Volume 6 : 1995 – 1999


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No. 317                                                             AUGUST 1997                                 Edited by Peter Pickering


Saturday 16 August Visiting Hertfordshire with Bill Bass and Vikki O’Connor.

Moats, mills, lock-ups – and we trust, no hiccups. Visiting Reed, Anstey, Buntingford, Cottered, Cromer & Pirford. Booking form within. (Extra pick-up point).

September 4th to 7th Weekend in York

Friday 26th September Thomas Coram Foundation, WC1, and a morning walk with Mary O’Connell. (Please add this to your programme card)


Alec Goldsmith is leaving our Society with regret. His initiation into HADAS was a very, very wet weekend on Hadrian’s Wall in 1974. But that did not deter him, and since then he rarely missed an outing or lecture. Some ill-health (and age) overtook him a year or so ago and he has decided to move to Dorchester to be nearer his sister. We miss him, and wish him well in his new home.

HADAS FIELDWORK – Back on the Heath

Our work on the Anglo-Saxon ditch on Hampstead Heath continues. We have completed the `—contour survey within the Kenwood area and are now using our new resistivity meter on an area where the ditch has disappeared, in order to trace its previous course.

Our main task then will be to produce an interim report on the above work supplemented by descriptions of the state of the ditch, photographs/drawings, locations of its boundary stones, and details of trees and vegetation alongside and within it. This latter task will require expert experience as the excavation team cannot tell a bramble from a blackthorn or a beech from a birch. Our contact at the Suburb weekend will be helpful, but are there any experts amongst our membership?

Our presence on the heath has provoked curiosity (and concern!) but much interest (and relief!) is shown when our purpose is explained. It would be helpful if more members could attend Sunday mornings to help on the publicity side if not on the survey side.

If you are interested please contact Brian Wrigley (959 5982) or Roy Walker (361 1350) for details of the days we are active.


An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms by C Arnold, has recently been fully revised – paperback £17.99, hardback £50.00.


Site Watching (1)                                                                                         by Tessa Smith

If you are walking in any of these areas please take a lively archaeological interest and report any “goings on”

Planning applications have been received regarding:-

Copthall Stadium to be demolished and a multi-sports stadium erected. Pottery and evidence of a possible Roman road have been found nearby by HADAS. English Heritage say that it warrants further consideration.

Brockley Hill Farm – west of Watling Street Extensions to the farm are planned to become a crematorium. Although it is out of our borough, we are still concerned as it is in the areas of the Roman potteries.

The Corner House – Stone Grove – Edgware. The Museum of London are watching this site, where extensions to the public house are being built, alongside Watling Street

Land between Belmont Riding Stables and St. Vincents – The Ridgeway NW7. Robert Whytehead of English Heritage considers that this application warrants further consideration as a mediaeval hamlet stood on the ridgeway – also, prehistoric finds have been made at Mill Hill School.

SITE WATCHING (2)                                                                                                              Bill Bass

HADAS will be observing the ground clearance and foundation trenches of a site at the ex ‘Wheels’ Parking Lot, Potters Lane, Barnet (junction of Potters Lane and the Great North Road). This is due to take place during the middle of August; would any volunteers contact me on 0181­449 0165.

Development of a site on land at the northern end of Barnet Gate Lane has been given a waiver of archaeological assessment/evaluation by English Heritage as it is unlikely to affect any archaeology in this area (none is known).

The vast Aldenham Works, latterly used to overhaul Routemaster buses has been demolished to make way for a business park. It was originally built to service the proposed tube extension from Edgware to Bushey Heath. When this was abandoned it was adapted for aircraft production especially Halifax bombers during the war, the overhead traverser cranes being particularly useful in their assembly. Used as a bus depot from 1955 it was closed in 1986.


Those who watched BBC1’s Omnibus on 7th July would have noticed the scenes filmed at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Weekend. We were there too – selling HADAS books. Our stall, initially, was not under cover but the rain held off until later in the day after we had moved into a nearby tented vacancy. Membership forms were distributed to those who showed interest in the Society’s activities, and a useful contact was made with the secretary of a Hampstead Heath ecology group who can advise us on the horticultural aspects of our ongoing Saxon ditch survey. Our books sales for the one day we were there totalled £60.60, and our presence resulted in a meeting with a local bookshop proprietor who subsequently purchased a selection of publications for resale in his Temple Fortune shop. In all, a worthwhile day, even though we just missed appearing on BBC1 – possibly a blessing! Many thanks go to Arthur Till for transporting our display to and from the Suburb and to Andy Simpson and Vikki O’Connor for manning the stall


The latest volume of Hertfordshire Archaeology is now published. Copies are available from the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust, The Seed Warehouse, Maidenhead Yard, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PX. Cost 215.00, plus p&p £1.80.


This was a most interesting week, if at times a little strenuous – we never stopped at one hotel more than two nights! Our round trip started from Maastricht in the south-east, via Leiden (or should I spell it Leyden?) near the coast clockwise northwards to Assen then south to Nijmegen, and Leendert P Louwe Koolimans, our guide, was assiduous in explaining the varying geology of the areas we passed through. This gave a very good picture of the millennia-long contest between dry land and water partly from natural forces and partly from human activities; this has left many areas of past occupation in wet environments so that organic remains are preserved.

A good example of this is the terp, a man made mound for dwelling and cultivation (equals Dutch dorp, village – and English thorpe?). There are many of these in Friesland and Gronigen in the north. Terpen seem to have originated (6th or 5th centuries BC) by the building up of land in areas periodically inundated, and quite often animal dung was used in quantity which has made a useful preservative for archaeology! Examples go from Middle and Late Iron Age to the middle and late Middle Ages, and can show the distribution of dwellings/farms, and the laying out in plots of agricultural land. much impressive archaeological evidence of ancient land use patterns we were also told about at Weert and Someren in the south, where since 1990 large areas of the landscape (formerly mediaeval arable lands) have been surveyed by test excavations, yielding evidence of Early Iron Age urnfield ‘cemeteries’ and, in the area around, traces of dispersed Iron Age farmsteads – 13 at Weert, some 20 at Someren; and besides prehistory, both sites have traces of continuing occupation through Roman times on to the Middle Ages.

Indeed, we got an overall impression of the lack of any dividing line between ‘prehistoric’ and `Roman’ in the attitude of Dutch archaeologists, who have the evidence of the continuity of the way the native population carried on in the same way during Roman times. Some of us prehistoric enthusiasts were a little put out by the amount of Roman stuff we were shown in the areas of the Roman frontier (Limes was a word much used), but we began to realise the advantage of this non-divisive attitude in finding out the story of local communities. And we certainly got an impression of the local-community interest in archaeology, reflected in work being done by archaeological groups in partnership with local authorities – and at Oss, in the south, we were invited to the start of a dig where the local Mayor operated the mechanical digger

..„) open up the first trench at a site of numerous Bronze Age barrows! We were also welcomed by the mayor at Stein, where a boat Museum contains, in situ, a neolithic gallery grave which was the centre of a settlement of the early Neolithic (Bandkeramik), of which the ground-plans of many houses have been found.

Stone monuments are limited in Holland – there is not much rock about. However, in areas in the north, glacial erratics have been used to construct hunebedden, which are gallery-graves, 2 rows of upright stones with capstones across the top; they date from 3400 to 3000 BC and are related to the Neolithic TRB (Trichterband) culture of Schleswig-Holstein and southern Scandinavia. They have yielded quite a lot of grave goods and offerings (pottery, flint etc.) and burnt bone remains. We saw quite a number of these in our travels.

Another point of community interest was the extent of amateur work we were told about. A particular site we visited was the flint mine at Rijckholt, in south Limburg. Here there is what the Dutch call ‘a hill’ (they realised we should think this an exaggeration!) which has chalk below it with seams of flint – very reminiscent of Grimes’ Graves. Research has gone on here since last “century, and vertical shafts were discovered in the 1960s; however these could only be explored with the help of a group of amateur archaeologists who happened to have mining expertise, and this group tunnelled horizontally into the side of the slope, with the result that now there is a neat

Text Box: On 1st January the Greater London Record Office was renamed London Metropolitan Archives. Owned by the Corporation of London, the Archives now offer a greatly expanded range andconcreted passage, with apertures at the side giving a view along the ancient galleries and of the shafts that have been found. The mining experts were most impressed with the extremely safe and efficient mining techniques of their prehistoric predecessors.

Time and space prevent me from giving details of the many more sites we visited than the above few, but I hope this is enough to demonstrate the interest of this trip.


On a recent week in North Yorkshire with the Royal Archaeological Institute we visited Philip Rahtz’s excavation at St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale. The church is especially famous for a sundial (now hidden from the sun in a porch) with an Anglo-Saxon inscription recording its rebuilding by Orm son of Gomal between 1055 and 1065. Research on the church and area, including topographical and geophysical survey, documentary study, structural analysis and excavation, has been in progress since 1994, on behalf of the Helmsley Archaeological Society and the University of York, with some support from North Yorkshire County Council. Important finds include a piece of lead sheet with an Anglo-Saxon inscription of 8th-early 10th century date, and a tiny (6mm by 3mm) bead or fragment of glass with spiral yellow and white trails – “a very classy piece” according to Professor Rahtz, paralleled only from San Vincenzo in Italy; whether it was imported, or made locally it emphasised the importance of St Gregory’s Minster, very remote though it seems now. On our visit there was a 3m by 3m trench open at the foot of the tower; an empty stone sarcophagus had just been extracted from it, and besides bones (including three skulls which had been found facing east) there was a robber trench, probably of the church which Orm rebuilt, and perhaps traces of glass-making.

Also during the week – which was led by Brian Dix, who talked to HADAS recently about garden archaeology – we saw the Roman camps at Cawthorn, in the middle of a forest; when these camps were partially excavated in the 1920s, they were thought to form practice works – it is certainly odd to find adjacent a coffin-shaped camp enclosing some 2 hectares, a square one immediately to the west overlying its defences, and another to its east – the last one subsequently provided with an annex on its eastern side. But re-appraisal suggests that they were used by a permanent garrison up to about 120 AD. From the other end of the Roman occupation of Britain came the Signal Station on the edge of the cliff within the precincts of Scarborough Castle. Little survives of that, but English Heritage are thinking of constructing a replica nearby.


The British Library has recently published a report of the Newsplan project in the London and South eastern Library Region. Member Ann Kahn has drawn attention to a review of this in a recent number of Refer, the journal of the Library Association, which says “No-one should doubt the importance of Newsplan. Although many libraries have acted to preserve their local newspapers, Newsplan offers a co-operative solution, with cost-sharing opportunities, to some of the problems which local newspapers bring to libraries. It works through a two-stage programme in each region. The first stage is an audit of regional resources and preservation requirements and priorities, carried out with substantial financial support from the British Library. In the second stage, which the London and South Eastern Library Region project has now reached, the region’s libraries co-operate, with continuing support from the British Library, to achieve more preservation of local newspapers at less cost.

This volume provides, for the first time, a view of London and south-east England’s local newspapers as a regional resource and in a national context.  This is an indispensable tool for all local historians and researchers into aspects of local studies and a splendid role model for how reference books should be compiled.”

quality of service. There are some 31 miles of archives, books, maps, prints and photographs including a rich and varied collection of official and deposited London and Middlesex archives. The Archives are open to everyone five days a week (nearest stations Farringdon and Angel). There is access for people with limited mobility and parking bays are available for orange badge holders next to the building.


The latest Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society includes an evaluation of the Roman Road at Brockley Hill. Members may recollect our own field walking and small excavation in that area in 1987. The Museum of London Archaeology Service dug fourteen archaeological evaluation trenches in February 1995 and had a watching brief subsequently. In six of the evaluation trenches adjacent to the modern road a Roman road with a ditch on the west side was found directly below the topsoil. Limited investigation showed that the road had been constructed on a bank of clay and gravel layers, and had undergone periodic maintenance as indicated by a number of successive road gravels and re-cutting of the ditch when it had silted up. Dating evidence confirmed the road was in use into the fourth century, Early Roman pottery was of the type produced at Brockley Hill and the Roman ceramic building material was of fabric types produced in kilns found alongside Roman Watling Street. The most significant find was a Roman folding knife.


Members who went to Boxgrove in July 1995 or heard Simon Parfitt’s lecture last year may be interested to read “Fairweather Eden: Life in Britain Half a Million Years Ago as Revealed by the Excavations at Boxgrove” by Michael Pitts and Mark Roberts (Century, £17.99). A recent review of this in the New Scientist by Paul Bahn includes the following paragraph “Boxgrove’s other major contribution to our knowledge of early humans derives from its evidence for butchery and hunting. Cuts on animal bones were first noticed here in 1986. Gradually archaeologists discovered them on the remains of many more large animals, indicating the systematic and skilful removal of muscle from creatures such as a horse and a rhino. Moreover, any marks of carnivore teeth on the bones occur on top of the cut marks, proving that the humans were there first. Finally, a horse’s shoulder blade displays part of a circular perforation which pathologist Bernard Knight found to be consistent with a blow from a thrown spear these early humans were hunters of large, fit, mature animals. They also carried out the butchery of the carcasses in an unhurried, efficient and cooperative manner.”


Professor Doumas of the University of Athens gave a lecture recently in the Institute of Archaeology on the wall-paintings of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Thera or Santorini. These wall-paintings, in mineral colours, and lacking green, were preserved by a volcanic eruption in the middle of the second millennium BC. They come from private houses – presumably from the wealthiest part of the ancient city – and have a great variety of themes – a frieze of a naval expedition, showing its various ports of call; youths holding fish; women gathering saffron; two youths boxing; a woman in obvious pain from a cut to her toe; flowers of various sorts, aquatic birds, dragonflies, and decorative patterns. The style owed something to Egypt and the near east, but Professor Doumas emphasised the European nature of the art. He interpreted several of the scenes with figures as of initiation into adulthood, since heads seemed to be shaven. It was with sadness that the audience learnt at the end of the lecture that there was no point in rushing straight to Heathrow for a plane to Santorini, since the paintings are not yet on display.

Enfield Archaeological Society’s chairman, Geoffrey Gillam, was apparently ‘trampled in, the rush’ of volunteers offering to assist with their society’s activities. Geoffrey – what’s the secret?!!


It is 100 years since Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and twenty years since HADAS published “Victorian Jubilees”, edited by Ted Sammes, in the year of our present Queen’s Silver , Jubilee. It is evocative to read of the celebrations – church services, dinners, teas, sports, processions (in some places these put off for a couple of days and then spoiled by rain); and of the projects – two parks, a cottage hospital, and the refurbishment of the Campe almshouses in Friern Barnet Lane. Members who do not have a copy of this booklet can get one at the genuine bargain price of £1 including postage and packing (50p at meetings) from Roy Walker (2a Dene Road, N11 1 ES).


The Islington Museum Gallery, 268 Upper Street, N1, has an Exhibition: Your Museum: Present schemes and future dreams’ from 6 – 31 August. The gallery is run by the Islington Museum Trust, an independent charity whose aim is to establish a permanent museum located in the Town Hall, Upper Street, which would house and display their collections. The Trust has three support schemes: the Business Friends; Patrons; Friends of the Museum, and they are currently working on a lottery bid. This exhibition offers the chance to view part of their collection, learn their future plans and visit the proposed site. Opening hours are: Wed – Fri 11am – 5pm; Saturday 11am – 5pm; Sunday 2pm – 4pm, Admission free. —

The Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill, has an exhibition this month entitled “Made in Heaven”; some 400 wedding photographs selected from a unique private collection. The Museum is closed on Fridays and Sunday mornings.


A day-school “Treasures from the Grave: Latest spectacular Discoveries at Colchester and St Albans” is to be held at The Lecture Room, Colchester Castle, Colchester on Saturday 27th September from 11.00 am to 4.45pm. Fee £16 (£12 concessionary) Speakers are Philip Crummy, Director of Excavations, Colchester Archaeological Trust, and Rosalind Nisbett of St Albans Planning and Heritage Department, St Albans District Council. For more details and tickets send to: The Centre for Continuing Education, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, C04 3SQ). (tel 01206 872519). Cheques payable to ‘University of Essex’.


SCOLA (the Standing Conference on London Archaeology) has decided that it would be timely to revisit and expand “The Future of London’s Past”, that seminal document published almost twenty-five years ago. A conference, with Martin Biddle and Peter Addyman among the speakers, is therefore being arranged for Saturday 6th December in the Museum of London. It will cost £7.50 (£6 for members of SCOLA) to include tea and coffee.

This month’s editor is the Assistant Secretary of SCOLA, and if you will send him (P E Pickering, 3 Westbury Road London N12 7NY) a cheque payable to SCOLA he will send you tickets.

(A stamped addressed envelope would be helpful)


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No. 313 Edited by Liz Sagues                                                   APRIL 1997


Tuesday April 8: Lecture: Claude Grahame-White and Hendon Aerodrome, by Bill Firth. Bill is a HADAS member and for many years has fought hard to have some of the Aerodrome’s original                                                                   buildings retained. Flying began at Hendon in 1910, when Claude         Grahame-White purchased the field and established a flying school. Grahame-White, Engand’s first certificated pilot, is one of the unsung pioneers of aviation, and among his innovations were navigation methods which proved, for the time, entirely practical — he advised following railway lines and dropping low to read the station names! Between the wars, he even persuaded the railway companies to paint the stations’ names on their roofs! In 1911 the first official Air Mail was flown from Hendon to Windsor. Come to the lecture and learn more…

Tuesday May 13: Morning tour of the Garrick Club, with Mary O’Connell. 

Tuesday May 13: Annual General Meeting. Attractions beyond the boring business are planned:


Bill Firth’s lecture and the AGM are in the Drawing Room (ground floor) at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, starting at 8pm for 8.30pm. Members can also take the opportunity to visit the HADAS library. 

Saturday June 7: Outing to Chedworth Roman Villa and Cirencester.

September 4 – 7: Weekend in York. We are fully booked for this, with a short waiting list. Members are welcome to add their names to this list if they wish.

News of members

Among the welcome rush of membership renewals was a note from Louise de Launay, widow of Jules, who left Edgware in 1977 and in recent months moved to just outside Canterbury from whence she sends her best wishes to HADAS. We reciprocate with just a tinge of envy as she describes her sur­roundings in glowing terms — the magnolia and fruit trees, nearby river and birdlife…

Helen Gordon is now back home from hospital and recovering after a third fall. She has broken a shoulder, one hip and then the other — there can’t be too many more bones left to break. Seriously, though, we wish her all the very best ‘and hope she will be mobile soon.

Ted Sammes is getting stronger and is taking part in a few local archaeological meetings and events when friends can give him a lift.

Victor Jones is also progressing and can now do his own shopping with the aid of an ingenious three-wheeled support which he can steer and brake. Believe it or not, he has started driving again.

Miss Sheldon (Shelley) moved away several years ago but will be remembered by many members for her happy disposition on nearly all our outings and lectures. She is a great age now but still writes interesting letters to Renata Feldman, sometimes with suggestions for HADAS outings.

Julius Baker, probably our most senior member —in his 90th year — should be in the Guinness Book of Records. He is an energetic participant at lectures and on outings, and is at present on a three-month trip to Africa. He was born in South Africa, and now after many years exile in England he has re­turned to his native continent to see many places he has never visited.

Flying to Johannesburg, he is going on to the Okavango delta and anticipates paddling a boat down the streams. Then it’s on to Chobe, Angola and Botswana. Etopsha, north of Namibia, is a wet area swarming with birds and wild animals. In the desert sands of Namibia and Angola he will see the tallest sand dunes in the world and large canyons second only to the American Grand Canyon. Basutoland and Swaziland are also on his itinerary, then he will go down to the Cape coast where the largest diamond deposits are mined.

We admire his enthusiasm and look forward to his safe return in time for our own archaeological excursions in the summer.

Following in the footsteps of the late Brigid Grafton Green, whose contributions to HADAS and to pre­serving and promoting the history of Hampstead Garden Suburb will be ever remembered, another HADAS member, Ann Saunders, has become chair- man of the Suburb Archive Trust. Harry Cobb, CBE, has taken on the duties of archivist.

The Trust was founded in 1979 to collect and preserve documents and other items relating to the history of the Suburb. Since then it has built up an extensive and valuable collection of material and objects, much of which has been transferred to the Greater London Record Office for professional con­servation, protection and cataloguing. The Trust will retain ownership of, and control over, the material, which will be available either in original form or copy for display on special occasions on the Suburb and elsewhere.

The Archive Trust remains committed to its original task, and invites Suburb residents and oth­ers to contribute, or make available for copying, relevant material. The Trust has a limited budget and gratefully receives gifts of books, etc, connected with the Suburb’s history and architecture.

Enquiries, addressed to The Institute, Central Square, NW11, will receive careful attention.

The great outdoors

There may just still be time to catch the spring exhi­bition at Church Farmhouse Museum, Greyhound Hill, Hendon. “Hidden places and secret spaces in Barnet” is the theme of Our Suburban Countryside, which runs until April 6. Information has been drawn from the surprisingly large number of local organisations with interests in the countryside to provide details of walks, trails, nature reserves, bird-watching and other more esoteric activities such as bat-counting.

Coming next at the museum is The Splendour of Heraldry, a display put together by the North East Middlesex Heraldry Society. If you thought her­aldry concerned only those whose names are in Debrett’s, this exhibition — which takes in pub signs and company logos as well as more formal armorial bearings — should be a revelation. For more details, ring the museum on 0181-203 0130.

Back in order

Numerate members will have spotted that this News­letter and its predecessor do not carry successive numbers. We’ve skipped over No. 312. The reason is — as those same members no doubt also noticed —that two issues appeared last summer with the same number, and we’re now putting the sequence right.

To those members who added a little extra to their fee this year, thank you (on behalf of all).

Our total membership for 96/ 97 passed the 300 mark, and we welcome those who have joined since Christmas — Robert and Eveleen Wright, Pauline Plant and Susan Whitford.

We would very much like to hear from mem­bers pursuing research of any type for, possibly, a new item or short article in the Newsletter, or purely for information should other members be involved in a similar project.

By the way, Andy Simpson’s publication of the cartoon of an irate female, together with a warning about getting your renewals in, appears to have worked! So I’ve hung up the ceremonial sword for another 12 months. On the other hand, if we don’t see a good attendance at lectures, it can always come vs” down again.

Vikki (don’t call me Salome) O’Connor

Newsletter hiccups

Even the impeccably efficient Dorothy Newbury is a victim of printing and other gremlins occasionally. So she offers her apologies to the member whose Newsletter had two blank pages, and another whose envelope failed to contain the promised 1997 pro­gramme card. Anyone suffering similar problems should ring Dorothy (0181-203 0950) and matters will be promptly put right.

A commemorative role …

Wanted: a member with time on his or her hands to update the HADAS publication Blue Plaques in Barnet. A list of the additions has already been made, with details. Some need a black and white picture to accompany the text. If necessary, there is a member who could help with the photography. If you’re interested and don’t have a copy of Blue Plaques, one can be supplied for your guidance. Any­one willing to volunteer should phone Dorothy Newbury on 0181-203 0950.

Janet Faraday

Janet Faraday, a very long-standing member and a regular at lectures, outings and Christmas dinners, died on March 11 at the Royal Free Hospital. Al­though she had been receiving medical treatment for a year or so she entered hospital only a few days before her death. We shall all miss her happy, friendly, helpful disposition. She was a descendant of pioneer electrical engineer Michael Faraday (pictured on the £20 note) and arranged a HADAS visit to the Royal Institution last year in commemo­ration of her illustrious relative.

Sacred sites, ancient on modern

Andy Simpson reports on the February lecture, A History of Hertfordshire

An audience of some 30 members enjoyed a typically entertaining Tony Rook presentation and took the opportunity to browse through some of Tony’s ex­cellent publications. Indeed, these notes are based in part on one of his Nutshell Notebook series — a splendid 50p-worth if ever there was one, covering the salient points of the lecture and illustrated with maps.

Tony, of course, excavated the Roman bath­house now displayed under the Al at Welwyn visited in the past by HADAS — and after describing himself as “archaeology’s foremost fornacator” (a bath-house slave) launched into his lecture, with his motto “entertain, amuse, inform” to the fore. This he certainly did.

For much of its history Hertfordshire was a place that grew things for use elsewhere or provided services for people travelling through. Tony pointed out how radial routes to London cut the county north-south. Moving east-west across it was much harder. County Council meetings used to be held in London as it was the easiest place for everyone to get to!

Until very recently Hertfordshire was entirely agricultural. Earliest occupation had been on the chalk uplands, with the heavy, forested clay low­lands mainly in the south of the county cleared and ploughed only in the Iron Age. London breweries were once supplied by malt grown in the “cham­pagne country” of southern Hertfordshire.

The county’s early occupiers are represented by Britain’s easternmost long barrow, at Royston Therfield Heath, this religious monument of pre-

historic times now surviving on a “sacred site” of the modern age —a golf course. The county also has many ring-ditched barrows, frequently ploughed out. The Iron Age Belgae had a fortified place — a 120-acre plateau fort — at Wheathampstead, where Caesar may have fought Cassivellaunus in 54BC, with a boundary ditch to the north of their territory 100 feet across and 30 feet deep even today. After 43BC the Belgae spread their settlement to the gravel plateaux, represented by Tony’s effort with his Nikon, “2,000 years at f22”, to photograph the Iron

Age Welwyn Garden City (aka Butser). There are 15 Iron Age farms known in Welwyn — as always, Tony remarked, distribution maps plot active ar­chaeologists!

Then came the Romans: “with poor steering gear on their chariots, hence the straight roads”. Most villas were on the light, chalky soils around Verulamium, with parts of the county not cultivated until the Dark Ages. A slide of a reconstructed settlement from that period illustrated the “bio­degradable Saxons” with their timber and thatch leaving little evidence. The 1086 Domesday survey, however, provides a snapshot of late Saxon Hert­fordshire, with an explosion of settlement in the north east of the county, quite empty in Roman times.

The Normans imposed control with castles such as Berkhamsted, while south of St Albans many stretches of forest took over previously cultivated ground. After the Black Death, wages and rent replaced feudal dues. Later, the first-ever toll road was built in Hertfordshire, with Rodwell having the first turnpike stretch. Most roads remained as radial routes. The Reading road was known as the “gout track” as sufferers headed for the healing waters of Bath.

The first canal, the New River, took drinking water—not boats—from Amwell Spring to London in the 17th century. The Grand Union (later Grand Junction) Canal and, from 1838, the London to Bir­mingham Railway, brought the industrial revolu­tion to the west of the county first. The mills and maltings have all now gone or have been converted into desirable commuter homes. The 19th century saw women attain financial independence as straw hat-makers, earning more than their agricultural labourer menfolk. Later Ebenezer Howard sug­gested bringing housing and industry together in Garden Cities such as Letchworth and Welwyn to avoid commuting. Post-war, the Government in­troduced new towns such as Stevenage.

All in all this was a fascinating and enjoyable lecture — Tony certainly did “entertain, amuse, inform”.

Whither archaeology in the 21st century?

Sheila Woodward, HADAS representative on the CBA, reports on a crucial discussion

At the Winter General Meeting of the Council for British Archaeology, held in York on February 2.7, there was a wide-ranging discussion on British ar­chaeology’s future and what the CBA should be doing to publicise its needs. It is difficult to summa­rise such a lengthy and comprehensive debate (a full report will be published by the CBA in due course) but the matters discussed were grouped under five main headings.

National policy and sustainability

There was considerable criticism of lack of co­ordination and consequent variation of standards of facilities, expertise and funding between different areas. Growing archiving problems must also be tackled.

Quality of work being done

Archaeology still lacks adequate status. The growing commercialisation (competitive tendering) can result in excavation by teams with good techni­cal skills but a lack of local knowledge. The increas­ing range of technologies is complicating training. There was also criticism of the lack of monitoring of excavations, and of the whimsicality of Lottery funding!

Attenuation of local government archive services Local government reorganisation has often proved disastrous for archaeology, and the importance of “educating” local councillors was stressed. The future of archaeology in universities

There was some difference of opinion about the content of university archaeology courses as many students do not intend to become practical excavators.

Public participation and communication

These were recognised as increasingly impor­tant and could be valuable assets in improving the status of archaeology.

There was some criticism of the general tone of the debate as being too pessimistic and failing to appreciate the enormous improvements achieved in recent years. The final resolution accepted that criticism.

The wording of the resolution, passed in great haste as time had run out, was amended so often that I cannot transcribe it accurately! However, the gist of it was that, while recognising the large ad­vances made in archaeology in the last 30 years and welcoming the prospects offered by new sources of funding, the Council must press for increased visibility of the subject, draw public attention to threats, refocus the understanding of the needs for studying the subject, and seek to re-establish a common sense of purpose within the discipline.

A window on Victorian attitudes to philanthropy

HADAS member Douglas Morgan has moved south in his study of great stained glass windows. Follow­ing his monograph Windows on Crathie (the Deeside church where Queen Victoria was a frequent wor­shipper), reviewed in the March 1995 Newsletter, comes Great West Window, a study — with fine coloured illustrations — of the Victorian west win­dow in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.

Douglas Morgan explains that the west window had been included in the original Tudor plan for stained glass throughout the chapel, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. But for some reason — and debate still rages over quite what that reason was — work stopped short, and plain glass was inserted instead.

Even when the offer of a 19th century benefac­tor Francis Edmund Stacey, a former Fellow of the college, to complete what had been intended was accepted, realisation of his generosity was no simple or easy matter. There was the question of the initial design, on “a triumphant hymn of praise”, by the respected firm of Clayton and Bell. The Provost and Fellows of King’s found it too modern, incorporating events which post-dated the Bible.

Even the replacement design, on Stacey’s origi­nal favoured theme of the Last Judgement, had its problems— nudity among the condemned souls was disapproved of, and was the Archangel not over­armed? Finally, after revisions, it was approved, but the disputes and delays carried on, particularly as a result of Clayton and Bell’s request to display the window, before installing it in Cambridge, at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.

The detailed story of all this makes intriguing reading, and opens its own window on the complica­tions of Victorian philanthropy — not a million miles away from those which surround today’s Lottery benefactions.

Great West Window is offered to HADAS members at the special price of £2, plus 75p post and packing. Cheques to Arabesque Publications, 12 Wildwood Grove, NW3 71111 (0181-455 3513).Happy birthday, Hampstead’s saviours

April 7 1897 was an important day for local history in North London. It saw the formation of the Hampstead Heath Protection Society (now the Heath and Old Hampstead Society) and marked the begin­ning of a magnificent, continuing effort to protect, preserve and enhance a very special part of North London.

Since that day the society has extended its pro­tective role beyond the boundaries of the Heath —now four times its original area, largely thanks to the society — to cover Hampstead Town (“Village” is a description applied by newcomers!) and has dedi­cated enormous effort to save the area from sacrifice to the god car, to fight ugly and unneeded develop­ment, to support useful shops, to restore appropriate street furniture and generally to keep Hampstead and the Heath the way everyone loves them.

A programme of events is under way to celebrate the birthday, with highlights including exhibitions at Burgh House (now on) and Kenwood (opening in June), lectures and concerts. And in September the restoration of the Chalybeate Well in Well Walk— one of the famous wells of Hampstead, which brought the Town its initial repute — will be marked by a ceremony in honour of Christopher Wade, Hampstead’s best-known local historian, founder with his late wife Diana of Hampstead Museum, and for many years a HADAS member.

The centenary is being marked, too, by pub­lication of a book, A Constant Vigil, which features selections from 100 years of the society’s annual reports, a fascinating insight into the issues which have made the headlines in Hampstead. Proceeds from sales of the book will help the society continue its work. Copies cost £9.95 from Burgh House or local bookshops.

There was industrial activity on Hampstead Heath after mesolithic man’s tool-making —brick-making in the 19th century. In this article, reproduced from the Heath and Old Hampstead Society’s Newsletter, geologist Eric Robinson explains where and why.

A source of bricks for building the terraces

It. may be difficult to believe that between 1866 and the end of the century there was an extensive brickfield on the west side of the Heath, stretching from the Viaduct down the valley of the Hampstead Ponds. It was an enterprise generated by Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson to allow John Culverhouse, a local builder, to make the bricks needed for the extended terraces of the Village.

Geologically, the ground of the brickfield was underlain by London Clay overlain by silts and clays of the Claygate Beds. Together they make an excel­lent blend of materials for brick-making. When fresh and unweathered, London Clay is rich in iron pyrites (sulphide) which changes to sulphate on exposure to air. Sulphate takes the form of crystals of gypsum—liable to cause bricks to burst when they are fired in a kiln.

On the Heath, the clay was dug by hand, and cut from terraces notching the hillslopes below the Viaduct. It was then left to be washed by rain to flush out the gypsum. Then it could be blended with the fine silts of the Claygate Beds together with the brickearth (wind-blown silt from the top surface of the Heath).

Many of the bricks were fired in very simple kilns. if the wind was in the east, the reek of sulphur smoke must have hung heavily over Hampstead.

The product was a yellowish stock brick. The outer bricks of the kiln often fused together to form dis­torted blocks with glazed surfaces which we often see in garden walls in Hampstead.A well-known photograph of 1880 makes it clear that clay was cut over both sides of the valley (really the headwaters of the River Fleet) at the height of the workings. It would be difficult to identify the area in the present landscape. The benches and terraces have been levelled; the football field occupies the uppermost level. Elsewhere, the thick and tangled vegetation of the valley above the Mixed Bathing Pond and again towards the Vale of Health may indicate deep disturbance of the ground. Like the sand-pits of Sandy Heath and the Spaniards Road, the disappearance of the brickfield is evidence of the speed with which nature colonises open space and broken ground. Ecologically, this is an area of the Heath given over to invasive species.

Neighbourly happenings

· Next lecture in the Barnet and District Local History Society programme is Sir John Soane and His Collection, by Helen Dorey. The amazing “cabinet of curiosities” put together by Sir John, architect of the Bank of England and other notable buildings, is preserved for the nation by the Act of Parliament he instigated, and can be seen at his home in Lincoln’s Inn Fields — one of the most fascinating small museums in London. The lecture is in the Wyburn Room, Wesley Hall, Staplyton Road, Barnet, at 7.45 for 8pm.

· Enfield Archaeological Society holds its AGM on April 18, with reports of fieldwork and research following the business. The meeting is at Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield, 8pm. Visitors are asked to contribute 50p.

· Industrial Archaeology, described by John Boyes, will be the subject of the Finchley Society’s April meeting, on the 24th. The location is the same as for HADAS meetings — the Drawing Room at Avenue House — and the start time is 7.45pm.

Calling all juniors

Junior members are invited by the British Museum to attend its Archaeological Open Day on April 23. The subject is Archaeology in the Near East, and the day which is free — is intended for sixth formers and interested year 11 students. It offers an intro­duction to the archaeology of Mesopotamia and Western Asia in general. There will be lectures, workshops and gallery visits, plus presentations by universities offering degree courses in Near Eastern archaeology. For tickets, apply to the British Museum Education Service, London WC1B 3LA (0171-323 8511/8854).

What the papers say…

“Archaeologists have located the site of the ‘forgot­ten battle of 1066.” The battle for London, almost three months after William’s victory at Hastings, is thought to have been fought just within the walls of the Roman city, at the junction of Cheapside and the Folkmoot, a meeting place long buried under the northern edge of St Paul’s Cathedral. (Sunday Times)

“The fossilised skeleton of an carnivorous amphib­ian dating from the Triassic Period has been hailed by palaeontologists as one of the most significant finds in Australia this century.” The fossil, of a fearsome creature more than 6ft long and equipped with enormous teeth, has been dated at 220 million years old, about 10 million years older than the earli­est dinosaur. (Daily Telegraph)

“The Mildenhall treasure, a magnificent hoard of Roman silver plate supposedly dug up 50 years ago in East Anglia, may have been illegally imported by American troops immediately afterthe second world war.” Dr Paul Ashbee, formerly a lecturer in arch­aeology at the University of East Anglia, suggests it may have been looted by American troops in Europe, flown to the Mildenhall airbase, passed to a local antiquities dealer and declared to the authorities only under pressure, the dealer claiming to have dug it up locally. Dr Ashbee claims British Museum curators knew of the treasure’s doubtful provenance, but were unable to question it to for fear of instigating a diplo­matic row and risking their jobs. (Sunday Times)

“Two-thousand-year old graves containing daggers and long swords may be proof that the legendary women warriors, the Amazons, existed on the Russian steppes.” The archaeologists’ find fits with the location and date of Herodotus’s identification of the Amazons. (The Independent)

Notice of AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the society will be held at 8.30pm on Tuesday May 13, 1997 at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3. Coffee will be available from 8pm.

Nominations for officers and members of the committee must be submitted to me on the nomination form below, to reach me no later than May 6, 1997. The consent of your nominee(s) must be obtained in writing before submitting their name(s).

Resolutions submitted by members for consideration at the AGM must be received by me not later than April 22, 1997.

The ‘traitor’ who found sanctuary in Mill Hill

HADAS is grateful to the Mill Hill Historical Society for permission to publish this article, which appeared in one of its recent newsletters, It concerns one of the area’s earliest links with America — though not the very first, which was through the friendship of botanist Peter Collinson with Benjamin Franklin and another botanist, John Bartram, like Franklin a resident of Philadelphia.

When the War of Independence broke out in 1775 three brothers who held large landed estates in York County, Pennsylvania, sided with the loyalists, sup­porting the British. When a year later independence was achieved they found themselves held to be traitors. All had their property confiscated. William Rankin, a colonel, was arrested and imprisoned in York jail, from which he escaped and fled to Eng­land, as did his other brother.

A few weeks before the Declaration of Inde­pendence in 1776 the third brother, James Rankin, aged 45, had been elected to the Pennsylvania As­sembly. Now he was accused of misrepresenting and insulting the Whig Committee of York County. Though he is said to have confessed, asked forgive­ness, and promised to behave as a good citizen, he too was deprived of his property and fled to New York. There he served as chairman of the Board of Refugees which dealt with the large numbers then emigrating from America to Canada and to this country.

When James Rankin himself crossed to England we do not know, but in 1787 he came to live in Mill Hill. Perhaps he had met his neighbour Michael Collinson, Peter’s son, who is said to have strongly condemned the “unnatural ingratitude of America”. Despite his losses he must still have been a man of means, for he purchased the substan­tial residence of Littleberries on the Ridgeway with the neighbouring house of Jeannettes, with a total estate of 22 acres. He would seem to have let Littleberries soon afterwards to Thomas Kerr, while he lived with his wife Ann in Jeannettes.

For the year 1793 Rankin took the office of an Overseer of the Poor for Hendon and it is interesting to note that in that year £3 18s Vzd was spent on repairing the windows, roof, floors and plaster of the almshouses at the top of Milespit Hill.

While James Rankin was in Mill Hill a small part of his estate in America was restored to a son and daughter, and it is said that the British Government compensated the brothers for their losses. James Rankin died in 1803, aged 72, but his widow continued to live in Jeannettes for another 27 years, dying there at the age of 83 in 1830. They were both buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Hendon.

• Mill Hill Historical Society member Wendy Davis has produced a poster illustrating the door­ways of all the listed buildings in Mill Hill. Copies are available from her at 41 Victoria Road, NW7 4BA (0181-959 7126) for £3.90 plus postage.


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


No. 290 MAY 1995                     EDITED BY ANN KAHN
REMEMBER: meetings venue for 1995 – Stephenson Room (1st floor)
Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3, starting at 8pm for 8.30pm.
Tuesday May 2 – 8pm  for 8.30pm, HADAS Annual General Meeting
After the meeting Vice President Ted Sammes, FSA will give a talk with slides on “Windmills”. (Members with photographs of HADAS outings or digs over the past year could bring them for others to see before the meeting).
Tuesday May 15. Evening Tour and Supper at the House of Commons with John Marshall, M.P.
Tickets enclosed with this Newsletter. Please bring the ticket with you entrance by ticket only.
Saturday June 17. Outing – Malmesbury, Yatesbury and Avebury
with Micky Cohen and Micky Watkins
Saturday July 15. Outing – Colchester with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward Saturday August 19. Outing – Silchester with Bill Bass and Vicki O’Connor
We are looking forward to our first outing of the year which will be on Saturday 17th June. Our annual programme entitles it as “Malmesbury and Compton Bassett” but we learnt from the excellent lecture in March that the Institute of Archaeology dig is now at YATESBURY (a mile or so from Compton Bassett).
On 17th June we will visit Yatesbury first, where one of the archaeological teams will explain the forthcoming excavation of the village site. He will then accompany us to Avebury where he will give us a guided tour explaining new interpretations. In the afternoon we visit Malmesbury to see the ancient Abbey and town. The countryside is lovely and we are sure you will enjoy this outing. (Application forms will be with the June Newsletter).
THE HOME FRONT IN BARNET IN WORLD WAR II: an exhibition at Church Farm Museum
(3 May – 3 September 1995) Gerrard Roots
The Church Farm’s exhibition – with sections on the Home Guard, the emergency services, rationing, ‘make do and mend’, schools, industry, entertainment etc., and with a reconstructed kitchen and Anderson shelter – will show how people in our area coped with day-to-day effect of ‘the war to save democracy’.
A pair of satin, chisel-toed backless gentlemen’s slippers, known as mules, fetched nearly £14, 375. 00 at auction recently. They were highly fashionable in the 17thc but only en extremely wealthy person could have afforded them,
(Daily Mail 17.2.1995. Extract).
From its title “Excavation at Folly Lane, St Albans”, combined with the information that this was a pre-development evaluation of an allotment site to see whether or not any of the well-known local Roman and Late Iron Age remains extended to it, the lecture by Simon West could have been boringly negative. But in fact,of course, it was fascinating, as the dig itself must have been to those engaged on it. What was revealed was a most important and informative native British mortuary site dating from 30-50 AD of a local dignitary (warrior, chief, king?).
Simon’s down-to-earth, factual account took us through a survey of the area, an account of the techniques used, including ground-probing radar and a kite-flown aerial camera (which did not seem to arouse much enthusiasm amongst camera-owning members!), and the progress of interpretation as digging went on. After an Iron Age ditch with some burials, the large rectangular feature began to reveal itself and not surprisingly was first thought to be a Roman fort. Then, however, there were discovered a rectangular palisade ditch within the large enclosure, and within that a cremation burial beside a pit in which were (fortunately surviving) signs and remains of ground beams of a wooden mortuary building. This appeared to have been deliberately destroyed, and there were some postholes around which possibly were revetting for a mound over the demolished structure.
Most of the grave goods had been subject to burning, and it seems that, after a ‘lying in state’ in the wooden building, the body had been taken to a funeral pyre, with goods, and then interred with them. These included a quantity of silver which had been reduced by burning to ‘droplet’ form, and other metal artefacts including horse harness and a chainmail coat. The pottery (?remains of funeral feast) mostly dated to 30-50 AD.
It seems that after the cremation and interment, the mortuary building was destroyed, and possibly a mound built over but the site continued to be respected as later burials in the area indicate, and, as Simon put it, “the Romans came, recognised this site as important, and then we get a temple”, the evidence for which was found.
From the available evidence, a reconstruction was made of the probable form of the wooden mortuary building, and comparisons with other sites in the UK and Europe have shown very similar reconstructions independently made. The uniqueness of this site, however, is in its being the largest enclosure round a mortuary building known in Britain.
The evidence of human activity on site runs from Late Neolithic and Bronze Age flints to a Home Guard gun-pit of 1940 – so it would have been worth the investigation even without the mortuary discovery; but its great importance is without doubt the light it throws on pre-Roman native (Celtic? Belgic?) culture of a period in Britain which often seems to suffer from being a kind of no-man’s-land between the archaeological sub-disciplines of Iron Age prehistory on the one hand and Roman history on the other. It gives us a picture so different from that of Caesar and other historians, of the Ancient British Europhobes of their day, bodies painted with true-blue woad, shaking their spears in defiance of interference with British sovereignty by some European political union
LAMAS Conference Bill Bass
This was the 32nd Annual Conference of London Archaeologists, held at the Museum of London 18/3/95. There were nine speakers on recent archaeology in London.
Those members who attended the HADAS lecture on Compton Basset would have seen a preview of the exhibition boards which farmed our stand at the conference. Themes this year consisted of research, site watching, forthcoming digs, also publicising of the societies lecture, outing and newsletter programme.
First lecture was by Mark Birley of MoLAS who spoke about a site at Cranfield Lane, Hillingdon. Here the plan of a mid Neolithic structure was recovered, this rare find measured 8 x 6.5m with associated pits (3), worn flint artifacts and pottery dating from 4000-3200. A reinforced post line may
have formed a second structure. Nearby evidence existed of a Bronze-age settlement with four circular huts, cooking pit, grain storage buildings and Deverel-Rimbury pottery. The settlements were surrounded by a pattern of field systems, later, differences such as the use of wells rather than sumps and much more use of pottery signalled changes, the field systems began to break down. In the 3rd and 4thC there was Romano-British occupation of a stock enclosure.
Phil Andrews (Wessex Archaeology) dealt with two areas: Prospect Park, Middlx, and Hurst Park, Surrey. The former, north of Heathrow had Neolithic slots, hollows, post-holes and Grooved ware pottery, perhaps associated with a possible long-barrow ditch. The Bronze-age reached here too, as seen by cremations and buildings. Later there are remains of Saxon grubenhauser and halls, one maybe with an apsed end.
Mark Roberts (Oxford Unit) carried out an evaluation at Harefield Road, Uxbridge finding middle Bronze-age ditches and post-holes. This lead to a full excavation
which revealed many more post-holes, so many in fact it was impossible to discern any pattern to them. Together with Iron-age and Roman period material there may have been a boundary bordering the settlement for perhaps a thousand years.
Over at Stratford the Jubilee Line Extension Project has been keeping archaeologists busy. David Wilkinson spoke on Stratford Market Depot, West Ham, this was an excavation on land previously occupied by extensive railway sidings and a fruit & veg market.
Digging has defined an Iron-age and Roman settlement which covers at least one hectare (21/2 acres) on the east bank of Channelsea River. Pits, ditches, gullies and burials were found, a nearby building was dated to approx mid Iron-age by pottery found in the pits. An unusual feature turned out
to be the skeleton of a horse, an adult in good condition. It appeared to have been laid neatly into a pit which was too small, its head and neck were ‘folded’ across its body.
A human burial also Iron-age was found, or rather the legs, the rest of its torso disappearing into the baulk. It was decided to not lift this burial and to leave it for any future work.
Roman occupation directly over the Iron-age settlement was uncovered in a 10 x 8m trench, showing perhaps continuation through the conquest period. Here they revealed a second horse burial, a dog, also an infant burial. This settlement seemed open; apparently with no enclosures. Late Roman plough soil had damaged layers of earlier (Roman) occupation, pottery dated from the 1st to 4thC, the 3rd century being poorly represented. Again a dense concentration of pits, post-hole structures and a system of ditches were recorded; relationship of the ditch system to the settlement is not clear.
Our lecturer asked the question: why bury a whole horse and dog ?. Are these animals associated with a deity for ritual or religious purposes, their deliberate deposition appears to indicate such a direction.The Iron-age occupation maybe connected with the Aylesford-Swarling tradition, burial practice for the Iron-age in general is not clearly known, therefore this site could be important.
Ken MacGowan (Newham Museum Service) discussed excavations at Stratford Langthorn Abbey, this site is almost adjacent to the above location and was dug for the same reason.
The Abbey is thought to have been built by Monks of the Savigniacs – a reformed version of the Benedictine Order, it then came under Cistercian influence. Excavations partly uncovered walls of the Abbey’s eastern end together with its northern transept.
Fountains Abbey (North Yorks) was used as an example to show the layout of the eastern end; how chapels and a crosswing had been added over the years.
The plan revealed at Stratford appeared very similar, with five bays and a lady chapel. Post-holes under the nave indic -ated a possible wooden predecessor. Approx 325 burials were in coffins others included shroud, stone, and lead types. Ash burials may have been a sign of piety. An extension had been added to the northern transept, a ditch to the north of this dissected the graveyard possibly being a division of lay brothers and monks. Another area may have contained parishion -ers as there were adult and child burials, also an outlying chapel to the north could have Cistercian origins.
Peter Rowsome of MOLAS introduced us to the work so far undertaken at No.1 Poultry, City of London. A pre-excavation evaluation accessed by four construction shafts had revealed 1st century timber buildings with clay buildings above and with masonry ones above them – all Roman. Roman, Anglo-Saxon and the medieval periods are preserved in up to 4 metres of occupation sequences. In one shaft, the via decumana running from the Basilica across the Walbrook was located associated with a wooden drain dated to 244-288 AD. 1st century AD metalwork included a huge oil lamp (one of only 6 known) complete with suspension chains.
The main excavation will commence in July beneath the ground floor slab of the new building but already two significant structures have been located in the first phase at this important site. The foundations of St. Benet Sherehog, dating from the mid-llth century and destroyed in the Great Fire, survived to over 2 metres in height and show the original church to have been a single-cell structure with re-used ragstone and Roman tile with Saxon long-and-short work. This was enlarged in the late 15th century. Following the Great Fire the site was used as a burial ground (until the mid-19th century). The second structure, located at the junction of Bucklesbury and Cheapside, was the ‘Great Conduit’. This was a castellated/vaulted cistern built 1236-1280, still surviving intact beneath the street. Originally it had been gravity fed from the Tyburn some 3 km away. On special occasions this early source of fresh water was said to have run with wine. It had fallen into disuse by the 17th century but it has now been preserved beneath Cheapside for future inspection.
Aerial surveys and excavations by Colin Martin of the Scottish History Department of St. Andrews University have revealed rich and some unexpected Roman military remains: permanent structures such as great walls, roads and forts as well as traces of temporary camps and of deliberate scorched earth desolation. Two different Roman strategies could be discerned. The first was associated with Agricola, whose policy from the outset was to grip the terrain in a complex network of roads and forts. Within this web, Rome could make effective use of her most deadly weapon – literacy – to control the land. The Roman army, with its formidable skills in engineering and other civil crafts, could support itself within its operational areas. So towards the the end of the first century AD, the Romans husbanded local resources rather than destroying them. Only at Mons Gropius was it necessary to deploy the iron fist in the purple glove.
A second strategy was deployed a century later. In 207 AD the emperor Septimius Severus, with his son Caracalla, conducted a series of massive scorched earth invasions, curtailed only by his death in York. Vast armies, up to 50,000 strong, campaigned through what became Perth and the kingdom of Fife, the most fertile areas of eastern Scotland. Their strategy can only have been ethnic cleansing, systematic destruction of agriculture and genocide by famine. (The Times 3 April 1995. Extract)
Wooden rails, dating probably from the mid-18th century, have been found at Bersham, near Wrexham. The railway, known as a wagonway because it provided a guided path for wooden wagons bringing coal and iron ore to the blast furnace at Bersham, survives for 135ft. in the form of carbonised timber tracks and sleepers. The most striking feature is a set of primitive points, the mechanism has not survived. (Source: Current Archaeology 141:332-335.
(The Times, 17 April 1996 Extract)
THE HADLEY HERMITS: The hunt continues Pamela Taylor
It is always a pleasure to chase up Jenny Cobban’s references, not least because they lead to such enjoyable places.
In the March Newsletter she reported on a pre-1141 deed from Geoffrey de Mandeville notifying his exchange of tithes which his foundation at Hurley Priory had been receiving from Edmonton, Enfield and South Mimms for 100s in rents. The income was returned to the churches concerned for the support of their priests, and any surplus was to go towards providing food and clothing for the brothers at Hadley living according to rule.
She is absolutely right that the significance of this document for Hadley’s history had never been properly appreciated, but that its existence was known. Her source, the Rev F.T. Wethered, published an English version in his St Mary’s Hurley in the Middle Ages in 1898, a book based on a group of documents at Westminster Abbey (of which Hurley became a cell), whose apparently narrow focus may have prevented a wide circulation. Another version of the deed had, however, long been known. Dugdale in his great Monasticon copied a version from a Walden Abbey cartulary, now BL Harleian MS 3697, in the 17thc, and he in turn was copied by the author of the chapter on Hadley in the Victoria County History of Middlesex (VCH) vol.5 published 1976. Dugdale’s version differed in several respects from Wethered’s, including the omission of South Mimms from the affected churches.
I therefore pursued the originals in the British Library and Westminster Abbey, with interesting results. The Westminster Abbey deed (WAM 2182, Wethered’s no. 8) is an original deed, which therefore makes it more reliable than any cartulary copy. The Walden Cartulary version in the BL turns out in any case to be quite a poor version: it not only omits South Mimms but also makes several grammatical errors. There is one mistake which Dugdale had automatically corrected but which, until I had also been to Westminster, had me and Jenny a little concerned: the brothers at Hadley were described as coming rather than living – venientibus for viventibus. Dugdale and Wethered were both considerably better copyists than the Waldlen monk.
A complete Latin copy of WAM 2182 as well as a transcript of the relevant part of the BL cartulary, are now at the Local Studies and Archives. For those who are interested, the key passage in WAM 2182 reads ‘et de reliquo fratibus de Adlega canonice viventibus victum inveniendum et vestitium’.
The actual truth behind the words remains obscure. One does not have to be very cynical to doubt if the three churches would ever have found a surplus to transfer to Hadley. Geoffrey de Mandeville too may have been disingenuous since the churches were in any case soon reappropriated, this time to his more recent foundation at Walden. Hadley thereafter belonged to Walden, and although it may have remained a cell, the brothers were presumably assimilated. The interest of this document, however, is to show that there were brothers living by a rule at Hadley before it passed to Walden. Geoffrey’s foundation charter to Walden, found in the same cartulary and also in Dugdale, VCH Essex, and our file at Local History and Archives, includes the grant of the hermitage (heremitagium) at Hadley but does not mention its occupants. There is one other tantalising reference in another BL manuscript, Cotton Vespasian E vi, f 26, which contains copies from Walden’s Foundation Book and states that Geoffrey gave to Walden ‘the place of Hadley built by Otuel’ (correctly transcribed in Cass, Monken Hadley, p.37: ‘locum etiam de Hadleia ab Otuela construct’ cum suss pertinentiis contulit.’) Do we have here the name of the original hermit?
As Jenny remarked, a tighter chronology would be helpful. The two chronicles which place Walden’s foundation in 1136 also refer to Geoffrey as Earl of Essex, which was only the case from 1140 until his death in 1144. WAM 2182 has only been dated pre 1141.
The hunt is far from over.
The Department of National Heritage has launched a “Defence of Britain” project, which aims to map and catalogue the surviving structures of the thousands of concrete pillboxes, defensive ditches, airfields and gun emplacements built during WWII. Many have already gone or are disappearing. Amateur archaeologists, including the Fortress Study Group, have been enlisted to survey sites in the field; while English Heritage is supporting a complementary programme of documentary research on 20th century defences.
John Heins, field co-ordinator of the survey, says the Hadrian’s Wall of the 20th century is the line across the South West from Seaton on the Devon coast to Bridgewater in Somerset, where about 280 pillboxes survive, with machinegun emplacements every few hundred yards. One of the big questions is how and why Britain’s defensive strategy changed towards the end of 1940, from static lines of pillboxes to a more fluid strategy in which invaders would be delayed by coastal defences and then engaged by a mobile field army. (Contact: Jim Earle, Imperial War Museum, Duxford Airfield, Cambridge CB2 4QR)
(The Times, 17 April 1995. Extract)
JOHN KEATS BICENTENARY CELEBRATIONS – The following may be of interest —
8  April – 25 June. “Keats in Hampstead” exhibition. Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT
Wednesday 14 June. 3pm “Tea and Comfortable Advice”. A taste of food of the period and a talk by an Historic Food Consultant.
Heath Branch Library, Keats Grove, NW3
Please bring cup, saucer, plate and spoon (of the period if possible) Contact: Mrs. Liz Smith, BA (Hons), 7 Crescent Gardens, Eastcote, Ruislip, HA4 8SZ
Friday 23 June. 7.30pm. Lecture. “John Keats’ London”. Dr. Ann Saunders Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT
Thursday 20 July. 7.30pm. Talk. “The Hampstead of John Keats”. Christina Gee to the Camden Historical Society.
Heath Branch Library, Keats Grove, NW3
23,24 and 25 November, 8pm. Saturday matinee. Dramatic Performance.
“John Keats lived here” by Diana Raymond. Hampstead Parish Church. Contact: Mrs. P. Gardner: 0171 794 9912
David Sankey of the Museum of London has discovered traces of a massive church, 4thc AD, on Tower Hill. The building appears to have been 100m- long and 50m-wide, almost identical in design though slightly larger than the St. Thecla in Milan, the largest church in the then capital of the Roman Empire. Its most likely founder was Magnus Maximus, the fanatically ambitious head of the Roman army in Britain, and a deeply religious zealot.
The giant edifice was probably built in the late 370s or early 380s, of secondhand masonry (reused from other nearby earlier structures) and decorated in part with a wafer-thin veneer of black marble. Some architectural details were also pointed up in white marble, the walls were painted with coloured designs and the floor was made of broken tile embedded in a sort of cement.
The date of the building, the probable political motive for its construction and a series of little-known ancient texts all suggest it may have been dedicated to St. Paul, like London’s later cathedrals. In the second half of the 4thc, St.Paul temporarily superceded St. Peter in religious importance. This is expressed in mosaics and other art works throughout the empire where Paul replaces Peter at the right hand of Christ. Nothing could be calculated to enhance London’s status more than to claim it was a Pauline Apolistic centre like Antioch, Ephesus or Athens. (Independent 3 April 1995. Extract).
The front cover of The London Archaeologist, Autumn 1994, shows a photo of two men examining the Roman handless flagon which had Just been excavated on the east side of Brockley Hill, the Hilltop Café site in 1952. We have other original photos of this dig which set the wider scene, to include diggers in braces; onlookers, young helpers, a wonderful old floppy tent, a pushchair and the Roman finds, mortaria and wide mouthed flagons stacked up in cardboard boxes.
But it was the two main figures which sparked my interest – who were they? One, tall, slim, pipe-smoking, standing close to two small
children; and a second figure, shorter and bearded, and to my eyes resembling our own Paddy Musgrove. I asked around but nobody could identify either figure. I searched through relevant documents
and found, in Gillian Braithwaite’s report on Excavating and Fleldwalking at Brockley
Hill a reference to Paddy himself.
“Ancient gravel metalling was seen by Paddy Musgrove under the road in a pipe trench in 1953”. So Paddy was certainly at Brockley Hill during
the dig when Phillip Suggett was the site director. If it were to be Paddy Musgrove it would be an apt tribute to his interest in archaeology that he made it to the front cover of The London Archaeologist!
Can anyone shed any further light on this figure? Is it fact or fiction? When I was trying to get information I contacted a long time HADAS member, Max Hoather, who actually worked with Suggett at Brockley Hill in 1952, and he very kindly donated newspaper cuttings and snaps, which identify the tall pipe-smoking figure as Phillip Suggett. He was tragically killed in a car accident some years later, leaving two young children (those in the photo?)
An interesting spin-off from my quest was to find in the excavation reports of the dig, a diagram drawn and signed by M. Biddle. So that sent me re-examining the photos to see if a teen-age Martin Biddle is in evidence. I think there is! However I have not yet been able to confirm this with him. He worked at Brockley Hill true, but is he in our photographs?
So, not only are there ghosts of Roman potters at Brockley Hill; Matugenus, Castus, Doinus, but also, Phillip Suggett, Martin Biddle, Paddy Musgrove.
Or am I dreaming again?
THE LONDON ARCHAEOLOGIST MAGAZINE A. G. M. will be held on Tuesday 16th May 7. OOpm
in the Lecture Theatre, Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, WCI. After the business meeting Chris Green will lecture on John Dwight and the Fulham Pottery.


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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