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