Tuesday 10th November Lecture –‘Bronze, Brass and Zinc in Ancient and Modern China’ by Paul Caddocy
Thursday 3rd December Christmas Dinner at Avenue House with talk by Norman Burgess, curator of the Stephens’ collection.
Tuesday 12th January LECTURE – ‘The Royal Exchange’ by
Dr. ANN SAUNDERS, PRESIDENT of HADAS.
Tuesday 9th February LECTURE – ‘Villa of the Mysteries’ by
NOTE: LECTURES will be held at AVENUE HOUSE, EAST END ROAD, FINCHLEY,N.3 8 p.m. for 8.30 p.m.
MINIMART – OCTOBER 10th DOROTHY NEWBURY
I forgot to ask anyone to write a report – so this is an opportunity to thank all those who provided such excellent goods for sale, made cakes, jams and meringues for the food and provision stalls, and quiches for the lunches. Tessa and Sheila, with their regular teams, coped efficiently, as always, on cakes and lunches.
Thanks to Mary, Doug and Christopher for their help with tables and chairs the day before, Bill and Christopher for loading up and transferring goods to the hail and back again with the remains’, the eam of tough guys who staggered upstairs with it all, our staunch team of regulars who manned the stalls and cleared up afterwards, leaving the premises CLEANER (I may say) than when we started.
By 3.30 p.m. I gave up, but Bill and Andy carried on by coming home with me and counting the money – and with excellent results. Sales on the day
exceeded £900 ! Add to this pre – Minimart sales, generous donations from
Myranwy Stewart and Mrs Banham who could not attend, and we reached the MAGNIFICENT TOTAL of nearly £1500 A RECORD
And,of course, the members and friends who came to buy were most important too. Forgive me if I have left anyone out to whom I should give special thanks.. (signed) Dorothy Newbury (alias Auntie Wainwright of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.) PLEASE NOTE: For the weeks prior to the Minimart, rumour has spread in the Society that anyone who calls at 55 Sunnyfields Road with goods for the event, or for any other reason, connected with HADAS or not, is not allowed to leave the house without buying something…, this is true (adds another) but nevertheless there was plenty left to sell, and in a particularly jolly atmosphere, even the clear-up; Don’t give up, Dorothy !
Some preliminary thoughts on
KECHYNER’S MANOR AND AN ‘AULA’
I recently noticed a thirteenth century entry in the manorial records which may prove of significance to our research on the early history of East Barnet. This reference of 1273 seems to describe a ‘hall’ at East Barnet belonging to ‘the lord’. The entry, along with Pamela Taylor’s translation (which she describes as ‘more literal than stylish’ – well it has to be better than I can do, Pam), runs as follows:
Priori a Conquestu
Halimot apud Barnet die Lune proxime ante festum sancti Luce evangeli anno duo Robertus de Molendino ManquamJ iustus heres et propinquior gersumavit terram Simonis fratris sal. et dominus seisivit eundem Robertum cum eadem terra coram multibus hominibus in aula sua de Estbartzet. et dat domino pro ingresso .habendo. et pro herietto Simonis fratris sui xxxs.
Robert of the Mill, the just and nearest heir, paid the entry fine for the land of Simon his brother, and the lord gave the same Robert seisin [tenure) of the same land in front of many men in his hall of East Barnet, and for having entry and fora heriot [death duty) for his brother Simon he gives the lord 30s.
The passage is rather ambiguous, (is it Robert’s hall or the lord’s?) but Pam says that her sense of the word ‘aula’ is that it refers to a rather grand hall, and is unlikely to refer to Robert’s dining room.
Whether or not this ‘aula’ can be reconciled in any way with Kechyners Manor at East Barnet is an interesting question, and one which is impossible to answer at present. Much research remains to be carried out on this fascinating ‘manor’ and its relationship with the manor of Barnet as a whole.
What we can say is that in medieval times Kechyners Manor was held by the Kitchener of St Alban’s, who was one of the obedientaries of the Abbey. As things stand, I think we should imagine the manor as a farm estate, whose specialised job was to provide food for St Alban’s Abbey. (The monks paid ‘carriers’ to transport food from the outlying estates to the Abbey.) The Kitchener had assigned to him several manors, all of which seemed to be known as Kitchener’s ferm’. He received rent from the Abbot from these particular manors. In return, the Abbot received from the Kitchener an allowance of food. (VCH Vol. 4, p 413)
The date at which our monastic farm was established at East Barnet is unknown. In 1363, Abbot Thomas de la Mare (a former Kitchener himself) readjusted the lands held by the Kitchen because at that time its income was £181, while its expenses were £255 Ss 8d Kycheners Manor at East Barnet may date from this time of reallocation of lands, or may already have been allocated to the Kitchener’s use at some earlier date. It may be worth pointing out that Levett says that ‘the Kitchen is said to have owed many of its endowments to Adam the Cellarer.’ [from 1151-56]. (Studies in Manorial History, p 113)
A monastic estate such as Kechyners Manor would, as I understand it, comprise a fairly substantial farmhouse (?hall) and a chapel, along with a storage barn and, occasionally, dovecote, fishponds and vineyard. (Did I once hear somebody mention that they had seen a map of East Barnet which marked a vineyard, or is this my imagination?) The actual farm buildings were often set around a courtyard. I have not yet considered whether the farm would be worked by monastic lay brothers or the local peasantry or both. Its organisation probably changed through the years according to the economic climate.
It is worth noting that many of these farms continued to be worked in post-Dissolution times, and that East Barnet (according to Gillian Gear) possessed an old barn within the Church Farm complex to the South of the church. The Church Farm house itself is thought to have dated from circa1660, but could well have been earlier, or a rebuilding. But I think we should maintain an open mind about the location of this farm, or manor complex (and `aula’1). The site may well lie adjacent to the church towards, perhaps, the north or north-west. Our evidence is too sketchy at present to make any assumptions.
According to the VCH (Vol. 2, p 332), at the Dissolution Kechyners Manor passed to the Crown and in 1547 was granted to Sir Richard Lee. Sir Richard was a military engineer and friend of Henry VIII (Richard’s wife, Margaret, was even friendlier towards Henry VIII than Sir Richard if we can believe the gossip!). He was granted extensive St Alban’s Abbey property and when he acquired Ketchyners Manor in East Barnet in 1547 it was at that time in the occupation of the rector of Barnet.
By 1554, when Anthony Butler acquired the manors of Barnet and East Barnet from John Goodwin and John Maynard, Kechyners Manor was reserved from the sale and was said to be held by the parson of Barnet. (Had Sir Richard earlier re-conveyed Kechyners Manor back to the church, as he did his monastic property in St Albans itself in 1557?) From the Dissolution until 1554 it does seem that Kechyners Manor was serving as the rectory for East Barnet. Its name then disappears from the records.
However, Reverend Cass (East Barnet, p 243) tells us that in 1558, Sir Anthony Mason, the curate (the `sir’ is an ecclesiastical title) took in a parcel of East Barnet churchyard, which adjoined the Town House which he occupied. Now if Kechyners Manor had been occupied from 1547 – 1554 by the local clergyman, there seems little reason to suppose he would have removed himself by 1558. It seems to me to be worth considering that the name `Kechyners Manor’ disappeared because that manor (or a part of it) had became known as the Rectory by 1558. (This is presumably the property described in 1631 as being ‘a decayed tenement adjoining the churchyard’, rent £1 3s 4d, when a new rectory was acquired elsewhere. (Cass, East Barnet, p 243-4). Cass goes on to tell us that this old Rectory lay `near the churchyard gate’. Whether he is referring to the lych-gate or some other gate is not made clear. Neither is his reasoning.
What should be clear from the above is that we have a lot of work to do on the early history of East Barnet. We are making a start, but at present every excursion into the records seems to raise more questions than it answers! Any comments, corrections, or further information relating to anything discussed in the last couple of pages (representing little more than random research notes) would be most gratefully received.
ROMAN HENDON UPDATE PART 1. Stephen Aleck
SULLONIACIS FOUND – AT HENDON?
In Newsletter 327, June 199S, Bill Bass reviewed In Search of Sulloniacis, which raised the question of the location of the Roman place called Sulloniacis, mentioned in the Antinonine Itineraries: was it at Brockley Hill, Edgware, Burnt Oak, or somewhere else? In fact it I think it can be argued that Sulloniacis was an estate of larger area than has normally been acknowledged, taking in Brockley Hill and probably another place on Watling Street that was used for the reception of travellers, and that the centre of the estate-was in Hendon, near the church. The reasoning is as follows.
Perhaps an investigation of the name, Sullomacis, might help to identify the place to which it referred. The ending -acis signifies ‘the estate belonging to …’ some group, possibly … the family or descendants of ‘. This suggests immediately that Sulloniacis may cover, not just one single hilltop, but a larger Romano-British estate. The first part, Sulloni-, is interpreted as an otherwise unknown personal name, Sulloni, or Sullonios.
Harvey Sheldon has suggested that the first syllable of Sulloni- might come from the name Sufis, the goddess of the spring at Bath, assimilated by the Romans with Minerva. Subs is often described, based presumably on the characteristics of Minerva and the association with Aquae Sufis, as a goddess of healing waters, but in fact she may originally have been a sun-goddess. Subs’ temple at Bath had a perpetual coal-fire burning on the altar, which may seem more suitable for a solar deity than a healing one. Indeed one of the finest finds displayed at Bath is a large carving representing the face of a sun-god. Sun-goddesses were worshipped under similar names to Sulis by the Celts and their contemporaries in various parts of Europe. In modern Welsh (the closest extant language to ancient British Celtic) Dydd Sul (or something similar sorry Welsh speakers!) means Sunday. Sun-worship became increasingly popular in the Roman world just before the advent of Christianity. An interesting foot note about Subs in the Roman volume of the Oxford History of England says ‘She is traditionally called Sul; but Professor Tolkein points out to me that the Celtic nominative can only be Subs, and our authority for believing that even the Romans made a nominative Sul on the analogy of their own Sol — perhaps meaning the same — is not good. The Celtic suits can mean ‘the eye’, and this again may mean the sun.’ Professor Tolkein was of course a considerable expert in real ancient languages, as well as those that he made up himself.
It was suggested by Hendon historian Fred Hitchin-Kemp that St Mary’s Church in Hendon was founded at what was formerly a centre for sun-worship. This theory is derived from the name of the hill upon which the church stands: Sunny Hill; three fields of this name are shown on Messeder’s 1754. map, being the first three fields encountered on the left hand side when going along the footpath from the churchyard towards Mill Hill, and they now form the highest part of the park. The name ‘Sunny Hill’ demands some thought, but it is not unfortunately mentioned in the English Place-Names Society’s volume or any other place-name literature. The park is certainly a very pleasant place, but no meteorological data I have ever seen suggests that it is sunnier than any other hill in the area! I suspect the first element might be a corruption of Sunning (as in the name of the nearby Sunningfields Road, so named in Victorian times), from Sunningas — tribe or followers of the sun, or of a person called Sunny, whose name may also relate to the sun.
So perhaps Sulloniacis refers to Hendon? Further consideration of the second syllable of Sullomacis might help with this theory. Refering to a modern Welsh dictionary, an attractive option is liwyn, ‘a grove’ — a grove being a sacred place to the Druids. Hence, perhaps, the double consonant in Sulloniacis? (Also, there was an old property called ‘The Grove’ on the west side of Hendon hill, now the park behind the Town Hall; but a connection here may be stretching credibility just a little too far). So could Sullon mean the grove (or temple?) of Sulis, the sun-goddess; the Sulloni the people pertaining to such a place, and Sulloniacis, the estate belonging to them? Hendon manor was, from at least the ninth century, granted by successive monarchs to the use and upkeep of Westminster Abbey. It is known that in the dark ages, Christian institutions took over lands and estates belonging formerly to heathen religious establishments.
We do know from finds in the Church End, Hendon area that there was indeed a Roman presence there. But if Sulloniacis’ centre was to be found at Hendon, there must-have been at least one other settlement within the estate, since Church End Hendon is too far from Watling Street to be the staging-post mentioned in the Antonine Itineraries. The Roman rubbish pit found by HADAS at Burnt Oak and thought to be derived from a villa is probably also rather too far from the Street, being half a kilometre distant, and the unsuitability of Brockley Hill in this respect has been mentioned by others.
To further confirm the presence of a Roman rest-station on Watling Street (as opposed to some distance off it), the charters by which Saxon kings granted Hendon to the Abbey gave descriptions of the bounds. These bounds include an old tunsteall, apparently on Watling Street, somewhere between Colindale and Edgware. The literal meaning of tunsteall is `town enclosed-place’. (An alternative interpretation of tunsteall could be ‘farm yard’, but McClure (1910) clearly saw the name as referring to an old town. He assumes in fact that the place referred to is Brockley Hill, and wonders why it is mentioned in the wrong geographical location! Perhaps other English place names derived from the same words should be investigated for evidence of early settlement on the basis of the ‘town’ meaning).
So whereas we might now start to consider that Sulloniacis might have been a whole estate centred on Hendon, the problem of the location within it of the staging post mentioned in the Itinerary is
still not resolved, except to the extent that it was probably on Watling Street, between Colindale and Edgware.
And was the pottery industry of Brockley Hill also within the Sulloniacis estate? I think probably it was. One reason is proximity: Brockley Hill and Hendon are seven kilometres apart, and clearly visible from each other. The intervening valley is drained by the Silkstream, whose early names (Sulk, sulc, suluc) denote an association with Sulloniacis. Then there is the evidence offered by pieces of Roman pottery made in Northern England stamped with the name Sullon, presumably a craftsman who named himself after a place where he had previously worked or served his apprenticeship, thus confirming a connection between Sulloniacis, and pottery.
References. Bird/Hassell/Sheldon Interpreting Roman London, 1996, the chapter In Search of Sulloniacis by Harvey Sheldon: location of Sulloniacis, possible association with Sufis and Silkstream. McClure, British Place Names in their Historical Setting, 1910: meanings
of tunsteall and Sulloniacis. Gover etc. The Place Names of Middlesex, EPNS, 1941: derivation of Silkstream from Suluc, AS charter reproduced as Appendix 1. Rivet and Smith, The Place-names of Roman Britain, 1979: derivation of Sulloniacis. Fred Hitchirr‑
Kemp, Notes on a Survey of Hendon made in 1754 …, Hendon 192819, typescript in Hendon library: poss. association of Sunnyhill with sun worship, pp 7 — 8, 230 — 232. Janet McCrickard, Eclipse of the Sun, 1990: sun worship across Europe, Su/is as sun goddess. Encyclopaedia Britannica: various articles give details of sun-worship in Roman times. The Roman Surveyors … , Dilke: heathen religious sites taken over by Christians. Oxford History of England – Roman Britain … , Collingwood and Myers: information about Sufis. A new history of Hendon church is in preparation by Mr R Somes, containing further information, and I am indebted to him for pointing out the sun-worship connection.ROMAN HENDON (Contd) Steve Aleck
ROMAN HENDON UPDATE PART 2,- VIATORES ROUTE 167
The Viatores in their book in the sixties, pointed out that a Roman road ought to pass through Mill Hill and Hendon, and delineated what they thought to be its route. HADAS then conducted many investigations of this route, without finding any evidence of it ( – although a Roman road was discovered, it was probably a different one!) Since that time some members have suspected that route 167 does indeed exist, but on quite a different line to that which the Viatores published.
We are currently investigating this route, and trying to find an area which will warrant excavation and/or geophysical testing. A group of intrepid members took a break from washing Brockley Hill sherds on 11 October and tramped over a part of Copthall Fields, but found that the interesting-looking mound that I thought was a Roman road is more likely to be associated with a sewage pipe!
ROMAN HENDON UPDATE PART 3 – THE PADDOCK
Drainage work in this field at Church End, Hendon is being watched as mentioned in the last newsletter. A full report will be prepared when the work is finished, but at this point we can say that, although non situ archaeological remains have been seen. We have now found one or two sherds of apparently Roman pottery, as well as several pieces of Roman brick, in addition to the late- and
post- mediaeval material mentioned last month.
MATHILDA MARKS-KENNEDY SCHOOL, MILL HILL Stephen Aleck
This private school is in buildings, formerly Shakerham Farm, of which the oldest part is timber-framed. The small timber framed wing is thought to be a remaining wing of an original hall-house (i.e. a house without a chimney, open to the roof).
The school wants to demolish some modern structures at the back of this site and build a new block, and the Council, advised by English Heritage, agreed to allow this, provided that archaeological site watching is carried out to see whether remains of the hall-house turn up in the excavations. EH suggested that HADAS might be able to do this work, and have offered to assist us in preparing a programme of archaeological work.
Would anybody who might be able to visit the site during the works please contact Brian Wrigley or Stephen Aleck (959 0722). (Works are starting in March.)
MEMBERS’ NEWS DOROTHY NEWBURY
MRS BANHAM – a Founder Member of HADAS. All her friends in the Society will be pleased to hear that she is progressing well after her fall on the way to church. a member of the nursing home staff tells me that Mrs Banham is a very determined lady (don’t we all know it?). With somebody to hold her arm to give her confidence, she can walk the length of the corridor – in spite of her broken pelvis, broken wrist and sprained ankle ! She can also write letters again. We all wish her well.
TED SAMMES – another Founder Member, is in hospital. He has been at home with daily care since his heart operation a few years ago. Maidenhead Archaelogical Society contacted us through Liz Holliday on 18th October, and will be in touch re his progress. Ring Dorothy on 0181- 203-0950 for any further information or his address.
TWO PIECES OF INTEREST FROM BRIAN WRIGLEY
More News of Oetzi the Alpine Iceman
A kind friend and neighbour has given me a copy of an article in the New Scientist of 12th September, by Tom Loy, about his scientific research into the Iceman’s toolkit. He has spent many years making and using tools of prehistoric types, then examining the microscopic residues, which had clearly helped his investigation. Some points which interested me follow
The 2 arrows were long and deep-penetrating (from the bloodstains up to midshaft),feathered (fletched) spirally to provide spin for long shots.
The scraper was ‘of classic design’ – triangular in section, one edge for cutting grasses (silica gloss), one for bone scraping (collagen residues), ends for skinworking, backbone shaped as a plane to shave bone or antler – ‘the original Swiss Army Knife’
The copper axe residues included collagen and blood, suggesting use in butchering; the nicks and dents in the edge matched the scallops patterned on the bow also found, suggesting Oetzi had made his own bow.
Tom Loy’s interpretation is that Oetzi was a highly skilled hunter who made his own weapons, carrying all necessary multi-purpose tools ‘for hunting , butchering and bringing back meat, skins, antlers or horn on his lightweight pack frame’.
Still to come is the completion of laboratory DNA tests on blood residues to show what species they were from. I find the evidence of ancient technological skills most impressive. If any reader would like a copy of the full article, I should be happy to provide it.
North London Archaeological Liaison Committee
This Committee meets three times a year, organised by MoLAS for representatives from MoLAS, local authorities and Societies, and the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service of English Heritage. I usually attend for HADAS, and at the October meeting I was very pleased to find that Councillor Steven Blomer was there for Barnet Council – the first time for some years they have been represented. English Heritage apologised for absence, due to a meeting of their own discussing London archaeology’s organisation, consultation, research agenda etc.
The current planning application for golf courses at Edgwarebury was mentioned, and T reported HADAS’s submission in support of GLAAS’s; MoLAS (who did the desktop assessment) are submitting proposals to the developers. I was asked about ‘The Paddock’ in Hendon and was able to report some sitewatching owing to the assiduity of our Stephen Aleck.
I also reported English Heritage’s request for us to help on a school site in Hale Lane, Mill Hill, and, of course, to update our position on fieldwalking at Brockley Hill. (For Stephen Aleck’s updates see page h )
PLANNING APPLICATIONS (From Robert Whytehead of English Heritage)
Kingshead House, The Ridgeway. N.W.7,near where pre-historic and Saxon finds have been made.
Northgate Clinic, Goldsmith Ave. N.W.9, which is close to the early site of Kingsbury end where Roman material has been found.
Sobek House Rooker Way and 1 – 5 Rushgrove Parade N.W.9, along the Edgware road, former Roman road of Watling Street.
In London Borough. of Harrow, the Council itself is planning to change the use of land and buildings at Wood Farm, Wood Lane, Stanmore, to cemetery and residential use. Although out of our Borough, this site
is very close to the Roman potteries site of Silonicae at Brockley Hill, where we have been fieldwalking recently. (From TESSA SMITH)
BURY FARM FIELDWALKING PROJECT
We have passed the halfway mark in cleaning the finds thanks to the unflagging efforts of the fieldwalking team, but we do need to maintain the present pace to complete this work by the end of October. The next phase will be identification of the contents of each bag and recording on bulk finds sheets – less messy and more fun than bowls of mud? After all this has been done, we will get down to the detailed work on the pottery recording sheets.
In the meantime, if you have expertise in pot, brick/tile identification but have not already taken part in this particular project, could you get in touch with Brian Wrigley on 0181 959 5982 or Vikki O’Connor on 0181 361 1350.
Fiona Seeley of the Museum of London Finds & Environmental Service (MoLFES) will be spending the day with us on Saturday 14th November to make a start on analysing the pottery.
OTHER SOCIETY EVENTS
Barnet & District Local History Society
Wednesday 25 November – Annual General Meeting
At: Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, High Barnet, 7.45 for 8pm
City of London Archaeological Society
Friday 20 November
Iron Working in Roman Britain – Dr David Sim
At St Olave’s Hall, Mark Lane, EC3, 6.30 for 7pm. Visitors welcome.
Enfield Archaeological Society
Friday 20th November
London’s Medieval Monasteries: the fruits of post-excavation research – Barney Sloane
At: Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side/ Parsonage Lane, Enfield, 7.30 for 8pm, visitors 50p. Hornsey Historical Society
Wednesday 11 November
The Council for the Preservation of Rural England – Stephen Cooper
At: Union Church Community Centre, corner of Ferme Park Road & Western Park, 8pm.
Pinner Local History Society
Thursday 5 November
Harefield, the Last Village in Middlesex – Eileen Bowlt
At: Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, 8pm, visitors £1.
St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society
Friday 27 November
Geophysical Methods for Archaeology – Dr Vince Gaffney
At: St Albans School, 8pm.
The Archaeology of Towns in England – public lecture series
The Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Sq, WC1, 7.00pm. £5 (£2.50 concessions) at the door. Thurs 12 November: IPSWICH – Keith Wade, Suffolk County Archaeologist
Thurs 19 November: VERULAMIUM – Ros Niblett, St Albans Museum
Thurs 26 November: DORCHESTER – Peter Woodward, Dorset County Museum
Thurs 3 December: CANTERBURY – Paul Bennett, Canterbury Archaeological Trust Thurs 10 December: WINCHESTER – Martin Biddle, Hertford College, Uni. of Oxford
LAMAS 33rd ANNUAL LOCAL HISTORY CONFERENCE
Perceptions of London – Writers and Artists in the Metropolis
Saturday 21 November 10am – 5pm
Tickets £5, available from: 36 Church Road, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7PX
WHAT’S ON THIS WINTER – COURSES AND EVENTS (CONTD.)
Extra-Mural Studies at The Instituter, Hampstead Garden Suburb
London. N.W.11 7 BN
(Birkbeck Extra-Mural Studies Centre, University of London)
Certificate and Diploma in archaeology
Course no. 374 The Archaeology of the Ancient Levant
Mondays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Institute – 20 Meetings + 4 visits
Teacher : J. Clayton B.A.
Fee:94.00 (OAP, low waged, unwaged: £47.00)
This course will give a broad overview of the archaeology of Palestine and its neighbouring countries from the earliest times until the end of the second milennium B.C. Special reference will be made to
the relationships between the archaeological and textual sources. Includes coursework.
Historical Association (Hampstead and North London Branch) Fellowship House, Willifield Green, Hampstead Garden Suburb N.W.11, at 7.45 p.m.
Thursday,l9th November – Dr Kate Lowe (Goldsmiths’ College)
‘Female Witnesses in 16th C. Italy’ Nun historians on the world
within and without their cloisters.
Thursday, 10th December – Miss Brenda Bolton (queen Mary and Westfield
‘Innocent III meets his Martin Guerre :the strange case of Gills and Palmerius, who returns from captivity to claim her from her second
Mill Hill Historical Society
Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway,Mill Hill, at 8 p.m.
Wednesday, llth November – Mrs M. Smith,who gave an excellent lecture to the Society last winter, and we are pleased to welcome her again.
Java, Sulowesi (Celebes) Sumatra’
Wednesday,9th December. – Mr Richard Nichols
‘Bethlem Hospital’ This famous hospital celebrated its 750th
anniversary last year. The design of the new building erected after the Great Fire of London set the standard for such hospitals caring for the mentally ill for the next 150 years.
PLANNING APPLICATIONS (Contd. from page 7 )
In late 1995, we were invited to, and did, comment on the Planning Brief for possible redevelopment at Mill Hill (East) Gas Works Site, as did English Heritage (GLAAS). We were told an archaeological assesment would be needed to support any planning application. In November, 1996, Herts Archaeological Trust completed a desk-based assessment for British Gas. December 1996 GLAAS advised the planning authority that any application should be supported by a field eval‑
uation on the playing field area. In August 1998, our Committee heard that Barnet Council had given planning consent without any archaeolical provision and I was asked to write expressing our disappointment We have had an apology for ‘the oversight’ with explanation that the permission is only ‘outline’ and it is hoped that the omission will be corrected when further applications are made before the commencement of works. (From BRIAN WRIGLEY)
A weekend in Bristol and South Wales
Day 1- Thursday 3rd September 1998
Lacock and Bath Tessa Smith
Leaving the umbrellas of London far behind us, a coach of HADAS pilgrims travelled towards the west country to sample the archaeological delights of Bath and Bristol. In spite of a crawl of heavy traffic, a dizziness of roundabouts and a close encounter with a low bridge, we emerged triumphant in glorious autumn sunshine into the National Trust village of Lacock. We were like children set free in a sweet shop. The assortment of buildings range from a large 14th century barn and tiny 14th century cruck beam cottage, to the 19th century school, complete with children playing in the playground. The market cross, the village lock-up, the 15th century wool merchant’s house, with a fine horse passage and over-hanging jetty, every corner was a delight.
Lacock Abbey was founded in 1232 and the town developed as a wool town, with spinning and weaving, but today, a silver smithy fronts the slaughter house, a pottery replaces the weaver, and not a sheep is to be heard. Only the `oo’s and ah’s’ of HADAS members! (whoops! Sorry)
At the dissolution of the monasteries Lacock Abbey was converted into a private country house, and eventually owned by the Talbot family, who gave it to the National Trust in 1944, together with the whole village. Although the Abbey was not open, some of us visited the fine medieval cloisters and admired the 15th century wall paintings. All of us visited the museum.
The most famous member of the Talbot family was William Fox Talbot, the pioneer of photography. The Fox Talbot Museum shows the fascinating development from the camera obscura to the earliest photographs using the properties of silver nitrate and the positive/negative process. It is claimed that Fox Talbot was an eminent botanist, mathematician, physicist and transcriber of Syrian and Chaldean cuneiform texts, (hieroglyphs?) He also remodelled the south elevation of Lacock Abbey, giving it an elegantly ornate tower, roof balustrade and oriole window.
Well satisfied with our first stop, we sped on to Bath, grand and golden in the sunshine, the only natural hot springs in Britain.
Central to the baths at Aquae Sulis is the Great Bath, smooth and serene as a bowling green, open to the sky and fed by clean hot mineral waters, which gush out of a huge drain with tremendous force, heat and steam. In Roman times a vaulted roof of timber and tile covered this 5 foot deep swimming pool, keeping the waters clear. Now it is dangerously full of green algae. The pool is lined with massive sheets of lead, mined from the Mendip lead mines; this lead lining has never leaked and never been stolen! Adjacent to the Great Bath the hypercaust system fed heat to the tepidarium, caldarium and laconicum, a circular chamber that provided dry heat. Here we made offerings to the gods of the Archaeological Trust, and hand-tested the surprisingly high temperature of the water.
Latest archaeological excavations have centred on the temple ruins below the pump room, and have revealed more of the shrine dedicated to Sulis Minerva, the Romano-Celtic goddess of the springs. The Museum contains the shield of Minerva decorated with the famous Gorgons head, the gilded head from a statue of Minerva, Roman carvings and sculptures, offerings of jewellery and coins, and lead curses. These curses were scratched on sheets of lead, rolled and given to the gods.
It seemed incongruous to be transported to the 18th century Pump Room above, filled with 20th century diners in a Georgian Salon. Did anyone try the medicinal waters and live dangerously? I think more of us went to worship at Sally Lunn’s, the oldest house in Bath.
Alternative Bath researchers sought out the Pulteney Bridge and Weir, some took the open top bus ride, some worshipped at the train museum, some translated, hilariously, Latin inscriptions on monuments in the Abbey. We ate ice creams in the street. Would Beau Nash have approved? A good time was had by all.
From Bath to Bristol, beside the Clifton Suspension Bridge which spans the tremendous Avon Gorge, past the Bristol Zoo to Hyatt Hall, where hot water gushed out in abundance and where we were made to drink intoxicating liquors before a somewhat early night.
Day 2 – Friday 4th September 1998
Of Druids, Witches and Rubbery Masses Bill Bass
After a coffee at the ‘Druids Arms’ we were ready to step back 5000 years into pre-history.
The megalithic stones of Stanton Drew greeted us with a cloak of mist and drizzle, we convinced ourselves that this made the place more atmospheric and mysterious. Incongruously the site is approached through a small housing estate which opens-up into an area of high ground, this is overlooked by the rolling countryside of North Somerset on all sides.
Our guide was Gail Boyle of Bristol City Museum who explained that the stones were first recorded in 1664 by John Aubrey and first planned by Stukely in 1776, There are in fact three circles, the largest of these (Great Circle 115m dia) is second in size only to Avebury, the other two being comparatively small_ The Great and adjacent north-east circles were approached by short avenues of standing stones. This being farmland a herd of cows together with HADAS members listened intently as Gail mentioned the megaliths were of local manufacture – a source 3 miles distant and that apart from the odd chambered tomb and hillfort there is a relative lack of detected prehistoric sites in the area, though this may change soon (see below).
The site has attracted a considerable tradition of folklore. Most persistently is the tale that the stones represent members of a wedding party and its musicians, lured by the Devil to celebrate on the Sabbath and thus becoming petrified in their revels. As it happens I felt a bit like this as I had left my coat on the coach.
Stanton’s stone circles lie somewhat off the beaten track and have been minding their own business for many centuries with little in the way of modern research. But this has changed – big time. In 1997 as part of a reevaluation of the site, the Ancient Monuments Laboratory of English Heritage carried out a magnetometer survey of the large field which contains the Great Circle and north-east circle. Its results were surprising and well publicised in the press. Readings showed a very large buried ditch enclosing the largest stone circle plus a concentric pattern of buried pits within the megaliths. These have been compared with sites such as Woodhenge, near Stonehenge, and the Sanctuary , near Avebury where it’s thought that similar pits held massive upright timbers that may or may not have been roofed.
This has thrust Stanton Drew into the spotlight as an important and complex henge site used a focus for gatherings, religious or otherwise. Further survey work is planned to explore the south-west circle which stands slightly aloof and overlooking the other two. When Gail wins the Lottery she’s going to have the whole surrounding landscape surveyed! Once more to the ‘Druids Arms’ because in its beer-garden is a group of three large stones called the Cove which must closely relate to its sister monuments down on the farm.
It was a fascinating visit to a quiet, untouched and as yet undeveloped site that has more secrets to reveal.
Next stop was the Chewton Cheese Dairy where a ton of Cheddar cheese is produced every day (how do they get it through the door?) by traditional methods.
The Dairy belongs to Viscount Chewton, heir to the Earl Waldegrave, whose ancestor, Sir Edward Waldegrave, was given the land by Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII in 1553. The Wildergrave family has owned the land ever since. There was a Benedictine house on this site, later occupied by the Carthusians and then in its place a large Gothic style house – Chewton Priory now mostly gone.
We were given an introduction by Simon Foulds and Francis Disney – a right pair of comedians, also, Simon at one time had been a lecturer in archaeology. They conveyed a well rehearsed and amusing talk on the process of making their cheese. After traditional cheese words such as cows (a lot), milk, starter, lactose, curds, whey, salt and rubbery masses had passed us by, it was time for a brief tour of the dairy. This included a demonstration on how to make the all-important rind which allows the cheese to mature properly, our cheese then gets pressed for a very, long time. In the strangely near empty storeroom we could view the finished result, a mild cheese is usually about 5-6 months old while a mature (or tasty cheese) takes 8-12 months. The temperature in here is kept at a constant 50°F or 10°C – I knew this as I had left my coat on the coach.
On then to Wookey Hole Showcases. Millions of years ago the River Axe as it became known dissolved limestones and conglomerates to form passages and caverns through the Mendip Hills. Stone tools prove that The
caves were occupied c 50.000 years ago, they were hunting bear, hyena and rhinoceros, much later Iron-age people of c 250BC also lived here. Bones from a Romano-British cemetery have been found but they were washed in when the caves flooded periodically.
Inside a trail led us through a dramatically lit series of chambers with stalactites, stalagmites, amazing colourful rock formations and the clear waters of the Axe. One minute we’re ducking through a low passage then next we’re high above on a catwalk. Our guide impressed us with the legend of the Witch of Wookey ” an evil old woman who lived in the caves with her dog, one day while casseroling a child she was turned to stone by a monk who sprinkled her with holy water”. No change there then, being turned to stone is obviously an occupational hazard in Somerset. Inside Wookey’s chambers the temperature is a slightly chilly 11°C damn!
From the caves a path leads to the Wookey Hole Mill, one of two handmade paper mills in Britain. A papermill was recorded here in 1610, advantages included a good supply of clean water from the Axe, good drying breezes up the valley and little air pollution, although it was close enough to Wells and Bristol for a supply of cotton rags, the essential raw material for making paper at that time. When machines took over in the mid 19thC a William Hodgkinson bought the mill to preserve the handmade skills which ran until the 1950s. Nowadays Madame Tussauds runs a commercial operation with the old Victorian machinery.
For some reason the mill also houses a tribute to the Victorian Seaside Pier with penny arcades, crazy mirrors and so forth. My particular favourite being the ‘Magical Mirror Maze’ with over forty mirrors, each eight feet high and set at precise 60° angles creating the impression of a huge vaulted crypt – very effective.
By now it is tipping down with rain, from Wookey the coach takes us the scenic route through Cheddar Gorge to the village of Priddy where we had a fine dinner at ‘The New Inn’.
Day 3–Saturday 5th September 1998 Denis J Ross
We emerged from our single rooms for breakfast at 8 and took to our coach at 9 bearing our packed lunches. We drove 12 miles to Ca erwent, not far over the Severn Bridge in Wales. There we were met by Howard Pell, an independent guide. He proved to be as enthusiastic as he was articulate in taking us round the remains of what was once Venta Silurum , “the market town of the Silures”, the tribe conquered by the Romans around 75 AD after lengthy hostilities. We learnt that ” Caer” meant “Fort” and “Went” meant “Market Place” and that the town was thought to have had a population of some 3,000 people. In about 330 AD, the Romans, as part of the town, built a Temple to Mars Ocelus and a market centre with shops, houses, forum and a basilica which housed council and tribunal rooms. The remains also included a large,
centrally heated town house of the 2nd. or 3rd. century AD obviously belonging to a person of some substance.
Howard then took us on a walk (no slouches us!) right round the town walls which were in varying degrees of height and preservation. Our progress in one part was impeded by some aggressive looking long-horned cows (Welsh Blacks) protecting their calves but we showed no fear and passed safely. The walls were built in about 330AD and Howard posed the question of why, at that stage, they were thought to be necessary.
Then to the Village Church which had incorporated into its structure some Roman masonry and a Roman mosaic. It also had on display a block of stone dedicated to Mars Ocelus and an inscribed statue base honouring the name of Tiberius Claudius Paulinus, onetime commander of the Second Legion when it was stationed in the area.
Back in the coach and 10 miles further into Wales to Caerleon. Again we met Howard to extend his enthusiastic approach with the 50 acre Legionary Fort of Isca Silarum . It was built in about 75 AD (about the same time as the Coliseum in Rome) as a base for the 5500 men of the Second Augustan Legion (crack troops) after the pacification of the Silures. In the time available, we could not see everything and Howard concentrated on the The Barracks and The Amphitheatre.
The barracks were a series of 60 single -storied buildings each of which accommodated 80 men, commanded by a centurion, in 8 man
cubicles. Only one line of these had been excavated and the floor levels revealed. The other lines were indicated by “stone maps”. Howard evoked the lives of the soldiers in their cramped conditions (the centurion was better off) with special reference to their bathing and toilet needs.
The enormous amphitheatre was excavated in 1926/7 by Sir Mortimer Wheeler. Here could be seated 6000 men on tiers of wooden seats to watch military training, gladiatorial combat or the baiting of wild animals. Howard indicated the various entrances and exits and, with his help, we could imagine the original height and the sight it must have been when full. A belief existed, and may still exist, that the amphitheatre was the site of King Arthur’s Round Table. Howard gave this theory short shift!
Having thanked Howard Pell for his impressive performance, it was back to the coach and off on the 23 miles to Monmouth the very name of which speaks history. We were met (near the famous 13th century stone-gated Monnow Bridge) by Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeological Society. He gave us a preliminary chat about his Society’s activities and then led us to their current excavation in Monnow Street (the main street) itself. This was remarkable for an amateur Society. It was inside a very large building which had so far been saved from development. A large area had already been dug to a considerable depth and a further area was in course of being dug. As to the dug area, Steve told us about the various levels which had been identified from Roman (50AD) onwards including mediaeval house floors and terraces and areas of flooding. He also described the impressive finds of pottery, bones and artefacts. We looked at the area now being dug and Steve pointed out a stone furnace and a well.
After thanking Steve, and a walk around,and tea in, Monmouth, we drove the ten miles via the Wye Valley to Tintern there to gaze in wonder at the ruins of Tintern Abbey-a break from the earlier Roman
emphasis as it was founded by the Cistercians in the 12th century. The ruins are as magnificent a spectacle as ever with the graceful lines of the towering walls and the “open to the skies” effect.
We then repaired to The Anchor in Tintern for food and drink before returning to our base in Bristol. It had been a long and tiring day but a very interesting and enjoyable one. There were some drooping eyelids in the coach on the way back!
Day 4 – Sunday 6th September 1998
SUNDAY IN BRISTOL – CASTLES, CHURCHES, BOATS AND TRAMLINES
Following our morning ration of bacon and egg we said our tearful farewells to the University and departed for the centre of Bristol for our tour led by Bruce Williams of the 11-strong Bristol City Museum based Bristol and Region Archaeological Services. Your scribe noticed as we pulled up at Broad Weir to meet our guide some tell tale signs and trotted gleefully off to photograph traces of lifted tramway pointwork fossilised in a length of surviving granite sets – Bristol lost her trams, and much else besides, in the 1941 Blitz.
We were given a quick historical account of Bristol which had a late Saxon Mint, the contemporary town standing on a plateau defended by rivers, the later Norman Ringwork and Motte and Bailey Castle (later rebuilt in stone in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries) protecting the landward side. We traced the line of the east castle wall in an area which became the commercial heart of Bristol until utterly destroyed in the 1940/41 air raids and totally rebuilt post-war when the new shopping area moved elsewhere in the city. In the modern, landscaped Castle Park we viewed the surviving sally port and two surviving arches of the King’s Hall, some of the few castle fragments visible above ground and not demolished in 1656 or lost to later cellars and bomb damage. The much battered remains of the twelfth century south curtain wall displayed the typical local red mortar, due to its local Triassic sandstone content and two arrow slots, plus very visible evidence of decay of these only recently conserved remains which badly needed repointing. Still in good working order was the Courage Brewery in the floating Harbour area built to ease traffic and control the former 40 feet tidal drop of the river Avon. We viewed the surviving shells of the blitzed churches of St. Peter and its neighbour St. Mary-le-Port, both now sheltering some of Bristol’s homeless population. Moving to the medieval centre at Broad St, where the road junction once had a church at each corner, we viewed the 4 sixteenth/seventeenth century bronze pillars where Bristol merchants transacted business on these ‘nails’, hence the phrase `to pay on the nail’. We also saw the surviving 13th century town gate at Tower Lane, surmounted by the redundant church of St. John the Baptist, now maintained by the Redundant Churches Fund.
Following this informative tour we moved to the Great Western Dock area for lunch, giving your scribe chance to visit the aircraft engines, motor vehicles, broad gauge railway carriage side – and tram model – at the excellent Bristol Industrial Museum, to where he travelled courtesy of the new flywheel operated Parry People Mover electric tram running on a trial basis along a surviving length of the old dock railway system.
We then moved on to that magnificent vessel, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s S.S. Great Britain, launched in 1843 as the worlds’ biggest ship and recovered from the Falkland Islands as a derelict hulk in 1970 – restoration has been underway ever since. She was the first ocean going propeller driven iron ship and effort is presently concentrated on recreating the ‘Great (steam) Engine’- then the most powerful in the world, developing some 1,600 horsepower and consuming 70 tonnes of coal daily. After a very informative guided tour, which stressed the strict Victorian separation of the social classes, (divided by the engine room !) a stroll on
deck – and beneath the ship – a slightly intimidating experience, walking round the base of her dry dock – brought home her sheer size, impressive even today. Her long and varied career as luxury liner, armed gold carrier, troop ship, cargo sailing ship and storage hulk is well covered by the interior displays.
A fast run back to London ended another wonderful weekend. Well done Dorothy!
OUTING to KENSAL GREEN CEMETERY – LONDON’S FIRST NECROPOLIS – TESSA SMITH
Who would have believed that, adjacent to the noisy and traffic-polluted Harrow Road, there lies an area of 77 acres of peace and tranquillity, with easy parking
Stewart Wild made it possible for a large group of HADAS members to visit All souls’ Cemetery recently, where we met outside the Anglican Chapel. Inside this neo-classical building, built of Portland stone in Doric style, with porticos and colonnades, we sat on long pews which overlook
a huge brass-topped catafalque. During Victorian funerals, this mechanism supported and lowered magnificent triple-lined coffins, by means of hydraulics, down to the catacombs below. Recently this catafalque has been restored to full working order by the Friends of the Cemetery.
The catacombs are the largest working catacombs in the country, with a capacity for about 4,000 coffins, now three-quarters full. They are composed of long brick passages, with vaulted roofs, compartmented to contain sealed coffins on shelves in perpetuity. We peered through iron grills at decaying wood, burial wreaths, rusting brass, velvet and verdigris, and urns of ashes long forgotten.
All souls’ Cemetery was thefirst great commercial cemetery to be opened in London (1833) in answer to the scandalous overcrowding and appalling conditions of city churchyards at that time. For those who could afford it, it offered a secure and fashionable burial, usually pompous and pretentious, in accord with Victorian values and taste.
The variety of monuments crowded together, of all shapes and sizes, is quite breath-taking, reflecting the beliefs, the perceived importances and wealth of those past times. There are also some modern burials, which also reflect these same influences. The graveyard is open to all today.
The stonemasons of times past were kept busy: Greek sarcophagi, winged cherubs, female figures in attitudes of grief, doves, swags of flowers, Gothic pinnacles, a riot of crocketting, huge pedimented mausoleums, a cornucopia of stonework. In contrast, some burials are simply remembered : a wooden cross, a pathside headstone, a polished granite slab.
Part of the fascination of this necropolis is the variety of people buried there : Charles Babbage, Wilkie Collins, W.H. smith, three children of King George III, Sir Terence Rattigan, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Blondini, the mother of Oscar Wilde, the sister-in-law of Charles Dickens. Some HADAS members searched out thoir own particular relation’s grave.
An area of the cemetery is devoted to Dissenters from the Anglican Church. The Dissenters’ Chapel was, like the rest of the cemetery, in a poor state after the Second World War, and has been restored very recently. it was here, in an area behind the north wing, that we gathered for a splendid afternoon tea.
it was a fascinating, soulful and weird experience – not to be forgotten –
Thank you, Stewart.