Newsletter No. 155: January 1984
May 1984 be a year of memorable meetings, rewarding research and delightful digs – best wishes to all members for a happy New Year.
Don’t forget that the January Lecture is on the second (not the first) Tuesday of the Month
Tuesday, 10 January Richard Darrah will be travelling from deepest Suffolk to talk to us about the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow (near Bury St. Edmunds), of which he is warden.
The site was dug in the late 1960s, having previously lain undisturbed, except for medieval ploughing, since the inhabitants abandoned it in the 7th century AD. Even the ploughing ceased about 1300, when the site was covered – and preserved - by a sandstorm.
Using the evidence of pits and postholes, grubenhauser (sunken huts) and a hall house have been reconstructed. The lecture will be particularly interesting because of HADAS’s visits to West Stow in 1977 & 1978, when it was noted in the Newsletter that” we were fortunate to visit West Stow in its early stages and it should be interesting to follow its development…” With Mr. Darrah’s help, that’s exactly what we should be able to do on 10 January.
Tuesday, 7 February HADAS excavation at Church End, Hendon 1973-74 by Ted Sammes
Tuesday, 6 March Twenty-five years of excavation in Wiltshire By John Musty
Tuesday, 3 April Underwater archaeology today by Alexander Flinder
Tuesday 15 May Annual General Meeting
STREAM-WALKING 1983 a summary by Daphne Lorimer
Last winter the Silk Stream and its tributary Dean’s Brook, were walked by a stalwart band of HADAS members, for their entire length. No archaeological artifacts or features were discovered at this time but the exercise was useful in that hitherto unknown aspects of the Borough were revealed and places of possible future interest noted.
Considerable portions of both streams have been constrained and in some parts canalised but they are swift flowing, tend to meander and where oxbows are present, do form beaches on which a considerable amount of debris collects. These beaches are ideal spots for regular and systematic inspection, especially after heavy rain, for Medieval and Roman pottery (and since the basis is flint gravel) for flint artifacts.
Beach formations particularly noted were those in Montrose Park, in the stretch beyond Montrose Bridge on the Silk Stream and on the Dean’s Brook, in the stretch parallel to Wenlock Road and south-east of Edgware station beyond the culvert carrying the stream beneath the railway.
It was noted ,that a narrow band of pebbles was a feature of Dean’s Brook wherever stretches were found in their natural state. Samples of soil and gravel were taken.
Some interest was aroused in local- residents whose houses abutt the streams and information was gleaned about the alteration of courses and the straightening of reaches. Members were always alert to the possibility of garden finds.
It is hoped that stream-walking will continue in 1984 as we have already done one walk on our new project: The River Brent and the Dollis and Mutton Brooks. It is a pleasant occupation, gives a new light on old places and in the Borough of Barnet is a very possible source of archaeological material.
ORPHEUS AND HIS DOG
SHEILA WOODWARD lightens the winter gloom by looking back, Proust-like, with the eye of affection on one of HADAS’s summertime expeditions.
One of the Roman Group’s most enjoyable summer visits in 1983 was to Littlecote Park in Wiltshire, where an impressive Roman villa has been under excavation since 1978. Seen on a glorious summer day, in its idyllic setting beside a peaceful River Kennet, the site could scarcely have failed to capture our imagination.
The excavation itself, the history of the villa and the interpretation of what has been found are all of particular interest. The excavation is funded by a charitable trust set up by Mr, D.S. Wills, the present owner of the Littlecote estate-, and is said to be the largest “private” excavation in this country. Six full-time staff; led by Bryan Walters who showed us round, are supplemented by students and other volunteer diggers during the summer.
The villa seems to have been built about AD170 – displacing the small settlement of the previous century, rather as the building of the present Littlecote House caused the abandonment of an adjacent medieval village some 1340 years later. Altered and enlarged over a period of 200 years, the villa fell into decay and was abandoned at the end of the 4th century. During its heyday the villa was the centre of a large farming estate.
Traces of the Roman field system have been found over an extensive area but have not yet been completely surveyed. Farm buildings are being excavated, including barns, workshops, a bakery and a possible watermill. The villa was well sited for importing supplies and distributing its farm produce. It was on a major Roman road of military construction, which ran from Silchester to a Roman fort near Marlborough with a further road connecting it with the Fosse Way near Bath. The River Kennet was navigable by flat-bottomed boats with a 13 inch draught, capable of transporting heavy loads of grain, building stone etc. and it provided a direct link with the Thames.
After its abandonment, the villa lay buried until 1727 when it was uncovered during the building of a hunting lodge.
The magnificent Orpheus mosaic excited considerable interest and was described by Roger Gale as” the finest pavement that the sun ever shone upon in England.” The Society of Antiquaries commissioned George Vertue to produce an engraving of it (a colossal print survives in the Ashmolean Museum; Oxford but it not on public display)
and the wife of the estate steward who discovered the mosaic embroidered a tapestry of it which can still be seen in Littlecote House.
Unfortunately the winter of 1727/8 was exceptionally harsh, and exposure badly damaged the mosaic. Indeed, it was believed to have been destroyed until the excavation of 1977 uncovered it once more. Only about 40% of the mosaic had survived the engraving and the tapestry mentioned above have enabled the other 60% to be restored. Whatever one’s views about restoration, the mosaic is certainly impressive.
It had originally been supposed that the mosaic floor was that of a triclinium (dining room) used in the summer and the central figure with his lyre had been interpreted as Apollo. However, a canine figure beside him, not shown on the engraving or the tapestry but now clearly visible, leads Bryan Walters to argue that the figure is Orpheus and to interpret the surrounding mosaic pictures within the cycle of the Orphic myth. He regards the whole complex as an Orphic temenos, a pagan Orphic chapel to the 4th Century villa. It is a bold claim which is by no means universally accepted but which Mr. Walters supports with persuasive argument.
Excavation at Littlecote is to continue and a visit there can be most warmly recommended. In addition to the Roman villa, Littlecote House is well worth seeing. The gardens are pleasant, and an excellent tea can be obtained, the small shop is imaginatively stocked and there is even a (discreetly hidden) Wild West Show for those who like that kind of thing.
NEW MEMBERSHIP LIST
This is always a hectic time of year for our Membership Secretary. Once December 31 has passed, it’s time to bring the HADAS membership list absolutely up to date and to stencil it. Ensuring that several hundred names, addresses and telephone numbers are spot-on is, no typist’s dream of pleasure but Phyllis Fetcher bears her cross bravely. Last year we circulated a copy of the Jan.1, 1983 list to every member with the February Newsletter. We usually do that every second year The other year i.e. this year – we sent it, in the interests of economy, only to members who will need it because of their work for the Society (e.g. Committee members, group leaders, our librarian etc) and to any other members who specifically asks for it So if you would like to have a copy of the membership list as at 1 January 1984, ,please let Phyllis Fletcher know (on 455 2558).
She will then arrange for a copy to be enclosed with your February Newsletter.
We can start the New Year most happily by welcoming all those who have joined
HADAS during the back-end of 1983. They include Mr J.S. Adams, North Finchley, Mr & Mrs Faraday, Cricklewood; Joanna Fells, East Finchley; Carolyn Fiddes, Finchley, Mark Forrest, East Finchley; Duncan Henry, Finchley Mr. T.G.Holden, North Finchley, Christine Hudson, Battersea; Carole, Melanie and Ruth Kent, West Hendon; Ian McKevitt, Mill Hill, Jean Matt, Hendon; Irene Sala, W.17; Sally White, Barnet.
The Newsletter hopes that they will find their HADAS membership gives them added zest to 1984.
PAYING A DEBT OF GRATITUDE
This seems a suitable moment to express the Editor’s heartfelt appreciation of all those who so willingly, with never a grouse, help to get the Newsletter out on time each month.
First, may I thank my associate editors, each of whom makes herself responsible for a couple of issues a year – Enid Hill, Liz Holliday, Isobel McPherson and Liz Sagues and with them I would like to couple the names of Deirdre Barrie and Joan Wrigley, who so kindly cut Newsletter stencils when the editor-of-the-month can’t do it.
A particular tribute should go from all of us to Enid Hill. She not only edits the Newsletter from time to time, but every time she takes charge of our addressograph machine, makes sure our mailing list is correct and tackles all the envelopes.
Finally, we are all deeply in debt – as we have been now for many years – to Rene Frauchiger and Trudi Pulfer. Rene keeps our Duplicator and yearns over it (and it can be a temperamental beast) like a mother. She rolls off the whole of each Newsletter, collates it pages and the she and Mrs. Pulfer stuff’ the envelopes, stamp and post them. It’s a mammoth task 12 times a year and the fact that it’s a labour of love doesn’t make it any less labour, either’!
Anyway, everyone who enjoys the Newsletter will, I’m sure, want to join me in grateful thanks to all these willing helpers.
Brigid Grafton Green
THE ANNALS OF THE POOR IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY By Nell Penny
There is a wealth of local history material in the library archives at The Burroughs N.W.4 Particularly rich are the annals of the poor, both indigenous and “foreign” These are contained in the manuscript material for the years 1660 to 1835 deposited by the officials of St. Mary’s church – vestry minutes, church wardens’ accounts, accounts of the overseers of the poor, examinations, artifacts and removals.
By an act passed in 1601, Hendon, like all other parishes, rural and urban, had to appoint two overseers of the poor. These men, unpaid like all parish officers, were to get money by collecting rates on land and tenements. During the first half of the eighteenth century Hendon overseers generally raised two rates a year. They were charged to support the impotent poor (i.e. the sick, the old and young children), to apprentice older children by paying premiums and to buy a stock of materials upon which the able-bodied poor were to be set to work. Hendon overseers seem to have performed these duties reasonably well in a paternally despotic way, typical of eighteenth century local administration. Because office was unpaid, nobody was willing to be an overseer for more than one year but most overseers served the following year as church wardens.
Between 1703 and 1757 four overseers only made their mark instead of signing their names when they produced their accounts before the vestry, and none appropriated parish money.
The treatment accorded to the “out poor” was a different story. Small sums paid to “casualty” poor and examinations of people not recognisably of Hendon reveal callousness and even brutality. This harsh attitude was not confined to Hendon. It bedeviled all parishes after the Settlement Act of 1662. By this act only poor born in a parish, apprenticed in it or who had rented property of an annual value of £10, who had been a servant or a parish officer for at least a year, were entitled to help from that parish. So parish officers chased away travelling poor, rigorously examined poor people and fought other parishes about settlements, all in the good cause of keeping down the rates. One classic fight was between two London parishes at Clerkenwell Sessions. The parish boundary ran across a poor man’s bed. Sessions decided the poor man was settled in that parish where his head lay – his head being the essence of his body,
In Hendon between 1700 and 1750 the payments to “casualty” poor show a zealous determination not to allow “foreigners” to remain in the parish. In 1709 Matthew Higgs the overseer for South End (Church End, the Burroughs, Parson Street, Golders Green, Childs Hill, Guttersedge and the Hyde) paid 5/9 for “a great bellied woman for relief & expenses and several times to send her away” . If a parish could not establish the paternity of a bastard child, that child would have a settlement in the parish. So there are many payments in Hendon to pregnant women of 6d or 1/- “to go away”. In 1721 a woman who had a child “sick of the small pox” was given 3/- and sent out of the parish, A poor man “sick of an ague” was given 2/6 and sent away. In 1734 it was thought worth 3/- to send away an Irish woman with three children. A case showing a rare streak of generosity was 2/6 for “a man lodging at Mr. Brooks, 2/- for two pints of sack for him” and 1/- when he went away.
Examinations of people who might become chargeable on the parish were chores which unpaid overseers might like to evade. An examination meant taking a person before a magistrate and getting a statement from him or her which the magistrate would sign. So the bundle of examinations made between 1727 and 1757 is a very irregular series. There is one paper each for 1727,1731,1735,1739 and 1741; two each for 1736 and 1740 three for 1732 ten in 1737 and eight in 1742. All these people made their statements before John Nicolls, magistrate. In 1751 twenty-six poor made statements before four magistrates.
What kind of people came to Hendon or drifted through it in the first half of the eighteenth century? James Nicolls had been apprenticed to a wheelwright in Redbourn (Herts.) Thomas, his son 45 years old with a wife and three Children had been born in Hendon, but had been a yearly servant of Daniel Nicolls at Rowley Green in Shenley parish for £6.10s a year. Benjamin Sapwell was born at Newport Pagnell in Bucks . He had a wife and two very young children. In 1737 Matthew Pittman was examined. He said he had been born in Ghent in, Flanders “in 1708 or thereabouts”. Was he the child of one of Mariborough’s men? He thought he had a settlement in St. Giles in the Fields because he had been-“apprenticed to a barber and periwigg maker in Earle Street in that parish”. Also in 1737, Thomas and Edward Medcalfe, father and son were examined. Father had been born in Yorkshire, went to Ireland and farmed for forty years in County Longford. Edward had been born in Ireland. But the overseers and the justices must have mistrusted the men – “ordered that they quit the parish in 35 days”.
Did eighteenth century gentlemen tip the barber? A barber with a settlement in High Barnett said his wages were 18 a year besides “other perquisites”. In 1740, Poor Elizabeth Kirby, a single woman, had a child at her father’s, house in Hendon. She was, questioned when the baby was two months old. She said the baby’s father was John Jordan, a fellow servant at a farm in Idlestree. Jordan “several times bad carnal knowledge of her body” . The parish would be faced with either trying to attach a paternity order on Jordan or persuading “Idlestree” to pay for Elizabeth’s baby. The case of Susannah Beadle, a widow examined in 1734 was typical of the stern attitude towards women who might be ‘burdens on the parish for some years. Susannah,, born about 1700 in Bushey, Married John Beadle “at the Fleet” about 1720, (The.Fleet debtors’ prison and the taverns round it were notorious stamping grounds for dissolute clerics who would marry couples for a fee and no questions asked. So deep was the scandal of “Fleet weddings” that an act of 1753 declared that only marriages celebrated in a parish church after calling of the banns, were legal). To continue Susannah’s saga. Five months previously John had died at Hertford, Some 14 years earlier he had told her he had served John Nicoll at Highwood Hill for a whole year and by this had acquired a settlement in Hendon. In 1757 Ann Butler another widow with three young children confessed that she had been born in Southwark and had no other settlement.
It is difficult to calculate how many “out poor” there were in Hendon in the first half of the eighteenth century. Mrs. Corder, our very helpful archivist, found me bundles of examination papers, certificates of settlement from other parishes and removal orders to and from other parishes. Twelve settlement certificates from other parishes survive from the period 1704-1751. A certificate was a legal acknowledgement by a parish that ‘John Smith’ had a settlement in that parish and that the parish was financially responsible for him. Labourers in Hendon had settlements in Edgware, Totteridge, Ridge, St. Andrews, Holborn, Abbots Langley, Monken Hadley and Aldenham. Five certificates come from more distant parishes – Stevenage, Redbourn, Little Gaddesden; Bisbury (Staffs.) and the greatest traveller from Llanvylling in Montgomery. The overseers of that parish declared that John Wynn, accompanied by his wife Winifred and their six children had a settlement in that parish as a “yeoman of the borough”. They provided this information for “Poole in Montgomery and all other parishes in Great Britain”.
Sometimes a certificate from another parish was not enough. Widows were liable to removal to a parish where their husband had a settlement. Only five removal orders, 1737-1757, survive. Four widows had “lately intruded” themselves into Hendon and were to go – one to Aldenham, one to Abbots Langley, one to High Barnett and Sarah Darben with Diana, 8 years and Mary, 5 years and a boy “about five weeks not yet baptized” was sent back to Stain(e)s, Middlesex. Robert Saunders and Mary his wife had to go back to Hornsey – Robert “being lunatick”.
But six times in the same period, Hendon had to take back its own poor from other parishes. A widow with two children had become chargeable on the rates in St. Anne’ s Westminster; another widow with two very young children was returned from Mouldsey (Molesley), Surrey a couple with a young child came back from Totteridge and another couple from Hampstead. Mary Hurst a single woman had “intruded’ into Rotherhithe and was sent home.
It is dangerous to generalise about movements of the labouring poor between 1700 and 1750 from a surviving handful of examinations, certificates and removal orders. Hendon had a much larger population than most villages: Two main roads, Watling Street to the north-west and the North Road not far away, must have brought more than average the number of people seeking work in London and perhaps getting no further than Hendon., But what survives must be typical if it is random survival and it proves that working people did not move far in search of work. A circle with a radius of ten miles would cover most of-the parishes mentioned.
NEWS ABOUT HADAS PEOPLE
Two HADAS members are now proud parents,. Dave ‘and Jennifer King’s first child was born towards the end of November – a son. His name is Philip Hugh and
we’re told that Mum and baby – not to mention Dad – are all doing well. Congratulations are in order and we shouldn’t be surprised if there was a tiny trowel in his first Christmas stocking.
Have you ever heard of Strawberry-pickers’ Palsy? It sounds like one of those bad jokes in a funny film, comparable with Housemaid’s Knee for one HADAS member it’s been bad all right – but certainly no joke. Bryan: Hackett is one of our keenest under-18 members. For several years he •
was junior representative on the HADAS Committee, until he ‘retired’ last year to prepare for.0 Levels. Last, summer he started his school holidays by joining a dig at St.Albans. The evening of the first day he sudden realised that there was no feeling in his feet and legs and nothing he tried would bring it back. Later, in hospital, he was told that he had developed a rare but not unknown complaint Strawberry-pickers’ Palsy. It results from a trapped nerve in his knee – and alas, the cure is long, slow and tedious, ,We’re glad to report that now, some months later, recovery is on its Way. Bryan was able to return to school at UCS for the autumn term, but his summer vacation was wrecked and, for the moment, there’s no hope of his enjoying any form of sport.
This is the first time the Newsletter has heard of this complaint, but we feel it must be one of the natural hazards for an archaeologist, who spends so much time on his/her knees. We’send Bryan our very best wishes for his complete recovery.
HADAS members have been on the move this autumn. Three long-standing members have left the Borough, though we hope very much that their contacts with HADAS will not be completely broken.
One is Daisy Hill, a Vice-President of the Society and our Hon. Secretary through the later 1960s.There was a note with her Christmas Card this year to say that in mid-December she was off to a new home in Chesterfield. We know Hendon will miss Daisy greatly – she has lived in Burroughs Gardens for many years, and has been a tower of strength to many a local voluntary organisation; we have a feeling that she will miss Hendon too, so we hope to see her still, from time to-time.
Andrew and Joan Pares, members since 1975 – when Andrew Pares was Mayor of Barnet and opened a HADAS exhibition at Church Farm House Museum – moved recently from Hadley to Northwood, to be nearer their grandchildren. ‘But it isn’t all that far,’ Mrs.Pares’ said comfortingly at the November lecture, ‘and we hope to be able to keep in touch with our interests here’.
Also moving house were Brian and Rosemary Wibberley and their three children. We’re glad to say their move was only a matter of a few streets, so they will continue to support HADAS actively in Chipping Barnet. We shan’t forget their contribution to our 21st birthday party in 1982 – that magnificent boar’s head they lovingly decorated and the sight of Brian proudly bearing it into the banquet at the head of the corps of HADAS cooks.
“CHRISTMAS 198S’AT WHITBREADS Report by Isobel McPherson
No meteorological disasters threatened the HADAS Christmas Dinner this year. We set off by coach or car or public transport through mild autumn weather on December 6th and walked in from busy Chiswell into the 18th century. The cobbled yard was so immaculate that one could scarcely believe that the famous draught horses were still stabled there. (They are, but must surely “have their exits and their entrances” through other by-ways). Drinks in the Directors’ entertainment suite,’ a quick look at the Speaker’s Coach;and then we were on our way to the Sugar Room for dinner, through a small,. but very interesting museum of the brewing trade and Whitbreads in particular.
HADAS celebrations are always enjoyable and this one was certainly no exception.
Under the lovely Queen Post roof, round tables well-spaced made conversation easy. The food was good – special, but not heavily traditional – and we were admirably cared for by Whitbread’s staff. While we relaxed over coffee Dorothy sprang surprise on us and our Chairman, who was, we learned celebrating his birthday with us. The small gift he received was appropriate to the setting (no – it was not a bottle!) Before we moved on into the magnificent Porter Tun Room of 1784, with its unsupported King Post roof – the second largest in Europe – we were given a short history of this impressive building.
Some of us may have approached the Overlord Embroidery with a degree of condescension considering any attempt to rival the Bayeux Tapestry as a touch presumptuous but we were deeply impressed by this record of our own times. We could not be aware of all the technical problems involved in translating the artist’s vision into an artifact, worked on by many hands, but we could appreciate some of the skills involved the deliberately vigorous, even coarse working is perfect for its theme- stand close and you are distracted by corded edges and the puffiness of skin areas, stand away and you are won over by the totally convincing mixture of realism and formality.
Some of us were driven home under the Christmas lights of Regent Street, others said Goodbye in the cobbled courtyard. All went off with a renewed sense of gratitude to Dorothy, who always finds the perfect venue and shoulders the burden of organisation which takes up many hours of her time. Though we may have noticed that she was tired that night; none of us knew that she was seriously under the weather, as she still is at the time of writing, though she says she is well on the mend. By the time this appears in the Newsletter, We hope she will have recovered completely.
NEWS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY GROUP
A Note on Hedge-dating
“NAB”, which is the quarterly Newsletter of the British Association for Local History, has some interesting material for documentary researchers in its fourth issue. There is a note, for instance, on a subject which straddles both archaeology and local history – the dating of hedges.
Fourteen years ago BALH’s forerunners, the Standing Conference on Local History, together with the Botanical Society of the British Isles, organised a conference on ‘Hedges and Local History’, at which Dr. Max Hooper unveiled his theory on how to date hedges from the number of species they contained. This now well-known theory, says “NAB” has not turned out to be quite the instant tool that archaeologists and historians once hoped. Within its limitations however, it has provided useful dating information and has helped to concentrate thought on the whole subject of hedge-dating. BALH members are now asked to say whether another conference on this interesting topic, at which recent developments in techniques can be explored, would be relevant at this time. HADAS – which is a corporate member of BALH – has written with some enthusiasm to support the idea of such a conference.
Many members will recall that, even in our somewhat urban landscape, we have been concerned in the dating of two historic hedges, using data based on Dr.Hooper’s system. These were the perimeter hedge of the Bishop of London’s estate, a portion of which still goes through Lyttelton Playing Fields in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and the famous hedge which crosses part of the Old Fold golf course at Hadley, behind which the Earl of Oxford’s troops were said to have been originally deployed at the Battle of Barnet (Easter, 1471). Paddy Musgrove, who has always taken a particular interest in hedge-dating, tells us that he checked the Lyttelton Playing Fields hedge only the other day, and found that it still contains eleven species, He also points out that in winter the hedge-bank and ditch figure more prominently than they did when we first surveyed the hedge in its overgrown summer state.
NEW LOCAL PUBLICATIONS
Wartime Camden published by Camden Libraries & Arts Dept. £1.50 (plus 30p p&p)
This booklet, similar in format to the excellent Camden History Reviews, takes us – with a kind of horrified nostalgia – through two world wars on the home front, rounded off with a delicious anti-climax description of ‘the day peace broke out’. The illustrations are well produced and sometimes shocking – once the scars have been erased, how quickly the devastation of bomb damage is forgotten
The booklet is based on essays submitted to a competition held by Camden History Society in 1981 and on material shown in the ‘Camden at War’ exhibition of 1980. Available from libraries in Camden or write to Local History Library, Swiss Cottage. 88 Avenue Road, NW3 3HA.
The Pinn: No.1 Pinner Local History Sobiety. £1.65 (25p p&p)
This is the first in a series of occasional magazines reporting on research carried out by this lively and enterprising society. Seven projects are described in the opening issue ranging from a starter with the splendid title ‘The Stench of Progress’ (all about the inter-relationships of the newly discovered water-closet, cholera andthe River Pinn) to Pinner’s historic hedges (four of them) and to the working of Pinner’s Poor Law (1782-1845). Order from PLHS. 45 Lincoln Road, Harrow, HA2 7RH.
Holy Innocents Church, Kingsbury by Geoffrey Hewlett £1 (25p p&p)
Twenty-eight page history of this interesting parish church (less than mile from Barnet’s boundary at the Hyde) and its architect, just published in honour of the Church centenary. Available by post from 39 Wemborough Road, Stanmore, HA7 2EA