Volume 6 : 1995 – 1999


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Issue No 309 January 1997 Edited by Liz Holliday

A happy and peaceful New Year to all members, their families and friends


Tuesday January 14

Archaeology under the river alluvium of south east England

by Dr Martin Bates

Tuesday 11 February

A History of Hertfordshire by Tony Rook

Meetings are held

8pm for 8.30pm Drawing Room at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N.3

Visitors are always welcome


Hearsay evidence suggests a good time was had by all – it must have been quite a session as the
full account is still being written! Full report next month!


We are sorry to hear that Gill Baker is back in hospital. Good wishes go to her from us all.


Report of November’s lecture by Muriel Large “A garden is a lovesome thing, Got wot” – a cliche which does little justice to the skill and dedication archaeologists devote to their search for early gardens hidden under neglected present ones. In his talk, Brian Dix, Head of Archaeology for Northamptonshire, provided an absorbing account of how layers of grass and topsoil in the gardens of stately homes can be peeled away to reveal how past ages gardened. The classic example was, of course, Hampton Court. Here, William III’s garden plans had originally reworked the area thoroughly, to produce a slope down to the Thames. This allowed the king to see the river from his first-floor apartments and loyal subjects on the towpath could be suitably impressed by views of the palace. The work not finished until after the king’s death, occupied a team of gardeners much larger than the group who re-created it. Among the odd discoveries was the fact that the garden was double-dug in the recommended fashion near to the palace, but further away the less deep the digging and by the towpath only the top four or five inches of topsoil had been cultivated. There was also the problem of the paths; originally of sand, they had to he swept by a hoard of gardeners as soon as the courtiers and Royal family went indoors, to obliterate footmarks and restore the garden’s pristine condition. Hardly on option these days, with 750,000 visitors each year! Sand was used in the restoration for the sake of its colour but it was blended with clay for ease of maintenance.

A magnetometer and sensing equipment was used to identify the original layout, underneath the overgrown yew trees, which had been in-filled with shrubs and flowers by the Victorians. Mercifully, the garden was fully documented as originally laid out, although there was the perennial restoration problem – to which period should the reconstruction relate?

With the changes in levels, flights of steps had to be introduced where traces of the original steps were found and 33,000 box seedlings were planted to outline the overall pattern. The crowning glory was the reconstruction of Queen Mary’s Bower, an impressive 120 foot tunnel arbour or pergola, decorated this time with the arms of Queen Elizabeth II. It may be that in the future, as the planting grows, the fine woodwork will disappear under the greenery. At present, the arbour is a remarkable piece of work itself.

An unusual role for archaeologists, to construct rather than uncover and dissect, but they were entrusted to lay out the pattern and oversee the planting.Mr. Dix also described similar, although less extensive, work carried out at a chateau in Burgundy and a Jacobean house in Northamptonshire. Those of us digging our suburban gardens, unearthing broken bricks and pieces of tile, may sometimes feel that we are engaged in archaeology rather than horticulture! However, we can at least draw comfort from the examples that have resulted in new life for long-vanished gardens.

The winter edition of CADW’s journal “Heritage in Wales” includes a report of the recent discovery of a secret garden at Haverfordwest Priory. A copy of the journal will be deposited in the HADAS library.

MYSTERIES OF ANCIENT CHINA: new discoveries from the early dynasties

This exciting exhibition is at the British Museum until 5 January. It is the first great loan exhibition of antiquities from China to be seen in London for twenty years, bringing together recent startling archaeological discoveries which radically change perceptions of China’s early history. Spanning the period 4500BC to AD 200, the exhibition explores ancient Chinese beliefs about life and death. The exhibits, which come from several distinct regions of China, show that images of men and spirits inspired some of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Chinese art. Figures with large projecting eyes, cranes with towering antlers, spirits with feathered wings and suits of jade are strange and beautiful creations, many of them quite literally, mysteries.


Several HADAS members attended this conference on 16 November. Several others were unable to get in – it was a sell-out_

The speakers, almost all from MoLAS, varied, but were usually both good and interesting. Many new ideas – new at least to me – were put forward and I think members may be interested to learn about some of them.

Nick Bateman quoted Vitruvius, the Latin writer on architecture, who divided public buildings into three categories: those for defence (walls); those for religion (temples) and those for convenience (baths, forums, amphitheatre and the like). The absence of state temples in Roman London has often been remarked, bit an early and perhaps short-lived one has been found west of the Huggin Hill bath complex, with an unexplained building between them. The Basilica building was, despite the reputation of Roman builders, a shoddy piece of work, which had required a lot of repair during its life.

Jane Sidell reported on the environmental evidence from the East London Roman Cemetery. Work on the biological material buried with people in graves has had remarkable results_ Many graves (especially cremation rather than inhumation burials) contained food, but one had two separate deposits – one with half a piglet and a goose, and one with the other half of the piglet and a dressed chicken. Graves in different parts of the cemetery contained different types of pulses. There were pits that contained animals but no human bodies – one with a horse, a dog and a red deer, close together in a circle, and another with lots of frogs and a heron. Perhaps there had been this pit with water in it; frogs had colonised it and then a heron saw the opportunity of a meal, swooped in and was unable to spread its wings so as to fly out; but if so, why then was there nothing else in the pit? Was there some strange ritual? Jane Sidell also illustrated two imports into Roman London – one of stone pine cones (perhaps for making pesto sauce from the kernels) and the other of cannabis (for rope or medicinal purposes).

David Sankey attempted to convince us that he had identified a late Roman cathedral, from a ground-plan very like that of the early St. Theela’s cathedral in Milan. Those unconvinced could believe it was a large warehouse, but even that, he argued, was evidence that London was much more important in the very late period than common opinion would have it.

Bruce Watson talked about the notorious Dark Earth. Pollen analysis has shown that this is not the remains of Late Roman gardens, and that there were not trees about. His theory was that it was evidence simply of waste land.

Finally, Professor Martin Millen from Durham talked about the status of Roman London and warned us against reading the present into Roman administrative structures. A study of the so-called provincial capitals from the western part of the Roman Empire demonstrated their great differences. He even thought that the statement of the geographer Ptolemy, that London was a town of the Cantii and therefore subordinate to Canterbury, might be legally right (it gets some support from an inscribed tablet recording an inquiry into the ownership of a wood); he thought London was something of a “gold-rush” town, settled by Roman citizens who were traders from Gaul. Although the procurator of the province would he resident in London, and it was the hub of the road network, it was, he argued, not really the governor’s capital. The governor would often be out and about with the troops, and the centre of Britain for the purpose of the state religion perhaps always remained in Colchester.


The current exhibition features Construction Toys, dating from the middle of the 19th century to the present day. You will find early wooden building blocks, kits in all types of materials made by such firms as Sarnia, Lotts Bricks, Minibrix and Bayko. There is a wonderful crane made from Meccano specially for this exhibition. Lego UK generously lent two huge drums of bricks so that pupils from Sunnyhill JMI could make models for the exhibition. The whole school took part in a Lego day, and the results are on show.

Creating its own tradition, once again the dining room at Church Farmhouse is decorated as it would have been for a Victorian Christmas, with baubles, bangles, holly and ivy. The room looks as if the family have just got up from the dining table. Decorations stay up until Twelfth Night.

The Museum will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and also on 1 January. Construction Toys will be on show until 2 February.


Barnet & District Local History Society meet in the Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet. At 2.45pm on Monday 6 January June and Jack Alcock will present History of the River Thames.

Enfield Archaeological Society welcome visitors to their meetings in the Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane. Tea is served at 7.30; meetings start at 8pm. On Friday 17 January Ian Jones will be talking about Africa Proconsularis: Carthage and Rome in Tunisia.

The Wembley History Society will he learning about Science in 1824 and Today from Leslie Williams at 7.30pm on Friday 17 January at their meeting in the Church Hall, adjoining St.Andrew’s Church, Church Lane, Kingsbury.

The Finchley Society

meets on Thursdays at 7.45pm in the Drawing Room at Avenue House, East End Road, N3. On
Thursday 30 January Joanna Corden will be revealing Finchley from the archives

Pinner Local History Society will be holding a local history day on Middlesex Manors – then and now on Saturday 22 February from 10.00am – 4.30pm at the Winston Churchill Hall, Ruislip. Tickets cost £4. Contact Mrs Beryl Newton on 0181-866 3372.

This spring, Enfield Preservation Society will publish Fighting for the Future: the story of the society 1936-1996. There book includes 229 photographs and prints, many never published before. The book will cost £13.50 (plus £3 p&p) if you place an order with payment by 28 February. Contact Mrs Irene Smith, 107 Parsonage Lane, Enfield, Middx., EN2 OAB


The early medieval history of Barnet – the manor and parish, not the London Borough – has always been very obscure, and until recently we had no information before the mid-twelfth century. The earliest part of the fabric of St Mary East Barnet has been dated c.1140, and this chimes well with the earliest known written reference, which comes in a papal bull from Adrian IV to St Albans Abbey granted in February 1156/7. (It says 1156 but is probably operating on the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar). Bulls are known by their opening word(s), so this one, which begins with a phrase about the incomprehensible and ineffable divine majesty, is known as incomprehensible. It’s not as had as that: in fact it’s a detailed confirmation of the abbey’s privileges, (Adrian was a local St Albans boy made extremely good) and, unlike the abbey’s earlier bulls, includes a list of its churches, among them Barnet. This was at East rather than Chipping Barnet because the latter only developed after the building of the new main road to the north in the late eleventh or twelfth century, and especially after the abbots of S Albans obtained a charter to hold a market there in 1199. St Albans garnered charters of privileges from kings as well as popes, and the earliest known royal charter which mentions Barnet, again in a comprehensive list of the abbey’s properties, was granted by Henry II; it is undated (the English chancery didn’t yet regularly follow the excellent papal example), but has been assigned from its witness list to 1176. The local entry is particularly interesting because it reads “Barnet cum boscis de Scthawe, et Borham, et Huzeheog”. The woods of Southaw and Osidge were always later included within Barnet, but by the time we have regular records Borehamwood was part of the abbey’s manor of Aldenham Barnet’s boundaries with other St Albans manors were therefore still not immutable in the later 12th century, but from other references it has long been known that the separation from Friern Barnet (and with it the boundary between Herfordshire and Middlesex) was by then firmly in place. The bishop of London reclaimed what became known as Friern from a tenant in 1187 prior to granting it to the Hospitallers in 1199 (it was from them, via the French for Brothers, that it got its name).

None of the Barnets is named in Domesday Book, and until recently the only supposedly pre-12th century reference was a comment in the 14th century version of the St Albans house chronicle, the Gesta Abbatum, that William the Conqueror had punished its abbot’s rebellion by removin’ “all the abbey’s lands between Barnet and London stone (which is still to be found within the City, in Cannon Street). There were always considerable reservations about the source, but in the absence of other information it was accorded a degree of plausibility – and it would neatly have explained the separation of Friern. Now, however, the discovery in Brussels by a Cambridge don, Simon Keynes, of a 17th century copy of an otherwise lost 12th century St Albans cartulary, means that the story is exposed as a total myth, and that our knowledge is extended backwards to 1005.

All the deeds in the cartulary were in fact known from 13th century and later Latin copies, but the 12th century exemplar also contained some Old English versions and, more importantly, detailed boundary decriptions_ From these we now know not only that King Athelred’s grant to the abbey in 1005 of Waetlingcaster equates to Kingsbury in St Albans, but that the unnamed area of attached woodland which was part of the same grant equates to Barnet. The boundary description for Barnet is not totally identifiable, but it seems to follow the normal pattern of a circuit clockwise round from 12. The central part of the northern, and all of the eastern, side are unrecognisable, but from the point where the circuit reaches hyttes stigele, or Betstile, the rest is reasonably plain sailing. Betstile, the older name for New Southgate, is at the southern corner of the boundary between East and Friern Barnet. Better still, the next stretch north-westwards is described as “along the bishop’s boundary”, and it’s hard to imagine that this could be anyone other than the bishop of London. The boundary was copied twice, with minor variations (and it’s worth remembering that the
17th century copyist was floundering too); what follows is an amalgamated version, with the symbols my processor can’t cope with modernised to th, and some added semi-colons.

This synt thes wealdes gemaere into thære ealden byrig. Ærest of hæwenes hlæwe; andlang enefeldinga gemære; on scirburnan, of scirburnan; to aetheleof hæcce. Of tham hæcce; to æscbyrthes heale, of tham heale; andlang eadulfingtuninga gemære; to r (or s)eodes gate, of tham geate, on byttes stigele, of byttes stigele; andlang thaes biscopes gemære; on wakeling mor, of tham more; on aggangeat, of tham geate; on thane steort; æt bræneten, andlang bræneoten; a be tham geondran stæthe; on thæne sihter, of tham sihtre; æt tatehrycges ænde; andlang heanduninga gemære; on grendeles gat, of grendeles gate; andlang scenleainga gemære; on ruge beorc lege, of beorc lege; on hæthlege, of hæthlege; a be wyrtruman.

The structure of this isn’t at all difficult, and from Betstile round to Hadley you can plot it on the map. You either walk on…of (onitaff or up tolaway from), or be, (by), each marker, or you walk andlang, (along) a longer stretch. Taking the individual names in turn: a hlæwe is a mound or barrow, and it’s very tempting to identify this one with the possibly Iron Age earthworks in Hadley Wood; along the Enfield boundary is readily comprehensible, although the boundary itself may later have shifted a little; the shire stream is presumably Pymmes Brook, whether you go along or across it is unclear, though perhaps more probably along, not least because “shire” implies it was used as a boundary – but no one has been able to make any sense of this bit on a map; Athelof s hatch (gate) and Ashbirt’s hale (corner) are lost, but conspicuous turning points along a boundary were usually marked, and the latter could therefore be the sharp north-eastern corner; along the Edulfington boundary is explained by another major discovery from the cartulary, that Edulfington is what was later known as Edmonton; r/seodes gate cannot, according to the experts, transmute to Southgate; Betstile and the bishop’s boundary were dealt with above; wakeling mor must have been swampy, and therefore presumably in a dip; Agate is more or less at the junction of Northumberland Road and the A1000; steort means a spit of land; to and along the Brent; cross to the further hank (geondran stæthe); along the ditch; at Totteridge’s end; along the Hendon boundary; Grendels Gate is the older name for Barnet Gate, along the Shenley boundary; ruge beorc lege (rough birch clearing) is Rowley; on/off Hadley gives us a new early reference to the place-name, but the fact that it’s not given as “along the Hadley boundary”, and the general difficulty of plotting the northern and eastern side of the circuit, suggests something less than an established settlement; by the crop clearing.

So there, for the moment, we have it. In 1005 King Æthelred granted the abbey land which had previously been his – Kingsbury and its attached wood at Barnet, and by then the bishop of London was already holding Friern. It’s a lot better than our previous knowledge, but of course raises endless new questions. For anyone who wants to take it further, references and more detailed information are available at the Local Studies and Archives


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Tuesday 7 December
Christmas Dinner at The Cock Tavern following a visit to Dr. Johnson’s house.

This event is now fully booked and there is a waiting list. If you find you cannot come, let Dorothy Newbury know as soon as possible (203 0950) so that she can re-allocate your ticket.

THURSDAY 13 January Prehistoric Egypt by HADAS member Okasha El Daly

Please note not on our usual Tuesday evening. For the rest of the year lectures will be on Tuesdays as usual. Further details of Okasha’s lecture will appear in the January Newsletter.

by Peter Pickering

Some 32 people assembled in the grandly named but rather shabby Training Centre by Avenue House on 30th October for a fascinating and instructive study day. Besides old stalwart members we had dis­tinguished visitors from other organisations, including Fiona Seeley of the Museum of London Specialist Services, and, most gratifying of all, seven people attracted by the publicity Tim Wilkins ‘had got into the local press and libraries, and who joined HADAS on the spot.

Before an excellent lunch (quite misleadingly called ‘sandwiches’ in the original announcement) Joan Schneider and Barry Home, Chair and Secretary respectively of the Manshead Archaeological Society, described their excavations in Dunstable. Dunstable is on the junction of Watling Street and the Ickneild Way and may – or may not – be the place called Duricobrivis in the Roman Antonine Itinerary. Their Society has, over the years, made many discoveries but has as yet found no actual Roman buildings. Particularly fascinating were the skeleton of a Barbary Ape (a pet, perhaps, or the property of a travel­ling entertainer), a burial containing a pot with an inscription inter­preted as ‘Reg_ illus a branch-bearer of Verulamium’ (branch-bearers were devotees of the Asiatic goddess Cybele) and several wells, neces­sary because Dunstable lacks surface water, one of which was 92 feet deep. And, of course, hundredweights of pottery: Barry Home kept us enthralled with his account of the research being carried out on this. He breaks bits off sherds with a fearsome pair of pincers (he assured us that the pottery felt nothing, and was a source of information rather than of intrinsic value), and identifies its fabric from the appearance of the fresh break under the microscope. Then he (or rather his comput­er) compares the distribution of fabrics in one assemblage of pottery with that in others – for instance those from Verulamium – to establish similarities and dissimilarities; this is not as simple as might appear, since pots vary in size, as do the broken bits archaeologists find, so work has to be done in eves, not pieces of pottery. An eve is not what you might think but an Estimated Vessel Equivalent.

Then after lunch Stephen Castle gave us the history of excavations at Brockley Hill from the first, just before the last war, until HADAS’s recent efforts.

Until the site was scheduled as an ancient monument in the late 1970s, the tale was one of opportunities snatched, or missed, in the face of imminent development. (As Mr Castle experienced excavating between 1969 and 1975. For instance, he was opening trenches to the west of the road in a field which was being used by Joe Bygraves, a well-known boxing-champion-turned-farmer, as a dumping site). Kilns have been found, and quantities of pottery, but there has never been a systematic programme of research into what was one of the principal manufacturing centres for pottery in the early centuries of Roman Britain, Mr Castle also showed us pictures of the elegant mansion, belonging to a Mr Napier, which had stood from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century just to the north of the area where we walked the fields in 1998. He suggests that a building which stood on the site later occupied by the now-demolished hilltop café was a sum­merhouse associated with the mansion. This would explain the con­centration of post-medieval brick close to this area, and we will bear this in mind when we process the building material from the field- walking.

It was indeed with pictures of that fieldwalking that Vikki O’Connor brought a most interesting day to its end. But that is not the end of the project by any means. Stephen Castle has suggested that inter­ested members could undertake further research on the area, and with this in mind we plan to meet him at Stanmore in the new year – details will be circulated in the newsletter.

Thanks to Tessa Smith and Brian Wrigley for helping to organise the 30th, arid to Sue Whitford, Arthur Till and other willing hands for their help on. the day. Tessa has reminded us that Brigid Grafton Greene, who was HADAS Secretary at the time, was instrumental in getting the area on Bury Farm scheduled – an Act was passed in 1979 which was implemented in 1980.

PROGRAMME NOTES from Dorothy Newbury

New arrangements for lectures

As announced in the October Newsletter, slight changes to timings are being tried, with the lecture starting at 8.00pm, followed by questions with coffee served at the end of the meeting, There was an excellent attendance at the November lecture, probably the largest audience since we moved to Avenue House, and the speaker was very well received. However, I have received varied opinions about the change. Several members arrived after the start of the lecture and some during the talk; some had coffee before the lecture and others during it; some were pleased to get away early while others missed the social time before the meeting. It remains to be seen if the changes settle down. Do note that lectures start at 8.00pm.

Bookings at Avenue House

A policy of “first come, first served” is now used for bookings and our meetings for next year have been fixed for the second Tuesday of each month as usual. However, some meetings will be held in the Drawing Room (which some members find cold, badly lit and impersonal) and others will be in the Stephens Room (considered to be more comfort­able but with difficult access). To ensure that our meetings are held regularly on Tuesday evening we must book several years in advance but – which room?

Programme for 2000

All speakers are now booked and a complete programme will be issued with the January or February Newsletter. We are planning to hold a Ted Sammes Evening in April, with several speakers who knew him well Ted was a founder-member of HADAS and a knowledgeable, dedicated member until just before his death in November last year. If any cur­rent members have particular reminiscences of him on excavations,outings or Prehistoric Society activities, please let me know

“LONDON PARISH MAP” reviewed by Roy Walker

Ann Saunders, HADAS President, is Honorary Editor to the London Topographical Society whose publications have formed the basis of historical research since its foundation in 1880 and have served to awaken an interest in London’s past. This year saw the issue of Publication No 155, “London Parish Map – A Map of the Ecclesiastical Divisions within the County of London, 1903.”

A map of Church of England parish boundaries, perhaps, is not an exciting prospect but consider the changes that have occurred since 1903. The Diocese of Southwark did not exist – the Diocese of Rochester prevailed over those parts not covered by the Diocese of London. Today’s Southwark Cathedral was St Saviour’s Church within the See of Rochester. Certain “detached” parishes were administered by the mother church of a Parish geographically distant due to low population not necessitating a separate church – parts some‑times being on the opposite bank of the Thames. Such a map is therefore invaluable to the family historian trying to reconcile records, parishes, forebears and the modern day Church divisions. And how many times have we looked at parish boundary markers with just initials and dates and tried to identify the parish?

For students of politics and the administrative history of London this map provides a background for, as the guide accompanying the map points out, when the Metropolitan Boroughs were formed in 1900 they were based on groups of parishes which up until then had been responsible for such functions as lighting, paving and street cleansing. They were the predecessors of the present day London Boroughs.

Copies of the map are available from: Roger Cline, Flat 13, 13 Tavistock Place. London WCIH



Olive Banham, a founder-member, has written recently and although she cannot attend meetings or outings any longer, she still takes a great interest in the Society and enjoys the Newsletter. We thank her for her generous donation to Mini-Mart funds.

John Enderby another founder-member, features in a new book pub­lished by Countryside Books. “Dorset Privies” by Ian Fox is being sold by the National Trust and includes two photos – one of John’s wooden privy which has an engraved headstone dated 1857 for the floor and one of a large night soil bucket which John unearthed from his garden. He attributes his flourishing vegetable garden to the contents of the bucket!

Alec Gouldsmith, once a regular attender at all HADAS functions, now lives in a retirement home in Dorchester. Marion Newbury visited him recently and found him fit and well and very pleased to see her.

Freda Wilkinson has recently moved to Magnolia Court, 181 Granville Road, NW2 2LH (0181 731 9881).


Friends’ House, Bloomsbury and the Magic Circle Report by Stewart Wild

On a beautiful autumn morning, some two dozen HADAS members joined Mary O’Connell for a fascinating walk round Bloomsbury. We started at Friends House, opposite Euston Station, purpose built in 1924-25 as the headquarters for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

The building comprises a large meeting house, a small meeting house and a library, with other areas leased out as office accommodation. It serves as the focal point for some 25,000 Quakers in Britain and Ireland and about ten times that number worldwide. In the library we were welcomed by Michael Hutchinson, the Assistant Recording Clerk, who spoke about the origins of Quakerism in 1652, and the beliefs of its founder, George Fox.

There were many Christian sects in the 17th century and Quakerism is the only one to have survived.(The appelation derives from a term of abuse aimed at George Fox by a judge at the Derby Assizes in 1651). Quaker testimony consists of Truth, Integrity and Simplicity; there is no organisational hierarchy, no appointed leadership and no formal structure in their meetings and worship. Decisions are reached by con­sensus, not by voting.

The Quakers are very good at keeping records and the library is a ver­itable treasure trove of historical documents, local history and accounts of Quaker meetings. The Librarian, Peter Daniels, was kind enough to show us 17th century pamphlets and records of early Quaker meetings in our own area of Hendon and Mill Hill. The earliest dates from 1692 and by 1733 there are details of monthly meetings at Gutter’s Hedge, later Guttershedge Lane (later Hall Lane) and now Page Street, NW4. We learned about William Penn and the Quaker connec­tions of Penn in Buckinghamshire and Pennsylvania,USA. In modern times, Quakers have been instrumental in many successful business­es, among them Cadbury’s, Fry’s, Rowntree, Huntley & Palmer and Barclays and Lloyds banks.

Back in the sunshine, Mary spoke more about the early days of Euston station and its redevelopment in 1961-62 which led to the demolition of the famous Doric arch, erected in 1838. The station dates from 1837 when two platforms were constructed for the London and Birmingham Railway which offered six trains a day to Harrow and Watford, In September 1838 services to Birmingham began, with a journey time of 5 hours.

Our next visit was to the headquarters of the Magic Circle in nearby Stephenson Way. The building was transformed in 1997-98 into a pri­vate club for the 1,500 members of the most famous magical society in the world, founded in 1905.

We were welcomed by Henry Lewis, a member of the prestigious Inner Magic Circle and curator of the Society’s unique (and entertaining) museum. He showed us the state-of-the-art theatre and a trick or two. Fascinating exhibits throughout the building include pictures, posters, equipment and memorabilia of magic legends like Harry Houdini and Chung Ling Soo. who died in an accident at the Wood Green Empire and was found not to be a Chinaman at all but an American named Robinson.

Outside the Institute of Archaeology in Gordon Square, our guide recalled the Bloomsbury set, that famous group of writers and artists who included Lytton Strachey, T.S.Eliot, Vita Sackville-West, Virginia Woolfe and Clive Bell, and whose unconventional lifestyle led to them being dubbed “couples living in squares and loving in triangles”.

Our next stop, in Tavistock Square, was at BMA House, a Grade II listed building designed in 1911 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the Theosophical Society. After World War I the uncompleted building was sold to the British Medical Association and was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1925. The central courtyard is home to two war memorials: Lutyens designed gates commemorate the 574 BMA mem­bers who fell in WWI and a bronze fountain and surrounding statues honour medical personnel who died in WWII.

En route to our last visit we admired Woburn Walk, a short street designed by Thomas Cuba in 1822 as a shopping mall. As we passed the delightful little bow-fronted shops and restaurants, our attention was drawn to the blue plaque commemorating the home of William Butler Yeats.

Around the corner, in Duke’s Road, we reached The Place, a centre for dance companies. The Place Theatre is the busiest contemporary dance venue in Europe, programming 32 weeks a year of British and international dance. A fine example of secondary re-use: the building started life in 1889 as the headquarters of the Art Union and Artists Rifles, a regiment which served with distinction in World War I.

Until 1967 the building continued to serve as a drill hall and rifle range – the old officers’ mess is now a dance studio while the shooting gallery has been converted into a theatre. Further redevelopment and refurbishing is now under way, aided by q £5million grant of lottery funds. The centre’s fundraising manager, Helen Lewis, showed us round and explained the range of activities that take place in the International Centre for Contemporary Dance. Finally, we enjoyed a light lunch in the centre’s canteen which is conveniently also open to the public.

Our thanks to Mary O’Connell for organising and leading a most informative tour of a fascinating part of our capital city.


Peter Pickering reports on a Museum of London Study Day

I saw no other HADAS members among the crowd at this study day on 13 November, the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, which made walking from St. Paul’s Underground station more entertaining than usual.

The day was a lead-in to the new Roman London display which the Museum plans for next year. I should like to share with other members some of the many new insights I gained from the day.

Professor Millett of Southampton explained the oddity of London among the cities of the Roman Empire as stemming from its origin as a trading centre, to which people flocked as what we now call “economic migrants”. It was not a pre-Roman centre (and indeed for some time its legal status may have been seen as a settlement subordinate to Canterbury), nor was it military in origin.

Julian Hill of MoLAS told us what had already learnt from the large scale excavations at No. 1. Poultry, where the diversity of building types at the very beginning of the Roman occupation destroyed preconceptions of a slow development from small timber-framed dwellings to larger stone ones.

Damian Goodburn set about reconstructing the timber buildings of Roman London, pointing out that even in damp Britain many buildings were of mud brick, that most Roman buildings were prefabricated and that the Romans used only straight timbers, not the curved elements found in medieval buildings. He observed how much easier it was to have privacy and separate areas for separate functions in rectangular Roman houses than in the round houses of pre-history. He showed us the scorch-marks that are evidence for light fittings in Roman buildings. Apparently there were some lamps at knee height, for light when you were sitting down, and some at head height.

Professor Ling of Manchester showed slides of mosaics and wall plaster and illustrated the way in which the Romans set off bright walls with more subdued floors and vice versa. There were some inconsistencies as wall plaster needs renewing while mosaics are virtually indestructible.

Joanne Berry then took us away from London to a house in Pompeii to show how difficult it is to know what the various rooms in a Roman house were actually used for. Just like us, different Romans organised their space and their activities differently and changed them constantly, for example using their garden and their beautifully decorated rooms to store wine amphorae when they went into the wine business.

Then we were told about furniture and soft furnishings. Scenes from funery monuments provide much evidence here as well as archaeological finds. The Romans liked basket-weave chairs and patterned textiles. I must say that I found several of the reconstructions just too tidy and taste­ful in a modern way. It will be interesting to see if the galleries give the same impression when they open next year.

Finally we were taken through the evidence for animals and plants in Roman bond. A. You will be please to know there were no rats and not many mice. You may be less pleased to learn that dead horses, which were not used for human food, were dragged outside the city and left by the side of the road for the dogs and ravens. Finally, their skeletons were mangled by men digging graves to bury dead people.


This new HADAS publication, a revised and enlarged edition of “Blue Plaques” published by HADAS in 1973, is now nearimg completion and Joanne Cordon and I have reached the point where assistance from members would be much appreciated, We should be grateful if members could check that the plaques are still in position, notify us if any are missing and (perish the thought!) let us know if there are any lurking in odd corners of the borough that we have missed. If any member could run round their local area to check, please contact me for a list of address­es.

There are 10 plaques in the Barnet area; 7 in Finchley: 14 in Hampstead Garden Suburb; 9 in Hendon and 10 in Edgware/Mill Hill. This includes all plaques, blue, green, white, bronze and black; round and square – not just blue ones.

There are a number of queries to be resolved before copy is complete. Sue Whitford has been beavering away while at home recovering from surgery and has managed to solve some problems. However, details about Kenneth Legge have so far alluded us. Son of Mary Legge,

a former Mayor of Finchley, he was a fighter pilot killed in the Battle of Britain. A plaque to his memory has been placed in Windsor Road Open Space. We do not know his date of birth or death (1940?), where he lived or any details of his service record. Can anyone help with this?

The National Portrait Gallery has agreed that we may repro­duce portraits of our subjects if they have them in their collec­tion but there will be some for whom we have to search other sources. Help here would be appreciated.

We anticipate that Commemorative Plaques should be ready to go to the printers in February to be published in the spring.

Please telephone me if you can help. Liz Holliday


This new book by the dynamic two – John Heathfield and Percy Reboul was published by Sutton Publishing a few months ago. Price £14.99, it offers a wealth of local photographs complete with informative cap­tions. Some illustrations are from the Local Collection or Barnet Museum but most have been specially taken by Percy for the book.

Grouped in ten sections, each of which is prefaced by a concise intro­duction, the book provides a wonderful record of changes in the Borough. The last section contains ten evocative photographs, one for each decade, illustrating a memorable event or change.

The book will be the focus of a special exhibition Barnet: a century of change which opens at Church Farmhouse Museum on 4 December and runs until 13 February. (Note: the Museum will be closed 25, 26, 27 December and 1,2 and 3 January)

Rush to the Museum and buy your copy – well worth the price!


Report by Dorothy Newbury My apologies for not letting everyone know our final figure in the last Newsletter. Andy Simpson and Bill Bass counted the takings after the MiniMart and we found them to be the best “on the day” total ever – £910 in three hours!

Attendance was higher, due I think to two newspaper adverts and Micky Watkins placing posters all over the local area. We received donations from Myfanwy, Andrew Pares and Olive Banham who could not be with us on the day. I did not sell so much before the sale his year and the adverts and hall hire had gone up in price. Nevertheless, we made a clear profit of £1,125. This would not have been possible without all the help I had sorting and pric­ing in the weeks before the day and of course all the goodies which members contributed.

My thanks to all.

SEAHENGE at Flag Fen Fifty-five uprights from a timber circle discovered at Holme-Next the-Sea in Norfolk have been taken to Flag Fen. After cleaning clay and sea water from the 4000-year old timbers, they are now displayed in clear water tanks. The upturned oak tree which was in the centre of this circle is also on show. The tim­ber circle will be kept at Flag Fen for the coming year to allow preservation work and research to be carried out.

Flag Fen is three (signposted) miles from Peterborough city centre and is open 7 days a week, except from 24 December until 3 January. Details from 01733 313414.

FINDERS KEEPERS A hoard of 9,377 Roman silver denari was unearthe d in August by a first-time user of a metal detector. Trying out the equip­ment in a barley field at Slapwick near Glastonbury, two cousins found the coins just ten inches below the surface. The hoard had been buried about AD230 on land which is thought to have been the site of a villa inhabited by a British family who had adopted the Roman way of life.

The Somerset coroner has ruled that the cousins should receive the coins’ full market value from Somerset County Museum or keep the hoard if the museum can’t raise the money.




by Vikki O’Connor Processing the fruits of our field- walking last year was just a tad hampered by our two sets of ancient kitchen scales. The measurements coaxed from these temperamental instru­ments by the three or four teams hunched together round the tables in the Garden Room were the subject of some amusement the smaller the objects to be weighed, Anything under 50g was liable to an error of +or – 50g (!) according to our scales. (To be fair, they had probably contributed to many a perfect Victoria sponge. However, Mary, Doug, Jeffrey, Peter. Eric and many others, acquired an ability to profess the weight of objects as light as 5g – we hope that one day they will find a use for this skill.

Now for the good news!

Although HADAS member Louise de Launay moved away from London several years ago, she has maintained an interest in the Society and, as a gesture of support and encouragement, sent a donation to the Committee to help with our activities. The Digging Team got in first! We bought a Salter All- Purpose Weighing Scale – accurate to 5g – with Louise’s donation and will be raising our coffee cups to Louise when we weigh our first pot sherd. Thank you.


Most local societies will be hold­ing festive events in December rather than lectures. LAMAS, however, have a lecture on Thursday 9th December: the George Eades Memorial Lecture by Chris Ellmers, Director-desig­nate of the Museum of Docklands, Shipbuilding on the Thames. Venue: Museum of London, Interpretation Unit, 150 London Wall EC2, 6.30pm fol­lowing the LAMAS AGM at 6.15pm. If you were fascinated by Mike Webber’s account of the Thames Foreshore Project, this talk should be well worth the journey – if you can fit it in between the mountains of mince pies and seasonal get-togethers?

Looking ahead to February, will you be ready to spend £30 (£15 concessions) on yourself for a study day on your favourite topic? Birkbeck College have two one-off events to offer:

Saturday 12th February 10am to 5pm MEDICINE, HEALTH & DISEASE IN ANCIENT EGYPT at the Faculty of Continuing Education, 26 Russell Square, WC1. The day is led by Joyce Filer, presently Special Assistant for Human & Animal Remains in the Dept of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum.

Saturday 26th February 10am to 5pm THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE RIVER THAMES: Highway to the Past. Eight sessions cov­ering several aspects of this sub­ject, presented by Bob Cowie, Dave Lakin and Jane Sidell.

Enquiries about enrolment on either of these days should be made to Anna Colloms, Faculty of Continuing Education, Birkbeck College, 26 Russell Square, WC1B 5DQ Tel: 0171 631 6627 or fax 0171 631 6686


Sunday 5 from 1l am-5pm Christmas Fair at College Farm, Finchley Thursday 9 at 7.30pm Camden History Society at Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 Reminiscences of a Patent Agent by Roger Cline,

Thursday 9 at 8.15pm Hampstead Scientific Society in the Crypt Room, St John’s Church, Church Row, NW3 Mars Revisited by Jerry Workman Tuesday 14 at 8pm Amateur Geological Society in The Parlour, St Margaret’s Church, Victoria Avenue, N3 The World of the Mammoth by Dr Adrian Lister
All these societies welcome visitors and appreciate £I donation


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 6 : 1995 - 1999 | No Comments


The whistle blows and the race is on not to the finish line; to bargains in the latest fashions, in used bric-a-brac, books, jewellery, toys, even clothes. Is this the East End? No –

It’s THE ANNUAL HADAS MINIMART The last time so many professional people put on ‘pinnies’, Delia Smith won her first baking contest. Why is it that other people’s cast-offs look so much better the longer we stare at them? Did I succumb? Of course; I’m delighted with my purchases – can’t wait until next year…

It seemed that more people had heard about our goodies and bargains than in previous years. There was a very good attendance.

The ground floor was devoted to food: bread, cakes, and scones – all went quickly. On the opposite table were the meringues, being bus­ily filled with cream; we had sold out by about 2 p.m. Chutney, jellies, jam, marmalade disappeared into shopping bags equally quickly; all this home-made and very good indeed. Last but not least the lunches were doing a brisk trade at the end of the room.

The lunch makers and stall holders were kept busy and, of course, happy, watching the money coming in! I’m afraid Dorothy has not finished doing her sums yet, but she will let us all know in due course.

VOTE of THANKS from MINIMART’S CHEF de CUISINE – TESSA, who writes : .. Thanks to all of you who brought quiches and other lovely goodies. The food selection this year was wonderful, and such good value, I’m sure you all agree. Special thanks to my excellent team of kitchen helpers. Many hands made light work, and it was fun and friendly.


Tuesday, 9th November John Creighton :”Britain in’ the Shadow of Rome’ Changing lifestyles and perceptions between Caesar’s and Claudius’s invasions of Britain.

John Creighton’s first experience of excavation was when he was only 13, on the Mesolithic site at West Heath, the Society’s longest runn­ing excavation. Since then, he went on to conduct fieldwork in Britain, Germany and Spain. He now lectures at the University of Reading in Iron Age and Roman archaeology. About his lecture topic he writes: ‘The way history is often taught, it seems as if Caesar only briefly visited these shores in 55 and 54 BC, and almost a century later Claudius launched a proper invasion of these islands. However, this version is not the only way that the story can be told, and by using archaeological evidence I’d like to paint a rather different picture of the century between Caesar and Claudius.’


Dr Eric Robinson – The Archaeology of Local Building Materials

We welcomed Dr Eris Robinson to give his previously postponed talk on the use of local building materials. He explained the difficulties of finding suitable materials in North London and Middlesex, as these areas are really in the wider Thames valley, which is composed mainly of ‘London Clay’, with some sand and gravel layers. The Middlesex ‘Alps’, Highgate and Harrow-on-the Hill are not really composed of rock, but ‘Bagshot sands’.

The main local building materials were (1) ‘dagger stones’ ‑rocks found in clay; (2) flint from a lower chalk layer;(3) ‘Reigate Stone’; (4)’Kentish flagstone’ ; (5) ‘Puddingstone’ from Hertfordshire; (6) ‘Ironstone’.

As samples, he described the local churches built with these materials between 1050 – 1250, when stone was first used for building churches. After this, stones were transported over much greater distances, and the need for building purely with stone locally available ceased to be so pressing. William the Conquer­or had made it clear that his cathedrals could only, be built with stone from Caen itself, so thereafter the idea of transporting stone long distances gradually spread. It is not known how the stone from Kent was brought to London, but water transport probab­ly played a part.

Dr Robinson showed slides of churches such as Harrow-on-the-Hill, Monken Hadley, Canons, Hendon, Wexham Park. He showed how the walls were put together with a mixture of the local stones, using combinations of shapes and colours, e.g. flints (bath the white surface and broken to give the black surface) and red-brown iron­stone. Sometimes there is a deliberate pattern such as checker­board, and sometimes the stones are fitted together simply accord­ing to their shapes. Occasional appearances of the Hertfordshire ‘Puddingstone’ in the northern areas, and broken red Roman tiles added variety. Flint walls had to be built slowly to allow each layer to ‘dry off’ before the rest. Quoin stones made from strong­er stones from the West Country were added in later times to stab­ilise the walls.

‘Ironstone’ was a term popularised by Pevsner for a certain mater­ial used in these buildings, but rarely after 1250. This ‘stone’ is made up of sand or gravel, bonded together by iron salts washed in by water seeping or flowing through the sand or gravel. It is now referred to as ‘ferricretel, not to be confused with ‘Ferri­crete’, a modern commercial material.

Another ‘stone’ used in the Branch Hill church in Highgate was ‘failed brick’. This was brick from the vast brick-making area in the west side of Hampstead Heath, which was discarded either as mis-shapen or incorrectly fired.

The local building materials described by Dr Robinson went on being used for farm buildings after their use for building churches ceased.

We can meet Dr Robinson again at a morning lecture and walk round Kenwood Estate on Wednesday,10th Nov. Charge : £2. Details from Visitor Information Centre, Mansion Cottage, Kenwood.Tel . 0171-973-3893




September 3rd dawned fine, and after everybody had been picked up we were on our way to Winchester. A quick cup of coffee at the Moat House Hotel revived us and we were met by our efficient guide, GRAHAM SCOBIE. He told us that at one time, there were BO many churches in Winchester that it was reputed you could not walk be­tween them without rubbing your shoulders against the walls. He handed out guide sheets explaining the area and told us about life in the monastery, pointing out where King Alfred, his wife and son were thought to have been buried.

We walked down to the site of the Abbey, which was being excavated by volunteers for the fifth year. It was easy to see where the High Altar had been and to see how far the Abbey extended eastward

Our next stop was the well-preserved PORTCHESTER CASTLE, which has defended Portsmouth Harbour for nearly 2,000 years. Some of us walked round the walls which were built by the Romans, and are the most complete in Europe. Some of us climbed up to the battlements from which we had a good view of the Solent.

After eating our picnic lunch here in the sunshine, we followed a circuitous route to FORT CUMBERLAND. We were met by English Heritage staff, who have taken over the whole fort. From there we went to the Langstone Campus, a high-rise block of twelve floors with eight single rooms on each floor – very modern – not quite HADAS style! However, an excellent dinner was served and we went tired to bed.


Most islands possess a magical quality: a feeling of separateness that makes them special. The Isle of Wight is no exception and it casts its spell as soon as one approaches it across the narrow water of the Solent (calm as a millpond on the day of our visit). It demands to be explored.

Scenically the Island is delightful with its rolling downs, sandy bays and rugged cliffs. Its attraction has long been appreciated. Dinosaurs roamed there 120 million years ago; their bones are still being found. Stone-Age man left his hand-axes, Bronze Age man his burial mounds and Iron Age man his farming sites. The Romans built villas, the Saxons established burhs and the Normans fortified castles. Medieval monasteries thrived and land and sea trade enabled villages and towns to expand. Charles I was imprisoned on the Island. Queen Victoria built a holiday home there, so setting a trend which has continued to the present day.

In a single day’s visit we could only sample this wealth of delights. Our excellent local guide and archaeologist Kevin Trott ensured that we missed nothing of interest on our drives across the Island out we concentrated our attention on three main sites. The first was the magnificent Roman Villa at Brading, a spacious courtyard house which had its heyday in the 4th century AD. Its occupants lived in sophisticated comfort in rooms bright with painted plaster walls and fine mosaic floors, with under floor heating and even misty green glass in some of the windows. Alas, only fragments of tae wall plaster survive, giving tantalising glimpses of delicately painted floral and woodland scenes. The floors have fared better despite the depredation of wind, flood, agriculture and wild animals. The mosaics are the chief glory of this villa and many of the tesserae are in their original bedding material. Some feature standard Roman myths: Orpheus with his lyre and animals, Perseus and Andromeda with Medusa, Ceres and Triptolemus clutching the plough he is credited with inventing. There are sea-nymphs and tritons and personifications of the four seasons. But there are some less usual depictions such as the famous cock headed man (is he an amphitheatre hunter or a mythical creature?) and the seated male figure with globe, bowl and sundial who is variously identified as astrologer, astronomer or philosopher. The mystery of interpretation only adds to the pleasure of these extraordinary mosaics.

The villa was discovered and first excavated in 1880 by Captain Thorp, a retired army officer, and Mr Munns the local farmer who was “making holes” for an overnight sheep-pen. The site guide book has a wonderful illustration of that excavation, sheep and all The rather rough digging techniques of the period meant the loss of valuable evidence and it is astonishing that so

much remains. The finds from the site include domestic farming and seafaring equipment, building material and structural fitments, all well displayed.

A scrapbook kept by Captain Thorp including drawings made during excavation

is of special interest. A disastrous flood as recently as 1994 highlights the need for the conservation and protective measures now being taken by the local Oglander Roman Trust and English Heritage.

Our second visit was to Carisbrooke Castle, one of the Island’s best-known buildings. Its site is a natural stronghold and was possibly fortified by the Romans and certainly by the Saxons. When the Normans came they built the castle which, though added to and altered over the years, is still recognisably Norman. With its huge motte and keep, its great curtain walls and its massive 14th century gatehouse, it remains formidable though it has not been used militarily since the 18th century. From 1647 it served as a prison for Charles I who, after 3 failed attempts at rescue/escape, was moved to London in November 1648 and executed 2 months later. Two of his children were later prisoners in the castle and one (Princess Elizabeth) died there. Subsequently the castle gently decayed until a mid-19th century restoration after which Princess Beatrice, youngest child of Queen Victoria, became Governor of the castle and made it her summer home. In parenthesis: I slept in the castle in 1948 when for a short time it housed a Youth Hostel. my most vivid memory is of suffering from a nightmare, waking the whole dormitory with my screams and then failing to convince everyone that I had not seen the ghost of the little Princess Elizabeth!

The castle today offers manifold attractions and after eating our picnic lunches in the sunshine HADAS members scattered to do their own thing. The walls could be walked, the motte climbed (71 steps) and the keep explored, the domestic building* and the chapel could be visited, and the Great Hall which now houses the castle museum. The well-house is always popular with its tread-wheel worked by one of a team of donkeys. I am told that at our visit Jennifer “did her stuff” so sparing the English Heritage attendants the ignominy of having to tread the wheel themselves – a not unknown occurrence!

The third site we visited was the Bronze Age Barrow Cemetery at the highest point of Brook Down – “steep climb, NOT for the faint-hearted” said Dorothy’s programme note. I can confirm that it was well worth the effort. The cemetery is known as Five Barrows but there are in fact eight: a linear group of six bowl barrows with a bell barrow (usually associated with male burials) at one end and a disc barrow (usually associated with female burials) at the other. The latter is the only known disc barrow on the Island. The barrows were “excavated” by treasure hunters in the 15th century and further investigated by a local vicar last century. Only broken pottery was found except in the disc barrow which contained a small piece of bronze. There were no secondary (Saxon) burials in the mounds. Seen from below the barrows stand up clearly on the skyline. Looking down from the barrows the view is spectacular with Tennyson Down and Freshwater Bay to the northwest and Brightstone and the coast beyond it stretching to Blackgang Chine to the southeast.

The glorious weather continued for our return drive via Brook (dramatic stories of lifeboat rescues), Brightstone (famed for its dinosaur fossils), Chale and St Caterine’s (old and new lighthouse sites), Ventnor and the Undercliff with its almost tropical climate; thanks to the Gulf Stream) and its traces of a prehistoric shellfish economy. We rounded off our satisfyingly full day with a delicious dinner at the Fishbourne Inn, a modern successor to an ancient fishermen’s hostelry, and then sailed peacefully back to Portsmouth as the stars came out,


When a bomb fell on PORTSMOUTH CITY MUSEUM in 1943, the only ex­hibit which could be salvaged was a set of police truncheons. So for many years thereafter visitors only saw the area as a naval base. The new City Museum, housed in an astonishing Edwardian chateau, formerly a barracks, concentrates on `reconstructions’ – Stone Age to a 1950’s living room, with little of real interest on show. Jenny Stevens, recently appointed curator, has discov­ered a huge collection of artefacts, many uncatalogued, and she intends to produce a ‘hands-on’ exhibition.

Locally born, she began her talk with an historical resume. Port­smouth and Southsea stand on Portsea Island, formerly marshy ground, below a chalk ridge, Portsdown Hill. A Saxon settlement grew into a town, given a charter by Richard I; the dockyard and defence lines were established by Henry VIII. The Solent and Spit-head provide deep, sheltered waters, and the harbour entrance is

so narrow that U.S. aircraft carriers are unable to enter. Still an island, Portsea is now the most densely populated area in Brit­ain, yet a corner of Langstone Harbour (between Portsea and Hayling Island) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest

Sea salt was collected in this area which, much later, became a hiding place for ‘Mulberry’ harbours. One broke its back and still stands there like a colossal shark. fin.

The City Museum’s remit extends 15 miles north, east and west, but there is no local amateur group. Site-watching is contracted out by developers and little has been retrieved. Jenny would like to appoint an officer to watch the whole area. Finally, she invited us to handle some of the pieces she has discovered in the Museum storehouse, e.g. a Bronze Age incense burner, found on Portsdown Hill when the Palmerston Forts were built; a near perfect black flint axe-head; briquetage from the salt pans; and a 32 lbs. cannon ball.

Then, on to the Dockyard, where we all went nimbly up and down the companionways on the /Victory!. When a ship was cleared for action the furniture was sometimes towed astern. French and English capt­ains had an agreement not to fire on those boats !

The Mary Rose is now standing vertical in a shower of chemicals which may last twenty years. The Hall is to be extended by a third walkway so that the outside of the hulk can be seen. The Mary Rose Museum is beautifully displayed and explained but I am sure that many of the small personal finds have been removed. I missed the hurly-burly excitement of 1984. Some went to the Royal Naval Museum, some took a trip round the harbour. I visited the newest exhibit, HMS ‘Warrior’ – built 1860, the world’s first iron-hulled battleship, Imagine a cross between HMS ‘Victory’ and SS’Great Britain’, with mess tables, hammocks, telescopic funnels and washing machines for the stokers’ clothes !!


Précis of a recent report in Geographical magazine

A geographer in the US has concluded that iodine deficiency may have caused many of the distinctive features exhibited by Neanderthals, as well as helping to explain what became of these early hominids. According to Dr Jerome Dobson, of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, a single genetic difference -one that prevented Neanderthals from processing iodine – may be all that stands between them and us.

Iodine deficiency in modern humans causes goitre, a disfiguring enlargement of the thyroid gland, or cretinism, a worse condition of deformity and mental retardation that can also be caused by the malfunction or absence of the thyroid gland.

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 30 per cent of the world’s population is at risk from iodine deficiency disorders, especially those far from the sea who are unable to take advantage of principal sources of dietary iodine like saltwater fish, shellfish and seaweed.

Neanderthals lived mostly in inland Europe, which is notoriously iodine deficient today, and probably was when the Neanderthals flourished between 230,000 and 30,000 years ago. Dobson claims that excavated Neanderthal bones are very similar to those of modern humans suffering from IDD.

He says that distinctive Neanderthal traits – body size, heavy brows, large muscles, poor dental development and bone disease -are identical to those of modern humans suffering from cretinism. The most striking physical feature of cretins and Neanderthals

is bone thickness; in cretins, arm and leg bones stop growing in length but continue to grow concentrically. Skulls are also similar. In modern humans, Dobson explains, hormones in the thyroid gland enable the body to absorb iodine from food sources. Maybe, he hypothesises, Neanderthal thyroid glands were not well equipped to process iodine, whereas those of Cro-Magnon man, who appeared 40,000 years ago, were.

Non-cretinous populations may have become dominant in Europe from 40,000 to 30,000 years ago because some innovation, most likely trade with coastal settlements, introduced iodine to iodine-deficient regions.


Museum of London until 9th January 2000

Educationalists plan to omit information from the future history curriculum on what they think of as the boring old Saxon kings. This small but fascinating exhibition is your chance to see how wrong they are. The publicity leaflet tells us that this is “a major exhibition painting a vivid picture of the only English king to earn the title ‘Great’.

Among the exhibits are finds from the city of Lundenwic in the Strand area, and the recent excavations at Covent Garden; timbers and coins from Alfred’s “trading shore” near present-day Queenhithe; manuscripts; jewellery (including the famous Alfred Jewel); and a selection of Anglo-Saxon weapons (including the “seax”, a short sword (or long knife?)) .

Compared to the awe-inspiring bearded statue of Alfred which stands in Winchester, a contemporary silver penny shows a clean-shaven man with a simple diadem or fillet on his short-cropped hair (*ugh we are told there is no evidence for Alfred’s actual appearance). There is also an amusing photograph of a statue of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert portrayed wearing Saxon costume.

During my visit, a “Saxon” in costume was chipping away at a copy of a tomb slab and demonstrating
his stonemason’s skills to a small, fascinated audience. Entry charge to Museum: adults £5, concessions
£3. All tickets valid for a year. (Web site: Deirdre Barrie

Events at the Museum of London which tie in with this Exhibition: “Keeping Alfred Great,- a 30 minute discussion (Rose Johnson and Jill Barnard, Museum of London) on conservation work for the exhibition. Thursday 7 October at 2.30 pm.

Study Day on the latest thinking on Alfred the Great on Saturday 16th October at 10 am.,

Fee: £16, £10 concessions. Tel.Bookings Officer, Museum of London 020 7814 5777


Searching for a Local History booklet ? Don’t know whom to contact

when on a piece of research? Need information on a specific local- ity ? JUST PUBLISHED – ‘Greater London History and Heritage liana-

book’ by Peter Marcan Publications. PO.Box 3158,London.S13 1RA. Tel: 02 7b57 0668. The Millennium Guide to Historical Heritage and Environmental Networks and Publications.

Percy Reboul and John Heattfield have written another book in their series of publications on a ‘Hundred Years of History in Barnet’ in photographs depicting the Borough in the last hundred years.


I would like to respond to the criticisms of my article aired in the last Newsletter. May I start by saying that just because ‘no‑

one has ever been able to reconstruct a detailed medieval field lay­out from documentary records’ doesn’t mean that nobody ever will

In answer to the comment that animals were rarely let into the open fields,I quote: ‘The Oxford Companion to Local & Family History’. Ed. David Hey (1996).

Leys: ‘Individual arable strips were often converted to grass,on

a temporary basis, in order to provide sufficient feed for livestock. These leys could last for varying periods, from two to seven or eight Years; if longer still, they seemed permanent.’

My argument about the Ley Field being in an area which later became known as Barnet Common was really that it was incorporated into Bar­net Common (which was formed from Southaw Wood) and not that it form­ed the basis of Barnet Common. I admit this is not clear from the article. The 19th century maps of Barnet Common needed very little ‘development’, and this is why I didn’t detail it.

In closing, I must say that I was encouraged in my research after the article appeared by Mr Derek Renn, whom I thank, and by Vicky O’Connor who said in a letter to me that ‘ideally our Newsletters would serve to encourage members to undertake projects’ and that

‘no matter how many times we ask for contributions, we are more likely to get a response by example (such as your article)’.

I have to say that from what I have seen, I don’t think Pamela Tay­lor or Jennie Lee Cobban need much prompting, but perhaps I have en­couraged people who are by nature slightly less forward to submit articles to the Newsletter !.

I quote from the manor records :

1280 John le Breton and Katelina his wife rendered LID into the hands of the Lord a certain plot of land in ‘La Leye’ for the use of

1263 ‘A precept is issued to the men of Barnet, both to those of the Leye and to the others …. And the aforesaid men of the Leye rose up with one voice saying that they themselves ought not nor ever had been accustomed to elect a reeve …And they named three or four of the said town who each successively had been reeve in the …

1276 John Henry surrendered all the land which he had in the field which is called ‘Le Layefeld’ together with a grove which is called ‘Cornhegch’ saving for himself two strips of ploughland which he retains to have a road for himself and …

1280 All the tenants in ‘a Leye’ say that they have not had a prop- er summons and therefore refused to come to the court meeting, and it is testified by the sergeant and by the Ville that they had a summons.

SECRETARY’S CORNER – from Committee Meeting of 1st October,1999 Following items were included in the many matters discussed:

Society’s accommodation at Avenue House and storage facilities at College Farm are inadequate. Preliminary consideration is now being given to possibility of alternative premises.

Agreed that Minutes of preceding AGM, Chairman’s Report, Treasurer’s Report and Accounts be sent in future to all members in advance of the AGM.

National Archaeology Weekend considered very successful; congratul­ations to Vikki O’Connor and the other organisers.

It is intended to apply for a Millennium Award for the proposed publication of a book on commemorative plaques in the Borough.

Proposal has been made for HADAS to do some resistivity in Charterhouse Square, where aerial photos have shown a possible medieval foundation.


Peter Pickering – now PhD., University College, London. Photo in last month’s Newsletter does NOT show him in academic rig; His thesis was entitled ‘Verbal Repetition in Greek Tragedy’, examin­ing ‘when, why and how often the ancient poets used the same words.. and when repetitions might be the fault of copyists ..'(from the Finchley Society Newsletter). Congratulations to old friend Peter.

John Enderby (HADAS founder Member and one of our Vice-Chairmen) together with some local amateur historians in his village of Fontmell Magna, Dorset, has started a national project to record all stream and bridge names,before they are lost forever from local memory. This fascinating enterprise is featured in an article in ‘The Guardian’ of 6th October. Fontmell Magna(once part of the es­tate of Shaftesbury Abbey) dates from the 10th century, and was on a HADAS itinerary,guided by John and Barbara, earlier this year.

Rt. Rev. William Westwood, Bishop of Edmonton (1975 – 1984) and of Peterborough (1984 – 1995) died in September, aged 73. HADAS member Eric Morgan recalls that ‘Bill’ (as he was affectionately known) was a HADAS Vice-President when he was at Edmonton and was widely known in religious broadcasting for his great humour and understanding,

particularly on Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’.

P.S. from Rosemary Bentley re HADAS WEEKEND . . .. Rosemary is willing to lend her copy of the guide book to :US ‘Warrior’ to any interested member — highly commended.

ALSO she thanks Dorothy for arranging perfect weather for the trip and hopes she might be persuaded to organise a millennium ‘weekend away’. “After that she adds ( seriously)

“Who ??? ???”



Following on from the recent Avenue House meeting, also reported in the newsletter, Barnet Councils’ Recreation, Leisure and Arts Scrutiny Commission held another consultative meeting on the 23rd September at the Town Hall, Hendon, to invite views on the council’s museums service from selected users. This is part of a ‘Best Value Review’ of the council’s libraries, museums and information services, and the purpose of the meeting, chaired by Kitty Lyons, chair of the scrutiny commission, was to discuss both the service as it currently exists and how local residents might wish to see it develop and improve in the future. Your scribe attended as HADAS representative, along with 17 others from the public including representatives from Barnet College, The Barnet Society, Barnet Museum, Finchley Community Forum, Middlesex University, Mill Hill Historical Society anc the RAF Museum, plus a number of Barnet Council officials.

A list of suggested topics for discussion was circulated by the council before the meeting, concentrating on the council-operated Church Farmhouse Museum on Greyhound Hill, Hendon rather than the volunteer-run, but council-supported, Barnet Museum at High Barnet, and Stephens Museum at Finchley’s Avenue House, starting with why do we need a museum in Barnet, and who uses it, and suggested themes for future exhibitions, this museum having a regular programme of temporary displays. Also on the list was the question of how to raise attendances at this registered museum and the effectiveness of existing publicity.

The meeting opened with an explanation of the ‘Best Value Process’ review – a government requirement to review over 4-5 years council operations – looking at what services are provided, for whom, and why, and what improvements might be made, in this case to the Museums service.

A general discussion of possible improvements included the request that the local history collection in the archives at Egerton Gardens, Hendon should be more accessible to the public and a request for more brown signs to indicate the museum’s location, which the council agreed to look into. Further publicity issues included suggestions for a box advertisement in the local free press detailing new exhibitions, opening hours and bus routes, the latter causing particular comment. Barnet College and other local students could for example, offer volunteer help in designing publicity material through project work, and more advertising in libraries, bus stops, tube stations and parks was recommended. The question of lunchtime, Sunday morning or weekday evening opening was raised, possibly using volunteer roster, but when tried previously this had not been a success in terms of visitor numbers. Additional museum staff could theoretically be funded by the presently under subscribed Heritage Lottery Access Fund from the summer of 1999. Better transport links, for, or even between, the museums were also discussed, with the need for better information on access by public transport being stressed. Also, the council seemed quite taken with the suggestion of summer vintage/open-top bus tours between the two museums and would pass this on to their marketing division -this could perhaps include Avenue House and a picnic in Sunny Hill Park or lunch at the Greyhound, all perhaps linked with the nationally organised ‘Open House’ days and even perhaps tours of St. Mary’s Church Hendon and St John’s Church Chipping Barnet.

It was announced that Church Farmhouse Museum will shortly be floodlit at night thanks to a donation from the Friends of Church Farmhouse Museum, who found that the rooms at CFM were very small and restricted when holding functions. The problem of shortage of storage space – a familiar problem to HADAS also – was discussed. Schools play a big part in the life of the museum,

especially during the mornings, being attracted by the permanent displays of period furnished rooms rather than the temporary displays and exhibitions, hence the recent suggestion that one of the

upstairs galleries should be remodelled as a Victorian bedroom, although the feeling was that the whole of the first floor should be retained for temporary exhibitions rather than permanent displays, and not for art exhibitions which in future will hopefully be catered for by the proposed new Borough Arts Centre at Tally Ho, North Finchley and the Bothy in the Avenue House grounds. The ability to display touring exhibitions was again restricted by the size and design of the rooms.

It was commented that the two larger museums complement each other, with Barnet Museum having a wide selection of items in static displays and CFM concentrating mainly on temporary exhibitions and then discussion moved to a possible name change, e.g. should it become Hendon Museum but not Barnet Museum so as not to impinge on the identity and ethos of the existing Barnet Museum, whilst still covering the entire Borough. The majority view at the meeting was that CFM should become `Church Farmhouse Museum at Hendon’ to make it clear it was for the whole Borough and not just the local Hendon Museum.

These points will now be pursued as part of the Council’s ‘Best Value Review.’


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BROCKLEY HILL STUDY DAY – Pottery, Potters, Kilns

STEPHEN CASTLE has agreed to speak to HADAS about his excavations at Brockley Hill kiln sites in the 1970s and about his subsequent published conclusions regarding the Roman pottery, as part of our Brockley Hill study day on Saturday 30th OCTOBER. He last visited us in the 1980s and this is an opportunity for newer members to learn more about this scheduled site in the north of our Borough. BARRY HORNE of the Manshead Archaeological Society will be explaining his theory about why the types of Roman pottery which his society have excavated in the Dunstable area do not include wares from the Brockley Hill kilns. YOU will have the opportunity to look at several types of pottery from the Suggett collection which is usually in store, as well as some of the finds from our fieldwalking at Brockley Hill last year, and to examine them microscopically.

If you have any thoughts about the precise location of Sulloniacis then please come along and share them – we need your input. We also hope to see contacts from other organisations, including MOLSS finds specialist Fiona Seeley who has already spent a couple of days looking at our finds.

THE DAY: Saturday 30th October 1999 THE TIME: 11.30am through to 4pm

THE PLACE: The Training Centre behind Hertford Lodge (beside Avenue House), East End Road, Finchley Central. THE COST: £3 towards coffees sandwiches & hire of hall – cheques payable to HADAS.
Contact: Vikki O’Connor, 2a Dene Road, London N11 1ES.


Monday 4th October WALK with Mary O’Connell around the Euston area, visiting the Quakers’ (Society of Friends’) House, the new headquarters of the Magic Circle, and the refurbished “The Place” Theatre. A few places left – phone Dorothy Newbury (0181-203 0950).

Saturday 9th October MINIMART: LOTS OF BARGAINS! – our annual fundraiser.

St Mary’s Church Hall, Greyhound Hill, Hendon NW4. 11.30am-2.30 pm. Please phone Dorothy Newbury (0181-203 0950) if you have items for sale or can help on the day.

Lectures are held at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley. The Committee has decided to try a new arrangement for the lectures. In future the lecture itself will start at 8 pm, lasting about an hour, followed as usual by questions, with coffee being served at the end of the evening.

Tuesday 12th October Our winter lecture programme begins with Dr Eric Robinson: “The Archaeology of Local Building Materials”

Unfortunately Caspar Johnson is not able to speak to us on Mexico in October, but he still hopes to make it at a later date. In the meantime we are delighted that Eric Robinson, who was not able to speak as expected in April, will now be with us on October 126. All is not lost on the Southern American front as Dr Colin McEwan, the Head of the Ethnography Department of the British Museum, has agreed to lecture in March on an aspect of Peruvian archaeology.

Tuesday 7th December CHRISTMAS DINNER. First a visit to Dr Johnson’s House in Gough Square, followed by dinner at nearby “Ye Olde Cock Tavern” in Fleet Street. Coach, timing details and application form with this Newsletter. Please reply AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


The outward journey took us past several military airfields – Northolt, Mildenhall and Lakenheath. We also passed through Newmarket (complete with racehorses … not surprisingly!) and Icklingham, an attractive village with many of the buildings constructed from flint.

Our first stop was at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. This consisted of a visitor centre and, a short walk away, the reconstructed village. The buildings had been reconstructed for two reasons: firstly they were arranged to demonstrate the Anglo-Saxon social structure (i.e. a hall with six or seven houses all occupied by elements of the same extended family). Secondly, as little evidence of surface structures survives, they were constructed of different styles. This experimental work has revealed one particularly surprising conclusion, i.e. that the conventional view that part of an Anglo-Saxon house was built below ground level is wrong. It is now felt that the pit (usually associated with these houses) was boarded over and did not form part of the living accommodation. Attempts to identify the function of the pit quickly discounted storage (as it was too damp). One novel (and potentially hazardous) idea was that it was to store hay, which duly decomposed, therefore generating heat – underfloor central heating!

During the summer the huts are sometimes occupied by volunteers giving demonstrations on aspects of Anglo-Saxon life. We were fortunate enough to see a demonstration of a wood-turning lathe and to be entertained by a Saxon musician, whose Black Country accent certainly made Andy feel at home! (Appropriately enough, scholars have identified elements of Saxon speech in Black Country dialects -Andy). The visitor centre (recently opened) housed a comprehensive exhibition which went beyond simply displaying artefacts. The emphasis was on the interpretation of the site’s archaeological evidence. We then stopped for lunch at Framlingham. Framlingham Castle, with its impressive earthworks, was built by Hugh Bigod in the twelfth century as a motte-and-bailey and then rebuilt in 1190 by Roger Bigod, Hugh’s grandson. It is the remains of this second castle that can be seen today. The surviving flint curtain wall rises to an impressive 44 feet and is 8 feet thick. There are 12 rectangular towers, which rise a further 20 feet, and a gateway. The wall walk provided the basis for a fascinating and detailed audio tour, much favoured by English Heritage these days. This pointed out interesting architectural details, such as the Tudor six-sided brick extensions to the original Norman chimneys, and outlined aspects of the castle’s history. The walls gave extensive views of the surrounding countryside, and the opportunity to appreciate the extent of the defensive features. The castle was built on a mound with extensive wide and deep ditching, with high counter-scarp banking. Little survives of the internal buildings, although parts of the great hall had been incorporated into a 17th century poorhouse.

Our final stop was at Woodbridge Tide Mill, situated on the River Debden close to Sutton Hoo. This was a weather-boarded building arranged on three floors. It housed an exhibition on the history of the mill and tide-mills in general. By the time we had looked around the mill, the weather had improved considerably and we were able to look around the boatyard (Bass’s Quay, with one house named ‘Little Bass’!) before returning to the coach. This was a very pleasant way to end an informative and successful trip.

This account of the trip comes from your `Yatton Correspondent’. (Yatton is a village situated between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, on the North Somerset levels). As an old college friend of Andy Simpson, I have been associated with HADAS for a number of years (joining us on two trips, Brockley Hill, Church Farm digging and various real ale research trips – Andy).

Finally, as an ‘outsider’, I can honestly say that my impression of HADAS is that of a well organised and enthusiastic body fulfilling a useful social function and achieving practical results. (Thanks, Greg, your cheque’s in the post.)



Without the time currently to go back to the Barnet court rolls, I can’t respond in any detail to Philip Bailey’s piece on the Ley field (September Newsletter), but it’s likely that he’s doing the historical equivalent of fabricating a cloud-capped palace from three postholes. No-one has ever been able to reconstruct a detailed medieval field layout from documentary records – and in the almost total absence of medieval mapping, many have tried. His internal boundaries must belargely invented, and I also have considerable doubts about the external ones.

The development of field systems was not as he states it. As all HADAS members who have learned A Place in Time by heart will remember (memories could be refreshed around pages 63-7) local people did not ‘own plots of the shared land by agreement with the lord of the manor’. Although landholding peasants had long-established customary rights, including inheritance, they had no freehold: the land was and remained the lord’s. Even in this limited context the point is more than a legal quibble, since it helped the high degree of regulation essential to open-field agriculture, which was fundamentally for arable production. In particular, without internal fences, grazing had to be tightly controlled, and animals were normally only allowed into the open fields for limited periods after the harvest, to graze on the stubble.

Open fields and arable were not the only forms of agriculture, and in areas of heavy clay soil such as Barnet, never even predominant. The clay supported trees well but was heavy to clear and plough, and in any case not particularly fertile. Woods were valuable in themselves, combining the provision of essential fuel and building materials with perfectly adequate grazing for pigs, horses and deer. They were rather less useful for sheep and cattle, which needed an abundance of grass or, in winter, hay, and in areas such as Barnet with plentiful woodland but scant water-meadows, pasture was created by clearances. These normally went straight from woodland to small enclosed fields and were never

part of the open-field system. Peasants who were given permission to assail (clear), particularly in the tenth to twelfth centuries and in new settlements, often achieved a slightly greater degree of freedom, but only relatively slightly (`Market’) Barnet was founded c.1100 to capitalise on the new road from London to the north, and its various early designations include both Barnetley and West Barnet. But although it became a town in economic terms, it never achieved autonomy, and its inhabitants remained unfree tenants of St Albans Abbey.

Areas of poor soil and little open-field husbandry are also areas of polyfocal settlement. There were probably two main earlier centres within Barnet, both of which may have suffered from Chipping Barnet’s runaway success. One was East Barnet, hich had the parish church. The other was at Barnet Gate, known throughout the medieval period as Grendelsgate, where the manor courts were sometimes held. This is an interesting name – Grendel was a monster in the Old English epic of Beowulf – and the spot was on Wood Street at the manorial and county boundary. It was also, beyond any doubt, in Southaw – the name continued in use for the remaining adjacent wood.

Throughout the middle ages and beyond, Barnet never ran short of woodland. This was normally divided between the lord of the manor’s enclosed or emparked areas – Osidge was one such – and more general woodland where peasants had some rights (though again heavily regulated) of commoning their animals and of gathering fuel and timber. It was these woodland areas, in Barnet, Finchley and elsewhere, which were gradually transformed into the later Commons. Open fields were also known as common fields, because they were not divided into separate individual parcels and were to that extent, as with the open woodland, enjoyed in common, but the two were not interchangeable categories, and should not be confused.

The Victoria County History volumes for Barnet

and Totteridge are too early to go into agricultural detail, but the more recent volumes which cover Hendon and Finchley are far more generous, and available in all the borough’s reference libraries.

The whole borough is geologically and agriculturally similar, and anyone wishing to diversify beyond A Place in Time should find them interesting, and authoritative. Pamela Taylor

Jennie Lee Cobban also writes

Re article: THESE WERE BARNET’S FIRST ALLOTMENTS (September Newsletter)

Philip Bailey states with great authority in the above article that the Leye or Lay Field occupied the area between Wood Street and Dollis Brook, and Barnet Hill and Bells Hill in High Barnet.

Is this an established fact of which I was totally unaware, or is the article intending to present new evidence to suggest that this might have been the case? If so, I cannot see how the evidence presented in the article warrants such a confident statement. How, for example, have nineteenth century maps of Barnet been ‘developed’ to show the location of this particular field? And what does Barnet Common, which developed out of woodland (as did all commons), have to do with it?

I feel I have lost the plot here, somewhere! ”


Barnet Local History Society recently celebrated the 800th anniversary of the granting of Barnet Market’s charter by dressing for the occasion. At a garden party held in the grounds behind Barnet Museum, Master of Ceremonies Richard Selby read the conditions of the charter of 1199 to ‘King John’, ‘Queen Isabella’, whilst the character of the Bishop of St Albans was played by present day rector of St John’s at High Barnet, the Rev. Esdaile. As a medieval gesture, homing pigeons were released, but the two chickens in rustic-looking pens were not! To set the scene several realistic stalls had been hired from a theatrical supplier and be-costumed BLHS members assumed the roles of stallholders. The sundry characters included a blood-spattered medieval tooth puller who bore an uncanny resemblance to HADAS

Committee member Peter Pickering… Jennie Cobban pounced on Andy Simpson and Bill Bass who sportingly agreed to dress up from the contents of her costume case – Andy in bright yellow looking like a ‘Team Barnet’ member, and Bill in a flowing black velvet cape resembled a character from Star Wars. Jean Bayne somehow escaped Jennie’s efforts and assisted with our stall, which profited £25 from HADAS book sales.

Barnet Local History Society was also celebrating the occasion with the publication of 800 Years of Barnet Market by Jennie Lee Cobban and Doreen Willcocks. A copy was presented to William Harding Young, whose family owned the market from 1902 to 1999. When he sold the market in May this year it was on condition that the site remain a stall market for the next fifteen years, but the whole story is told in the book -copies available at Barnet Museum, Wood Street, Barnet. (We have purchased a copy for the HADAS library).

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Davies and the Mayoress expressed an interest in the HADAS stall – Mrs Davies recalled attending an archaeology class at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute in the 1960’s taught by Professor Zeuner – there may be a few HADAS members who recall likewise?

Cricklewood Station by Bill Firth

Recent planning applications include two small items for the old ticket office at Cricklewood Station. One is for a 2.4 m. high palisade fence with gates round the site; the other is to change the use of one room to a base for a taxi/vehicle hire service and erection of a refreshment kiosk.

Neither of these items in themselves is very interesting but they indicate the reuse of an old building, which has been empty and rather derelict for some time, and thus its preservation for the present at least.

The old ticket office at Cricklewood Station is believed to be original. I think it is the only remaining Midland Railway building in the borough, but I have not made a detailed check recently. The station was opened as Child’s Hill and Cricklewood on 2 May 1870 and renamed Cricklewood on 1 May 1903.

Glassy, Ghastly and, I say! Vikki O’Connor

The main autumn exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum is on Carnival Glass but running with it is a small exhibition on Hauntings, Horrors and Oddities in Barnet borough – from the ghost of Nan Clark’s Lane to the Hendon nudist riots. Curious? You have from 26th September to 14th November when all will be revealed!

The Carnival Glass should cause some to mutter ‘Oh, I remember that’, or, We chucked that out years ago’, and some of you may go home to rummage the recesses? Our newsletter editors await your findings with bated breath….

The HADAS digging team deposited Basil the sheep excavated at Church Farmhouse Museum grounds this year with CFM curator Gerrard Roots, as an example of the Oddities (the sheep, not Gerrard!). Being slightly osteologically-challenged, it took half a dozen HADAS members to fit a 55cm skeleton into a 45cm box and at one point it seemed that Basil had six legs. That would have been an excellent reason for burying him/her complete and unbutchered.


Computer spellcheckers do not always recognise proper names or a specialized vocabulary, and suggest the nearest word they have in their innards. When Liz Sagues ran the spellchecker over the September Newsletter, the computer obligingly suggested the following surrealistic replacements:

Minimart – minaret, numerate; Johnson – jingoism; HADAS – Hades; Claudius – cloddish.
Hendon – undone; Vikki vodka (!); hillforts.- halfwits, flowerets; neolithic – inelastic,
nihilistic, unethical; dolmen – demon; smithing – smashing; Barnet – baronet, Bronte; Edgware

drawer, dweller; brasses – brushes, bruises; woolmark – womanlike; Boadicea – bodice, bookcase; Newbury – neighbour, nobler; AD66 – ado; Blackfriars – backfires, backstairs; cuppa

coypu, cupola; arcading – racketing, archdeacon; Greyfriars – graveyards, glorifiers; Saxons-stations, sexiness; burgage – bragged, burgled; Spitalfields – hospitalised, Spitfires; on-going -nagging; Fishbourne – fisherman; backfilling – backfiring, backsliding; pikeman – pigment, pediment; portaloos – portcullis; LAARC – lark; SCOLA – scowl, scaly; ribcage – robotic; website – weepiest, wobbliest, riposte.


I Details of LOCAL HISTORY COURSES in London for the 99/2000 academic year at this WEA site:


“no obligation to purchase”:

3 INSTITUTE OF HERALDIC GENEALOGICAL STUDIES based in Canterbury, have information on training, library, bookshop – visit their site:


London & Middlesex Archaeological Society’s 34th LOCAL HISTORY CONFERENCE will be on Saturday 20th November at the Museum of London Lecture Theatre between 10am and 5pm -the theme is The Effect of Tudor and Stuart Royalty on the Greater London Area.

Simon Thurley, the high-profile Director of the Museum of London will be talking about Royal Palaces in London; Michael Berlin (who sometimes lectures for Birkbeck in Barnet) will discuss the clash between royalty and the City; Geoffrey Toms, archaeologist and historian is to talk on the royal estates of Greater London, Andrew Cameron of Hounslow Local History Society will speak about the Hounslow area; and Rosemary Weinstein, writer/researcher will discuss the Royal Parks. Tickets, price £4, from LAMAS, 36 Church Road, West Drayton, Middx UB7 7PX, tel 01895 442610. These local history conferences are well-attended and highly informative so, do book early!


Another date for your diary at the Museum of London – Saturday 27th November, with sessions on the port, life & death, homes, households, halls and palaces. Organised by CBA Mid-Anglia and CBA South-East in conjunction with SCOLA, this event looks like another feast of information.

Booking de ‘tails from Derek Hills, CBA Mid-Anglia, 34 Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead, Herts, AL4 8JJ.


The City of London Archaeological Society were filmed surveying the Thames foreshore recently, as part of the BBC series called The River. This will be screened before the end of the year, possibly in October. Keep an eye open for HADAS committee member Andy Simpson splashing about in the mud.

Barnet Local History Society meet on Wed 13th October, 8pm, The Story of London through its Pubs told by Sandra Lea: Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, High Barnet

Hornsey Historical Society Wednesday 13th October, 8pm Ice Houses and Ice Cream with Ruth Hazseldine. Venue: Union Church Community Centre, corner of Ferme Pk Rd/Weston Park, London N8

Enfield Archaeological Society 15th October Jon Cotton on Lundenwic: excavations on the site of Saxon London. 8pm at Jubilee Hall, corner Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield (visitors: donation).

Pinner Local History Society 7th October Popping into Uncle’s, Victorian & Edwardian pawnbroking with Peter Street at Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park (visitors: El donation)

Berkhamsted & District Archaeological Society Only a half-hour’s drive ‘up the road’ – their next meeting 8pm, October 28th is about Quarrying in Roman Egypt, by Dr Donald Bailey of the British Museum at Berkhamsted Collegiate School, Newcroft Wing, Mill Street, Berkhamsted. Donation of £1 requested.

The Friends of Dacorum Museum and the Dacorum Heritage Trust have organised a Canal Exhibition which is well worth a visit, especially if you have an interest in industrial archaeology. The exhibition will be at Hemel Hempstead Pavilion from 18-23 October and Jubilee Hall, Tring from 25-30 October so, if you are in the area…

St Albans – FREE CITY WALKS – Sundays in October, meeting at The Clock Tower, St Albans -no booking required but PLEASE CHECK WITH THE TOURIST INFO CENTRE BEFORE­HAND (office hours) Tel: 01727 864511

3rd 11.15am Market Place 3pm Historic St.Albans 10th 11.15 Historic St Albans, 3pm St Michael’s 17th 11.15 Coaching Inns, 3pm Market Place

24th 11.15 Coaching Inns, 3pm Historic St Albans 31st 11.15 Market Place, 3pm St Stephens 8pm Halloween Ghost Walk

Kenwood Estate: Wed 20th Oct lecture & walk Autumn leaves, fruits & nuts and Sunday 31st October guides walk of the estate, both with Estate Rangers. Bookings: 0171 973 3893

SCOLA lecture (as mentioned by Peter Pickering in the August Newsletter) Saturday, October 23rd 2.30 pm. Lecture by Professor Graham-Campbell, the Chairman of the Standing Conference on London Archaeology (SCOLA) on LONDON AND THE VIKINGS in the Lecture Theatre of the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square; his lecture will be preceded by a brief report on SCOLA’ s activities.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 6 : 1995 - 1999 | No Comments

Lottery cash for the London archive

Dr Simon Thurley’s efforts to raise money for the London Archaeological Archive & Research Centre have been fruitful to the tune of £1.1m, reports Vikki O’Connor.

As this Newsletter went to press, Hedley Swain of the Museum of London announced this funding, at a reception at the project’s Eagle Wharf Road premises. It gives the go-ahead for plans to increase storage capacity and create and equip visitor study facilities.

The archive holds finds from a century of London excavations. A large board displays the names of 3,000­ to 4,000 sites and with LAARC’s future assured these mate­rials now have a secure long-term home.

A contributory factor in the Heritage Lottery Fund’s approval was the donations made by other bodies, groups, societies and individuals, and Hedley Swain thanked them for their support, mentioning HADAS along with COLAS, English Heritage, SCOLA, Richmond AS, Surrey AS, LAMAS, London Archaeologist, etc, etc.

The Museum continued its successful policy of bring­ing its news to public attention by inviting a team from BBC Newsroom South East to the reception and putting on show the first-ever wooden coffin found in Roman London, one of two from Atlantic House, Holborn. The imprint of ribcage and spine were clearly visible.

To maintain the current impetus LAARC will actively encourage participation from schools, universities, local societies and individuals, with information flowing two ways. HADAS already has several contacts at the Ar­chive and the future success of the Society will be en­hanced by developing these links.

Fishbourne: the invasion debate continues

As the fifth and final season of the current excavation campaign at Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chichester —visited by HADAS last year— nears its end, dig directors John Manley and David Rudkin have revealed their latest thoughts on the somewhat puzzling complex of build­ings lying just to the east of the palace, reports Liz Sagues.

They agree that the 35-metre long masonry building was most likely a principia (a prestige military headquar­ters building), built around AD50-60, before the palace was erected, and remaining in use for almost two centu­ries. But there is rather less accord on what is represented by the lines of post holes just beyond the north wall, a focus of this year’s work. John Manley’s vote is for a timber lean-to, probably used for storage.

But whatever its exact purpose, all the construction in this area confirms that the palace itself was designed to be inward-looking, with its users enjoying views over the courtyard and garden rather than to the outside world.

A new trench has failed to locate the continued north­ern extension of the masonry building’s western wall, but has revealed a possible military aqueduct.

The 1999 work won’t settle the argument over whether the main Roman invasion force did land at Fishbourne, but the whole issue will be discussed at a Sussex Archaeo­logical Society conference on October 23 (just a few places left — ring 01273 405737 for details). And read all about the dig, most entertainingly, on the Sussex Archaeologi­cal Society website,


Fri-Sun September 3rd to 5thVisit
to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight

Monday October 4: Walk around the Euston area with Mary O’Connell.

Details and application form enclosed with this Newsletter.

Saturday October 9: The Minimart, the Society’s annual fundraiser. Look out your contributions, and volunteer to help on the day.

Tuesday October 12
Our winter lecture season begins with the Archaeology of Mexico, by Caspar Johnson.

Tuesday November 9
Britain in the Shadow of Rome: John Creighton, former HADAS member and digger on the Heath, describes the changing lifestyles and perceptions between Caesar’s and Claudius’s invasions of Britain.

These lectures, and those that follow during the winter, are in the Drawing Room on the ground floor of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, at 8PM

Return to Non-Conformity

HADAS is trying to bring to publication the material which George Ingram began to collect for the Society 20 years ago on the Non-Conformist Churches in the Borough of Barnet. George had to give up in 1983 when his sight failed.

As a first stage we are concentrating on Congrega­tional and Presbyterian churches, most of which are now United Reformed churches, and some Baptist churches which are now linked with United Reformed congregations. Later we hope to go on, at least, to the remaining Baptist churches and the Methodist ones.

Some churches on which we are short of information are: The Hyde, Colindale, and Brent Street Congrega­tional in Hendon; Edgware Congregational; North Finchley Baptist; and any which have now closed. Any reminiscences, booklets, letters and photographs would be warmly welcomed by John Whitehorn, 14 Wessex Court, West End Lane, Barnet ENS 2RA

Welcome to HADAS

We had a flurry of newcomers in the early summer, some of whom attended the training dig. We hope to meet the others before too long — at the lectures? Hello to Edward Mansell, Amanda Gill, Nicholas Upton, Anne Margaret­Soer, Rona Jungeblut, Karen Levy, Peter Mattei, Rachel Marer, Susan Loveday, Maurice Spector, Katherine Treadell, Kirsten & Michael Dunne, Alexei Gouldson, Sarah Stewart, Kathryn Jackman, Teresa Smith, Michael Cannard, Brian Davies and Dr Eleanor Scott.

Members much missed

HADAS was represented by several members among the large congregations at Golders Green Crematorium for the funerals of Christine Arnott (on July 16) and John Watkins (on August 7), reports Dawn 011′.

Christine was a stalwart supporter of all HADAS activities from its earliest days — digging, committee work, exhibitions and visits, not forgetting her skills in generating income from challenging collections of bric-a-brac at the Minimart! Even failing health in recent years did not diminish her loyalty and enthusiasm.

John, who died suddenly at the beginning of his sailing holiday, followed his distinguished wartime na­val career with an equally distinguished academic one at the LSE in the Department of Philosophy, continuing vigorously after retirement. He developed HADAS inter­ests with Micky, backing up her committee activities, particularly in arranging outings with Micky Cohen —the coincidence of names did not escape his sense of humour when he was at the helm on their reconnaissance journeys. Indeed his genial presence and genuine interest were much appreciated when the trips were underway.

Our sympathy is extended to Christine’s family and to Micky and hers, along with gratitude for the contribu­tions made to HADAS by Christine and John.

Spitalfields revelations

The scale of the Spitalfields excavation continues to amaze. Bill Bass has been working at the site, and reports the following facts and figures. From a projected 4,500 buri­als, dating from around 1200 to 1500, so far some 3,700 have been excavated, and of those some 1,250 have been processed. They span the age spectrum and include unborn children. A variety of diseases have been noted, and there are some early examples of trepanation. Four men were buried with chalices, so were canons or priests.

The burials apart, a row of shops and dwellings, including cellars, also survives, dated c.1600-1700. Among the finds is a great deal of medieval pottery, and also moulded and carved stone possibly from the priory.

Excavation of this massive site will continue until the end of September, with processing on site probably for another month. After that, the on-going work “will keep someone employed for quite some time”!

Though the site is not open to spectators, there is a display centre. On Saturday September 11, the Museum of London is holding a Spitalfields seminar, with talks, a walk and a guided site visit. It runs from 1.30- 4.30pm, fee £7.50 (no concessions) and must be pre-booked — ring 0171-814 5777 to see if places are still available.

A date for your diary

HADAS Chairman Andrew Selkirk also chairs the Coun­cil for Independent Archaeology whose 1999 annual con­gress will be at Sheffield University on September 10-12. CIA events are inspirational, showing what can be achieved by the non-professional bodies, ie local socie­ties. The theme, Demystifying Archaeology, includes a session on building your own resistivity meter (and hope­fully how to use it!). Further details from Mike Rumbold, 3 West Street, Weedon Bec, Northampton NN7 4QU. Tel: 01327 340855. Bargain price of £65 (residential).

… and a whole lot more

As enrolment dates loom and prospectuses circulate, have you considered the courses available for the new academic year?

Details of Birkbeck courses are available from: Birkbeck College, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ. tel: 0171-631 6633, fax: 017-631 6688, e-mail: URL: http:/ / Courses at various cen­tres, a number handy for North London, include the 3-year Certificate in Archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology, Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology, Egyptology, Field Archaeology and Industrial -Archaeology, 4th year to convert to Diploma, short courses and study days.

Barnet College’s part-time prospectus advertises: Dis­covering London (visits & lectures), History of London Cert, Making of Modern London, Field Archaeology Cert (year 1- Prehistory of S. Britain), and Industrial Archae­ology. Contact Barnet College, Wood Street, Barnet ENS 4AZ, tel 020-8440 6321, website: http:/ /www.barnetacuk.

Some thing went wrong… For those numerically-alert members who have noticed that the number on this Newsletter has moved on too fast from the last one, here’s the explanation. The March and April Newsletters carried the same number, so we’ve skipped one digit to bring things back into the correct sequence.

Of cairns, circles and copper mines

Audree Price-Davies set out to trace early activity in Snowdonia

The Prehistoric Society’s study tour (July 12-17) pre­sented examples of burial cairns, settlement sites, cairn circles, hillforts, iron working and copper mining. It was very well led by Peter Crew of the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre, Frances Lynch of the University of Wales at Bangor and Edric Roberts of the Great Orrae Mines. The conference was housed at Plas Tan Y Bwlch, a country house near Blaenau Ffestiniog which is the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre.

The study of prehistoric archaeology is dependent on an appreciation of the landscape and climate as it must have been. Exposed sites on high ground were probably chosen because there was a more protected environment with trees and shrubs. Over time these have been removed for building and fuel. Denuded of trees, the upland soils have become more acid and peat bogs began to form. The climate was probably warmer and sites which are now inhospitable would probably have been sought after. This was perhaps the case at Cars Y Gedol in Harlech.

At Cors Y Gedol a neolithic burial chamber of the 4th or 3rd millennium BC was seen. The tomb is badly damaged but is surrounded by a well-preserved ancient landscape of settlement sites and fields dating from the late prehistoric, Roman, medieval and later periods.

The chambered long cairn at Gwern Einion had been incorporated into the walls dividing the two yards of a dwelling house, presumably to house sheep or cattle. The site had been pillaged to build stone walls and only the rectangular chamber was intact with its capstone.

The burial chamber at Duffryn Ardudwy was well preserved and is an example of a portal dolmen, and forms a common type of tomb in this region. They stood at the centre of the farmed land, a focus for the commu­nity like a modern parish church. The cairn contains two chambers, the western one an H-shaped portal with high closing slab, a rectangular chamber and sloping capstone. The other chamber is larger but has no en­trance stones. The bones found in the eastern chamber came from a later Bronze Age cremation burial.

The settlement site with an enclosed homestead at Moel Goedog was set into the hillside and at Erw Wen there was a circular enclosure with a central but circle. At moo. Goedog there is evidence of secondary occupation in the medieval period indicating the desira­bility of the site. Ceremonial sites were probably placed where there was a particular view, as at Moel Goedog. Two stone circles, not visible from each other, look out over the estuary. There was an intensity of silence and stillness at this site.

An alignment of standing stones at Waun Oer — eight of them, but with only five visible — is a rare occurrence in Wales, although there are some on Dart­moor and in Ireland. Cairn circles with surrounding stone rings are placed in strategic places which it is now difficult to explain fully.

The cairn circle at Bryn Cader Faner is a small cairn, 8 metres across and less than a metre high, but around the edge is a ring of tall thin slabs set at an angle, projecting from the mass of the cairn, like the rays of the sun. The monument may be classified as a cairn circle, but was probably a burial site rather than a ceremonial one. A hole in the centre indicates the position of a cist or grave, the contents of which are unknown.

Other sites visited were the prehistoric and medi­eval settlement at Cyfannedd and the settlement and standing stones at Bryn Seward, and the burial and ceremonial sites of the 2nd and 1st millennium BC at Y Gryn and Maes Y Caerau. The neolithic burial chamber of the 3rd millennium BC at Capel Gannon, Betws Y Coed, showed evidence that prehistoric populations moved, as it is typical of the Severn-Cotswold group, a type unusual for North Wales.

The 1st millennium hillfort at Pen-y-Gaer had a defensive area of small stones, a chevaux de (rise, on two sides. The views over the surrounding country from the well-defended site were remarkable.

Evidence of iron working was found at the later prehistoric hillfort of Bryn y Castell, Ffestiniog, dated 300BC-250AD. This was a small defended hilltop fort where iron working, both smelting and smithing, seems to have been the main activity. They used bog ore from nearby peat bogs and cut trees for charcoal to fuel the furnaces. At Crawcwellt, an isolated hilltop area, there was also evidence of iron working on a large scale. Again bog iron ore was used and trees cut for charcoal. Both sites were difficult of access, and this suggests that iron working was a highly regarded but secret occupa­tion which turned ore into swords and other items.

The bronze age copper mining site at Great Orme was a warren of narrow galleries where copper was mined by lighting fires to weaken the rock and using hammer stones to break it. The ore was smelted, using tin from Cornwall and the Continent, to produce bronze.

To return to the 20th century, our base, a country house on a wooded hillside with views over the valley, was an ideal site for the study tour, providing comfort­able accommodation and a pleasant social atmosphere. But the weather could have been much kinder.

Illustration: a portal dolmen, reproduced from The Handbook of British Archaeology by Lesley and Roy Adkins (Papermac, 1988).

HADAS went to Gloucester.

Sheila Woodward and Tessa Smith came up with some­thing for everyone on this outing, with a mixture of indus­trial archaeology, Roman, medieval and historical, pep­pered with off-beat moments. It was a recipe for another really interesting day out — with no sign of Dr Foster’s showers.

The 17th century Sherbourne Arms served as our wa­tering hole at the picturesque village of Northleach in Gloucestershire. Built of Cotswold stone, the inn had been enlarged to take in the adjacent blacksmith’s barn and many related artefacts including the original forge were on display. Our coach waited for us in the market place but the market, whose charter was granted by the Abbey of Gloucester in 1220, has now ceased trading.

We had time to look round the church of St Peter and St Paul with its earliest feature, the impressive 100ft tower, built before 1400. Equally impressive was the collection of brasses dating between 1400 and 1584. The memorial brass of John Taylour (1509) is in excellent condition and depicts a sheep, woolpack with woolmark and a crook, the chief trade of the town at that time being wool and weaving. The guide book suggests one should go round the outside of the church clockwise as legend has it that if you go anti­clockwise (widdershins) the Devil might get you…

Docks, lock and Jock

We arrived at Gloucester dockyard to the sound of wheeling gulls, and were given into the charge of two town guides, Nigel Spry and Philip Morris. We split into two groups and avoided each other for the rest of the day! The Gloucester & Sharpness canal leads into the docks, and we crossed over Llantony Bridge, a Dutch-style lifting bridge, just before it lifted for a tripper boat named Queen Boadicea II (originally from London). Gloucester used to rely heavily on water transport for its trade in grain, stone and timber.

We heard how the dangers of the tidal bore on the Severn at Newnham, with 10ft waves travelling at 15mph, had necessitated a safer passage to Gloucester and con­struction of the canal by Mylne and Telford began in 1794. However, the project ran out of money halfway to the Stroud canal, and from 1798 to 1817 it silted up. After the Napoleonic wars soldiers needed work so money was provided to employ them to extend the canal to join the Stroud Water canal—the route to London. Our guide told us that the canal was 16 miles longs, 16 ft wide, 16 ft deep and had 16 bridges — making his job easier? The total cost was £430,000, a 70% under-calculation — shades of the Jubilee Line!

Silting is still a problem and two dredgers operate. Doubtless an embarrassment for someone, when the canal level dropped in 1990 dredger DSND4 tipped over and it took two years to restore it to working order. It’s not easy to relate to these statistics, but 3.5 million gallons of water per hour are pumped in from the Severn, raising the height of the canal one inch per hour. This of course brings in silt, which is dredged up and the slurry is taken up-river and dumped. And once again, water (containing this silt) is pumped back into the canal etc etc etc. As our guide des­cribed the process I couldn’t help but daydream ways of ending the cycle but maybe this way it is ecologically stable?

A corn mill was operating until three years ago, and we noted that the “windows” of a corn warehouse were in fact ventilation openings. These Gloucester warehouses fol­lowed the design of those at St Katharine’s Dock, London.

Clean, smart and unspoilt, the Victorian dock area at­tracts film crews and our guide reeled off a list of produc­tions from the Onedin Line and Martin Chuzzlewit on TV to a film titled Buffalo Bill’s Girls (anyone heard of that one?). Boat builder Tommy Nielson has taken over the repair yards — we passed a boat which had just been re-masted — and sail training takes place. The warehouses have been restored in a continuing development programme and the 1826 Victoria warehouse is now a civic centre complete with mayor’s suite.

The Atlas sailed between the East Indies and London from 1812 to 1822, then was broken up and her bell became the dockyard time bell. In 1939 it was removed because bells sounded for invasion so it was moved to Sharpwater for use as a fog warning. The Civic Trust and Rotary Club (murmur of approval from Dorothy Newbury’s husband Jack at the mention of Rotary Club) bought the bell in 1986 and returned it to the dockyard where it hangs on Victoria warehouse.

Merchants Quay is now a shopping mall, Albert Ware­house is now the Robert Opie Collection of Advertising and Packaging (pure nostalgia), and the Llantony Warehouse is now the National Waterways Museum. However, the heat and need for liquid, even water, led most of our party to cafés rather than museums in the lunch break. And Jock? A fully kitted, or rather kilted, Scot playing Ode to Joy and other popular classics on his bagpipes next to the swing bridge. But why?

We left the docks just as a small boat left the main basin to pass through a lock into-the Severn. The -water level dropped almost as quickly as emptying a bath, but the pumps would have soon put it back. Passing the old Custom House, now a museum for the Soldiers of Glouces­ter, we heard how the Gloucester Regiment are permitted-to wear two cap badges because of the 28th Regiment who once, surrounded by the French, turned half their force round and won the battle.

Close by lay the site of the AD66 Roman fortress. A Norman motte and bailey castle later sat on the site, to be replaced by a stone castle. Gloucester sided with the Parlia­mentarians and was besieged in 1648. By way of retaliation when he came to power, Charles II ordered the town walls to be levelled, so the only Roman part remaining is the south gate and section of wall which survived below ground. The site has been purchased for the Blackfriars development and, when we visited, a couple of trenches were being excavated in the southern area which will add to informa­tion gained from previous excavations. The site has also been used as a graveyard, with thousands buried there. Soon, a six-storey car park will squat where proud build­ings once stood, and metal crates on wheels will transport plastic shopping bags where ancestors were laid to rest.

Heat reflected from the pavements as we toiled down La dybellg at e Street to the cool stone buildings at Blackfriars Priory where our guides had obtained permission for us to visit. Pink stone from the Forest of Dean contrasted pleas­antly with yellow sandstone. The Black Friars of St D ominic came to Gloucester in 1239 and built their priory around a courtyard, church to the north, chapter house with dormi­tory above to the east, the west range including the refectory and the south range comprised a ground floor store (or school room?). Above this room was the library and the friars’ individual study cells — carrels.

We were told the friars were self-taught. That in itself posed questions: had they not brought expertise with them; had the experts died out; who corrected them; did they discuss, argue, fight? The cell partitions were still discern­ible and it was easy to picture someone poring over a book, a shaft of sunlight faded by swirling dust. Silence except for the occasional cough, or was that a HADAS member gasp­ing for a cuppa?

The Priory was obtained by Sir Thomas Bell in 1538 and his wife organised the site for cloth manufacture, employing 300. Sir Thomas adapted the church for his residence,Bell’s Place, but he left some of the Early English arcading which still survives, as do the original 13th century roofs.
Moving a few roads on, we stopped to look at the site of Greyfriars. Merely a shell, it had been damaged in the

siege of 1643. Nearby, we noticed an Aviation Garden with representations of the Gloucester planes, paid for by the Civic Trust.

As we reached the pedestrian precinct at the town centre, was I the only one to look with envy at the free motorised buggies zipping round? From the street some­thing archaeological was visible, and we descended to investigate. It was part of a Roman bastion with sally ports, preserved beneath the modern shopping development.

We learned a little more local history as we moved on. Gloucester and Cirencester fell to the Saxons according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, then in 977 the town was re-fortified when the Danes were thrown out. Ethelfreda had new streets laid out — the burgage plots are still reflected in modern building widths. Some timber-framed buildings have been re-fronted,_one having belonged to John Pritchard…

The Tailor of Gloucester

Nearing the Cathedral, we stopped in an alley at the Beatrix Potter Gift Shop. This wasn’t the tailor of Glouces­ter’s premises but a tourist trap where one had to pay to see the displays. John Pritchard was the actual tailor who had inspired Potter’s story of the clothes made by fairies, and his old shop was in the High Street.

As we approached the Cathedral we heard the clamour of many chisels hitting stone. Over 40 stone masons were working under a large awning on new seating to be erected in the garden of a church near Greyfriars. They each had a block of stone and worked to the design laid out for inspec­tion on the grass next to the Cathedral. They had just that weekend to complete the work, and a percussion band beat out rhythms to keep the masons on the go. One could gain some idea of what building a cathedral would have en­tailed, the air of industry and noise, dust and people going about their trade. Also at work was a woman from one of the town museums, heating and working iron, using equip­ment borrowed from the museum.

And we still had time left for a look round the Cathedral. An Anglo-Saxon monastery on the site was replaced by St Peter’s Abbey in 1089 (on William’s instruction). This was dissolved by Henry VIII and in 1541 the church became a cathedral. We took tea in the welcome cool of the refectory, and re-emerged as a service was ending. Walking round the cloisters, I passed the school-age choristers, some of whom were still singing (the acoustics were brilliant) as they clattered into the Chapter House to disrobe. On the north walkway was the lavatorium, the monks’ washing area with its long, stone basin, and on the opposite side there were (twice in one day!) the monks’ study carrels.

We had arrived to the sound of gulls and, as we left, I noticed outside a newsagent’s a yellow poster with the Gloucester Citizen’s lead story “Drive to rid city of gulls”. I’d rather see gulls than pigeons in Finchley… Comments on a seaside postcard please!

It’s not the Knot: re-enacting the Civil War

Part-time pikeman Bob Michel explains…

The faces may change, but the questions remain the same. They range from the hopeless “You’re Morris Dancers aren’t you? through to “English Civil War —that’s William the Conqueror isn’t it?” to the more perceptive “Aren’t you the Sealed Knot?”. Believe me, there are times in a re-enactor’s life when you wish your replica musket was really loaded!

As in archaeology, public relations is all part of the fun. Luckily for us volun­teer, part-time, pretend soldiers it’s just a small part. Much more of our time is devoted to reproducing as faithfully as possible 17th century military manoeu­vres, living in general and drinking in particular.

Re-enacting with the English Civil War Society (not as snappy as the Sealed Knot, is it?) attracts me in four separate but related ways. Firstly, there’s the his­torical angle to it all. We re-create civil war battles and soldiers’ camps as accu­rately as we can, given the passage of time and budgetary constraints. Uni­forms have to be made of natural materi­als and styles have to be authentic—Doc Marten boots and Russell & Bromley sling-backs are definitely out! Food must be cooked without the aid of Camping Gaz and “killing” and “maiming” on the battlefield must be wrought in good old 17th century ways.

Next, the battles tend to bring out the actor in me. Although the punters are now too far away to ask daft questions — and it’s too noisy anyway — you’re still aware an audience is present. What’s more it has paid to be there and expects to be entertained. As a pikeman my contribution to the proceedings is being a member of a disciplined and highly-skilled team wielding 17-foot pikes. That’s the theory anyway. However, every now and then I seize the chance to break out of the chorus line (as it were) and delight the crowd with my personal brand of 17th century combat.

Thirdly, there’s the blood and guts aspect. Being a pikeman involves preventing the cavalry from getting amongst our musketeers and pretending to kebab op­posing pikemen. But sometimes we get to form a “push of pike”, the real joy. Picture a rugby maul where two sets of forwards pack together to try to send their opponents flying. Simply add a pike per man and there you are! The odd flesh wound does occur; that’s not surprising when 30 men suddenly fall on top of you. But fear not gentle reader, the body armour and helmet take most of the punishment (perhaps American Football would have been a better anal­ogy than rugby). Anyway, we usually take more casualties in the beer tent than on the field.

Which takes me nicely on to my final point — the social side. All this physical activity and answering “no” to the public makes men and women thirsty. Yes, we are an equal opportuni­ties organisation. We believe both sexes have the right to get injured! Alcohol though can help to deaden the pain. A huge marquee becomes our Windmill, otherwise known as the “We never closed” beer tent. Although prone to be a little damp under foot after a few days — as are the portaloos — this is easily the most popular social venue on site. Spirits are high after a hard day’s battling, so in the wee small hours it’s not the place for shrinking violets. Luckily each regiment usually boasts a welcoming camp fire to which the active, but less adventurous, can retire in good order to enjoy fine fellowship and some awful singing.

Changing times at Avenue House

The HADAS library and finds store/processing room has been based at Avenue House for many years, and the future of the site is again under discussion. Andy Simpson reports.

Held in the familiar surroundings ofthe Drawing Room, day-to-day running of the house and grounds. A park the Avenue House Estate Consultative Conference on keeper will also be employed. Such changes would June 30 was a well attended and at times lively meeting. require a separate account to be run for the house —The basic message to come through was that the council, built in 1859 and newly Grade II listed by English as corporate trustee, was aware that there was room for Heritage, along with Hertford Lodge and The Bothy. change, ie by reducing bureaucracy. It was pointed out by Barnet Council Chief Execu‑

The council is not, in the medium term, prepared to tive Max Caller that Hertford Lodge is council-owned relinquish control, but will be advertising nationally and not part of the estate. It might have a future as a fora dedicated Avenue House estate manager, appointed voluntary sector resource centre, rather than as the by the management committee and based on site for Continued on facing page

These were Barnet’s first ‘allotments’ by Phillip Bailey

“open field”, and was a communal field where local people could own plots of the shared land by agreement with the Lord of the Manor (in Barnet’s case the Abbot of St Albans). The strips in the field developed from the way the field was ploughed, ie by oxen. So that the oxen would not need to be turned too often the fields were made long, and they were narrow because that was all that could be ploughed in a day.

The long fields (strips) were usually known as “lands” or by the earlier form “londs”, eg Bakonslonde 1280 (Bacon’s land), Towneslonde 1280 (Town’s land). Sometimes the strips were grassed over fOr livestock to graze on, and were then known as “Ieys”.

This may mean that the name Barnetleys, 1248, had an ambiguous meaning, ie “Barnet-clearing” and/or “Barnet-grass strips”. Some of the Ley Field may have been grassed over at this time for use as pasture. This fits in well with the fact that this part of High Barnet later became known as Barnet Common, which seems to have been used mainly as pasture, retaining its communal status right into the early 19th century.

The only field identified by name here is Newlands,

1817, which was obviously the last “ancient” field to be cut from Southaw Wood, hence its triangular shape. The name dates to the 13th century (Newland 1291, Newlond 1292, Le Newelond 1334). Mays Lane was known as Mayeslane in 1427, but Maieshulle (Mays Hill) occurs in 1271 and the “May” family lived in Barnet as early as 1229. There is even a Maisland in 1288 which was likely to have been found in the Ley Field.

The Ley Field is mentioned in Barnet Manor Rolls as follows: “La Leye” 1246, 1258, 1260, 1263; “La Layefeld” 1276. The map was developed from the 19th century large-scale maps of Barnet Common.

originally proposed register office— a report is awaited following a “citizens’ jury” decision.

After introductions by Councillor Alan Williams, Leader of Barnet Council, conference chair Kathy Mc­Guirk and Max Caller, those attending were involved in some general discussion. This included suggestions for a creche and coffee machine and the danger of any increased hire charges driving people away.

Delegates were then divided (after some opposition from the floor) into three workshop groups, each “ena­bled” by a council employee but using a delegate from the floor to report back at the end. These workshop groups covered marketing and fundraising, facilities for community groups, and management of house and grounds.

Those attending all received packs detailing Av­enue House facilities, booked hours per room (which show a slight overall increase, with 2,240 bookings in 1997-98), room plans (which omitted the HADAS Garden Room!) and statement of accounts and details of the history and present use of the site, which under the will of Henry Charles “Inky” Stephens was be­queathed to the people of Finchley in 1918 and opened to the public 10 years later.

The independent Avenue House Action Group claimed that the site has been mismanaged, with the building and grounds under-used, and issued copies of its own manifesto.

This called for transfer of Hertford Lodge and its outbuildings to the proposed new management of the Avenue House Estate, to be used for the same purposes, and operation of the Avenue House Chari­table Trust by independent trustees drawn from members of the public — rather than Barnet Council being the sole corporate trustee, as at present

All in a popular weekend’s work…

Vikki O’Connor reports on the HADAS activity at Church Farmhouse Museum on National Archaeology Days, July 24-25.

The preparations began the previous Wednesday when we collected the equipment from College Farm and sur­veyed in and laid out our base line and temporary bench marks. We brought in the heavy brigade to de-turf two trenches on the Friday.

Thanks to the efforts of HADAS publicity officer Tim Wilkins, our leaflets in the libraries and a few mentions in the local press have brought in several new members, some of whom joined us on the dig. Our aim was to provide an opportunity for new diggers to “have a go” as well as get “hands on” experience of surveying and using the resistivity meter.

Ian Haigh, Stephen Aleck and Brian Wrigley organ­ised the demonstrations with gusto, despite the blistering heat. The troops took turns in the trenches with helpers firing rounds of orange juice at them when they flagged. Ian Haigh set up his computer in the cool basement of the Museum to demonstrate on both days his presentation of data from the 1996 dig. •

By Saturday lunchtime Trench 8 had yielded an ani­mal skeleton just in time for Anne, the Barnet Press photographer, to snap HADAS digger Nikki Paintin ex­posing the skull. Brian McCarthy, fresh from his volun­teer stint at the Spitalfields dig, directed the removal of the deceased quadruped which, according to the Press, was a dog, but in the Hendon Times admitted to being a sheep. Brian Wrigley and Richard Askew have since examined the bones and confirm it is a sheep.. ‘

HAD AS President Dr Ann Saunders spent Saturday afternoon dispensing refreshments and information to visitors—we recorded a total of 38 over the weekend and these included several HADAS members who came along for a quick site tour. We had put together a small display in Church Farmhouse Museum, showing finds from the several HADAS digs in that area over the past 30-plus years. Our thanks to the curator, Gerrard Roots, for making this, and the dig, possible. Thanks also go to LB Barnet information officer Dave Bicknell for attending and for his support.

Sunday morning saw an enthusiastic early start, but when Hendon MP Andrew Dismore arrived on site, the diggers had gone to the Greyhound next door to look at the clay pipe collection, or was it the beer? Fortunately, our Chairman Andrew Selkirk and his wife Wendy were on hand to welcome him. Andrew Dismore has expressed an interest in local archaeology and we hope to see him at future HADAS events.

By the end of Sunday afternoon, Trench 7 (nearest the Museum) had revealed the Victorian land drain which we had identified in 1996. The Trench 8 team had also exposed the land drain running parallel with the church­yard at the east side of the trench, but on the west side they had come down to a fill similar to the medieval ditch fill. Andy Simpson did a “eureka” when he found a Roman brick, the only Roman find that weekend.

On the Monday, a small band arrived on site, ostensi­bly to do the backfilling, but the morning was spent completing the trench plans and doing some fine-tuning on the trowelling. We confirmed that we had exposed the medieval ditch in Trench 7, but the Victorian drain had cut in and run along the same line. In Trench 8 the fill was indeed that of the medieval ditch. We have extended our knowledge of this feature inasmuch as we no longer believe it could turn east to run behind the churchyard. Also, the resistivity runs between Trench 7 and the Mu­seum indicate a feature which could be interpreted as the continuation of this ditch.

Pottery from the trenches ranged from medieval to late 20th century. The finds have now been cleaned and will during September be classified for our final report. Forty-five people participated in the five days’ work.

I’ve got plans for next year… how about some experi­mental archaeology? Anyone with polite suggestions please contact Brian Wrigley or Vikki O’Connor.

The official full report should be published in the first of the HADAS annual journals next year.

Wet Wet Wet

Not a pop group, but news from Hampstead Heath. Whose idea was it to go there in the summer? From a soggy Saxon ditch survey team over and out till drier times arrive.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 6 : 1995 - 1999 | No Comments


When the site of the Rose Theatre was rediscovered in 1989 by Museum of London archaeologists, the remains became the focus of intense international media attention as actors and scholars united in a campaign to ‘Save the Rose’. The Rose had been built in 1587 and was the first theatre on London’s Bankside. It was at the height of its commercial success in the 1590s with a repertory including plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Thomas Kyd. Its success attracted others to build larger theatres nearby: the Swan in 1595 and the Globe in 1599. Eclipsed by its rivals, the Rose had closed by 1606.

The immense cultural and archaeological importance of the site was obvious and, eventually, the developers redesigned the proposed building to protect the remains and include a special basement display space. A charity, the Rose Theatre Trust, set up in the year of discovery and chaired by the indefatigable Harvey Sheldon, has been working to secure the future and public display of these important fragments.

The remains were covered up again in 1989 for their own safety during construction. They must be kept wet; and the unstable soil matrix in which the archaeology rests means that extensive — and expensive — conservation work has to form part of any attempt to get the excavation completed and a permanent display created for the public. In the meantime English Heritage inspect the site regularly to ensure that the remains are kept in a stable environment to prevent deterioration; indications are that all is well underneath. .

The new display at 56 Park Street, Southwark, on the corner of Park Street and Rose Alley, was opened by Chris Smith MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on 13th April. He said:

“The opening of the site and the launch of a permanent exhibition marks the next important stage in the

progress towards an eventual full excavation of the site. . . . This is, after all, the site of one of the

greatest Elizabethan theatres.”

The exhibition is open from 10 am to 5 pm 363 days a year (£3 adults, £2.50 concessions, £2 children; special rates for pre-booked parties). A sound and light presentation, with the commentary narrated by Sir Ian McKeltan, one of the Rose’s most loyal supporters, is seen from a viewing platform on the unexcavated area to the east of the pool of water which protects the remains of the theatre; it uses an exciting combination of old and new technologies. A video telling the story of the Rose is projected over the pool, while electro-luminescents submerged in the water are selectively lit to show where the remains lie concealed .

The exhibition is, as the Rose’s admirable website ( says, intended to reawaken public interest in the theatre, and help generate funds for its re-excavation, preservation and permanent display. The Rose Theatre Trust has plans to add further walkways that would act as viewing platforms for the re-excavation, when that takes place and they hope that will be in a couple of years time.




Bill Bass. Details and application form enclosed


3rd, 4th and 5th SEPTEMBER There are places still available. Contact Dorothy Newbury if you would like to join.

MONDAY 4th OCTOBER WALK with Mary O’Connell (NOTE CHANGE OF DATE) starting at

Euston and visiting the Quakers’ Friends House, the new headquarters of the Magic Circle, and the refurbished THE PLACE THEATRE.

SATURDAY 9th OCTOBER MINIMART: our annual fundraiser.

TUESDAY 12th OCTOBER Our winter lecture programme begins with the Archaeology of Mexico.

Members will regret to learn of the death of Christine Arnott on 12th July, at the age of 83. Christine was one of our longest-standing members. She joined in the 1960s, soon after our Society was formed, and was a keen participant in all our activities. She served on the Committee for many years, edited the Newsletter, and helped regularly with the Mini mart.


This private school was going to build an extension, allowing us to do some work in the grounds of what is one of Mill Hill’s oldest buildings. Unfortunately the project has been shelved for the time being owing to a shortage of funds – we will be informed when it starts up again.

BATTLE OF BARNET- 1999 Bill Bass

The sound of cannon, thundering cavalry – bloody conflict once again raged over the wide-ranging plains north of Barnet town …. otherwise known as Barnet Rugby Club. The battle, originally fought in 1471, was re-enacted in May in aid of the Barnet War Memorials Initiative.

Arrival at the ‘battlefield’, which is in fact only a stone’s throw from the original just to the east, found a complete mediaeval encampment in full swing. The opposing armies and their followers were readying for battle in their respective tents, fully catered for with a ‘mediaeval market’ where you could buy such things as leather, fabrics, jewellery, trinkets, BoB coins, weapons – longbows, arrows, axes – food, spices and flowers. You could even buy replica mediaeval pottery from a table-laden tent.

Artist plied their trade with storytellers giving a verbal account of the terrible day. Also a band playing ‘drone’ music the repertoire of which comprises dance music from the rural communities of Europe with marches, battle calls and laments. The main instruments used are bagpipes, mediaeval English, French and German, hurdy-gurdy and a range of early percussion (it says here).

Battle commenced at 3pm with the opposing archers and their longbows raining deadly arrows at each other – rubber-tipped on this occasion but highly effective in their day. Loud cannon fire (the BoB was supposedly the first to use cannon but this is disputed) was followed by the engagement of infantry led by their knights, then the cavalry consisting of about seven horses – looking impressive all the same.

The result of course was a historical foregone conclusion, a momentous victory for the Yorkist King Edward IV over his Lancastrian opponents in just one of the battles that collectively became known as the Wars of the Roses.


Following a HADAS Brockley Hill group visit to their HQ in Dunstable, Barry Horne and Joan Schneider from Manshead Archaeological Society paid HADAS a visit on 3rd July to examine the collection of finds from the late P G Suggett’s excavations in 1953/4. This pottery was excavated at a Roman kiln site at Brockley Hill a few years before HADAS was formed, and is currently in the safe keeping of the Manshead Society. Barry and Joan were met by a small group of HADAS members led by Tessa Smith who was able to pinpoint the various items of interest. After handling a representative selection of mortaria, bowls, pots and tazza, Barry suggested we have another meeting when he could bring along his binocular microscope and get down to some serious comparison.

With this in mind we have arranged for the Manshead team to take part in a whole day session on Brockley Hill potteries. Stephen Castle, who excavated there in the 1970s, has also agreed to give a talk as part of this event. We are negotiating for a Saturday in October and will publish full details as soon as they are finalised.


The 1999 Birkbeck College Training Excavation, held in conjunction with the London Borough of Southwark and the Museum of London Archaeology Service is taking place in Lant Street, SE I . Lant Street was immortalised in Dickens’ Pickwick papers, and the author himself was lodged in the street as a youth when his father was in the Marshalsea prison. On my visit to the site early in July, at the beginning of the third week of the dig, the students were working on the remains of the Georgian terrace where Dickens had resided, and were beginning to explore the underlying soils. Lant Street lay on the southern edge of the urban core of Southwark, where agricultural features of all periods, including Roman, may be expected. The dig is supported financially by the London Borough of Southwark, the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Excavations Committee, and by the Surrey Archaeological Society.


MoLAS The Museum of London Archaeology Service, to those who dislike acronyms) needs volunteers on its current Spitalfields dig. You can earn your HADAS subscription in a day and a half and simultaneously practise your archaeological skills.

You will be welcome even if only part-time or sporadically and work is likely to continue until September. The usual site procedures are carried out, but there is a great deal of skeletal material, mostly mediaeval or post-mediaeval. This needs to have the mud washed off and the bones displayed for the osteoarchaeologists to examine. There are so many, that the disarticulated remains are being left at present to concentrate on the relatively complete skeletons. This is more interesting, as it is possible to form some ides of an individual’s sex and age, particularly in the case of children. Of course, there is always the possibility of detecting evidence of disease or deformity. There are some striking instances of osteomyelitis and I have seen an intriguing depression of the skull without fracture. One very spiky lumbar vertebra went into the reference collection; unfortunately this was an isolated find.

MOLAS entice you with £5 per day expenses, if you fill in a form. It is best to ring Brian Connell the Osteoarchaeologist or the site manager Chris Thomas (0171-247 9435). Finding the entrance to the site is nearly as difficult as uncovering a known Roman villa and then you have to get past Cerberus. Despite the apron and gloves provided, wear very old clothes.


Over four days of the last May Bank Holiday weekend, members of HADAS and other local societies were invited by Hedley Swain of the Museum of London to participate in one of their digs.

For three months MOLAS had been excavating a two-acre site off Tooley Street between the mediaeval Falstaff and Battlebridge estates near London Bridge station. Initial evaluation trenches seemed to be unpromising but the full excavations have revealed Roman remains and remarkable mediaeval and Tudor finds as well as post-mediaeval evidence. To the west of the site was a Roman revetment to an inlet in what were then the sandy eyots of Southwark, the ground level of which had survived surprisingly well amongst the subsequent development; pottery including Saurian was recovered from here. Dendrochronology from one of the preserved posts should give a close date.

The star of the show must be the full range of Tudor finds and a possible 13th century rowing galley. A series of Tudor fishponds were found, one of which was expensively built with chalk foundations, chalk-brick lining and wattle fencing. The ponds are thought to have contained pike – because the name of the ground when it was sold by Thomas Copley to Charles Pratt in 1559 was the Pyke Garden. Fish bones have been found which are being identified. There are signs of a freshwater supply for the ponds from the nearby River Neckinger, now underground. The cache of Tudor finds includes a knight’s long-spiked spur, fragments of decorated armour, swords, sheaths, saddle bags, bowling balls, pottery. cutlery and 400 leather shoes, all thrown into the fishponds when they became disused in the mid 16th century.

Timber was expensive at the time so all material, including ships, were broken up on the foreshore and recycled – thus the remains of a 13th century galley found itself lining a fishpond. The timbers measured about 18 feet and the vessel they came from is thought to have been between 40 and 100 feet long. Wooden plugs would have been placed in the oar slots when the vessel rigged its sails in the open sea, Tar used for caulking is clearly visible between the timbers and there are traces of white lead paint. Rowing galleys were important naval vessels in the 13th and 14th centuries, being used for convoy duty, for stopping and searching vessels and for enforcing customs regulations. This is the first such vessel of this date to have been found in Britain.

Towards.the end of Ow dig there was not enough time to excavate the remaining fishponds in situ so their fill was scooped out by a mechanical digger and spread on the surface. Volunteers were then asked by Dave Saxby, the site director, to trawl through the fill looking for finds; members found tokens, a lead seal, a small dice, a pewter tankard, leather, pottery, buckles, knives. a harpoon head and other small finds. Others helped to excavate a silted timber sewer which turned up some decorated beaker glass and pottery, etc.

This was a good opportunity for volunteers (albeit briefly) to work on a large, interesting and important site.


As the two pieces above show, the number of exciting finds made this year in London is amazing. It is much to the credit of the Museum of London that they receive the publicity their importance warrants, and that they are very rapidly put on display so that people can see them. Visiting the museum on 6th July 1 saw part of the mediaeval ship Bill Bass describes, a number of the Tudor finds he mentions, and one which he does not —the earliest banana found in Britain; which looks just like what it is— a very old and very black banana skin.

Although these particular wonders may have been taken off display by the time you read this newsletter, who knows what will follow them. It is easy to keep up to date with such discoveries. If you call the PR office of the Museum on 0171 600 3699 they will send you their leaflet ‘Archaeology Matters’ regularly. Their website ( is a mine of information. Best of all, just go along.


A pleasant drive through rural Kent brought us to the peaceful village of Penshurst with its ancient manor house. A low building of mellow sandstone, it has few visible traces of its late 14th century fortifications and retains its homely mediaeval and Tudor character in spite of extensive later remodelling.

The present owners, the De L’Isle family, descend from a long line of Sidneys who have occupied the house continuously since the estate was granted to Sir William Sidney by Edward VI in 1552. Linked in marriage to royalty as well as to Spencers and Shelleys, the family has a fascinating and distinguished history. The most famous member was Sir Philip Sidney, Renaissance man, poet and courtier, who died in battle at the age of only 31. His brother. Robert. became Earl of Leicester. assuming the title which had belonged to his uncle, Robert Dudley, the favourite of Elizabeth I.

The core of the house, the Baron’s hail, was completed in 1341. Its striking 60′ high timbered roof soars over the hall and is constructed — unusually — of chestnut, which is stronger and lighter than oak. The massive arched braces end in ten life-sized human figures, said to be satirical portraits of contemporary estate workers.

Tall windows, restored to their original elegant arched style, flood the hail with light. In the centre of the tiled floor is a unique octagonal hearth marked out in coloured bricks. At one end of the hall is the dais where the lord and lady and their guests would have dined, while the rest of the household lived in the body of the hall, taking their meals at the massive 20′ trestle tables which are unique survivors from the 15th century. Illustrious guests included Henry VIII (who subsequently had his host, the Duke of Buckingham, beheaded) and Elizabeth 1. The panelled minstrels’ gallery at the opposite end of the hall is a Tudor addition.

The adjoining building, known as the Buckingham building, was constructed as a hall around 1430 but was divided into state rooms in Tudor times. The furnishings of the tapestry-hung Queen Elizabeth Room include an elegant silk-upholstered daybed and rock crystal chandeliers said to have belonged to William of Orange. The harpsichord was acquired from Queen Christina of Sweden by Sir William Perry, who inherited the house in the mid-18th century and proceeded to modernise it in Italian style, mostly to its detriment. He did however acquire an impressive collection of Italian furniture. Tragically (though perhaps not for the house!), he ended his days prematurely in a lunatic asylum.

The Trafalgar Room is hung with 16th century Flemish tapestries. Among the paintings is one of the London house built in the 1630s by the second Earl of Leicester on the site where The Empire, Leicester Square, now stands. It proved a huge drain on the family’s resources and was subsequently demolished. The original miniature Leicester Square can still be found in front of the church in the nearby village of Penshurst.

The Long Gallery still has its original (restored) panelling and re-created moulded ceiling in typical Tudor style. Lit by windows on both sides and lined with portraits of the family and royalty, it formed an attractive indoor promenade. The gallery widens out into a square room, part of an earlier fortification tower.

Text Box: 7Stairs lead down to a panelled bedroom, then to the Nether Gallery containing a display of armoury including Robert Dudley’s state sword and the ceremonial helmet which was carried in procession at Sir Philip Sidney’s state funeral; the helmet bears the Sidneys’ family crest, the porcupine. Sir Philip Sidney is one of only three commoners to be accorded the honour of a state funeral, the others being Lord Nelson and Sir Winston Churchill.

The gardens, laid out in Tudor times and arranged as a series of “rooms”, are the glory of Penshurst. They range from formal gardens with pools and fountains to herbaceous walks, lavender-edged rose beds, fruit and nut orchards, and a garden laid out as the Union flag in shades of red, white and blue. The garden rooms are separated by tall yew hedges so that each surprises and delights with its scent and variety.

This short report can only convey a very brief impression of Penshurst Place and its endlessly fascinating history, but thank you, Micky and Micky, for organising such an interesting and pleasurable visit (and perfect weather for the garden!).



After a pleasant lunch at Penshurst we returned to the coach for another scenic run through Kentish lanes to the English Heritage managed Lullingstone Roman Villa, a long-time `must see’ for your scribe. As we approached the site the modern cover building was immediately obvious — a little weather-stained but nestling below the hillside above the river Darent quite well. Soil slip from this hillside is responsible for this villa’s good state of preservation, the complete ground plan and many structural features surviving. The villa had stood at the centre of a large agricultural estate, being first built in timber and daub on flint footings about 100AD, then remodelled in flint and tile masonry with the well preserved bath suite added later in the second century. For much of the third century, a period of economic stagnation, the villa was in a state of some neglect, though underfloor heated rooms were added in the late third century adding to the classic ‘winged corridor’ plan. Revived fortunes in the mid-fourth century saw the addition of a large apsed dining room around 360AD, along with intricate mosaics and wall paintings, some linked with Christian activity located in a small chapel which in mediaeval times continued close by with the use of material from the villa in the now vanished Lullingstone church following the villa’s destruction by fire c420AD.

Excavation through the 1950s revealed a fascinating site with adjacent large, raised floor granary, circular shrine and substantial square mausoleum, whose central pit rather touchingly contained the coffins of a young man and woman buried together in the fourth century along with supplies for the afterlife; the mausoleum was incorporated into the Saxon Lullingstone Church. We toured the site aided by the informative recorded commentary on the personal stereo issued to each visitor. Particular attention is paid to the well known chapel with its six painted plaster portraits of Christians, possibly even members of the villa owning family, at prayer, along with the Christian Chi-Rho monogram on the opposite wall. These reconstructed paintings can nowadays be seen in the British Museum. One of the few in-situ fragments of Roman painted plaster I have seen, surviving in a cellar niche, shows three water nymphs in a remarkable state of preservation. The dining room features the well known mosaic showing scenes of Bellerophon riding the winged horse Pegasus to slay the Chimaera and Jupiter in the guise of a bull abducting Europa, captioned by a couplet referring to Virgil ‘s Aeneid.

After a short coach ride we then reached Eynsford, where a magnificent spread prepared by Eynsford Women’s institute awaited us in the village hall, overlooked from both ends by the stern visage of the former drum playing lady of the Manor who had been their first president. An interesting feature here was the photographic montage showing all the men of the village who had served in the Great War. After tea we braved light drizzle to view another English Heritage property, the adjacent moated remains of the. small, flint-walled Eynsford castle, a sort of pocket Berkhamsted. Dating to c. 1088, this is one of the earliest Norman stonework defences in the country, on a site in use from late Saxon limes. Abandoned after a disastrous sacking in 1312, there was brief eighteenth century use as kennels for hunting dogs and at Christmas 1872 a large section of the north curtain wall wall collapsed into the moat where it lies still. The rest of the castle is quite ruinous but traces of four garderobes survive along with the once tile-roofed inner hall — there was no keep. Parts of the halls’s arched undereroft survive_ Interestingly, the curtain wall never had any battlements. Parts of the site were archaeologically investigated in the 1950s/60s.

RESCUE’s Early day motion Peter Pickering

RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust of which many members will be aware, is very concerned that local Government archaeology services are under direct threat in several parts of the country owing to budgetary pressures within County Councils. An example not far from here has been the recent deep cuts in the archaeology service in Buckinghamshire. RESCUE inspired Robert Maclennan, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on cultural matters, to table an Early Day Motion on 2nd March in the following terms:‑

`”That this House notes with regret the forthcoming cuts to local government heritage services. caused by

the local government finance settlement; recognises that such services communicate the value of

archaeology and historic buildings in our economic, cultural, and educational life; and that they an

fundamental to ensuring that finite cultural inheritance can be enjoyed by present and future generations”.

`Early Day Motion’ is a colloquial term for a notice of Motion given by a MP for which no date has been fixed for debate, and generally there is no prospect of these Motions ever being debated. They are, however, widely used by MPs who want to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from their fellow members. Early Day Motions draw matters to Ministers’ attention, and often attract wider publicity; commentators regard them as a gauge of opinion.

This particular motion had been signed by 50 MPs by 15th July; among the signatories it is good to see Sir Sydney Chapman, the MP for Chipping Barnet. HADAS members in his constituency may like to write to him expressing their appreciation. Those in other constituencies might urge their MP to do join Sir Sydney in signing the motion. The recent threats to our archive service in Barnet, and to the museums in Enfield and Brent, demonstrate that we are not immune to similar problems.

Further details on this and many other matters can be found on the RESCUE website (www.rescue­

THE DACORUM AND ITS HERITAGE John M D Saunders, Vice-Chairman, Friends of The

Dacorum Museum Society

At the western tip of Hertfordshire the group of towns and villages comprising the borough of Dacorum takes its name from the ancient hundred and Anglo-Saxon name for the area. It is an area rich in historical significance and has an interesting story to tell. Archaeological evidence is abundant and Neolithic, Mesolithic, Bronze age and Roman remains have been found on various sites throughout the area.

The river valleys and track ways have determined the position of its towns and villages, the principal towns being Berkhamsted (complete with its motte and bailey castle), Hemel Hempstead, and Tring. Their prosperity was based on agriculture. Later, the coming of the canals and railways brought other and newer industries, ie paper-making, engineering, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

People have lived and worked in The Dacorum over several thousand years, and this heritage has now been recognised as worth keeping. All too often the heritage has been ignored or destroyed and much that has been preserved has left the area and been displayed elsewhere as, unfortunately, there is no museum dedicated to The Dacorum.

The need to rectify this situation came to a head in 1980 due to pressure from local archaeological and history societies who came together to form The Dacorum Heritage Trust.

The Dacorum borough council and the town councils of Tring and Berkhamsted have given able support, and the trust became a registered charity in 1993. A disused fire station in Berkhamsted, after conversion, became the museum store. It contains a large collection of material: some 20,000 items in all, ranging from flint tools, Roman vessels and decorated wall plaster from the local Roman villa site, to 17th century trade tokens, photographs, pictures and maps — an endless variety of material spanning the centuries.

To raise public interest it was decided in October 1988 to form a society called The Friends of Dacorum Museum_ The objects of the society are:

To work towards the establishment of a permanent museum or museums for the benefit of the public generally and especially for the inhabitants of the district of Dacorum in the county of Hertfordshi re.

To organise periodic exhibitions relating to local history in the said district for educational and cultural purposes.

To raise finances to enable the Dacorum Heritage Trust to purchase material relating to the area.

The society has arranged a programme of events. They have visited the new Verulamium museum and arranged historic walks in the area. Several parties have toured the museum store under the guidance of the curator Mr Matt Wheeler.

Future plans include a Dacorum canal exhibition, which will focus on the history of the canal system in the area.

The Friends of the Museum Society is growing in strength and now has 175 members.


Ian Betts, a building materials specialist from the Museum of London Specialist Services (MOLSS) is, fortunately for HADAS, resident in the Borough of Barnet. This made it convenient for him to give up his free time on Saturday July 10th to come and talk brick with sixteen Brockley Hill enthusiasts. Ian gave us some background information on Roman brick/tile production and pointed out that there are no obvious differences in the fabric of tiles produced at the sites between St Albans and London, except for the Radlett kiln where the products contain black specks. He believes that Brockley Hill had a tile production kiln, and one Brockley Hill potter’s stamp has been found on both pot and tile — it has been demonstrated that it is the same stamp used on both.

It appears that recognition of the brick/tile that we have collected is more instinctive than with the pottery. Ian’s examination of tens of thousands of examples over the years, coupled with his knowledge of fabric and fabrication methods, enable him to make almost instantaneous identification. However, the members of our group, who were ‘thrown in the deep end’ and given a bag of the Brockley Hill ‘fieldwalking’ brick to identify in front of everyone else, were also able to make correct identification. Even MOLSS sometimes use outside services to analyse building material. Harwell, for example undertake neutron analysis where a core is drilled out of the sample, powdered, sent into a nuclear reactor to be bombarded with neutrons, and the data collected indicates the chemical components – all for a modest fee of £25 per sample. (If a scientifically-minded member (2ould give a truer description of this process, our next Newsletter Editor is Liz Sagues….)

Touching on a few points in brick history Ian started with the Roman building industry which appeared to be centralised using a skilled work force. He believes the use of water transport tends to be under­rated and that where there was no navigable water route then localised brick production occurred. In the late 2nd/early 3rd century AD tile found all over southern England is apparently from one production site, but he couldn’t confirm whether this was German or British. There is apparently no evidence for Saxon brick production and Roman material was re-used. Pre-Conquest tiles were very simple, as produced at Winchester_ The question was asked and, yes, site matters as an indicator of function, Tiled roofs were initially used for public buildings, and King Stephen (1135-54) decreed that only tiled roofs should be built. The York city wall material switched from stone to brick in 1490 and, a Yorkshire man himself, Ian admitted that the rivalry between mediaeval tile makers and the stone masons sorneti mes became physical as testified by Guild records. We hoped the Northern Line didn’t delay Ian too much as he sped off to meet his wife (a little later than intended as we had him pinned down to answer questions at the Catcher in the Rye). Our thanks for an interesting session.

Ian has suggested that HADAS may like to consider using the services of MOLSS in classifying the contents of our 35 boxes of brick. An advantage would he the speed of the operation – he thought three or four days would suffice, and we would have the opportunity Of getting a couple of HADAS members to observe/participate so we would be gaining in-house expertise. We would also gain our own reference collection. A further advantage would be that, by using :MOLSS on this occasion, their recording methods would set our standard for recording building material at a professional level so that, should we be permitted to complete the fieldwalking grid during 2000, we would have the capability to do up to 99% of the processing internally. Our excavation coordinator, Brian Wrigley, will be examining the pros and cons of this proposal over the next few days and we should shortly be able to reveal how we will be completing the task.


In June members of the Prehistoric Society (including five members from HADAS) visited many important sites in a tour organised and guided by Professor John Coles and his Swedish colleagues Professor Lars Larsson and Dr Deborah Olausson of Lund University.

The whole tour was greatly enhanced by their creating a very relaxed atmosphere. Descriptions of the sites were given with enthusiasm, emphasising the cultures of the prehistoric societies and bringing them to life. The Romans never reached. Sweden and, therefore, Swedish prehistory is regarded as extending up to the Viking age.

We visited the large late Mesolithic cemetery site of SKATEHOLM where the diverse burial practices have led to much discussion concerning the late Mesolithic as a period of complex social structures. At the Lund museum, which we visited on our day of arrival, we had seen one of the Skateholm burials displayed as it had been found.

AGEROD, a late Mesolithic lake settlement site was also visited. Part of the lake still exists but excavations of several bog sites on the shore of the past lake have revealed both occupation areas and refuse layers. Walking along the old shore line, many worked flakes lay on the surface of the presently cultivated field and John Coles recovered a magnificent core displaying where a succession of blades had been removed.

At GILLHOG, we were able to enter the low narrow entrance to the passage grave. It is assumed to have been erected in the earlier middle Neolithic but most of the finds in the chamber dated to the later part of the middle Neolithic and late Neolithic and apparently it had also been used by members of the battle-axe culture. The earth mantle covering the tomb had contained two late Neolithic cists and in an area of six metres outside the entrance large quantities of potsherds from the Funnel Beaker culture were found. At SKEGRIE we saw one of the best preserved dolmens_ It had rectangular chambers in a rectangular stone setting.

The bronze age in Scania offers much. 3,000 large mounds and cairns still exist in spite of the destruction of large numbers in the 18th and 19th centuries due to agricultural reorganisation. As we travelled around the beautiful Skania landscape we could see mounds everywhere: near the road, on nearby ridges and in the distance.

KIVIK, the largest round burial mound in Scandinavia and believed to be of bronze age date, was discovered in 1748 and contained a long of eight slabs carved on the inside surface. Unfortunately it was heavily quarried in the 19th century and the cist robbed out. In 1933, based on drawings of 1756, it was reconstructed using six of the recovered slabs and two reconstructions. A vault constructed over the cist allows visitors to study the slabs.

John Coles, who has made a long-term study of Swedish and Norwegian bronze age rock carvings, took us to a number of sites where his explanations were of invaluable help in identifying the intricate groupings of boats, animals, humans, battleaxes and other representations.At JARRESTAD, the largest rock carving site in southern Sweden, we saw the “Dancer”, who dominates, together with footsoles (naked feet) in pairs and singly and many boats and horses with riders. At FRANNARP the carvings are of wheels and carts with schematic horses. It was on this occasion that we resented the brilliant sun which we had had all week as it cast shadows from the surrounding trees on to the carvings making them difficult to view. Fortunately a cloud intervened a couple of times to provide an excellent opportunity to see the carvings clearly.

Among the iron age sites visited was ALE STENAR the largest ship-setting in Sweden with a commanding view over the Baltic Sea. There are various hypotheses for its use including the grave or cenotaph. Also visited was the cemetery at VATTERYD with around 375 standing stones and 20 ship carvings.

We saw a number of Viking runic and picture stones which are frequently associated with early churches. The church at STORA KOPINGE was probably built in the late 11th century and, like many of these early churches, preceded by an earlier wooden church. These churches are often richly decorated and SANKT OLOF’s church has many wall paintings and coloured carved furnishings.

On the first full day we had visited the ongoing excavations at UPPAKRA, it was discovered in 1934 and settlement has now been dated from 20013C to 950AD: It had been an important market-place, production site and a residential place of government until replaced by Lund, founded five kilometres away. Shortly after leaving the site, Lars Larsson received a call on his mobile informing him that an important brooch had just been found there. On the last day, at the Lund museum, we were able to see this square-headed gilt-bronze brooch which they were dating to 450AD. No cleaning had been necessary apart from brushing off the dirt.

It was a truly magnificent find and brought tea fine conclusion a truly magnificent study tour.


The Higher Education Funding Council is sponsoring a project to encourage the reuse of digital archives, the Archaeology Data Service. An on-site version of the Greater London Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) maintained by English Heritage is now available for use as part of the Service’s on-line catalogue, ArcHSearch. Members may like to visit its website (


September 8th to January 9th. “Alfred the Great”, an exhibition at the Museum of London. This exhibition should interest members going on the Portsmouth weekend, as our first stop at Winchester is to view an on-going excavation at Hyde Abbey. Records dating from the Dissolution indicate that Alfred, his wife Ealhswith and son Edward the Elder were buried at Hyde Abbey. This year’s excavation hopes to locate the site of these royal burials.

October 23rd. This year’s Chairman of SCOLA (the Standing Conference on London Archaeology), Professor Graham-Campbell, will give a lecture on LONDON AND THE VIKINGS in the Lecture Theatre of the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square; the lecture will be preceded by a brief report on SCOLA’s activities. The afternoon will begin at 2.30.

November 27th. The CBA Mid-Anglia and South-Eastern groups, and SCOLA, are jointly sponsoring a conference in the Museum of London on post-mediaeval London. The cost is likely to be £25, including the conference papers. Watch for publicity and application forms in due course.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 6 : 1995 - 1999 | No Comments


Advances in dendrochronology reveal that the oak roof in St. Mary’s Church at Kempley, Gloucestershire, could be dated 1120 to 1150, to be the oldest in Britain and one of the oldest in Europe. According to Francis Kelly of English Heritage it was the earliest and most complete roof structure on any building to be dated using scientific methods. (Guardian 25 May 1999)


British and Italian classical scholars have found eight almost perfectly preserved ancient Roman ships buried in the mud of what was once the harbour of Pisa. Stefano Bruni, the Tuscan archaeologist was in charge of the dig; Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the British School in Rome, said the ships were in pristine condition. About a fifth of the boats had been uncovered so far, there could well be more. The ships range in length from 24ft to 90ft and seem to date from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. (Times 21. 4. 1999)


A new exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem concentrates on the often copious drinking habits of the people in biblical times and on the paraphernalia they used. Apparently the wine bibbers of Greece, Lebanon and Israel looked down on the beer drinkers of Egypt and Iraq as their equivalent to modern day “lager louts”. This was especially true of King Herod, a frequent party giver, who imported wine from Italy as supposedly superior to the local supply and who had his own “wine butler”. (Times 28.5. 1999)


Saturday July 10 (11.15am till lunchtime) Brockley Hill Finds Processing

Scout Hut (beside/behind Hertford Lodge, next to Avenue House)

Ian Betts, Museum of London finds specialist, has agreed to instruct us on the finer points of identifying brick and tile. Some 35 boxes need sorting. Anyone interested please contact Vicki O’Connor (0181 361 1350)

Saturday July 17 – Outing to Gloucestershire with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward. Details and application form enclosed

Saturday/Sunday July 24/25 – National Archaeology Days [details overleaf]

Saturday August 14 – Outing to West Stowe and Framlingham, Suffolk with Bill Bass

Friday, Saturday, Sunday September 3,4,5 – Weekend in Portsmouth and Isle of Wight. Places still available. (Ring Dorothy Newbury 0181 203 0950)

Monday October 4 – Walk with Mary O’Connell

Saturday October 9 – Minimart

NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY DAYS – Saturday 24th, Sunday 25th JULY

To celebrate National Archaeology Days, HADAS will be returning to Church Farmhouse Museum grounds for a Training Weekend. Two new trenches will be opened to extend our knowledge of the ditch feature that we excavated in 1993 and 1996, which runs parallel to the churchyard. Members with digging experience will be asked to pair with first-timers, under the direction of their trench supervisor. ‘Trainees’ will be instructed in excavating and recording methods, and a finds processing team will be at work on site during the weekend, with visitors offered the chance to participate.

A selection of finds from HADAS excavations in the Church End locality will be displayed in Church Farmhouse Museum and a resume of the Church Farmhouse digs to date will be available on site. Demonstrations of surveying and resistivity testing will be given on both days so, if you always wanted to try it yourself, please come along. We are hoping to generate some outside interest – the event will be publicised in Barnet libraries and, hopefully, in the local press. The success of the weekend depends on our members committing to one or two days so that we can complete the excavation to time, with new excavators gaining experience, and Barnet borough residents have the opportunity to see what we do.


Friday 23rd – surveying in the grid and laying out

grid, de-turfing trench one.

Saturday 24th

9am Diggers report to get equipment set up

9.3Oam Open to visitors/external participants

1 0.30am Surveying demonstration

11.00am Finds processing table open to visitors

11.30am Resistivity demonstration
I pm – 2pm Lunch

2.3Opm Surveying demonstration 3.3Opm Resistivity demonstration 5pm Close

Sunday 25th –

9.30am Diggers report to get equipment set up

10am Open to visitors/external participants

1pm – 2pm Lunch

2.30pm Surveying demonstration 3.30pm Resistivity demonstration

The editor of ‘Current Archaeology’, aka HADAS Chairman Andrew Selkirk, will be visiting site on Sunday afternoon.

5pm Close.

Monday 26th

9am Complete recording, backfill trenches.

WE NEED • our experienced diggers • pot washers, ‘old hands’ from previous Hendon digs,
anyone who knows a probe from a ranging rod, someone to make the tea??? (We’ll be lucky)

a couple of stewards – the press gang – armed with charm, facts and application forms

site photographer • visitors – come along in the afternoons to encourage the troops

fitness freaks required to back fill trenches on the Monday morning!



Highgate West Cemetery is a gem. It isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it ought to be. Seventeen acres of North London hillside, laid out on a private estate 160 years ago, are now the permanent home of thousands of the great and good of the Victorian era, plus a few later arrivals from more recent times. Some of the splendid funerary monuments, saved from decay and in many cases restored, are Grade 1 listed, undergrowth has been stopped from becoming overgrowth, trees and creepers have been trimmed and wild flowers have been planted to encourage the butterflies and the Victorian atmosphere.

On a lovely Spring evening at the end of April some two dozen HADAS members gathered in Swains Lane for a guided tour. We were lucky that one of our guides was Mrs Jean Pateman MBE, Chairman of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery, an organisation founded in 1975 to rescue and care for the cemetery when the owning company gave up. Mrs Pateman and her colleagues, nearly all volunteers, have done a magnificent job over almost 25 years to raise funds, maintain the cemetery and keep it going as an important part of our heritage and a living memorial to the dead.

Mrs Pateman was ably assisted by her Vice-Chairman Mrs Yuille who shared the guiding duties. We entered through the gates of the two brick chapels – whose architecture has been described as Undertakers’ Gothic – and, after an introductory talk, climbed the hillside. It’s amazing how different each grave and its accompanying monument, heavy with symbolism, can be; we saw stone wreaths, truncated columns, heavenly angels, upturned torches, carved effigies, and representations of things the deceased enjoyed in life, like a cricket bat, a musical instrument or an adored pet.

One monument, complete with whip and horn, commemorated James Selby (1843-88), a noted coachman who covered the 108 miles from London to Brighton and back again in a record-breaking seven hours and fifty minutes, then died of exposure. Other notable tombs included those of Charles Spencer (1837-90), an early hot-air balloonist; Gabriele Rossetti (1783-1854), poet, scholar and London University professor; Thomas Sayers (1826-65), a noted bare-knuckle prizefighter whose dog, frozen in stone, still guards his master’s grave; and famous scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the genius who discovered electro-magnetism.

We proceeded along Egyptian Avenue, between splendid mausolea whose heavy doors protected the mortal remains of some of Queen Victoria’s most eminent subjects. We saw the Columbarium, not for pigeons, but a part of the Circle of Lebanon with niches to hold cinerary urns. The conservation of the Lebanon Circle, which gets its name from the 350-year-old cedar tree which towers above it, cost a fortune, was partly funded by English Heritage, and recently won a Europa Nostra award.

Close to the rear of St. Michael’s church, at one of the highest points in London, we peeped into the colossal mausoleum of financier Julius Beer (1836­1880), once owner of The Observer, and of his half-mad family. The German-born magnate had his memorial designed to resemble the tomb of King Mausolus in Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Descending the hill, we saw the more recent graves of actor Patrick Wymark (1926-70) and of polymath Jacob Bronowski (1908-74). There was just time to cross the road to the East Cemetery to view the memorials to novelist George Eliot (1819-80) and to Highgate’s best known resident, Karl Marx (1818-83). He’d surely be happy to know how well his last resting place and its surroundings are cared for today. So ended an enjoyable and educative visit: once again our thanks to Dorothy Newbury for the organisation.


A group, organised by Vikki O’Connor, is taking a new look at the industrial archaeology, particularly that of the 19th century, in the Borough. The aim is to produce a publication to celebrate the HADAS ruby anniversary (and correctly), the millenium in 2001.

One way of identifying a factory is by a chimney and we would urge all members to look out for factory chimneys and to let Vicki (0181 361 1350) or Bill Firth (0181 455 7164) know about them. Do not be alarmed, we will not ask you to do more than report the chimney and its location. the group will do the research. Please do not hold back because you think a chimney has already been reported. We would rather have multiple reports than none.

You will also be doing the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society a favour by contributing to their London wide chimney survey. Bill Firth


The last meeting of the Committee took place on 8 June. Matters of over­riding importance will doubtless be referred to elsewhere in this Newsletter but the following general items may be of interest:‑

The increased publicity about the Society and its activities has generated more enquiries and applications for membership. Tim Wilkins has been responsible for the publicity and for placing posters in libraries, press contacts and other means. A revised leaflet about the Society is in an advanced state of preparation. Steps have been taken to improve the presentation and layout of the Newsletters.

Barnet has convened a meeting to consider the future management of Avenue House at which the Society will be represented. Our lease for the Garden Room comes up for renewal at the end of the year.

The following appointments were confirmed:

Membership Secretary and Research: Vicki O’Connor; Field Work: Brian Wrigley; Site Watching: Myfanwy Stewart; Publications: Andrew Selkirk; Publicity: Tim Wilkins; Newsletter and Programme: Dorothy Newbury with June Porges; Librarian and Archivist: Roy Walker Call posts except the last include ‘Co-ordinator’ in their titles – Edl. Denis Ross


Barnet Council is planning to mark the event. It would like to hear of any activities planned by the voluntary sector. (Contact: BVSC, 1st Floor, Hertford Lodge, East End Road, N3 3QE) (The Archer May 1999)


Historical Manuscripts Commission –

Human mummification – Egypt to Peru

The Bloomsbury Summer School of University College, London, ran a study day on May 15th on Human. Mummification – from Egypt to Peru.

The first presenter was Ms. Roxie Walker, a Director of the Bioanthropology Foundation, the Sponsor of the new Galleries of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology in the British Museum. She used a selection of case studies to emphasise the goal of funerary archaeology as showing how the peoples at the time lived their lives, and what can be determined about their health and medical practices.

Ms. Walker was followed by Dr. Sonia Guillen, Director of the Centro Mallaqui, Peru, who gave an astonishing presentation of mummification practices from several ancient Peruvian peoples.

The Chinchorra, who lived 10,000 – 4,000 years ago in the coastal plains near Peru’s border with Chile, practised mummification by natural means, using the dry desert and its naturally occurring salts. However they also removed the skin from the body, removed all the soft tissues and flesh, strengthened the skeleton with wooden rods, refilled the body with clay and fabric, and replaced the skin. These ‘remade mummified bodies they then placed up-standing on a frame to take their place in society.

The Chiribaya, lived 1000 years ago in the desert and also used natural mummification from the dryness and desert salts. They wrapped the bodies in mummy bags made from exquisitely decorated fabrics which were then buried with foods and everyday artefacts. Much evidence is being lost as the remains are robbed by looters, and sadly, as Peru is a poor country trying to develop its industrial wealth, they are also at risk from industrial and infrastructure development.

The Chachapaya, also from 1000 years ago, lived in the Andes, near the border with Equador. Many tomb sites were recently found around a magnificent lake. One tomb alone had 219 mummies in, but only 3 intact as the result of looters. Another 19 tomb sites were found in the same district, but when the news reached Lima, despite the remote and inaccessible location, tourists started arriving wanting to their pictures taken next to the mummies. This again highlights the problems of needing to blend the demands of archaeology and wealth creation, in this case tourism, especially in under-developed areas. As the local village headman said “there’s no money in archaeology for us, but there’s lots in tourism” Also the news brought more looters – one tomb site when they got to it had been completely cleared by looters who had flown in by helicopter. The Chachapaya mummies were mummified naturally, but when the region was conquered by the Inca, they took over the same tomb sites and also used them for storing mummies – this time mummified by extremely effective methods, such that the Spanish described them as being completely life-like. There are Spanish engravings of the mummies being carried through the villages on ceremonial occasions.

After the lunch break, during which there was a special opening of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Dr. Joann Fletcher, Lecturer in Egyptology at the Centre for Extra-Mural studies at the University of London, continued, fresh from her successful TV programme on mummies in the Canary Islands. She examined in more detail the decoration of both the Chiribaya and Egyptian mummies, especially the information they give about how hair was used and decorated in these cultures. She also looked at body tattoos – the Chiribaya liked having frogs tattoed on their thumbs and she got very excited about head lice – one of the Chiribaya was found so full of lice that the resultant infection and blood loss could well have been the cause of death. This has also been found in a pre-dynastic Egyptian mummy.

Finally Dr. John Taylor reviewed the concept and content of the new Roxie Walker galleries in the British Museum, which were then opened for a private viewing after the formal lectures were completed. Tim Wilkins


The Finchley charities of Wilmot Close in East Finchley was established in 1488 and may be one of the oldest in the country. (The Archer May 1999)


Members will be interested to learn that the following posts have been advertised recently in the professional press – ‘Local Studies and Heritage Officer’ and ‘Archivist’ both for 18 hours pw. (Library Association Record Vacancies Supplement March 1999


The Local Newspapers in Peril project has netted the largest preservation grant ever made in the UK from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The most fragile newspapers dating between 1800 – 1950 will be microfilmed, readers will be placed in libraries throughout the UK and there will be information on the Internet on library holdings. (Library Association Record May 1999)


SIGNOR ROMAN VILLA, near Arundel, West Sussex (July and August)

Archaeology and field courses. Five day, two-day and one-day training courses suitable for beginners and for the more experienced (contact: Mrs, Maltby, University College, London, Field Archaeology Unit, 1 West St., Ditchling, Hassocks, West Sussex. BNE 8TS (Tel: 01273 845497 Fax: 273 8441873

e-mail: (

CYPRUS, Pyrgos tis Reginas, The Queen’s Tower, Akamas peninsula, West Cyprus

The University of Wales will begin excavation at this archaeological site this summer. There will be some thirty students working on the site under the direction of the site director. John Howells, Head of the Department of Archaeology, and of the site manager, Dr. Paul Croft, a professional archaeologist resident in Cyprus. The site is almost certainly a medieval monastic community, but there are possibilities of much earlier finds being made in the area. “Paying guests” to work alongside the students would be welcomed; Heritage Participation Ltd (Archaeological and Heritage Tourism), in cooperation with the Cypriot Tourist Office and their “Agra Tourism!’ initiative have organised transport and accommodation at the Amarakos Inn at Kato Akourdia, a family run hotel with a pool and “wonderful home cooking”. Other accommodation is available, also visits or staying in other parts of the island. Work would start early in the morning with the afternoons free for relaxation or further explorations. There is one week minimum stay. (Further details from Heritage Participation Ltd„ The Old Post House, Leashaw, Holloway, nr. Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5AT (Tel 01629 534072, Fax 01629 5344332, E-mail: hpldigs @ hotmail. cam)

IT’S NOT ALL DISNEY (A short stay in Northern Florida)

I have just returned from a trip to the United States, during which I visited a dig in the oldest city in America, St Augustine, on the north-eastern seaboard of Florida. A team of local archaeological society volunteers were working under the direction of the City Archaeologist, excavating an urban site prior to development – a not-unfamiliar scenario! They worked in much the way that we do, of course, trenching, platting, recording by drawing and black-and-white photography plus colour transparencies. All spoil is sieved (‘screened’ as they term it there) immediately after the trowel work, in fact the screens are positioned right next to the trenches so that trowelled finds can be immediately related to micro-finds which may have escaped the eye of the excavator. The terrain is all sand, unlike our soil in which we can usually detect changes in soil-type, colour and texture. Nevertheless, they have taught themselves to recognise such differences which can quickly disappear in the heat (it was 91°F), as the moisture evaporates. They mark the outline of stratigraphic colour differences with lines of nails, linked to each other with a brightly-coloured cord to form a continuous line thus recording the soil ‘event’ .

The finds were mostly 16th and 17th century European pottery from the days of the earliest settlers – (St Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1585) – so there was Spanish majolica ware, English blue-on-white ware, and some Dutch and Rhine ware sherds.

They were especially proud of their most spectacular find – the flint-lock mechanism of a (British) ‘Brown Bess’ musket.

Whilst in Florida, I crossed over the state to the Gulf of Mexico coast on the west, to visit the Crystal River State Archaeological site in Citrus County. This six-mound complex covers about 14 acres and is considered to be one of the longest, continually occupied sites in Florida, dating from about 200BC to AD1400. Various culture groupings have been identified there with successive occupations becoming increasingly concerned with ceremonialism, involving cremation burials, the manufacture of grave goods, tomb construction and chiefdom societies. There are are large, rectangular, pyramidal and flat-tapped temple mounds constructed primarily of oyster shell and earth. The largest of these is Temple Mound A which is 30 feet in height with a base 182 feet long and 100 feet wide with a ramp 80 feet long and 21 feet wide. In shape and size this form of structure has similarities to the monumental stone temples and palaces of the Mesoamerican cultures like the Olmec and the Maya of the Yucatan peninsula, with the painted and stamped pottery of both areas showing a resemblance to each other. Also, there are two limestone stelae, or carved ceremonial stones, standing in situ at Crystal River which, according to one authority, form the back-sights for a giant calendar created by the orientation of the mounds with the function of marking solstices, equinoxes and north-south alignments-of the stars – in other words. a primitive solar observatory. Shades of Stonehenge! Altogether, a most interesting and thought-provoking short trip which I would thoroughly recommend to any society members who are looking for somewhere a little different to visit.



BERMONDSEY AND ROTHERHITHE PERCEIVED: a descriptive account of two riverside localities, with historical notes and engravings, contemporary photographs and drawings. Compiled and written by Peter Marcan. Peter Marcan Publications, PO Box 3158, London, SE1 4RA (0171 357 0368) price £9.95 plus £1.50 p&p

GREENWICH MARSH; the 300 years before the Dome; the industrial and natural background. By local historian/industrial archaeologist Mary Mills. With details of ships, big guns, barges, steam engines, tide mill, and ‘the biggest gasholder in the world’. Copies available from: M. Wright, 24 Humber Road, London, SE3 7LT (0181 858 9482) price £9.95 including p&p.

VISIONS OF SOUTHWARK: a collection of nineteenth and twentieth century pictures and photographs by Lesley McDonald, with historical notes and descriptive imaginative writing. Peter Marcan Publications, PO Box 3158, London, SE1 4RA (0171 357 0368) price £9.95 plus £1.20 p&p


JEWISH MUSEUM, 80 East End Road, London, N3 2SY (0181 349 1143)

— Till 7 November 1999 – Exhibition. Behind the scenes at the Museum

— Sunday 25 July and 22 August 10.15am – Walking tour of the Jewish East End

KENWOOD. A programme of informal guided walks has been advertised by the Kenwood Visitor Information Centre. The walks will start outside the Mansion Cottage and must be booked in advance by phone (0171 973 3893) cost £2 includes hot drink in the Restaurant.

— Wednesday 14 July 10am – lecture and walk: Heath invertebrates, butterflies and other bugs. Ray Softly of the London Natural History Museum

— Sunday 25 July llam – guided walk of the estate by an Estate Ranger

— Wednesday 18 August 7.30pm – evening lecture and guided walk of the estate by an Estate Ranger


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It is received wisdom that the Neanderthals did not contribute to the development of Cro-Magnon man but ran parallel until they disappeared. New evidence has come to light which challenges this view. The skeleton of a young boy found in Portugal, shows distinct features of both the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon. As the Telegraph has it reporting the find, the two strains “made love not war”!!Joking apart, if there is inter­breeding it can be interpreted to challenge the long held “Out of Africa” theory that the early humans evolved in Africa before moving north and west to displace the Neanderthals without mingling. No doubt the new approach will give rise to much discussion.

The mummified bodies of three children have been discovered in NW Argen­tine at 22,000 feet. The richness and variety of grave goods have been wonderfully preserved in the dry cold. The completeness of the evidence throws light on the religious practices of the INCA some 500 years ago. They were then the most powerful civilisation in the Americas. It is thought that the altitude of the burials indicates sacrifice to the mountain gods. There is no evidence of violent killing; rather it is believed the children were drugged and buried while in a stupor, but still alive. Although the finds were made some five years ago, the team kept secret their importance until able to secure the site. They hope for a major advance in knowledge of the cultural and political context of the burials.


Nearer home, an unsuspected and uniquely untouched site outside Swindon has revealed what is probably a large Roman religious complex. English Heritage have paid nearly £ 1 min to buy out an intending developer.

This a very large purchase for them, reflecting the importance placed on the site. Testing with keyhole bores is in line with EH’s intention to move slowly, and in the greatest detail, taking years rather than months to develop the dig. (Times)


Saturday 12 June- OUTING Penshurst Place, Lullingstone Roman Villa

and Eynsford Castle with Mickys Cohen & Watkins

Saturday 17 JULY OUTING Gloucestershire with Tessa Smith &Sheila


Saturday l4 August- OUTING West Stow & Framlingham(Sflk)with Bill Bass

HADAS LONG WEEKEND Portsmouth &Isle of Wight SEPTEMBER 3,4&5.


Mary O’CONNELL advises SPITALFIELDS SITE opens Mon-Fri12-2pm (no Sat)

Suns 10-4pm

Sunday 25 July SPECIAL TOUR-1pm. Booking advised



Newsletter 336 contained 03) an item on the notification to us by the Environment Agency of proposed dredging of the Silk Stream at Colindale, and our request to be allowed to observe and record any features of archaeological interest. We have now had notifications of similar work on Pymmes Brook, and on Dollis Brook at Finchley Bridge.

Our most recent information is that the Silk Stream and Pymmes Brook works are at present “on hold” so we have to await further news. The Dollis Brook works, I am

told, will possibly start about September, and I should of course be glad to hear from any Members who would be available to help with observation.

Another scheme we have notice of is a Silk Stream Flood Alleviation Scheme which involves considerable earth-moving work in various areas. The ‘Environmental Assessment
Scoping Consultation’ we have received includes reference to possible archaeological investigations and we shall be in consultation and co-operation with English Heritage’s Advisory Officer over this. There seems to be widespread consultation on environmental issues and it may be some time before we know when the work will be likely to start, but meanwhile I should be glad to hear from any Members who would be interested to help in any archaeological work which may fall to us.


Our new President, Dr. Ann Saunders, ably chaired the AGM with her usual efficiency and good humour. The Chairman gave his report, and in the absence of the Hon. Treasurer on

holiday in the Bay of Naples (groans of envy from the audience!) he also presented the

accounts which were duly approved by the meeting.

All the nine Vice-Presidents were confirmed in office, and the Officers and ten members of the

Committee who had offered themselves for re-election were duly elected.

We were then able to move onto the more entertaining part of the evening when reports were given on the activities of the Society over the past year.

Andy Simpson gave a briefer version of the talk, with slides, which he recently gave to the Finchley Society on the history of HADAS over the last ten years.

Vicky O’Connor talked about the field walking on Brockley Hill. Funded by English Heritage this included training sessions in surveying and pottery identification. There have been many weeks of finds processing and analysis, which will continue for some time and helpers are always welcome. Roy Walker spoke about the future work on surveying the ditch on East Heath. This Anglo-Saxon boundary encloses land granted to Westminster Abbey by Ethelred in 986. The HADAS survey was started in Kenwood and will continue across the Heath.

Brian Wrigley, the Fieldwork Secretary, then outlined proposed interests for the next ten years,

including the Hampstead Heath continuing survey and watching the activities of the Water Board. They have a large programme for dredging the Silk Stream and Dollis Brook. He

appealed for ideas on work which could be undertaken by the Society. Many thanks to the President and to the Speakers for an enjoyable AGM.

Hendon and District Archaeological Society Chairman’s Reports 11th May 1999

HADAS has enjoyed another successful year, with membership just exceeding the 300 mark.

The most notable project undertaken by HADAS over the past year has been a field walking exercise carried out at Bury Farm, Brockley Hill in the scheduled area which took place over the weekends at the cad of August 1998. English Heritage gave scheduled monument consent on condition that we received training and instruction from professional archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology Service. We are very grateful to Fiona Seale), and her colleagues for helping us lay out the site and identify the Roman pottery. English Heritage gave us a grant to cover the professional fees. Since then the working party has been fully engaged in its Sunday sessions in marking and quantifying the pot and in the process learning a lot about Roman pottery.

The lectures and outings continued to flourish and we are very grateful to June Porges for organising a stimulating lecture • session. The highlight of the outings was the three day trip to Bristol, organised once again by Dorothy Newbury on the 3rd to 6th September.

A major event for the Society is always the Minimart which happily turns a fund raising event into a happy social occasion: It was held this year on 10th October and raised nearly 4.1500, a record.’ Once again our grateful thanks are duc to Dorothy Newbury and her helpers for its success.

The Newsletter continued to appear under its roster of editors which resulted in a wide range of styles and typefaces and indeed different colours. At the last meeting the committee resolved that one of the issues in the late Spring should be enlarged to form the HADAS Journal in which all the work done by our Society or concerned with archaeology in the Borough of Barnet in the past year should be brought together.

The Publicity and Publications Committees have been active and the publication of the revised edition of our Blue Plaques book entitled, Commemorative Plaques – People, and Places in the London Borough of Barnet, by Joanna Cordon and Liz Holliday has been scheduled for early in 2,000. Gill Baker generously left the society L1,00 in her will, and this has been earmarked towards the cost of this new book. A new publicity leaflet has also been produced thanks to Tim Wilkins.

Finally, I should record the sad death of one of our Vice-Presidents, Ted Sammes, on- November 7th -1998. Ted was one of the founder Members of the Society and directed two of the early excavations in Hendon at The Burroughs and more particularly at Church Terrace, the latter of which was published in one of our booklets, Pinning Down the Past: Finds front a Hendon Dig. He also wrote a book for Shire Publications,: South Eastern England in their Discovering Regional- Archaeology series. Ted was a cereal scientist by profession and shortly before his retirement he moved to Maidenhead. In his will he generously left the residuary estate to be divided between the Maidenhead Archaeological Society and HADAS, and in the coming year we will have to decide how best to forward the interests of archaeology with the help of this valuable bequest.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the members of the committee who have given us once again such a successful .year. In particular I should like to thank Denis Ross, our new secretary, for throwing himself in the task with such vigour; to Micky O’Flynn who manages the accounts with such quiet efficiency; and in particular to Vikki O’Connor who performs the thankless but vital task of Membership Secretary. Above all I would like to thank Dorothy Newbury, now our Vice President, for all she does for the Society, for organising the Minimart, masterminding and printing the Newsletter and masterminding and herself arranging many of our excursions, and the Christmas Dinner. I must not forget Brian Wrigley, who organises the working party and deals with most of the legal and planning side and represents us on many bodies, and who, with his wife Joan, makes our committee meetings so comfortable. Our thanks to you all.


In his second lecture to HADAS on the Thames Archaeological Survey (TAS), Mike Webber concentrated on the educational aspects rather than detailed site reporting. TAS has created public awareness of the river’s resources, partly through organising walks and talks and partly through national press coverage which has been slanted towards human interest rather than artefacts. The finding of a baton-shaped object last September led to Press headlines proclaiming ‘the first cricket bat’ . Mike admitted that a more cautious interpretation would be a tool to kill fish caught in traps or a flax beater. Although English Heritage weren’t amused by the press headlines, Mike found justification when he

learned that a full classroom session at Stoke-on-Trent had produced some colourful pictures of the object with alternative uses. The foreshore project has fostered public involvement through the open events, hands-on and feet-in. School parties are encouraged to visit and the children are enthused by the things they pick up and by the variety of wildlife they observe. Their perception of the Thames is changed by their experience, from seeing the Thames as dirty and boring they come to realise it is fascinating and possibly the cleanest capital city river in the world. Although archaeology does not feature in the National Curriculum, the Thames survey does connect through geography, geology, social and environmental sciences and history.

The objectives of the survey, as expressed at their Archaeology of the Thames Foreshore conference last year, have been fulfilled. The baseline archaeological survey of the tidal Thames from Teddington

to Greenwich actually went further, at no extra cost, to include Rainham and Erith.

Through the survey activity Londoners were able to access their archaeological heritage, students and several local societies participated – giving their members the opportunity to learn and practice a range of new skills. TAS raised awareness of the potential of the foreshore as a resource, it is now on the agenda of planners, politicians and businessmen.

Mike highlighted some of their archaeological discoveries and latest interpretations. At Erith a submerged forest is suffering erosion, the area is the subject of study by PhD student Sophie Seal who has labelled 600 trees to date, sampling for species and felling age. Also, seeds which are buried in the sand and mud need to be researched further. Comparative study of trackways, such as at Beckton, may link them with felling in the Erith forest. Stone axes found at Erith are now (obviously) a product of forest management and not, as previously described, ‘ritual objects’.

The 3-year survey completed at the end of May 1999, and to Mike and his team’s credit, held to budget. (Perhaps they should have worked on the Jubilee Line extension or built the British Library instead?).

We were grateful to Mike Webber for agreeing to talk to us at very short notice, as our scheduled speaker had double-booked our date, and we look forward to a third visit…

Vikki O’Connor


Michael Holton writes to Dorothy Newbury:‑

“As a Geographer I have always admired the work of of HADAS and joined it hoping to support it. Alas I have too many irons in the fire but the Newsletter became a most enjoyable, informative and continuous

source. The membership is very good at writing up and interpreting events and the team at publishing results. One gets a clear picture of what is afoot over a very wide area of interest. A lot of effort.

My current chief task is to research the story of the Garden Suburb during the last war. I have been surprised at how much information there is still around mainly social history, though some of which has an archaeological aspect – though the physical remnants are now mainly below ground.”

Dorothy suggests if any member has anything to tell or any photos about the garden Suburb during the last war, I am sure Mr Holton would be pleased to know.

Dorothy would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Editors and Contributors for their hard work on behalf of members, and says she receives many letters of appreciation.

CONGRATULATIONS to Stewart Wild for winning the Telegraph competition

“Where is it?” in May. Readers are asked to identify a mystery photo -what the object is and where located not easy with a minimum of clues. THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME…

Several HADAS members were working on finds at the Garden Room on Sunday 10th May and as it was a sunny day they were working outside. Around mid-day a St John’s Ambulance lady approached us asking if this was the right day for the Church End Festival ‑

there being no sign of any activity in the park other than the usual kids, bikes and dogs. We hadn’t seen any notices around but we believed this was the right date and very soon people began to arrive, dragging trestles, bags and boxes to the lawns. Not one to miss the chance of a sale, Andy Simpson quickly set up our display board next to where we were working and improvised a sales point with the projector stand. When we called it a day at around

3.30pm, Andy had sold £25-worth of HADAS publications and may even have recruited a new member or two.


Barnet Conservation Volunteers have published their 1999 task programme targeting Arrandene Open Space, Mill Hill; Totteridge Fields

nature reserve; Moat Mount Open Space, Mill Hill; and Hadley Green. IM s not archaeology but you do get the fresh air! For more information, visit their Web Site at:

London Borough of Barnet is also now contactable on the Web (anyone care to test this?)

SPITALFIELDS – Web site for information on the excavations:


Henry Roots, veteran of the Hendon anti-squirrel league has hung up his hunting claws. His bemused ‘owner’, Gerrard, (if anyone can claim to own a cat!), says that Henry has learned to live at peace with the wildlife around Church Farmhouse Museum – a complete change of character. This is the animal who, on more than one occasion, deposited a verminous beastie in the Roots’ bath. The new persona seems to coincide with the broken tail event reported in HADAS newsletter 323, although there are other possibilities. Could he have been converted by a vision of a deceased squirrel in the churchyard? Has he become a vegan? Is he worried about pollution in the food chain, or genetically-modified rats? Does this mean the Museum will have to recruit a new pest controller? Take your NOMINATIONS along to Church Farmhouse Museum at the top of Greyhound Hill, NW4, when next you visit…

Farm Museum.

The current display at the Museum, “A Century of Bears’, finishes on 6th June and will be followed by an exhibition on the origins and history of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade – opening on 26th June.

An exhibition on Haunted Barnet (Borough) is being planned for the autumn. Anyone with material/suggestions/anecdotes to offer should contact the Gerrard Roots, Curator at Church Farmhouse Museum, on 0181-203 0130.


Barnet & District Local History Society

Wednesday 9 June, 8pm – Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, High Barnet BDLHS Vice-President(and member of HADAS)Graham Javes will reveal his recent researches into the history of Chipping Barnet and its Market. (Donation requested from non-members.)

Enfield Archaeological Society have planned an ‘Air Raid Experience’ to be held for their members and friends at Millfield House, Enfield on Sunday 4th July, with tours of a large communal shelter between 11am and 5pm. Details of their society from Geoffrey Gillam, 0181 367 0263.


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Tuesday 9th March
Sam Moorhead — Letters, curses and the landed gentry in

Roman Britain

Tuesday 13th April Eric Robinson — Archaeology of local building materials

Tuesday 11th May


The Royal Exchange
by Roy Walker

Our January lecture was delivered by our recently appointed President, Ann Saunders. Ably qualified to speak on a range of topics, her theme that evening was The Royal Exchange, and we benefited from Ann’s wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of history and archaeology, coupled with the entertaining addition of anecdotes and insights into the lives of the associated characters. Her own involvement with the Royal Exchange began in 1989 when its Curator/Keeper telephoned to ask if she could research a 400 page book in eleven months! The Queen was to re-open the Exchange after refurbishment and the book would be needed by then. A publication was produced but Ann, having realised that the subject required a much broader approach, contacted thirty experts (including Ralph Merrifield) who agreed to contribute to a definitive history.

The story starts with Richard Gresham, Lord Mayor in 1538. He was impressed by the Bourse (the covered market) in Antwerp and requested Thomas Cromwell to obtain Henry VIII’s support for such a building to be constructed in the City of London. He was unsuccessful. Richard’s son, Thomas, working as his father’s representative in Antwerp was also impressed by The Bourse. Wars with Spain created trading difficulties in Europe which heightened the need for an Exchange in London. The death in 1654 of Thomas’s only son left no heir to the family name and Gresham then proposed that if the City provided the land he would build an Exchange, the income passing to his wife during her lifetime then to the City. This application was successful and an architect from Antwerp, Van der Paesschen, designed the first building which was opened in 1569. It was very basic -a courtyard with shops around. It was to have been called Gresham’s Exchange but following a visit by Elizabeth I in 1570 was renamed The Royal Exchange which did not please Sir Thomas! Gresham died in 1579 but had not left the Exchange solely to the City as promised. After his wife’s death, it passed jointly to the Mercers Company and The City provided that his own house in Broad Street was used as Gresham College.** His name was finally perpetuated – the College still operates today from Barnard’s Inn, High Holborn. This first Exchange was destroyed in the Great Fire but was rebuilt within three years, only to be destroyed by another fire in 1838. The third (and present) Exchange was designed by William Tite.

The lecture was enlivened by many interesting asides, most of which could have been the subject of lectures in their own right. For example, the portrait of Thomas Gresham held by the Mercer’s Company was the first full-length portrait of a commoner; part of the land compulsorily purchased for the construction of the third Exchange belonged to Charles Roach Smith, the Father of London’s Archaeology, who had been a thorn in the side of the City Corporation over their failure to respect the archaeology revealed during building works; the first Exchange was prefabricated in Antwerp – much to the annoyance of London’s workmen; William Tite published a book on the archaeology discovered during the excavation of the site, which led eventually to the formation of the Guildhall Museum.

The Royal Exchange is a building that I pass almost every day, but, since Ann’s lecture, I am now much more aware of the reasons for its existence and of the personalities that brought about its construction. And I eagerly await our President’s next lecture, hopefully in the not too distant future.

** Gresham College provides free hour-long, lectures on the topics of astronomy, divinity, geometry, law, music, physic, rhetoric and Commerce. For the lecture programme, contact Gresham College, Barnard’s Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH —0171 831 0575

Rescue Excavation at Saracen’s Head Yard, Holywell Hill, St Albans — 29th June to 17th July 1998
by Jack Goldenfeld

Following an evaluation prior to a redevelopment scheme, an excavation directed by Simon West, Field Archaeologist, was mounted by the St Albans Museum’s Archaeological Unit, in which I took part. The official part of the investigation is still being compiled, so this summary is merely a very brief and un-detailed overview of the project.


Walls dating to the 16th century and the Victorian circular drain more or less provide a bracketed time period for the site’s surviving structural remains. Also found were many medieval roof-tiles.


There were a number of 12th/13th century pits and wells, and some possibly medieval post-holes. The pits and wells could only be excavated down to the level of 1.2 metres, the limit beyond which shoring up would have been required under current health and safety legislation. The expense involved, plus the limitations of the time-frame precluded going down any further


The pottery included 12th & 13th century wares, medieval grey wares, 17th and 18th century glazed and decorated wares, plus Victorian types. Two broken Saracen’s Head Inn glazed tankard pots with part of the name of the inn and a depiction of the Saracen’s Head were also found, one of which bore a date reading 177- (the last digit was missing). Three coins were found, the earliest of which was an issue of Henry VII (1490-1510), the two others being late 18th century issues of George II. There were, unsurprisingly, lots of bottles and bottle-glass fragments, also of late 18th century date and pieces of tobacco-pipe bowls and stems.

The best small find was a late Saxon bone thistle-head pin dated c.1000 AD, whilst the largest was the completely articulated skeleton of a horse that had died at a considerable age, probably after a lifetime of hard work. The back bones were fused and the lower limbs, which must have suffered injury at some time, showed signs of new bone growth. Arthritis was also present. The fact that Dobbin hadn’t been sent off to the knacker’s yard and that he had been formally buried might mean that he had been in service with his owner for quite some time and was affectionately regarded as almost a member of the family! During the very last minutes of the very last day, I came across a small tin quatrefoil-shaped belt or harness decoration in a

shallow pit that I was excavating – a fitting end to an interesting and enlightening, if all-too-short, archaeological episode.

(Jack joined HADAS in 1987 and has dug on many professional excavations with MoLAS, Bucks Archaeological Unit, and the St Albans Unit in the UK, also in France and the USA. He lectures on archaeology at West Herts College, and is a key member of our Avenue House finds processing team.)

Membership News
Vikki O’Connor

We have had another boost to the membership numbers – Dr John Navas, Dominic and Maja Green, Philip Bailey and Yvonne Melnick have all signed up in

1999. Yvonne has already visited the Garden Room to see what we are up to – and was soon put to work marking up pottery! (No arms twisted, honest, guv!)

We are pleased to tell you that Marjorie Errington is back at home again after a spell in hospital, and we hope to see her at Avenue House and on summer outings again soon.

Obituary by Rosemary Bentley


Pat, a Canadian, loved London and settled in Golders Green with his Greek wife, Angela. They joined HADAS a year later, intrigued by our varied programme.

We met last September, at the start of the trip to Bristol, when I shared his ashtray.
After that, we pariahs, with our loyal spouses, stuck together. But one didn’t need an

excuse to speak to Pat, a teacher of literature, an accomplished musician, a collector
of paintings and a gently humorous humanist. As Vicki has said, he was a man who

knitted people together. He had had pneumonia, but his death on 21st January was unexpected. Listening to the funeral tributes from recent friends and a companion of

his youth come all the way from Canada, I was struck with a sense of loss. Not because of old memories, but for a rewarding friendship that might have been.


Site Watching

The Environment Agency have contacted HADAS, via Committee Member Brian Wrigley, notifying us of proposed ‘heavy maintenance in the form of dredging to …. the Silk Stream at Colindale, NW9’. Brian has replied suggesting that, as this

particular area does not fall within the Areas of Archaeological Significance noted on
the LB of Barnet’s Unitary Development Plan, sufficient archaeological coverage

might be provided by organised observation and recording of features of possible
archaeological interest which may be revealed by the works, and asking when they

will commence. Brian has also discussed this project with Robert Whytehead, the Borough’s archaeological adviser from English Heritage, to confirm that EH had no plans to undertake this work and that they support HADAS’s proposal.

We have been supplied with a copy of the Environment Agency’s location plan and will be contacting our members living close to the proposed works who may wish to participate. If you live a little further afield but are interested, please contact

Brian Wrigley 0181 959 5982 or Vikki O’Connor 0181 361 1350. (Brian noticed that, according to A Place in Time, a mammoth bone was found in this area a century ago!).

News from Bill Bass


During January, noted pottery specialist Jacqueline Pearce from Finds and Environmental Specialist Services paid a visit to both Barnet Museum and the HADAS archive at Avenue House. She is currently working on a monograph dealing with South Herts Greyware and local coarse wares, as part of a type-series of medieval pottery mainly found in the City of London. Jacqueline inspected a number of assemblages from sites such as Kings Road, Arkley, the ex-Victoria Maternity Hospital, Wood Street, Barnet, 19-29 Barnet High Street, and Church Farm Museum, Hendon. The meetings were useful, with an exchange of ideas and information on all sides.

On Thursday, 28th January, Andy Simpson gave an entertaining lecture to the Finchley Society at Avenue House about HADAS during the last ten years. He explained a range of our activities with excavations, including 1264 Whetstone High Road, The Forge Golders Green Road, and others mentioned above, fieldwalking at Brockley Hill, finds processing, exhibitions, publications and so forth. For some reason, most of the slides appeared to have a public house I them. A thirsty Andy then led a small contingent of HADAS members to the Queens Head for further research into this strange phenomenon. Late in January, earthmoving contractors in the Northampton area uncovered some stone footings and, being ‘Time Team’ watchers, they contacted the local archaeological unit who were maintaining a watching brief on the large site. The footings in fact turned out to be a hitherto unknown Roman villa — the most visible feature of which was part of the bath house complete with hypocaust pilae (part of the cold plunge bath was later rescued from the contractors’ spoil heap). Of two parallel trenches, one had evidence of at least two Iron Age roundhouse with Roman ditches cutting them. This trench was excavated immediately by the Northampton Unit as it had no planning condition (pre-PPG 16). The other trench contained most of the ‘front’ section of the villa, whilst this was not under immediate threat, the are needed to be rapidly exposed to ascertain the full extent of the structure. A call came through the archaeological grapevine for volunteers to help at very short notice. Thus Andy Simpson and myself found ourselves on site with 20 or so other volunteers from various other sources for a weekend’s digging on the recently discovered villa. The idea was to basically clean the mud left by the earthmoving with trowel, mattock and hoe down to the top of the pitched stone footing. Andy comments — “The villa seems to be of the classic winged corridor type with the bathhouse at one end and a channelled hypocaust in the centre of the main building. Deeper surviving foundations on the outside wall of the corridor suggest the building stood on a slight slope with a good view of the wide adjacent valley. The date of the building is suggested by 3rd century tile in the footings and pottery (including Nene Valley Ware) and coins covering the first to the fourth century, indicating occupation of the side throughout the Roman period.” By the end of the weekend, most of the main plan had been revealed so that the developers and English Heritage could decide what to do next. Funding was forthcoming to record what has been found so far and for geophysical work.

The Archaeology of the new Millennium Bridge — the first pedestrian bridge is being built across the Thames

Mike Webber, Co-ordinating Officer for the Thames Archaeological Survey is speaking at series of seminars and foreshore visits during March. Unfortunately, these are fully booked, but Mr Webber, who has lectured to us at Hendon, is trying to arrange a special visit for us in April. Will interested members please contact

Dorothy Newbury on 0181 203 0950. If a visit can be arranged, an application form will be included in the April Newsletter.

36th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists

Saturday, 20th March 1999 Museum of London Lecture Theatre

11.00 Chairman’s opening remarks and presentation of the Ralph Merrifield Award 11.10 Excavations at Atlas Wharf, Isle of Dogs (Bronze Age trackways and Thames flood defences) David Lakin, MoLAS

11.30 Excavations at Monument House, City (Roman culvert and Great Fire deposits (Ian Blair, MoLAS)

11.55 Excavations at Charter Quay, Kingston-upon-Thames (Medieval High Street and backland activity) Phil Andrews, Wessex Archaeology

12.20 Excavations at Blackfriars House, Fleet Valley (Fleet River reclamation and

17th century Bridewell burials) Catherine Kavanagh, AOC Archaeology

12.40 Excavations at Deptford Power Station, Deptford (Post-medieval ship building

and Trinity House almshouses) David Divers, Pre-Construct Archaeology 1.0 LUNCH (not provided, available in the café)

2.15 The Thames Archaeological Survey 1995-98: A review, Mike Webber, field Officer, Thames Archaeological Survey

2.45 An Archaeological Research Framework for the Greater Thames Estuary, John Williams, Kent County Council

3.15 Topographic modelling of the Thames flood plain, Martin Bates, University of Wales, Lampeter

3.45 TEA (provided)

4.30 Towards a Museum in docklands, Chris Ellmers, Museum in Dockands

5.0 Recent excavations at the Eton Rowing Lake, Tim Allen, Oxford
Archaeological Unit

HADAS will be providing a display of our recent work.

• Cost: £4.00 — enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your cheque

Ticket applications and general enquiries to: John Cotton, Early Department, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN

More Time Team programmes

Sunday 7th March: Kemerton, Worcs — significant Bronze Age settlement Sunday 14th March: Bawsey, Norfolk — hunt for ceremonial or religious site Sunday 21st March: Nevis, West Indies — search for evidence of the slave trade Sunday 28th March: Nevis (pt 2) — the culture of the Amer-Indians

Summer Activities

A course on ‘Ancient Crafts & Technology’ run by the University of Sussex, 26th 30th July J I at the Iron Age Activity Centre, Michelham Priory, covers pottery, metal and woodworking, textiles, building technologies and boat building. Fee £125
(concession £100). To enrol, phone Lisa Templeton on 01273 678527.

UCL Institute of Archaeology courses at Bignor Roman Villa offer training in Excavation Techniques (5 days £120), Surveying for Archaeologists (5 days £120 or 2 days £50), Archaeological Conservation (1 day £30), Planning and Section Drawing (2 days £50) and Timber-framed Buildings (2 days £65). The dates fall between 5th July and 15th August – full details from Mrs Sheila Maltby at the UCL Field Archaeology Unit in West Sussex, tel: 01273 845497.

The University of Oxford’s Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE) is offering two archaeology weekends:

19th- 21st March — Settlement and landscape in the mid- to late Bronze Age Britain

April — Understanding medieval towns.

Cost in a shared room – £115. Contact the Administrator, Day and Weekend Schools, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA — 01865 270 380

In conjunction with Distant Horizons, OUDCE has arranged a study tour of Norman Sicily from 6th-13th September, led by Trevor Rowley, author of Norman England. The price is £1,050 per person. Contact Daniel Moore, Distant Horizons, 4 Amherst Road, Manchester M14 6U0— 0161 225 5317.

Little known museum

The Scott Polar Research Institute Museum, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, open Monday to Saturday 2.30-4.00, admission free, was founded in 1920 as a memorial to Scott and his companions. Exhibitions include Shackleton’s photos, letters from Oates to his parents and from Wilson and Scott resigned to their deaths, snow shoes, skis, sledges, Eskimo and whaler carvings, geological finds — and specially designed food, for instance Huntley and Palmer’s “Antarctica” cream crackers.


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Tuesday 13th April Archaeology of Local Building Materials

Lecture by D r Eric Robinson – a geologist who has found some surprising use of local brick and stone since Saxon times. He will focus on St Mary’s Church

Thursday 29th April Visit to Highgate Cemetery with Stewart Wild

(application form enclosed )

Tuesday 11th May at 8.00 pm for 8.30

HADAS Annual General Meeting

followed by Talk and Slides on the Year’s Activities

Coffee and biscuits will be available as usual before the meeting

Saturday 12th June Outing to Penshurst Place, Lullingstone Roman Villa

and Eynsford Castle with Micky Cohen and Micky Watkins

Saturday 17th July Gloucestershire with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward

Saturday 14th August Suffolk with Bill Bass


HADAS WEEKEND from Dorothy Newbury

Please accept my apologies. I have had numerous phone-calls re absence of a Weekend date. Now I know you would like one I will work on it. I have been trying our member Daphne Lorimer for a return visit to Orkney – no luck this year – should we try for the Millenium? It would be pricey. For this year how about Southampton University with visits in that area, and a day on the Isle of Wight? Jacky Brookes is getting me some information.


HADAS members know how important the Archives are to our local historians and archaeologists as well as to schools. We feel very much indebted to our two experienced local Archivists, Joanna Corden and Pamela Taylor (part-timers), who have hitherto been helped by a local studies librarian (full-time). Now Joanna Corden is leaving to become Archivist to the Royal Society, but it is a shock to hear that Pamela Taylor has resigned on account of the freezing of the librarian’s post which means a 50% cut in staffing.

We are glad to hear that the Council has agreed to provide temporary cover while advertising for a part-time librarian and a part-time archivist. It may be very difficult to fill these posts with well qualified people for salaries are less than for teachers. Moreover, the appointment of two part-timers will still leave one post unfilled. We must make the council unfreeze the other post as soon as possible. In any case, we will have lost all the experience and local knowledge that Joanna and Pam have been able to give us.


Helen Gordon has fallen again and broken her fifth limb, but she is soldiering on and hopes to participate in some of our activities again soon.

Cyril Pentecost has phoned and I am sure all our outing regulars would love to have him join us again this summer.

Dr Reva Brown, our March Newsletter Editor, is now Professor Reva Brown. Congratulations and thanks for continuing as editor of one of our Newsletters. How about organising an archaeological trip in your area for year 2000? Derek Batten”s `Castle’ might be excavated by then.


As a resident of East Barnet I have become increasingly concerned about the state of disrepair of the clock tower situated on the roof of the parade of shops known as Clock House Parade in the centre of East Barnet village. The tower is in urgent need of painting before the wooden part of the structure deteriorates further.

According to the Victoria County History, in 1406 Thomas Dudman is recorded as paying rent to the Abbot of St Albans for a tenement known as Mendhams. He left the house to his daughter Agnes – she married William Rolfe of Chaseside.

In 1619 and 1654 there are further references to a house known as Dudmans.

In 1821 Dudmans had its name changed to the Clock House. It is reasonable to assume that a clock was erected about that time (not necessarily the present one). By 1900 a new front had been added to the Clock House. The photo from about that time shows the present clock tower in position on the roof of the house.

In 1926 the Clock House was pulled down and was replaced by a new parade. Fortunately, the clock tower was rescued and placed on the roof of the shops and until recently the clock kept good time. The mechanism was restored some years ago and the clock face is currently being refurbished by a local man.

All the beautiful old houses in East Barnet were pulled down to make way for housing development in the 1930s and the clock tower is one of the few remaining links the village possesses with its past.

I am in the process of getting the problem referred to English Heritage with a view to asking the owner to put repairs in hand. Local people are anxious that it should once again keep the time for the villagers. Has anyone any suggestions to offer as to the next step?



Most HADAS members know that our Society owes a great deal to the work of Brigid who died in 1991. She edited the Newsletters from 1970 for nearly twenty years, and was Hon. Secretary to the Society. She was deeply involved in the West Heath Excavation and she organised all our entertainments – Who will ever forget the Roman Banquet and Arabian Nights with all the authentic food?

Brigid was also the Founder of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Archive. She collected the material together, and was the Archivist from 1973 until her death. It has long been recognised that there should be a memorial to Brigid, but nothing suitable could be found . Now two grants of £1000 each from the Millie Apthorp Fund and from Barnet Council will reinforce the Trust’s funds and make it possible to produce a Catalogue of the Archive. The Archive Trust intends to dedicate the Catalogue to Brigid’s memory.

Most of the Archive is now housed in the London Metropolitan Archive, 40 Northampton Rd., Clerkenwell (0171-332 3820), where house plans, photographs and much written material can be seen – Please ring to make an appointment. Remaining in the Basement Room at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute is a small reference library, some duplicate photographs and tape recordings and many files of Suburb history. The Basement Room is usually open on Tuesday mornings during School terms – You are welcome to make a visit – please ring the Suburb Archivist, Mr Harry Cobb (0181- 458 3688)

The Archive is of national and international interest as well as of local importance, and the Catalogue when completed will be a fitting tribute to Brigid.


For our February lecture we had a return visit from Paul Roberts of the British Museum, telling us about his work at Forum Novum in the Sabine Hills as part of the Tiber valley project. Forum Novum was one of the small towns of Roman Italy – a type of settlement about which little is known. It was a very small town; though it had a forum with two temples, there did not seem to be many buildings other than public ones. Paul’s slides made it look an idyllic site, rural with Mount Soracte in the background. Forum Novum was important in early Christian times as the scene of two martyrdoms under the emperor Diocletian. The basilica was excavated in the 1970s, and the floor of the important romanesque church restored in 1990; Paul was scathing about both of these operations.

The British Museum’s team carried out a geophysical survey, using ground penetrating radar, found a huge villa, completely unknown hitherto – it came as a surprise to the local inhabitants. The outlines of the villa were very clear, but the team’s hopes of finding fine mosaics and wall plaster were dashed. The remains of the walls, only a short way below the surface of the ground, were bare, and over most of the area there was no rubble and very few artefacts of any sort; one corner of the courtyard, and a drain, however, were rich in finds. But the finds were from centuries later than the building itself, which dated from the time of the emperor Nero. What the excavators had at first thought was a drain proved wider than would have been expected, and had pots built into its walls – perhaps it was a fishpond for the production of eels, a Roman delicacy.

The mystery is why so little was left of what had been a huge villa. The excavators considered and rejected the idea that it had been comprehensively demolished; no clearance could have been as thorough as this must have been. The most likely solution is that the villa was never finished. Was it being built for a rich and important senator who fell from imperial favour in the troublous times of the emperor Nero, and vanished from the scene?

Perhaps further investigations will reveal more. And perhaps Paul will come back to tell us more about his mystery.


I have recently returned from the Peloponnese having travelled by road from Athens on an ancient road network which took in Corinth, Epidaurus, Argos, and, above all, Mycenae.

This prehistoric town, the most important in Greece, was built on the north-east side of the Argive plain, and was once the centre of a glorious civilisation lasting from 1600 BC until 1100 BC. Even today, modern Mycenae is an important point on the road system leading to Nafplion, the first capital of Greece after Independence (1822) and thought by many (including myself) to be the loveliest town in the whole of Greece.

I visited Mycenae, a thirty minute journey from Nafplion, on a bright sunny day but, even so, the extensive ruins of this once regal ancient city were invested with a brooding sense of darkness and horror. Here Orestes committed the heinous crime of matricide. I hope to tell the chilling story in a future article on the curse of the House of Atreus.

The remarkable Mycenean civilisation reached its zenith in the second millennium BC as can be seen from the fabulous gold objects – including the gold mask of Agamemnon – now in the Athens Museum. Many such priceless artefacts were excavated by the German discoverer of Troy, Heinrich Schliemann, who led a series of excavations from 1874. 1 visited the house – now a hotel – in which he lived in Mycenae and was honoured to sign the Distinguished Visitors Book in the name of NADAS!

Like Epidaurus, which is still being excavated by Greek archaeologists with a grant of £2m from the European Union, similarly funded workers were busily engaged in excavating several areas of the huge site, some 170 years after the first dig.

Today one enters the site (on payment of 1500 drachma, about £3 ) through the Lion Gate, a colossal monolithic limestone tympanum flanked by two headless lionesses of impressive dimensions. On the right are the concentric stone circles that form the Royal Tombs in which

Schliemann found no less than nineteen skeletons. After traversing a large ramp there is an exhausting and rough climb – no English Heritage type path

or handrail – to the summit (912ft ) the early part of the way bordered by walls made up of blocks of stone that weigh as much as 20 tons and are 26ft wide in places. They are all so accurately cut that no mortar was needed The view from the Acropolis and the remains of the Royal Palace was fantastic in all directions, and one realised that it must have been impregnable to attackers Fortunately, water was not too much of a problem for the residents of the Royal palace, as there was a ‘secret’ source and cistern in the eastern fortress if one was prepared -I was not – to descend ninety nine steps

in total darkness.

On the way back to the modern village I came to a true masterpiece, the so called treasure of Atreus, thought to have been the tomb of Agamemnon, dating from c.1300 BC. Entrance is gained through the `dromos’, a long stone tunnel cut deep in the hillside. The `tholos’. or circular interior, is reached through an impressive portal with a lintel of enormous stone blocks one of which has been estimated at 120 tons. The vault itself is an amazing beehive structure built of thirty three courses of ashlar masonry (again no mortar ) reaching a height of 76ft. To me, it proved to be one of the wonders of the ancient world and, without doubt, a landmark in the history of European architecture.


Our member Derek Batten writes that life at Castle Mount is not all plain sailing. You may remember that Derek now lives in Northamptonshire and bought this 800 year old Norman castle with the intention of excavating it. At present the castle is covered with a great many shrubs and trees – 130 trees in all – and Derek wants to cut down 10 sycamore trees before they damage the 11 metre high ramparts any further. In this he is backed by English Heritage. The Villagers are fighting to protect the trees, fearing that they may all be cut down, and led by the chairman of Grafton Regis parish meeting they have sent a 60-signature petition to the planners. Derek hopes the Time Team may get interested in the Castle. Would this turn all the village into keen archaeologists?


The methods used to calculate age from skeletal and dental remains have recently been challenged by scientists working at Leeds and Bradford Universities. They think that we have systematically underestimated age at death. This may explain why there is a great difference between scientific and documentary evidence of age. For instance analysis of skeletons suggested that life expectancy in Ancient Rome was less than 50, while documentary evidence shows that lots of Romans lived to be 70 or more If these new ideas are correct, it will lead to a radical revision of ideas about health and welfare in the past. (Times 11.3.1999 )


The Museum of London Archaeology Service is undertaking a cemetery excavation in Spitalfields running through to September, and has asked local societies to form a reserve of volunteers. The work falls into two categories – excavation and other. Excavation of the burials requires helpers who are competent in this highly specialised task. To an extent you will be working without too close supervision so this is not a task for beginners, nor is it a training dig. Other tasks include manning the viewing gallery and helping to explain the excavation to visitors and finds processing. Instruction will of course be given. If you are interested in volunteering for this work please contact Vikki O’Connor (0181-361 1350) who will forward your name to MoLAS_ STOP-PRESS

Archaeologists working at the Spitalfield site have just made a rare find – a Roman coffin made of lead – indicating a very high-ranking, wealthy occupant. The Roman Mayor of London?


Barnet & District Local History Society

Wednesday 14 April, 8pm, Wesley Hall, Stapylton Rd, Barnet `City Churches’ – Paul Taylor

Visitors – small donation.

Finchley Society

Thursday 29 April, 8pm, Drawing Room, Avenue House ‘Countryside & Conservation’ – Lisa Stringer, LB Barnet (Membership Sec: Lynn Bresler 0181 446 6249)

Camden History Society

Thursday 22 April, 7.30pm, Heath Branch Library, Keats Grove,Hampstead NW3 ‘Keat’s Triangle.

Willesden Society

Wednesday 21 April, 8pm, Rising Sun Pub, Harlesden Rd.,Willesden Green NW10 `Kensal Rise Onwards’ by Ted Brooks

Hornsey Historical Society

Wednesday 14 April, 8.00pm, Union Church Hall, Ferme Park Rd., N8 ‘London’s Country Houses’ by Caroline Knight