Volume 5 : 1990 – 1994


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NEWSLETTER 254 MAY 1992 Edited by Andy Simpson


Tuesday May 5th: HADAS Annual General Meeting. To be followed by slides of HADAS excavations and fieldwork 1991-2. Do attend this important event and catch up on recent events and progress.

Saturday May 16th: Outing to Sutton House, Hackney and Waltham Abbey (Details and application form enclosed with this newsletter). You’ve heard the lecture, now see the house:

Saturday June 20th: Outing to Loughborough, Rushton and Geddington.

Saturday July 11th: Outing to Witney.

Saturday July 25th: Visit to Bentley Priory. See note by Bill Firth in this Newsletter (see page 4).

Friday, Saturday, Sunday August 21-22-23: Weekend in Dorset.

Saturday September 26th: A Walk in Southwark, with Mary O’Connell

Saturday October 10th: M I N I M A R T


On Easter Monday, 20th April, several HADAS members enjoyed the sight of a dozen or so members of the White Company, in full armour in some cases, march briskly from Barnet centre to Hadley Highstone, where a wreath was laid. The menfolk were accompanied by several of their ladies acting the part of camp followers: it is hoped that up to 200 members of the Company will be involved in a re-enactment of the battle next year. The standard of the reproduction clothing and armour was most impressive, covering the range from impoverished and ill-equipped Billman to plate-and-mail-equipped professional.

“GRAPHIC NOUVELLE at Church Farm Museum. Dubious about Judge Dredd? Wary of the “Watchman”? Puzzled by pizza-eating turtles? Then go to the exciting new exhibition at Church Farm Museum that chronicles the growth of cartoon-strip characters and “visual storytelling”. Running to 31st May. Admission charge (E1.00) Saturdays only. Free other. days.


The “Society News’ column of the March 1992 issue of the CBA’s “British Archaeological News” carried the kind comment that “The News­letter of the Hendon & District Archaeological Society is often full of incident, the February 1992 issue being no exception with its report on recent observations at Stanmore Church:”

“A” LEVEL ARCHAEOLOGY COURSE: this largely postal course, which can be followed without necessarily taking the exam at the end, covers a range of archaeological issues. Details from Sam Garin, Newarke Sherwood College, Friary Road, Newark, Notts. NG24 1PB.


In December 1991, the Museum of London carried out an archaeo­logical evaluation at the Old Fold Manor Golf Club, Barnet – a site where interest centres on the remains of a moat. A copy of the evaluation report which the Museum kindly supplied, is now

in HADAS library available to Members. The report includes a couple of pages of historical background, largely on the Battle of Barnet. The site location plan reproduced here shows the area. The excavation was confined to 3 test pits within the moat (an area proposed as a car park) and a 20m X 4m trench outside the moat to the North, where a new building is proposed. The 3 test pits were taken down only to the archaeological layers, a maximum of half a metre below the present surface, and recommendations are made for the protection of these layers when the car-park is surfaced. In the trench outside the moat, various dumped layers were found, including a possible ditch or foundation trench suggesting occupation at some period. Apparently no dateable features were found; again, recommendations are made to minimise disturbance to the stratigraphy in using piles for the new building.



Recent renewed interest in the Barnet medieval shoe in Barnet Museum led to the visit in January of June Swann, consultant in the History of Shoes and Shoemaking and to a reassessment of the shoe. Miss Swann considers it to be the remains of a man’s right foot ankle boot (1350 ­1360) though the upper part, above the ankle is missing. Detailed notes are available at Barnet Museum.

During her reappraisal, Miss Swann examined the pile of leather, which in living memory, has been displayed with the boot. This proved a revelation. Firstly, she found the insole of the medieval boot in three pieces which fit together like a jigsaw.

Then there is a fragment of a leather garment, possibly from a jerkin 16th century, possibly Elizabethan. It has two rows of design, visible when viewed with an oblique light. Its irregular shape includes one whip-stitched edge, and an overlapped seam.

Thirdly, Miss Swann discovered two pieces of leather sole from a Roman woman’s or teenager’s sandal. That’s right, a Roman find in Barnet ­and at the Museum. These date from circa 2nd to early 3rd century AD. One piece has wear at the heel. It may be an integral layer near the sole, or the sole for the left foot. If the latter, it does not belong with the other piece. It may be a clump repair. It has hobnail impressions – Roman women did wear hobnails. The other piece is defin­itely a right foot insole. It has outlining for the toes and two holes for the V-straps which went between the first and second toes to hold it on. Parallel slots round the edge are for thongs to hold layers of soles together.

After that discovery, the last find pales into insignificance. It is a piece of heavy leather, probably the outside counter, from a man’s right boot (17th to mid-18th century).

Now the anticlimax the provenance of these objects found Barnet Museum, 1992: The ankle boot was found in 1956, at a depth of 4.5 to 5 feet, by workmen laying a new storm water sewer in the Bottleneck in the High Street beside Barnet Church. The find was recorded in the Museum acquisition book and published in the “Barnet Press”. Clearly, the insole to the boot was also found there, but where did the rest come from?

In the absence of further evidence, it is far from certain that the Roman, 16th and 17th/18th century objects all came from the Bottleneck. As well as a sewer, new concrete foundations were laid. This presumably involved excavating the full width of the road to a depth of at least five feet: a very big hole: Work lasted some ten weeks, during which time traffic was diverted around the town centre. A horseshoe, thought to be 16th century, and some animal bones were found, but no other leather finds were recorded, nor apparently was any pottery found.

It is particularly galling that the Roman objects must remain of very doubtful provenance to tease us, like the story of the “Roman” bricks said to have been found at the turn of the century on the Old Cottage Hospital site at the corner of Barnet High Street and the Meadway. Personally, I am inclined to the opinion that these objects came from elsewhere and that this little collection of leather fragments, represen­ting a remarkable variety of periods, came together in Barnet Museum.

There is, of course, a moral to this story for both curators and archaeologists leave good records for those coming after you. June Swann, MBE, BA, EMA, was formerly Keeper of Shoes at Northampton Museum. Her published work includes “Shoemaking” (Shire Album 155, 1986) and “Recent research in Archaeological Footwear” edited jointly with

D.E. Friendship-Taylor and S. Thomas (Association of Archaeological Illustrators & Surveyors in association with the Archaeological Leather Group, 1987) 49pp.

(It is a great shame that the Roman material is of doubtful provenance. The HADAS excavation of the nearby “Mitre” car park in 1989/1990 unearthed a single sherd of Roman pottery – an interesting coincidence, at least: Ed)


By kind permission of the President of the Mess Committee, Wing Commander G.S.F. Booker RAF, an afternoon visit has been arranged to Bentley Priory which, from July 1936 until April 1968 was the Headquarters of Fighter Command and which is still the RAF Officers’ Mess. Applications for a limited number of places together with a sae for return of joining instructions to:

BILL FIRTH, 49 Woodstock Avenue, London NV11 9RG

PLEASE NOTE: RAF security is stricter than it was and drivers coming by car must let me know the make, model, colour and registration of their vehicle together with the names of their passengers. If you are coming by public transport please let me know so that I am in no doubt about who is arriving by car. The RAF is very insistent that these details are supplied and I will not give the names of anyone who does not send them to me.Bill Firth


During February/March 1992 the London Borough of Barnet commissioned the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLAS) to make an archaeo­logical and landscape assessment of Edgwarebury Park’s north section as this area is to be replanted as part of the Community Forest Programme. This area (TQ 1895 9360) covers 2-5 hectares and is situated on the junction of Edgware Way (A41) and Edgwarebury Lane. It lies approxi­mately 1 Km east of Brockley Hill with associated Roman kilns on Watling Street. Other evidence in the general area includes prehistoric, Saxon and medieval. Some of the field boundaries are at least 400 years old as shown on a map of 1599 and can still be traced on modern maps.

HADAS were asked to conduct a sample resistivity survey to try and locate any possible buried features. The surface here seems to have escaped ploughing or other serious disturbance and at present consists of scrubland which borders Edgwarebury Farm to the North and hest, and according to some air photos may have contained ridge-and-furrow,

although no sign of this as yet can be found at ground level. Underlying geology is London clay with a surface of top/plough soil as observed when a trench was cut 2-5m deep for the Three Rivers Pipeline which ran across Edgwarebury Farm in 1989 (HADAS Newsletter 241).

At the beginning of March, the official HADAS survey team made a series of 5 resistivity runs north-south of the site, 3 of approx. 50m in length one of 75m, and one of 100m. Results of this limited survey were incon­clusive; variations recorded existing field drains. Other anomalies are difficult to interpret – these areas may be observed under site-watching conditions. The informative assessment by MOLAS will be lodged in HADAS library.

“Aeges Weir” (from the MOLAS report). While fieldwalking for the above project, an opportunity was taken to look at some earthworks which may form the basis of a further HADAS research and survey site: ie the remains of a dam are present on the stream just west of Edgwarebury Park. This stream makes a sharp kink around a series of earthworks that may well represent the site of a former mill. The map of 1599 also shows the fields upstream of the dam position, on either side of the stream as having once contained millponds. It has been suggested that this may be the Saxon origin of Edgware in “Aege’s Weir” but there is no proof, or may be the site of a medieval fish-breeding complex.

(Extract from MOLAS Report, 1992).

Old Fold Moat, Hadley. Work on demolition and rebuilding of the green-keeper’s store and pro golf shop in and around the moat (see report else­where) lasting several months started in April. Plans are being made to site watch and record anything of interest that emerges which is most likely to be with initial stripping (John Heathfield reports that metal detectors will be used in the hope of finding relics of the Battle of Barnet. – Ed.)

19-25 High Street, Barnet. Guyscliffe House and shops adjacent to Fitzjohn Avenue are no more, they currently form a neat pile of rubble under which HADAS would like to conduct a small rescue dig, extending an area last examined in 1990 producing medieval pottery. (Enquiries are being made into the possibility of excavating the shops site. – Ed.)

Church House, Wood Street, Barnet. This site is to become a doctor’s surgery with adjoining offices. Being a listed building in a conservation area, archaeological researches will have to be carried out and may be useful in the continuing hunt for Barnet’s medieval and later occupation. The nearby St John the Baptist Church was first built over 750 years ago and was rebuilt in 1420.


It is pleasing to report that the HADAS library at Avenue House is growing by the week thanks to generous donations from members. This month, Miss A H Ningo has kindly given the Society several books including many by Leonard Cottrell. The niece of Elizabeth Mason thought of HADAS when clearing her late aunt’s effects. Miss Mason’s books have filled some of the gaps left by the fire and included volumes of the series “Ancient Peoples and Places”. Last month’s Newsletter accredited the donation of this series to Barnet Library, however some of the titles listed were from Margaret Maher to whom our thanks are given. Thanks are also given to Mrs. D Rookledge, Miss M Large and Andy Simpson for their much appreciated contributions received since Vikki and I took over the Library. Finally, many thanks to Arthur Till who is set to spend his retirement making more bookcases for Avenue House if the collection continues to expand at the current rate.

Editor’s Note – Glad my contributions were of use

Activity at the Garden Room, Avenue House is quite intensive at present with work also under way on the report of the Forge Site, Golders Green excavation last autumn. The Borough of Barnet have also asked us to produce a plot of all archaeo­logical finds and areas of archaeological importance in the Borough; a first draft has now been completed. Members of the excavation team are present most Sundays – visitors welcome, but ring one of us first in case we are out on site.


The Annual Conference of London Archaeologists held at the Museum of London last March was a day of glimpses into other people’s archaeology. We were able to view examples of work by other local groups and in return offer a photographic record of recent excavations and projects undertaken by HADAS. Seven copies of the West Heath Report and other Society publica­tions to the value of £90 were sold and a valued contact made with a

member of the Pinner Local History Society with an interest in timber-framed buildings who has kindly inspected the Whetstone House and added to our survey.

The morning session provided glimpses into five excavations on sites in central and outer London covering all periods from prehistoric to medieval. The lecturers, all but one from the newly-created Museum of London Archaeology Service, MOLAS, – no more DUA and DGLA – detailed the problems, the initial results and the main finds. A speaker from the Passmore Edwards Museum outlined a rescue dig on the Essex gravels identi­fied from crop-marks as a series of enclosures. Due to lack of funding, this late Bronze Age to Roman site with a 4th century AD kiln and timber-lined well had not been fully excavated. However, due to the building recession gravel extraction had been postponed … it’s an ill winds

Two Iron Age sites at Old Malden were reviewed in the light of other excavations in the Hogsmill Valley to compare settlement patterns and usage with the conclusion that one site was defensive and the other purely a non-defended settlement. Another riverside site, this one on the Thames at Bull Wharf in the City of London, had an unusual but macabre find – a bark burial. In post-Roman silts a skeleton was uncovered which had been left on the foreshore between high-and low-water levels with a moss cover. It lay on reeds and bark, similar to a burial found only once before, in Denmark. A later gravel embankment with a number of stakeholes gave evidence of a probable Saxon beach market.

(The burial was of a woman, aged 20-40, killed by a blow to the skull. – Ed.)

Gordon Malcolm, who recently supervised the excavation at St Mary’s School, Finchley, reported on a mid-Saxon site at Long Acre, Covent Garden. His findings were of a burial area (possibly a family plot but not a cemetery) later sealed by settlement from an expanding Saxon London with a trade zoning taking over from residential use. The evidence for trade came from a number of hearths with reused Roman tiles and associated slag with crucible fragments.

The afternoon session allowed us a glimpse behind the scenes of the environmental department of the museum, now called the Special Services Unit of MOLAS. The specialisations covered were archaeobotany, formal remains, dendrochronology and human skeletal remains. The environmen­talists illustrated the use of scientific examination as a guide to archaeological interpretation and as an independant source of historical data. It was shown that even a key dating-tool, dendrochronology, has not been without its problems. Reused timbers provide a date of original use and imports from the Baltic in the medieval period caused mismatches with the museum chronology. To overcome these problems investigation has been made into changes in timber supply and a Baltic chronology is in course of preparation to join the London oak and beech ones. Dating, we were told, could also be deduced from wild mammal and bird remains. Fallow deer in Britain dates from the Iron Age or Roman period and the rabbit was a Norman import. The natural history of the animal when applied to the human environment can indicate hygiene standards, social status, wealth and dietary and ethnic preferences. Trade networks can be traced from exotic imports and local crafts and industries would have left butchery or skinning marks on bone.

The archaeologists have their own chronology based upon preserved plant and foodstuff remains. Certain environments favour the preservation of one type of remains; for instance waterlogged sites suit seeds and plants, cess preserves foodstuffs by mineralisation from body-secreted acids and grain is preserved by charring. A progression of food sources from Roman to post-medieval has been compiled although there is a bias in the nature of the finds – few waterlogged Saxon sites in London, mainly cess-pits for Roman finds, both favour only one type of find.

However, the history shows the use of grains for breadmaking by the Romans and Saxon with a reduction of grain finds in the medieval indica­ting the use of flour for domestic purposes, the grain being milled elsewhere. Roman imports of dill, fennel, grape and fig were reintro­duced in the medieval and dumps of this period show an increase in corn­field and wasteland flowers and a greater use of straw (for bedding?). Archaeobotany has been able to indicate such diverse items as changes in diet, trade routes and the national economy.

The excavations at the Royal Mint Site since 1972 had produced 1200 burials, 80% of which were removed for examination and analysis by age, sex and pathology. The main burials were Black Death victims of 1350 and contained a high number of infants and juveniles. Height had been regarded as a sign of nutritional standards, but the famines of the 14th century were not reflected in a comparison of height and year of birth although those burials removed from the Church of St Mary Graces once on the site were taller than those buried outside. An analysis of disease by type had main groups of degeneration 45%, dental 30% and trauma 10%. One was the victim of beheading. Broken bones had been competently set with no sign of shortening. Arthritis, as to be expected, was more prevalent with age but more common in the male unlike the situation today. The areas afflicted were predominantly the shoulder, spine and hand.

Currently there are over 4,000 skeletons from various sites from the Roman period onwards awaiting research. It will be possible to use tests for blood protein, DNA and for the presence of antibodies to trace diseases and continue to provide us with more glimpses of our past.

(This was an excellent conference, with fewer displays, but more delegates, than the past couple of years – Ed.)


A large and appreciative HADAS audience enjoyed Mike Gray’s well-illustrated talk, no doubt inspiring many of us to follow up with a visit on May 16thl As a derelict and vandalised shell has been given new life by careful restoration, excavations and careful analysis of the building fabric has revealed many clues as to lost fittings and floor/staircase arrangements. Fascinating wall paintings have been revealed. Study of documents and contemporary paintings tells us something of former occupants such as Sir Rafe Sadleir, who served both Henry VIII and Elizabeth T. Ed.


HADAS Micromart last Saturday, April 25th, attracted quite a crowd—a bit of a crush the first hour as we were only using the ground floor of Church House. We disposed of quite a bit of summer wear and bulky bric-a-brac, and exceeded expectations by taking about £250. Hall and advertising expenses have to be deducted.

Many thanks to our usual stalwart helpers, Tessa provided home-made biscuits and cakes to

have with coffee, and John Enderby and Mary Rawtzen did the usual heaving back and forth. I was a bit under the weather but everyone had happy smiling faces and that soon cheered me up. Dorothy.

by Stewart J. Wild

The mid-Western state of Illinois is not the sort of place you’d expect to find a United Nations World Heritage Site, but on a recent visit I was surprised to find an archaeological site on the banks of the Mississippi with just that designation.

The prehistoric city is referred to as Cahokia, although the original name is unknown. It is named after a sub-tribe of the Mini Indians who arrived here much later, shortly before the French in the 1670’s. Cahokia is sometimes referred to as ‘City of the Sun’, the name deriving from the sun symbolism on certain artifacts, and the belief that the inhabitants worshipped the sun as a deity or spirit.

The Indians of the late Woodland Culture inhabited the area for 150 to 200 years, beginning around 700 AD. A second, more sophisticated race—the Mississippian Culture—developed between 850 and 900 AD.

The Mississippians built over 120 earth mounds in the area, some for burials, others for cere­monial activities. Although many have been destr Dyed by modern housing and urban development, 65 mounds have been preserved within the boundaries of the historic site.

Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earth construction in America. Covering more than 15 acres, this 100 ft. high four-tiered platform was built in four stages over a period of 300 years.

At its height. Cahokia’s 2,200-acre site had around 20,000 inhabitants. Four sun calendars, dating from around 1,000 AD, display the sophistication of Mississippian science and engineering. Called ‘Woodhenge` because of their functional similarity to Stonehenge, they marked the different seasons of the year by the alignment of perimeter posts at sunrise.

By 1,500 AD Cahokia was abandoned, perhaps because natural resources were depleted. A climate change in the 13th century may have affected their food supply, war, disease or social unrest could have played a role. What became of the Mississippians remains one of Amercia’s enduring mysteries.


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NEWSLETTER 253 Edited by Micky Watkins APRIL1992


Tuesday April 7th Archaeology and History of Sutton House, Hackney – 457 years of History by Mike Gray.

Mike Gray is chairman of the Sutton House Society, the group which successfully campaigned for the restoration of the early 16th century house, the oldest in London’s East End. Two years ago this property lay derelict after squatters and architectural thieves had vandalised it. It is now half way through a two million pound restoration programme funded by the National Trust and English Heritage. A research programme began two years ago. Mike Gray, in his talk, will show how above ground research by English Heritage and below ground by the Museum of London Archaeologists, and archival research, have all contributed to the understanding of its structural and social history. This lecture will be a good follow up to our March talk by Helen Paterson on the care and preservation of ancient monuments. It will also interest members researching and excavating old buildings in our own borough.

Saturday April 25th A low key HADAS morning Minimart to dispose of our substantial stock of summer wear (we can never sell it in October) and an accumulation of bric-a-brac etc. (Please see separate slip for details)

Tuesday May 5th HADAS Annual General Meeting – possibly followed by slides of HADAS 1991-2 activities. Please let us know if you have any suitable slides of excavations, exhibitions or outings.

Saturday May 16th
Our first outing of 1992 is a follow-up to the April lecture – To Sutton House and then on to Waltham Abbey with Peter Huggins of Waltham Abbey Archaeological Society

June- July-September Outings as programme card.

August 21, 22, 23 Weekend in Dorset PLEASE NOTE NEW DATES.

October 10th MINIMART This is now BOOKED for October 10th Please mark you programme card. October-November Lectures as programme card.

December 1st or 8th Christmas Dinner. Unfortunately our evening visit to Freemasons Hall is not now possible. We may incorporate a visit there in a walk next year. In the meantime a really super venue has been found, but it is pricey!!! (Please see attached sheet and give me your comments as soon as possible.).


About 60 members were held spellbound for the March lecture when Helen Paterson told us of her experiences as a part time warden for scheduled monuments under English Heritage

She started by outlining the legal history from the first Act on ancient monuments in 1882, up to the establishment of English Heritage in 1983. Despite Acts of Parliament, monuments still get destroyed – a pilot survey in the 1960s indicated the loss of 25% of field monuments.

The part time wardens for English Heritage each have about 600-700 monuments to visit and each monument is visited on a regular basis every three years. This is done on the basis of only 10 hours per week’ The job requires reporting on the condition of the monuments, filling in record forms and sending them off to English Heritage for recording on a computer.

The monuments don’t look after themselves and the most important part is liaising with owners explaining what they have on their land, its background and why it is important Without their enthusiasm the monument is likely to deteriorate or become lost.

Mrs Paterson went on to show slides of an extremely wide range of monuments, mostly within her area of Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bucks.. These covered a complete range of archaeology from prehistoric times to recent industrial archaeology. The sheer variety, all illustrated with excellent photographs was amazing. It covered: major monuments such as Stonehenge and the Tower of London, linear earthworks, Iron Age ditches, crop marks, ridge and furrow and deserted villages,long barrows, round barrows and hillforts, Roman sites, moated sites and motte and bailey castles, guildhalls, churches, country houses, gatehouses and barns cathedrals, castles and parks,canals, bridges, pumping stations, kilns, windmills, lighthouses and Martello towers,crosses, street furniture, obelisks and many other curiosities

The final part of the talk covered examples of how monuments become damaged and given these examples, it was a wonder that many still exist. Besides the more obvious examples of weathering she dealt with destruction by plants and by animals. Trees can cause enormous damage ­overhanging branches can cause structural damage and when the trees are uprooted by gales or by farmers they create large hollows which allow further erosion to take place. The weight of ivy can also pull brickwork over. Undergrowth and thick scrub can blot out light and prevent the growth of ground vegetation, which again leads to erosion.

Cattle can churn up mud, horse riding over banks can cause damage to field monuments and rabbit burrows can also do damage About the only activity which helped preservation appeared to be sheep grazing on grass, and this could have a visible effect in as little as ten days.

The worst culprit was man. Farmers using heavy machinery, grading fields and ploughing up barrows, people eroding paths, treasure hunters digging holes, motorcyclists, traffic hitting buildings, vandalism and graffiti all took their toll.

The key to conservation is proper management and most of this had to be done through persuasion, talking to owners and advising them about solutions and availability of grants. This involved advice on keeping tree planting clear of monuments, providing footpaths to stop erosion, unobtrusively steering people away from vulnerable areas and avoiding ploughing around earthworks. This was particularly effective when working in partnership with the Wildlife Trust in thinning scrub and pollarding willows,etc..

Buildings decay when they fall into disuse and examples were shown where sympathetic restoration had taken place when they had been used for a different purpose. Management was easier where sites were under the direct control of English Heritage and there were uniformed custodians on site, information was available and shops selling appropriate items which brought in a steady income.

The most rewarding thing was catching the enthusiasm of children. The talk finished with an example of children managing a motte and bailey site in their school grounds. They were proud of this and it was a good omen for future conservation when they became adults.

Altogether it was a full, instructive and interesting evening.


Verulamium Museum archaeologists under the direction of Mrs Ros Niblett have uncovered a most significant archaeological find on the high ground behind the Runcie Wing of the City Hospital where a housing development is planned.

Originally it was thought a Roman barracks had been found on the lower slopes, with graveyards and an industrial estate. Higher up the slope a temple emerged and right next to it a large Celtic grave dating to around 30 AD has been uncovered. The pit had a wooden but at the base, the body had been cremated and the ashes put back in a wooden coffin and the pit filled with turf and a mound built on the top.

The size of the burial and the richness of the goods found with the cremated remains – two pieces of bronze horse harness decorated with enamel, fragments of chain mail – show that the dead man was a member of a royal family.

The Roman temple was built next to the grave in about 70 AD and in use for 200 years and ceased when the Christian followers of Alban worshipped at his shrine on the opposite hill where the Cathedral now stands.

Evidence of human skulls, including one female, oxen and pottery found in the perimeter ditches await further analysis and we look forward to further interpretation and publication as to who the dead man was, and how important the settlement was before the Roman conquest, both of which remain a mystery.


A number of people have asked recently about what is happening to the historic, listed buildings at Hendon Aerodrome. The short answer is nothing and, in the meantime, they are deteriorating further

The problem is that , in these recessionary days, the Ministry of Defence cannot find a buyer for the site – the situation may be aggravated by the restrictions on development posed by the listed buildings. Being a Government Department the Ministry is not statutorily bound to maintain listed buildings, unlike a private owner and so dereliction continues.

Last year the buildings were reported to English Heritage as “listed buildings at risk” but they did not appear on the published list of “at risk” buldings. Barnet planners are trying to persuade English Heritage to put the buildings on the “at risk” list, although I am not sure that listing will achieve more than just that The planners are also hoping to persuade English Heritage to put pressure on the Ministry to do something about the buildings, which may be more effective than the “at risk”listing. The planners have also told me that the site is secure against entry.

Until the election is over there does not seem to be much we can do but, afterwards, we can try some pressure of our own again.

AUSTRALIA DAY Cambridge,March 2, 1992 by AUDREY HOOSON

Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology organised this day meeting when papers were presented on the old and the new in Australian archaeology. As stated at the meeting “Australian archaeology is not much known outside Australia. This meeting, the first devoted to Australian archaeology in Britain, may be the first outside Australia itself” Several HADAS members with a special interest in prehistory were present.

The first speakers discussed luminescence, racemization and radiocarbon dating techniques with emphasis on their accuracy and reliability particularly for dating the earliest arrival of humans in Australia. Luminescence dating (both thermal and optically- stimulated) of artifact-bearing quartz sands at two sites in the western Arnhem Land region of northern Australia currently suggests that this took place 50-60,000 years ago.

Australian archaeologists need to engage with the Aboriginal people in the developing of research agendas and in the management of archaeological materials which are part of the Aboriginal heritage and culture. The presence of contemporary groups of hunter gatherers also provides ethno-archaeologists with evidence that can be considered in site interpretation.

Robert John Ware was an interesting speaker on this aspect. He is manager of the Aboriginal Heritage Branch of the South Australia State Government and administers the Aboriginal Sites Protection legislation. He is an Aboriginal and his responsibilities include evaluating and discussing with the relevant local Aboriginal communities projects which researchers wish to undertake in Aboriginal territory. He described some of the problems involved, especially when the researchers have failed to gain the respect of the Aboriginal people.

Presentations on the rock art in Arnhem Land and the Katherine region, Northern Territory, were given by Josephine Flood and Christopher Chippendale. Rock art is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to date. In addition to excavations in rock shelters the relative antiquity of the very broad range of styles, techniques and subjects is being studied by analysis of superimpositions and differing degrees of weathering on art on the same rock surface.

Seven of the speakers were Australian and all ten are active in Australian archaeology. From the application of the recent developments in scientific dating, it was anticipated that Australian archaeology will have an important significance for future interpretations of the Palaeolithic.


With this April Newsletter you will find reminders of subscriptions due on 1st April. I should be pleased to receive your subscriptions as soon as possible. Those who pay by Standing Order, or who have joined since lst January 1992, please ignore this request.


The Society’s Prospects for Its Fourth Decade by VICTOR JONES

The Society’s 1962 Constitution contained as a principle objective, the study of Archaeology and Local History of the area. This aim later changed to include the area of the whole of the newly created Borough of Barnet. Other aims were to widen the general understanding of the subject, and to arrange visits, lectures and active field research.

The Society has a few founder members stilt active, a large contingent of members of many years standing, and a lot of new members who joined in recent years. These include 8 who joined us since January: we welcome them and hope they will enjoy our 1992/3 season of activity.

The First Thirty Years

The 30 years of the Society’s work covered a wide range of archaeological projects. Among the earliest was the location of a small section of a Roman road in Copthall fields area following a series of investigations by leading archaeologists searching for a Roman road running from the Midlands to London. This involved excavations and surveys near Arkley, at Barnet Gate, and further south in the Copthall area these have not been followed up.

A series of building sites were excavated in the Burroughs and Greyhound Hill in Hendon during the 1960s Material was found from the Middle Ages, and on one site material of Saxon date was found, thus confirming the Saxon origin of Hendon.

In the early 1970s, projects were undertaken at sites in Finchley, East Barnet, Colindale and Edgware. There were field walks to search for Roman material in the Brockley Hill area and resistance surveys at various locations. There were digs in Golders Green, Finchley and Barnet, many leaving unanswered questions. Various finds were made, some of Roman material, more from the Middle Ages, and an occasional prehistoric item.

Other projects included studies for the Chipping Barnet Quincentennary Celebrations. This was followed by excavations at the Old Bull Pub in High Street , Barnet, yielding an interesting range of early Middle Ages materials as has later work at the Mitre Inn and the Charity House on Barnet Hill. A long survey was made in the Hadley Wood area of a suspected Iron Age earth work: Though now well documented, no date confirmation was possible, In Whetstone a very interesting Tudor House near the cross roads was surveyed and drawn and is now well restored.

The Prehistoric Hunters of Hampstead

A very major undertaking was commenced in 1976 which turned into a wide ranging series of projects. It came to be known as the West Heath Dig, and developed like ‘Topsey’ from very small beginnings into a very large project indeed.

The start was when a HADAS member walking on the Heath noticed some man worked flints. This led to the discovery of a Middle Stone Age (6000 BC) Hunter camp, involving a six year excavation of a woodland site, followed by a further 2/3 year second stage project to expand some aspects.

Both projects resulted in interesting discoveries and scientific studies, and some of these took several years to complete. The report on the first stage was published by the Society at the end of last year, and the second report is due to follow soon.

Later Projects

More recent Society projects included a dig in 1987 at Brockley Hill. New water supply works were being undertaken near this major Roman site and the dig was to salvage possible Roman remains. We discovered a section of an unknown medieval road, and also a number of interesting Roman tile and pottery fragments. New Stone Age flint artifacts were found in a field area near the site, including one arrow head and a number of flint tools, some partly finished. As far as we know , these had not been previously reported in the area and the full extent of the deposit remains to be explored.

A large new shopping precinct was developed next to the old Chipping Barnet market area. A number of test excavations were made and indicated there had been a little early development to the north of St. John’s Church, but most was to the south and east of it.

Later excavations in Barnet High Road at the back of the Mitre pub and on a site previously occupied by the Charity House were made in 1990/1, Early Middle Age (1150 AD) material and one or two items ,possibly of Roman origin were found.

Another excavation near the oldest church in the area, at East Barnet, found only the remains of a Victorian Farm Cottage, instead of the hoped for evidence of an early village. In Whetstone, work on early Tudor houses produced records throwing new light on the development of this area at the time when the route of the Great North Road was changed in the late 15th century.

It will be seen that little investigation has been made in some of the peripheral areas of the Borough, such as Cricklewood. West Hendon, and the area near there west of Watling Street, The area beyond Arkley and Barnet, and in the East in Friern Barnet and East Finchley.

Members suggestions as to future projects would be welcome.

The Archives and the Library

The Society now has a wide range of finds including Stone Age tools, Roman pottery, Middle Age material, some coins and a few other objects. Most are now collected together, with the written archives, in our newly equipped room at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley. By arrangement with committee members the finds can now be seen. As many members know, The Society is fortunate in having a substantial collection of reference and general interest books on archaeology and local history. These were damaged by fire at Avenue House but have now been restored and indexed by our new librarians Roy Walker and Vicky O’Connor (Tel: 081,361.1350)


I recently spent some time on holiday in South America, including Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel. It is a vast, largely empty part of the world, with magnificent scenery but not much in the way of archaeological interest.

However, some 15 miles north of Puerto Natales in southern Chile, there is a huge cave (500 ft wide, 100ft deep) where in 1895 were discovered the skin and bones of a strange hairy mammal, later identified as Mylodon Listai, or the prehistoric Giant Sloth.

The story will be familiar to HADAS members who have read Bruce Chatwin’s excellent book In Patagonia, published in 1977 and still available in paperback. Various archaeologists were involved in the 1890s; some of the mylodon ‘s remains were sent to the British Museum, but only the bones survived the journey.

Not much is known about the animal or why only one specimen has been found, There is evidence of human habitation in the cave, but the mylodon, dating from around 10,000 years ago, may have been deposited there by a later glacial action. All that one sees today is a fibreglass replica in the cave to show what a giant sloth looked like – its the size of a grizzly bear with a long neck and snout.


The recent acquisitions included three books which may be of interest to members who attended Helen Paterson’s lecture on March 3rd. They date from the early `fifties which gives them a curiosity value, and are from the HMSO illustrated regional guide series of ancient monuments under Government care. Unfortunately, the series is not complete.

Volume 1, Northern England (1951) Lord Harlech

Volume 2, Southern England (1952) Lord Harlech

and Volume 4, South Wales and Monmouthshire (1954) Sir Cyril Fox

Another incomplete series, donated by Barnet Libraries, is Ancient Peoples and Places, edited by

Glyn Daniel (Thames and Hudson). The volumes at Avenue House are

3. Sicily before the Greeks, L.Bernabo Brea (1957)

11 Malta, ID Evans (1959)

15. The origins of Rome, R Bloch (1960)

35 Sardinia, M Guido (1963)

37 Bones, Bodies and Disease. C. Wells (1964)

45. Poland, K. Jazdzewski (1965)

61. Spain and Portugal, H.N. Savory (1968)

69. South East England, R Jessup (1970)

76. Northern Italy before Rome, L. Barfield (1971)

Finally, for those visiting Waltham Abbey with HADAS on 16th May the Library holds one copy of “Old Waltham Abbey in Pictures” by K.N. Bascombe (Waltham Abbey Historical Society – 1985).


In the shifting desert sands of southern Oman, a combination of space-age technology and ancient literature may, according to Newsweek have located the ancient city of Ubar.

Mentioned in the Koran as a ‘city of towers’ called ham and by Ptolemy who referred to it as Omanum Emporium, the entrepot city of Ubar has been the subject of many legends over the centuries. Captivated by references in The Arabian Nights, T.E. Lawrence called it the ‘Atlantis of the sands”.

In 1981 a couple of Americans started to search in earnest. Using computers to comb ancient texts, and satellite experts to aid in location they teamed up with Sir Ranulph Fiennes last year to mount an expedition. When digging began the first finds were astonishing – an octagonal walled fortress emerged from the desert.

Outside the walls, archaeologists found more than 40 campsites – consistent with classical accounts of vast camel caravans which assembled at Ubar. The first artifacts from the site include Roman, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian and Syrian pottery shards, the latter dating from 2,800BC.

The site was found by two NASA scientists who scanned the region with sand-penetrating radar mounted on the space shuttle Challenger. They cross-checked the findings with images from US and French satellites, producing a map of the desert which showed ancient caravan routes and aquifers. Digging began at a point where a known route crossed an aquifer.

Some American archaeologists are sceptical that the remains are in fact those of the fabled city. However, sufficient funds have been raised to allow 40 workers to continue excavating for up to five years, and some Omanis are hoping they might find a treasure trove on a par with Pompeii.


CONGRATULATIONS to Pamela Taylor on being elected both a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and President of the Mill Hill Historical Society. Our distinguished editor of “A Place in Time” will also appear in print again, as the paper she presented to last summer’s Battle Conference entitled “The Endowment and Military Obligations of the Bishopric of London, a Re-assessment of Three Sources’ will appear shortly in its proceedings, Anglo Norman Studies.

Frieda Wilkinson – almost a founder member – is in the Royal Free. She will have returned home by now and we hope to see her back at lectures and outings again soon.

Mrs Crimbley and Mrs Kuttner – two more recent members who have joined us on many outings and weekends, have reluctantly decided to leave the Society. due to advancing years. But they would like to thank us all for the enjoyment we have given them and for all the places and excavations they have visited with us.


The annual excavation training school organised by Keele University will be continuing in its eighth season on a Roman villa site in Gloucestershire, in two-week sessions, in June July and August. Beginners or diggers with some experience can attend for any or all of the six weeks, and training in all aspects of archaeology will be provided during all the weeks. Tuition fee is £65 a week. For application forms, which should be returned as soon as possible. contact Liz Holliday. TEL .0923 267483.


Saturday Morning Only — MICROMART. (Have we invented a new word) at St. Mary’s Church Hall, Church End, Top of Greyhound Hill, Hendon same place as our October Minimart. Members very kindly give us good summer wear to sell, which is difficult in October, so we are going to attempt a low-key Spring effort to dispose of that and other various general items which have accumulated—bric-a-brac and a few books. Tessa will be doing her usual duties in the kitchen, serving coffee, tea and biscuits. Small notices will be available at the April lecture for anyone who can display one in a car, shop or notice board. Offers of help from our regulars or new members will be appreciated. Our Society costs are going up—higher Library charges for lectures and higher rent and charges at Avenue House. So please advertise this fund-raising Spring Sale and come along to it with your friends. For further information ring Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950.

Combine the Micromart with a visit to Church Farm House Museum to see an exhibition entitled GRAPHIC NOUVELLE—The History of Stories in Pictures from 1066 to the present day. The exhibition will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (price on Saturdays £1).

DORSET WEEKEND—August 21, 22 & 23

We have had a good response to our Dorset project and accommodation has been booked in the medieval town of Sherborne. A few more places are still available and the time has come to ask for deposits and firm book­ings. We plan to visit Avebury Village and Neolithic Stone Circle, Maiden Castle, the most famous pre-Roman earthworks in Britain, and Dorchester. It will not be possible to visit Tyneham so we will delete Corfe as well, but will possibly include Abbotsbury, Cerne Abbas or Glastonbury. The final itinerary has yet to be arranged. Departure will be on Friday morning as usual, returning Sunday evening.

COST £85 to include coach throughout, breakfast, packed lunches and evening meals, and single or double room accommodation in modern study centre attached to 8th century Sherborne School. Please complete the slip below as confirmation of your booking and return it with a deposit of £20 by May 1st latest.


The newly refurbished Governors’ Hall at St. Thomas’ Hospital provides prestigious central London conference and banqueting facilities. The magni­ficent historic main hail, associated rooms and riverside terrace are located directly opposite the Houses of Parliament within a few minutes walk of Westminster and Waterloo stations.

All income generated by The Governors’ Hall is used to improve patient facilities and care within the hospital.

The Governors’ Hall, with its lofty ceiling, oak panelling and tall cupola, combines grandeur and history with first class modern services and a location second to none.

St. Thomas’ was founded in the 12th century and since then has achieved many landmarks in caring, teaching and research including the foundation of the first school of nursing in the UK by Florence Nightingale. St. Thomas’ is one of London’s great teaching hospitals.

The Governors’ Hall was constructed at St. Thomas’ in 1904 by Percival! Currey as the riverfront extension to his father Henry Currey’s Victorian hospital of 1871. The block also housed the Grand Committee Room (an ante room to the Governors’ Hall), Treasurers Department, the Almoner’s Room and Counting House.

The rooms were, sadly, only in use for a short time in their original form. The hospital suffered extensive damage during the London Blitz of 1940 and the Hall was subdivided horizontally and vertically to form much needed office and residential accommodation. Windows and panelling were removed and only the fine ceiling hinted at the suite’s former splendour.

In 1990, work began to restore The Governors’ Hall, an architectural treasure of the hospital. The work, which was generously commissioned by the Special Trustees of St. Thomas’ hospital, has recreated one of London’s grand meeting places.

The project was completed in October 1991.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 5 : 1990 - 1994 | No Comments

NEWSLETTER 252 Edited by Liz Sagues MARCH 1992


Tuesday, March 3 Ancient Monuments — Their Care and Preservation

by Helen Paterson, AIFA (HADAS lecture)

Miss Paterson has been Field Monuments Warden for English Heritage since December 1978. She will show slides of ancient monuments in the Greater London area, Hertfordshire and possibly Essex and will talk about the whole legal position and the problems to be overcome with ploughing and redevelopment.

Saturday, March 21 29th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists,

at the Museum of London, 11am – 5.30pm The theme is Recent Archaeological Work in the London Area and the talks cover excavations at Upminster, Tolworth and Old Malden, Cheapside, Long Acre and Bull Wharf. The afternoon session is entitled Cess Flies and What They Are … There will be the usual displays of recent work undertaken by local societies, HADAS included. For tickets (£3 for LAMAS members, £4 for non-members, including afternoon tea) apply to LAMAS, c/o Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN.

Tuesday, April 7 Archaeology and History of Sutton House, Hackney

by Mike Gray. (HADAS lecture)

Tuesday, May 5 HADAS Annual General Meeting

Saturday May 16 Our first outing of 1992 is a follow-up to the April 7 lecture ­a visit to Sutton House and then on to Waltham Abbey with Peter Huggins, Waltham Abbey Archaeological Society

Saturday, June 20 Outing to Loughborough, Rushton and Geddington

Saturday July 11
Outing to Witney to the recent excavation by Oxford Archaeological Unit (see article on page 6)

August 28,29,30 Weekend in Dorset — to be confirmed. Please see separate enclosure with this Newsletter

Tuesday, October 6 The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Woods

by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS lecture)

Saturday, October 3 or 10

Tuesday November, 3
Excavating in Northern Iraq — from the Greeks to the Mongols by Dr John Curtis (HADAS lecture)

Tuesday, December 1 or 8 Christmas Dinner

HADAS lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, at 8pm for 8.30pm.

Dorothy Newbury writes: As you will see the above dates are not all confirmed yet. It is hoped a complete programme card will accompany this Newsletter. It has been suggested that we have a small Mini-Minimart one Saturday in the spring, morning only, with coffee, to dispose of the vast amount of summer wear which we can never sell in October and also the accumulation of other goods we already have to hand.

The items “wanted and for sale” on the slip issued monthly are most welcome. Please continue to send in your sales and wants. Although we don’t sell everything, it is very lucrative and goes a long way towards boosting our takings at the annual Minimart.

Pamela Taylor provides some answers to:

The question of Temple Fortune

I hope the following note will answer Ann Kahn’s query concerning Temple Fortune, although the early history of the area still has to be disentangled and no attempt has yet succeeded.

The Place-Names of Middlesex (1942), p.59, gives the earliest reference as Rocque’s map of 1754 and derives “Temple” from the Templars, who held land within Hendon in 1243. This is almost certainly the correct derivation, but a linking reference which it makes to The Temples in the 1574 Hendon Manor survey is largely irrelevant. The survey makes it plain that The Temples lay on the southern bound­ary, west of Hodford Wood corner, and it must therefore be the adjacent former Templar estate within Hampstead.

The Victoria County History of Middlesex (vol.5, 1976, p.21) almost certainly confuses the history of the Temple Fortune estate with that of a later Templar acquisition in west Hendon, which became part of their Kingsbury manor of Freren (for which see the same volume, p.60). It was the estate including Temple Fortune which was given to the Templars in 1243. Like most of the Templar property, it seems to have passed at their suppression to the Hospitallers. The history after the Dissolution is obscure: part (the Wyldes estate) passed to Eton College in the 16th century, but the Finchley part (known as Temple Croft, and including the site of Avenue House) re­mained in private hands. There is a detailed account of the Finchley descent in VCH vol.6, 1980, p.60.

The Place-Names of Middlesex says the mean­ing of “Fortune” is not clear, but cross-refers to

Ann Kahn writes: I am most grateful to John Enderby, George Ingram and Jean Snelling who have replied to my query on the origins of Temple Fortune. Other members may also be interested in the results I have had so far. I have had no definite explanation yet, but there seems to be a connection with the Knights Templar who may have had a staging post in the area. Templars and Temple are fairly common elements in street names in Finchley Church End and Temple Fortune. Fortune Gate in Willesden, which may be foran-tune that is in front of the tun of Harlesden. There is no archaeological or other actual evidence concerning early settlement of Temple Fortune, but it seems on more nebulous grounds by far the most likely loca­tion for the centre of Bleccanham, the Westminster estate separately acquired by the abbey in the 10th century (and it may even have belonged previously to the small earlier foundation) but soon amalga­mated with Hendon. We know that Bleccanham was the area south of the Brent, and it must have had an estate centre. All our early settlements are on high or rising land, and south of the Brent the only hills are at Temple For­tune and Childs Hill. The latter is almost certainly the centre of another estate, Codanhlaw, appearing separately in the early Westminster charters.

Another indicator comes from the routes of early roads. The importance of the road junction at

Temple Fortune, long before the creation of the Finchley Road, is still obvious on maps such as Cooke (1796). This was the junction of the route from Hendon via Mutton Bridge and the old route from Finchley later replaced by the Finchley Road. The route southwards already terminated abruptly, as Wild Hatch still does, but this was obviously a later development, which has been well charted by stu­dents of Wyldes and Hampstead.

It is at least possible that the “Fortune” part of Temple Fortune commemorates Bleccanham, which became the tun in front of the tun of Hendon. Ar­chaeological help would be highly welcome!

Ekwall’s Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Placenames (4th edition) ignores Temple Fortune, but gives Forton, Lancs, and Forton, Shropshire, as “For­tune” in D.B. (Domesday Book), and includes Fortun, Staffordshire, as “tun by a ford”. This seems to tie up with the information received that the line of the Finchley Road was further west, nearer Bridge Lane. It may be that there was a ford there and this is the origin of the second part of the name.

In brief …

Wembley History Society is celebrating is 40th anniversary with a talk 1952-1992, The Years In Be­tween, on March 20 at its usual venue, Old St Andrew’s Church, Kingsbury, from 7.30pm to 9pm.

The annual excavation training school organ­ised by Keele University will be continuing in its eighth season on a Roman villa site in Gloucester­shire, in two-week sessions in June, July and August. Beginners or diggers with some experience can at­tend for any or all of the six weeks, and training in all aspects of archaeology will be provided during all the weeks. Tuition fee is £65 a week. For application forms, which should be returned as soon as possible, contact Liz Holliday, 081-204 4616.

Bill Bass sends

A despatch from the trenches

St Mary’s School, Finchley Central: Following an evaluation dig in January 1991, the Museum of Lon­don has returned for a full-scale excavation, which started on February 3 and is intended to last six weeks. The main body of the Victorian building has been demolished and is being cleared by contractors. Staff from the MoL and the Passmore Edwards Mu­seum are cleaning the underlying layers by hand. In the original evaluation finds included hearths, slot beams, post holes, pits and a ditch, with large amounts of associated pottery. The pottery was varied: grey wares, sandy shelly wares and some splashed glazed wares. Most dates to around 1150­1250 AD, with some possibly late Saxon.

The new dig has already recovered a large rim sherd, evidence of plough soil and some very clear post holes. The MoL has invited HADAS to participate and arrangements are being made for Sunday and week-day digging. If members are interested in this or any other dig, please contact Brian Wrigley, Andy Simpson, Arthur Till or myself (081-449 0165).

News from previous digs: In February 1982 HADAS organised a rescue dig at the Old Bull Arts

Centre, this site being close to the medieval heart of Barnet. Most evidence was Victorian, but some sherds of medieval pottery were recovered.

The Old Bull now has permission for an exten­sion which will house a visual arts gallery and pro-

vide access for people with disabilities, including a lift and staircase at the back. Limited observation of the trench for the lift foundation did not reveal any further finds or features. Site watching will continue as building progresses.

In 1990 the society conducted an excavation at 19-25 High Street, Barnet (Newsletter 237). This yielded a large quantity of medieval pottery sherds associ­ated with a pebble yard feature, also post-medieval wall footing, pits and pottery. The site is now being developed into a three-storey office/shop building, which involves the demolition of Guyscliffe House (former Barnet College extension) and 1, 3 and 5 Fitzjohn Avenue, which is now taking place. Hope­fully some form of site-watching will continue.

New sites: Other sites on which HADAS Exca­vation Committee members have their eyes include the former Victoria Maternity Hospital, Barnet (be­ing developed into “posh” offices), and Old Fold Manor Golf Club and Two Brewers pub, Hadley, both on the site of the Battle of Barnet. The Two Brewers is apparently to be demolished following a fire. In Edgware, at Edgwarebu ry Park (near Brockley Hill) HADAS has been asked to conduct some field walking and excavation. This is now being organ­ised.

Weight training for diggers: For the last 20 years or so eight (heavy) boxes of Brockley Hill Roman pottery have lain in the depths of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute. Recently we were asked to remove them, to free the space. So on February 5 a team from HADAS Removals Ltd, with the whip cracked by John Enderby, shifted the boxes to our storage room at College Farm, Finchley. Thanks to the Institute for looking after the material over the years.

A section dug as footings by the builders was examined and photographed and a trench two metres by one was dug on lower ground to check whether the soil profile was similar. It was not — unfortunately this section showed a truncated subsoil on to which topsoil had been placed. There was very little evidence of soil weathering and no iron pan development.

Conclusion: between one and two feet of topsoil had been placed on a truncated subsoil (Claygate Beds). This, as walking and earlier examination had shown, was very disturbed by various gardening and construc­tion activities. Thus the many miscellaneous finds were all assumed to be derived.

The southern boundary area from which most of the flint flakes had come was re-examined, but appeared as disturbed as the rest of the area (or even more dis­turbed) and not worthy of further attention.

Finds, inventory and photos are to be stored at Avenue House.

Margaret Maher writes:

Seven members met at short notice at 9am on February 6 to inspect the site of 61 West Heath Drive, Hampstead, which is to be redeveloped. We had permission to investigate the rear part of the two-acre sloping site, in an area of the garden which appeared to have been unaffected by previous building activity.

The next four-and-a-half hours were spent walk­ing over the ground and loosening the smeared (ma­chine cleared) topsoil in a search for finds. A few modern and Victorian potsherds were recovered, a clay pipe stem and two rusted metal objects so corroded as to be unidentifiable. The most interesting fragments came from a white glazed earthenware milk jar. Unfortu­nately, the name of the company was missing.

From the bottom (literally) of the garden at the far end of the site just by the boundary fence a number of small flint flakes were recovered. Probably Mesolithic, they were of considerable interest because of the prox­imity of the West Heath site, some 600 metres to the NE. Peter Pickering reports on the first lecture of 1992

An underground feast

The first event of 1992 had a similar structure to the last event of 1991. It had three courses. The first, or appetiser course, took the form of a few absolutely superb pictures of cave paintings from Lascaux. The third, or dessert course, was to some tastes macabre — the catacombs of Paris, ossuaries with the bones arranged in decorative patterns on the walls.

But it was the entrée on which Sylvia Beaumon had lavished all her culinary skills, and it was a feast indeed, which few of us could have anticipated when we arrived that mild winter evening in Hendon Library.

Maastricht is well known now to all who follow current affairs with any interest. But very few will have known that nearby are miles and miles of underground passages, disused mines, wherein for 400 years people have been drawing, painting and sculpting on the walls.

They have used different mediums, with differ­ing degrees of professionalism, and of course have depicted a wide range of subjects. Many relate to wars — a picture of Napoleon, a list of families who suffered in the Second World War; many were religious in inspiration, for the passages had been used by trainee Jesuits for their periods of recreation; there were advertisements for margarine; and fan­tasy landscapes of the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was, literally, amazing.

We cannot have been alone in finding the talk provoked more conversation and reminiscence than many of the more academic lectures we have heard. What we had seen underground, when and where. What was the fascination that surrounded the sub­terranean? Whether this was the true “pop art”.

Thank you, HADAS, for the capacity always to surprise.

Roy Walker links books to talk

Art on the library shelves

Though books relating specifically to the February lec­ture on subterranean art are few, the HADAS collection does contain a number of works on prehistoric art. These are:

Cave Drawings: An Exhibition of Drawings by the Abbe Breuil of Palaeolithic Paintings and Engravings (Arts Council, 1954),

Larousse Encyclopaedia of Prehistoric and Ancient Art (Gen. Ed R. Huyghe, 1957),

Lascaux: Paintings and Engravings (A. Laming, 1959),

Secrets of the Ice Age: The World of the Cave Artists (E. Hadingham, 1979).

And the rest of the list:

Nearly 200 new accessions have been catalogued since the Avenue House fire, including several books from the Barnet Library reserve collection kindly do­nated by the borough. Of local and society interest are the following:

Finchley’s Countryside: A Glimpse into its Past and Threats to its Future (O. Natelson),

Industrial Monuments in Hertfordshire (W. Branch Johnson),

Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (London Borough of Barnet),

Archaeological Collections in London (London Museums Service),

The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic (Ralph Merrifield),

Paleolithic Europe: A Theoretical and Systematic Study (Desmond Collins).

If you are interested in borro wing any of the above or would like access to the room at Avenue House to browse through the library, then please telephone 081­361 1350 or make contact at the next HADAS meeting.

Nothing new in nefarious habits

So there’s nothing new in thieves’ habits, according to a report last month in the Daily Telegraph.

The report describes how archaeologists in York were puzzled by the number of empty 13th century purses they found on a site in the city. But medieval purses were not the only finds. Each Monday, when they returned to the site, they discovered more empty purses and wallets — 20th century ones.

Just as the modern thieves tossed their un­wanted booty away in a quiet alleyway, so did their counterparts 700 years earlier, the archaeologists concluded.

“It seems quite a nice example of behavior which hasn’t changed,” Nick Pearson, senior field officer with the York Archaeological Trust, is re­ported as saying.

Not a magical experience

Liz Sagues follows the argument against a long-held theory

The long-contentious “cave art was hunting magic” theory surfaced briefly during the February lecture. For members who’d like to know the latest state of argument, Paul Bahn summarises it cogently — and comes down firmly against a major hunting symbolism in the art of the palaeo­lithic hunters — in Rock Art and Pre­history.

This monograph, edited by Balm and Andrée Rosenfeld, comprises pa­pers presented to the first congress of the Australian Rock Art Research Association, held in Darwin in au­tumn 1988.

De-mythifying the Montespan bear: Cartoon by Laurent, one of the illustrations in Paul Bahn’s paper in Rock Art and prehistory, where it is reproduced by kind permission of Pierre Fanlac.

Bahn uses the example of the bear at Montespan (“the bear facts” is one of his sub-headings) to per­suade readers that hunting magic is in the mind of the interpreters, not the originators, of the art. Hunting, he argues, may well have played a role in the production of some palaeolithic art, in some functional or more mystical way, “but it is clearly not a dominant feature”. His words are entertaining, his thesis convincing.

As might be expected, the main emphasis of the volume is on Australian prehistoric art. But there is plenty, too, to interest anyone with a general enthu­siasm for the subject. Ireland and Indonesia, for example, are among other locations of prehistoric art which are considered, while female artists, “the un­recognised factor in sacred rock art production”, are the subject of another paper. The bibliographies, also, are invaluable for anyone who wants to take the subject further. One warning, though: you’ll find that not all the contributions share the lightness of touch of Bahn’s.

Rock Art and Prehistory is the tenth in a series of archaeological mongraphs published by Oxbow Books, whose Oxford headquarters are a treasure-house of archaeological publications. Other subjects in the series range from The Early Roman Empire in the West to the The Trireme Trials 1988, from Amber in Prehistoric Britain to Anatolian Iron Ages. Prices vary; Rock Art and Prehistory is £15.

Any member visiting Oxford could happily spend hours browsing through Oxbow’s shelves, which contain a huge variety of in-print archaeologi­cal titles, remaindered ones hard to find elsewhere (Bahn and Vertut’s Images of the Ice Age, £15, is among them), obscure monographs including a good number published overseas, bargain books and sec­ond-hand volumes.

And if you can’t get to Oxford, or can’t face the lengthy climb up to the bookshop, everything is available by post: write to Oxbow Books, Park End Place, Oxford OX1 1HN (0865 241249) for a list. Postal charges are 10 per cent of order value, up to a maximum of £2.50, and you can pay by cheque or credit card.

If you are going in person, Oxbow is very close to Oxford station and is open all day Monday to Friday and on Saturday morning. A recommended stopping-point for HADAS members.

Contributions wanted!

The schedule for Newsletter editors for the remainder of 1992 has been published

This list includes one new editor and one returned after a lapse of four years. We have no reserve editor — there must be someone out there who could stand in in an emergency, so please volunteer.

Will ALL members please send in any news or reports, local or otherwise, to the editor of the relevant month’s Newsletter by the due date. Life would be made much easier for the editors if they didn’t have to ring around.

The society’s thanks must go to all 12 editors for keeping the Newsletter going. It is much appreciated by all our members and is an important factor in keeping up our membership numbers to around 360. Thanks are due also to Alan Lawson, who delivers some 30 Newsletters in Hampstead Garden Suburb every month, thus saving the society about £60 a year.

Ted Sammes reports on

A sad event, a happy occasion

In an upstairs room of the City Pride pub in Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, on the evening of February 12 there gathered a cross-section of every­one engaged in the archaeology of Greater London in one form or another.

The room was packed almost to capacity, though not quite to the extent of drinking out of your neigh­bour’s glass! There must have been more than 100 people assembled there to wish Harvey Sheldon all the best for the future.

As mentioned in last month’s Newsletter, Harvey led the first team of full-time professional archaeologists in London from 1970, becoming the Museum of London’s Archaeology Officer and later, in 1983, head of its Department of Greater London Archaeology.

Appropriately, the farewell party was held close to Ray Street, where the processing of archaeological material has taken place for many years under his guidance.

This was not an “organised do” but a spontane­ous happening. Among the people present I spotted our own President, Ralph Merrifield. I don’t know if it ran to speeches, but the overall atmosphere was buoyant and I’m sure very heartening to Harvey.

A hard-hitting commentary on what led up to this event is provided by Gromaticus in The London Archaeologist, Winter 1991, Vol 6, No 13, page 341. A more general article on Harvey appeared in Current Archaeology, 1991, No 124, page 165.

Under canvas …

The site of the HADAS July outing is something special in archaeological terms — but in its modern construc­tion, rather than its ancient.

English Heritage has built a £300,000 computer-designed, Teflon-coated canopy over the remains of the 12th century fortified manor built by the Bishops of Winchester at Witney, Oxfordshire, recently uncovered by Oxford Archaeological Unit in a 10-week rescue dig.

The tent is designed to be maintenance-free and to last for 25 years, and its anchor points avoid damaging any buried structures. It covers the massive stone foun­dations of the solar, which retains its original 12th century exterior rendering and also has the largest Nor­man lavatories known in England.

The manor survived to the 18th century as a pictur­esque ruin and final above-ground traces were obliter­ated at the beginning of this century. The present excavation was in advance of planned redevelopment of the site as retirement homes, but the outline planning permission for this has been successfully overturned in favour of preservation of the Norman remains. It willed open to the public in early summer, with a full-scale interpretative display, including audio facilities.

papers from the past reveal

The crimes and the sentences

It didn’t do, in the 17th century, to disturb the neigh­bours. Witness the example of Agnes Miller, wife of a Finchley yeoman, who in January 1616 was sen­tenced “to be duckt in some pond of water” for being “a notorious and common scoulde and disturber of the neighbours and honest inhabitants of Finchley and Fryarn Barnett”.

Worse was the fate of Elizabeth Rutter, also a resident of Finchley, who a year earlier had been convicted of bewitching two sisters and their brother and murdering them by sorcery. A fourth child had also fallen beneath her spell, and she must hang, the justices decided.

For these and many more accounts of past jus­tice, Dorothy Newbury is indebted to a friend, John Harley, whose son has carefully researched, tran­scribed and annotated entries contained in the Calen­dar of the Sessions Books 1689-1709, published by W.J. Hardy in 1905, and volumes of Middlesex Sessions Rolls from the reigns of Tudor and Stuart monarchs, edited by J.C. Jeaffreson and published in the late 19th century.

The entries cover, in the main, happenings in Hendon, Finchley, Edgware and Hampstead. Ten sheets of Mr Harley junior’s work have been pre­sented to the society.

Tantalisingly, given the interest in witchcraft shown in recent HADAS Newsletters, information on such cases is limited. The details of the case of Helen Beriman, of Laleham, who was found not guilty of killing four calves by “witchcraft, inchantements, charmes and sorceries”, are not de­scribed. And those of Alice Bradley, of Hampstead, acquitted of committing witchcraft against two heif­ers, four hogs, a six-year-old boy and a woman, are omitted because of their length.

But there is information on Joan and William Hunt, of Hampstead, who featured in several witch­craft cases. In January and March 1614 they were cleared of allegations that “at the instigation of the devil (they) practised and exercised certain impious and diabolic arts, called witchcraftes, inchantments, charmes and sorceries” on a neighbour. But two years later Mrs Hunt was convicted of the same offence — this time against a three-year-old child ­and was sentenced to death.

Mr Harley notes that she was one of only three people to be hanged for witchcraft in Middlesex during the reign of James I. Six were acquitted, one dropped dead after pleading not guilty, and one was imprisoned and forced four times to make public confession in the pillory.

He adds: “Although no English county was ever seized with a real witch-craze, many parts of the country reached fairly high levels of persecution during the first half of the 17th century.” Essex, it seems, was particularly enthusiastic in its pursuit of alleged witches, though “nowhere near” as severe as many continental countries. Middlesex was “nota­ble for its high acquittal rate”.

His researches are full of other intriguing infor­mation on Tudor and Stuart justice and other legal affairs. There are, for example, the inn-keepers who protested at the suppression (or cancellation) of their licences. Edward Clarke, of Hendon, contended that the order closing his “ill-governed and disorderly house” was obtained by “surprize”, convinced the justices that his was “the most fitting house in the neighbourhood for the accommodation of travel­lers”, and got his licence back.

Six years after that, in 1697, the head constable and petty constables obtained an order preventing “the concourse of disorderly persons at Burrows Green, Hendon, in Whitsun week, assembling there under pretence of holding a fair”.

There were cases of blocked public ways and neglected bridges, information on the amount of aid outer London parishes were ordered to pay to inner London counterparts intolerably stretched by the plague, details of inquests — including one of a nine­year-old servant boy in Hendon, who stumbled and drowned in a pond while carrying an earthern pot of water — and domestic assaults.

And crime, of course. Two yeomen, Thomas Turner and John Church, who broke into a house at Finchley in 1563 and stole pieces of cloth worth 46 shillings, were sentenced to be hung. So, too, was Richard Fage, who with his wife Elizabeth robbed a woman on the highway in Edgware in 1569 and stole clothing worth 30 pence. Mrs Fage, who pleaded pregnancy, was allowed to bear and nurse her child but faced the death penalty two years later.

Less brutal, but still severe, was the sentence meted out to Alice Arthur, spinster, late of Hendon, convicted of vagrancy in 1572. She was ordered to “be whipt severely, and burnt on the right ear”.

There is much more of interest in the records, and Mr Harley’s sheets can be borrowed before they are deposited in the library. Contact Dorothy Newbury on 081-203 0950.

Sensible, but short on discussion

Lithics, the annually-published Newsletter of the Lithic Studies Society (No 11, 1990), has reviewed the HADAS report on the first five years of excava­tion at West Heath. Here we summarise the review and note some of the comments made by Alison Roberts, of the Quaternary Department of the Brit­ish Museum.

Describing the excavations as “a model of the type of work that can be achieved by an archaeological society”, Alison Roberts commends the report as “of very good value for the concise details with which the results are presented”. It is also, she says, “well-balanced and sensible”.

But she is less happy with the “lack of continuity in quality and style of the contributions” and with the failure to allow space for fully detailed discussion on several topics — the interpretation of “strike-a-lights”, for example, or the refitting project. On that latter subject, she remarks: “West Heath is one of the largest and best recorded Mesolithic assemblages in the coun­try, and the technological and spatial information possi­ble from the analysis of conjoining artefacts would be of considerable importance.”

She congratulates HADAS on the range and vari­ety of the post-excavation work and concludes: “The volume is packed full of interesting and useful informa­tion about this large Early Mesolithic site in North London… However, my major criticism … is that there was very little discussion or interpretation of the wealth of information presented. My appetite has been whet­ted and I look forward to hearing more about this site ­and especially to the report of the more recent phase of excavations…”

Copies of Excavations at the Mesolithic Site on West Heath, Hampstead 1976-1981, edited by Desmond Col­lins and Daphne Lorimer, BAR British Series 217, are available to members at £7, plus £1 postage, from Victor Jones, 78 Temple Fortune Lane, NW11 7TT.

Opening a shutter on the past

The firm which turned skills acquired in assaying to good use in the development of photography is the subject of the new exhibition at Church Farm House Museum — Johnsons of Hendon, Memories of a Major Photographic and Chemical Company.

The exhibition, which continues until March 22, explains that the company’s expertise with such chemicals as silver nitrate led to it becoming promi­nent in producing photographic chemicals and equip­ment. Johnsons acquired a site at Hendon during the First World War, when the expansion of aerial pho­tography for military purposes greatly accelerated the photographic chemical side of its work.

The activities of the firm in Hendon — where it was a major employer — are traced in the display, through its products and through the memorabilia of those who used to work for it.

Ted Sammes writes: Johnsons’ factory stood, until demolished in the 1970s, roughly where the car park of Brent Cross Shopping Centre is located to­day. There was also a warehouse in Brent Street, Hendon. The black and orange of the Johnsons’ advertisements and labels became a familiar “trade mark” to anyone involved in photography.

In an act of mindless commercial vandalism the records were burnt, and what is on display now has been assembled by Gerrard Roots over a period of at least two years, by patient contact and inquiry across the country. I am proud to have played some small part in its collection.

Getting better

Victor Jones, our treasurer, has had a short spell in hospital and is now home again. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he will soon be in circula­tion again.


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NEWSLETTER 251 Edited by Helen Gordon FEBRUARY 1992


Tuesday February 4th ‘Paleolithic Cave Painting and Underground Artwork from Palaeolithic to Modern Day’ Sylvia Beamon M.A.

Mrs Beamon gave us a talk on Ice Houses after the HADAS A.G.M. in May 1988, just as we found our own ice-house in Hendon Convent grounds. Here is yet another success story of a mature student with a young family, reading Arch aeology and Anthropology at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She is a founder member of Subterranea Brittanica started in 1974 – a Society to which several HADAS members belong. She lives in Royston and has studied the Royston Caves (which HADAS has visited) for over twenty years and put forward the theory that it may have been used by the Knights Templar, primarily as a store w.ith an addition of a chapel after problems with the local Prior. Her talk this time will be on Paleolithic cave painting end artwork up to the present day.

Wednesday February 26th HADAS members who missed the excellent lecture by Dr Essex-Lopresti in November 1990, on ‘The history of the New River’ from Amwell, Herts to Islington, have an opportunity to hear it at the City University at 6.30 pm – price £1 This is run in conjunction with Mary O’Connell’s City Guiding, and she says all HADAS members and friends are welcome.

Tuesday March 3rd ‘Ancient Monuments – Their care and Preservation’ – Helen Paterson

Tuesday April 7th ‘Achaeology and History of Sutton House, Hackney’ – Mike Grey

Saturday May 16th Our first outing is a follow-up to the April 7th lecture – a visit to Sutton House and then on to Waltham Abbey, with Peter Huggins

Tuesday October 6th ‘The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Weeds’ Harvey Sheldon

Tuesday November 3rd ‘Excavating in Northern Iraq – from the Greeks to the Mongols’

Dr John Curtis

HADAS lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, Hendon at 8.00 for 8.30 start. Coffee is available before the lecture. Members with cars please offer lifts home. The library is 5 minutes from Hendon Central underground, a few minutes from a

113 bus stop) and the 183 bus stops at the Burroughs.

Readers will have seen reports in the press some weeks ago of the finding of a Viking boat burial in the Orkneys. We are proud that Daphne Lorrimer was called to give an expert opinion on the bones as they lay undisturbed. Here is her first impression of the dramatic scene.

A Traveller’s Tale

A Viking boat burial is always exciting, but a Viking boat burial in peril from

storm and spring tide, is .an excitement of no mean order. So, it was with
considerable anticipation and a feeling of great privilege, that I answered a summons on the sixteenth of December, to examine the bones in the boat burial on Sanday, one

of the most northerly of the Orkney Isles. These bones had been discovered by the
local farmer and were being excavated by ADC Scotland Ltd, funds being provided by Historic Scotland and the Orkney Islands Council.

The setting was spectacular and the sky, when I arrived after a pre-dawn flight, was aflame from the rising sun and made a perfect backdrop – the fires of Valhalla (If a merchant rated Valhalla) – to this quite incredible excavation. The boat was quite small (a faering) but it had been chocked all round by stones and although the wooden planks had long since decayed, the metal rivets were still in place and there it sat, just as it had been left all those hundreds of years ago, a boat by the sea!

There were three burials and, by standing on my head, I gave them an inspection in situ and hazarded, what at that stage, could only be called the informed speculation, that they belonged to a man, a woman and a child. The man had been
separated from the other two by a small stone wall and was dignified by a sword, thought (beneath the rust) to be in its scabbard. On top of this was a lump of rusted metal which some said was a spearhead and some a bundle of arrows. He was clutching a decorated bone comb (which some again said was to remove the fleas from his beard!). He had a sickle and a disintegrated cloak brooch which, from the odd gleam, appeared to have been decorated with gold.

The woman not only had a comb, but an extrordinary and, in this country,

practically unique whalebone plate. About the size and shape of a kitchen chopping
board, it had a pair of handsomely carved horses’ heads at one end as an apparent handle.

One side of the plate was plain and the other proved, later, to have an intricately carved border – but no knife cuts. Only two similar plates have been found in Britain and forty in Norway. Its use is something of a mystery – it has been suggested as an ironing board using a lump of glass as a smoother, but the experts have yet to decide.

The boat also contained gaming pieces and weights. It was the presence of these weights which made Magna Dalland, the archaeologist in charge of the dig, think that the burial was that of a well-to-do merchant and, presumably, his family.Since the burial was elaborate, a nearby Viking settlement to provide the labour is postulated,

but the cause of death is, at the moment, unknown. Did illness, epidemic or
catastrophe overwhelm this little family? or were the ancient travellers’ tales from Russia true and slave girls had volunteered to accompany their master to the other world? It can only be hoped that the bones will speak but, alas, they rarely do!

The missing tomb of one of Britain’s most affable but luckless prime min­isters has been found sealed, unmarked and buried deep beside an abandoned parish church at Stanmore. Middlesex.

The discovery of the coro­net-surmounted coffin of the Earl of Aberdeen solves a mystery which has puzzled historians for more than 100 years. But it creates a new enigma: why was one of the most eminent Victorians left interred without inscriptions or memorials and with the door blocked by earth? His great-great-grandson, the Marquess et Aberdeen said last night that the discovery was “most interesting.” add­ing: “We had no idea where he was.”

George Hamllton-Gordon, fourth Earl of Aberdeen, called by Queen Victoria a “faithful friend”, was a no­table Foreign Secretary be­fore becoming PM in 1852. However, Britain drifted into the Crimean War under his leadership. He was forced to resign in 1855, dying five years later. According to one document. Queen Victoria sent her state coach in trib­ute for his burial in the grounds of St John the Evan. genet. Steamers, which was already roofless and disused because another church bad been built.

The earl’s disappearance has tantalised Roy Abbott. Harrow and Stanmore his­torical society treasurer for more than 50 years. He men­tioned it to Dr Frederick Hicks, who is hoping to raise £250.000 to make the ruined church safe for its 360th anniversary.

With a team of masons, Dr Hicks was removing ivy from the ruin. They were tracing some of the roots through the brickwork of a sealed vault beside the building when part of the vandal-weakened masonry collapsed. Inside the vault they saw empty shelves built to accommodate 16 coffins.

Low in the vault wall they saw “what looked like the top of a door almost hidden by earth”. They confirmed this by removing two flag­stones in the vault floor. Dr Hicks hung upside-down through the gap, holding a flashlight, a compact automatic camera, and a mirror. “I could hardly contain myself when I saw what was there,” he said. “There were coffins piled four high and five coronets — one of shin­ing gold — sitting on top. I was sure we had found the lost Lord Aberdeen.” Insig­nia on the uppermost coffin confirmed the find.

Beside it were the coffins of the earl’s two wives, and. apparently, those of three of their children who died in youthThe team respectfully re­sealed the vault. Dr Hicks wrote giving the news to the Marquess. “Decisions on what should be done next will have to be postponed until the family has recov­ered from its surprise,” he said.(Being personally distantly connected with the family the following may throw some light on this mystery – Editor)

The fourth Earl was a man of retiring character, preferring the quiet of Stanmore Priory to living in London. His first wife, daughter of the owner of this house, the Marquess of Abercorn, had been buried there on her death in 1812, and Aberdeen had worn mourning for her till the end of his life. (The vault where the coffin has been found is that of the Abercorn family).

As his great great granddaughter-in-law June Aberdeen wrote (Times 26.12.91)he was also a man of peace. While Prime Minister he wrote to a friend that “my strong feeling is that under the present circumstances war would not only be an act of insanity but would be utterly disgraceful to all of us concerned”. After a few months of war he had to resign and, during his remaining five years political recriminations must have been a torment to him; his grandson wrote in his Memoir ‘We Twa’ that “it might perhaps be said, without exaggeration, that he never smiled again”. His remorse is illustrated by his reply to a request from the villagers in Aberdeenshire for money to build a church; he is reported to have said that he would give them money for any other kind of building but he could not build a church because he had blood on his hands.

Did he himself give instructions before he died as to the manner of the disposal of his coffin, or did his heirs, fearing attacks from enemies/vandals, decide to place no inscription on the vault? His effigy and memorial are in the new church.

HARVEY SHELDON and The Department of Greater London Archaeology


One of the many casualties of the English Heritage’s re-organisation of London’s archaeological effort has been our friend, Harvey Sheldon.

I first met him in connection with his excavations in Highgate Wood, a site which was discovered in 1962. A trial trench was put down in 1966. Two other members were on the site between 1967 and 69, and HADAS also co-operated in doing a resistivity survey in the summer of 1969. This was later published in the London Archaeologist.

When an effort was made to co-ordinate the work of the various societies in London by the formation of the London Borough Secretaries, Harvey was very active, and HADAS joined in about 1974, as far as I can remember. It is fair to say that over the passing years Harvey has played a major part in enthusing archaeology in the minds of all he contacted, Developers, Contractors, and people alike. In more recent years, as head of the Department of Greater London Archaeology, he has built up the department from scratch.

More recently he was deeply involved in the controversy over the preservation of the Rose Theatre in which he clashed with English Heritage. He has also been, for the last five years, President of Rescue, a nation-wide action group in the archaeological field.

At present he has in mind to write up some past digs, and he has promised to talk to us on the latest interpretation of the Pottery Kilns at Highgate (see diary). Knowing Harvey, his optimism and cheerful attitude will carry him through this present period.

Short notes on Highgate appear in:-

HADAS Newsletters 11, 18, 29, 43

London Archaeologist Vol.1 pp 38-43, 150-4, 197 and 232

There has been a more comprehensive article on the Rose Theatre and Harvey’s career in

general in:- Current Archaeology No.124 pp 165-9, which should be read in conjunction with pp 163/4

LOCAL NEWS…. Brian Wrigley reports

As members know we were asked by the Museum of London and the developer to make an archaeological evaluation of the site of St Joseph’s Convent at the Burroughs, Hendon. We had hoped to get access by the end of November, but in the event we were not able to get on site until December19. Over the Christmas and New Year period a small band of devoted diggers completed the necessary investigation in the short time allowed. Fortunately (? ed.) there were very few features and a report is being prepared.

BRIGID and HADAS…. British Archaeological News writes in their obituary:-

…was a leading amateur archaeologist in the London area …She and her journalist husband moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb in the late 1940s and she became interested in the area’s archaeology and history. She took London extramural diplomas in both subjects and for twelve years was secretary of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society
A book of Cartoon to make environmentalists laugh (and think) aren’t all archaeologists environmentalists

Earthscan Publications and World Wide Fund £6.99TURES, MEETINGS, CONFERENCES


Wetland Archaeology Tuesday lectures 6.30 – 8.30 pm

A course of 14 lectures (started Jan 7th) by Robert Fellner, who has worked for three years at large wetland excavations in the Canton of Neuch&tel, Switzerland, where many waterlogged neolithic and bronze age villages have been completely excavated on a scale unknown in Britain.

Aspects of Iron Age Society Thursday lectures 6.45 – 8.15 pm

Feb 6 LIGs, MEBs and the Gundestrup Cauldron (Tim Taylor Ph.D.)

Feb 13 The Stanwick Oppidum (Colin Hazelgrove Ph.D.)

Feb 20 Agriculture in the Iron Age (Peter Reynolds Ph.D.,Butzer Archaelogical farm)

Feb 27 The Iron Age to Roman transition in Northern Europe (Gregory Woolf Ph.D.)

March 5 The Snettisham goldwork (Ian Stead Ph.D.)

March 12 ‘Celtic’ Iron Age Europe; the theoretical basis (Andrew Fitzpatrick Ph.D)

(Trust for Wessex Archaeology)



(in association with Bristol University’s Dept. of continuing education)

Apply Ass.Sec. RAI, c/o Soc.of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, WLV OHS


The Archaeology of the City Wednesday lectures at 1.10 pm, based on excavations by the Museum and given by the principal authors of four new books; in conjunction with LAMAS. The remaining 3rd and 4th are:-

Feb 12 Roman finds around the Bank of England (Tony Wilmott)

March 4 Medieval dress accessories from City excavations (Geoff Egan)

What is it? Exhibition until 26th April

Workshops on Thursdays at 1.10 pm on analysis and care of objects.

from Feb 6th – ceramics; bone, antler and ivory; handling history; (27th none) to April 9th) glass

“Behind the Scenes” at the Museum of London – an invitation to visit the Museum’s vast Reserve Collection of thousands of objects, not normally open to the public, housed in a specially converted warehouse in Finsbury. A group of HADAS members visited the collection last year. This is an opportunity for those who missed it. Visits at 2.0 pm on Feb 11, 25, March 10 and 24: entrance £2 by ticket only, available in advance by completing the form below and returning it with cheque or postal order payable to the Museum of London.


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Edited by Deirdre Barrie

January 1992 – No Lecture

Tuesday February 4th: “Paleolithic Cave Painting and Underground Artwork in the Netherlands and France” – Sylvia Beamon.

Tuesday March 3rd: “Ancient Monuments – Their Care and Preservation” Helen Patexsoll.

HADAS lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, at 8.00 for 8.30 start. Coffee is available before the lecture. Members with cars please offer lifts home.

The Christmas season began on 3rd December when, with a coachload, a visit was made to Doughty Street and the City of London. The visit to Dickens’ house was intriguing enough to whet the appetite for a repeat. The atmosphere was such that a knock at Mr. Dickens’ bedroom door would ~ not have been amiss: Thence to the “George and Vulture”, and while no sight or feeling was experienced of the ghost, we did have an excellent dinner and the opportunity to see part of the City of London at its best, i.e. in the evening. A prayer that such a wonderful eating house escapes the demolition squads.

Grateful members say a sincere “thank you” for a superb treat, so well organised. MR. AND MRS. W. N. FROUDE

(Dorothy Newbury would like to thank Stuart Wild for suggesting the “George and Vulture” in the first place. Ed.)
Medieval Ridge and Furrow in Clitterhouse Playing Fields?

Ted Sammes

Following a letter from a member, Brian Wrigley and myself visited the playing fields on October 1st 1991. The area in question was just to the south east of the Hendon Football Club pitch. At that point land slopes away from Claremont Road down to a stream.

Yes, there were lines running downhill and other disturbances also. We paced the distance between as being 5-6 paces apart – close, but not totally impossible for ridge and furrow. At one point close to what had possibly been a hedge, there was a deeper depression running down the hill. This had manhole covers at intervals.

After a while the groundsmen asked if they could help, and they said the parallel lines were the result of mole drainage lines. Before this work had been carried out, the Hendon Football Club pitch at the top was often waterlogged. They also said that much of the area had been used for allotments, and this could account for the other areas which looked like small medieval tofts (house platforms).

Since the site is close to the site of Clitterhouse Manor (a sub manor of Hendon) it is still just possible that some is ridge and furrow. It

could only be decided by cutting some sections in the future. A similar claim can be made for the ridges at the north east end of Sunny Hill Fields, Hendon.
Hadas Donation to the Phoenix Trust

(In memory of Brigid Grafton Green)

Dorothy Newbury received the following letter from Paddy Grafton Green: “I am writing to thank you very much indeed for your letter of 15th November last and for the cheque enclosed with it in favour of the Phoenix Trust made up of contributions from the many friends my mother had in HADAS. It is a great joy and comfort to find that during her life my mother had so many friends who had such affection for her; although she rarely displayed her emotions I know she was very attached to them and that they meant a lot to her.

Apart from the great sadness of losing someone so dear what has been most difficult to accept (and I am sure my sister would agree) is the loss of a person who had such extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge and who had so much still to contribute that remains and is likely to remain unfinished. That must be so of many people but perhaps in mama’s case the consolation is that she did indeed contribute more than one realises and the kindness of those at HADAS is recognition of that fact. The generosity of you all is much appreciated.”

(The Phoenix Trust is an organisation for the advancement of reconstructive surgery.)
Hadas Library – Books for the December Outing

Books on the theme of historic London as opposed to archaeological London held in the library at Avenue House include the following:

The Lost Treasures of London W. Kent

The Heart of London H.V. Morton

The Vanished City R. Carrier & O.L. Dick

Discover Unexpected London A. Lawson

And, surprisingly, on the subject of Christmas, a small illustrated publication, “Christmas – a fact book”.
Members News – Reva Brown

Yet another mature member who went off to university (Bradford) and returned with a success story at the end of it. She is now Reva Brown M Sc, MA, BA, PhD, and Director of MBA Programme in the Department of Accounting and Financial Management at Essex University – congratulations:

Reva was a regular on outings, and did her stint as Newsletter editor before going to Bradford. She is prepared to renew that task during 1992, and maybe join us again for a lecture or outing occasionally.
Digging News

At the time of going to press, the contractors have been able to provide a machine for top stripping at the St. Joseph’s Convent site, and we hope to be working on the weekend of 21st/22nd December.
Tudor House in Whetstone

(December 1991 Newsletter)

John Heathfield writes that in this article “Le Westone 1485 it should read “Le Wheston in 1398”.

Anyone interested in the documentary evidence for early Whetstone should contact John Heathfield through Barnet Museum.
Finchley Manor House, East End Road, N3

Brian Wrigley

The Department of Greater London Archaeology of The Museum of London have recently made an an archaeological evaluation of this Scheduled site, at the request of the owners pursuant to their application for permission for a new building. The DGLA kindly invited some HADAS members to visit the site to see their exploratory excavations. The notice was too short for an announcement in The Newsletter, but a party of 4 members were able to visit and view the interesting new information shown.

Missing image


On this site, a medieval manor house is historically recorded as standing ‘within the moat’, and the L-shaped remains of a moat (see accompanying diagram) have interested HADAS for years and provoked much discussion as to where the rest of the moat ran. Now the DGLA work has provided atleast some answer.

The excavation, as is now usual for such evaluations, was confined to areas which would be disturbed anyway by the proposed building, and one trench at (about A in the diagram) turned out to be a cross-section of the continuation or the moat, at right angles, where it had been backfilled in the past. Thus the course of the moat originally was apparently between the dotted lines at B – settling a longstanding topic; of HADAS discussion’.

No structures were found in the investigation, and none of the finds went as far back as medieval. So where the medieval house was, remains unsolved: was it under the tennis court and nearby grounds between the 2 known arms of the moat? Or was it further north, under the present Sternberg Centre building, where any remains might have been removed by the basement of the present building? Questions remain for future archaeology.
Manor House Moat, East End Road, Finchley

Ted Sammes

Prior to development of an area close to the house on the north west area of the property the Department of Greater London Archaeology cut a section using a machine at a point, in the development area, on the assumed line of moat. It was hoped to establish that the dry ditch which is visible on two sides did in fact return on the west side.

The opportunity for HADAS to view was arranged by Mike Hutchinson of the DGLA. Victor Jones, Brian Wrigley and myself were able to view the mechanically-dug section on Monday November 18th.

The outline of the ditch in boulder clay was clear, and just where both Paddy Musgrove and Brigid Grafton Green would have expected it to be. The fill of the ditch was mostly boulder clay wash, with a few small brick sherds. From a finds point of view, it could be said to be disappointing. As a result of this work we now know that the moat existed on three sides. The chance of locating the fourth under or near the house is remote.

The December 1991 Newsletter gave news that the existing moat is to be cleared of scrub and maintained by agreement with English Heritage. Regrettably the site is not open to the public.

This work apparently concludes a saga which HADAS started in about 1970 with a survey of the existing moat by B.R. Martin. A copy of this plan was passed to the DGLA.
Lively Latin

Latin has never been livelier, according to Henry Beard of Novi Eboraci in his “Latin for All Occasions”. (What is more, there are no Romans about to correct your pronunciation.)

No more need to struggle with deponents, ablatives and gerunds: This handy volume will provide you with essential phrases for every occasion. There is material for bumper stickers: SI HOC ADFIXUM IN OBICE LEGERE POTES, ET LIBERALITER EDUCATUS EST ET NIMIS PROPINQUUS ADE5. (If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated and much too close); useful curses: UTINAM BARBARI SPATIUM PROPRIUM NUM INVADANT (May barbarians invade your personal space!); there is vital information you may need to convey to your psychiatrist: INTERDUM FEROR CUPIDINE PARTIUM PJA.GNARUM EUROPAE VINCENDARUM (Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe.)

Every situation is covered from starting relationships, the company meeting and answerphones to the cocktail party and (finally) epitaphs (SIC FRIATUR CRUSTUM DULCE – It is thus the cookie crumbles.) This could be the present your light-hearted Latinist has been waiting for.


Latin for All Occasions: Henry Beard, Angus & Robertson £5.99
Archive Images


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Tuesday December 3rd Christmas Dinner at ‘The George and Vulture’. This is now fully booked with a waiting list. If anyone has booked and cannot go, please ring straight away. Dorothy Newbury 203 0950.

January 1992 No Lecture

Tuesday February 4th:
‘Paleolithic Cave Painting and Underground Artwork in the Netherlands and France’ – Sylvia Beamon.

Tuesday March 3rd: ‘
Ancient Monuments – Their Care and Preservation’ Helen Paterson

HADAS lectures are held at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, at 8.00 for 8.30 start. Coffee is available before the lecture. Members with cars please offer lifts home.


The witch’s cottage (or something, or someone) has quite evidently put a hex on me! Every time I decide that my file on the subject is closed, new snippets of information come my way to answer the points raised in the November newsletter:-

Location of the cottage

Yes, Margaret, you are quite right. The witch’s cottage does indeed stand in the grounds of a nudist club, which I visited with my husband and children during my research. Luckily it was a cold day and everyone was fully-clothed. I did not include this information

in my article as I considered the subject matter bizarre enough without introducing the nudist element! I also wished to protect the owners from possible adverse publicity. The lady in charge was fairly convinced I was ‘News of the World” masquerading as an historian, and she took some persuading that I was not. Indeed there was much information

left out of the article for the above reasons, e.g. that when the present owner of the club took it over, she found a witchcraft doll representing herself sitting on her office desk, stuck full of pins. I do not think my response of, “OOH, super, have you still got it, can I photograph it, please?” was quite what she was looking for. (As I am researching these dolls’ history, I thought this sounded like a splendid modern example.) Unfortunately she had destroyed the doll. Members will be reassured to hear that she remains in the best of health!

The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, Caboolture, Queensland, Australia

I was, of course, aware of the existence of this museum, which is still run by the religious community founded by the Reverend Ward. Its director today is a Mr. Michael Strong who recently, I am told, visited England. Unfortunately, I missed him as I began my research a couple of days after he left for Australia. Shucks! The story of the flight of the community from New Barnet to Cyprus in 1945 is an interesting one. I wondered in particular why the community chose Cyprus as its destination, and have recently been informed that Dr. Gerald Gardner gave the community the land in exchange for the witch’s cottage. I do not know how true this is, though it is certainly the case that Gerald Gardner owned land in Cyprus, where at one time he intended to set up a pagan Greek religious site for his own followers. Readers may be interested to hear what Gerald Gardner has to say on the subject of Ward and Cyprus:

“I do not for a moment doubt their sincerity,” says Gardner, “but it did seem to me that they fancied themselves as Abbot and Lady Abbess Ward wanted a secret society and liked to indulge his hobbies. Whenever he heard that the local council was going to tear down some nice old building, he would rush up with motor lorries and a gang of monks….””When Gardner saw him, he had to sell most of what he had, and wanted to go to Canada; but travel restrictions meant that people could not at that time go abroad without being able to prove need. Ward thought he might go to the Greek Church, his parent body. The Orthodox Church was powerful in Cyprus, where Gardner had his dream property, which he had decided to give to Ward. This gift meant that the Order had property which could be a reason for travelling. When he went in 1949 to Cyprus again, he found that the Community had been safely settled there for years. Father Ward was dead by then but Mother Ward was carrying on. They were well-liked, and were accepted as a genuine order by the Greek Church.” (Gerald Gardner: Witch, by Jack Bracelin,

p. 157-158, Octagon Press, 1960)

Within a few years of the community moving to Cyprus, EOKA guerillas forced them to leave the island, and they then travelled to Australia via Egypt and Sri Lanka. About ten years later (in 1966) the community moved to a permanent home at Caboolture in S.E. Queensland, and in 1978 a decision was made to resurrect the museum and make the remaining collections available to the public. Building commenced in 1983 with funds from various foundations, and the total cost was almost £1 million dollars. The new museum, the Abbey Museum of Art

and Archaeology, was opened in 1986 by Sir Gordon Chalk.

In the museum’s brochure, a copy of which rests in Barnet Museum files, is a photograph of students from a St. Michael’s College enjoying the Australian museum’s collections. If one examines Kelly’s Directory, for 1935, one will find that 89 Park Road, New Barnet the site of the original Abbey Folk Museum, is described as “St. Michael’s College, The Chapter

of the Abbey of Christ the King (C.of E. governors) Principal JSM Ward”.

Coincidence? I think not. It seems likely that the Reverend Ward’s ‘school’ lives on in Australia as well as his museum… I will certainly write to Michael Strong regarding the future of the witch’s cottage, although costs of transportation and the costof the cottage itself (asking price: £5000 ) may prove prohibitive.

May I finally take this opportunity to inform HADAS members and anyone else who happens to read this article that, contrary to popular belief, I am not a witch! I consider all religious beliefs worthy of study, and having no axe to grind means that information is made available to me which few people outside various cults will ever be aware of.


We have heard from English Heritage Field Monument Warden that following a recent inspection it is hoped to conclude an agreement to clear the moat of scrub early next year and keep the site in good condition by regular strimming in the future.


Andrew Selkirk’s introduction at the November lecture reminded members that Dominic Perring’s fame as an apologist for English Heritage in the war of words with the Museum of London had preceded him. Since his appointment, however, Dominic has written “Roman London” (B A Seaby Ltd) which draws heavily from the recent work of the Museum in the Square Mile and has collaborated with S Roskams on a CBA publication “The Development of Roman London west of the Walbrook”, a research report in the series “The archaeology of Roman London” . He was an excavations supervisor with the Museum of London from 1978 to 83 and has had his Roman knowledge no doubt sharpened by a period of work in Italy.

His lecture on the Rise and Fall of Roman London charted the rise of Londinium from its foundation in AD50, seven years after the Claudian invasion, on-a site with no immediate pre-Roman settlement. It would have been a military supply depot which by AD60 had become a flourishing merchant centre as the quality finds from this period indicate. The Boudiccan rebellion of AD60 may have led Nero to abandon Britain as a province, for there has been scant evidence of building in the period AD60-70. However, a revival commenced from AD70 with the construction of the first Forum, the waterfront quays with open-fronted warehouses and other public buildings including the Huggin Hill baths (now under Dominant House for the next twenty-five years), the Cheapside Baths of AD150 and the amphitheatre dating from AD120. A 1st century mosaic from the Winchester Palace site displayed a quality as good as Fishbourne or even Italy, illustrating the importance of London, by now a self-governing city. The second basilica/forum at Leadenhall Street commenced around AD100, the construction continuing until AD130.

This boom was followed by a marked contraction evidenced by dark earth deposits dated to around AD160-180 together with signs of demolition (the building materials being left, not re-used) and infilled cellars. The abandonment of the outer parts of the City including Southwark occurred between AD150 and 200. Dark earth is a garden soil which Dominic believes to have been deliberately introduced, a costly process indicating that there was still prosperity, despite the contraction. Under Hadrian, the Roman Empire had ceased to expand resulting in a form of recession – there being no new markets. London was a trading centre and the decline would have led to a migration from the City to the rural areas. The pottery production at Brockley Hill ceased around AD160 and that of Highgate Wood at AD180.

In AD193 Emperor Commodius was assassinated and the then governor of Britain, Albinus, claimed the title. Severus contested this claim, defeated Albinus in battle and then took much interest in Britain, campaigning in Scotland from AD208 and dying in York in AD211. The result of all this was a revival in London from around AD200-250 with the construction of the city wall – a status symbol not defensive, providing a toll income from the original five gates. Large new timber quays were constructed, the pottery dumps found nearby showing the wide range of imports. In his book, Dominic puts the view that the division of the province into two at this time would have stimulated activity in London although it has been held by others that London contracted due to this loss of importance. However, the evidence is well-presented in the book especially drawing attention to the confusion over dating.

At the lecture, Dominic apologized for devoting most of the time to the early history but from AD250 onwards the story is really one of a gradual decline with buildings being restored after serious neglect and some flurries of activity due to political acts. The riverside wall was completed around AD270 blocking the quays, some of which had fallen into disuse. In AD286 Carausius created himself Emperor in Britain and undertook a public works programme including a mint and a massive building recently excavated at Peters Hill with dendro dates of AD293. This was possibly a palace for himself, perhaps completed by his successor Allectus. Barbarian invasions in AD360 and 367 led to expeditions from Rome to restore order with defensive bastions added to the wall through the period AD351-375. The abandonment continued until total decline around AD450.

Dominic Perring has in his book made full use of the results of the most recent City excavations with tantalising references to “publication forthcoming”. The lecture provided a summary of the Roman history of London with some hypotheses which are perhaps debatable, but the book fairly and competently sets out the evidence and explains the author’s conclusions. This book is in the Society’s library and is available to all.


Mary had three city guide colleagues to assist her for this walk, including HADAS member Sheila Kellaway, Carol Mordecai and Peter Bear. Mary started with the stainless steel panoramic guide to the view from outside Tower Hill Underground – great fun for children of all generations. Perhaps by now the provenance of the giant sundial is recorded; in October it was too new for anyone to know: Next stop was for Carol, who enticed us through a basement of BMW’s to view a very large section of the Old City Wall and brought to life the sentries of long ago pacing their watch. There is a series of handsome illustrated information plaques at various points around the remains of the Wall – a walk in itself for Roman lovers.

Following the footsteps of Samuel Pepys, Sheila took us to the churchyard of St Olave’s, survivor of the Great Fire, with somewhat gruesome reminders of the plague burials. There we found the ‘media’ filming something for a Christmas programme, so we could not view inside. On then to Victoriana, the solid regular brickwork of Fenchurch Street Station. I have the feeling that Mary’s enthusiastic and energetic spirit is just what is needed by British Rail – certainly she kept us on the move – ‘Mincing’ and “Seething’ along the Lanes, learning all the wile of the romance and tragedy packed into a tiny fragment of the great Square Mile. Peter gallantly explained the curiosities of the grotesque Minster Towers, a vast pink stone and glass monument to the Market Economy, after which a short respite in the ruins of St Dunstan’s (destroyed by Nazi bombs and now a peaceful garden oasis for workers’ rest and walkers’ appreciation) was very welcome. Finally to ‘All Hallows-by-the-Tower’ for welcome coffee and biscuits in an ‘upper room’, opened specially for us, and then we were taken in hand by one of the staff for a tour of the-crypt and the church – twice a phoenix from the ashes of 1666 and 1940. The Roll of Honour of famous names connected with this most remarkable church is too numerous to mention, but Rev. ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Toc H must be noted. To walk freely over a Roman mosaic floor, handle a Roman door key and a ridge tile moulded on the leg of a Roman roofer, gingerly touch the Grinling Gibbons font cover (cost £12 ), muse upon a delicate silver crucifix from the Spanish Armada(among the many maritime connections) and wonder at the collection of beautiful Communion Plate – it was not to be absorbed in one visit.

Nor was the Tower Hill Pageant, which we visited after lunch. The demolition of a wine warehouse has given access to the vaults which have been turned into a ‘Yorvik-like dark ride’ (said Dorothy on the booking sheet). ‘Better than Yorvik!’ (said those who have seen both). Advertised as a ‘trundle off through time’ there are life-sized Dioramas with wax models depicting life in London from primeval times to the present day, complete with sounds and smells and enthralling exhibits authenticated by the archaeologists of the Museum of London.

This brief account is intended merely to tempt you to go walking ‘by-the-Tower’ during the Christmas holidays. Try a service at All Hallows or St Olave’s and don’t forget the pageant, especially if it’s wet and cold – open every day from 9.30 am to 5.30pm. Telephone 071 709 0081 for particulars.

Many thanks to Mary and her colleagues DAWN ORR


This is currently being repaired, re-sorted and re-catalogued following the fire at Avenue House. Although smoke-damaged, most of the remaining books are in good enough condition to be loaned to members and it is intended, where possible, to publish a bibliography relevant to the Society’s lectures so that members can read further any subject which may have aroused their interest.

Publications specifically relating to the November lecture are listed below but there are books on Roman Britain generally, plus a set of “London Archaeologist” and “LAMAS Transactions”.

Excavations at Billingsgate

Buildings Triangle, Lower Thames Street LAMAS (1974)

Roman London Peter Marsden (1980)

Londinium, London in the Roman Empire John Morris (1982)

The Port of Roman London Gustav Milne (1985)

Excavations in Southwark 1973-76 DGLA/LAMAS (1988)

Roman London Dominic Perring (

Please contact Vikki O’Connor or myself on 081-361 1350 (evenings) if you are interested in borrowing any of the above. ROY WALKER

The Tudor Village of Whetstone

Hadas has undertaken several projects in this village which, until early in 19th’s C. was a typical country village, as may be found on main roads.

The Great North Road, has been an important route between London and the North since the early Middle Ages, until the 14’th C. the route was south-east from Whetstone, Frien Barnet and Muswell Hill to London

It was changed to go via Finchley and Highgate to London to and later a toll-gate was placed at this point, then a junction, where Totteridge Lane from the west reaches the G.N.Road, with a little the south the old London Rd through Frien Barnet and Muswell Hill probably still in use on to London.

r The evolution of Whetstone, and of the market town of Barnet, after which the new

Borough was named, and Much else in the Borough also will have been influenced, was very much to meet the needs of travellers and transport through the Borough.

It has two very major national roads, Watling St (of Roman Origin) in the west and the, Great North Road in the East.

H.A.D.A.S. projects in the area, have previously included ,Site watching of

re development and recording old buildings, investigating an ancient well, the site of cottages, and the tape-recording interviews with older residents, some recalling experiences from the beginning of the century, which are recounted in one of our most popular booklets ” Those Were The Days”.

The Whetstone Tudor House

As some members will know there were a number of old property in the centre of the village some which listed and in 1981 the Society investigated one of those still

remaining. It then produced a splendid set of drawings and a report ( N/L No ).

.,\IF Happily, this property has now been very beautifully restored by its owner Mr Rodwell

senior, and serves as offices for a local development company. Is an example of both, conservation for useful future application, combined with the preservation of a rare example of a 500 years old building in a borough which has little of its past heritage left.

In 1989 we again were asked, to investigation another house next to this, No 1264 Whetstone High Rd which is adjacent to the Griffin Inn, and directly opposite Totteridge Lane. We were asked if we would explore the house and record it, and excavate the land at the back.

It is has unattractive appearance from the front, but has proved to be full of surprises being one of the most interesting of the society projects, and these are are still continuing, some reported N/Letters.

We found that, behind the shop frontage was a very different building to the next house or to the Griffin Inn.

The house had a massive timber-framed construction, it had a surprising with amount of

the original oak main timbers still intact,( some up to 12″ square and 20 or more Ft

long), an still so solid that test drills were quickly blunted by an inch or two

into them.

The building is a two storied early Tudor construction much modified in it’s long

life. It had with four rooms and a central stair case with a door into a court-yard

opposite this and a large garden area at the back.

An early discovery was of, smoked staining in the -front and rear of the building evidence it was possibly a Tudor “twin hall” design, but it had insufficient rooms.

The front of the house was still occupied by a photographer with developing equipment studios etc, so we could not then explore this but assumed it might be there.

Drawings of the general construction where we were able to go were made, and of joint types (for dating etc,) and record photographs of construction and remaining

“wattle and daube”partitions etc,

” Carpenters marks” on the “pre-fabricated” main frame etc were well in progress,

when we told to stop because the tenant complained of disturbance.

The Excavation

The excavation work had also progressed but was also stopped for a time, but after some discussion we were allowed to resume after some weeks, but had to make our own gate with lock to enter directly into the back garden.

The excavation proved to be complicated, as much Victorian drainage cut through the area but evidence of a considerable extension was finally found at the rear of the building ,these included Tudor foundations and footings, and the remains of a further frame corner post.

This confirmed the building was originally one or more hays bigger and therefor it was a twin house.

We also found below the foundation level iron working residues, and pottery fragments indicating that may have been still earlier habitation on the site.

The Documentary Research

Mr.Rodwell the owner of 1266 High Rd, the Property next door had visited the site and told us he held many deeds of surrounding property and very kindly offered to let us see them.These proved to be most interesting, and indeed led to an extensive Local History research programme for two or three years duration.It has resulted in the discovery of nearly every owner or tenant of the houses over most of the last 500 years and of that of a number of others in the vicinity.These were all on land in the centre of village, on the area between the present Whetstone High Road, and Oakley Rd. N.near the site of the toll-gate and Road junction. Ownership, tenancy, wills and other references dating back several hundred years were traced (and translated), confirming the general, archaeological and construction evidence, of and indicating early Tudor dating of a number of the house and a considerable Tudor Village at Whetstone.

There is also a reference to “Le Westone” in one document dated 1485 possibly an earlier name still to be followed up so there is more to do on this. However there were even more surprises in wait for us at Whetstone. Three weeks ago we were asked if we would like to return to complete the project, which we very much welcomed and returning two weeks ago. We for the first time entered the forbidden front part of the building.To our first surprise was to find complete six roomed Georgian residence, quite new separate from the other houses and probably patched onto the Tudor part at some stage after it’s construction. It also has a large well built cellar below,So we are now dealing with three houses on the site, with some new problems and much else to study, if time permits .

The Records Traced

A list of the various leases, deeds, wills and other documents found in the process of tracing the property titles back, some to the late 1400’s. is given below, this research was undertaken by John Heathfield.

The earliest are from St Pauls Cathedral Court Rolls ( at The Guildhall library) and are translated from Latin, and extracts of some a typical specimens records are below.

20 Henry VIII

1505 Thos Sunny Surrendered Backlease A Field and Cottage and Garden to John Sunny.

2 Edward V1 iia

1595 John Sunney a Cottage Called bakehouse, a Field of Pasture and Mead called Bakewell of 8 1\2 Acres a Tenement Lately built, and a Barn to Robert Sunny

1 James

1603 William Sunney the Messuage in which he Lives and Another Cottage to Nicolas Kempe of Middle Temple

1718 Wm. Garland who Died in 1696 Left 3 Mess. now 2 and 2 Acres By to Andrew Gartland

1813 Anne Nixon to Eliz Cole Daughter of W Nixon

Following the recording, and, comment by the society, the first Tudor house was admirably restored..

After much public debate, the others are, it is now hoped, also to be preserved, and will we hope serve as a Group of examples of practical conservation, in addition to their interest for historic reasons.

Victor Jones

BOOK REVIEW Percy Reboul

“I Can’t Say Vinegar” by Alfred Matthews

Reading Alfred Matthews’ little book is rather like handling a piece of furniture made by a village craftsman: it gives pleasure, is nice to own but is not to be compared with the work of a skilled cabinet-maker. The book is an autobiography of Alf’s life in the Borough of Barnet area. It starts in 1911 in a tiny, cockroach-ridden cottage in Hendon and ends in today’s East Barnet. Everything he writes is a labour of love and one can enjoy the sheer detail: gob-stoppers, turnip Jam, stone-hewn kitchen sinks, crystal sets, ‘knock-down ginger’, mud pies ­to mention but a few that will jog the memory of older readers.

As some wag observed recently “nostalgia ain’t what it used to be”. Maybe not, but it is a powerful human emotion that drives people like Alf Matthews to place on record for posterity events which are rather inconsequential in the wider canvas of history but are a valuable record of the doings of ordinary people – arguably Just as important.

Much of the material is a re-work of the author’s part-works “Alf’s Memories” No information has been given about stockists or price but Alf will be pleased to discuss both matters with anyone interested. Ring him on 081-449 1373


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NEWSLETTER 248 NOVEMBER 1991 Edited by Dawn Orr


Tuesday November 5th : LECTURE “The Rise and Fall of Roman London” – Dominic Perring.

Dominic Perring, the author of an exciting new book on Roman London, will be presenting some of his ideas in a fully illustrated talk. Mr Perring, who directed work on several City digs between 1978 and 1983, has recently returned to the capital as English Heritage Archaeology Officer for London, having spent the intervening years excavating in Italy, lecturing in Roman archaeology at Leicester University, and as Worcester City Archaeologist. His new post is a controversial one and Mr Perring will be delighted to answer questions about English Heritage plans for London. (8 p.m. for 8.30 p.m. at Hendon Library.)

Saturday November 16th
: LAMAS 26th Local History Conference at Museum of London. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday December 3rd : CHRISTMAS DINNER at ‘The George and Vulture’.

Details and Application Form enclosed.


How many mere members are hiding their illustrious kith and kin ? JANET FARADAY has been a member for nearly 20 years, and we never knew that MICHAEL FARADAY was her great-great-grandfather’s cousin ! Here is her account of the recent


Next time you switch on the light, the T.V., the radio, toaster, washing machine, spin-dryer, electric drill, hair-dryer, lawn mower, etc., give a thought to the ‘Father of Electricity’ – Michael Faraday, without whom none of this would be possible.

I have been privileged these last three weeks to attend many celebrations of his birth in 1791. These have included two exceedingly good lectures at the Science Museum – aimed at all ages including children; also an Exhibition (open until Dec­ember) where actors re-enact his Christmas lectures, as featured on our £20 note. One lecture was given for a party of disabled children. On the actual anniversary, 22nd September, there was an ‘all-day birthday party’ where large balloons were given to all and sundry – mine burst on the way home! At another lecture, partic­ipating children were treated to a birthday cake. There was a preview of another Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (also open until December). Here are many letters to and from his contemporaries, and notes of his famous journey through Europe with Sir Humphrey Davy during the Napoleonic Wars. Inexplicable that Nap­oleon should have allowed them !

The highlight was a Service of Remembrance and Thanks at Westminster Abbey. Here, everybody, including the Archbishop of York, had done their homework and gave thanks for all his discoveries. Wreaths were laid at a tablet (next to Isaac Newton’s) and eminent scientists carried up to the altar his ‘ring’ (electro magnetic induction), his Bible, and one of his many notebooks. The Lessons were read by the Presidents, past and present of the Royal Society. The Abbey was packed.

At the Royal Institution, distinguished scientists from all over the world gave talks on ‘The Scientific Legacy of Michael Faraday’ – a full day. Six lectures I could follow, two lost me half way through and two lost me from the first word! (However, I was pleased to find that one of the learned audience had found them rather difficult !) More light-hearted were re-enactments of his experiments by Lord Porter and Professor Meurig Thomas at an evening party – very entertaining

Two more days of lectures, which I did not attend : one at the Institute of Physics on ‘Faraday, a Man of Many Talents’ and the other at the Institute of Electrical Engineers on ‘From Faraday to the Stars’.

I believe there is also an Exhibition at the Bank of England on how the £20 note is designed. There is a Benzene molecule to the left of Britannia, iron filings representing the lines of force, North and South denoting the magnets. Faraday himself is shown in the Lecture Theatre at the Royal Institution, pointing to a wall where the words he introduced into the language are displayed : electrode, anode, ion, cathode, electrolyte, electrolysis, etc.,etc.

Memorable and enjoyable weeks …. The Exhibitions are well worth a visit

AND NOW – hats off to DEREK BATTEN a 60 year old member who has found time alongside his career as a surveyor to take an ‘Upper Second’ Honours degree at Manchester Univer­sity in American History and Society. Congratulations, Derek ! Some members may recall his short talk and slides following an A.G.M. a few years ago, describing and illustrating two weeks as a ‘volunteer archaeologist’ at the Custer Battlefield,Montana, in 1985. Here he continues his tale of


I was back on the Little Big Horn River for a week in 1989 and this year took part for one week of the four week archaeological investigation at the Big Hole Battlefield in Western Montana, close to the state borderline with Idaho.

The flight of the erstwhile peaceful Nez Perce Indians in 1877 has been described as an American ‘Odyssey’. Traditionally living in the tip of Eastern Oregon, these Indians were compelled to agree to a treaty which confined them to a Reservation in Idaho. The subsequent discovery of gold on this land forced a new treaty in 1863, which reduced the original Reservation to less than one fourth of its previous size. Those chiefs whose lands lay beyond the new boundaries, refused to sign and remained in their home­lands for several years until demands from the homesteaders and settlers forced the Federal Government to tackle the problem anew. Threatened with force, the ‘non-treaty’ Nez Perce agreed to move, sacrificing precious animal stock, but three young warriors, seeking revenge, killed four white settlers. The U.S. Army attacked, were soundly beaten at White Bird Canyon in June 1877, and these ‘non-treaty’ Indians decided to leave their sanctuary, first heading for the Great Plains and then Canada.

Just 30 miles short of the border, at Bear Paw Mountain, they were finally forced to surrender to the Army after an epic journey of some 1,700 miles in less than four months. Pursued throughout, and occasionally brought to battle, some 800 men, women and children with more than 2,C00 horses and all their possessions, were reduced to 480. Their Chief Joseph, proclaimed, in one of the best-known speeches in the history of the North American Indians : ‘Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.’

Big Hole Battlefield is the site of the most significant of the battles between the Nez Perce and the U.S. Army – 9/10 August, 1877, in the valley of the Big Hole River. The archaeological work was similar to that at Custer Battlefield : a broad sweep of the area by metal detectors to locate possible artefacts, identification by pin spotters with coloured flags, exposure of finds with the help of detectors of different types of metal, and retrieval combined with accurate surveying of each object found.

By the end of the third week (the one week that I attended) some 800 battle-related pieces had been found, including the barrel of an old Civil War Mississippi muzzle-loading rifle and a trench bayonet. On my final day, we unearthed the skeleton of a young Indian that had laid undisturbed since the battle. The present day Nez Perce regard this land as sacred, and after a moment of silence, these remains were left in peace. Laboratory work will follow to confirm or amend the known details of thebattle and a report will follow.

The whole project was financed by the ‘Country and Western’ singer, Hank WilliamsJunior. (No – I hadn’t heard of him either!) Would that HADAS could find a similar benefactor ! It was tough going in temperatures in the high 80s, coping with ticks and hornets in the swampy river area and working up and down steep slopes of 300 feet – starting from an elevation of about 6,500 feet above sea level ! Needless to say, the spirit, good humour and kindness of my fellow volunteers was as wonderful as previously.Where next ? ?

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT – HELEN AND HUGH GORDON celebrated their GOLDEN WEDDING in September. Helen was a keen West Heah digger, but in her frantic preparations for a huge family party, she regrets that the West Heath party was overlooked I Congratulations to you both !

ANOTHER COUPLE who did make the West Heath party – PETER and JENNY GRIFFITHS, will be remembered for organising an outing to Rayston Caves a few years ago. We were all pleased to see them again, all the way from Litlington in Sussex. During the last two years Peter has been fully occupied in editing Volume II of PADWICK’S BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CRICKET, now published at £39.50 by Library Association Publishing. He now pro­mises to return to his archaeological interests – with more time for HADAS

TRIBUTES TO BRIGID GRAFTON GREEN have appeared in other publications, notably the ‘Ham & High’ and the Hampstead Garden Suburb Newsletter. It is good to know how much her wide variety of skills and sterling qualities were appreciated by all who knew and worked with her. The Committee is considering ways of commemorating her work for HADAS and is grateful for the several suggestions that have been made. Meantime this Editor sadly takes Brigid’s place in compiling this Newsletter and takes the opportunity to record a long-standing debt of gratitude to her for many years of friendship and kindly tutoring in all things literary. The respects paid by John Enderby at her funeral, Daphne Lorimer in her obituary, Percy Reboul in his letter and so many others in reminiscences and acknowledgements, all indicate the esteem, admiration, even awe, which she inspired. May we keep her memory green !

NEWS OF DIGS follows appropriately a reference to Brigid…

She would have been glad to hear from BRIAN WRIGLEY of the possibility of a dig in part of the grounds of St Joseph’s convent near The Burroughs. Please phone him if you would like to know more details : 031-959-5982.

Likewise ANDY SIMPSON’S ‘quick progress report’ on results of the excavations at the Old Forge at Golders Green would have greatly pleased her. Well named is this report, for much has been achieved there in the twinkling of an eye before the on­slaught of the earthmovers and the tin hat wearers. It is no doubt warmer in the Avenue House Garden Room, now the ‘site’ of sorting and identification of the cleaned material, which includes a bronze thimble, 16th century bronze coins, a bone knife handle, two unidentified flint flakes, and an excellent selection of 18th century pottery. A full list of material from each context will be made, but a policy of ‘samples only’ will be applied to building material and such material as Victorian pottery.


Further to the report in September Newsletter … THE HENDON TIMES records on 24th OCTOBER that the developers have won their Appeal. Conservation Area status has failed to protect the old landmark, which will be replaced by offices and car park. However, important trees will be spared, AND it states in the H.T. that ‘Building can cannot begin until an archaeological dig has been carried out.’ WATCH THIS SPACE….


It was an occasion for nostalgia – and for pride. As Daphne Lorimer said, when she welcomed members and guests to the Barnet Town Hall: ‘We had fun, and I think also we proved that a Society can be amateur in status but professional in its performance.

Desmond Collins, who, with Daphne’s constant help, directed those 27,000 hours of work, paid elegant tribute both to the Society and to the 250 members who dug at West Heath over the years and contributed to the follow-up research work. He congratulated HADAS on a ‘marvellous effort’ and an ‘epic excavation’. ‘HADAS has done a truly splendid job. I think no praise can be too high,’ he added. Councillor John Hedges, Barnet’s Deputy Mayor, and his Camden counterpart, Councillor Wyn Parsons, whose borough boundaries meet at the site, were welcome guests and joined in the commendations. But it was most of all an evening for those who took part in HADAS’s biggest, best-known and most important excavation, an excavation of the closest-known Mesolithic occupation site to central London and one which, in terms of the quantity of its finds, comes high in the list of the top 20 Mesolithic sites in Britain.

Some 80 members were there, coming from as far afield as Orkney, Berwick and Devon. Victor Jones, who masterminded it all, deserves the thanks of all of us.

The air was thick with memories – of the long hot summer of 1976, when the excavat­ion began, of the trepidation of those in charge of aspects of work for which they had huge enthusiasm but (then) little experience, of the mudlarking at the spring site, of the amusing misunderstandings among the watching public, of the back aching bending and twisting required for accurate three-dimensional finds’ recording, of the satisfaction of spotting the tiniest tools…

Margaret Maher added to those memories by compiling a display explaining the dig, ensuring that it contained as many photographs as possible of diggers at work.

‘Don’t we all look young!’ we all said, looking round from the photos to the greyer heads and wider waists of 1991. ‘Don’t you remember….’

Over an excellent salad supper organised by Tessa Smith and her helpers, with wine and fruit juice poured liberally by Alan Lawson, the conversations flowed back and forth over 15 years, from West Heath to other HADAS digs, from archaeological in­volvements to updating of family and career news.

Summing up the celebration, Daphne described it as ‘the culmination of 15 years hard but pleasant labour’. It was an occasion for thanks, to the many people who had contributed to making the dig possible, to ensuring that it ran smoothly and to publish­ing its results, and it was also an evening to enjoy. Yes, it was the very best of parties!

HADAS members who have not yet bought their copies of ‘Excavations at the Mesolithic Site on West Heath Hampstead, 1976-1981 (BAR British Series 217) can do so fromVictor Jones, 78 Temple Fortune Lane, NW 11 7TT, for the special Society price of £7 each – add for postage please.

JEAN SNELLING also recommends LIZ SAGUES’S further article in the ‘Ham & High’ of 4th October,1991

ANDREW SELKIRK SENDS US word of two ‘diggers’ who envy HADAS the publication of the West Heath Dig Report. PAULINE AND STANLEY CAUVAIN describe their discovery of Bath Abbey remains in the cellars of the ‘Sally Lunn Refreshment House’ in the centre of Bath. Alas they have so far been disappointed (since 1985 in patient hopes of having their report published by the Bath Archaeological Trust, and have appealed to the Editor of ‘Current Archaeology’ for advice, having noticed his ‘Diary’ item on HADAS’S own publishing problems. Good luck to them – and to the owners of ‘Sally Lunn’ Mr and Mrs Overton, who (given some warning) will happily show visitors round ‘one of the newest tourist attractions in Bath’.


PROFESSOR GRAHAME CLARK, C.B.E., F.B.A., EMERITUS DISNEY PROFESSOR OF ARCHAEOLOGY in the UNIVERSITY of CAMBRIDGE sent a kindly letter of apology to ANDREW SELKIRK, regretting his inability to attend the West Heath Party, and to VICTOR JONES a very detailed and appreciative acknowledgement what he described as a ‘most valuable Report’…having read it ‘with close attention’ and admiring the ‘skilful editing’. Praise indeed from the master in the Mesolithic field.

Here are his letters:

To Andrew Selkirk, on 19th September,1991:

Dear Andrew,

I’m sorry , I will not be coming to London after all.

I would dearly like to have seen the exhibition of finds from the Hampstead mesolithic site, both on account of the special interest I have in the Mesolithic and because I admire the devoted work done by volunteer archaeologists.

Since the Mesolithic period lasted longer than the rest of pre-history and historic time, and the economy was not yet one that involved permanent settlement, it follows that they must have left behind very numerous settlements. As the account in the recent edition of ‘The Past’ shows, their settlements must in many cases exist below plough level. The site in the New Forest was only revealed when the topsoil was removed in the course of laying out a new road. It would be interesting to know how the Hampstead site came to light and what excavation revealed. I hope the meeting and the exhibition go well.


(Signed – Grahame Clark)

Then, on 28th September,1991, having received a copy of the Report, Professor Clarke writes to Victor Jones:

Dear Victor Jones,

This is to acknowledge the copy of the Report published by the BAR British Series on the investigations by members of the Hendon & District Archaeological Society. I have read it with close attention and can only offer my sincere congratulations to all those who took part in the onerous task of retrieving the data in the field and to the many specialist experts who have scrutinised the arch­aeological and ecological evidence. Not least, I admire the skilful editing of the Report. (This last sentence is a hand-written insertion. – Ed.)

The result is that the Sodety has produced a Report which reaches the highest standards and may well serve as a model of what can be achieved by harnessing the enthusiasm of so many who have contributed their labours to recovering the data in such a disciplined and persistent manner.I must not comment in detail, but I was interested that the people who knapped the flint evidently obtained their raw material from elsewhere and that thanks to the excellent study of fitting flints and the occurrence of such a high proportion of micro-burins it would seem that the industry resulted from working on he site itself. I was also particularly interested in the investigation of organicmatter from successive levels of the spring site. I was particularly glad to note that so much attention was paid to insect material as well as to pollen grains. An excellent case has been made out for forest clearance and the maintenance of livestock in the area immediately following ..(its) use .. as a territory supporting a Mesolithic hunter/fisher life style.

Once again I would like to thank the Society for sending me a copy of their most valuable Report.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed – Grahame Clark)


In a prompt response to TED SAMMES’S enquiry in the AUGUST NEWSLETTER for more information about a 1920 air crash in Golders Green, following his own researches

in the ‘Hendon and Finchley Times’, we have:


BILL FIRTH tell us:

After World War I civil aviation was not permitted in Britain until April 1919, and flying to destinations outside the country was not authorised until late July 1919. The first overseas commercial flight from Britain was operated by Air Transport & Travel Ltd. (AT & T) from Hounslow to Paris on the following day.

AT & T was a subsidiary company of the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) which had been building aeroplanes at Hendon since 1912. The aircraft was a converted single-engined DH9A light bomber, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, who was Airco’s chief engineer from 1914 to 1920. He then founded the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane, Kingsbury.

Frederick Handley Page was also determined to become a force in civil aviation and entered the business, using converted HP 0/400 twin-engined bombers. (There was nothing new about using converted bombers. as civil airliners after World War II.) Although some accounts state that the HP 0/400 only carried six passengers, other sources say tnat the aeroplane could carry up to ten – six in the after-cabin, two in the forward cabin, and (for those who chose to travel exposed to the elements) two in an open cockpit in front of the pilot. The pilot often seems to have been the only crew, although a mechanic was also carried on occasion.

The Golders Green Estate now occupies the fields which were Cricklewood Aerodrome, an historic aviation site. Pilots disliked Cricklewood, where they had to struggle over a ridge in the field before becoming airborne and then had to aim for a gap be­tween the hangars as they slowly gained height. If take-off into wind was in a north- easterly direction, there was the problem of the rising ground up to the Ridgeway in Golders Green, less than half a mile away.

On 14th December 1920, an HP 0/400 with six passengers, a pilot and a mechanic took off in this direction and had difficulty in gaining height. It hit a 50 foot tree and crashed into an outhouse in the garden of No. 6 Basing Hill (sic) in Golders Green. The pilot, the mechanic and two of the passengers were killed. How much worse a modern accident would have been. The main Continental destination in those days was Paris (no foreign destinations west of London) and the problems and hazards of circumnavigating London led to the decision to site the capital’s airport at Croydon, which was opened in April 1920 – but not at the famous Purley Way location. Handley Page continued to use Cricklewood for a time, because aircraft maintenance was cheaper. However, his aeroplanes used more fuel to cover the greater distance, and the fatal accident in Golders Green may have hastened his move to Croydon.

Subsequent events led to the amalgamation of the private airline companies into the state-owned Imperial Airways. Frederick Handley Page never achieved his ambition of running a great civil airline, but he will be remembered for the HP 42s, the remarkable four-engined bi-planes. They were the mainstay of the luxurious Imperial Airways London-Paris services right up to 1939, even when rival airlines were using faster monoplanes. Unfortunately, all the HP 42s were destroyed during World War II and we have only written accounts of what it was like to fly them and to fly in them.

There are a number of books on the fascinating subject of early civil aviation, in­cluding a series by Harald Penrose covering British achievements :

‘The Pioneer Years’ (pre-World War I); ‘The Adventuring Years’ (immediately following World War I); and ‘The Ominous Skies’ (pre-World War II).

(Apologies : this piece could not be fitted into the October Newsletter – Ed.)



Egypt exerted its old magnetism – or was Peter Clayton’s superb photography the crowd-puller ? There was a record attendance of over 80 members at the first HADAS lecture of the winter. I am sure no-one was disappointed:

The Old Kingdom Egyptians around 2,500 B.C. buried their kings magnificently in great pyramids visible to all – including the tomb-robbers. Some thousand years later the New Kingdom Egyptians were more circumspect. Their kings were still lavishly equipped for the after-life and surrounded in death by stupendous treasures, but the tombs were now rock-cut underground rooms, hidden deep in a remote valley – safe, it was hoped, from prying eyes and thieving hands.

Even today, visited by thousands of tourists and infested by the inevitable hawkers, the valley retains something of its austere beauty and majestic peace. A pyramid-shaped peak rises above it, reminding us that Mertseger, the Lady of the Peak, she who loves silence’, was worshipped by the workmen here. The Egyptians are and were a practical people. The precious fertile land of the Nile flood-plain must not
be wasted on burials – the City of the Dead is in the western desert, where the sun sets. Peter Clayton then took us on a tour of the valley : the Westminster Abbey of ancientEgypt. There are 62 tombs, numbered in sequence of discovery, Tutankhamun’s being the last. The lowest numbered were opened in antiquity; tourism began in the heyday of classical Greece. Not every tomb is kingly; other royalty and officials are in­cluded. Not every tomb is spacious; some are only pit caches. Some are no longer accessible, which is tantalising when one sees, for example, a picture of the mighty rock cleft leading to the now-closed tomb of Tuthmosis I. But many can be visited. Queen Hatshepsut, daughter, sister/wife and aunt/stepmother of three Pharaohs and herself sole ruler of Egypt for over twenty years, has a burial chamber and a sar­cophagus shaped like the royal cartouche and walls that ‘look like an unrolled pap­yrus’. Tuthmosis III, the Napoleon of ancient Egypt, only five foot four inches high, led his armies as far as Antioch on the Orontes and brought back in his train three young Syrian princesses. There was no stinting in their burial : thirty-two pounds of gold in a head-dress is generous indeed. Seti I has the largest and finest tomb, with richly-coloured wall reliefs of superb quality; his elaborate sarcophagus is now to be seen in the Sir John Soane Museum. Amenophis II’s sarcophagus is still in situ, as was his mummy when the tomb was opened in 1398. He was a mighty bowman, and his great long-bow was found in his tomb. It was subsequently stolen and has not been recovered.

Everyone knows the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but Peter Clayton brought fresh life to it the excitement of the opening, the chaos within like a ‘real Steptoe’s yard’ – following a disturbed robbery in antiquity, the tell-tale footprints in the dust, a robber’s kerchief wrapped round seven gold rings, the staggering quantity and splendour of the grave goods, giving some hint of what had been looted from other tombs.

For of course the attempt to hide the tombs had never always one jump ahead of the officials. Some of the confessions, recorded by court reporters in hieratic ions have been done on the quantity of gold stolen ­earth could they have done with it . The last burial in the Valley of the Kings was in 1,035 B.C. In the tenth and ninth centuries B.C., when tomb-robbing was big business, the priests played hide-and-seek with the royal mummies and saved them from destruction. In 1881 and 1898 caches of royal bodies were found in a niche near Deir-el-Bahari and in the tomb of Amenophis II. They are now in Cairo Museum, no longer displayed to the public,but Peter Clayton had some impressive photographs of them. High cheek-boned, hook-nosed, haughty and remote,even in death and after the passage of over 3,000 years, each one looks every inch a Pharaoh.


MARGARET PHILLIPS writes from Ealing on 4th October :

‘It has been with great interest that I have read about the two articles from Jennie Cobban about the Witch’s Cottage… I lived there (Bricket Wood) myself during most of the 1960s. I used to walk in the area, which remained quite wooded… Round about 1960, a report appeared in the press ( that there was at

Bricket Wood a nudist club. This caused quite a stir… When out walking, I used to look for signs of this establishment. Never did I catch sight of a signpost or notice indicating that there was a club of any description whatever in the neighbor hood, and most certainly never saw the slightest trace of a swimming pool. I con-

cluded that the club… must be very carefully sheltered by woods. Could the’Witch’s Cottage be in the grounds of the nudist club ?


Jenny Cobban concluded her recent fascinating study of the Witch’s Cottage by doubting whether any museum would be interested in displaying it, but saying that to be assured of preservation this already well-travelled building might one day need to be “transported to another location”.

Transportation might indeed provide the appropriate answer. Barnet Archives… has recently been sent two attractive postcards of the ABBEY MUSEUM, CABOOLTURE, QUEENSLAND. These state that the museum was opened in 1986 and houses a range of collections “from prehistoric and medieval Europe, the Roman Empire, ancient Middle East and Asia. The ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles and minor arts were collected by Rev. John S.M. Ward between 1890 and 1940”.

Ward was, of course, the founder of the Abbey Folklore Museum at New Barnet (see J.

Cobban’s first piece in the August Newsletter – Ed.) …and this is presumably the reason for the successor museum’s name. It ought surely to be very interested in the future, and past, of the cottage.’

Well…. QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA may sound far-fetched (so-to-speak) as a destination for the cottage in Bricket Wood, but ‘transportation’ to Australia is not unknown for human cargo, so why not for a provenly portable magical cottage ? The childhood home of Captain James Cock is now to be found in Melbourne; a Maori Meeting House was brought to Clandon Park by the Earl of Onslow a century ago at the end of his terms Governor of New Zealand … perhaps it is high time to despatch another building from ‘Up Top’ ? Looks like Jennie Cobban’s study has not concluded…?(Ed.)


Apologies to Mary, her guide colleagues, to those who went on the walk and those who would like to know about it. Space in this issue has run out, but there will be a report in the next issue, so that anyone who wishes to follow in our footsteps during the Christmas break will be well informed.

has happened all over again ! From the usual extraordinary collection of this and that, the delicious confections and con­coctions of our culinary experts, our own publications, a ‘green’ table of plants and harvest festival items, Hillary Press notepads, mountains of clothing and piles of books, sparkling baubles and exotic perfumeries, some very good shoes and gloves (all in pairs,too ) a completely cupless Poole pottery teaset, Rudyard Kipling’s typewriter (or at least one identical to that on his desk at Burwash ­if you haven’t visited there, you should !) – from all this plus Dorothy’s ‘I never close’ sales and wants which continued down the stairs after clear-up and out into the carpark … from all this WE CLEARED £1,218 – AT LEAST WELL DONE ALL

Special thanks to the organisers, who read like a jazz band in the roll of honour :Sheila Woodward on food, Tessa Smith on lunches, Gill Baker on gifts, June Porges on Bric-a-Brac, Percy Reboul on Books, Alan Lawson and Phyllis Fletcher on house­hold goods, Dorothy Newbury on whistle (sorry – on clothing) and of course to all the helpers who came for fun and stayed to sell. DAWN ORR, 12th OCTOBER


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 5 : 1990 - 1994 | No Comments

ISSUE No. 244: Edited by Vikki O’Connor JULY 1991


Saturday 13 July HISTORIC CHATHAM DOCKS & FORT AMHERST: Dorothy Newbury. (Details & application form enclosed)

Saturday 10th August NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS DAY, HERTFORD To be confirmed next month.

Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September WEEKEND IN NORWICH Fully booked, but no waiting list. Please contact Dorothy Newbury (081 203 0950) if you wish to go on the waiting list.

Saturday 5th October CITY WALK with Mary O’Connell

Saturday 12th October MINIMART at St Mary’s Church House, Hendon

– If you’ve been unable to book seats or get on the waiting list for a trip, it may still be possible to get a place due to eleventh hour cancellations and to people on the waiting list having made other arrangements. It is always worthwhile contacting the organiser the night before a trip – you may be lucky!



We have a number of members, some of them fairly new, who enjoy visiting a site, a lecture, an exhibition, but who may then wonder WHAT NEXT? It is possible they could feel a little excluded, left out, with no way forward or particular focus for increasing understanding. Our members who have found a way on can perhaps help by passing on their thoughts, experiences, ideas through the Newsletter.

What is it that especially draws you to archaeology? What would you miss most if it all went? Is it fieldwalking – trowelling – metal-detecting; flints – pots – bones; stones ­banks & ditches – hedges; Romans – early peoples; markets – deserted villages; surveying – drawing – photography …. or any other aspect?

You may have contributed to the Newsletter from time to time or never until now – let’s hear from you, say 500-600 words. No theses are required, and not necessarily orthodoxies. Should the editors have the luxury of a backlog they will advise of any delay in publication.


On June 15, under a rain-threatening overcast sky, 55 members and friends left the urban spread of Barnet for rural Reading, or more precisely, for the Museum of English Rural Life of the University of Reading’s Institute of Agricultural History. When founded 40 years ago in 1951, rapidly increasing mechanisation and scientific development were revolutionising farming. The general introduction of tractors, combine harvesters, etc, resulted in horse-drawn carts and ploughs, tools and other farming paraphernalia, developed over centuries, being discarded and left to be forgotten and to rot.

The objectives of the museum were to rescue and preserve these disappearing artefacts of the Horse Age and to record the knowledge of farming practices while still contained in living memories. The thematic displays show the success of this timely action, with the objects well displayed, clearly labelled and explained where necessary by well-illustrated posters. The objects range from a multitude of farm carts of different type, frequently known by their county name, to rooms furnished in the style of circa 1860. There are displays concerning basketry, smocking, smithing, saddlery and many others. The most recent item appeared to be a 1947 Ferguson tractor which, nearly half a century on, looked as antique as any of the other-exhibits.

After leaving the museum, we took lunch by the river. The rain held off and we could enjoy the views of the Thames although we came under the scrutiny of countless inquisitive swans. We then boarded the “Caversham Princess” for a leisurely journey to Mapledurham, which lies literally on a backwater. The manor belonged to the Bardolph family who sold it to the Blounts in 1490. It has remained with that family although, following the termination of the male line in 1943, it passed through the eldest of nine daughters, who had married into the Eyston family, in 1863 to her son. The present owner is his grandson.

We were met on the landing stage by a guide who escorted us to St Margaret’s church which was begun in the 13th century by William Bardolph the younger. Following Butterfield’s 1863 “restoration” little original work remains visible although the south aisle built in the late 14th century and known as the Bardolph Aisle survives unaltered. It became the Blount family Catholic burial chapel and remains their private property. The family survived the religious turmoils by maintaining a low profile in these isolated parts but it was necessary to separate the Aisle from the Anglican church by building a stone wall although this was not possible where tombs lay across two of the arcades. The tomb of Sir Richard Blount and his wife is particularly fine. This is one of five Anglican churches in this Country with a Catholic aisle.

After describing the church our guide left us free to visit Mapledurham House and the watermill. The present house was commenced in 1588 and remains mainly unchanged apart from some alterations in 1828 and 1863. Taking advantage of the Catholic Relief Act 1791, a chapel was incorporated in 1797, built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic Style. The rooms on public display together with their original furniture, furnishings and family portraits provide a good impression of life in a manor house over the last 400 years.

The views from the windows were impressive but would have benefited with some sun. On the other hand, it was probably an advantage that mist enshrouded 20th century Reading on the horizon.

A watermill has been on the site since Domesday. The present mill, dating from the late 15th century, is the last one still working on the Thames. The taped description provided (inclusive in the ticket) gave a good account, of the mill with some interesting asides such as when the miller adjusted the critical speed of the wheel, he did so using the sound of the water without the need for meters.

Our thanks go to Ted Sammes, who as a Founder Member knows the correct ingredients and recipe for a successful HADAS tour, and arranged this excellent tour by land and water. As he had not selected the date, he was able to deny responsibility for the weather which fortunately provided very little water from above.

THE APRIL LECTURE ON JORDAN was given by Ted Sammes based on a holiday twelve months previously. Sadly there was only time for 40 slides from his 18 rolls of film. He began with some background information on the region, the Jordan Valley has always been a prized settlement area with fighting recorded since Biblical times. Main rock types found are limestone, sandstone and basalt. The Great Rift Valley runs through Jordan and resultant earthquakes are identified by archaeologists as destruction levels. We saw manifestations of the geological fault: in Southern Jordan a crater plugged with basalt; Zerka Ma’in, a canyon east of Madaba, Central Jordan has a series of some fifty hot springs and a waterfall with a temperature of 59° spilling into the largest pool. Herod the Great came here to ‘take the cure’, today it’s a popular modern mineral water health spa.

Deir ‘Alla (House of God) is the site of an ancient sanctuary overlooking the Jordan Valley 50km north of the Dead Sea. First settled in the late Bronze Age through to 500BC, it has a temple mound dating from c.1500BC which was not re-built after destruction by earthquake in 1200BC BC. However, Deir ‘Alla remained a holy place. Aramaic text on a fragment of 7thC BC wall plaster from a mud-brick wall mentions the Deir ‘Alla Sanctuary, apparently supporting the theory that it was separate from Hebrew influence during the Judean Kingdom. Ted was disappointed to see how trenches from the 1960’s excavation had been left open and were rapidly deteriorating.

Nearby Tell es-Sa’idiyeh is identified with the Biblical city of Zarethan where the Israelites crossed the Jordan. Jonathan Tubb had completed a 5-year dig for the British Museum two days before Ted arrived, and the finds were already boxed up. These subsequently formed part of the BM exhibition “Archaeology and the Bible” which ended this April. In case you missed this, there is a book of the same name by Tubb and Rupert L Chapman, price £7.95, and finds from the site will again be displayed at the Museum later this year. The site, comprising eastern Upper and western Lower Tells, was occupied from the Early Bronze Age, 3rd millennium BC, until about 700BC. A building in stratum XII in the upper Tell is identified as a 12th century BC Egyptian Governor’s Residency, with Egyptian building techniques: deep brick foundations and external double walls with a channel between for drainage. Excavation in the mid-1960’s by James Pritchard of the University of Pennsylvania revealed a staircase, Tubb continued on down to a small pool, confirming this was part of a water system. An interesting feature of the lower Tell was the cemetery associated with stratum XII, with “double pithos” burials where pottery coffins are made by joining two large storage jars at their shoulders.

North of Deir ‘Alla, on the banks of the Wadi Jirm, Pella was one of the cities of the “Decapolis” – ten cities built by Rome to defend their eastern empire. The site was continuously occupied for 10,000 years and, like Petra, prospered from being on two main trade routes. Named after the birthplace of Alexander the Great in Greece,

Pella is currently is undergoing a long-term programme of excavation and reconstruction. Part of the old town is unfortunately under a modern town, nevertheless, temples and a small theatre from the Greco-Roman period have already been reconstructed.

North of Amman another Decapolis city, Jerash, is one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world. The site was occupied in Neolithic times but Jerash (ancient Gerasa) is thought to have been founded by soldiers of Alexander the Great c.332BC. The city expanded early in the 1st century AD, but was abandoned in 747AD following a series of earthquakes and remained buried in sand over a 1000 years until re-discovery in 1806 by German explorer Ulrich Seetzen. Today it’s a big tourist attraction with regular Son et Lumiere performances and a two-week Festival of Culture and Arts each August. ‘Sights’ include Hadrians Arch (1291 130AD); the oval stone-walled Hippodrome; an oval Piazza; Zeus Temple complex; the “Cardo” – a colonnaded street with paving stones rutted by chariot wheels; a 2nd c. AD Nymphaeum (a public fountain with some original coloured painting remaining); Byzantine churches with mosaics, etc etc….

At this point Ted muttered something about “if you’ve seen one Roman Theatre you’ve seen them all”. Sacrilege! Perhaps Jerash has too much to digest at one sitting?

Amman, capital of modern Jordan, the site of one of the earliest farming communities 7000-6000BC, has a history of continuous occupation. This was another Roman Decapolis city, Philadelphia. The old city consisted of lower and upper sections. Worth visiting are the Forum and Roman 5,000-seat Theatre (still used today) in the lower area, and on Citadel Hill, the Temple of Hercules and fortress, which the Romans re-built. As a point of interest, Ted pointed out an unusual modern structure in. Amman – their “emblem”, a huge coffee pot the height of a two-storey building!

At the outer point of the Moab Mountains, Mount Nebo is a traditional site of the tomb of Moses. Franciscan excavations at Siyagha revealed a 6th century Byzantine church and monasteries containing many well-preserved mosaics. Nearby Madaba, dating from the middle Bronze Age, 2000BC is known as the city of mosaics. In the Greek Orthodox Church of St George is an exceptional mosaic – a map of Palestine showing Jerusalem with a gate and the street names in Greek. Madaba was destroyed in 614AD by the Persians then abandoned following damage by earthquake in 747AD.

No journey to Jordan would be complete without visiting the legendary rose-red city of Petra which was- re-discovered in 1812 by Swiss- explorer, John Burckhardt. In his day the journey would have been by camel or horse over mountain, stream and desert, but the modern road from Amman has removed some of the mystery with accessibility. It was first settled around 800BC by the Nabataean Arabs, and developed from a few cave dwellings into a wealthy city as the Nabataeans established their control of two major trade routes between Arabia and the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea and Syria. Roman expansion in the 1st century BC eroded the Nabataeans power and in AD 106 Palestine and Jordan were incorporated into the Roman Province of Arabia. Through Ted’s superb slides we were there – entering Petra via the “Siq”, the winding 1 km gorge through overhanging cliffs that change colour according to light, reflecting red, yellow, pink, purple. Emerging from the Siq one is confronted by a two-storey building carved in the rock, known as “Al Khazneh” the Treasury as it was thought the urn carved at the top contained a Pharaoh’s treasure. “Pot shots” taken at the urn by Turks and Arabs scarred it but proved fruitless, the building is in fact a royal tomb styled as a Greek temple.

As the valley widens you come to the Amphitheatre built by the Nabataeans but enlarged by the Romans (to accommodate 7,000 people) by cutting through houses and chambers at the back. Nearby is an ancient rock-cut stairway, now restored, lined with temples , houses and tombs and leading to Mt Nejr, the High Place of Sacrifice. Another climb from the Theatre via a Roman Road leads to a cliffside series of Royal Tombs. The area of the canyon is two square miles and there are over 800 buildings and façades still to be seen. Petra was gradually abandoned in favour of other cities, Jerash, Amman and Palmyra ai was uninhabited from the 3rd century AD save as a secret Bedouin refuge. In the 12th century Petra was captured by the Crusaders who built two fortresses but after Saladin’s victory in 1189 it was again abandoned.

5 miles north of Petra is Aklat, dug by Diana Kirkbride in the 1960’s. Earliest levels, c.7000BC are pre-pottery Neolithic. Ted’s guide noted there are less quernstones than a couple of years previously – it’s not easy to see how tourists could be “pocketing” them? The adjacent site of Beida has an entrance similar to the Siq at Petra and an ancient stairway leading to a lookout over the valley.

Wadi Rum, east of Aqaba, is littered with rock carvings in early Thamudic script made by long-gone travellers. Ted told us they were too poor to screen and by way of contrast showed some beautiful hibiscus blooms! Wadi Rum is an awe-inspiring valley with sandstone cliffs and pink and white sands. This was the route taken by T E Lawrence and Sherif Hussein on their way to fight the Turks in World War I.

Lawrence made a study of “Crusader Castles” as an Undergraduate; he continued adding to the work which was published in 1936 after his death, and an updated edition was published in 1988. The Crusaders built a chain of hilltop fortifications extending from Turkey through Jordan along the ancient King’s Highway, Amman to Aqaba, to guard the trade routes. In 1132 they built a fortress at the walled town of Kerak which Saladin took in 1187. Built on a precipice to accommodate several thousand people and animals the castle had many galleries with cross-vaulted ceilings. A museum has been made in one of the battlement passages and remains of a reservoir can be seen.

The “Desert Castles” in the desert area east of Amman had differing purposes: palaces, baths, caravan stations or farming centres. Ted mentioned three sites:

Azraq castle is built of black basalt, the front gate is one huge basalt block on two pivots. Earlier Roman and Nabataean structures were re-built by the Umayyads (7th/8t h century AD) and again in the 13th century by a Mamluke Governor. Azraq was the only oasis in the Eastern desert, hence the fortress. In the 20th century Prince Faisal and Lawrence used it as their HQ whilst planning their final advance on Damascus.

Qasr El-Kharaneh, another Umayyad building has two floors of 50 rooms each. This was possibly a “caravanserai”, it is square with a central courtyard with large rooms which could have been stables.

Finally, Qasr Amra, an Umayyad bath complex/palace, similar to the earlier Roman baths. The hydraulic system has a well, tank, pipes, with a series of dams and cisterns. Frescoes on the walls and ceilings have been restored and Ted found it unusual in the Muslim world as they were representations of human images with scenes of hunting, wrestling, dancing… Thank you Ted, for the magic carpet ride.

Victor Jones

In the June Newsletter I reported on the Excavations Committee’s review of this season’s possible programme. I had intended to include a short description of projects the Society completed in recent years for those of our newer members who may not know the scope of these activities, and for those who have missed one or more of the items.

Our more recent activities all followed what was the Society’s largest and most ambitious undertaking, the long and complex “West Heath” excavation. This project resulted from a very observant younger member of the Society noticing some man-made flint pieces whilst out walking. Further investigation and excavation revealed a Mesolithic hunters’ camp site dated to about 8,500 years BP, not long after the end of the last glaciation, situated at the edge of Hampstead Heath just outside Golders Hill Park. Many items of worked flint including a number of tools and weapons were found, and the working areas where these were made were traced. Aspects of prevailing local climatic and environmental conditions could be studied from residues of various plant, insect and pollen remains.

In the number of members involved, range of subjects studied, public interest shown and prestige generated for the Society, it exceeded anything else we have undertaken. The project proved to be a major task and a great deal of planning and organisation were required. The work was undertaken in two stages, the first from 1976 to 1981 directed by one of our Vice-Presidents, Daphne Lorimer. The second 1982 to 1984 by Margaret Maher, another senior and highly qualified member of the Society. The project was guided and supervised by Desmond Collins.

The report was delayed for some years due to various publishing problems, and deals with the larger, first stage of the project. It describes the processes used to investigate the camp of the Mesolithic hunting people. Included are a wide range of aspects of their lives and environment: climatic conditions; kind of shelters they probably used; weapons and tools; cooking techniques; plants and trees. The report also includes drawings and photographs, reflecting great credit to its authors and to the Society. The special members’ price is £7.00 (£8.00 with p&p) and £13 to the public.

In the year following completion of the West Heath project no major work was undertaken by the Society.

The Hadley Wood Earthwork

A detailed survey of the Hadley Wood earthwork was made in 1982/3. This is a quarter-mile approx. trench and residual bank in the north east of the Borough. It was rapidly being lost by motor-cycle and bicycle erosion. No evidence for the date of the construction could be found. Further investigation could be considered and possibly documentary research might be used to this end.

The Burnt Oak investigation

The first large project was commenced in 1986 on an open area site near the centre of Burnt Oak, and was rescue work in advance of proposed development of the site for a car park. It is near to Roman “Watling Street”, now the Edgware Road, and the field has a stream running through it. It was thought it could possibly have been a stopping place for water and refreshment for horse and man, and of course, Roman finds have been made in this district.

The investigation used resistance surveying, the results of which showed points of interest and subsequent exploratory trenching located several pits. Most of these contained pottery sherds and other materials, none of these earlier than Victorian time, and much modern rubbish.

Most members will know the term “Rescue”. It is used, as it suggests, to describe excavation to recover any possible archaeological remains before building development disturbs the site.

Another newer term coming in to use is “Archaeological Assessment” . This describes the archaeological sampling of a site before planning consent is given, and then (with safeguards) leaving it below the new building for future, and perhaps better, archaeologists to find.

The Chipping Barnet, Spires Centre Project

This was commenced in 1987 arid continued into 1988. It was also a “Rescue” excavation, in advance of the building of the large central shopping precinct and new public library for the area, now completed and forming the new centre for Chipping Barnet.

It was undertaken to see the early building and/or remains of the original 12th century market which might be in this area. A number of exploratory trenches were dug as sites became available, as the very large-scale project proceeded. These were on the east side of the site as near as possible along the line of the old Great North Road and as close as we could get to the rear of the buildings along the road.

We found black, well-cultivated type soil about one metre deep on all sites. All had much modern and Victorian pottery and other remains, and a few late Georgian items.

We concluded that the area had long been used for cultivation, so it is unlikely that Chipping Barnet extended much further north of St Johns Church on the west side of the old Great North Road.

The Brockley Hill 1987 Project

During 1987 a two-months “Rescue” project was undertaken at Brockley Hill on the field to the east side of Watling Street, where the Society had on earlier fieldwalks found Roman pottery etc. This was in advance of the then proposed route of The Rivers pipeline, finally dug in 1990. A trench was dug across the route and exposed a road surface about 0.5m below the soil level, approximately 100 metres south of the present pipeline.

This road was judged to be a Middle Ages Roman-Road-bypass, perhaps at a time when this was unusable. Roman pottery, tile and brick had been found during previous exploratory fieldwalking. In the dig some medieval material was recovered. Later fieldwalking found Neolithic worked flint, and some possibly used tools and arrow head. Further areas in which flint fragments occurred were noted but could not be searched as the crop in the field was already too high to allow this.

The Hendon Ice House

In 1988 an Ice House in the grounds of St Joseph’s Convent School, Hendon was excavated. It had been suggested by former pupils of the school that there was a possible underground connection with the nearby St Mary’s Church. A large effort was made to remove a great volume of rubbish and soil accumulated within a large oval chamber about 10 ft high by 7 ft diameter.

What we had found was an ancestral version of the modern refrigerator as used in Europe from the 15th to 17th centuries and tracing back to possibly Greek origin as Alexander the Great is said to have used one. (Industrial archaeologists please note!) It uses the best available insulating methods – evaporate cooling, as do modern refrigerators.

More remarkably, we learnt of others in nearby Hampstead and other parts of London. The Hendon version is similar in size and design to one built for Charles II in the 17th century, situated in Green Park. Another of the same type is preserved and open to view in Kew Gardens, and was also built for Royal use.

The Hendon Ice House was well built and in good condition. We hoped to get it preserved as a feature of interest for the area (next to the Town Hall), but so far have had no response. Unfortunately we did not find evidence of its construction date except by association with the date of the rather late rebuilding of the nearby Grove House in the early 19th century. It’s presence seems to put the Hendon Manor in very good company as many Royal and “Great. Houses” of the Aristocracy had them in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Whetstone Tudor House

In 1989 we were asked to investigate a house in Whetstone next to one we had studied some years previously which had been beautifully restored by a Whetstone building and development company. We quickly commenced the house study and an excavation in the grounds at the back of the property. The internal construction indicated an earlier construction date than suggested, and the excavation indicated that the house had at one time extended further to the rear by one or more structural bays. The excavation and the documentary studies were completed and proved the house was earlier than the listed date and was probably built in 1495.

English Heritage were this year called in to draw the timber roof structure and this explained why the document sometimes referred to two adjacent cottages and sometimes to three. It appears that these and the adjoining cottage were at time jointly owned.

An excavation near St Mary’s Church, East Barnet

This project was also undertaken in 1989, a result of a collapsed well-cover on the site of a farm cottage adjacent to the Church. The collapse was found to be in the capping of a well, and further excavation of the cottage area found Victorian construction with a natural soil level below.

East Barnet remains an enigma. The church is very old (earlier than St John’s in Chipping Barnet), and is a Dependency of St Albans, but there is no trace of the village community which it might serve.

The Mitre Inn, Barnet

The-Mitre is said to be 17th century and is the only example now left of the 100 or more public houses and inns which were Barnet’s Main activity in pre-railway times.

The project commenced in September 1989 and was undertaken in advance of development of land at the rear of the Mitre. We had much help from Barnet Museum and the Local History Society.

The ground here has a natural slope and had been built up and surfaced to provide vehicle standing. Clearance was a considerable problem, taking several weeks. It was necessary to dig through various layers of tarmac and brick rubble to reach the first Victorian building remains, then deeper still to earlier construction. We found various 17th and 18th century pottery sherds. Below this was a deep stony soil layer containing mainly Medieval pottery fragments of 11th to 13th century date. Among this material was also found some datable Roman material. This, together with similar items found in an earlier dig in the area, may indicate some Roman connection. The project continued throughout 1989.

The “Charity House”, 19/25 High Street, Barnet

In 1990 a site on the opposite side of the road to the Mitre was being cleared for,
development. This was a somewhat disturbed site, however we found several small
undisturbed areas with pottery of 12th to 14th century date as well as later materials.

A further 1990 project was to watch the Three Rivers pipeline construction which has been described in recent newsletters. Copies of these are still available if required.


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Newsletter Newsletter No. 246 September 1991 edited by Jean Snelling


August 10th – September 15 Two Mill Hill Exhibitions at Church Farm House Museum Hendon; see below.

Tuesday September 24 West Heath Report: celebration at Town Hall, Hendon. See enclosed application form.

Tuesday October 1 Lecture, Valley of the Kings. Peter Clayton. 8 for 8.10 pm.

Saturday October 5 City Walk with Mary O’Connell.

October 12 MINIMART Another plea for members to turn out their good saleable items. See enclosed leaflet for details.

At the Annual General Meeting Brian Wrigley indicated his wish to stand down after his sterling service as Hon Sec.. Now we are happy to greet a long-standing member, Liz Holliday, as Honorary General Secretary to HADAS.

Officially – Miss E A Holliday, c/o 66 Brookfield Avenue, Mill Hill, NW7 2DD Telephone (after 0923 267 483, (Delete old address on members’ list)

A bonus is the special responsibility being taken by Brian Wrigley for Excavations and Archives.

Our affairs are in good hands. May they both have sound health and long lives.

From the Membership Secretary, Phyllis Fletcher

I should like to welcome to the Society the following New Members;

Mrs M Glaser, Mrs A Littlewood, Mr F M J Pinn, and Miss T Sheehan. I also welcome back to membership Miss J N Blason.

Some of our members have still not paid their subscriptions for the year, so they will receive a reminder from me. If you have paid by the time you get this Newsletter please accept my apologies.

The Newsletter

Will a computer-minded member volunteer for a project on Newsletter data? A selective list of Contents for the years 1985 to 1990 is much needed in a form which will subsequently facilitate a yearly update. A design for the data base is to hand, and the Society’s computer is available.

Enquiries to Jean Snelling, 081 346 3553.


The Museum of London’s Department of Greater London Archaeology have produced an evaluation report on their excavations at St Mary’s School earlier this year. Those few who attended the seminar on this which The Museum put on for us in May have received copies of the report; it is very well and concisely set out, that many other Members will find it extremely interesting.

Starting off with a description of the geology of the Finchley area, it proceeds to the historical and archaeological background quoted below, which is illustrated with reproductions of extracts from maps of 1754 (Rocque), 1822 (OS). 1877 (OS), and 1902 (OS).


There is little archaeological evidence for prehistoric settlement in Finchley or its immediate vicinity. Of the entries in the Sites and Monuments Register, many of the stone tools referred to show signs of having been redeposited in the late glacial gravels by ice sheets and streams, so their find spots do not necessarily indicate sites of manufacture or use. Four Mesolithic flakes found by the Hendon and District Archaeological Society during the Rectory Close excavations, close to the present site, were found in a disturbed layer and need not indicate settlement at this period. If any of these finds are in situ, they may represent chance loses by communities exploiting the local fauna and flora but living elsewhere, but the cautionary note should be added that small prehistoric settlements are only likely to be located by controlled scientific excavations and there have been few of these in the area.

Finds from the Roman period may indicate increasing settlement and agricultural production as a result of the need to supply the growing urban centre of Londinium. The nearest large scale settlement is at Brockley Hill, adjacent to an arterial road with evidence of industry, pottery manufacture and the import of luxury items. A reorganisation of the local landscape is shown by the minor N-S road at Hendon golf course (possibly early-mid 2nd century AD) and the scatter of finds, particularly the cluster at Hendon which includes building material and a burial (SMR), may show the establishment of small farmsteads at this time.

Although Finchley has an Anglo-Saxon name, meaning “the wood frequented by Finches” (Weinreb and Hibbert 1983 pp276-77), there is as yet little hard evidence for a settlement here at this period. Saxon foundations have been claimed for St Mary’s Hendon,

St Mary’s Finchley and St James the Great Friern Barnet, but without reliable historical or archaeological evidence. Grass tempered pottery found beside the church at Hendon (LA 2, 10, 1976 p370) suggests a rural community here and further excavation work may find the site of its dwellings.

Finchley is not mentioned in the Domesday book, but the fact that it was part of the ecclesiastical manor of Fulham means that a settlement here could have escaped mention. The 1086 survey does show that the county of Middlesex was already divided up into large estates supplying produce and revenue to Lords and religious houses before the conquest of 1066 (Cockburn et al 1969 pp84-85).

The medieval period is far better represented than the preceding millennia. This may in part be due to the lack of detailed archaeological excavation on the less substantial remains of earlier settlements, the existence of relevant historical documents (almost all are post 1066), and the destruction of earlier material by superimposed later settlements, but almost certainly is related to improving agricultural technology, enabling heavier soils to be satisfactorily farmed. An additional factor may have been the re-emergence of London as a major centre of population and trade, placing increasing demands on its hinterland. At Finchley, St Mary’s church has 12th and 13th century fabric, but no other standing medieval structures have survived.

Finchley remained a largely rural and agricultural community until the 1870’s (Figures 2 and 3) and it was only the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1867 that led to the expansion of the settlement to join Church End, East Finchley and Friern Barnet (Figures 4 and 5).’

Machine clearance of the playground surface and leveling dump below showed the various features shown in Figure 7 ( reproduced below): this is all no more than a handspan below the original surface of the playground. The concluding sections of the report are (quoted below:


All features investigated produced sherds of pottery. Most of the assemblage is made up of fragments of early medieval domestic and cooking pots. The fabrics are unusual and were probably produced locally, though some may be imports from the south Herts area. Because little work has been done on pottery types in this area, dating has been derived from comparisons of the vessel forms and rim shapes with securely dated pottery from other areas.

Most of the pottery falls within the period 1150-1250 AD, but there are a few earlier sherds – [013] produced a probable pre-Norman form – and several later ones, the latest being 1270-1350 AD. Much of the pot is heavily abraded, suggesting that it may have weathered prior to its incorporation into the archaeological deposits.The fragments of lava stone are significant. Such stone had to be imported from the Rhineland and was used to make quern stones for grinding agricultural produce.


The post-holes and slots are the remains of timber buildings that once stood on the site, the post-holes holding vertical timbers and the slots holding sill beams into which either doorways or wall timbers could be set. A full plan of these structures could be recovered by full excavation. Two hearths probably belong within the buildings, and it is possible that some of the layers that were not investigated may be occupation deposits associated with them.

Large amounts of pottery recovered indicate the active use of the site in the early medieval period, some of it imported, but some probably made locally. The slag and lava stone point to other aspects of the industrial and economic life of a rural community.

The surviving deposits are quite shallow, the deepest features less than 0.50m deep, so a check was made of the damage caused by the footings of the school buildings. Although the walls would have destroyed all but the deepest features, the rest of the subfloor area appears to overlie undisturbed soil, at a level where archaeological survival should be considerable.


The site appears to offer one of the first opportunities to make a detailed archaeological investigation into the core of the historic village of Finchley. This evaluation exercise has shown that the evidence is there, together with a considerable quantity of dating evidence and the remains of structures.

The Museum of London recommends that discussions are commenced with the applicant to seek opportunities for preserving as much of this important archaeological site as possible in situ, by suitable design measures in areas where damage is likely to be unavoidable, an agreement is sought which will allow archaeological rescue investigations (and suitable archive and publication of the results) to take place prior to any development.

The Museum of London are currently discussing with the developers the possibility of rescue excavations of the area affected by the Development Mike Hutchinson of the DGLA hopes that any such further dig can be so arranged that HADAS members can participate at weekends.

The site of St. Mary’s primary school is in Finchley Church End, on the west side of Regents Park Road where it is joined by Hendon Lane.

Figure 7: site plan showing:

post holes





REVIEW: Excavations at the Mesolithic Site on West Heath, Hampstead 1976-1981 By Margaret Beasley MA

Here in one volume is an informative and useful compilation of reports stemming from investigations by HADAS at West Heath during the period 1976-81. There are contributions from HADAS members (too many to name in a short review) and from specialists; providing plenty to interest anyone concerned with the Mesolithic, whether as amateur, student or professional. Overall, the presentation is good but Roman numerals on the horizontal axis of the plan of the hearth on p 69 are almost too small to read and the key on the same page does not match the style of the rest of the figures. The views of the site on p.8 are worthy of greater enlargement.

Dated by thermoluinescence to an average of 7641±900 BC, the site yielded a large quantity of worked flint. A first reaction to this might be to imagine that West Heath was densely populated in Mesolithic times. However, phosphate levels in the soil were very low, suggesting sparse occupation and as anyone who has tried flint knapping will know, large amounts of debitage are quickly generated. The lithics are well described and clearly illustrated and charts show how the various classes of tools and waste material were distributed over the site. The size of some cores indicates a supply of raw material larger than that available from river gravels and a search of members’ gardens duly came up with several fair size pieces, indicating that some of the demand for flint could have been satisfied by casual finds. The range of tools and debitage suggests that a wide variety of activities were carried out. Over 130 pieces of flint have been refitted into 51 sets. Whether the knapping events represented all occured during a single phase occupation, or on repeated visits as part of a seasonal round is uncertain. Either way, much of the material appears to be a homogenous assemblage of earlier Mesolithic character, but it included some geometric microliths which Desmond Collins suggests may be a natural element in such assemblages or, alternatively, may represent a different or later group of people. Other stone artefacts are an ‘arrow smoother’, a ‘hone’, a piece of engraved flint cortex, possibly a sur­face for cutting on; and two arrowheads of Bronze Age type, one a modern fake and the other of uncertain origin, presumed to have been introduced as a hoax, as were some ‘pigs’ of metal stamped LFG XX!

Charcoal from the hearth, initially thought to be Mesolithic, yielded a radio carbon date in the range 1015-1165 Cal. AD at 95% probability. There is, neverthe­less, other evidence for the use of fire, in the form of charcoal and burnt store. Postholes imply structures, yet there is no substantial evidence for huts or enclosures and it is feasible that the site represents a palimpsest of repeated seasonal occupations, with traces from the individual fires and shelters of any one time blurred by repeated activities.

As a zooarchaeologist, I regret that the dry and acidic sandy soil (pH 3.5) has long since destroyed any bones and teeth. Despite this lack of faunal remains, there is, fortunately, a wealth of paleo-environmental data from the West Heath (Spa) site. Pollen, seeds and insects survived in its waterlogged sediments. James Greig’s analysis of the pollen and macrobotanical remains documents 5000 years of change from lime wildwood to heathland. Beetles are quite specific in their environmental and food requirements, and the late Maureen Girling’s study of the coleoptera offers fascinating glimpses of past landscapes. Two impressive scanning electron photomicrographs show the thorax of a tiny bark beetle which feeds on lime trees and the eye arrangement of a spider. Both beetles and pollen document the elm decline, which was due, it is suggested, to the combined effects of human activity and beetles.

This document is a credit to all those who have contributed their own individual areas of interest and expertise to the team effort. I shall be adding it to the list of recommended reading for my Extra Mural students.

In the manuscript of her review Miss Beasley gave the full title of the West Heath Report. In order to complete the record this is given here.

“Excavations at the Mesolithic Site on West Heath Hampstead 1876-1981 Investigations by members of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society edited by Desmond Collins and Daphne Lorimer with an associated paleoecological study by the late Maureen A Girliing and James A Grieg. BAR British Series 217, 1991”

Lower Paleolithic Site at Boxgrove Sussex P.Killpack

The Lower Paleolithic site at Boxgrove, near Chichester, is known to professional archaeologists as the oldest horse hunting and butchering site in Europe (see Current Archaeology No.123 Feb./March 1991 p 138).

A HADAS member excavated there during the month of May and participated in the unearthing of a 17cm ovate biface handaxe from a sealed layer dated to 500,000 years ago. Nearby were found rib bones, probably of horse, and numerous flint flakes. As all artefacts and associated evidence from the site are unique, excavators are required to work barefoot.

Mark Roberts of the Field Unit of the UCL Institute of Archaeology heads the project, which is funded in part by English Heritage. He has refitted flint flakes and waste to handaxes found at the site to determine the actual knapping process employed in the manufacture of the tools.

Close study of the geology of the area determined that the butchery site was a beach below chalk cliffs during a temperate period. With the onset of glaciation the sea withdrew and the site was covered by cold condition sediments. As the age of the undisturbed site is well beyond radiocarbon capabilities, the site has been dated by using bio-stratigraphic methods.

The good news is that the Natural History Museum is considering a special exhibit of finds from Boxgrove. Unfortunately the excavation ended August 11 1991, having been oversubscribed. The director informed us that there was simply no room for more volunteers.


Members who penetrated the overgrown moat during our visit to the Sternberg Centre on May 12 1991 will be interested in further news.

Our Committee has been in touch with English Heritage to raise the question of its condition, while the Museum of London (Department of Greater London Archaeology) is considering making an archaeological assessment of the scheduled ancient monument.

Newsletters will report developments.

Members News

Marion le Besque (nee Newbury) had a baby daughter, Grace Louise, on Sunday August llth. Both are doing well.


Brian Wrigley

In Victor Jones’ note on the Tudor house in Whetstone (Newslet­ter No 231, June 1990) there was reference to the evidence of iron- working found in the excavations of the back yard. We kept samples of the material which has now been examined by Dr Paul Craddock of the British Museum, and his report follows:

Report on metalworking debris excavated at Whetstone Cross roads, Middlesex

The material was excavated from a medieval context beneath a Tudor house by the Hendon and District Archaeological Society. The context was a small hollow of burnt material containing the burnt partially vitrified ferruginous waste and charcoal visual examination of the burnt material showed it to be heavily burnt and partially vitrified. Some pieces resembled clay lining. All the material was ferruginous. There was no true slag in the material examined.

The context was almost certainly a small smithing hearth, where iron was forged to shape by hammering and annealing. In the course of these operations a great deal of oxidised iron fragments (Hammer scale) and some residual slag from the bloom of iron are given off, and the debris can superficially resemble a smelting operation. However here the hearth does not resemble a furnace and there is no true smelting slag.

P F Craddock
30 May 1991

File 6117

For the record, it should be explained where the samples came from and why they are regarded as ‘from a medieval context’.

Below is a sketch plan of the site, indicating the outlines of the surviving part of the timber building and its relation to our excavation.It also shows the areas where evidence of burning and iron-working residues were found. The samples seen by Dr Craddock were from the two concentrations of burning, Features F19 and P20. These two features appear to be connected by a trail of combustion material between them; such a double hearth would fit in quite well with known techniques of early ironworking (like the ‘Walloon double hearth’ described in Tylecote’s A History of Metallurgy) where successive processes are being carried out on the metal, and two hearths are close together to avoid the metal losing heat in the transfer.

The foundation for an extra bay to the house, referred to In the note in Newsletter 231, is marked F4 and F5 in the sketch plan: the lowest course of F5 is a line of chalk blocks, which I under­stand would fit in very well with the proposed dating of late 15C. The spread of burnt material was evident in Layer 4 (which contained features F19 and F20) and in Layer 23; both were similar disturbed clay, but separated by the footing F5.When we removed part of one of the chalk blocks of F5, we found that 4 and 23 were in fact one continuous layer below the chalk, and the signs of burning continued also; in fact, lifting the chalk block showed at least 3 fragments of charcoal on the surface thus exposed

Hence, on a reasonable assumption that the spread of burning is associated with the hearths, the ironworking activity must have been earlier than the laying of the footing, and if we are correct in dating the footing to the late 15C, then the ironworking must be at least as old as that date.On a strictly non-academic note – how intriguing to find a smithy so close in place and time to the legendary sharpening of swords for the Battle of Barnet on THE WHETSTONE which stands just outside this site and has been rumoured to give the settlement its name!

Mill Hill exhibitions August 10-September 15

Two together at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon. Open weekdays 10.0-1.0pm and 2.0-5.30; but closed on Tuesday afternoons. Sundays,

Pictures of Old .ill Hill (87of them) from Barnet Borough’s collection. His Own Man – John Collier; Writer, Craftsman and local Historian.

Dorothy Newbury writes ; This is of special interest to HADAS as John Collier (1900-1989) had so many links with us in the past, as Secretary to the then Mill Hill & Hendon Historical Society. As HADAS grew it was John who had the ‘Hendon’ dropped from their title, leaving the Hendon patch to us. He liaised with Brigid Grafton Green in a campaign for more Blue Plaques in the Borough. He led a HADAS Walk in Mill Hill in 1985.

Coming shortly.

Part 2 Jenny Cobban’s tireless pursuit of the Witch’s Cottage.

Also responses to Ted Sammes’ enquiry in the August Newsletter about the Terrible Aeroplane Tragedy of 1920 in Golders Green/Cricklewood.

The dig at 296 Golders Green Road NW11 continues at the time of going to press but may have finished when this Newsletter circulates. A pebble layer is being uncovered; as yet there are no artefacts to help in dating.

Grafton Green is having another spell in hospital. We all wish her well again soon.


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ISSUE No. 245: Edited by Ann Kahn August 1991

Saturday 10th August

Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September WEEKEND IN NORWICH Fully booked, but no waiting list. Please contact Dorothy Newbury (081 203 0950) if you wish to go on the waiting list.

Saturday 5th October CITY WALK with Mary O’Connell

Saturday 12th October MINIMART at St Mary’s Church House, Hendon


We have now been given permission to dig until the end of July, with probable extension into August, on the site we have been negotiating for, the former forge at 296 Golders Green Road, NW11 (next to the Prince Albert PH). This site is of interest as it is only about 150 metres from The Woodlands where remains of a medieval road were found by HADAS in 1968.

Time was, of course too short to notify Members via the last Newsletter, but we managed to get together a small group who started work on Sunday 14 July. We have opened 4 trial trenches and although we have only got down a few inches it looks as though we are already beginning to get through the top surface of packed building rubble and starting to get down to archaeological layers.

It is intended to continue work on Sundays and (depending on the availability of helpers!) on some weekday evenings. Our permission does not allow Saturday work. If you would like to help in any capacity, please let me know so that I can keep you informed when we are on site. Look forward to seeing you in the trenches!

MUSEUM OF LONDON forthcoming events and exhibitions include:-

Treasures and trinkets: jewelry in London from pre-Roman times (till 26. 1. 1992)

– Out and about in London Summer 1991: a season of lectures, visits, walks, workshops and special exhibitions.

Details from Education Department (071 600 3699 ext 200). To Join the Museum’s free mailing list, send your name and address to: The Marketing Office, Museum of London, London Wall, London, EC2Y 5HN


It was exactly a year ago, last July, that I read an article about Chatham in the Daily Telegraph and suggested to Dorothy Newbury that the old dockyard seemed worthy of a visit from HADAS.

It was certainly worth waiting for. On 13 July some 40 of us set off round the M25 en route for the Dartford Tunnel and the County of Kent. Once again we had the pleasure of a HADAS member, Nigel McTeer, in the driver’s seat.

Chatham Dockyard, on the tidal river Medway, has its origin in Henry VIII’s time. Since 1547, over 400 Royal Navy ships have been built at Chatham, including such famous ‘wooden walls’ as HMS Victory, Temeraire and Revenge. The last ship, a submarine for the Canadian navy, was launched in 1966, and the dockyard, by now spreading over 400 acres, was finally decommissioned in 1984, with 80 acres put in the care or Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust under the chairmanship of Sir Steuart Pringle.

Now a living, working museum, the Dockyard has 47 listed buildings, many of which have been turned into galleries to tell the story of Britain’s fighting ships and the lives of the dockyard craftsmen who built them. Our guide showed us the covered slipways, the Commission’s fine Georgian house, and the 400-yard long Ropery, where we enjoyed a demonstration showing how ropes are made using equipment largely unchanged since Victorian times.

The highlight of our visit was the Mast House, with its upper-storey mould loft (where wooden templates were made from design lines drawn on the floor). The building has been brilliantly restored and now houses the ‘Wooden Walls Audiovisual Experience’. This innovative exhibition, opened last year at a cost of £4M, shows in detail how a warship, the Valiant, was made in 1758, as seen through the eyes of a young dockyard apprentice, William Crockwell.

There is a small exhibition of artefacts recovered from the Invicible, a 74-gun French warship captured in 1747, which inspired the design of the Valiant. On leaving the building we watched a craftsman actually making masts for the 1878 sloop Gannet which we saw being restored in one of the dry docks nearby.

Around mid-afternoon we drove the short distance to Fort Amherst, a vast area of tunnels and fortifications dating from 1765, and enlarged during Napoleonic times as part of the Chatham Lines. Our guide, Jack Maude, a naval historian, guided us with admirable humour and great knowledge and enthusiasm.

As we toured the tunnels, Jack gave us a vivid insight into the daily life of conscripted soldiers two centuries ago, then from the top of the walls and the gun batteries we enjoyed views over the Medway and Rochester beyond. Much of Fort Amherst is still completely overgrown, including a huge casemated barracks building which used to house 3,000 men; but the Trust is making good progress with the Herculean task of restoring it to its former grandeur. Perhaps we could make another visit next summer to see how they’re getting on.

Thanks again to Dorothy Newbury for organising such an enjoyable outing.

Finchley Friends of Israel – lecture
Roy Walker

Half a dozen HADAS members accepted an invitation from the Finchley Friends of Israel to attend a lecture by Alexander Flinder on “The Secrets of the Bible Seas” held in June this year.

Mr Flinder was the founder Chairman of the Nautical Archaeological Society, his interest in diving having started during his wartime service with the Royal Engineers. Although an architect by profession with a practice in London, his experience and expertise in the undersea world of archaeology must be second to none – especially in the Middle East.

The experience, certainly in London, is that the opportunity to dig a site is governed by availability – it is dug when the chance presents itself. Mr Flinder’s lecture showed a different approach, sites were investigated, researched and excavated often following exploration or discovery of an artifact or object giving rise to speculation. For instance, a terracotta figurine found in a shipwreck at Shave Zion (one of over three hundred!) was handed to him in London for his comments. A visit to the British Museum confirmed it was of a Phoenician goddess, Tanit, worshipped by a cult of child sacrifice. But why was this found off the coast of Israel when the Phoenicians had resettled in Carthage? Excavation followed by research led to the conclusion that the ship had been on a mission to revive this cult in the Eastern Mediterranean but the sinking put a stop to that.

Another piece of research involved the Herodian harbour of Sebastos at Caesarea. The historian Josephus in “The War of the Jews” claimed that this harbour was truly magnificent. For years his report was doubted, the harbour remains were insignificant especially compared with the remains of Herod’s work on land. It was felt in the 19th century that Josephus, known to have betrayed fellow Jews to the Romans for personal gain, had exaggerated. However, aerial photographs studied after World War II revealed certain structures offshore which on closer inspection and excavation proved to be the missing harbour in all its decayed glory.

Another story told by Mr Flinder in a refreshingly anecdotal style, was of the port of Ezion-gebor on the Gulf of Aqaba. The Old Testament in 1 Kings 9 tells of King Solomon building a fleet of ships at Ezion-gebor near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram (the King of Tyre, a Phoenician) sent men of his own to serve with the fleet as they were experienced seamen. This was a trading arrangement. An American archaeologist thought Ezion-gebor was at Tell-el-Kheleifeh as he had found the “smelters” of Solomon’s copper refineries. These turned out to be grain stores and he rescinded his claim.

Alexander Flinder had long been attracted to the Island of Jezirat Fara’un nearby. Sited on it were a medieval fortress and some Byzantine remains. There was a calm anchorage between the island and the mainland and a natural inlet and harbour, well fortified. Pottery was found in the harbour but underwater exploration found much more – built up harbour walls, towers, casemates – all very similar to known Phoenician works at Sidon and Tyre. The audience were actually two steps ahead of the lecturer, we had guessed it was Ezion-gebor before he told us!

This invitation, which incidentally appears to be the second in three years to HADAS to attend one of Mr Flinder’s lectures (see Newsletter 220 July 1989) received from another Society, has shown how worthwhile it is having contact with other local Societies. We give our thanks and appreciation to the Friends of Israel for their hospitality.

The Witch’s Cottage (Part 1)

This is the tale of a building whose whereabouts I have been attempting to track down since January 1991. The building in question is called “The Witch’s Cottage”, and the piecing together of its somewhat bizarre history has, over the past few months, sometimes led me to believe that I had, perchance, strayed out of the real world and into an episode of David Lynch’s supernatural soap opera, Twin Peaks

The Abbey Folklore Museum, New Barnet

The Witch’s Cottage first came to my notice in a perfectly orthodox manner, while I was researching the history of the Abbey Folklore Museum, which at that time existed in Park Road, New Barnet. This open-air museum comprised many fascinating artefacts and buildings collected from all over the world by a Reverence JSM Ward. It opened in 1936, and by 1936 the museum’s attractions included a C13 tithe barn, a reconstruction of a prehistoric village, a parade of period shops, and East Barnet’s C17 forge and C17 wheelwright shop. The latter building still stands on the site at New Barnet, adjacent to the great iron plate on which in former days the cart wheels were fitted with iron tyres. It was last used in 1920 (1).

Various articles about the museum mentioned a building called the “sixteenth century witch’s cottage”. As JSM Ward remarks: “A most interesting building this, of half-timber work, thatched with reeds and with a central hearth and a louvre instead of a chimney. It is furnished with the pottery and furniture of the period and all the appurtenances of a witch, including blasting rod, and the like” (2). Further: “Hanging from the walls and roof are weird emblems and the grim implements of her trade: a stuffed crocodile, a human skull… the sword of exorciscm and the magic circle on the floor.” (3)

Having visited the site of the old Folklore Museum (now an Arts Centre) and established that The Witch’s Cottage was no longer present, I decided to attempt to locate the present whereabouts of the building and the artefacts
Dr. Gerald Gardner

I was at this point helped by a number of coincidences and by friends made in the course of researching the history of ancient and modern magical practices. In January of this year, I was fortunate enough to be the guest of Mr. Cecil Williamson, a one-time World War II MI6 operative (yes, really!) who owns a

fascinating witchcraft museum and research centre, in Boscastle, Cornwall. W. Williamson, at 83 years old, had been collecting magical paraphernalia and investigating apparently supernormal incidents all his life (with very refreshing cynicsm) and he kindly allowed me to photograph his remarkable collection of witchcraft dolls, the history of which I em presently researching.

In January then, in the course of the most interesting discussions, Mr. Williamson mentioned that a Dr. Gerald Gardner was connected with the Folklore Museum at New Barnet, and specifically with a cottage associated with a witch. The late Dr. Gardner (a somewhat dubious title) caused quite a stir in the 1950’s with his book Witchcraft Today, which was the first book published to explain the workings of modern witchcraft. He is known today as the “Father of Modern Witchcraft”. Many historians consider that he drew on the materials of such occult figures as Aleister Crowley to invent modern witchcraft practices while the witches themselves (and some historians) claim that he merely popularised and saved from oblivion an ancient religion which had never entirely died out.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that Dr. Gardner was responsible for a massive upsurge of interest in witchcraft in the 1950’s, and that today many thousands of people throughout the world follow his path (or a variation) as their chosen religion. For it is a religion no matter how recently and under what circumstances it was founded. This is not the place to go into the beliefs of witches – (5) suffice it to say that they do not worship the devil. Witches do not, on the whole, believe in such an entity.

From New Barnet to Bricket Wood

I further discovered a reference in F. King’s book Cult and Occult which suggested that Dr. Gardner was in fact a friend of Revd Ward and something of an amateur archaeologist. (6) But if he had removed the cottage from New Barnet, as all the evidence was beginning to suggest, to where had he taken it?

At a loss on how to proceed from here, I was then extremely fortunate to receive a letter from Mrs. Lois Bourne, a friend who happens to be a witchcraft leader and authoress. (7) She described her association with Dr. Gardner in the 1950’s, and where the witches used to meet in those days – at a club in Bricket Wood, near St. Albans. “There is an old .cottage in the. grounds where the witches met. There is an old four poster- in it and cabalistic marks on the floors and on the walls.” To clinch matters, within another day or so, I received a further communication from Mr. Williamson which concluded: “I do have photographs of the Witch’s Cottage moved by Gerald Gardner from the house grounds in Barnet to Bricket Wood. Also quite a few of the hut’s artefacts.”

It seemed as if I had found my Witch’s Cottage, and most of its artefacts. From being displayed merely as a witchcraft exhibition at New Barnet it had moved to Bricket Wood to become a ritual centre for a coven of practising witches! The next thing to do was to ‘establish that the cottage still existed, and this I duly managed to do by the simple expedient of finding out the telephone number of the club, and ringing the owners. The cottage was indeed still there.

(1) East Herts Archaeological Society Transactions, Vol.IX, 1936, JSM Ward (Barnet Museum archives)

(2) Ibid

(3) Extract from Homes and Gardens, August 1939 (Barnet Museum archives)

(4) National and local press cuttings (Barnet Museum archives)

(5) A History of Witchcraft. Professor J. B. Russell, 1980, pp. 148-155.

(6) Cult and Occult F. King, 1984. p.210.

(7) Witch amongst us” and “Conversations with a witch”. Lois Bourne.

To be continued


The following sites are listed in recent Planning Applications and past evidence indicates that they may prove to be archaeologically sensitive. Members living nearby are asked to keep an eye on them and report anything of interest that is discovered in the course of development to John Enderby (081 203 2630)


Victoria Avenue, Church End, Finchley

White Swan P.H., Golders Green Road


Arkley Manor Farm, Rowley Lane, Arkley

10, Union Street, Chipping Barnet

Cottage Farm, Mays Lane, Barnet

Bells Hills Allotments, Barnet

Rear of 39/41 High Street, Barnet


30 Hartland Drive, Edgware

Ross Cottage, Church End, Hendon

Belmont Farm, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, NW7

Brockley Grange, Brockley Hill, Edgware


Mrs Sarah Isaacs, 29 Seebright Road, Barnet, ENS 4HR (081 440 1295); the ex librarian and archivist of Simms Motor Units Ltd at Oak Lane, East Finchley is researching into the early history of the company and its founder Frederick Simms. She mentions that the Museum of London has a “tiny display” which she hopes to enlarge. (Letter in the Barnet and Finchley Independent, 11 July).

[No connection with J.O. Sims below!)


A fruit and vegetable firm in Borough Market, J.O.Sims, has been fined a record £5,000 for “the almost total loss of the archaeological record”. The company’s premises are next to the Winchester Palace. The company’s builders drilled through a mosaic floor and undertook other work to underpin a building, half of which is a scheduled monument, without permission. The builders had then spread hardcore over the area making it impossible to be sure what had been lost. All this came to light by a discovery of historic stones in a skip by a passer-by two years ago; which led London Museum staff to alert the English Heritage inspector Ellen Barnes. The newspaper article reports that archaeological investigations of Winchester Palace have always been hampered by the existence of buildings and. warehouses on top of the remains and the entire area has been protected by law to prevent permanent loss or damage. (Evening Standard 12 June)

(HADAS members saw the visible remains of the Winchester Palace on their Christmas excursion to the George Inn last year].


No, it is not HADAS yet! Life is often giving out pleasant surprises and one happened to me last week, when a copy of Sixty years on 1931-1991, dealing with the Lawrence Hasluck Trust arrived in my post. This is a sixteen page booklet on the history and vicissitudes of the Trust set up in 1931 for deserving married couples, widowers and bachelors living in the area. Today the Trust has 44 bungalows and flats off Parkside Gardens, East Barnet, and six flats at 48 Station Road, East Barnet.

There is a full description of the life of Lawrence Hasluck, born in Enfield in 1863, and member of the East Barnet Valley UDC for 40 years. The booklet was written by one of our members, Andrew Pares, who himself knows much about public service from personal experience.


“On December 14th 1920 a Handley Page “Airliner” which took off from their Cricklewood Aerodrome on its way to Paris crashed at “Golders Green” with the loss of four lives.”

The above note caused me to look for more information in the pages of the Hendon and Finchley Times”. For December 17th 1920 on page 5, I found a nine inch column, but alas no picture. It was stated to be the first accident in the civilian flying career of Messrs. Handley Page Ltd.

The plane appears to have had difficulty from the start in gaining height; finally hitting a tree, then an outhouse of no. 61 Basing Hill (I assume this to be Basing Hill Road) so it is possibly more accurately described as being in Cricklewood. Amongst the killed were the pilot and a mechanic; and two out of the six passengers: Mr. Sam Sallinger of Broxmoor, Herts and Mr. Van der Elst from Paris.

One wonders just what type of plane this was and was that really all the passengers on board at the time? Perhaps one of our Industrial Archaeologists might like to take this subject a little further?


A new journal: Medieval World: the magazine of the Middle Ages Annual subscription (6 issues £13.50), (single specimen issue £2.50) to Medieval World c/o KT Subscription Services, Lansdowne Mews, 196 High Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 lEF

Forthcoming articles include an interesting mix:-

The Battle of Maldon, the Bayeux tapestry and the town of Bayeux,

Medieval German craftsmen, Anglo-Saxon missionaries, new archaeology in St Albans Abbey, medieval images in the cinema, race and gender in medieval literature, medieval archives and how to use them.

The British Museum is publishing a new series on medieval arts and crafts:-

Medieval craftsmen: embroiderers. By Kay Staniland.

Medieval craftsmen: glass painters. By Sarah Brown and David O’Connor.

Medieval craftsmen: masons and sculptors. By Dr. Nicola Coldstream.

Medieval craftsmen: painters. By Professor Paul Binski.

All priced £6.95 and published by the British Museum Press.


A leaflet has been received from the National Postal Museum, London. The Museum includes an almost complete record of every postage stamp issued throughout the world and various artefacts such as stamp cancelling machines and the official Post office collection of letter boxes.

Chief Post Office, King Edward Building, King Edward Street, London, ECIA ILP (071 239 5420)

A possible HADAS visit? And is the fascinating underground mail train still running?

OBITUARY We very much regret having to report the death of Bob Stewart, husband of Myfanwy. Our deepest sympathy goes to her and all her family and friends,