imperial Post Talk by

Geoffrey Gillam. Refreshments at 7.30pm. Visitors £1


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Page 1


Tuesday 9 November: `Durolevum’ – lecture by Paul Wilkinson.

Friday 10 December: HADAS CHRISTMAS DINNER – PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE Due to circumstances beyond our control date and venue have been changed. Details and booking form are enclosed; please complete and return with your cheque as soon as possible.

Tuesday 11 January 2005: ‘Colchester’ – lecture by Kate Orr: a follow-up to our recent visit.

Tuesday 8 February 2005 ‘The Silk Road’ – lecture by Dr Susan Whitfield

Lectures start promptly at 8pm in the Drawing Room of Avenue House, East End Road Finchley N3 3QE. Non-members £1, tea or coffee 70p

Page 2


On a warm and sunny day we set off into beautiful Essex, through lovely villages on the outskirts of Epping Forest. On the way Stewart regaled us with tales of Dick Turpin, the famous highway¬man of Epping Forest. During the drive to Greensted, we passed the old North Weald Airfield (now privately owned) that had been used during Battle of Britain. Dorothy, our resident MBE, had been a telephone engi¬neer based on that airfield and she told us that the picture we have of airmen sitting around drink¬ing and smoking before being “scrambled” is completely true!

St Andrew’s, Greensted-juxta-Ongar

(Green = green; Stead = clearing or place) Dorothy told us that she had found the programme of the last HADAS outing to Greensted Saxon Church which had been organised by Ted Sammes in 1982. The programme showed a picture of the church, with details of the building and its history. But, more interestingly, inside it had a pic¬ture of our founder member, Aristotle Constantinides, together with his notice of HADAS’s very first outing in 1961 which was to …. Greensted Church! The cost had been 10/- including coach and everything! She informed us that Ted had left money to HADAS in his will and he had been buried in the family plot in St Andrew’s churchyard; we followed her to the Sammes memorial, in a shady cor¬ner of the graveyard, on which we found Ted’s name. The origins of the church date back to St Cedd, a Saxon Christian, who is said to have built the first church in Greensted in about 654 AD. An archaeological dig (in 1960) revealed two wooden structures under the chancel floor which are thought to have been built during the late 6th and early 7th centuries. The dedication of the church to St Andrew suggests a Celtic foundation. The nave was added in about 1060 AD and would have been windowless. Light would have been from lamps round the altar. Norman additions after 1066 include the flint footings of the chancel wall and the pillar piscine inside the sanctuary. Further alterations were made in 1500AD when the chancel was replaced and the thatch was replaced with tiles on both nave and chancel roofs. Three dormer windows were added to provide light to the nave. It is believed that the tower was added in the 17th century to house the bells, Extensive restoration was carried out in 1837. Although dendrochronology indicates that the timber walls were constructed around 1060/1063 AD, rather than the earlier date of 845 AD, it still remains the oldest wooden church in the world, and the oldest wooden building standing in Europe.

Chipping Ongar

(Chipping = cheap or market place, Ongar = grazing land) A short drive from Greensted brought us to Chipping Ongar, once the end of the Central Line, and, much earlier, the administrative centre of the Saxon Ongar Hundred. It’s a pleasant town with sev¬eral interesting churches and the meagre remains of a motte and bailey castle. St Helen’s Church is a small red brick building of 1870 with the typical Victorian use of bands of blue brick and fine ornamental ironwork on the original door. The United Reformed Church was built in 1833 (Architect: James McClelland) and replaced a smaller building of 1720 and is accessed through an archway in a line of cottages.The room over the archway was once occupied by the famous explorer, David Livingstone in 1838 while he was training for the ministry. St Martin’s Church has a Norman chancel and nave with original narrow round headed windows and the re-used Roman bricks at the corners. The belfry is 15th Century and the dormer windows were inserted in the 18th Century to give more light. Inside, the chancel roof is dated 1643, but is a unique and ingenious repair of a much older mediaeval structure. The nave roof is also medieval.


From Ongar we headed off to Colchester along the Roding valley through several picturesque vil-lages named after the river, with their pretty pink-washed cottages. This journey reminded Dorothy of the green van she drove as a telephone engineer during the Second World War. Driving along a track in thick fog, her van was hit by an American jeep from a nearby airbase. After a 360 degree spin, the little van was a write-off. Dorothy, luckily only a little shaken, was driven back to the airbase on steamroller! She was given a tour of the camp and a rejuvenating meal of meat and rice pudding (served together on the same plate!). Colchester is reputedly named after the mythical King Cole (or Coel) of nursery rhyme fame (Col +chester = Cole’s Camp). Its Romano-British name was Camulodunum and it was probably the royal capital of the Trinovantes tribe. Some equate Cunobelin with King Cole. After the Roman conquest in 43 AD Colchester was established as a Roman colonia (`Colonia Victricensis’) where retired Roman soldiers and their families settled, coexisting with the British settlement at present day Gosbecks. At this time the town was the Roman capital. After the sacking of the town by Boudicca in 60 AD the town was walled and the British settlement appears to have lost its autonomy. In Colchester, we were met by our guide, Kate On of the Colchester Archaeological Trust who told us about the excavations of the Roman town in the modem town centre. She then guided us on a coach tour to see the British remains three miles to the south-west at Gosbecks and Lexden, pass¬ing the remains of a early presumed Christian church (circa 330 AD) at Butt Road. At Gosbecks we saw the site of the British town of Camulodunum with its impressive dyke system, designed to impede chariot warfare. At Lexden, which is the site of a major British cemetery we visited ‘the Lexden tumulus’ located in a private garden set off by giant redwood trees. Although the tumulus is somewhat degraded it was once the impressive tomb of a British king, perhaps the Trinovantian king Addedomaros. On returning to the town centre, many members picnicked in the Castle Park in glorious sun¬shine or went to explore the remains of the Roman town walls in the park. Others visited the Castle Museum, housed in the ‘largest Norman Castle Keep in Europe’ and built on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius in which many Roman citizens were burnt alive by Boudicca’s followers. This museum houses many finds from all periods of Colchester’s history. After lunch we were guided by Kate through the Dutch Quarter (named after the Flemish weav¬er immigrants who settled in the 16th century). This quaint quarter contained medieval half-tim¬bered buildings, the foundations of a Roman theatre, a Quaker burial ground and two early Norman churches, St Helen’s Chapel & St Martin, built of septaria stone and re-used Roman tile. From Colchester we headed south east through fruit growing areas, source of raw ingredients for the famous Wilkin & Sons Tiptree jams, to the small village of Goldhanger located by the mouth of the River Blackwater. Here we stopped at the 15th century ‘Chequers Inn’, next to the Norman church of St Peter. It was here that the church tax collector gathered church dues using a ‘chequer’ board. After sampling a cream tea which included Hartley’s (Of Bermondsey!) jam, many mem¬bers walked along the sea wall to enjoy stunning views of the Blackwater Estuary and Osea island. However, for many, the facilities of ‘The Chequers’ proved to be irresistible. After a passing through Maldon and a protracted encounter with East London traffic we returned home late in the evening looking back on a thoroughly satisfying day. Our thanks to June Porges and Stewart Wild for another fascinating and varied day out

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THIRD AND FOURTH CENTURY ROMAN MONEY IN BRITAIN Part Two of HADAS member William A Morris’s survey of Roman coinage

During the first and second centuries AD the Roman coinage was fairly stable and based on the denarius with its subdivisions the dupondius, the sestertius, and the as. The story during the third and fourth centuries is much more confusing however and one of a slow decline. At the end of the second century increasing military expenditure and civil war caused inflation in the Roman Empire and the value of the denarius decreased. Finally in about AD 215 it was nec¬essary to introduce a new, higher value coin with a value of 2 denarii. It was slightly larger than the denarius, made of silver, and distinguished from the denarius in having a radiate crown on the emperor’s head, the usual Roman method of indicating a double value coin. This new coin was called the antoninianus after the emperor Antoninus Caracalla who was reigning at the time of its introduction. It was the size of a modern twenty pence piece.


The silver denarius, brass sestertius, and copper as continued in use alongside the new coin, but the new silver coin caused the denarius to slowly fall out of use and no more were issued after AD 244. The value and standard of silver coins continued to decline and by AD 268, after a period of chaos for the empire, the antoninianus had lost much of its value and contained only 2% silver. By this time the lower value base metal coins, the dupondii, sestertii and asses, had been driven out of circulation. Things got so bad that the emperor Aurelian was obliged to reform the coinage in about AD 274. He produced a new, smarter looking antoninianus called an aurelianianus with 4% to 5% sil¬ver content. These coins, worth 4 denarii, were distinguished by the letters XXI on the reverse indicating an alloy of 20 (XX) parts of copper to 1 (I) part of silver. The old antoninianus coins remained in use as small change together with a limited number of base metal coins.


The aurelianianus was not popular in Britain, especially between AD 286 and AD 2% when Britain was separated from the main empire. This reformed currency lasted until the Great Currency Reform of AD 294 when the emperor Diocletian laid down a completely new currency system comprising the argenteus, a high quality silver coin worth 100 denarii; the follis, asilver-copper coin worth 25 denarii and the size of a modem two pence piece, to replace the aurelianianus; and silver-copper coins of value 5 and 2 denarii respectively. Of these new coins the smallest value coin does not appear to have been used in Britain and the argenteus did not survive for long and was discontinued in AD 308.


The old standard Roman gold bullion coin, the aureus, was replaced by a smaller size gold coin called the solidus in AD 310 and this coin lasted until the end of the Roman occupation. As the fourth century progressed Roman coinage became very confused. The monetary decline continued and by AD 315 the coinage had again become debased with a decreased silver content. Coins got smaller and smaller. In a further attempt to improve coinage, the emperor Constantine introduced in AD 318 a new coin called the centenionalis, equal to about 12.12 denarii, to replace the follis, and in AD 325 a new silver coin, the siliqua, to replace the argenteus, together with a more valuable coin called the miliarense which however appears to have served a mainly ceremo¬nial purpose. The siliqua, which was smaller than a modern five pence piece, remained in use until the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.


In AD 346 Constantius II revised the coinage to coincide with the eleven hundredth anniversary of the founding of Rome and introduced a new coin called the maiorina, the size of a modern 20p coin and valued at one twelfth of a gold solidus. This new coin, huge numbers of which were pro¬duced, bore the upbeat legend on the reverse: “FEUICIUM] TEMKORUM] REPARATIO” (The Return of Happier Times), and was used together with the siliqua and centenionalis. Half and third maiorina coins were also produced for a while but by AD 361 had gone out of use. A number of low value copper coins circulated in the later fourth century as small change but their names and values are uncertain. Towards the end of Roman rule the use of coins decreased rapidly in Britain and after the depar¬ture of the Romans in AD 410 coinage quickly ceased to be used. Money was replaced by barter. There is a great deal of confusion over the coins used during the later period of the Roman occupation and such coins can be hard to identify. Sizes of particular copper coins changed sub-stantially over the years and this makes it hard to allocate values to them. Further difficulties arise in that there is not even agreement about the names of some of the later coins (a coin’s actual value was never written on it) and experts cannot agree exactly when specific coins were introduced or went out of use. Many counterfeit coins were produced. It can be seen therefore that the subject of late Roman coinage is a minefield, but the main details are as outlined above.


HADAS member, Jack Goldenfeld, commenced a research and curation project in August at St Albans Museum in Hatfield Road, St. Albans, which is likely to run through to October or November 2004. Like the Ted Sammes Archive on which Jack did the original work for HADAS, the museum has produced for him a large collection of personal papers, correspondence, published articles and documents requiring sorting, curating and conserving, all relating to the tool collection which is on permanent display there, having been originally assembled by an eminent engineer and tool expert, Raphael Arthur Salaman FRS, of Harpenden, with, interestingly, children once resident in Hendon and Barnet! The tools and equipment of all sorts of trades, crafts and industries are represented, many of which no longer exist, having been overtaken by the march of technological advance in the years since the 1700’s. Wigmakers, quill-pen makers, hurdle and gate makers, sailmakers, fathers, coopers, wood-carvers, gunmakers are just some of the trades whose tools are now antiques in their own right, but which also document the way in which crafts and traditional skills, both present and extinct, influ¬ence social patternings and the development, and in some case, the decline of, communities. Hatfield Road is well worth a visit, exhibiting, as it does, artefacts from periods other than the Roman, that being the speciality of Verulamium. Also, there is a temporary exhibition at Hatfield Road relating to the Aircraft Industry in Hertfordshire, some items having been loaned to it by the Aircraft Museum at Hendon. There are also items there which were lent by one of Jack’s ex-students, who had served his apprenticeship at the de Havilland aircraft factory, and who had worked on Concorde.

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Our website,, has been updated. As well as a new look to the website, the Newsletter archive is being added, and Hadas members can login and contribute articles and stories. Please visit for more details.


After the great digital scanning campaign, the complete Hadas Newsletter archive is now being added to our website. Once complete this will be a full, searchable collection of every issue from number one to the present and a most useful research tool for anyone researching our archaeology. However, we need more volunteers to prepare them for publication. Members with typing skills, a computer and internet access, can help with converting the scanned images to text in order to make them easier to read and fully searchable. Email Christian Allen at for more information.

BOOK REVIEW by Stewart Wild

Spice: the History of a Temptation by Jack Turner 409pp, HarperCollins, £25 In his new book Jack Turner sets out to demonstrate that for our earliest forebears spices were loaded with alluring associations. In particular, the most valuable, exotic eastern spices – pepper from India, mace, nutmeg and cloves unique to the Indonesian Molucca Islands, cinnamon from Sri Lanka and ginger from China – trailed resonances of tropical sensuality, extraordinary wealth and the loftiest social cachet. Spices were a well-known part of life for the ancients. The Greeks traded in India and the Romans navigated a route to its southwestern coast for the pepper they prized (which was available even to ordinary soldiers). But in the thousand years after the decline of the Roman Empire, knowledge of the “spice lands” fell again into myth. Direct European involvement dissolved. Meandering overland trading routes, which from time immemorial had snaked westwards to Egypt and the Levant and on to Europe, ensured a continuity of supply, but the cost spiralled. In medieval Europe, spices took their place alongside gold, diamonds and furs as the most prized and exquisite of luxuries. Turner shows that it was the promise of enormous financial rewards from monopolising the spice trade that provided the impetus for western colonial expansion. Vasco da Gama set out to claim the pepper harvests and the ancient spice trade of the Malabar coast for Portugal; Columbus sailed west explicitly in search of eastern spice and instead discovered America; Magellan’s global circumnavi-gation was fuelled by a quest for the rarest spice of all – the tiny clove. From the Romans to the Normans and the ruling powers of early medieval Europe, spices played a powerful symbolic role. The finest of them were reserved for ostentatious display as well as for oil¬ing the cogs of religious diplomacy, and their lack of nutritional value made them doubly impressive. Food was prized for being highly scented and robustly spiced, and cooks – once menial members of the household – became high-ranking officials (the possible cause, according to Livy, of Rome’s degeneracy and ultimate decline). Slowing the processes of decomposition, spices were as useful in the mortuary as in the kitchen. Roman emperors were immolated, like the phoenix, to be reborn from a cinnamon pyre. Used to bal-ance the “humours”, protect against poisoning and bad breath, cure piles, or act as an aphrodisiac, spices – at once mysterious and glamorous – wafted through the early history of the Western world. Only at the threshold of the modern era did their potency begin to decline. As the high flavourings of previous generations went out of fashion, simplicity and freshness began to reign over spice, and culinary obsession switched to tea, coffee and chocolate. Turner’s rather overbearing book is most informative, and best on the long view of history rather than the domestic or intimate, where he is encumbered by the sheer quantity of his source material. Copy abridged from a recent review in the Daily Telegraph by Kate Colquoun.

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Saturday 6 November 1.30am – 4pm. LAARC, Mortimer Wheeler House, 46 EagleWharf Road N1. Open Day: Londinium Beneath Your Feet.

Wednesday 10 November 6.30pm. London & Middx. Archaeological Society – Interpretation Unit, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. Coram’s Children: History of the foundling hospital in London 1789 – 1926. Talk by Jane King.

Wednesday 10 November 8.15pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. The History of Modern Architecture. Talk by Brian Adams.

Monday 15 November 8.15pm. Friends of Barnet Borough Libraries, Church End library,24 Hendon Lane, N3. An Introduction to the Local Studies Centre in Daws Lane, NW7. Talk by Yasmin Webb.

Friday 19 November 7pm. City of LondonArchaeological Society, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. Further Excavations at Winchester Palace, Southwark. Talk by Bruce Watson (Molar). Friday 19 November 8pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. Roman Harlow. Talk by Chris Lydamore.Visitors £1.

Saturday 20 November 10am-5pm. LAMAS Local History Conference, Museum of London Lecture Theatre. St Paul’s & Diocese of London: 1400 years. (For details see October diary).

Wednesday 24 November 8pm. Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Stn.), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. A Tour Around Musell Hill. Talk by Hugh Garnsworthy. Cost £2 + refreshments.

Thursday 25 November 3pm. The Finchley Society, Drawing Room, Avenue House, East End Road, N3. The Work of the Landmark Trust. Talk by R W G Smith.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 7 : 2000 - 2004 | No Comments



Page 1


The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Lectures start promptly at 8pm – non-members £1, Coffee or tea 70p.

Tuesday, 12th October 2004: “Digging in the City of the Sun: settlement archaeology in Egypt”. Lecture by Lucia Gahlin.

Tuesday, 9th November 2004: “Durolevum” Lecture by Paul Wilkinson.

Wednesday, 1st December 2004, Introductory talk and tour of the Docklands Museum followed by Christmas dinner in the vicinity – coaches will be provided. (all arrangements to be confirmed).

Tuesday, 11th January 2005: “Colchester” Lecture by Kate Orr; a follow-up to our recent visit.

Early notification of the LAMAS local history conference

The annual local history conference run by the London & Middlesex Archaeology Society will take place this year in the Museum of London’s Lecture Theatre on Saturday the 20th November 2003 from 10.00am to 05.00 pm. This is the 39th conference and is entitled “St. Paul’s and the diocese of London: fourteen hundred years”. There are fascinating speakers including the current Bishop of London (Right Reverend Richard Chartes), Dr. John Schofield and Dr. Pamela Taylor among the distinguished cast. The presentation of the Annual Local History Publications Award will also take place during the day. As usual there will displays of recent work and publications by the many London based Local History Societies and, of course, afternoon tea is included in the cost. The tickets are £5 each (£4 for LAMAS members). Please send your application with an appropriate cheque and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for your tickets to Local History Conference, 36 Church Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7PX

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How did they do it? by Jim Nelhams

It started as one of those questions asked partly to wind up an archaeological “expert”, but I really did not know the answer. The question – “How do you do multiplication with Roman Numerals?”

So I asked a few more people, none of whom knew, though one consulted her father, a Professor of Mathematics, who suggested “the Egyptian method”. When this was explained to me, it worked using our number system, but seemed far too complicated using Roman numbers. I’m convinced that whatever system was used would have been simple, though maybe only a limited number of people needed multiplication and kept the secret within their circle. Surely each legion would have needed a payroll officer.

So let’s look for clues.

Firstly we must understand that the Romans did not count in tens in the way that we understand. They counted in fives and twos alternating. This is not as strange as it sounds. Until 1971, our currency was counted in twelves, twenties and then tens – 12 pence to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound. Even now, we have 5p and 50p coins. Personally, I like the suggestion that Romans only used fingers to count to five because the other hand was holding the toga on their shoulder!

Clue 1 – calculations.

This word derives from the Latin word for a stone or pebble. Calculations were done using stones.

Clue 2 – abacus.

This word derives from a Greek word meaning sand. Early calculations probably used lines drawn in the sand with stones used to represent numbers, the position of the stone indicating its value. This developed into a wooden frame filled with sand. Later came something we would recognise with “counters” either in grooves or threaded onto wires, and we would probably expect to see nine counters on each wire.

But the Romans did not count in tens, and the very few known examples of the Roman abacus show each column with two wires, one with four counters representing units and the other with one counter representing a five. No doubt how these were used for addition and subtraction, – but multiplication – I wonder.

So what is my theory? I really do not know the answer, but assuming that any method must be simple, I have a suggestion. But before I tell you what it is, I’m going to throw the question open to the combined experience and intelligence of all HADAS members. What do you think they did?

If you have any theory, please let me know. I’ll collate the results and publish them in another newsletter.

P.S. Lest anybody is concerned, I am not proposing to produce HADAS accounts in Roman numerals!

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LEWES 7-8-04 by Jeffery Lesser

Tessa and Sheila had arranged a perfect day, bright sunshine and a light breeze, as well as the visit. We arrived in good time at Lewes for relief. Although the cafe was closed, Tessa soon made our presence known. Both insisted on serving our coffee and biscuits themselves as part of their duties of arranging this trip.

Lewes is the county town of Sussex, dominated by the Castle Mound and its companion Brack Mound to the north-east. Its history is well shown by the scale model in the museum. The 25 minute verbal commentary is illustrated with slide-projection and spotlights, describing the history of this illustrious town from the earliest period; not forgetting its famous bonfires commemorating the events of November 5th.

After the show, it was time to brave the sunshine and the climb up to the motte where the keep stood. Lunch was taken round the central tree of the ancient courtyard, over the site of the well, essential in times of siege. Then up the winding staircases of the two towers, narrow enough to require one-way working. One included the statues of Hercules and Minerva, brought here from Herstmonceux Castle. In the 18th century, the arrow embrasures were enlarged with Chippendale Gothic windows allowing all round views to the chalk downs.

Down again to what was now known tautologically as the Gun Garden, in reference to the Crimean cannon captured at Sevastopol and presented by Lord Palmerston. Next to the Barbican and more stairs. At the first level there was a tromp d’oeil panorama and a good display of medieval costumes and lances for the children to use. Fortunately the lances are very long and heavy. Ascending further to the Barbican roof we were rewarded with a magnificent 360 degree view explained by the engraved diagram. The blue and yellow chequered flag of the de Warrens could be seen drooping limply from the roof of the keep. The Barbican itself, in front of the Norman Gate House in the original wall, is a more modern construction dating from 1333 and still has traces of the portcullis.

At ground level, through the Barbican was the site of the bailey. Now it is partly occupied by the bowling green, possibly used earlier as a tilt-yard. Nearer to the High Street is the museum, occupying Barbican House and home of the Sussex Archaeological Society. The former kitchen with its Elizabethan fireplace now houses the souvenir shop. The staircase with spiral balusters is 17th century. The museum finds are well displayed and explained. They range in time from a giant spiral ammonite to a Boot’s loyalty card and a fluorescent emergency jacket. The former needed no explanation for geo-archaeologists, but the latter are labelled helpfully, giving possible uses in archaeological contexts.

Other delights had been arranged by Sheila and Tessa, so there was inadequate time to spend in these well-planned and comprehensive galleries of Sussex history. We awaited our coach in two groups on opposite sides of the High Street, trying to convince each other that the others were going in the wrong direction.

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The next part of our visit was to Barcombe Roman Villa a few miles north of Lewes. This interesting site is being excavated by the UCL Field Archaeology Unit and the local Mid-Sussex Field Team, in pleasant sunshine the Director Chris Butler and his assistant gave us a tour of the dig.

This fertile farmland area is not unusual for Roman villa sites with earlier examples excavated at Beddingham and Bignor. Roman finds have been noted at Barcombe since the early 1990s, in 1999 a geophysical survey revealed the outline of a villa and associated buildings. In fact this is a multi-period site with finds including an Acheulian hand axe, mesolithic and bronze age flint, also a bronze age barrow and iron-age round houses.

The main sequence starts with the discovery of postholes from several iron-age roundhouses within a rectangular ditched enclosure, occupied from the late 1st century and then cAD40-140 making them Romano-British and showing a late tradition for such buildings. The roundhouse complex appears to respect the nearby bronze-age ring ditch/barrow.

By mid to late 2nd century the roundhouses were out of use and a simple rectangular building with narrow flint foundations had appeared, then between AD200-300 this was replaced with much larger winged corridor villa. The villa consisted of at least 15 rooms including corridors, and main entrance porch. Although no floor levels survived, small white, red and grey cubes point to mosaics having once existed in a couple of rooms.

By c300 the site was abandoned perhaps because of Saxon raids along the south coast. No further occupation is apparent until the late Saxon period when evidence of squatter occupation is suggested by the discovery of a large cess-pit and post holes near the villa area.

The main villa site was excavated between 2001-2003 and is now back under crop. The focus of the 2004 excavations was a Roman masonry building just southeast of the main villa and connected by a courtyard wall. This structure has produced evidence of a well-preserved red tesserae floor and a hoard of 120 late 3rd century Roman coins. Indeed, as we toured the site an excavator found a further larger and earlier copper coin form the opposite end of the building. The use of this building is not yet known but is likely to be of high status.

Thus Barcombe appears to be a good example of a group of Iron-age farmers adopting Roman influences with subsequent generations. As the site leaflet describes, “it is possible that many of the villas in Sussex were developed in this way by what might be called ‘tribal’ aristocracy. With a network of non-villa farms occupied by less wealthy families linked to the villas by tribal bonds or tenancy arrangements, Barcombe villa could have been a local centre, encouraging romanised patterns of food production and trade.”

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The final place visited on our lovely outing to Lewes on 7th August was Michelham Priory. After walking around the excavation at Barcombe Roman Villa in blazing sun, everybody made straight for the café for ice creams, cold drinks or afternoon teas and being tempted by their wonderful cakes!!. Having slated our thirst and cooled down, we had an opportunity to examine the wonderful surroundings of the Priory. It is on an island surrounded by a moat formed by the Cuckmere river and has spectacular gardens. The Priory was founded on this spot in AD1229 for the Augustinian canons. They enjoyed over 300 years at the Priory, although it is said that as the years went there was a decline in their strict observance of their rules. They became materially richer under Prior John Leem and by 1478 had given up the rule of silence, were frequenting the local tavern and one of them admitted to adultery with a local married woman! Money corrupts? However, Henry VIII put an end to all that (he wanted even more money!), he dissolved the Priory in 1537 and chased out the remaining eight canons. Much of the Priory was demolished and the contents and building materials sold off as well as some of the land. In 1556, the Crown sold the estate to one John Foote. Foote turned the estate into a Tudor gentleman’s residence adding suitable buildings and creating the gardens. In 1601 it was bought by Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, later the Earl of Devon, who was then the Lord Treasurer. The estate remained the property of the Sackvilles until the late 1890s. During the 17th & 18th centuries the Sackvilles leased the building and 500 acres to a succession of tenant farmers. The farmland is poor and many of the tenants struggled to make a living and maintain the property which over the period declined almost to a ruin. Of interest is the fact that among the tenant farmers were ones with the surname “Children” followed some years later by ones called “Child”. From 1896 to 1959, when a Mrs. Hotblack gave Michelham Priory to the Sussex Archaeological Society, a programme of “restoration” and “renovation” took place under various owners. It was not helped by a disastrous fire which gutted the Tudor Wing in 1927. At the beginning of World War II, evacuees from East London and later Canadian troops were stationed there. The consequence is that all the buildings are much restored and little remains of the original Priory. On the upside the buildings are all attractive and set in well maintained gardens. There are many other attractions on site including a water mill, a forge and wheelwright’s museum, a rope museum, a bakery and a gift shop. As we got back on the coach for our journey back to Barnet it was time to congratulate Tessa and Sheila for a wonderful day out.


Digging has continued this year at the villa site of Turnershall Hall Farm, Mackery End which was visited by HADAS in 2003. They had an open weekend in August 2004 that was very well attended, with parties being given a tour of the villa outline and inspecting recent finds. Particular attention is being given to various pits and post holes over the site and to a probable Iron-age ditch that runs under the villa. Work is also ongoing to discover further buildings known from geophysical surveys.

Not far away, near Amwell, the local St Albans Archaeology Group continued working on another villa. The site was initially found by fieldwalking with tile and pot fragments scattered over the surface, a resistivity survey found the outline of a building. Small trenches, in 2003 and this year, have confirmed the layout of some of the walls, floors and features of the structure. Notable were the thickness of the north wall, just over a metre, and a laid, sandy mortar floor between the angle of two walls. A third century coin was found amongst the foundations of the north wall. The remains lie only 25cm below the surface and are in good condition considering the field is regularly ploughed.

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HADAS Training Dig 2004 by Bill Bass

Avenue House grounds, East End Road, Finchley. TQ 2513 9027

As mentioned in the last Newsletter this year’s training dig organised by Don Cooper was held once again at Avenue House in August. The ‘target’ for the weekend was an ornamental pond known to have been located on the lawn in the grounds of the house. The pond was created in the (1870s?) with the landscaping of the park and was thought to have demolished and backfilled in the 1950s?

As an exercise this made good sense as we had evidence from a variety of different sources to locate the pond.

• Photographic evidence – there are at least two photos showing the pond and a statue/fountain within it. • There are maps showing the pond. • Parch marks – in the dry (!) summer months parch marks can be seen of the pond edging and the surrounding field drain system (also surveyed by HADAS). • There are also some shallow earthworks showing the extent of the pond. • Local knowledge – several people who enquired what the dig was for could remember the pond from their childhood.

Several days before the weekend we surveyed the area with resistivity which clearly showed the extent and shape of the pond. A baseline was laid out and a 5x1m trench outline was established, the trench was placed where it was thought it might catch two edges of the structure.

The trainees arrived for the weekend and were given a safety introduction by Don. The trench was then de-turfed, in the topsoil there was the usual mix of finds pottery, clay pipe, ceramic building material, glass sherds and iron objects – including nails and a length of chain, two coins turned-up: a 1947 3d and a 1965 ½p the finds mostly dated to the 20th century and some late Victorian. Below this was a gravel layer probably a base for the turf.

Continuing through the gravel layer several unexpected features began to appear. Firstly, a layer of river-rolled cobbles appeared in the southern end of the trench, it transpired that this was packing for a system of field-drains within the pond area. Three lines of pipes fed into a grill which may have been part of the western side of the pond. The feeling on-site was that this may have been a later system to drain the area once the pond had been taken out of use.

Elsewhere in the northern end of the trench a line of bricks was emerging together with a massive lump of flint, first thoughts were that this was also part of the pond edging with a culvert running underneath, but then it became a bit more complicated. Closer inspection and excavation showed that the bricks were not ‘set’ in any foundation, they were also surrounded by a mixture of concrete and stone. The bricks were mortared and were most likely to have formed an edging or wall at some point, but they were now just demolition rubble from the pond decommissioning. The block of flint is a bit of a mystery, it’s definitely part of the structure but how it fits in we’re not sure. But inspection of the photographs shows a statue/fountain was placed near to the dig area, was this flint a foundation to such a monument?

The Dig attracted a lot of attention from passers-by and although the area was fenced off they could see the trench being excavated. Some were interested in the finds and some as mentioned above could remember the pond when it functioned as such.

The project may lead to a wider investigation of the landscape history of the park as Don has been ‘digging the archives’ at the Barnet Local Studies & Archive Library and has been discovering a lot of useful information.

From Don Cooper As Bill has reported above, the HADAS training dig took place at Avenue House on the site of an ornamental pond. Although we found what appeared to be the remains of the pond, there are a number of areas we would like information on. The pond was there at least until 1951/52.

1.	When was the pond filled-in and why?

2. How big was the pond? 3. What shape was the pond 4. Was there a statue in the middle of it?

We would also love to see any photographs that include the pond from any angle. Any photos will be returned. If you have any information please contact Don Cooper at 59 Potters Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 5HS Many thanks

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Other Societies’ events by Eric Morgan

7th October 2004 at 20.00 – “The history of London’s water supply & the Kew Bridge Steam Museum” a talk by Ron Howes at Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park Pinner. 13th October 2004 at 20.00 – “The myth of the Great Fire – recent thinking about the buildings in the City of London” a lecture by Dr. John Schofield at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. 13th October 2004 at 20.00 – “Man, Myths & Maces in Anglo-Saxon England” a lecture by Val Johnston at Barnet Local History Society, Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall Stapylton Rd. Barnet. 13th October 2004 at 20.00 – “Street vendors, paupers and criminals of the 18th century” a lecture by Graham Javes (HADAS) at Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, cnr of Ferme Park Road/Weston Park, N8. 15th October 2004 at 1900 – “London before London: The Iron Age of London” a lecture by J. D. Hill (British Museum), at City of London Archaeological Society, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3 20th October 2004 at 20.00 – “A History of Kensal Green Cemetery” a talk by Henry Vivian-Neal at Willesden Local Historical Society, Willesden Suite, Library Centre, 95 High Road, NW10. 21st October 2004 at 19.30 – “Echoes of the wider world in Victorian Primrose Hill” a talk by Jeremy Noble at Camden History Society, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Rosslyn Hill NW3. 27th October 2004 at 20.00 – “The history of early plastics” a talk by Percy Reboul (HADAS) at Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane, N20. 28th October 2004 at 20.00 – “Avenue House” a talk by Janett Durrant at Avenue House, East End Road, N3.

Thanks to our contributors: Jim Nelhams, Jeffery Lesser, Bill Bass, Eric Morgan.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 7 : 2000 - 2004 | No Comments



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Saturday 4 September: Outing to Colchester, with June Porges and Stewart Wild. Application forms were enclosed with the last Newsletter. There are still a few vacancies; contact Dorothy Newbury

Tuesday 12 October, 8pm: ‘Egyptology’ Lecture by Lucia Gahlin

Tuesday 9 November, 8pm: ‘ Durolevum’ Lecture by Paul Wilkinson Tuesday 7 or 14 December: Christmas Dinner – to be confirmed

Tuesday 11 January 2005, 8pm: ‘Colchester’ Lecture by Kate Orr; a follow up to our September visit


This will be the fourth successive year of this very popular and successful course. The course is entitled “Post excavation analysis of materials from the Sammes archive” and is run jointly by HADAS and Birkbeck (the extra-mural college of the University of London). It can count towards Birkbeck’s certificates and diplomas if a student desires. The course uses materials and artefacts from excavations carried out by HADAS in the 1970s, with a view to applying the latest techniques of analysis to bring the detailed results of those excavations to publication. It is run by Jacqui Pearce of MoLSS (The Museum of London’s Specialist Service), one of the country’s leading experts in Post-Medieval pottery and clay pipes and author of many books and articles. Other experts on such areas as the Saxon and Roman periods, the various types of artefacts, coins, building materials and leather, etc, are brought in to lecture and advise whenever appropriate. The course takes place at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, where we also hold our lectures, on Wednesday evenings from 18.30 to 20.30. The first session takes place on Wednesday, 22nd September 2004. There are 26 sessions. The cost is £166 or £83 for concessions. Applications should be made to Central Enrolment, Faculty of Continuing Education, Birkbeck, University of London, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ quoting course no. FFAR015UACP. Many HADAS members return again and again to enjoy the conviviality of the course and the expert teaching and advice from Jacqui and her colleagues. Sec you there!

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Puppets and Punch and Judy by Gerrard Roots

Church Farmhouse Museum’s Summer exhibition presents puppets from around the world. with a special section on the history of the Punch and Judy show. 1950s toy theatres from Pollock’s Toy Museum are on show as well. The exhibition also includes display of the Museum’s own collection of 19th Century children’s hooks, featuring works by the cartoonist and writer Frank Horrabin, who lived in Hendon in the 1950s and 1960s, and by Mark Lemon, first editor of Punch. who spent his childhood years at Church Farm in the early 1800s. The exhibition ends on September 12th. (Further details can be had by ringing 020 8203 0130)

Gresham College Lectures

For those of you (including your Editor for this month) who don’t know about the Gresham College lectures, we have details of several that may interest archaeologists, with the bonus of free entry to Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn. Lectures are given by Gresham Professors and other specialists, including HADAS’s previous President, Dr Ann Saunders, whose October 4th talk is on London 1616: a snapshot of London early in James I’s reign. Other intriguing titles are: Disease and death in late Stuart London; Coffee shop society in 17th C London; Two thousand years of London Bridge; In the beginning: the Roman, Viking and Norman Conquests. Further information: Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, London ECIN 2HH (phone: 020 7831 0575; e-mail: enquiries

Some Notes from Dorothy Newbury

First of all I must apologise for not thanking all those members and friends who wrote or phoned me with congratulations on my MBE award. I know I have devoted a lot of time to HADAS, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. Now I am partially sighted and have other problems too I am so thankful to have made so many friends in HADAS who still keep in touch, and also to all the trip leaders who allow me to keep on with the attendance list – and sometimes ask me for advice. The next message is from “Barney” who phoned me to say his wife Mary Barnett died two weeks ago. They were both regular day trip and long weekend members until Mary became ill a few years ago. Mary was a journalist on the Finchley & Barnet local papers and was connected to the establishment of the Chinese News Agency at the time of the Japanese attack on China. She was involved in demonstrations in Oxford Street when the Japanese Attaché snatched her leaflets and was later sent back to Japan. One more message: I have found the programme of our last outing to Greenstead Saxon Church, which we shall be visiting as part of our September 7th trip. That was in 1982 and organised by Ted Sammes. The 1982 programme shows a picture of the church, with details of the building and its history. But, more interestingly, inside it has a picture of our founder member, Aristotle Constantinides, together with his notice of HADAS’s very first outing on 1961 which was to Greenstead Church. The cost was 10s, including coach and everything. Those were the days!

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This is the first part of a concise and helpful survey of Roman coinage by long-standing HADAS member, William A Morris. Part II of his survey, looking at 3rd and 4th C money and the surprising gaps in our knowledge, will appear in a forthcoming Newsletter. He has added that, to a Roman, a worn coin was worth far less than a new one. Maybe it’s time to we started looking more carefully at the change we are given. The same coins circulated throughout all the countries making up the Roman Empire, so the coins used in Roman Britain were in the main simply universal Roman Imperial coins rather than specifically British ones. One surprising difference between Roman coins and the coins we use today is that Roman coins were not marked with any words or symbols indicating the value of the coin. The words ONE DENARIUS for example did not appear anywhere on the denarius coin, you just had to recognize the value of the coin from its size and the metal from which it was made. Someone who had never seen a particular coin before would therefore have no idea what it was worth so newcomers to the empire had to learn quickly! Another important difference between Roman coins and modern coins is that no date appears on Roman coins and this is a hindrance to easy dating on archaeological sites where Roman coins turn up. Dating of such coins is difficult without a good knowledge of Roman history, as it relies on clues such as the dates when Roman emperors acquired certain titles or when certain military campaigns occurred. The obverse, or front, of a Roman coin was however very similar to the front of a modern coin, in that it bore a representation of the head of the reigning ruler surrounded by a legend which gave the ruler’s name and some of his or her titles, such as PATER PATRIAE (= FATHER OF THE COUNTRY). Sometimes, but not always, these titles continued round the reverse of the coin which usually also bore a design. This design very frequently changed and was often a representation of a Roman god or mythical hero. Many coins also bore a slogan on their reverse, such as FELICITAS AUGUSTI (= THE SUCCESS OF THE EMPEROR). The emperor Hadrian had a particular interest in the provinces of the Roman Empire and he introduced coin designs with provincial symbols, so that Britannia appeared on the reverse of a number of coins in his reign. One of the conventions used in Roman coinage was that double value coins, when produced, were distinguished by adorning the emperor’s head on the coin with a special crown made of rays of light; known as a radiate crown. The emperor’s head on the coin of which it was the double did not of course have such a crown. For much of the period up to the middle of the third century the standard coin in use in Roman Britain was the denarius (plural denarii). This attractive coin was the standard day’s pay for a Roman soldier and thus had quite a high value. It was round, made of silver, and was the size of a modern five pence piece. In value it was equal to four sestertii.


The sestertius (plural sestertii) was a much larger, thicker, and heavier coin, made of brass, and roughly the size of a modem commemorative crown. In value it was equal to four asses.


The as (plural asses) was in practice the smallest value coin in use in Roman Britain. There did exist on the continent lesser coins such as the semis, equal to half an as, and the quadrans, equal to one quarter of an as, but these coins were very rarely found in Britain. Could it be that prices for many products were higher in Britain than on the continent, perhaps because they had to be shipped in? Some things do not change! The as was a copper coin about the size of a modern ten pence coin. Being a sixteenth of a day’s pay for a soldier it was a surprisingly valuable coin. One of the remarkable things about Roman coins circulating at this time was their high value, which meant there was a lack of small change at the period. It is surmised that small value exchanges continued by barter as they had done in pre-Roman times.


The denarius, the sestertius, and the as, formed the basic currency units used in Britain at the period. All sestertii and asses were marked on the reverse with the letters SC (SENATUS CONSULTIO) indicating that they had been struck with the authority of the senate. A gold coin called the aureus, worth 25 denarii, also existed but was used as bullion and was not in general circulation. There was also a coin in circulation at the time known as the dupondius, which had a value of two asses. The emperor’s head of course bore the radiate crown indicating it was a double value coin, but apart from this one feature it was identical to an as coin, so the spender had to look quite carefully at it before he handed it over!