NEWSLETTER 211 : October, 1988 Edited by Anne Lawson
OUR LECTURE SEASON STARTS ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4th.
We meet at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, at 8.00 p.m. Coffee and biscuits are available before the lecture, which starts at 8.20 – 8.30 p.m. We appeal to members with cars to offer lifts to non-car members in their area, if only for the return journey. The hazards of our streets and public transport at night preclude many of our members attending these days.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 4th Lecture and slides on recent excavations at Waltham Abbey by Peter Huggins.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 8th Stepney Walk with Muriel Large. Due to post disruption, applications have been late in arriving. If you would like to join the walk, please ring Dorothy Newbury on 203 – 0950. Numbers are limited.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 15th FUND -RAISING MINIMART AND LUNCH 11.30 a.m. – 2.30 p.m. at St Mary’s Church House, top of Greyhound Hill, Hendon, N.W.4. Please see the enclosed leaflet, giving details of goods required and help needed, and names of stallholders. This is our one fund-raising event of the year which is open to the public, and which over the years has become a social event as well. TO ALL MEMBERS – please help in some way.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 6th Didn’t anybody spot our “deliberate” mistake in the September Newsletter? November 6th isn’t a Tuesday !!! Our Christmas trip to St George’s Theatre, N.7, is definitely on, and the date is TUESDAY DECEMBER 6th. Details and application form enclosed. If you would like to join our Christmas Party, please complete the enclosed form and return it with your cheque as soon as possible.
Mrs Elizabeth Barrie We sadly report the death of Mrs Barrie on September 7th. This lively little lady with her broad Scots accent had been a member for several years and was with us as recently as July on our trip to Docklands. She was always accompanied by her daughter, Deirdre, who has also been a member for many years. Deirdre is one of our Newsletter Editors. We share her sorrow with her.
Mary McGhee has retired and gone to live in Taunton. Mary is the member who makes those gorgeous crackers for our Christmas Party raffle every year.
Bryan Hackett, who joined HADAS at 13 and led our Junior Group for several years until he went up to Oxford to read history, tells us he has now got his degree. At the moment he’s marking time earning a bit in a solicitor’s office – but soon hopes he’ll be off to do a year’s VSO work abroad. After that he hopes to go into the Church, doing his theological training first in Cambridge.
OUTING TO BUCKINGHAM Micky O’Flynn
The last long HADAS outing of this season proved to be very popular, as a full coach set off for an action-packed day.
After morning coffee at The Two Brewers in the village of Thornborough, we met our guide, Sheila Lewis, at the nearby Thornborough Barrows. These are two large circular Roman burial mounds, 21/2 miles east of Buckingham.
The earliest settlements known in the area are Iron Age, and these are a large hill fort, Norbury Camp, covering 12-13 acres and a small fortified farmstead of 2-3 acres. The discovery of a socketed Iron Age axe dated as 50 B.C. defined the settlement as 1st Century B.C. There are only 21 of these axes known in Europe, 11 in Britain, and this is the largest and finest example. We had the great privilege of actually being able to handle the axe, as Mrs Lewis is the custodian until it becomes one of the exhibits in the new museum soon to open in Buckingham.
The settlement continued in use through the Roman period and it is now known to be a large Roman complex at the junction of a dozen major roads to Roman towns and villages.
The best extant group of Roman burial mounds in the country are the Bartlow Hills in Essex, originally 9, but only the 4 largest remain. The Thornborough Barrows are said to be the second best with the suggestion of a third Burial mound close by, and as rich in grave-goods as the Bartlow Hills. The Thornborough Barrows were first excavated in 1839, by the Duke of Buckingham who sank shafts down the centres. He found that one had already been robbed, so back-filled it, but the other burial was largely intact. He discovered an adult male inhumation, said to be lying on a timber couch and accompanied by rich grave-goods of imported Samian ware, amphorae, bronze ware, flagons, glassware and gold-leaf decorated weapons. It has been suggested that this could be the burial of a local Iron Age Romanized chieftain, who could have lived at the farmstead. From 1960 onwards, more finds of coins, pottery and brooches over a wide area showed this to be a major Roman settlement, and that the burial mounds were a focal point of a large Romano-British flat grave cemetery dating back to late 1st and 2nd Century A.D. A statuette of Isis found locally emphasizes the religious importance of the site, as do the remains of a small temple(dating back to late 3rd or 4th Century A.D.) nearby, with a horse’s head burial outside.
It interesting to note the shift in the village site in Saxon and Medieval times and again the shift to its modern position.
Mrs Lewis continued on with us to Buckingham and gave us a guided tour of this ancient market town.
The town was originally built in a narrow loop of the River Ouse, and the parish church of St. Peter and Paul now stands on Castle Hill, the position of the oldest recorded settlement.
Edmund the Elder, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, mentions in 915 the boroughs on either side of the river, so the church site must be one of these Anglo- Saxon fortifications, although no remains have been found. It was then the site of a Norman motte and bailey castle, built at the end of the 11th Century, but flattened when derelict by the Tudors, who used it as a bowling green I When the spire of the original late Saxon church collapsed in 1776 it was not rebuilt in the churchyard position, but on the hill site, by Sir Gilbert Scott.
Twenty years ago many of the historic town buildings were in a very poor condition, but the coming of the University of Buckingham has had an influence on the regeneration of the town. This is the only private university in the country, and much money has been invested by the university to rescue and renovate some of these buildings for academic use. Even with the presence of the university, Buckingham is a peaceful town, with many interesting features to visit, and the Buckingham Heritage Trust hopes to open a new museum soon, housed partly in the original building of the St. John’s Royal Latin School and partly in the Old Gaol.
About three miles south of Buckingham, we visited the lovely church of All Saints. It is mainly l4th Century, though the west tower was built somewhat earlier than the rest, and it was thoroughly restored in the 19th Century by Sir Gilbert Scott. The walls are impressively battlemented and the l6th Century stained glass panels show stories from the Miracles of St. Nicholas.
Winslow Hall is not open to the public, so we were very fortunate in being shown around the private home of Lord and Lady Tomkins. This is an important house in that the plans and overseeing of the building are attributed to Wren, and it survives as a domestic building outside of London, largely without alteration. It was built in 1698, as a main house, with two pavilions, one for the kitchens and the other for the brew-house and laundry.
Across the middle of the main house is the chimney wall holding the 12 chimneys, and around the outside walls there are 72 windows. There are no corridors in the house as the rooms are built around the central chimney wall and open into each other at the ends.
William Lowndes, who had the house built, organised the first centralisation of national accounts and budgets, so is said to be the founder of the Civil Service, and his practical character is seen in the restrained decoration, wood panelling, and plain ceilings. The exceptions to this are the walls. painted by Daniel Marot in 1715 in the guest bedroom. These are unique in England and in excellent condition and the gilding gives an unusual “3-D” effect when lit. Since the house was not lived in for much of its history it has undergone few alterations. It was requisitioned by the R.A.F. during the war and although it received no significant damage was due for demolition in 19^7- Thankfully the Wren Society obtained a preservation order on the Hall to stop this, and in 1950 Edward Tomkins bought the house. Very few changes have been made since, except to move the kitchens into the main house and to convert the corner rooms into bathrooms. In connection with the house one must also mention the fine collection of Chinese pieces originally owned by Lady Tomkins’ grandfather, not forgetting the delicious tea arranged for us by Lady Tomkins.
ST MICHAEL’S STEWKLEY
Our last stop was at this impressive Norman church, which is one of only three, out of the 6,000 or so built by the Normans, which have survived without later additions to their original plan. St Michael’s was built in about 1150 A.D. with nave, central space with massive tower above, and chancel but no aisles. There is much decorative carving of zigzags and dragons, and the tub-shaped font is the Norman original.
Our thanks must go both to the knowledgeable guides and to Dorothy Newbury, whose well-researched and organised planning yet again made for an informative and enjoyable day.
SEVERAL OF OUR MEMBERS asked for references to the excavations at Thornborough. Sheilagh Lewis writes suggesting the following:
1954 J. Liversedge “The Thornborough Barrow” (Records of Bucks. 16, 29 – 32)
1965 C. Green “A Romano-Celtic Temple at Bomton Grounds, Buckingham” (Records of Bucks. 17, 356 ff)
1975 A. Johnson “Excavations at Bomton Grounds, Thornborough, 1972-3” (Records of Bucks. 20, 3 – 56)
1983 M. Green “Isis at Thornborough” (Records of Bucks. 25, 139 – 141)
A CHARTERHOUSE WALK Stewart Wild
Charterhouse is a name that all of us are familiar with, perhaps on account of the distinguished school, or possibly because of the school’s origins in London, in a former monastery hidden away behind Charterhouse Square in Clerkenwell. But how did it start ? What is it now ? Thanks to Mary O’Connell, another group of HADAS members recently had their curiosity satisfied.
The Charterhouse is normally only open to visitors on Wednesday afternoons between April and July. We were doubly fortunate: the weather was perfect and we were shown round by the Master, Mr Eric Harrison, a charming and thoroughly knowledgeable guide.
First we went for a short stroll near the Museum of London, past the Roman Wall in Noble Street and the Lutheran church of St. Anne, and returned to Charterhouse Square via Little Britain and the church of St Bartholomew the Great, dating from 1123.
Charterhouse Square was a plague pit in 1350, part of a parcel of land given to the city by one of Edward Ill’s knights. In 1370 a Carthusian monastery was founded on the site. In 1535 the monks refused to recognise Henry VIII as head of the church and the community was dissolved. What was left became a Tudor mansion and in 1611 was sold to Thomas Sutton who founded a hospital/ school for 80 old men and 40 boys.
The school moved to Godalming in 1872 and the land it occupied was sold to St. Bart’s Medical School. The elderly gentlemen still remain, nowadays no more than 30.
Our fascinating tour included two courtyards, the Great Hall, the cloister, library chapel and tower. The buildings suffered severe damage during the air raids in 19^1 but have been superbly restored. Ironically, good came of this in that two important finds were made as a result of the repairs: the unearthing in 1947 of the founder’s grave (1372) and the discovery in 1958 of the doorway to one of the original 24 monks’ cells.
Thank you, Mary, for allowing us a glimpse of a little-known part of London.
A COIN FROM BROCKLEY HILL 1 Jenny Cobban
The potentially interesting find of a Celtic coin at Brockley Hill (TQ 175939) was made by HADAS member Nick Cobban on 4th September, while field walking with the aid of his metal detector.
The tiny bronze coin, which was lying on the freshly ploughed field, is in good condition and bears the legend “CUNO” and portrait on one side, and “TASCIO” and design on the other. (A type which seems not to be listed in Seaby’s “Coins of England”.)
It would thus appear to date from the early years of the reign of CUNOBELINUS (Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline”) son of TASCIOUVANUS.
CUNOBELINUS, King of the CATOVELLAUNI, reigned for over forty years and is said to have been the greatest of the Belgic rulers. He died in A.D. 43-41, just before the Roman invasion under Claudius in A.D. 43.
After verification, the coin will be recorded by HADAS and the Museum of London.
THE OLD GRANARY AND WELL (Rear of 62 High Street, Chipping Barnet) John Enderby
On behalf of HADAS, Jenny Cobban and I have interested ourselves in the above, prior to the re-development of the site by the owners, Oxford and Cambridge Estates, for office purposes. There were several substantial nineteenth century buildings, used as small industrial workshops, on the site, which is approached through a narrow lane from the High Street. The lane is paved in part with cobble stones that are likely to be preserved as it is to become a pedestrian access only, with a new road being constructed from Moxon Street. One of the buildings in question had been a granary used in conjunction with the ancient brewery for the inn now known as The Mitre. Apart from evidence of a medieval building uncovered in 1936, which might have formed part of the brewery, the only remains of the brewery that can now be seen is a large bricked well, some seven feet across. The depth of the silt and deposit at the bottom is of course not known; our plumb line showed 21ft and the water level is still high. This no doubt supplied the large quantity of water required in the brewing process. Unhappily, the well is now being filled with rubble as a result of the site clearance and will disappear when the foundations of the office block are laid.
Despite the granary not having been used since the turn of the century, a strong and distinct smell of malt was evident when I visited it, immediately prior to demolition. The grain was raised to the thick boarded floor of the two storey building by means of a very substantial sack lift, operated by massive metal winding gear, which is thought to have dated from circa 1840. Thanks to the willing co-operation of the developers and the interest of the London Borough of Barnet Planning Department, the hoist and winding gear were removed undamaged by the demolition contractors, only to suffer some attention from vandals before it could be transported from the site to the LBB Squires Lane Depot for storage until such time as it could be offered to a suitable heritage museum. Fortunately, the three foot diameter winding wheel was taken down at an earlier stage and now rests in perfect condition in the garage of a Barnet HADAS member!
Everything recovered has been offered to the Department of Working History of the Museum of London for display in the Docklands Museum which is due to open in 1990. Strangely enough, the latter is also likely to house an exhibit illustrating the activities of my own family, who were pioneers of the British whaling industry and gave their name to Enderby Land in the Antarctic Basin, as well as a town in Leicestershire and another in British Columbia!
THE ICE-HOUSE SAGA CONTINUES Brian Wrigley
Readers of the last Newsletter may have got the impression from Bill Bailey’s article that they had heard the last of the ice-house in St Joseph’s Convent grounds; but take heart ! It is not over yet ! Whilst the bottom of this curious structure, like the end of a rainbow, still eludes us, your stout-hearted Committee refuse to give up, and gritting their teeth, actually voted to spend a small sum on proper shuttering to make our now rather precipitous excavation secure. This will enable us, in a few weeks’ time, we hope, to offer an Open Day for interested members, and perhaps some invited visitors, to inspect it and hear what information we can supply. By that time, who knows, we may have actually got to the bottom of it, with the assistance of the new shuttering giving a little more room to work in our deep dark hole!
The Committee met on 9th November after a two month summer break, and so had a very full Agenda. Amongst the items discussed was a request from Barnet Museum for HADAS to formulate a policy for the depositing of archaeological finds and records from the Chipping Barnet area, and it was agreed that Barnet Museum is the natural place for these, and that in the future items from that area will be sent on loan to the Museum.
There was news of the Ice House dig and the Committee agreed that £30 should be used for additional shuttering so that the work can be safely continued to reach the bottom. This is potentially hazardous work as well as being heavy and difficult to remove the fill that has accumulated over the years. The Committee considered that some money should later be paid for help with backfilling, to save our stalwart diggers from complete exhaustion.
Victor Jones has offered to put up an exhibition about the Ice House at the LAMAS Local History Conference on 26th November, and Nell Penny has agreed to summarise the results of her documentary investigations for this exhibit.
Robert Michel submitted his proposed work programme at St John the Baptist, High Barnet, where he hopes to identify and date the earliest parts of the North Wall.
News from the Prehistoric Sub-Committee included yet another promise that the West Heath report is to be published by LAMAS, and a suggestion that if this does not happen soon BAR should be approached to publish it. It was agreed to lend about two dozen worked flints from the West Heath to the London Museum, to be hafted and used in their new Prehistoric Gallery. In the quest for more flints, and thus more prehistoric sites, Myfanwy Stewart was leading a field walk at Brockley Hill, near the site of last year’s Roman walking and digging.
CALLING VOLUNTEER DIGGERS !
62 High Street, Chipping Barnet (see pages 5/6)
Following a month of abortive negotiations with the developers of the above site, it now seems probable that a machine trench will be opened for us to investigate for ONE WEEKEND ONLY I
No firm date has yet been given by Peter Dunbar acting for the developers, Oxford and Cambridge Estates Ltd., but he considers it will be within the next few weeks.
If you would like to offer assistance, further information concerning timetable of excavations and site-watching and the site itself, please contact Jenny Cobban on 440-3254.
AND CALLING ! Sons, daughters, grandchildren, even YOUNG HUSBANDS…
and anyone with a strong right arm to help set up the MINI – MART at 9 a.m. + and to help dismantle what is left at 2.30 p.m. +
REMEMBER! REMEMBER! REMEMBER!
15th OCTOBER MINI – MART MINI – MART
HENDON AND DISTRICT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
01-959-5982 21 Woodcroft Avenue, Mill Hill, NW7 2AH
1st October 1988
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVER that there will be a Special General Meeting of the Society on Tuesday, November 1st 1988, at 8.00 pm, at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4 before the advertised lecture on “Excavations at the Mint”.
The matters to be dealt with at the Meeting will be:
1. Amendment of the Constitution and Rules of the Society pursuant to Rule 9
The proposal put forward and recommended by your Committee is:
That in Rule ‘ (relating to the audit of accounts J for the words “Member «f a recognised accountancy body” there be substituted “suitably qualified person”.
2. Annual Accounts for 1987-88
To receive the audited accounts for the year 1987-88 in accordance with the resolution passed at the Annual General Meeting on the 10th May 1988.
3. Annual Subscriptions for the year beginning 1st April 1989
To decide the amount of annual subscriptions for the year 1989-90 under Rule 4(a); the proposal put forward and recommended by your Committee is:
That from the 1st April 1989» the Society’s subscriptions shall be:-
Members aged 18-60 years £6.00 per annum
Members aged under 18 years £4.00 ” ”
Members aged over 60 years £4.00 ” ”
Dependent relatives residing with a Member £2.00 ” “
Corporate members £8.00 ” ”
NOTE: Your Committee consider themselves obliged to recommend this increase in subscriptions, in the light of the annual accounts as presented, which show that without the funds raised by the Minimart, the Society’s income from subscriptions and investment is not enough to cover the ordinary expenses, particularly those of the monthly Newsletter, as foreshadowed by the Hon Treasurer at the AGM.