Lottery cash for the London archive
Dr Simon Thurley’s efforts to raise money for the London Archaeological Archive & Research Centre have been fruitful to the tune of £1.1m, reports Vikki O’Connor.
As this Newsletter went to press, Hedley Swain of the Museum of London announced this funding, at a reception at the project’s Eagle Wharf Road premises. It gives the go-ahead for plans to increase storage capacity and create and equip visitor study facilities.
The archive holds finds from a century of London excavations. A large board displays the names of 3,000 to 4,000 sites and with LAARC’s future assured these materials now have a secure long-term home.
A contributory factor in the Heritage Lottery Fund’s approval was the donations made by other bodies, groups, societies and individuals, and Hedley Swain thanked them for their support, mentioning HADAS along with COLAS, English Heritage, SCOLA, Richmond AS, Surrey AS, LAMAS, London Archaeologist, etc, etc.
The Museum continued its successful policy of bringing its news to public attention by inviting a team from BBC Newsroom South East to the reception and putting on show the first-ever wooden coffin found in Roman London, one of two from Atlantic House, Holborn. The imprint of ribcage and spine were clearly visible.
To maintain the current impetus LAARC will actively encourage participation from schools, universities, local societies and individuals, with information flowing two ways. HADAS already has several contacts at the Archive and the future success of the Society will be enhanced by developing these links.
Fishbourne: the invasion debate continues
As the fifth and final season of the current excavation campaign at Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chichester —visited by HADAS last year— nears its end, dig directors John Manley and David Rudkin have revealed their latest thoughts on the somewhat puzzling complex of buildings lying just to the east of the palace, reports Liz Sagues.
They agree that the 35-metre long masonry building was most likely a principia (a prestige military headquarters building), built around AD50-60, before the palace was erected, and remaining in use for almost two centuries. But there is rather less accord on what is represented by the lines of post holes just beyond the north wall, a focus of this year’s work. John Manley’s vote is for a timber lean-to, probably used for storage.
But whatever its exact purpose, all the construction in this area confirms that the palace itself was designed to be inward-looking, with its users enjoying views over the courtyard and garden rather than to the outside world.
A new trench has failed to locate the continued northern extension of the masonry building’s western wall, but has revealed a possible military aqueduct.
The 1999 work won’t settle the argument over whether the main Roman invasion force did land at Fishbourne, but the whole issue will be discussed at a Sussex Archaeological Society conference on October 23 (just a few places left — ring 01273 405737 for details). And read all about the dig, most entertainingly, on the Sussex Archaeological Society website, www.sussexpast.co.uk.
Fri-Sun September 3rd to 5thVisit to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight
Monday October 4: Walk around the Euston area with Mary O’Connell.
Details and application form enclosed with this Newsletter.
Saturday October 9: The Minimart, the Society’s annual fundraiser. Look out your contributions, and volunteer to help on the day.
Tuesday October 12 Our winter lecture season begins with the Archaeology of Mexico, by Caspar Johnson.
Tuesday November 9 Britain in the Shadow of Rome: John Creighton, former HADAS member and digger on the Heath, describes the changing lifestyles and perceptions between Caesar’s and Claudius’s invasions of Britain.
These lectures, and those that follow during the winter, are in the Drawing Room on the ground floor of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, at 8PM
Return to Non-Conformity
HADAS is trying to bring to publication the material which George Ingram began to collect for the Society 20 years ago on the Non-Conformist Churches in the Borough of Barnet. George had to give up in 1983 when his sight failed.
As a first stage we are concentrating on Congregational and Presbyterian churches, most of which are now United Reformed churches, and some Baptist churches which are now linked with United Reformed congregations. Later we hope to go on, at least, to the remaining Baptist churches and the Methodist ones.
Some churches on which we are short of information are: The Hyde, Colindale, and Brent Street Congregational in Hendon; Edgware Congregational; North Finchley Baptist; and any which have now closed. Any reminiscences, booklets, letters and photographs would be warmly welcomed by John Whitehorn, 14 Wessex Court, West End Lane, Barnet ENS 2RA
Welcome to HADAS
We had a flurry of newcomers in the early summer, some of whom attended the training dig. We hope to meet the others before too long — at the lectures? Hello to Edward Mansell, Amanda Gill, Nicholas Upton, Anne MargaretSoer, Rona Jungeblut, Karen Levy, Peter Mattei, Rachel Marer, Susan Loveday, Maurice Spector, Katherine Treadell, Kirsten & Michael Dunne, Alexei Gouldson, Sarah Stewart, Kathryn Jackman, Teresa Smith, Michael Cannard, Brian Davies and Dr Eleanor Scott.
Members much missed
HADAS was represented by several members among the large congregations at Golders Green Crematorium for the funerals of Christine Arnott (on July 16) and John Watkins (on August 7), reports Dawn 011′.
Christine was a stalwart supporter of all HADAS activities from its earliest days — digging, committee work, exhibitions and visits, not forgetting her skills in generating income from challenging collections of bric-a-brac at the Minimart! Even failing health in recent years did not diminish her loyalty and enthusiasm.
John, who died suddenly at the beginning of his sailing holiday, followed his distinguished wartime naval career with an equally distinguished academic one at the LSE in the Department of Philosophy, continuing vigorously after retirement. He developed HADAS interests with Micky, backing up her committee activities, particularly in arranging outings with Micky Cohen —the coincidence of names did not escape his sense of humour when he was at the helm on their reconnaissance journeys. Indeed his genial presence and genuine interest were much appreciated when the trips were underway.
Our sympathy is extended to Christine’s family and to Micky and hers, along with gratitude for the contributions made to HADAS by Christine and John.
The scale of the Spitalfields excavation continues to amaze. Bill Bass has been working at the site, and reports the following facts and figures. From a projected 4,500 burials, dating from around 1200 to 1500, so far some 3,700 have been excavated, and of those some 1,250 have been processed. They span the age spectrum and include unborn children. A variety of diseases have been noted, and there are some early examples of trepanation. Four men were buried with chalices, so were canons or priests.
The burials apart, a row of shops and dwellings, including cellars, also survives, dated c.1600-1700. Among the finds is a great deal of medieval pottery, and also moulded and carved stone possibly from the priory.
Excavation of this massive site will continue until the end of September, with processing on site probably for another month. After that, the on-going work “will keep someone employed for quite some time”!
Though the site is not open to spectators, there is a display centre. On Saturday September 11, the Museum of London is holding a Spitalfields seminar, with talks, a walk and a guided site visit. It runs from 1.30- 4.30pm, fee £7.50 (no concessions) and must be pre-booked — ring 0171-814 5777 to see if places are still available.
A date for your diary
HADAS Chairman Andrew Selkirk also chairs the Council for Independent Archaeology whose 1999 annual congress will be at Sheffield University on September 10-12. CIA events are inspirational, showing what can be achieved by the non-professional bodies, ie local societies. The theme, Demystifying Archaeology, includes a session on building your own resistivity meter (and hopefully how to use it!). Further details from Mike Rumbold, 3 West Street, Weedon Bec, Northampton NN7 4QU. Tel: 01327 340855. Bargain price of £65 (residential).
… and a whole lot more
As enrolment dates loom and prospectuses circulate, have you considered the courses available for the new academic year?
Details of Birkbeck courses are available from: Birkbeck College, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ. tel: 0171-631 6633, fax: 017-631 6688, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. URL: http:/ /www.hbk.ac.uk. Courses at various centres, a number handy for North London, include the 3-year Certificate in Archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology, Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology, Egyptology, Field Archaeology and Industrial -Archaeology, 4th year to convert to Diploma, short courses and study days.
Barnet College’s part-time prospectus advertises: Discovering London (visits & lectures), History of London Cert, Making of Modern London, Field Archaeology Cert (year 1- Prehistory of S. Britain), and Industrial Archaeology. Contact Barnet College, Wood Street, Barnet ENS 4AZ, tel 020-8440 6321, website: http:/ /www.barnetacuk.
Some thing went wrong… For those numerically-alert members who have noticed that the number on this Newsletter has moved on too fast from the last one, here’s the explanation. The March and April Newsletters carried the same number, so we’ve skipped one digit to bring things back into the correct sequence.
Of cairns, circles and copper mines
Audree Price-Davies set out to trace early activity in Snowdonia
The Prehistoric Society’s study tour (July 12-17) presented examples of burial cairns, settlement sites, cairn circles, hillforts, iron working and copper mining. It was very well led by Peter Crew of the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre, Frances Lynch of the University of Wales at Bangor and Edric Roberts of the Great Orrae Mines. The conference was housed at Plas Tan Y Bwlch, a country house near Blaenau Ffestiniog which is the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre.
The study of prehistoric archaeology is dependent on an appreciation of the landscape and climate as it must have been. Exposed sites on high ground were probably chosen because there was a more protected environment with trees and shrubs. Over time these have been removed for building and fuel. Denuded of trees, the upland soils have become more acid and peat bogs began to form. The climate was probably warmer and sites which are now inhospitable would probably have been sought after. This was perhaps the case at Cars Y Gedol in Harlech.
At Cors Y Gedol a neolithic burial chamber of the 4th or 3rd millennium BC was seen. The tomb is badly damaged but is surrounded by a well-preserved ancient landscape of settlement sites and fields dating from the late prehistoric, Roman, medieval and later periods.
The chambered long cairn at Gwern Einion had been incorporated into the walls dividing the two yards of a dwelling house, presumably to house sheep or cattle. The site had been pillaged to build stone walls and only the rectangular chamber was intact with its capstone.
The burial chamber at Duffryn Ardudwy was well preserved and is an example of a portal dolmen, and forms a common type of tomb in this region. They stood at the centre of the farmed land, a focus for the community like a modern parish church. The cairn contains two chambers, the western one an H-shaped portal with high closing slab, a rectangular chamber and sloping capstone. The other chamber is larger but has no entrance stones. The bones found in the eastern chamber came from a later Bronze Age cremation burial.
The settlement site with an enclosed homestead at Moel Goedog was set into the hillside and at Erw Wen there was a circular enclosure with a central but circle. At moo. Goedog there is evidence of secondary occupation in the medieval period indicating the desirability of the site. Ceremonial sites were probably placed where there was a particular view, as at Moel Goedog. Two stone circles, not visible from each other, look out over the estuary. There was an intensity of silence and stillness at this site.
An alignment of standing stones at Waun Oer — eight of them, but with only five visible — is a rare occurrence in Wales, although there are some on Dartmoor and in Ireland. Cairn circles with surrounding stone rings are placed in strategic places which it is now difficult to explain fully.
The cairn circle at Bryn Cader Faner is a small cairn, 8 metres across and less than a metre high, but around the edge is a ring of tall thin slabs set at an angle, projecting from the mass of the cairn, like the rays of the sun. The monument may be classified as a cairn circle, but was probably a burial site rather than a ceremonial one. A hole in the centre indicates the position of a cist or grave, the contents of which are unknown.
Other sites visited were the prehistoric and medieval settlement at Cyfannedd and the settlement and standing stones at Bryn Seward, and the burial and ceremonial sites of the 2nd and 1st millennium BC at Y Gryn and Maes Y Caerau. The neolithic burial chamber of the 3rd millennium BC at Capel Gannon, Betws Y Coed, showed evidence that prehistoric populations moved, as it is typical of the Severn-Cotswold group, a type unusual for North Wales.
The 1st millennium hillfort at Pen-y-Gaer had a defensive area of small stones, a chevaux de (rise, on two sides. The views over the surrounding country from the well-defended site were remarkable.
Evidence of iron working was found at the later prehistoric hillfort of Bryn y Castell, Ffestiniog, dated 300BC-250AD. This was a small defended hilltop fort where iron working, both smelting and smithing, seems to have been the main activity. They used bog ore from nearby peat bogs and cut trees for charcoal to fuel the furnaces. At Crawcwellt, an isolated hilltop area, there was also evidence of iron working on a large scale. Again bog iron ore was used and trees cut for charcoal. Both sites were difficult of access, and this suggests that iron working was a highly regarded but secret occupation which turned ore into swords and other items.
The bronze age copper mining site at Great Orme was a warren of narrow galleries where copper was mined by lighting fires to weaken the rock and using hammer stones to break it. The ore was smelted, using tin from Cornwall and the Continent, to produce bronze.
To return to the 20th century, our base, a country house on a wooded hillside with views over the valley, was an ideal site for the study tour, providing comfortable accommodation and a pleasant social atmosphere. But the weather could have been much kinder.
Illustration: a portal dolmen, reproduced from The Handbook of British Archaeology by Lesley and Roy Adkins (Papermac, 1988).
HADAS went to Gloucester.
Sheila Woodward and Tessa Smith came up with something for everyone on this outing, with a mixture of industrial archaeology, Roman, medieval and historical, peppered with off-beat moments. It was a recipe for another really interesting day out — with no sign of Dr Foster’s showers.
The 17th century Sherbourne Arms served as our watering hole at the picturesque village of Northleach in Gloucestershire. Built of Cotswold stone, the inn had been enlarged to take in the adjacent blacksmith’s barn and many related artefacts including the original forge were on display. Our coach waited for us in the market place but the market, whose charter was granted by the Abbey of Gloucester in 1220, has now ceased trading.
We had time to look round the church of St Peter and St Paul with its earliest feature, the impressive 100ft tower, built before 1400. Equally impressive was the collection of brasses dating between 1400 and 1584. The memorial brass of John Taylour (1509) is in excellent condition and depicts a sheep, woolpack with woolmark and a crook, the chief trade of the town at that time being wool and weaving. The guide book suggests one should go round the outside of the church clockwise as legend has it that if you go anticlockwise (widdershins) the Devil might get you…
Docks, lock and Jock
We arrived at Gloucester dockyard to the sound of wheeling gulls, and were given into the charge of two town guides, Nigel Spry and Philip Morris. We split into two groups and avoided each other for the rest of the day! The Gloucester & Sharpness canal leads into the docks, and we crossed over Llantony Bridge, a Dutch-style lifting bridge, just before it lifted for a tripper boat named Queen Boadicea II (originally from London). Gloucester used to rely heavily on water transport for its trade in grain, stone and timber.
We heard how the dangers of the tidal bore on the Severn at Newnham, with 10ft waves travelling at 15mph, had necessitated a safer passage to Gloucester and construction of the canal by Mylne and Telford began in 1794. However, the project ran out of money halfway to the Stroud canal, and from 1798 to 1817 it silted up. After the Napoleonic wars soldiers needed work so money was provided to employ them to extend the canal to join the Stroud Water canal—the route to London. Our guide told us that the canal was 16 miles longs, 16 ft wide, 16 ft deep and had 16 bridges — making his job easier? The total cost was £430,000, a 70% under-calculation — shades of the Jubilee Line!
Silting is still a problem and two dredgers operate. Doubtless an embarrassment for someone, when the canal level dropped in 1990 dredger DSND4 tipped over and it took two years to restore it to working order. It’s not easy to relate to these statistics, but 3.5 million gallons of water per hour are pumped in from the Severn, raising the height of the canal one inch per hour. This of course brings in silt, which is dredged up and the slurry is taken up-river and dumped. And once again, water (containing this silt) is pumped back into the canal etc etc etc. As our guide described the process I couldn’t help but daydream ways of ending the cycle but maybe this way it is ecologically stable?
A corn mill was operating until three years ago, and we noted that the “windows” of a corn warehouse were in fact ventilation openings. These Gloucester warehouses followed the design of those at St Katharine’s Dock, London.
Clean, smart and unspoilt, the Victorian dock area attracts film crews and our guide reeled off a list of productions from the Onedin Line and Martin Chuzzlewit on TV to a film titled Buffalo Bill’s Girls (anyone heard of that one?). Boat builder Tommy Nielson has taken over the repair yards — we passed a boat which had just been re-masted — and sail training takes place. The warehouses have been restored in a continuing development programme and the 1826 Victoria warehouse is now a civic centre complete with mayor’s suite.
The Atlas sailed between the East Indies and London from 1812 to 1822, then was broken up and her bell became the dockyard time bell. In 1939 it was removed because bells sounded for invasion so it was moved to Sharpwater for use as a fog warning. The Civic Trust and Rotary Club (murmur of approval from Dorothy Newbury’s husband Jack at the mention of Rotary Club) bought the bell in 1986 and returned it to the dockyard where it hangs on Victoria warehouse.
Merchants Quay is now a shopping mall, Albert Warehouse is now the Robert Opie Collection of Advertising and Packaging (pure nostalgia), and the Llantony Warehouse is now the National Waterways Museum. However, the heat and need for liquid, even water, led most of our party to cafés rather than museums in the lunch break. And Jock? A fully kitted, or rather kilted, Scot playing Ode to Joy and other popular classics on his bagpipes next to the swing bridge. But why?
We left the docks just as a small boat left the main basin to pass through a lock into-the Severn. The -water level dropped almost as quickly as emptying a bath, but the pumps would have soon put it back. Passing the old Custom House, now a museum for the Soldiers of Gloucester, we heard how the Gloucester Regiment are permitted-to wear two cap badges because of the 28th Regiment who once, surrounded by the French, turned half their force round and won the battle.
Close by lay the site of the AD66 Roman fortress. A Norman motte and bailey castle later sat on the site, to be replaced by a stone castle. Gloucester sided with the Parliamentarians and was besieged in 1648. By way of retaliation when he came to power, Charles II ordered the town walls to be levelled, so the only Roman part remaining is the south gate and section of wall which survived below ground. The site has been purchased for the Blackfriars development and, when we visited, a couple of trenches were being excavated in the southern area which will add to information gained from previous excavations. The site has also been used as a graveyard, with thousands buried there. Soon, a six-storey car park will squat where proud buildings once stood, and metal crates on wheels will transport plastic shopping bags where ancestors were laid to rest.
Heat reflected from the pavements as we toiled down La dybellg at e Street to the cool stone buildings at Blackfriars Priory where our guides had obtained permission for us to visit. Pink stone from the Forest of Dean contrasted pleasantly with yellow sandstone. The Black Friars of St D ominic came to Gloucester in 1239 and built their priory around a courtyard, church to the north, chapter house with dormitory above to the east, the west range including the refectory and the south range comprised a ground floor store (or school room?). Above this room was the library and the friars’ individual study cells — carrels.
We were told the friars were self-taught. That in itself posed questions: had they not brought expertise with them; had the experts died out; who corrected them; did they discuss, argue, fight? The cell partitions were still discernible and it was easy to picture someone poring over a book, a shaft of sunlight faded by swirling dust. Silence except for the occasional cough, or was that a HADAS member gasping for a cuppa?
The Priory was obtained by Sir Thomas Bell in 1538 and his wife organised the site for cloth manufacture, employing 300. Sir Thomas adapted the church for his residence,Bell’s Place, but he left some of the Early English arcading which still survives, as do the original 13th century roofs.
Moving a few roads on, we stopped to look at the site of Greyfriars. Merely a shell, it had been damaged in the
siege of 1643. Nearby, we noticed an Aviation Garden with representations of the Gloucester planes, paid for by the Civic Trust.
As we reached the pedestrian precinct at the town centre, was I the only one to look with envy at the free motorised buggies zipping round? From the street something archaeological was visible, and we descended to investigate. It was part of a Roman bastion with sally ports, preserved beneath the modern shopping development.
We learned a little more local history as we moved on. Gloucester and Cirencester fell to the Saxons according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, then in 977 the town was re-fortified when the Danes were thrown out. Ethelfreda had new streets laid out — the burgage plots are still reflected in modern building widths. Some timber-framed buildings have been re-fronted,_one having belonged to John Pritchard…
The Tailor of Gloucester
Nearing the Cathedral, we stopped in an alley at the Beatrix Potter Gift Shop. This wasn’t the tailor of Gloucester’s premises but a tourist trap where one had to pay to see the displays. John Pritchard was the actual tailor who had inspired Potter’s story of the clothes made by fairies, and his old shop was in the High Street.
As we approached the Cathedral we heard the clamour of many chisels hitting stone. Over 40 stone masons were working under a large awning on new seating to be erected in the garden of a church near Greyfriars. They each had a block of stone and worked to the design laid out for inspection on the grass next to the Cathedral. They had just that weekend to complete the work, and a percussion band beat out rhythms to keep the masons on the go. One could gain some idea of what building a cathedral would have entailed, the air of industry and noise, dust and people going about their trade. Also at work was a woman from one of the town museums, heating and working iron, using equipment borrowed from the museum.
And we still had time left for a look round the Cathedral. An Anglo-Saxon monastery on the site was replaced by St Peter’s Abbey in 1089 (on William’s instruction). This was dissolved by Henry VIII and in 1541 the church became a cathedral. We took tea in the welcome cool of the refectory, and re-emerged as a service was ending. Walking round the cloisters, I passed the school-age choristers, some of whom were still singing (the acoustics were brilliant) as they clattered into the Chapter House to disrobe. On the north walkway was the lavatorium, the monks’ washing area with its long, stone basin, and on the opposite side there were (twice in one day!) the monks’ study carrels.
We had arrived to the sound of gulls and, as we left, I noticed outside a newsagent’s a yellow poster with the Gloucester Citizen’s lead story “Drive to rid city of gulls”. I’d rather see gulls than pigeons in Finchley… Comments on a seaside postcard please!
It’s not the Knot: re-enacting the Civil War
Part-time pikeman Bob Michel explains…
The faces may change, but the questions remain the same. They range from the hopeless “You’re Morris Dancers aren’t you? through to “English Civil War —that’s William the Conqueror isn’t it?” to the more perceptive “Aren’t you the Sealed Knot?”. Believe me, there are times in a re-enactor’s life when you wish your replica musket was really loaded!
As in archaeology, public relations is all part of the fun. Luckily for us volunteer, part-time, pretend soldiers it’s just a small part. Much more of our time is devoted to reproducing as faithfully as possible 17th century military manoeuvres, living in general and drinking in particular.
Re-enacting with the English Civil War Society (not as snappy as the Sealed Knot, is it?) attracts me in four separate but related ways. Firstly, there’s the historical angle to it all. We re-create civil war battles and soldiers’ camps as accurately as we can, given the passage of time and budgetary constraints. Uniforms have to be made of natural materials and styles have to be authentic—Doc Marten boots and Russell & Bromley sling-backs are definitely out! Food must be cooked without the aid of Camping Gaz and “killing” and “maiming” on the battlefield must be wrought in good old 17th century ways.
Next, the battles tend to bring out the actor in me. Although the punters are now too far away to ask daft questions — and it’s too noisy anyway — you’re still aware an audience is present. What’s more it has paid to be there and expects to be entertained. As a pikeman my contribution to the proceedings is being a member of a disciplined and highly-skilled team wielding 17-foot pikes. That’s the theory anyway. However, every now and then I seize the chance to break out of the chorus line (as it were) and delight the crowd with my personal brand of 17th century combat.
Thirdly, there’s the blood and guts aspect. Being a pikeman involves preventing the cavalry from getting amongst our musketeers and pretending to kebab opposing pikemen. But sometimes we get to form a “push of pike”, the real joy. Picture a rugby maul where two sets of forwards pack together to try to send their opponents flying. Simply add a pike per man and there you are! The odd flesh wound does occur; that’s not surprising when 30 men suddenly fall on top of you. But fear not gentle reader, the body armour and helmet take most of the punishment (perhaps American Football would have been a better analogy than rugby). Anyway, we usually take more casualties in the beer tent than on the field.
Which takes me nicely on to my final point — the social side. All this physical activity and answering “no” to the public makes men and women thirsty. Yes, we are an equal opportunities organisation. We believe both sexes have the right to get injured! Alcohol though can help to deaden the pain. A huge marquee becomes our Windmill, otherwise known as the “We never closed” beer tent. Although prone to be a little damp under foot after a few days — as are the portaloos — this is easily the most popular social venue on site. Spirits are high after a hard day’s battling, so in the wee small hours it’s not the place for shrinking violets. Luckily each regiment usually boasts a welcoming camp fire to which the active, but less adventurous, can retire in good order to enjoy fine fellowship and some awful singing.
Changing times at Avenue House
The HADAS library and finds store/processing room has been based at Avenue House for many years, and the future of the site is again under discussion. Andy Simpson reports.
Held in the familiar surroundings ofthe Drawing Room, day-to-day running of the house and grounds. A park the Avenue House Estate Consultative Conference on keeper will also be employed. Such changes would June 30 was a well attended and at times lively meeting. require a separate account to be run for the house —The basic message to come through was that the council, built in 1859 and newly Grade II listed by English as corporate trustee, was aware that there was room for Heritage, along with Hertford Lodge and The Bothy. change, ie by reducing bureaucracy. It was pointed out by Barnet Council Chief Execu‑
The council is not, in the medium term, prepared to tive Max Caller that Hertford Lodge is council-owned relinquish control, but will be advertising nationally and not part of the estate. It might have a future as a fora dedicated Avenue House estate manager, appointed voluntary sector resource centre, rather than as the by the management committee and based on site for Continued on facing page
These were Barnet’s first ‘allotments’ by Phillip Bailey
“open field”, and was a communal field where local people could own plots of the shared land by agreement with the Lord of the Manor (in Barnet’s case the Abbot of St Albans). The strips in the field developed from the way the field was ploughed, ie by oxen. So that the oxen would not need to be turned too often the fields were made long, and they were narrow because that was all that could be ploughed in a day.
The long fields (strips) were usually known as “lands” or by the earlier form “londs”, eg Bakonslonde 1280 (Bacon’s land), Towneslonde 1280 (Town’s land). Sometimes the strips were grassed over fOr livestock to graze on, and were then known as “Ieys”.
This may mean that the name Barnetleys, 1248, had an ambiguous meaning, ie “Barnet-clearing” and/or “Barnet-grass strips”. Some of the Ley Field may have been grassed over at this time for use as pasture. This fits in well with the fact that this part of High Barnet later became known as Barnet Common, which seems to have been used mainly as pasture, retaining its communal status right into the early 19th century.
The only field identified by name here is Newlands,
1817, which was obviously the last “ancient” field to be cut from Southaw Wood, hence its triangular shape. The name dates to the 13th century (Newland 1291, Newlond 1292, Le Newelond 1334). Mays Lane was known as Mayeslane in 1427, but Maieshulle (Mays Hill) occurs in 1271 and the “May” family lived in Barnet as early as 1229. There is even a Maisland in 1288 which was likely to have been found in the Ley Field.
The Ley Field is mentioned in Barnet Manor Rolls as follows: “La Leye” 1246, 1258, 1260, 1263; “La Layefeld” 1276. The map was developed from the 19th century large-scale maps of Barnet Common.
originally proposed register office— a report is awaited following a “citizens’ jury” decision.
After introductions by Councillor Alan Williams, Leader of Barnet Council, conference chair Kathy McGuirk and Max Caller, those attending were involved in some general discussion. This included suggestions for a creche and coffee machine and the danger of any increased hire charges driving people away.
Delegates were then divided (after some opposition from the floor) into three workshop groups, each “enabled” by a council employee but using a delegate from the floor to report back at the end. These workshop groups covered marketing and fundraising, facilities for community groups, and management of house and grounds.
Those attending all received packs detailing Avenue House facilities, booked hours per room (which show a slight overall increase, with 2,240 bookings in 1997-98), room plans (which omitted the HADAS Garden Room!) and statement of accounts and details of the history and present use of the site, which under the will of Henry Charles “Inky” Stephens was bequeathed to the people of Finchley in 1918 and opened to the public 10 years later.
The independent Avenue House Action Group claimed that the site has been mismanaged, with the building and grounds under-used, and issued copies of its own manifesto.
This called for transfer of Hertford Lodge and its outbuildings to the proposed new management of the Avenue House Estate, to be used for the same purposes, and operation of the Avenue House Charitable Trust by independent trustees drawn from members of the public — rather than Barnet Council being the sole corporate trustee, as at present
All in a popular weekend’s work…
Vikki O’Connor reports on the HADAS activity at Church Farmhouse Museum on National Archaeology Days, July 24-25.
The preparations began the previous Wednesday when we collected the equipment from College Farm and surveyed in and laid out our base line and temporary bench marks. We brought in the heavy brigade to de-turf two trenches on the Friday.
Thanks to the efforts of HADAS publicity officer Tim Wilkins, our leaflets in the libraries and a few mentions in the local press have brought in several new members, some of whom joined us on the dig. Our aim was to provide an opportunity for new diggers to “have a go” as well as get “hands on” experience of surveying and using the resistivity meter.
Ian Haigh, Stephen Aleck and Brian Wrigley organised the demonstrations with gusto, despite the blistering heat. The troops took turns in the trenches with helpers firing rounds of orange juice at them when they flagged. Ian Haigh set up his computer in the cool basement of the Museum to demonstrate on both days his presentation of data from the 1996 dig. •
By Saturday lunchtime Trench 8 had yielded an animal skeleton just in time for Anne, the Barnet Press photographer, to snap HADAS digger Nikki Paintin exposing the skull. Brian McCarthy, fresh from his volunteer stint at the Spitalfields dig, directed the removal of the deceased quadruped which, according to the Press, was a dog, but in the Hendon Times admitted to being a sheep. Brian Wrigley and Richard Askew have since examined the bones and confirm it is a sheep.. ‘
HAD AS President Dr Ann Saunders spent Saturday afternoon dispensing refreshments and information to visitors—we recorded a total of 38 over the weekend and these included several HADAS members who came along for a quick site tour. We had put together a small display in Church Farmhouse Museum, showing finds from the several HADAS digs in that area over the past 30-plus years. Our thanks to the curator, Gerrard Roots, for making this, and the dig, possible. Thanks also go to LB Barnet information officer Dave Bicknell for attending and for his support.
Sunday morning saw an enthusiastic early start, but when Hendon MP Andrew Dismore arrived on site, the diggers had gone to the Greyhound next door to look at the clay pipe collection, or was it the beer? Fortunately, our Chairman Andrew Selkirk and his wife Wendy were on hand to welcome him. Andrew Dismore has expressed an interest in local archaeology and we hope to see him at future HADAS events.
By the end of Sunday afternoon, Trench 7 (nearest the Museum) had revealed the Victorian land drain which we had identified in 1996. The Trench 8 team had also exposed the land drain running parallel with the churchyard at the east side of the trench, but on the west side they had come down to a fill similar to the medieval ditch fill. Andy Simpson did a “eureka” when he found a Roman brick, the only Roman find that weekend.
On the Monday, a small band arrived on site, ostensibly to do the backfilling, but the morning was spent completing the trench plans and doing some fine-tuning on the trowelling. We confirmed that we had exposed the medieval ditch in Trench 7, but the Victorian drain had cut in and run along the same line. In Trench 8 the fill was indeed that of the medieval ditch. We have extended our knowledge of this feature inasmuch as we no longer believe it could turn east to run behind the churchyard. Also, the resistivity runs between Trench 7 and the Museum indicate a feature which could be interpreted as the continuation of this ditch.
Pottery from the trenches ranged from medieval to late 20th century. The finds have now been cleaned and will during September be classified for our final report. Forty-five people participated in the five days’ work.
I’ve got plans for next year… how about some experimental archaeology? Anyone with polite suggestions please contact Brian Wrigley or Vikki O’Connor.
The official full report should be published in the first of the HADAS annual journals next year.
Wet Wet Wet
Not a pop group, but news from Hampstead Heath. Whose idea was it to go there in the summer? From a soggy Saxon ditch survey team over and out till drier times arrive.