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By | Past Newsletters, Volume 5 : 1990 - 1994 | No Comments

NEWSLETTER 229 APRIL 1990 Edited by Deirdre Barrie


Tuesday April 3rd Recent Monastic Excavations in North London by Barney Sloane. Mr. Sloane is the senior archaeologist with the Department of Greater London Archaeology at the Museum of London. His talk and slides will cover several sites including his recent excavation at St John’s Gate EC1.

Tuesday April 24th
Afternoon visit to British Museum New Exhibition ­”Fake? The Art of Deception.” We have not reached the required numbers (25) to cover the cost of this visit. Please phone Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) if you can join the group, or write enclosing £2 to Dorothy Newbury at 55 Sunningfields Road, Hendon NW4. Pay your own entrance (£3) on arrival. Meet at the exhibition entrance at 2 pm. Dr. Paul Craddock will guide and talk to us on this fascinating subject.

Tuesday May 8th Annual General Meeting with slides of Whetstone dig.

SUNDAY May 20th Outing to Quainton – a leisurely one this time, on a

Sunday, visiting the tallest windmill in Buckinghamshire (which is being restored by a local society), the village church, probably built by the Knights Hospitallers, and the Quainton Railway Preservation Society Station for a short ride on a steam train.

Saturday June 23rd
Richmond, Marble Hill and Ham House

August 31st – September 1st and 2nd Weekend trip to Shropshire – Ironbridge, Shrewsbury, Wroxeter. This weekend is definitely on – we have sufficient applications. But if any latecomers would like to contact Dorothy Newbury Quickly (203 0950) it may be possible to increase accommodation numbers at the college and hire a bigger coach.

Saturday October 6th
MINIMART. Anybody moving house or who has a friend moving house, don’t forget our Minimart for any surplus bric-a-brac etc. A “Sales and Wants” slip is enclosed.


A full house of members attending the Constantinides Memorial Lecture (given alternately by fellow members Percy Reboul and John Heathfield) were treated to a fascinating and erudite evening. There were engaging slides and a commentary based on extensive research, enlivened by anecdotes and reminiscences.

Two burning questions were at last answered: for those who were uncertain as to where Whetstone actually lies, the boundaries have provisionally been defined as extending from Lyonsdown and Northumberland Road in the north down the railway line on the east to Brunswick Avenue, across Bethune Park north of St. James Church, across the golf course to Woodside Lane on the

south to join the western boundary at the Dollis Brook. The east pa came within the parish of St. James, and the west within St. Mary Finchley As to the name of Whetstone, there is no definitive answer, except to say it was not named after the famous stone outside the Griffin Inn since there are at least three references which predate the Battle of Barnet. It meant “the western settlement” – west of St. James Church, and its change to its present location came with the diversion of the road north in the 14th C.

Whetstone was not always a place of apparent dullness through which one passed, the High Road in particular overcome by modern buildings; from the Middle Ages it was a hotbed of dissension and lawlessness, growing larger in the Victorian period, its greatest glory its pubs, and given life by its transport. There were some unexpected views, such as the surprising number of trees on both sides of the main road, and portraits of famous local personalities such as Mr. Gilmore and his two daughters, or the famous James Solomon outside the “Bull and Butcher”, known as “King” Solomon, and builder of Solomons Terrace. Of all the ancient pubs illus­trated, perhaps the most entertaining was the watercolour of the “Hand and Flower”, an idealised portrait, followed by a real photograph, warts and all.

Transport changed the appearance of the High Road, from the horse and cart along the turnpike to the horse bus, the tram and the trolley bus, not forgetting the railway, which in 1940 became the Northern Line.

The greatest contrast, however, was in the people: John Puget of Poynters Grove, Totteridge, whose father was a Governor of the Bank of England at the age of 30, and who put up the money for the Dissenters’ Chapel; John Miles, who built All Saints Church in Middleton Park; or Baxendale of Woodside, whose Carter Patterson Transport revolutionised transport. They contrasted sadly with the grinding poverty of the larger part of Whetstone population, which was mainly occupied in farming, ostling or serving in the local pubs, and of these farming was much the most important activity, since hay was a major export to London.

The dairy industry too played its part, with the Manor Farm Dairy on High Road, and Dollis Dairies making the sight of cows on the highway out­side the “Blue Anchor” a common one for a while.

Such hard work did not prevent children from attending school, although until 1907 education was dependent on private finance. The Miles family put up the money for the building in Friern Barnet Lane in 1853, and for the All Saints Girls’ School in 1881. Nor did work prevent people from enjoying themselves – there were some wonderful illustrations of carnivals, outings, charabancs (all male outings, apparently), even walks in Friary Park, and the humble cycle having its day, since everyone cycled.

The proceedings were brought to an end with the reading of the fulsome obituary of John Attfield who died in 1880, and whose name family legend attributed to the original Attfield who helped King John when he was sea­sick. It was a most enjoyable evening, and members were left feeling that a hitherto forgotten area of the borough was at last on the map.


Hans Porges died on February 19th after a short illness, leaving many friends within and beyond the circle of HADAS to mourn his loss. He had been an active member since 1978, a regular attender of our winter lectures and a keen outing follower, preferring out-of-the-way, strenuous days and weekends to visits on the fringe of tourist country. His unobtrusive helpfulness endeared him to those who had screens and exhibits to transport or who were no longer able to attend meetings without assistance. Those who valued his hospital or home visits will not be surprised to learn of his steady devotion to his Meals-on-Wheels round. What may surprise some members is the fact that Hans, apparently the archetypal Middle European in looks, accent and carriage was a British citizen by birth, his father

Having been born in King Henry’s Road, Hampstead. We shall miss his presence , and extend our sympathy to June and their Children.


Despite continuing problems with the weather, work on the trial trench is now complete, and more medieval pottery has been found. The list supplied by the Museum of London, after some of the finds were taken there for identification, includes South Herts. pottery of the 1150-1300 period, Denhamware of 1150-1300, a 13th century London-type jug with applied strip and slip decoration, and London-type coarseware of 1150-1200. Post medieval types include Tudor greenware, Tudor brown type of 1550-1650, Metropolitan slipware of 1650-1700, and Cistercian ware of 1500-1600.

The possible Roman pottery mentioned in the March Newsletter is identi­fied as Alice Holt type sandyware. The Alice Holt kilns were in Hampshire, and were in production from the late 1st to the early 5th century, with their peak in the 4th century.

Fragments of possible Roman tile were also found in the same medieval context in the “Mitre” trench. It would be nice to know the source of these possible Roman fragments:

All in all, this small trench has been most productive, although no medieval structural evidence has been noted. The digging team is now taking a short break, having been digging most weekends and Thursdays since March 1989. We hope to decide on our next move shortly. Details, when decided upon, from Brian Wrigley (959 5982). New recruits welcome:


Margaret Beevor – Like so many of our members, Miss Beevor has an art none of us knew about – she is to tutor a class on “Cake and Gateau Decoration” at Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute at Faster and in the summer.Valentine Sheldon – Miss Sheldon (born on St. Valentine’s Day) was a regular outing member, and an invaluable help at our Minimarts before she left London recently to live near friends up North. I am sure members who knew her will be pleased to know she is happily settled at last in a retirement home.


The following sites, the subject of planning applications, could be archaeologically “sensitive”. Members living or working in the vicinity are asked to keep an eye on any development and report anything of interest to the Site Co-ordinator, John Enderby, on 203 2630.


With the April Newsletter you will find reminders of subscriptions due on 1st April. I would be pleased to receive your subscriptions as soon as possible. Those who pay by standing order, or who have joined since 1st January 1990, please ignore this request. Thank you.

Full membership £6.00

Each additional family member £2.00

Retired £4.00

Each additional family member £2.00

Group membership £8.00

(Miss P.J. Fletcher, 31 Addison Way, NW11 6AL)


Dorothy Newbury was the key speaker at the first forum of the Council for Independent Archaeology when she addressed the meeting at Northampton under the title “How to raise a Thousand Pounds in Three Hours.”

How do you raise £l,000 in three hours? The answer, of course, is to get Dorothy Newbury to run a minimart for you. The secret, she said, was that it was a Minimart, not a jumble sale. Dorothy runs a very superior operation. Any inferior goods are weeded out and sent to someone else’s jumble sale, and as a result the Chairman of HADAS has spent the winter going round in a very superior overcoat purchased for £4, while the Vice-Chairman has been parading in a very natty suit which he purchased at the Minimart. Indeed, he even tried it on at the Minimart on stage before the eyes of the assembled multitude.

Another secret that Dorothy revealed is that any object that might possibly be valuable is taken to an auctioneer to be valued – another useful HADAS contact. They often prove to be more valuable than the donor realised, but nevertheless the donors cheerfully accept that their donation to HADAS funds is sometimes more substantial than they intend!

Dorothy’s lecture was an outstanding feature of the first Regional Forum of the Council for Independent Archaeology of which HADAS had become a founder member. The Meeting, held in Northampton, featured six societies, the Upper Nene, the Middle Nene, the Coventry & District, the Manshead Society of Dunstable, the Ampthill Society of Redford, and HADAS, and we discussed how to run a society, and then what the societies were doing.

One of the outstanding lectures was that of the Middle Nene on their excavation of the Prebendal Manor House at Nassington. This was carried out at the request of the owner, who wanted to explore her medieval hall house. By the time the archaeologists had finished, the entire sitting room was excavated, revealing the remains of the Saxon predecessor and even an underlying Iron Age ditch. What made the slides so bizarre was that the pictures were still hanging on the walls.

Another lively talk was on the saving of the Church at Segenhoe on the Duke of Redford’s estate near Ampthill. The Church was thought to be late medieval and since it had lost its roof, it was destined for demolition under the Church Redundancy Act. However, when the archaeologists got to work, they soon demonstrated that the east end was Saxon: the only late feature was the tower added in the 18th century. When the facts were presented to the Local Council, they changed their minds and decided to preserve the Church after all.

After the meeting, we returned via the Piddington Roman Villa, which Dorothy inspected (“in the DARK”, she told us) in preparation for the HADAS outing in the summer. Afterwards, Roy and Liz Friendship-Taylor, who have already lectured to HADAS on Piddington, invited us back for tea, and we inspected their “Praetorium” or headquarters building, where their finds are all kept, situated incongruously in the roof of a garage. The HADAS outing to Piddington on August 25th promises to be of great interest.

On the way back, Dorothy admitted that she had enjoyed her day out, even though she tried to escape from giving her lecture, and had to be dragged to her feet by popular acclaim. She proved, as HADAS members will know, to be a natural orator.


As an employee of the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, perhaps I can be forgiven for making a quick “plug” for our forthcoming major exhibition, running under the above title.

The “Experience” opens on 11th April, and is a major “re-vamp” of the former Battle of Britain Museum. Many new supporting exhibits and inter­pretative displays will show the full story of the Battle, including the role of the volunteer services and other civilians. A great deal of effort has gone into making this a comprehensive and informative exhibition. Come and see for yourselves: Admission prices include entry to the other parts of the Museum complex.


“Byways” on BBC-2, Friday 23rd March, gave an interesting update of Dr. Francis Pryor’s excavations

at Flag Fen near Peterborough, which was a memorable HADAS outing in June 1988.

Several HADAS members missed this – did anyone record this on video? If so please contact the next editor – see end of this Newsletter.


At last. The number of members in our Society is creeping up. Every year since I have been Chairman, the numbers have been falling – only very slightly, just two or three a year. But over the past year they have turned up again. This I am sure has been due to our active excavation programme notably the successful dig behind the “Mitre” where over 150 sherds of medieval pottery were recovered. Not only are we getting new members, we are also getting some younger members. One of our principal diggers has been Andy Simpson, who spent a number of years digging at Tamworth with an MSC team. He has now come south to join the staff at the RAF Museum in Hendon – he tells me he has always been keen on aeroplanes. While working at the Museum, he has been digging at the weekends with HADAS.

While on the subject of people, Victor Jones has broken his finger, trying to open a window. He has my heartfelt wishes for a rapid recovery, particularly as we need to have the End of Year Accounts:

T went over to Avenue House the other clay, to see our new premises there. my melancholy task was to view the burnt remains of the HADAS library, but was also able to see the new Garden Room that we have been allocated. This promises to be a real benefit to the Society. It is a very odd shape, with a projecting window in one corner, but it has its own door so that we can use it at any time. We must have a party there in the summer, with tea on the terrace: I am still trying to persuade the Committee to organise this, but when the time comes I do hope that you will all come and view our new domain.

Is there too much homework for our students of today? Nearly four out of ten archaeologists think there is, according to the results of a survey of Local Archaeological Societies I have been conducting in “Current Archaeology’. This is a survey for which I received a lot of help from

HADAS members, notably Jennie Cobban. In the Pilot Survey we asked

whether there were problems in attracting young people to societies, and one of the replies said, “Yes – too much homework.” So we put the question in, and although there are a large number of “don’t knows”, and one or two sharp replies of “Certainly not!”, yet clearly there were a number of respondents who did feel that young people would be better joining their local archaeological society than poring over their books.

Finally, to end on a personal note, I shall be lecturing at the Museum of London on Sunday 20th May, and posing the question “Was Roman London the City of the Emperor?” This is likely to be controversial, and I suspect is intended by the organisers to he a version of that well known arena sport of throwing a Christian to the lions – I play the part of the Christian. I will be followed by a large number of big lions – Hugh Chapman, John Maloney, Ralph Merrifield and Harvey Sheldon, who will all say why I am wrong. All HADAS members will be welcome to join in the sport – but please turn your thumbs up! Tickets from Citisights on 01-806 4325.

I seem to be letting myself in for even more controversy at the end of April at the Conference on the Institute of Field Archaeologists in Birmingham where I have been invited to address a session entitled “Adam’s Rib – the Role of Women in the Past”. I am not quite certain what I am meant to be saying. I suspect I am there as the”statutory male”, as the organisers suggested that I might be able to express a “sceptical point of view”. Do any members of HADAS, particularly the female members, have any ideas what I ought to say?

Andrew Selkirk, 9 Nassington Road, London NW3 2TX (01-435 7517)

AS this Newsletter was being typed, we heard of the passing of George Grafton Green on 22nd March. On behalf of HADAS members we offer deepest sympathy to Brigid Grafton Green. An appreciation will appear in the next newsletter.


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NEWSLETTER 228 March 1990 Edited by Jean Snelling


Tuesday March 6 Constantinides Memorial Lecture Views and Voices of Old Whetstone. Percy Reboul and John Heathfield will be looking at Whetstone as it was in Victorian and Edwardian times.

Saturday, March 10th LAMAS 27th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists. 11.0.-5.30. Museum of London. See following pages.

Tuesday, April 3rd Recent Monastic Excavation in North London by Barney Sloan , DUA, Museum of London. Mr Sloan has taken part in the excavations.

Tuesday, April 24th Afternoon Visit to British Museum New Exhibition Fake? – The Art of Deception,,with Paul Craddock. Application form enclosed.

Tuesday, May 8th Annual General Meeting, With slides of Whetstone Dig.

Sunday, May 20th Outing Quainton including Steam Railway Museum and ride on steam train.

August/September Weekend trip to Shropshire Several members have indicated interest in this weekend but we need more to make it viable. Details and application form enclosed. The agricultural college where we shall be staying has to have confirmation by the end of March.

Saturday October 6 MINIMART An awful omission on the programme card – sorry. Please mark it on your card now.

AN EXHIBITION OF HADAS FINDS, related to excavations, is now on show in the Central Library, the Burroughs, Hendon. It is at the far end of the lending library on the ground floor. Tel. 202 5625. Buses 143, 183.

Material is shown from Brockley Hill – prehistoric and Roman; Church Farm and Terrace, Hendon – Roman, Saxon, medieval; and on to the recent digs at High Road, Whetstone and the Mitre, High Barnet ­medieval. Much help with organising, selecting, assembling and illustrating has been given by Helen Gordon, Tessa Smith, Brigid Grafton Green, Ted Sammes, John Heathfield and Victor Jones. Our thanks to Liz Holliday for her original idea.

It is possible that a reduced version will appear later at certain local libraries, but for the time being the show stays at the Burroughs and members should not miss its full impact.


Despite the recent bad weather tending to interrupt the digging the hardy perennials of the ‘excavation unit’ continue their quest for traces of medieval High Barnet.

An area at the northern end of the trench (reported earlier), measuring some 4 metres long and 2 metres wide (the full width of the trench) has been particularly productive. In what appears to be the bottommost archaeological layer, a very pebbly grey-black content, there have been found upwards of 150 medieval potsherds, South Hertfordshire ware of about 1200 AD being predominant (the familiar globular cooking pot form); plus sherds of pitchers and some glazed fragments. This layer also contains charcoal flecks, some metalworking residue, and one or two fragments of bone. Its function or origin is still unclear; if it was a midden layer one would expect more bone. The concentration of pottery in such a small area is striking.

Some of the material from this layer has been taken to the Museum of London for identification; they indicate that it includes three possible Roman sherds. Now where did they come from? Meanwhile Jenny Cobban is surveying the pottery overall.

As ever, would-be diggers should contact Brian Wrigley, 959 5982.


It is a pleasure to hear from Miss Vivienne Constantinides, daughter of the founder of HADAS.:- “Themistocles”. She writes:-I was so delighted to receive a copy of A Place in Time, which I am reading with great interest. What a long way – back as well as forward – since t he early days of the first dig at Church Farm. I still remember the excitement, and cooling off the young diggers with ice creams on a very hot day.This book will be treasured on my bookshelf, along with my copy of The Story of Hendon St Mary’s Church of England Schools (1957) and a small booklet, Hendon’s Parish Church (1942), in both of which my father had a hand.I wish that distance did not prevent me from visiting Hendon and joining in some of HADAS’ fascinating activities. But at least I have extremely happy memories. With kind regards and best wishes to HADAS for the years ahead.

Ann Kahn hopes to be able to leave hospital before too long. She is seeking a suitable flat. Our very good wishes, Ann.

Dorothy Newbury has been in Leningrad – but cannot escape long from HADAS.


1) Conference of London Archaeologists Saturday March 10, 11am-5.30pm Museum of London Lecture Theatre, London Wall, EC2.

Morning session: reports with slides on work at Shepperton, Sanderstead, Orpington, Fleet Valley (City), and Middle Saxon Lundenwic. Afternoon session: Huggin Hill Baths and the Rose Theatre. There will be a display of recent work undertaken by local societies and archaeological teams. (Victor Jones would welcome help with the HADAS stall, displaying A Place in Time, etc. Tel.458 6180.) Tickets including afternoon tea, £2.50 for members of LAMAS; £5.50 for non-members. Pay at the door if no ticket got in advance. Many people take a picnic lunch.

2) Victor Jones has become a member of the Council of LAMAS.

He is concerned that too little of the lectures offered and also
the visits to sites both in and outside London are known to members of the affiliated societies, which includes HADAS. He has taken steps to ensure that information and posters are spread in future.

Lectures on Wednesdays at 6.30 pm are held in the Lecture Theatre of the Museum of London, London Wall. Coffee, tea and sherry are available from 6.0 onwards.

March 14. New light on Roman London, by Nicholas Fuentes, ranging April 18. The Middle Saxons, by Keith Bailey (Middlesex c400-c850)

May 16. Pepys and his music in London by Christine Brown. Readings

with music played on virginals.


HADAS mustered an excellent turnout on February 6 to hear Mr Ian Jones’entertaining and informative talk on the Temple of Minerva at HARLOW. As curator , of Harlow Museum Mr Jones’ enthusiasm for the site came across well.

A scheduled ancient monument, the site was originally dug in the 1920s and 30s, and was visited by Mortimer Wheeler who used it as his. type-site when establishing the distinctive form of the Romano-British temple. The site was re-excavated in 1962-71 and was then landscaped. This damaged the archaeology, and an outline was laid in slabs on an incorrect alignment. New excavations began in 1985.

These excavations have provided a history of the site, albeit with many unanswerable questions. The earliest find is a Paleolithic hand axe. Struck flints indicate Mesolithic hunter-gatherer activity with a possible flint working area. Neolithic activity left an axe head and pottery. Signs of religious use begin with Bronze Age cremations, at least half a dozen, with areas of burnt flint indicating intense heat; possibly the site of funeral pyres. From the late Iron Age to the late Roman period the site was in virtually continuous religious use.

An Iron Age round house was the focus for a superb collection of Iron Age coins, nearly a thousand in all, of high quality workmanship, mainly bronze but some silver and gold, mostly struck by Cunobelin, king of the Catuvellauni. There were other coins from Kent and from the Iceni and the Coritanii of Leicestershire. This round house may have beeh a shrine.

The complex stratigraphy of the site was further complicated by extensive Roman disturbance, including votive finds in a ditch. Many iron tools were found, possibly offerings, together with unusual iron strips of unknown function. A lull at the Roman conquest was followed by renewed activity around AD 80, including numerous post holes and a considerable quantity of military metal work including scabbard edge and fittings from armour. These were of both legionary and auxiliary cavalry type. Another military link is the exquisite tiny iron swords of the’gladius’type , only 10cm long.

The first Romano-British temple was built around this period. The cobbled footings of. the central tower, the cella, were well preserved. It had also a surrounding ambulatory and frontal porch with evidence of external painting. South of the- cella lay a cobbled area and traces of a possible second century colonnaded timber structure. The head of a limestone cult statue was found; a helmeted deity identified as Minerva. Also found was a crudely carved Celtic% style figure of a warrior god, together with bronze leaves and an iron chain, possibly from a priest’s regalia. Offerings of a medical nature including instruments were found. The coin sequence from this temple stretches from the period of the conquest to Honorius. A Severan rebuilding of the temple, c 200 AD, included reuse of moulded stone, an enlarged porch, courtyard buildings and a substantial gate. The exterior may have been plastered and painted red. Slight traces of an inscription were also found.

Occupation continued at least into the late 4th century. Owl pellets and collapsed plaster indicate partial dereliction in C4, followed by a Roman floor level laid above the collapse extensive renovation in late C4 included new plaster and a possible second storey to the courtyard side, evidenced by external buttressing. The courtyard level was partly raised and tesselated floors installed, of which a tiny piece remains.

There is evidence of a dark age building in the courtyard with stone packed post pits and dark age pottery which is very similar to Iron Age pottery. This may provoke re-examination of supposedly IA pottery from other sites. This site was severely robbed from medieval times, being known as Stonegrove Hall. It now lies at the heart of an industrial estate. This was a thoroughly enjoyable lecture.

(Andy reminds us that memories can be jogged by an article on this site in Current Archaeology, December 1988. Editor)


We are priviledged to reproduce part of an article on Heat, Light and Power by Mr Geoffrey Gillam, chairman of Enfield Archaeological Society. The full article appears in the Society’s bulletin for December 1989 and the following issue. Here we pick up Mr Gillam’s script on the early history of Oil Lamps and Candles. In our next Newsletter we shall carry on with the later development of lamps and fuel oils. Our grateful thanks to Mr Gillam and our Enfield friends.

Mr Gillam began his paper by pointing out that, while the timing and places of man’s early use and control of fire are unknown Legends on the origin of fire for human use are widespread in world cultures.


Oil was being extracted from animals for use in primitive lamps from very early times and in the caves at Lascaux in the French Dordogne a hollow stone had been filled with oil and provided with a moss

wick to give light to the cave painters in the innermost recesses over 12,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic, Magdelanian people were using lamps with a spout and a wick of moss. In Athens in C7 BC

lamps had been developed with a separate nozzle pierced with a small hole to allow the height of the wick to be controlled to give an even flame. Further developments in the design of clay and metal

lamps took place during the Greek and Roman periods. It was soon found that if more light was required it was of no use to enlarge the wick since this made the lamp smoke, and that the only way to improve the illumination was to add more nozzles; many examples of multi—nozzled lamps can be seen in museums. Two single nozzle Roman lamps were dug up in Edmonton some years ago — unfortunately they were later stolen from the local collection at Houndsfield School. Churches used oil lamps and many gifts of lamps to individual churches enabled them to be brilliantly lit; in the 5 th century churches were probably the only buildings showing a light at night.

CANDLES At the beginning of C2 AD a form of candle consisting of flax threads twisted together and coated with wax or pitch was in use . The use of candles for domestic as well as for church lighting was widespread during C3, and their use increased following the loss of lands growing olive oil as the Roman empire collapsed. It was not until 011 that candles were being placed on church altars. Candle sticks of Roman date in pottery or metal or occasionally in wood have been found all over the Roman empire; several have been discovered in London where a metal candelabra was also found.

The best candles were made of half mutton and half beef fat, they did not melt too easily nor break too readily. It has been recorded that a slaughtered ox yielded enough tallow to make three hundred candles at four to the pound. Beeswax as a source of candle material was always three or four times as expensive as tallow and a pound of beeswax cost as much as a day’s pay for a labourer in the Middle Ages. At one period officials of the king’s household received candles as part of their salaries. Guilds of wax and tallow chandlers were formed during C14. Many householders made their own candles, but this was forbidden under the candle tax laws in 1710. This would have had little effect on the poorer members of society who had always to make do with rush lights consisting of the dried pith of rushes soaked in bacon grease; they gave a very poor light and stank abominably. Sales of candle ends were considered to be one of the perks of the job by servants in some large houses. Sizes and shapes of candles differed and a variety of materials were used in their manufacture. Problems with the wicks were eventually overcome with the production of an improved plaited wick after 1820.

The better lighting afforded by the use of many good qualitycandles dramatically altered social life but there were problems. At receptions, balls and other indoor gatherings the heat from so many candles caused the wax to melt and as one candle used as much oxygen as two people, ladies often fainted. There was also the increased risk of fire in spite of candle guards and even lanterns.

The activities of the whaling industry resulted in the use of spermaceti dandles which burned very easily with a clear steady flame. They became the basis of the unit of light that we know as candle power.

To be continued.


Saturday March 17 at Northampton

Andrew Selkirk and Dorothy Newbury are speaking at this event and would be pleased to be joined by HADAS faces and voices. Congress of Independent Archaeologists, Joint Conference organised by-the Upper Nene Archaeological Society and the Middle Nene Group.

10.0-5.30. (Coffee from 9.30) at St Church room.

Six archaeological societies will present their methods of organisation and accounts of their work, including Piddington Iron Age and Roman site and Prebendal Manor House, Nassington.

Tickets including buffet lunch and afternoon tea £5.50 – or omit lunch £2.50 from 86 Main Road, Hackleton. Northampton NN7 2 AD.

Offers of or requests for transport to Victor Jones tel 01 458 6180. Saturday March 24 A day on the Herts/Essex border.

Illustrated talks on and visits to Rye House Gatehouse, Much Hadham Forge and Harlow Bury Chapel. Led by Katharine Chant, Museum Development Officer for Hertfordshire.

Fleet at 10.0 am at Rye House Gatehouse car park (Hoddesdon)

Tickets £12.50 adults, £7.50 concessions – Lunch included. Bookings/information from Lee Valley Park Countryside Service, tel 0992 713838.

We owe news of this outing to Mrs June Gibson of the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society. Her husband is Rick Gibson of HADAS so between them they cover a lot of ground. Mrs Gibson says that the Lee Valley Park Countryside Service issue a mailing list on their very varied activities in 1990/91 with some items that might be of interest to HADAS members.

Picturesque Hendon Exhibition at Church Farm Museum till March 4

(see February Newsletter)

All is not lost for members who have missed the splendid exhibition of paintings of Hendon. The temporary display, which gives just a hint of the remarkable local artistic wealth in the Borough’s Local History Collection, is a sign of things to come.

The aim of borough archivist Pamela Taylor and Church Farm House curator Gerrard Roots is to give more examples from the collection a permanent hanging place at the museum, historical views in a historical location. And as all those who have seen the current selection – which from right-to-the-last-word representations of monuments in Hendon Church to much more impressionistic views of of sun-dappled traffic-free lanes and landscapes that are now under bricks and tarmac – will agree, that must be a good thing.


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NEWSLETTER 227 February 1990 Edited by Liz Sagues


Tuesday, February 6

IAN JONES, curator of Harlow Museum, will describe New Excavations 1985-89 at the Temple of Minerva, Harlow. For the last five summers Harlow Museum staff,

helped by members of the EAS, have been re-excavating the site of the Harlow Temple.The main aim was to examine the pre-Roman history of the site

and to answer some of the questions

left by previous excavations. In general those aims were achieved, but there were also a number of surprises which have added greatly to knowledge of the site

and left a new set of questions to puzzle over.

The site is now known to be far more complex than was previously thought. Although there is a single find dating from the early Palaeo­lithic (an axe incorporated in the Roman cobbling) the first use of the site dates from the Mesolithic period after 8000 BC. Part of the working area used for making flint tools was discovered, indicating the use of this well-drained gravel hill by the side of the River Stort as a tem­porary encampment. There have been some Neolithic and Bronze Age finds, plus important Iron Age remains. Then came the Roman structures, thought to have been built in three phases. The latest important discovery came during the final season and concerns the final period of the building’s life. Come along on February 6 and hear more.

Saturday, February 10 One-day school for adults on Archaeology in the City of London, at the Museum of London. Ring 600 3699 ext 200 for details.

Tuesday, March 6th Constantinides Memorial Lecture on Whetstone By Percy Reboul and John Heathfield.

Saturday, March 10th LAMAS Archaeological Conference at the Museum of London. More information later in this Newsletter,

Tuesday, April 3rd Recent Monastic Excavations in North London by Barney Sloane, from the DUA, Museum of London.

Tuesday, April 14th Afternoon visit to a new exhibition, starting in March, at the British Museum, entitled Fake? ­the Art of Deception. Paul Craddock, who is known to many of us, has agreed to give us a talk on the subject while we are there. Numbers will be strictly limited. Details and cost later.

Tuesday, May 8th Annual General Meeting

Sunday, May 20th Outing to Quainton, Buckinghamshire. Please note – this is a Sunday outing).

September, 7,8,9 We are proposing to have a weekend trip to Shropshire, spending a day at Ironbridge, with accommodation and meals at Harper Adams Agri­cultural college (two nights). Cost will be approximately £75-£85 inclusive of coach, food, accommodation and guides. The college needs to know numbers as soon as possible, so please ring Dorothy Newbury, 203 0950, if you are interested.

The programme secretary hopes arrangements will be completed in time for the 1990 card to be included in this Newsletter.

PLEASE NOTE ONCE AGAIN: The Hendon Library doors are often locked, for security reasons, on our lecture evening. Please DO NOT GO AWAY, keep banging until someone lets you in.


Paul and Michaela O’Flynn Paul has taken a new job at Nottingham and Derby Hospitals and of course they will have to move up there. They have frequently been on outings and were among our minority young member­ship. Michaela will be down here for several months yet until they can sell their house. They want to know of any societies in the Nottingham/ Derby area. They intend to retain HADAS membership and will join us on any trips to their area. We shall miss them.

Is there a mass emigration to Derby? Another member, Mrs Jacques, also moved to Derby-from Hampstead Garden Suburb just before Christmas. She also has retained membership and will join us on any Derbyshire trips.

Marion Le Besque (nee Newbury), another of our younger members. Her husband has taken a new job at Dorchester Hospital, and she has moved to Dorchester. She is in an 1820s cottage, and from maps it looks as if it was built on the old Roman road – so we may end up on an archaeo­logical weekend digging in their garden.

Bill and Margaret Dibben, staunch Minimart helpers and outing attenders, have been in America for eight weeks. The day after their return they spent the afternoon collecting for the North London Hospice charity at Brent Cross. When they got home to St Albans they found their house had been broken into and ransacked. Charity didn’t begin at home for them.

We are pleased to report that Frieda Wilkinson is no longer in plaster, though she has to walk with a crutch and have physiotherapy treatment. But with true HADAS stoicism she says she is now hopping on and off buses and is not in the least downhearted, even though the doctors say she may now be subject to arthritis.

Membership Secretary Phyllis Fletcher has just spent three weeks in the Bahamas, but before she left she was able to tell the committee that membership stood at 361, an excellent figure.

Ann Saunders has been persuaded by the powers-that-be at St Martin-in-the-Fields to delve into the church archive – a most splendid one, she says – to produce a new combined history and guide to one of London’s best-known churches. The colour-illustrated book is full of fact, serious and entertaining, and costs £1 from St Martin’s.


Sales of the new HADAS book, A Place in Time, are going well, reports Victor Jones.

About 750 copies have been sold so far, about half to the borough and the rest in general sales, and inquiries have come from as far afield as France and Holland. Barnet Libraries has asked HADAS to mount an exhibition on recent work to complement the printed words, and that will start a borough-wide tour at the Central Library, Hendon. It should open there on or about February 10 and run for a month.


The new exhibition at Church Farm House Museum recalls the times when the main records of Hendon were made on canvas rather than photographic paper. Picturesque Hendon – Paintings from the 1790s to the 1930s incorporates work from 16 named artists and some anon­ymous brush-wielders, depicting landscapes and buildings, churchyard monuments, ponds and rivers and rural scenes long gone, and much of nostalgic and historic interest. Why, cameras apart, were the brushes put away? Curator Gerrard Roots suggests two reasons – suburbanisation made the area less attractive and, with greater social equality, there are now fewer gentlemen and ladies with time on, and brushes in, their hands. The exhibition runs until March 4.


Liz Sagues reports on the January lecture

Why, asked Ralph Merrifield more in sorrow than anger, is ritual a banned word? HADAS’s new president, giving his presidential address, has argued the case for ritual’s revival – at least as an archaeo­logically acceptable interpretation of certain past happenings – in his book Ritual and Magic in Archaeology.

That, too, was the title of his lecture, though its scope had to be more limited. “I was becoming increasingly worried that a whole aspect of human life was becoming ignored by archaeologists,” he explained. The book was his response. “I had the intention of trying to persuade archaeologists that there was a real subject here and above all it ought to be reported properly and this was not being done.”

He provided examples – a cow skull buried beneath a recently-discovered Roman waterside building in Southwark, two halves of a sheep’s jaw neatly placed on a beam in another waterside building on the City bank of the Thames, neither foundation deposit mentioned in published reports.

But he concentrated more on the positive – what could be reported rather than what had been deliberately overlooked. His first slide, of the ritual surrounding the honouring of death in Bronze Age Crete, set the scene for practices to follow. “The one most extraordinary thing about ritual practices is that they don’t change,” he said. “They go on exactly the same whatever happens in religion and philosophy. In order to survive they are constantly being reinterpreted.”

Characteristics of the Cretan scene, the animals being taken to sacrifice, the libations, the model of something important in the departed’s life, continued on in ritual through centuries and continents, even into modern practices, he argued. He offered examples of Roman sacrifices, of Saxon and medieval ones, animals buried as buildings were constructed, to propitiate whichever powers were regarded as influential then and there.

He even quoted a late 19th century example, recounted to the curator of the Cambridge Folk Museum, when the builder “of all things” a Metho­dist chapel instructed his young nephews to buy a horse’s head from the local knacker’s yard and buried it, with due libation of beer, in the chapel foundations. “These sort of things really do have a remarkably long life.”

But not all such deposits were below ground. Higher up in old houses, in recesses in chimneypieces especially, smaller creatures might be tucked away – dried cats, for example, or in the case of Lauderdale House, Highgate, four dried chickens. With the chickens were two old shoes – another frequent component of such deposits – a broken glass goblet, a candlestick and a strange plaited straw object.

Such practices, too, were as long-lived, frequent – there are more than 900 recorded instances – and widespread, with examples known through­out Europe and even in the United States and Australia. “One of the very peculiar things about this particular custom is the secrecy that surrounds it.”

Moving on to models, Dr Merrifield illustrated the huge range of votive miniature limbs found at the source of the Seine – long a holy place – and dating to the first century AD, deposited there so that the diseased members they represented might be cured. A similar ritual could be identified at Epidavros, some 15 centuries earlier; the Etruscans did it too; it was assimilated, through saintly relics and more votive objects, into the Christian Church. “The change from paganism to Christianity still permitted the continuation of identical practices.”

And so he continued, through the deliberate damaging of objects ­the bending of coins and swords, again in both pagan and Christian contexts – to written magic. The lead curses of the Romans served a useful social purpose for their issuers, allowing them to try to recover stolen goods, for example, or simply let off steam.

Magical symbols were sometimes used instead of words – and continued in use for a very long time, with examples from 17th century Gloucester­shire exactly resembling those used by the Romans. “But not all written magic was malignant – some was protective.” A magic “square” from Cirencester, reading the same from whichever direction it was approached, was one example – and was also another example of Christians taking over Roman tradition, reinterpreting the letters to turn them into a “paternoster” cross. There was a chicken and egg situation here, said Dr Merrifield. “Which came first?” He provided his own answer, by referring to similar squares from pagan Pompeii.

And he drew more magic threads together to conclude his lecture on a seasonal theme – celebration of the feast of Epiphany. Illustrating his point with a slide of the decorated pewter lid of a 15th century casket recovered from the Thames in the last century, which depicted the three kings and their offerings, he showed how such “purely Christian iconography” could be related to the Romans’ protective magical charms.

Such protective effects were still believed in today. Go to Germany on January 6, he said, and chalked on the doors will be graffiti in the form of the three letters C, M and B, the initials of the kings. Left there throughout the year, they were believed to give protection to the occupiers, a return to “pure magic” again.

He was, he continued, rather surprised to see the letters on the door of a church, and as well – particularly as the 1965 Vatican Council had refused to authenticate the three king’s story. “One would now imagine this custom was not approved by the church. I was eventually able to get to the bottom of this mystery, a remarkable instance of how things can be reinterpreted and brought back to religion again.”

An article in a German theological magazine explained that the letters were not the initials of the kings, but those of the phrase “may Christ bless the house” – “a perfectly acceptable prayer”. It was, concluded Dr Merrifield, “a beautiful religious legend turned to pure magic and reclaimed by the church”.

The 70-plus members who listened to his lecture – an excellent attendance, especially so soon after the New Year festivities – were charmed by the 1990 Merrifield magic.


Andy Simpson describes progress on the dig at High Barnet

With the Christmas break over and the last of the turkey eaten, the society’s “excavation unit” has resumed work, spurred on by new dis­coveries and, in the case of the writer, the prospect of a pint of Burton ale at lunchtimes… It should be mentioned that the landlord of the Mitre, the aptly-named Mr Bishop, has been very helpful, providing storage space for the society’s equipment.

Having disposed of the upper layers of yard surfaces, demolition rubble and the footings of Victorian outbuildings, and dealt with the finer points of shoring unstable trench sides, the team is now exca­vating a very pebbly grey soil level that runs for much of the length of the trench. This contains, in the upper level, a considerable quantity of coarse, unglazed medieval pottery, identified as Hertford­shire Grey Ware of about AD 1200, and at least one possible “pot boiler” cobblestone.

At this stage there seems to be a gap in the pottery sequence until about 1600, after which the sequence is continuous to the present day.

Excavation is continuing, and would-be diggers, ale-imbibers or no, should contact Brian Wrigley, 959 5982.


Victor Jones tells how an emergency excavation failed to find the location of early settlement in East Barnet

Late in August we received a phone call from Mr W. Griffith of British Heritage (a group active in East Barnet, and not to be confused with English Heritage). He said a small subsidence had been noticed in the field by St Mary’s Church. At first it was about 1.5 yards in diameter and saucer-shaped. A day or two later it was bigger, and a central hole about one foot in diameter and three feet deep had appeared. Brickwork, possibly a well, could be seen. The adjoining London Borough of Barnet junior school uses the field area for recreation, and for pupil safety reasons immediate action was necessary. The borough Education Department had been advised and was arranging to fence off the affected area until remedial action could be taken. It was suggested HADAS be advised because of the archaeological interest of the area.

St Mary’s Church is the oldest in the borough, founded in the late 1100s as a dependant of St Alban’s Abbey. It is at the top of a hill, at some distance from the present East Barnet village. This suggests there may have originally been a settlement nearer the church, which could have been moved, later, to a more favourable location, as was not unusual with some early settlements.

Some members may recall our work in 1983-4 near the church. Dave King, a long-time HADAS member, site-watched a building project near the school. The report in Newsletter No 143, January 1983, includes a site plan, a drawing with notes of soil exposed in foundation digging and information that the immediate area had been disturbed by 19th century building and was unlikely to have any earlier material. Brian Wibberly, another HADAS veteran, later searched part of the field for traces of past settlement, without unfortunately any definite result.

Later another HADAS member, Mary Alloway, traced the records of buildings near the church back to the 1800s (reported in Newsletter No 156, February 1984). The “Enclosure” map of 1817 shows only a house with barn, near the church. Mary produced sketches and plans of the stages of building from 1817 to 1930 and a view of the area as it was at the beginning of this century. A 1950s fire destroyed the buildings.

A meeting at the site was arranged to discuss the new problem, and included representatives of various other organisations, the Education Department, the school, Barnet Museum and local history societies, also Mr Griffith and others from British Heritage and interested local residents. The subsidence was inspected and brickwork and concrete could indeed be seen about four feet below ground level and looked to be part of a well. We agreed to undertake an archaeological investi­gation.

As the school required the use of the area as soon as possible, it was necessary any investigation should start immediately. To speed the work it was suggested HADAS should control the project and other interested groups would co-operate. We were offered the use of various documents, maps and photographs they had collected, and information from Gillian Geer of Barnet Museum on her work on the history of Church Farm was most helpful.

We began work on September 3, first laying out trenches in the sunken area, then erecting safety fencing surrounding them. In all this work we were greatly assisted by Mr Griffith and British Heritage in the provision of tools, materials and storage space and in under­taking much of the harder work, supplying fencing materials and tea. It was also necessary to close a passage from the field to the church and to take reference measurements from the church grounds for trench positioning. The sexton and the vicar were interested and helpful.

The project took about four weeks, working a day mid-week and week­ends. Members of the Barnet societies, the British Heritage group and our own dig team participated vigorously. Surface material was quickly removed and the base of the earlier farm walls soon emerged. The area around the well was exposed to the top four feet of brickwork, which, on inspection, did not appear to be very early. The dimensions of the exposed walls agreed with the drawings and information provided by Gillian Geer and others.

Below the foundations of these walls there was the natural undis­turbed gravel level, with no evidence of earlier occupation. An area between the well and the church, also part of the farm site, was also explored. New trenches were laid out in the third week of the dig, but after digging through a few inches of turf and soil the debris of the 1950s fire was soon reached. This was about 12 inches deep with little but slate and brick fragments recognisable. Below this was the undisturbed gravel. The site was closed at the end of the fifth week, with British Heritage again a great help, contributing to the back filling and clearing work.

Gillian Geer has kindly provided a note on the history of Church Farm and the conversion of the buildings to homes and a training school for homeless London boys – it follows this report. The presence of the remedial school as the training school’s successor is an interesting reminder of early charitable efforts to help London’s disadvantaged young.

Though no discovery was made as the result of the investigation it was valuable in eliminating one of several possible locations for the probable settlement for which this otherwise isolated church at the top of the hill was built. We hope to be able to return to East Barnet if other possible sites become available for investigation.


Gillian Geer, MA, describes the history of Church Farm Industrial School, East Barnet

In 1860 a Lt.Col. W.J. Gillum bought Church Farm farmhouse, a farm cottage and 50 acres of land and here he established an industrial school for destitute or semi-criminal boys, called the Boys’ Farm Home. A management committee was set up headed by Colonel Gillum and the land was rented to the boys’ home at the nominal charge of £2 an acre.

Church Farm had been used during the Crimean War by a “purveyor of mules” for the army and the sheds previously used for mules housed the cows which the boys looked after. A trust deed of 1884 transferred the whole of the land, except for that where Colonel Gillum’s house stood, to the boys’ home. The farm then consisted of 48 acres, mostly pastureland, but potatoes, hay and onions were also grown. The boys did mostly simple agricultural work in the fields and garden, as well as tending the livestock: pigs, poultry and cows. The farm had water­cress beds and bunches were sold locally.

In 1933 Church Farm became an approved school. In 1937 the East Barnet site was sold and the home moved to Court Lees, South Godstone, Surrey.


LAMAS Archaeological Conference, Saturday March 10, at the Museum of London: HADAS will again be there, with a display centring on the new A Place in Time book. Victor Jones (458 6180) would welcome offers of help in manning the stand and selling copies of the book. The conference starts at 10am and runs until late afternoon.

Green Past Times: London’s museums have, topically, gone green – in lecture series. Depending on when this Newsletter lands on your doormat, there are up to three opportunities to hear British Museum speakers on Green and Pleasant? The Ecology of Antiquity – February 2, Simon James on People and the Environment of Early Britain; February 16, Margaret Oliphant on Man and Nature in the Fertile Crescent; February 23, Nicole Douek (an ex-HADAS member) on The Balance of Nature in Ancient Egypt. All lectures at 1.15pm in the BM Assyrian Basement lecture theatre, admission free.

Green London is the Museum of London’s theme – and there are two Wednesday lunchtime (1.10pm) lectures left – London’s Weather Pattern: Past and Present, by David Cullum, on February 7, and Trees in the Urban Environment, by John Warburton, on February 14.

Avenue House: HADAS has an excellent new room there, with direct access from the outside. The library will be reinstated there as soon as insurance matters are finalised.

Tudor Whetstone: The report on the Tudor house is now being written, reports Victor Jones. HADAS work has proved it to be 100 years earlier than previously believed, and the project has been a highly successful amalgamation of digging and documentary research work. With much help from Pam Taylor, members have been able to trace house ownership deeds back to 1490. There may be a chance to return to the house later, to continue work,

Publicity-oriented: HADAS has a new publicity officer, John Heathfield.

Tempting Fate?: Advance information on Fake? – The Art of Deception (see Diary) reveals it is “an exhibition about deception materialised, about lying things wherever and whenever made… It is not, however, a history of crime; it does not discuss the relative morality of counter­feiting money, faking works of art and assisting fellow prisoners to escape from Colditz by forging German passes. What it does is to present such objects as a potential source of historical evidence.”

Among the objects to be seen will be the massive and magnificent Piranesi vase, and the display will span continents and millennia, concluding with a section on techniques used to make and unmask fakes. Wait for Paul Craddock to explain more.

A Better World Tomorrow? The exhbition of photographs of London in the 1950s, .60s and 70s by Henry Grant – who lived in Golders Green for much of that time – continues at the Museum of London until February 25.

Angelic Skills: The Work of Angels, the British Museum display of 6th to 9th century metalwork focusing on the Irish Derrynaflan hoard, is strongly recommended. Take time, and perhaps a magnifying glass.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 5 : 1990 - 1994 | No Comments

NEWSLETTER 226: January 1990 Edited by Isobel McPherson

A Happy New Year to all our readers, at home and overseas – and a special word of thanks to our contributors, who responded to our appeal for early copy. In it came, not only early but, as near as dash it, immaculate. Would that the job were always as easy:


Tuesday 2nd January 1990 Presidential Address by our new President Dr Ralph Merrifield, entitled The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic. Dr Merrifield wonders if members will have recovered from seasonal festivities, but we have assured him that we will all make a special effort to come to meet him (even if still suffering from hangovers.)

Tuesday 6th February The Temple of Minerva, Harlow by Ian Jones, Curator of Harlow Museum.

Tuesday 6th March Constantinides Memorial Lecture by Percy Reboul and John Heathfield.


Anyone reading this new HADAS Book cannot fail to grasp that the Society is very much alive and digging, not only metaphorically but also literally. Brigid Grafton Green writing in the Preface provides an excellent potted history of the Society up to its 25th Anniversary in 1986. The book “is about human settlement in the area now covered by the London Borough of Barnet from the earliest times until the end of the Middle Ages”, starting when the Heath was an encampment and hunting area in the later Stone Age through to the Battle of Barnet in 1471.

The Society’s West Heath Dig provided a wealth of important evidence for the Middle Stone Age period, although “flints” might be difficult for some people to appreciate. However, moving on to the Bronze and -Iron Ages, we have some striking finds from Brockley Hill and Mill Hill. in the Roman period the Society has had some spectacular success, excavating the Pottery at Brockley Hill, the Thirlby Road Site in Burnt Oak and then the Roman Road in Copthall Fields.

HADAS has also been able to cast some light into the “Dark” and Middle Ages and establish a reasonably clear outline sketch of life within the Borough of Barnet, with various finds from the different digs as well as evidence from historical records such as Court Rolls.

Although the book is the work of several different authors (all members of HADAS: Brigid Grafton Green, Victor Jones, Myfanwy Stewart, Pamela Taylor, Brian Wrigley, Helen Gordon and Ted Sammes), they are to be congratulated for producing such a unified book, which is well illus­trated with photos, drawings and maps (although I think that the maps might have been made larger). Speaking as a two year old (archaeologically of course) I was enthralled. It is a good read and well worth having on your own bookshelf along with your trowel. I look forward to the publication of Volume Two which should bring us up to the early part of the 20th Century.

Finally, I should declare a vested interest, I happen to be looking after the sales of the book. Nevertheless, I do look forward to hearing from many of you. Send £4.50 50p for P & P or phone me and I will tell you of the nearest bookshop that stocks the book. (Alan Lawson, 68 Oakwood Road, NW11 6RN 01-458 3827)


Some members will recall that our daughter, Helen, went to Moscow at about the same time as Lady Braithwaite, but last May was declared “persona non grata” and returned unceremoniously to England. Since then she has been posted to Algeria, and we visited her there in November. Algeria, unlike the other Mahgreb countries, has not developed its tourist industry, but like them has several Roman cities excavated early this century. We therefore eagerly agreed with her suggestion of a trip to Djemila (Arabic for “the beautiful”), the ancient Cuicul. The journey from Algiers was over 300 kilometres, and we stayed a night in the large town of Setif, whose museum has two glorious mosaics, one of the triumph of Dionysus (lions, camels, an elephant, Indians etc. on a black back­ground) and the other of the birth of Venus surrounded by a border of assorted birds.

Cuicul lies on a ridge, just beyond the modern village, and through it pass to and from school the children from the farmsteads below. They are watched over by a number of custodians, who have little else to do; in the whole of a lovely hot November morning, under a cloudless sky, there was one Algerian couple looking round, and in the afternoon we saw six other visitors.

Cuicul has a little museum, which contains many fine mosaics – or rather is made from them, since the floors and all of the inside and much of the outside walls are mosaics of Venus, Hylas among the nymphs, Europa, Dionysus, hunting, mysteries, and a very lengthy poem to a

bishop. The town itself has everything a Roman city should have: baths, fountains, a triumphal arch (in honour of Caracalla), a temple to the Severi, a theatre with a stunning view beyond the stage wall, two fora, a market, and two large churches and a baptistery. Everywhere there are inscriptions honouring emperors (and not a few with the defaced names of emperors whom the city wished to forget it had ever honoured), and, even more frequently, letting passers-by know at whose expense the market or whatever had been erected. Particularly interesting were the table with standard measures in the market and an altar in the forum with carvings of the sacrificial victim and the implements used in the rite. Even if, as the guidebook Helen had been clever enough to borrow said, the excavation had been primitive and the restorations imaginative, the ensemble was beautiful and fascinating. We were privileged to see it in ideal conditions. Do the Algerians not understand about progress? They too could have hundreds of coaches, guides waving little flags and recounting legends in all the tongues of the earth, and lots of coca-cola tops everywhere. You do not even have to pay for entry to Cuicul. Nor do they have many postcards; sad, when photography in the museum is forbidden.

For the record, Cuicul is probably a native name. The city was founded as a colony of veterans under Nerva, and extended under Commodus. It survived the period of Vandal rule, and probably continued for some time after its last recorded date (553 AD); but when the Arabs conquered North Africa it must have been the ruin they called “The Beautiful”. It was a smallish city, and many similar probably lie unexcavated in Algeria.


This was the title of the Local History Conference organised by L AM A S at the Museum of London on Saturday November 25th. It was their 24th annual history conference and was in celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the London Mayoralty and also the centenary of the London County Council.

As usual there were many societies showing their latest work and selling their publications. (It would be wonderful to see so many for the archaeological conference in the spring.)

The chairman for the day was Nick Fuentes, managing editor of the London Archaeologist, deputising for Derek Renn, which function he carried out with a light touch and some mildly humorous introductions. At the same time he admitted that he was more at home with dirt archae­ology than documents.

Dr Caroline Barron set the ball rolling by presenting many facets of the early Medieval City of London. The population of the City in 1300 has been estimated to be about seventy thousand, falling later as the result of plagues to about forty thousand. It did not regain this size until about the 17th century.

A surprising quantity of archival material has survived including four volumes of the transactions of the Court of Aldermen. They are very difficult to read and she estimated that it had taken her three years to get to grips with them.

The City Folk Moot stemmed from Saxon times being summoned by a bell to meet in the North East corner of what later became St Paul’s church­yard. By the 13th century the City was divided into Wards, each run by an Alderman who had to hold his own Moot. Over the years the pattern changed as the City grew and new, vital roles emerged, amongst them people responsible for keeping the streets paved, clean and drained. Often there were arguments as one ward swept its rubbish across the border into the next: The Beadle held a critical position and would have been able to read and write. Bread and beer were staple parts of the diet, as was also fish.

The Court of Common Council evolved from 1285 and in due course had its own coloured Livery for special occasions. Great secrecy was imposed on the proceedings of the Council. By the fifteenth century the Lord Mayor was only allowed to hold office for one year at a time. In the early period Lord Mayors were seldom knighted, but by 1500 the practice had become common.

Dr. T. Harper Smith took us through similar evolutionary processes in respect of the County of Middlesex. He believed that the position and evolution of local government in the County was a special case which had evolved because of the large land holdings of the Abbey of Westminster at Domesday.

After lunch John Richardson asked us to consider the evolutionary trials and tribulations of the Parish of St. Pancras. Population partly forsook the area round the old church and settled round a new chapel of ease in a less boggy area. This almost had the effect of rendering the old church redundant, the vicar refusing to preach there more than once a month. Similarly there were two burial grounds, side by side, charging different rates:

Finally he dealt with the destruction of Agar Town when the railways came to the area. They brought no compensation to the people living in the area and the disturbance of burials was considered a scandal.

Dr . Ron Cox gave a lively, running presentation on Captain Shaw, a distant relative of George Bernard Shaw. Captain Shaw was the first Fire Chief of the Metropolitan Board of Works. He had much opposition to over­come in combining a consortium of ten individual companies into one working authority. This action followed the Great Fire of Tooley Street, and the findings of a select committee of the House of Commons.

The final speaker, John Davis, talked on aspects of the London County Council, which (had it survived) would be celebrating its centenary this year. He said that we tend to look at the local aspects of Town Halls, gas and waterworks etc., but there is also Parliamentary power behind the scenes. His paper was very detailed but did not hold the same appeal for me, despite his witty comments.

All-in-all, it was a good day which I know many HADAS members missed. Local History can be fun!

Membership of LAMAS is open to all, the standard rate is £7.50, details from Mrs. Rita Springthorpe, Street Farm, Heath Road, Bradfield, Essex C011 2XD.


It will be recalled how some years ago, HADAS attempted without success to trace the foundations of the ancient Manor House of Friern Barnet in Friary Park. The old house, which was originally the manse or country residence of the Friars of St. John, is documented as the first “hospitium” for the entertainment of travellers on the northern road, being some nine miles from the City of London. This house was completely demolished about 1830, and the existing one built on a seemingly new site for a private owner (Edmund William Richardson) in 1871. The Estate was then bought by Sidney Simmons and the Middlesex County Council in 1909, passing to the London Borough of Barnet in 1965. The latter is now carrying out a survey for an extensive repair and refurbishment programme to the house, thought likely to cost over £300,000. During the course of the survey, an unexplained arched cavity came to light by the side of the coal shute.

A “state of the art” Fibre Optic Infra-Red Video Camera was hired (at £30 per hour!) and lowered through a tiny aperture. The resulting film appeared to reveal an extensive tiled chamber filled with clear water. This revelation caused much excitement for there had been mention in past writings concerning the original Friary of not only a Monks-hole, thought to be a subterranean passage leading to a confessionary, but also a Monks lavatory or bath. Had this at last been substantiated through a marvel of modern technology? Philip Wilson, an old friend in the LBB Planning office, quickly phoned me and arranged an immediate site meeting and the loan of the video film for further study. Having watched it, I was convinced like Archimedes, that I had every reason to yell “Eureka!”

After another site visit along with Brian Wrigley, the LBB agreed to open up the cavity. This was done, and I rushed over to Friary Park to assess the result, camera at the ready. I could hardly believe my eyes. Instead of the Monks Bath or possibly, subterranean passage, I saw before me a soundly constructed shallow well of patently late Victorian date. I then realised that the video camera had played a devilish trick on us all by “flattening” the picture it produced due to reflection from the standing water in a confined space: A salutary lesson, was thus learnt of the danger of taking short cuts in archaeology and allowing one’s knowledge of folk legends to colour facts. When the well was subsequently pumped dry prior to infilling, no artefacts were found in the silt and debris at the bottom, What could be more interesting is an examination of two more wells, one shown by a plumb line to be 200 feet deep, in the grounds at the back of the house. So, watch this space. Maybe all’s well after all.


Once again some 65 HADAS members gathered on an early December evening for a social occasion to usher in the festive seasons the formula of a little erudition followed by a fine dinner proved as usual to be a winning combination.

At Southwark Cathedral – the Church of St. Saviour and St. Mary Overie ­we were received by Canon Peter Penwarden, Vice-Provost and Precentor, who proved to be an admirable guide. He skilfully took us through the history of this splendid Gothic building, starting with the legend of a seventh century convent church built on a riverbank site by a ferryman’s daughter, and dedicated to St. Mary Overie (over the water). In the 9th century the Bishop of Winchester rebuilt the church after a fire, adding a monastery, but both were replaced in 1087 by a Norman church of which a few fragments may still be seen. When this burnt down in 1206, it was replaced by a fine Gothic building, the first in London, and on which Westminster Abbey was modelled.

In 1539 it became the parish church of St. Saviour, but decay and collapse led to the reconstruction of the present nave, a copy of the marvellous Gothic original, coinciding with its promotion to Cathedral in 1897. The church has links with Shakespeare who worshipped here (his brother Edmond’s gravestone is in the choir), and with Harvard University, whose founder John Harvard was born a butcher’s son in Southwark in 1607; the Cathedral’s Harvard Chapel was paid for by grateful Americans.

A short walk into Borough High Street took us to the George Inn, dating from 1676 and the last remaining galleried coaching house in London, now owned by the National Trust. They had prepared for us an excellent meal, served by cheerful staff in a pleasant upstairs room. Conversation and wine flowed freely, and our only concern was for those unfortunate members whose acquisition of the flu virus had prevented their being with us. However, we were delighted to have with us not only three Founder Members of the Society, Olive Banham, John Enderby and Ted Sammes, but Colin Evans and his sister. Colin, who now lives in France, was an active member and still maintains his interest. It was very pleasant to meet him again.

John Enderby proposed, in a witty speech, a vote of thanks for Dorothy Newbury for having organised, with her usual efficiency, such a splendid evening that some members voted it the “best ever”. The waiting list will be even longer next year. STEWART J. WILD

Brigid Grafton Green writes: “One great attraction of Christmas is that it’s a time for catching up with news of old friends. It was a pleasure to hear from DAISY HILL – a Vice-President of long standing and secretary of HADAS in the late sixties. She retired to live in Chesterfield some years ago, but likes to keep in touch with events in Hendon – and the Newsletter helps her to do so. ‘I enjoy reading what you are all doing,’ she writes, and adds most generously ‘have enclosed a wee cheque for the funds.’ Thanks, Daisy, we do appreciate your interest and help.”

The December issue of the Newsletter was a joy to read (writes Percy Reboul) – and not because I got a mention: The delightful earpiece, line drawings and pictures, to say nothing of the quality of the typewriting made it, for me, the most attractive issue ever published.

Congratulations to Liz Holliday and all concerned.


This has proceeded through December with a group of five of six enthusi­astic members and several new layers are being cleared; at one level medieval pottery has now been found. Digging has now been suspended for the holiday and will be resumed as soon as weather permits – and the landlord agrees.


David Keys (The Independent, Tuesday 12th December 1989), reported on excavations on a loop of the Shannon at Drumsua, near Carrick. The double earthwork, constructed in the 1st century B.C., and once thought to be part of an Iron Age Fort, spanned the neck of the loop, denying access to the south from two extremely shallow fords to the north. The largest of the two pairs of double ramparts was 90 ft. wide, 18 ft. high and 1¾ miles long with what is thought to be an entrance complex – perhaps a monumental entrance gateway into what became the Kingdom of Connacht. Each gate seems to have been around six yards wide and at least four yards high, though the evidence for this rests on greatly strengthened ramparts, with a wooden palisade, at this point and one giant post-hole.

Fifteen miles north of this site, an earlier earthwork known as Black Pig’s Dyke marks a possible territorial boundary between the warring tribes of Ulster and Connacht. This one is constructed to deter invaders from the south. Together, the two defensive systems throw more light on the long­standing hostility which is reflected in many of the ancient Irish tales. They also cast a long shadow.


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ISSUE No 225 Edited by Liz Holliday DECEMBER 1989


Tuesday, 02 January 1990 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS by our new President

Dr. Ralph Merrifield, entitled THE ARCHEAOLOGY OF RITUAL & MAGIC.

Dr. Merrifield wonders if members will have recovered from Christmas and New Year festivities, but we have assured him that we will all make a special effort to come to meet him (even if still suffering from hangovers!).

Tuesday, 6 February Lecture to be confirmed


WHETSTONE by Percy Reboul & John Heathfield

FOUND: a green wool scarf with silk pattern reverse was found after the November lecture. Phone 203 0950 to claim,


A Place in Time, the Society’s most ambitious publishing venture to date, was well and truly launched at Hendon Town Hall on Thursday,16 November in the presence of The Worshipful the Mayor of the London Borough of Barnet, Councillor Mrs. Dot Benson, our new President, Dr. Ralph Merrifield, Society members and guests.

After welcoming guests and members, our Chairman Andrew Selkirk introduced the authors and outlined the contribution they had made before each was presented with a copy of the book by the Mayor.

Following the presentations, the Mayor spoke of her pleasure in being associated with the launch of A Place in Time and complemented the Society on its production. It was, she said, a splendid example of co­operation between members of the Society and staff from the Libraries Department and the use of funds from the Edward Harvist Charity. She wished the Society and its latest publication well. In reply, DR. Merrifield thanked the Mayor and said how delighted he was to be introduced to the Society on such an auspicious occasion. He considered the book to be an editorial triumph, for although it was written by a committee it read as a cohesive whole. Dr. Merrifield found the naps particularly fascinating and had used then to locate the various archaeological finds and features within the Borough in relation to the house where he was born in Child’s Way, Temple Fortune.

The publication of A Place in Time was, Dr.Merrifield believed, a fitting record to mark the first twenty-five years of HADAS’ activities within the Borough.

Thanks must go to Percy Reboul and Dorothy Newbury who arranged the occasion, Ann Lawson and John Heathfield who organised and served the refreshments and Alan Lawson who coped with the rush of sales.

‘A PLACE IN TIME’ tells the story of human settlement and activities in the area now covered by the London Borough of Barnet from earl­est tines up to the Battle of Barnet in 1471.

The book has been edited by Borough Archivist, Dr. Pamela Taylor and the text, maps, photographs, drawings & index contributed by members of the Society.

Brigid Grafton Green has provided an introduction to HADAS’ first 25 years; Victor Jones, Myfanwy Stewart and Pamela Taylor wrote the chapter ‘Framework,Geology and Settlement’. The second chapter, ‘The Stone Age’ is by Myfanwy Stewart, followed by Brian Wrigley’s contribution about ‘The Bronze and Iron Ages up to the Roman Conquest’. Helen Gordon wrote the next Chapter ,’The Roman Period 43-410AD’ and Ted Semmes and Pamela Tayor collaborated to produce the final chapter on ‘The Middle Ages’. The excellent naps were drawn by Eunice Wilson and Jane Pugh and Freda Wilkinson compiled the index. Barnet Museum, Dr.E.R.Robinson and the Libraries’ Archives and Local Studies Department all provided generous advice and help.

A grant from the Edward Harvist Trust publication.

Copies are available from Alan Lawson, 68 Oakwood Road,NV11 6RN (telephone 458 3827), price f4,50 plus 50p postage and packing. A PLACE IN TIME will make an ideal Christmas present, so rush your order to Alan now, to avoid disappointment!


At its Foundation Day Ceremony on Thursday,12th October, the University of London conferred honorary degrees on seven eminent people. The ceremony was presided over by H.R.H. The Princess Royal, the University’s Chancellor.

Amongst those so hono­ured was Ralph Merrifield who was admitted to the degree of Doctor of Literature, D.Lit. Members will remember that Ralph Merrifield was elected President of HADAS at the AGM this year.

The University of Lon­don has kindly provided us with a copy of the Oration which was written by the Public Orator:-

“Your Royal Highness and Chancellor, 1 present Ralph Merrifield.

London, Ma’am, is like an iceberg: there is as much below ground as there is on top. But public awareness of London’s subterranean culture is spasmodic, prompted by events like the Great Fire, the Blitz. or that transformation of the City which we have learned to call Big Bang. When the mosaic Bucklersbury Pavement is uncovered outside the Mansion House, as in 1869; when the Temple of Mithras is revealed in the City, as in 1954; when the foundations of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre are dug up on the South Bank, as in 1989 – then London has woken up to its heritage below ground, But all the time – not just on famous occasions – learned moles are at work, the archaeologists of London, patientit sifting the rubbish of 2000 years in pursuit of historical truth. During the last four decades their leader has been our third Honorand tonight, Ralph Merrifield.

Mr.Merrifield is not a university man: his only formal contact with universities has been a London External Degree taken in Brighton 54 years ago. He is first and last a museum man: first in Brighton, then at Guildhall, finally in the Museum of London; and museum studies are rooted not in books or manuscripts, but the objects themselves – in Merrifield’s case, objects buried in the muddy clay of London. He is not himself what the experts call a dirt archaeologist; he is an interpreter, a synthesizer of other people’s discoveries; and inevitably so, since many finds have been fragmentary and random, turned up by spade of bulldozer in an ever-changing city. His role has been to encourage, to photograph, to catalogue, to explain: helmets and spoons, daggers and pins, coins, shoes, bottles, beakers, medallions and Jugs -all recorded dispassionately, sometimes with a dusty sense of humour. The famous leather bikini, for instance, thrown down a well in the City sometime during the 1st century A.D., and now in the Museum of London: these nether garment she tells us, probably belonged 1900 years ago to a young acrobat or dancer, “but the circumstances in which she lost them in the well can only be guesses”; then he adds: the knot that tied them, “incidentally, is a granny”,

Since William Stukeley drew the first, tentative plan of Roman London in 1722, knowledge of our capital city between the arrival of the Romans in AD.43 and their departure in the early 5th century, has increased inexorably. Diet, religion, dress, technology: these are now everyday concerns for historians armed with digital computers and carbon-dating calibrators. Before long, ground-penetrating radar may be able to pinpoint remains which at present lie hidden in the earth. The techniques change, but the conceptual process – turning evidence into hypothesis and hypothesis into history – remain the same, “Hypotheses,” notes Merrifield sagely, “do no harm unless they come to be regarded as established truth.” One of his own hypotheses – dating to the year AD.60 the gruesome hoard of sculls found in the bed of the river Walbrook – is now itself under scrutiny: perhaps that particular massacre was not the fault of Boadicea after all. In this way, historians clamber up on the shoulders of their predecessors, and the name of Merrifield takes its place with those of Roach-Smith, Pitt-Rivers and Mortimer Wheeler in the role-call of London’s archaeologists.

“Our knowledge of Roman London,” wrote Merrifield in 1965, “resembles a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing.” The fact that so many of those pieces are now no longer missing is due in large part to the patient work of Ralph Merrifield.

Your Royal Highness and Chancellor, I request you by the authority of the Senate to admit Ralph Merrifield to the degree of Doctor of Literature, Honoris causa.”

On a personal note, I first met Ralph in the early 1960s when the London Borough Secretaries Group was formed. This Group brought together the various Societies in London north of the Thames,

who were at that time carrying out excavations under great difficulties. Ralph became President of LAMAS in 1974 & held that position until 1977.

For many years he has chaired the Working Party for London Archaeol­ogy, and only resigned in October this year to take up another post.He retired as Deputy Director of the Museum of London in 1978, but his great interest in archaeology continues ­particularly Roman London tinged with folklore superstition. His writings on these subjects are considerable. All-in-all, a well-earned honour.

News of Members

Miss Ningo, quite a regular on our summer outings, has not been on any this year – and no wonder. We have learned that she had a accident to her foot way back in May and is still incapacitated.

Freda Wilkinson was on a study weekend at Oxford in November with several other HADAS members and when crossing a dark, Wet Street was knocked over by a reversing car. It was some while before she was taken to hospital and she is now home again with her leg in plaster supporting a crushed shin bone. Unfortunately she was unable to attend the launch of the Society’s book. If any member phones her, do wait for a long time as she is barely mobile.

Best wishes to both casulties for complete recovery.

Deirdre Barrie was unable to type last month’s Newsletter as she was in considerable pain from “typist’s shoulder”. Dawn Orr nobly stepped into the breach at the last minute, earning editor Micky Cohen’s heartfelt thanks. We are pleased to hear that Deirdre is now fully recovered and back at work.

Miss Sheldon was one of the more or less silent majority of HADAS members- no less valuable than the more vocal among us. An appreciative listener at winter lectures, an active participant in the summer outings and valued contributor to the Minimart, she has now retired to live among friends in Yorkshire. We wish her Joy in her new home and a good local history society.

Mary Rawitzer and the indefatigable Dorothy Newbury braved the wet of a Saturday morning in November to attend a car-boot sale in an attempt to dispose of some of our better Minimart left-overs. As there were only six other cars there and even fewer customers, they did well to take 412! They may try again in the spring. Any offers of assistance?

THE PREHISTORY OF GREATER LONDON Lecture report by Jean Snelling

Dr,Nick Merriman, Assistant Keeper in the Prehistoric and Roman Department of the Museum of London, gave us a blessedly lucid (and audible) lecture on November 7th,

He spoke of human presence in the middle and lower Thames valley over 500,000 years, first in the long glacial and interglacial periods and then during the more domestic time-scales before the Romans came.

Flint tools from Boxgrove, Sussex give evidence of man before the first great glaciation within this period – the Anglian of c.475,000 350,000 years ago. Ice-sheets 1000 feet thick then pushed boulder clay as far south as Finchley and stretched from Wales to France, displacing the Thames from its former St.Albans-East Anglian line.

The warmer Hoxnian interglacial followed for about 14,000 years, during which time Acheulian handaxe industries appeared, as at Swanscombe, Kent.

A second glacial period from 300,000 led us to consider the Thames gravel terraces which became so attactive to hunting peoples, A warm spell with high sea levels produced a sluggish river which filled its bed with gravels as it ambled towards the sea. A cold spell with ice-sheet caused the sea level to drop and the pelting river cut narrow

deep channels through the gravel, as it tumbled to the sea. (We enjoyed a drawing of boggy prehistoric Trafalgar Square, with a straight-tusked elephant splashing around the terrace and a hippo peeping from the Thames!). The deepest of the Thames terraces now lies below the present river, filled with gravel holding mammoth bones. Islands of gravel, such as Thorney (Westminster), provided areas for human settlement in later times.

The long cold Devensian period from c.60,000 years ago allowed Neanderthal men with their Mousterian handaxes to thrive, until the ultimate glaciation of 25,000-13,000, when Britain was uninhabited. The subsequent recolonising probably saw the suppression of the Neanderthals by modern men, for the transition cane too quickly for evolution to be possible.

From c.12,000 Britain was a permanently settled peninsula of north­west Europe. Some settlers had a temporary site at Uxbridge around 10,000 years ago,(occupied twice in late Paleolithic-early mesolithic times), where wild horse and reindeer were butchered. Other hunters used HADAS West Heath site intermittently. The North Sea gradually spread south over the land bridge with Europe and the Channel severed the Thames-Rhine connection. During the following 6,000 years the Thames basin began to fill with farming cropmarks – most of them are now buried beneath brick earth or river-bourne alluvium, and their discovery is now largely by chance.

Evidence of Neolithic activities in the lower Thames valley include, the causewayed enclosure at Staines; stone axes found under silt on Bermondsey island and a possible man-made landing platform there, formed of brushwood; arrowheads found beneath a Roman warehouse floor at Courage’s Brewery, Sothwark and a small farm settlement at Stanwell,Middlesex, with a double cursus monument similar to one known at Springfield, Essex.

The Bronze Age initiated the rich metal work found in the Thames, possible thrown there as offerings to gods or as funeral gifts. Other finds include the ceremoniously buried aurox, wounded by six arrow­heads, in west London; the remains of a collared funeral urn found under the General Post Office; the probable rectangular cooking-pit, with its mound of burnt stones from a streamside at St.Saviour’s Dock, Southwark and above it, an ard-marked soil surface prepared for subsequent hand digging and planting. This is the earliest sign of agriculture yet found in the lower Thames valley. There are also enclosures and trading places near Heathrow and close to Southwark bridge, a circular ditch on ploughed land containing late Bronze Age pottery and cremated human bone with flint, from a burial on the flood plain – perhaps indicative of others undiscovered. At Beddington in Surrey, a Bronze Age settlement continued into the late Iron Age.

From the Iron Age there was the temple at Heathrow, now destroyed; the hillforts at Wimbledon and. Ivinghoe Beacon and Ilford’s great Uphall Camp, as large as Maiden Castle, now embracing a suburban housing estate. The Iron Age population of England before the Roman incursion would have equalled the country’s population in medieval times.

In closing, Dr.Merriman observed that chance is the arbiter of archaeology in the Thames valley. If the London Docklands conceal another Flag Fen, will anyone ever find it?



We have now finished work on site, having reached what appears to be a natural layer of sand, deep in four spaced-out places in the areas we have opened. Quite a lot of detailed analysis of our information remains to be done before a full report can be made, but a the moment the main points of interest are:

1. We have exposed a Tudor-style brick-on-chalk-block foundation, which could have been the footing of the “missing” bay of the timber-framed building. Those who have studied the building have suggested that it appears likely to have originally had a further bay at the back.

2. There is evidence of small-scale iron-working, slag, cinder, charcoal, etc fn situ and the wide spread of evidence of burning associated with this continues beneath the Tudor-style footings, indicating that it was an earlier use of the site.


Our small dedicated forces from Whetstone have now turned immediately to this site. A trial trench 12 metres by 2 metres has been opened, exposing quite a lot of past (but recent) building work. However, exploration of a test pit made recently by the building contractors shows a number of underlying strata which may be of more interest. We are not sure how much time we shall be allowed, or indeed how long the weather will be kind, so our small digging team will certainly welcome any new (or old!) recruits. If you’d like to join in please get in touch with Brian Wrigley (959 5962) or Arthur Till (368 6288).


The first newsletter of this newly-formed body has now been received, reporting the inaugural meeting and election of Committee – the first Chairman being our very own Andrew Selkirk.

The objects of the new Council as expressed in its Constitution clearly shows its interest to HADAS and its members. In furtherance of its main object – educating the public in the study of archaeology – the Council wants to:

explore and promote ways in which amateur archaeologists and local archaeological societies can contribute more effectively, including rescue archaeology;

support the Congress of Independent Archaeologists, holding regional congresses, seminars and workshops;

act as a clearing house for independent archaeology, compiling databases of need and capabilities of societies and individuals, to match up needs and capabilities and provide information.

Prehistoric Course report

In association with the Prehistoric Society, the University of Oxford Department of External Studies arranged a week-end Conference on Palaeolithic Art to take place 10-12 November.

For the first time, members of other archaeological and historical societies were invited. The conference was very well attended and Judged to be an unqualified success.

The speakers came from Britain, America, Italy, Germany, France and Spain and there were contributions from those who had worked in Africa, Australia and Russia and so we were given a wide range of ideas to discuss and contemplate with them.

To accompany the lectures we were shown slides of mobiliary art, cave paintings and tectograms. Various questions were raised, for example: what is the significance of the well-known Venus figurines and why do we interpret figures in engravings bearing certain marks as female unless they are depicted in a hunting scene? Did men carry out the drawings and paintings of animals and strange patterns and are they of magic or religious significance? Were the often spacious cave entrances meeting places where families with children could congregate (this idea being conjectured on the evidence of foot marks and smaller hand prints) and if so, were the inner depths of the cave reserved for ceremony and ritual activities?

It was interesting to hear about a cave on the White River in the Ural Mountains, not yet fully excavated by Soviet archaeologists, which may prove to be a link with well-known European caves.

Dr. John Coles gave a lively and amusing summary on Sunday morning and he showed slides of rock engravings taken on a recent visit ti Sweden by the Prehistoric Society.

The conference was very comfortably housed in Rewley House, the headquarters of the Department of External Studies.

CONSERVATION FAIR Report by Christine Arnott

A good deal of interest was expressed by visitors to the HADAS information stall at the Conservation Fair organised by the Barnet Group of the Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust at Church House, Barnet recently. We displayed flints found during field walking and the details of the “Ice House” identification and excavation at Hendon, sold publications and dispensed membership forms. Thanks to Bill Bassey, who collected and later dismantled the display, Audrey & John Hoosen, Jean Snelling and Phyllis Fletcher who supplied visitors with plenty of archaeological information, HADAS made a good contribution to the day.

VOLUNTEERS URGENTLY NEEDED by the British Museum Quarternary Department, to help sort, index and pack their “back room” collections. Please contact Dr.Jill Cook, Franks House, 38-46 Orsman Road, N.1 (739 5264).

BOOKSHELVES & 2 UPRIGHT CHAIRS URGENTLY NEEDED for the HADAS Library, to replace those lost in the Avenue House fire. Ring June Forges (346 5078)


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November 1989 EDITOR:
Micky Cohen


should have been Jonathan Cotton, but he has written to say his wife is expecting their first child just around this date. He has very kindly arranged for Dr Nick Merriman to take his place. Dr Merriman is Assistant Keeper in the Prehistoric and Roman Department of the Museum of London. HADAS is known to him through our nine-year Mesolithic excavation at West Heath, Hampstead. He has visited Margaret Maher to see the first-phase West Heath collection and discussed the possibility of its going into the Museum of London when they change their Mesolithic display. We look forward to renewing our acquaintance with him on November 7th.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 16th HADAS Book Launch “A Place in Time” at Hendon Town Hall, 8.00 p.m. for 8.30 p.m.(See separate application form and details enclosed.)

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 19th Walk with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust along the Mutton Brook. Meet at Henly’s Corner at 10.30 a.m. Details in October Newsletter.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 5th Southwark Cathedral and Christmas Dinner at “The George”.

This is now full up, with a short waiting list. Any further applicants are welcome to be added to the list, and anyone who has to cancel please let Dorothy Newbury know as soon as possible. (Tel: 203 – 0950)

TUESDAY JANUARY 2nd Presidential Address on “The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic” by our new President, Ralph Merrifield. Details in October Newsletter.

MINIMART – OCTOBER 7th Dorothy Newbury

We have reached our aim of making the four figure profit once again – £1,070 in fact. This is due to the efforts of so many of our members and friends who gave excellent goods for sale, came on the day to buy, helped transport goods there and back again, baked for us, and sold at the stalls. A very, very great effort which produced excellent results. And, as usual, it was a fun-day,too! (With special thanks to Dorothy – Ed.)


Our Treasurer, VICTOR JONES, is away touring New Zealand, and we hope, enjoying a well-earned rest. Victor is a willing horse, and not only Treasurer. He does so much for the Society, digging, exhibitions; and is always ready to fetch and carry for all of us.

Our Membership Secretary, PHYLLIS FLETCHER, has had a nasty confrontation with a motor-bike in Camden Town. She was rushed to University College Hospital by ambulance and after a long wait was pronounced shocked and badly bruised but no bones broken. And true to Fletcher stoicism she made her own way home by tube and bus. She assures us it wasn’t caused by chasing after anyone for their over­due “sub.” – the road was clear and the bike just came round a corner and bowled her over. We wish her a speedy recovery.

This is not news, says DOROTHY NEWBURY – just a plea to anyone who may have found her favourite red jacket (20 years old) invariably worn on outings so you can see her. Has she left it in anyone’s house or car or cafe and someone doesn’t know whose it is? She just can’t remember where she wore it last!

One of our Vice-Presidents and leading authority on the Hendon area, TED SAMMES, has had an extra digit added to his telephone number. Several members have been complaining that they can’t reach him. The number is now: 0628 – 604807.


Many HADAS members will be sad to hear of the death on 13th October of a long-time friend and colleague in the world of North London local history – JOHN COLLIER, who was for ten years until the end of 1987, Hon. Secretary of the Mill Hill Historical Society. During that time he had many links with HADAS, co-operating with us in such campaigns as that for more blue plaques; only last August he rang up to alert us to the coming closure (and possible demolition) of the Inglis Barracks at Mill Hill.

For the early years of his Secretaryship, his society was called as it had been since its foundation in 1929 – the Mill Hill and Hendon Historical Society. It was John who faced with our young and vigorous Archaeological Society, founded more than 30 years later, decided most generously that HADAS should be left a clear field in Hendon, because in the early eighties we were doing much work there and in 1983 persuaded his committee not only to drop the words “and Hendon” from their title, but also to arrange to lodge with HADAS a number of `the Mill Hill Society’s papers which were concerned solely with Hendon.

John was a good friend and man of unexpected depths. In 1986 he published the traditional “slim volume” of poems called “Early and late”. He had written poetry all his life as a relaxation: the first poem in the book was over half a century old. It will be a great pleasure to his friends to have that volume to remember him by.

Lecture: Tuesday 3rd October 1989 by Christine Arnott

The opening lecture of the winter season was given by Roy Friendship-Taylor, Chairman of the Upper Nene Archaeological Society. He spoke of the twelve years he has been concerned with the excavations of a Romano-British villa at Piddington, Northants – digging every weekend and two weeks each August.

The Society has found evidence of late Iron Age settlement initially, with a simple structure on the site, succeeded by its Romanisation, and culminating in a pretentious, “winged” corridor villa. After the late 3rd and early 4th century, it deteriorated into a largely derelict “squat”.

The villa was originally re-discovered in 1781 by limestone quarriers, who, according to brief contemporary records, uncovered a Mosaic about 50 feet square. Finding a skeleton with a spear and nearby a gold ring, their subsequent frantic hunt for treasure resulted in the wholesale destruction of the mosaic, the under­lying hypocaust and an adjacent room.

Somewhat later, in 1979, there were further threats to the site; a projected 24 inch water main, an ecclesiastical user of a metal detector, and deep ploughing. Neither of the first two disturbed vital evidence, but the threat of the plough remains.

Piddington village lies six miles south-east of Northampton, not itself a Roman town, but Towcester, Stony Stratford and Watling Street, with their Roman associat­ions are nearby. The villa site is in a gentle flat landscape, with the land dropping towards the Nene valley. No trace has as yet been discovered of the speculated Roman Road 172a to Piddington.

The evidence for occupation at the site begins about A.D. 1. Later, after the Claudian conquest of A.D. 43, there are finds of many imported wares – particularly military findings that suggest the presence of a nearby cavalry unit. About this time also there is evidence of copper smelting – hearths have been found and a number of crucible fragments – it is suggested that a range of tacks and nails was produced there.

The wall plaster remains found all over the site indicate the fine nature of the material and that the walls had originally designs in green and cream on a polished red surface. This well-decorated villa supports the evidence for a wealthy owner.

A number of finds have been identified as foreign imports. For instance, a distinctive bright pinky-red colour used on the wall plaster was produced by “cinnabas”, a pigment known to have been an expensive luxury import from northern Spain. Another distinctive colour is the bright blue-green made from coloured glass. We can imagine that with plum-red external wall plaster, plum-red, purple-brown, and white moulded plastered limestone columns – topped by blue and cream roof tiles on the lean-to roof – the villa must have been a colourful sight.

Marble fragments have been identified as coming originally from the Aegean, Sparta, Egypt and Portland in Dorset; also the black carboniferous limestone from Belgium. Imported pottery finds of “terra rubra” (Central Gaul) “terra nigra” (Rhineland) “terra sigilata” (Samian or southern Gaul) are further evidence of overseas contacts.

We were shown slides of the bath-house and the heating thereof. In the beginning, charcoal was used, but later coal was introduced. Among many slide of the excavat­ions we saw the herringbone tiled flooring of the corridor. This must have been extremely well laid judging by its condition today. We also saw slides of the many artefacts uncovered, and were introduced to the riddle of the strange calcite gritted was finials or lamp chimneys set at one end of the roof. There was a wealth of information given to us during the lecture and we were left with many things to ponder on; so we shall look forward most keenly to our visit to the site next year, when we can inspect “in situ” all the evidence of occupation during the four hundred years that we heard about on this first Tuesday evening.


On Saturday, 30th September, we had the good fortune to be introduced to parts of Highbury and Canonbury by Mary O’Connell, who kindly guided us on a short tour of the area. We started at Highbury Fields, by the memorial to Islingtonians who fell in the Boer War. Around the Fields stand the architecturally stately houses of the early 19th century, more of which we found nearby in Compton Terrace. Here our goal was the Union Chapel, a most imposing structure built as the centrepiece of the Terrace, now truncated as the result of bomb damage in the last war when Highbury “Corner” was destroyed.

We were welcomed by a Chapel member who favoured us with a lengthy discourse on its history, which began in 1799 when a small group of Anglicans and Non-conform­ists began to worship in a disused chapel at 18 Highbury Grove. At this time the area was poor spiritually, but nevertheless the chapel prospered, a regular Min­ister was appointed in 1804, and a new building was raised in Compton Terrace in 1806, Steady growth continued, particularly with the ministry of Rev. Alton from 1852, and a new and larger building, the present Union Chapel, designed by James Cubitt was opened in 1877, seating 1,700 with a Sunday School Hall for 1,000 children. Cubitt’s inspiration was the church of Santa Fosca Torcelle near Venice. The tower was added in 1889. A special feature was the organ (designed by Henry Willis) which is still in working order. Some of the party ventured into the small chamber in the basement where the original pump required two persons to work it – doubtless they would have appreciated the quieter interludes in the services! The early congregations were encouraged in hymn singing with two practice sessions each week, and the musical tradition continues with concerts frequently held today.

The building was designed in the form of a Greek cross enclosing an octagon, with

a large balcony, several handsome stained glass windows, and much decorative tiling. There was an interesting ventilation system whereby vents could be opened in certain pillars to facilitate an updraught for regulating a fan in the roof; the vents can still be seen. Another noteworthy feature are the handsome wooden pews, originally available for purchase or rent; thus establishing a financial basis for the vigorous charitable work of the early members, whose “seating plan”can still be seen on a wall in a back room. By 1892 the congregation was declining ­the then Minister declared it was either migrating to Hampstead or to Heaven! This decline continued until the appointment of the present incumbent, Rev. Janet Wootton, a very special and purposeful person under whose guidance the attendance has steadily recovered.

Our friendly guide took us to a room at the rear where he dispensed coffee and we ate our packed lunches, and we then made our way towards Canonbury Tower, passing along Canonbury Terrace and Square, Alwyne Road and Villas, streets full of 19th century architectural interest, all part of the estates of the Marquess of Northampton. In Canonbury Square, the tragedian Samuel Phelps resided at No. 8 from 1844 -67, Evelyn Waugh at No. 17a in 1928, and George Orwell at No. 27b in 1945. Alwyne Villas has been the home of Dame Flora Robson and Beatrice Lehmann. Along Canonbury Road (at one time New North Road) the course of the New River, ornamental ponds were constructed and land­scaped in 1950; here we met the local duck population enjoying the remains of the 1613 New River developed by Sir Hugh Myddelton, goldsmith and M.P. whose man-made waterway brought water from Hertfordshire springs to alleviate the problems of London’s water supply.

From the ponds we approached Canonbury Tower/Place, from 1952 the home of the Tavistock Repertory Company, and known as the Tower Theatre. The tower itself is the most substant­ial part remaining of what used to be Canonbury House. The land now contained in the triangle formed by Upper Street, Essex Road and St. Paul’s Road, was a manor before the Norman Conquest, but in 1253 it was bequeathed to the Canons of St. Bartholomew’s in Smithfield, an Augustinian Order, when it became known as Canons’ Burgh or Canonbury. Little was done to it until William Bolton became Prior – 1509 to 1532. He was a great builder, Master of Works to Henry VIII and responsible for the Henry VII chapel in West­minster Abbey. He owned other properties in the area, on two of which, an octagonal garden house at 4 Alwyne Villas and an old monastic door inside 6 Canonbury Place, his mark, a bolt piercing a tun (barrel) can still be seen. The Canonbury Tower was certainly his work, although how much more is uncertain. The Canons did not enjoy their retreat for long since the Priory and lands were surrendered to the Crown in 1539 and the Manor was bestowed on Thomas Cromwell, Chief Minister for the Dissolution, who himself fell from grace soon after and was executed in 1540, the remains of his fortune being used to provide an annuity for Anne of Cleves.

A chequered history followed until the Manor passed to Sir John Spencer, a wealthy Suffolk cloth merchant who increased his fortune by overseas trading, money lending and property development, holding many important offices, including Lord Mayor of London in 1594. He took up residence in 1599 and from about this time certain events provide a great human interest with the romance of his heiress daughter Elizabeth and Lord Compton, later Earl of Northampton. Lord Compton had spent most of his considerable inheritance with attend­ance at Court and other expensive exercises, and had borrowed from Sir John, who did not share his daughter’s love for the spendthrift nobleman. Elizabeth was confined to the Tower, but eloped and married Compton in 1599. Sir John then disowned his daughter and it was not until her son was born in 1601 that reconciliation was effected with the ass­istance of Queen Elizabeth herself, who had appointed Compton Master of the Leash in 1596. A second son was born in Canonbury Tower and on Sir John’s death in 1610, the couple finally inherited the Spencer fortunes. At this time, a letter from Elizabeth Compton to her husband, read by Mary O’Connell as we sat in the first floor “Spencer Room”, sets out in detail the style in which she expected him to keep her, both at Canonbury Tower and at the Northampton ancestral home, Castle Ashby, Northants. Gambling, lavish entertaining and extensions to Castle Ashby were supported by Elizabeth’s legacy, and also a very lavish funeral for her father (buried in Great St Helen’s, Bishopsgate). That expense may have distressed Compton, as for a while he was quite demented and was kept bound. He recovered, however, and was later Lord President of the Council in 1617, and in 1618 was created Earl of Northampton. The second Earl was killed supporting the King’s cause in the Civil War, and for a time his son, the third Earl, lived in Canonbury House, having had to pay a fine of £40,000 to the Commonwealth. He was the last of the line to live there, although the property is still owned by the family.

In 1907, the (by then) Marquess of Northampton completely restored the building, preserving the original features where possible. King Edward’s Hall was then built, presently the Tower Theatre, and the present entrance leads into a low hall adjoining the Tower. On the ground floor is a room with the original brickwork exposed; on the first floor is the “Spencer Room”, completely panelled, with an elaborately ornamented chimney-piece featuring ‘dons’ heads, carved figures, Tudor roses and much strapwork, and twelve pilasters (probably Flemish) which run from floor to ceiling; on the second floor the “Compton Room” even more elaborate “panel within panel” walls and strapwork on the ten pilasters, and a chimney-piece decorated with figures of Faith and Hope and fruits and flowers. Elsewhere is a shell pattern interspaced with the arms of Spencer and semi-grotesque heads. Finally, on the flat roof of the tower there is a fine view, described by Charles Lamb in 1835 as of “villages and countryside”. The whole is served by a central staircase of short straight flights and quarter landings, the centre filled with timber and plaster forming a series of cupboards.

Various famous tenants of the Northamptons included Lord Chancellor Thomas Eggerton in 1605, and Sir Francis Bacon in 1616. Bacon is believed to have planted the red mulberry tree in the courtyard, and also to have had painted on the wall of the top room of the tower an inscription of the names of the sovereigns from Charles I. During the 18th century, the buildings were partly let in separate rooms – Oliver Goldsmith was there in 1762 and was visited by-Boswell. In 1770 an impoverished Earl of Northampton parted with a lease of the property to one John Dawes, who demolished the south side of the quadrangle of buildings and erected the houses in what is now Canonbury Place. He also added the bay windows to the Tower. Our visit to this fascinating building was completed by refreshments in a room beside the Tower, adding the final touch to this most enjoyable outing.


(Head of History at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School)

Interest in Archaeology is growing: the University of Sheffield “Archaeology in Educ­ation” Unit at the Department of Archaeology and Pre-history is most helpful and inform­ative, producing study packs, replicas and information; more sites, like Fishbourne Roman Palace, are offering workshops so that pupils may examine artefacts or experience a simulation of life in the period of study; media coverage of Archaeology is improving, for example the recent programmes about the Sutton Hoo excavations. Clearly, this is an encouraging sign for lovers of the subject.

For several years, Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in Barnet has adopted a chronological, though skills-based approach to the study of History. While giving the girls a basic chronological framework, we hope to develop their skills of observation, questioning, discernment and deduction. This culminates in a site description of Roman Verulamium in the 4th and 5th years, when girls are taken to the excavations and, through observ­ations, are asked to deduce what Verulamium tells each individual about Roman Britain and the problems the site poses.

The enthusiasm of the girls for the subject is shown when, in our present 4th year, 110 out of 150 girls have chosen to take History at G.C.S.E. level. It was also demon­strated when in the summer term of the last academic year, an optional trip to Ports­mouth was organised for 2nd year pupils to supplement their studies. This involved examination of the Mary Rose, the Victory, the Warrior, and their artefacts, and an ass­ignment. The quality of the assignments was good and the number of girls who chose to take part was 130 out of 150 As a result of the success of the field visits, the History Department now aims to organise at least one excursion to an archaeological site for each year group.

This year we have embarked on an Archaeology course for G.C.S.E. in the 6th Form. It lasts for one year and we have 18 girls on the course from both scientific and arts backgrounds. There are two examinations and a piece of extended coursework which need to be completed, and as well as archaeological finds and sites, we look at the role of the archaeologist and archaeological technique. The girls are extremely enthusiastic to the extent that, at half-term, we are going to the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire border to look at the Rollright stones, Belas Knap, Chipping Campden market square and, possibly Crickley Hill. We hope that the girls will also be able to have some experience of local digs.

Our school offers an ideal site to study standing buildings, with all the modifications and additions which have been made over the last 100 years (the school celebrated its centenary last year). The Tudor Hall (Barnet College) as well as other Barnet buildings provide us with an ideal area for observation. The enthusiasm seems contagious – the course has aroused the interest of both staff and pupils and there is every indication that we shall have another large class next year.

With the advent of National Curriculum (in which History is compulsory) and the result­ing attainment targets, we hope that our courses and visits will continue. Our aim is to show that Archaeology, far from being dull and boring, is exciting, interesting and satisfying, and that through observation and experimentation as well as reading books, we can learn about life in the past.

(The Queen Elizabeth girls will be visiting the Mitre site in Barnet very shortly and hope they may be able to do some work there. Ed.)

A SIGN OF THE “TIMES”? by Micky Cohen

Archaeology is an “in” topic of news – the “heavies” now give more space to it than ever before. They carry not just the hyped items like the row over the Rose Theatre site, but also reports on interesting sites all over the world, on the implications of finds for man’s development in pre-history, on the City’s many digs and so on.

Now the “Times” is publishing a series of beautifully illustrated colour supplements every Monday for seven weeks – the “Atlas of Ancient Civilisations”. So far the Near East, Egypt and Greece have appeared. Each issue has maps, charts and photographs, and provides a brief text reviewing the main aspects of the emergence of civilisation in the areas concerned. Illustrations have been drawn from the Times “Atlas of World History” and “Past Worlds”.

The brief text is enough to stimulate further reading but unfortunately there is no reading list or guidance. However, there is a traveller’s guide giving news of forth­coming tours to each of the areas covered and information about access to sites.

The “Times” is to be congratulated on this initiative – those who take an interest in any aspect of Archaeology will welcome the prominence this series will give to the subject for a wider audience. A set of video tapes on the same lines would have even greater impact – what about it Mr Murdoch ?


Barnet Council enhances the “Village Green” of Hendon

Readers will recall that, after a short but messy occupation by “Travellers” of the “Paddock” – once graphically described as Hendon’s “Village Green” – adjacent to the Middlesex Polytechnic, the London Borough of Barnet agreed to replace the dilapidated iron railings – long patched up with ugly wattle fencing.

HADAS was appalled at the design originally suggested in the planning application, and made strong representations. The Planning Department then solicited at least two further designs before it was felt that they had got it right for this environmentally sensitive site. Recently, slender black railings, with delightfully sculpted arrow­head tops, have been installed, effectively protecting the “Paddock” from further intrusion. The Society has, in consequence, congratulated the Planning Department on producing such an aesthetically pleasing design, which, it is felt, will enhance the outstanding character of this open space as a sylvan “lung” in an increasingly urban area. May we hope that one day it will become available for quiet recreational use by the people of Hendon. This, the writer knows, was the avowed wish of the previous owner, Miss Nellie Hinge, when urban pressures forced her to sell – first the herd of cattle that had grazed the pasture for generations, and finally – the land itself.


Short progress reports have been in Newsletters on several occasions during the six months since the start of the project, and it is now possible to give a fuller (but still not complete) description of the house, how and why we are interested in it, further news on the dig, and other investigations during the project.

The background to it is that early this year the architects to the owners asked if we would be interested to investigate the Grade II Listed house at No. 1264 High Road,

Whetstone, which was being considered for restoration. This would be part of the re­development of the site which includes a small 19th century building, a courtyard and ground at the back of both buildings. This had a special interest as the Society had undertaken a similar project in 1981 on the adjacent building at No. 1266 High Road. Mrs Mary Alloway, then one of our members, produced a report and some very fine drawings of that building which has been very well restored and is now the head office of the company that owns it. This 1981 project work may well have contributed not only to the records but also to the conservation of a little of Whetstone’s past history.

The committee approved the project as the building is thought to be even older than that at No. 1266. The aim of the investigation was to study and record the general construct­ion of the building and especially its timber-frame construction. This Tudor system of house building is based on the manufacture in the carpenter’s workshop of all the wood components of the house and to assemble them there into the complete skeleton house frame. The components were then marked to show how they fitted together, the structure was dismantled and transported to the building site, and it was re-erected, the walls infilled and the roof added.

The main frame of the Whetstone house is made of very large oak beams some twelve or more inches square, most of which are in remarkably sound condition although some of the smaller ones have deteriorated. Some original wattle and daub infill still exists in the upper floors and the loft. Only part of the building is Tudor and this is approx­imately 55 feet long and only 16 feet wide. This narrow side is the frontage onto the High Road. Built on to the front of this, a much wider, very shallow and very ugly Georgian frontage has been added, possibly in a mistaken attempt to make the building look more important. This is the three-storey building next to the Griffin pub near the crossroads in central Whetstone. At the back of the building is quite a large area of ground and on part of this is a small 19th century building now used as a photograph­ic studio. There is also a courtyard and garden area at the rear of this.

As readers of the earlier reports will recall, we made a prompt start on digging in early April, requiring a massive clearance of about 1 metre of accumulated scrap, spread a metre deep over the area of the dig. We have not yet found any material earlier than 17th century, and we were stopped just as we were starting to dig in the undisturbed area at the rear; recording and drawing has gone ahead but was also delayed. However, the visit of the timber building specialists gave the first clue that the building might be older than the accepted dating. The Dendrochronology (tree-ring) tests have not proved successful as the timber samples taken were not satisfactory.

The documentary studies, with some very hard work and unexpected luck, have produced some striking results as John Heathfield’s report in the October Newsletter has shown.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 4 : 1985 - 1989 | No Comments

Newsletter 223: October, 1989 Editor: Brigid Grafton Green

What’s on for HADAS

Opening lecture of the winter season, Excavations at Piddington Roman Villa by Roy Friendship-Taylor, who is Chairman of the Upper Nene Archaeological Society and has been digging at Piddington every weekend for ten years ­not to mention two weeks every summer. The site was orig­inally discovered by a local vicar with a metal detector, who dug holes as and where he listed. Fortunately a field worker recognised its potential and reported it to the local society before too much damage had been done.

An outing to Piddington is planned for 1990.

Sat Oct 21. Conservation Fair, organised by Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust at Church House, Wood Street, Barnet, 10am-3pm. HADAS is manning an information table at which we will publicise the work of the society and show our publica­tions. Volunteers to help with this would be much appreci­ated. If you could make some time that day – even an hour. or two – please ring Christine Arnott on 455 2751.

Tues Nov 7. Lecture on Prehistory in Greater London by Jon Cotton

Sun Nov 19. HADAS members are cordially invited by the Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust to join in a walk along the Mutton Brook, through Big Wood and part of the Garden Suburb and so onto the Hampstead Heath Extension. Meet at Henly’s Corner (opposite the Express Garage), NW11 at 10.30 am. The walk will be led by Michael Holton, whose interest in conserva­tion includes curiosity about the farthest extent of the ice advance in the last Ice Age – popularly considered by some to be “to the line of the North Circular Road” and by the lighter-hearted as “stopping at the lights at Henly’s Cornerl”

Tues Dec 5. Southwark Cathedral and Christmas Dinner at “The George.” (Application form enclosed).

Tues Jan 2. Presidential Address on “The Archaeology of Ritual and

Magic – a study of Survival and Re-interpretation” by our new President, Ralph Merrifield. The subject is one which Mr Merrifield has made particularly his own, having published a book on it in 1987 and lectured on it to LAMAS last Decem­ber. The few HADAS members who heard his LAMAS lecture were unanimous in hoping that he would choose the same subject for his Presidential address – so we can count ourselves lucky. We thought you might like advance notice of the event so that you can mark the date in your (new) diary. Come along and meet the President on this, his first visit.

Lectures are held at Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4, 8 for 8.30 pm. We like to welcome our new members person­ally, so if you are new, please make yourself known to someone who is rushing round looking harassed – it’s bound to be a Committee members

For information on outings, lectures and walks, please ring the Programme Secretary, Dorothy Newbury, on 203 0950.


Someone famous probably said – or if he didn’t, he ought to have done – that one thing which differentiates man from the apes is the ability to laugh at himself. That’s why I suggest you might enjoy “Bluff Your Way in Archaeology” – a small-book, only 7 x 44 ins, unillustrated ­but the best £1.95worth I have spent for a long time. It is one of a series of Bluffer’s Guides (published by Ravette Books, 3 Glenside Estate, Star Road, Partridge Green, Horsham, West Sussex), which cover about 30 wildly diverse subjects, such as Amsterdam, Banking, High Society and Seduction. For keenest enjoyment you need to know a bit about the subject you choose from their highly individual list.

Starting from the premise that “anyone who takes up archaeology is, or has to become, a consummate bluffer,” the author, Paul Win (said to have “decided at an early age he wanted to be an archaeologist since it seemed to be better than working for a living”) leads you through 60 pages of the kind of bluff needed to deal with every archaeological situation. Here are a few of his gems:

“Never let the fact that nothing is really known about past events stand in your way: instead, use it to your advantage. Some eminent archaeologists have built their entire careers upon convincing bluff.”

“You should know that rather than being carefully planned from the start, most digs muddle along by trowel and error.”

“It is advisable … to get as much information as you can about what lies beneath the surface before you start digging. This helps to avoid the embarrassment of (a) finding you’re digging in the wrong place; (b) not finding anything; (c) finding far

more than you were prepared for ………………………….. Failure to check out a
site adequately led one British archaeologist … to dig his way down into the London Underground …”

“Computer printouts, maps and diagrams make your reports look terrifically impressive and professional and have the extra advantage that they usually deter readers from examining your evidence very closely.”

“Diggers need strong knees in order to cope with long hours working bent legged on planks or subsoils: being a Catholic. or Japanese is useful …”

“There are a few fundamental laws in archaeological excavation with which you should be familiar: (1) the most interesting

part of the site will be under your spoilheap (2) the most
important find will turn up on the last day or when you are pressed for time and funds .,.”

“It is advisable … even if you have a pronounced sense of the absurd, to appear to take the past very seriously. After all it’s the only one we’ve got.”

“One basic rule in archaeollgical publishing is … to fill your work with ‘maybe,’ ‘perhaps’ and ‘possibly.’ This enables you

to make an-orderly and dignified retreat …………………………………. Another way to
sidestep criticism is to make your prose so obscure and tortuous that nobody, including yourself, is quite sure … what you have been saying …”

“Ethnoarchaeology: one of the latest branches of the subject, this is an excellent means of getting an exotic adventure holiday in a remote location …”

“New Archaeology … Bluffers can take comfort from the fact that

the title itself is bluff. It is really Old Archaeology dressed up with jargon and presented with … pomposity.”

Finally, there is a delicious glossary. One or two items taken from it have been slipped in between the more serious items in the rest of this Newsletter – so if you find yourself chuckling at an irreverent quotation, assume it comes from “Bluff Your Way …”


In case anyone is thinking that members of the HADAS Committee sit around all day contemplating their navels, here is a brief update on what has been happening lately on several sites of interest in the Borough.

Rosebank Cottage, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill

A call from Philip Wilson of Barnet Planning Department last week informed us that a well had been discovered here during building work. Rosebank is a 17c timber-framed, listed building which carries a Blue Plaque. It was used as a Quaker Meeting House between 1678-1719.

Bearing this in mind, we thought that the well might also prove to be 17c., so John Enderby shot off post haste to examine it. He reports that the site was formerly used as a pig farm and suggests that the ‘well’ may be the repository for highly undesirable substances which come out of pigs. As the ‘well’ is not under any immediate threat, it was decided with unseemly haste to put it on the back boiler while more urgent rescue work was carried out at other sites.

The Mitre, 58 High Street, Chipping Barnet

Yes, we haven’t forgotten the Mitre – how could we? It has been haunting us like Banquo’s spectre for at least 18 months. Work began on the interior renovation of this listed building some weeks ago.

After numerous ‘phone calls to Benskins Brewery, Brian Wrigley, Jennie Cobban and John Heathfield finally managed to gain access to the premises to see what was going on, only to find that work had been suspended by Barnet Council as the brewery had not received listed building consent.

However, various floorboards had been lifted for rewiring purposes and

redecoration was taking place, so we decided to risk life and limb and take a look around. A workman accosted us. “Did you see the painting?” he enquired.

Twitching a little, we asked him to elaborate. He told us that an original upstairs wall had been stripped to the plaster, on which had been painted the design of a castle surrounded by small flowers and ‘vines,’ the whole being enclosed within a circle. The ‘painting’ was incomplete, as it disappeared behind walls added at a later date.

The room had just (literally within a few hours) been papered and repainted, so we were left wondering what we had, in fact, missed. A child’s scrawl with crayon of 20c date? A fragment of a 17c wall painting? We won’t find out the answer until the wall is stripped again – probably in about a hundred years’ time.

A shock awaited us on Sept 7. The company now developing the rear of the Mitre, Brinsden & Co, phoned to say that HADAS could begin to excavate wherever and whenever it wanted. Shock, horror – was it a trick? Apparent­ly not, and Victor Jones and Brian Wrigley marked out a trial trench on the site on Sept 13.

By the time you read this two brave, unfortunate souls will (hopefully) have broken up the surface with a form of pneumatic drill (thanks for that to Philip and Graham Willcocks, able-bodied sons of Doreen Willcocks of Barnet & District Local History Society) and we will take it from there. Watch this space for results of the investigation.

Church Farm School, Church Hill Road, East Barnet

Gillian Gear, a well-known East Barnet historian, drew our attention to this potentially important site after subsidence revealed what appeared to be a well.

The site lies very close (about 19m) south of St Mary’s Church, East Barnet, which is considered to date from approximately 1140. It is potentially important because East Barnet has been listed as a possible deserted medieval village, although opinions as to the exact location of the dray (and indeed its very existence) are conflicting. Rumours also abound of a medieval manor house and rectory lying ‘near to the church’. It was therefore decided to take the opportunity for archaeo­logical excavation, as the site seemed to have exciting possibilities. All very vague – but still possibilities.

The historians are now engaged in extensive research into the site, and excavations have been underway for three weeks. It’s an odd dig in many ways – William Griffiths of British Heritage (not to be confused with-English Heritage, a very different beast) keeps providing cups of tea, tidying up and generally looking after all the volunteers. This is very nice: Barnet Council’s Education Department has also given much encouragement, and we have the full approval and co-operation of the head teacher of the school, part of whose premises we are busily digging up.

It is a little early to report on discoveries at the site. Victor Jones, Brian Wrigley and a loyal band of navvies comprising members of HADAS„ Barnet & District LHS and the East Barnet Residents’ Association are at present examining the foundations of Victorian cottages which once stood on the site and which seem to have formed at one time part of the laundry of the Boys School. A William IV (1830-37) silver sixpence was discovered in the rubble of the cottages. It was amusing to see this find described as a 17c coin in a local press report. The dome of the well, which first drew attention to the site, has now been exposed and photographed.

As yet, we have found no evidence of medieval occupation of the site, and trenches are at present being extended northwards towards the church. Again, watch this space for news of further discoveries.

“Hypocaust: a floor under which hot air circulates and heats the room above. The meeting place of any symposium of archaeologists constitutes the perfect example.”


Victorian and Edwardian Hampstead by Alastair Service Historical Publications £9.95

This 88-page, beautifully illustrated book – written by someone who patently loves his subject and knows it like the palm of his hand – consists of two walks around Hampstead, in which every architectural beauty is relished and every quirk of the many famous architects concerned is lovingly detailed. Even though neither walk enters our Borough, the book is full of interest for anyone who knows the south of LBB, so many of the architects who did Hampstead proud towards the turn of the last century nipped across what was then the Hendon/Hampstead border to add their artistry to houses in Hendon’s (now Barnet’s) Hampstead Garden Suburb – Guy Dawber, Quennell, Ernest George, to mention a few.

Royalties from the book are to be divided between the Victorian Society (of which the author is a stalwart) and Burgh House, which has just celebrated its tenth birthday. That’s a local museum dear to many HADAS hearts for several reasons: we once had a notable Christmas party there; the museum staged the first exhibition on the West Heath dig; the Curator, Christopher Wade, is an old friend who has led us on Hamp­stead walks; and his daughter Joanna has been a faithful HADAS member since her schooldays.

There will be, by the way, a Tenth Birthday Show at Burgh House from Oct 7-Dec 17, which will look back on some of the 60 exhibitions held there in the last decade.

Historical Publications, should you want to order by post, are a local outfit – write to them at 54 Station Road, New Barnet, Herts.

“Culture: archaeological term for regional groups of similar artifacts, often equated with different peoples. Also that which grows on mugs and plates in the excavation hut.”


It’s always great to be able to start this part of the Newsletter with some heart-warming news. One of our nicest (and prettiest) members, MARION NEWBURY, got married last month, and all those who know the Newbury family – which means virtually everyone in HADAS – will want to wish her well. The wedding, on Sept 2, was at the church in Mill Hill at which a younger Marion had sung in the choir for five years – St Michael and All Angels. The bridegroom, appropriately, is a doctor whom she met when doing her physiotherapy training at Winchester, Simon Le Besque. Marion joined HADAS, along with DOROTHY and CHRISTOPHER, 17 years ago, and the first photo of her in the HADAS archives shows a perky youngster of about 12

busy pot-washing at the Burroughs Gardens dig. Since then she has taken part in many HADAS activities, including leading outings to the Mary Rose and Danebury. Think of her now in a different setting – nature trekking in Zanskar, in the Himalayas – because they left early on the morning after the wedding on a walking and plant-studying trip. Dorothy – who can always tell a good tall story – swears they practically took their bulging back­packs to the altar with them – an unusual accessory for a bride clothed in beautiful apricot silk!

Should you want to find a Teddy-bear’s picnic, no need if you are a HADAS member to go traipsing down to the woods. Just saunter round to JOHN ENDERBY’s house in Hendon, and you will find 30,000 Teddy-bears, each one brown, 2Oins tall and really cuddly. They form part of John’s sterling effort to raise money for the North London Hospice. The appeal has col­lected £2,000,000 (yes, all six noughts of it) but there is another one million still to go. The Teddy-bears are a step along the way. They are Gerber care-bears, than which there is nothing higher or more ritzy in the bear hierarchy. The Hospice Appeal is offering them at the bargain price of €12.50 – a pointer, perhaps, to HADAS Mums, Dads and Grandmas looking for Christmas presents.

John and his wife Barbara, by the way, have just gone off on a trip to Madeira: a holiday they badly needed, as both were involved in a car smash a few weeks ago in which, as John laconically puts it “Barbara’s car was a write-off and her husband very nearly was.” He suffered severe whiplash – “and I don’t recommend that to anyone.”

HELEN LAMPERT is one of our members of many talents. She always makes elegant cakes and delectable quince jelly for the Minimart – and now she tells us that Hendon Library is about to put on a 4-week exhibition of her paintings -you can see them from Oct 7-Nov 4. Congratulations – that’s a real honour.

We seize this chance to send best wishes from all their friends in the Society to two HADAS members who have had operations. ANN KAHN would have been editing this Newsletter had she not been hauled off to hospital; and Nell Penny, too, is just back from a week in the Royal Free. We wel­come them back from the wars – and wish them both a good recovery.

It was a great surprise – but a thoroughly pleasant one, too – to run into GILL BRAITHWAITE last week in London, NW1I, when she might have been expected to be adorning (and “adorning” is the mot juste, because she was looking smashing) the British Embassy in Moscow. It was only a flying Visit, she explained, to see her son just home from India. With a visit from Mrs Thatcher in the offing, the Moscow Embassy is going to be a hive of activity this autumn.

‘Hypothesis: a guess”


TED SAMMES – on the wing for Denmark even as he wrote to the News­letter – has sent us details of two publications about places which the society knows from outings.

First, the Painted House at Dover, which we have visited four times, the last time in 1987 Brian. Philp, the excavator, has now produced a monograph on the site, tracing eight main periods of occupation between 170-200 AD (an extraordinary compression of activity into 30 years to be able to disentangle 1800 years later). The painted plaster has been studied in detail and all in situ plaster is illustrated and discussed. The book also includes 36 reconstructed designs. Illustrations are mostly black and white but there are also 14 in colour. The book should add greatly to the understanding of this most complex site.

Ted unfortunately omits to tell us the book’s price and publisher, and as he has now (temporarily) fled the country, the Newsletter has not been able to check these matters with him. We suggest that any member who wants to know should ring Ted in October on 062 864807.

The second publication is The Book of Boxmoor, in which Ted himself has had a hand. It is a collection of contributions from a number of different writers and photographers. Ted’s offering is photographic and includes some pictures from the Edwardian period which he drew from a collection of 200 taken by his father. The book starts in prehistoric Boxmoor and comes through to today. Compilers are Roger and Joan Hands and Eve Davis, publisher is Barracuda Books, price £15.95 plus postage.

“Dating methods: courtship rituals adopted by archae­ologists who want to share digs”.


As the Newsletter goes to press, a new exhibition is opening at Church Farm House Museum, in Hendon. It is a very appropriate one in the year that sees the 150th anniversary of the first photograph. If you enjoy really stunning photographs, do go and see it – you will enjoy a feast. Don’t be put off by its slightly cumbersome title, “54 Years Time Exposure.”

The exhibition is the history of the John Maltby photographic firm which closed, after more than 50 years existence, on the last day of last August. For 43 years of that time the firm was based in Hendon, so naturally there are some fine local photos. There is, for instance, a real beauty of Vine Cottages, Nos 77-79 Cricklewood Lane, the last dame-school left in the Borough. The cottages were demolished over the Easter weekend of 1981. HADAS and other conservationists had tried all through the 1970s desperately and unsuccessfully to get them listed.

You might expect pictures of modern arterial roads to be deadly dull, but the Maltby -photographs of the Apex Corner roundabout and the view across the transecting roads at Hendon Central towards the cinema, with all the lights flashing in the dark, manage. to be very exciting.

Local work was only a tiny part of the Maltby range, which was enormous, mostly architectural and industrial. One section specialised in cinemas, Odeons in particular, and someone has described Maltby as an “Odeonographer,” recording “cinemas of every description: tiled, castellate stuccoed, got No as Renaissance palaces (Ealing), railway stations (Shoe­buryness), fortified cottages (Faversham), Wurlitzer organs (Chingford),

radio cabinets (Boston), mausoleums (Kenton)” (Ian Jeffrey, London Mag­azine, July 1980 p66).

Maltby’s archives contain 120,000 negatives. When this farewell exhibition was first mooted, 350 prints were selected as a “short list.” Now these have (with weeping and wailing for each one discarded) been scaled down to 130 prints – the largest number of photographs ever to be shown at one exhibition at Church Farm House. The plan has been to show at least two pictures for each year that John Maltby and his partner, George Tanner (who joined him in 195k) were working. Maltby died in 1980; Tanner retired this year.

Apart from the sheer range of pictures – from, for instance, a factory floor on which literally hundreds of tailoresses are working, each at her own machine, to a close-up of a precise table-setting on the Flying Scots­man, with 2 wine glasses, 2 spoons, knife, fork, plate, menu card and paper napkin – the thing which strikes one at once is the extraordinary geometric eye of the photographer, marvellously aware of the power of shape. He turns what may have been quite an ugly metal stairway in a Southwark school into an essay in beautiful shapes as he takes it from above, showing the struts, columns and connections by which the treads are carried down to the sunlit courtyard below.

Where you and I might see merely a wide scruffy lane between two high, horizontally-boarded fences, built with alternate boards and gaps, Maltby has photographed the length of the path with the sun flooding through from one side and throwing long corrugations of alternate blinding light and black shadow across the lane, to where the planking on the other side picks up the pattern – an extraordinarily dramatic effect. Equally dramatic is his treatment of coiled things: springs, coils of wire, piles of tyres. In one picture great wire coils, each probably weighing about half a ton, hang from huge iron hooks in a factory ceiling, and extend in serried lines from the foreground into infinity.

It is good to know that Maltby’s archive is not to be broken up, but will be held in its entirety by the National Buildings Register, where no doubt in years to come it will be of great interest to many students, including historians and archaeologists. The Odeon collection, in partic­ular, will surely be the definitive visual record to which researchers will turn for the half-century in which cinema was king, before the TV usurper took over.

“B.P: Nothing to do with petrol, simply an abbrevi­ation for ‘Before the Present.’ As archaeologists tend to live in the past, their ‘Present’ is actually 1950.”


From now until Dec 12 the Museum of London offers a chance to inspect its reserve collection of many thousands of objects not normally on show and recently re-housed in Finsbury. Each Tuesday, starting 2 pm, there will be a guided tour, price £2.50 including tea. Most of the material is from fairly recent times: the interior of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, for instance, or the borough of Haringey’s first-ever computer, vintage 1970; but there is some earlier material e.g. an ornate Roman coffin – a contrast in size with a Victorian Oxo tin. Numbers limited – tickets and further details from the Press and Public Relations Office at the Museum (01 600 3699).

Barnet Libraries are organising a series of free Wednesday evening lectures at different libraries each week, starting 8.15 pm. Titles that catch the eye include;

The Great Fire of London by Peter Street, Nov 1 Burnt Oak Library

Treasures of Britain (castles, cathedrals and country houses) by John Wittich, Nov 29 Mill Hill Library

The Globe Reborn (reconstruction of Globe Theatre on Bankside) by Patrick Spottiswoode, Jan 24 Hendon Library.

At Oxford there is an interesting event next month, Nov 10-12: a weekend conference on Palaeolithic Art at Rewley House, organised by the University External Studies Department and the Prehistoric Society, with a strong team of speakers (which includes, by the way, Dr Paul Bahn„ author of Bluffing Your Way in Archaeology, – see p2). The conference has been advertised for some months and residential places are all booked – but if you are hooked on the subject it might be worth ringing Rewley House in case any non-residential places are left (0865 270360).

At Cambridge the corresponding department – the Board of Extra-mural Studies – is organising a residential study weekend (Fri evening-Sun lunch­time) at Madingley Hall, Feb 16-18 1990, on a fascinating subject – Strike A Light: Fire in the service of Man. Lecturer Dr David Trump will be in­vestigating the proposition that “man began using fire 1,500,000 years ago and it has Played a major role in making him the social animal he is.” Weekend fee £65; further details from Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge.

As mentioned in the June Newsletter, Verulamium Museum, built as a memorial to Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s first wife, Tessa, has been celebrating its golden jubilee this summer. Festivities come to an end next month with an anniversary conference on Sat/Sun Nov 17-19 on Roman Towns: the Wheeler Inheritance. When the Wheelers published Verulamium: a Belgic and two Roman Cities in 1936 the study of Romano-British towns was in its infancy; the conference intends to discuss how it has grown up since. Chairman will be Martin Biddle and the list of speakers is imposing: they are linked with almost every important Roman town in southern Britain. Conference fee £30 (which includes buffet dinner on Saturday evening). Details from Verulamium Museum, St Michaels, St Albans, Herts AL3 4SW.

University of London Extra-Mural Archaeological Society (inevitably known as ENAS) was founded only two years ago; it now reports that it “has the strongest growth-rate of any Extra-mural Society” and its programme is admirably practical. On Oct 5 Chris Taylor opens the winter season with an authoritative talk on Landscape Archaeology, in the Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House, London University; and on Nov 10 Jill Kerr talks about Why. Recording, Stained Glass from Excavations is Important at the Institute of Archaeology (both at 7 pm). Society membership is open to all students and past students of extra-mural classes who have attended courses lasting at least two years, subscription £7. Further details from Dave Beard, 44 Granville Park, SE13 7DX.

The LAMAS Local History Conference – always a lively occasion – will take place on Sat Nov 25, 11.30 am-6 pm, at the Museum of London. Theme this year – which sees the 800th anniversary of the London Mayoralty and the centenary of the founding of the LCC – will be “Governing London.”

GREETINGS TO NEW MEMBERS from our Membership Secretary


Here’s a warm welcome to those new members who havejoined since last April. We hope we shall be meeting them at the various activities of the coming winter, starting off with the first lecture of the season, on Oct 3, and the Minimart on Oct 7, when their help will be most welcome (details of both events on pl):

Miss Paula Allen, Dr Josephine Bruegel, Mr R and Mr D Borchardt Miss Jackie Brookes, Mr & Mrs C J Day, Mr & Mrs W N Froude, Richard Gibson, Mrs L and Miss A. Griffin, Graham Javes, Mrs N & Miss D McDonald, Miss P A MacGregor, Mr Nigel & Mrs Anne. McTeer, Ms Norma Moore, Miss D Nicholls, Mrs B A Perkins, Mrs Marjorie Scarfe, Ms Elizabeth Stanton.

We would like to extend a special welcome to our colleagues in the Wembley History Society. We have been sending them a complimentary copy of the Newsletter for some years, but now they have decided to become corporate members – it’s nice have you.

Finally – and perhaps I should call this my Good Shepherd role, since it welcomes back two of the HADAS flock who strayed away for a while – it is a pleasure to greet once more Mr G M Ferris, who was from 1977-79 a member with his late wife, Joan – in those days they were particularly interested in the history and archaeology of Finchley Manor House in East End Road; and, after an 11-year absence, John Heathfield who has already started doing valuable research for the Society, as shown in his report on a house in Whetstone in the July Newsletter and a further report in this issue.


WILLIAM MORRIS, long-time HADAS member (he joined very young, back in 1971) seeks information:

“I have been carrying out some research on the life of a Rhobert Morris (1769-1823) who lived at Abergele in Denbighshire (now Clwyd) in North Wales. Rhobert was a livestock dealer who on occasions would buy Anglesey cattle at Abergele market and send them together with local cattle in a herd with drovers down through the Midlands to Barnet for sale.

I am curious to know a little more about the market at Barnet where the cattle were sold, particularly in about the period 1800-1811. Are there any memb ers who can tell me how often Barnet market was held? Was it only an annual affair, and if so, at what time of the year was it? Was the date fixed? Presumably a fair in the town was held in association with the market, but where exactly were the livestock sold’

The Newsletter itself can provide William with a few tit-bits. If he keeps a file of our back issues, he will find the answers to some of his questions in No 153 (Nov 1983), where Jeremy Clynes published a note on The Drovers; and in No 158 (Apr 1984), where there is a long contribution on The Welsh Drovers and Barnet Fair by Tom Elias of the Snowdonia National Park Study Centre.

Originally both horses and cattle were sold at the fair and chaffering was transacted in the street: cattle bargaining went on “nearer into Barnett” than horse sales – maybe because the Welsh ponies were even wilder than the cattle and so were kept further out of town. Nowadays the occasion is a horse fair only.

The Hendon & Finchley Times has shown considerable interest in the history of the fair. In its issue of Sept 15 1988 it published the text of a charter of Elizabeth I of Feb 6 1588. This granted to Charles Butler, lord of the manor of Barnet, permission to hold “each and every week … a market on Monday” and also two 3-day fairs each year, one on the eve, day and morrow of St John Baptist (to whom the church of Chipping Barnet is dedicated), the other on the feast of St Luke the Evangelist. Although the first market had pre-dated this confirmation by centuries – King John granted the first market charter to the Abbot of St Albans in 1199 – the Elizabethan charter is the one which first sets up the two fairs. The dates for these were altered in the 18c by a later lord of the manor; and subsequently one fair faded away. Finally the horse fair settled down as a single annual event held every year on Sept 4, 5, 6.

In recent years there has been some controversy about where the fair should be held and whether it should take place at all. This year the 401st fair was held from Sept 4-6 at Green Gates Farm, Mays Lane – a farm belonging to the Borough of Barnet and leased to tenant farmer Keith Butterworth.

“Necropolis: an area of tombs; a kind of city set apart for the death, something like Cheltenham.”


VICTOR JONES and JOHN HEATHFIELD report on the latest events and discoveries at No 1264 High Road, Whetstone

First, Victor’s note:

Soon after the last report – see September Newsletter – we were asked to delay further work for a time, as our activities were causing problems to the photography business which operates in part of the premises.

Happily we have now been told we can resume, provided we avoid anything likely to disturb the photographic work – raising dust, causing vibration by moving heavy items or tramping heavily on the stairs or through the upstairs rooms of this rather fragile building.

Entering via the front door and movement through the corridors and the courtyard has also to be reduced, particularly during busy Saturday photographic sessions. We will, I am sure, all be glad to comply with these conditions in order to be able to continue with the project – and I hope therefore to give you further bulletins on the archaeological side.

Meantime, there is much to be told from the documentary aspect. JOHN HEATHF[ELD now continues this unfolding story, with what he calls A Brief Note on 1264 High Road, Whetstone

The dig at 1264 High Road, Whetstone is on part of a site of con­siderable interest and some antiquity.

Much of the building is unused at present. The room fronting the High Road on the north side is used by a photographer’s business, and the room on the south frontage, currently empty, was an employment agency. Between these rooms is a corridor leading to the rear. Excluding toilets and cupboards, there are four further rooms on the ground floor, five on the first floor and two on the second floor, all apparently unused.

For many years the building was the Whetstone Post Office, run by the Gilmour family. Robert Gilmour was born in 1818 in Perthshire. He was originally a draper by trade, who moved to London before 1850. The 1851 census shows him living at what is now 1270 High Road, where his sons carved their names. By 1861, Robert had purchased 1264, and became Toll Collector of the Whetstone Gate of the Whetstone and Highgate Turnpike Trust, as well as running his draper’s shop. Following the closure of the Turnpike, and removal of the gate, his second business was the Post Office. This was obviously profitable, as he bought property further along Whetstone High Road towards Finchley. His first wife, Jane, died in 1864, and his second wife, Emma, in 1894. Robert was succeeded by his daughters, who became partners in 1904 – Ellen and Ada, the latter running the drapery, on the left side as you entered the shop.

1264 – the former Post Office – could be described as one building sublet into parts. That pattern of several occupants has a long history. Before 1837 the house was connected with the Griffin Inn, which stands next door to the south. Because the Griffin was remodelled in 1929, there is no physical trace left of the inter-relationship, but it is there in the documentation.

The principal written sources are the Friern Barnet Court Rolls, available at the Guildhall Library, and in Banks’ transcriptions at the Greater London record Office. Other sources include surveys done in connection with John Bacon’s estate by W P Attfield in 1815, and by J Ellis in 1787. The photocopy of the Tithe Map of 1844 held by Barnet Local History Library appears to be a reduction of the original held at the Public Record Office.

In 1783 Samual Sandys sold the Griffin Inn and cottage adjoining in the occupation of Widow Hews, together with a close of land behind of 1 acre 3R 35P to William Nixon who, on his death, willed it to his daugh­ter Elizabeth Cole. It was she who sold the sites to Meux the brewers in 1837 for £1,050, and through them, the Post Office to Gilmour.

In 1744 No 1264 is described as a messuage with appurtenances and gardens, and a close of 2 acres, and belonging to Richard Brown, who on his death left it to his sister Elizabeth Sandys.

The complete list of owners, which I have made, is probably of interest only to lawyers. In 1739 the house is described as “three messuages now one,” and in 1700 as “three messuages formerly two.” The records are missing for the period round the Civil War.

In 1603 William Sanny sold “the messuage in which he lives and another cottage in the occupation of Thomas Atkins” to Nicholas Kempe of the Inner Temple. The Sanny family were numerous and widespread, and owned a good deal of property in Finchley and Whetstone.

In 1549 John Sanny transferred “a cottage called Bakehouse, a cottage and garden which he has lately built, and a cottage and barn” to Robert Sanny, and in 1504 John Sanny inherited from Thomas Sanny “a cottage and garden.”

This seems to suggest that 1264 High Road contains parts of a building which was certainly there in 1549 and may have existed in 1504.

“Posthole – any hole too small to be a storage pit” “Storage pit – any hole too big to be a posthole”

SHEILA WOODWARD reviews a daunting tome

Excavations in Southwark (1973-76) and Lambeth (1973-79)

The latest LAMAS & SAS Joint Publication (No. 3) thudded through my letter-box some 3 weeks ago. It is a formidable tome covering excava­tions at 16 sites and a period of seven years, and is crammed with technical detail. Such detail is the inevitable result of improved excavation and processing techniques. Should it be included in the printed report or consigned to microfiche or computer print-out? Hitherto T have been anti-microfiche; this report has converted me. Although Peter Hinton’s introduction gives good reasons for the choice of format, the result is most cumbersome and the clutter of information is daunting.

The sites covered range from full-scale excavation to trial-trenching and site-watching during development. All have added something to the jigsaw picture of Southwark’s development since prehistoric times. New evidence on changes in sea and river levels clarifies the early topography which affected the Roman settlement pattern and road alignments. Environ­mental evidence, which is copious, supplies information on climatic conditions land-use, purposes of animal-rearing and methods of butchering. And how interesting to note that Mrs Beeton can come to the aid of archaeological interpretation (see p.435/6)1

Amongst the Roman finds, one of the most attractive is the bone ‘portrait pin”, possibly worn as a charm or a memorial. More important is a fragment of glass, blown and cameo-carved with vine-leaves and grapes, the first such find from Roman Britain. It provides new evidence for the production, dispersion and decoration of cameo glass vessels.

There is an interesting discussion on the development of tin-glazed ware which is technically inferior to lead-glazed earthenware but looks more decorative. This 17c willingness to “pay for appearances” is seen as a trend towards the modern consumer society! Another section of the report dealing with leather records the changes in shoe-making techniques and styles in the medieval and post-medieval periods – a fascinating study. There is even a suggestion for anyone looking for a research project: the use of Romano-British domestic pottery, especially its use for cooking.

The Borough High Street site was once occupied by the Kings Bench Prison. It was “prison industry” finds which provoked the inclusion in the report of this sad little Kings Bench Litany:

From creditors when cruel grown,

From bailiffs and their crafty scent,

From dining often with the Duke,*

From paying homage to the pump,

From taking of the ten pound act,

From being overcome by drink,

From lodging near a boghouse stink,

From having stomachs and no chink,

From asking for food to be denied,

From being turned to the common side –

Libera nos Domine

From being sent to the Lion White,**

From mouldy scraps in basket laid,

From making pegs, that humble trade,

From wooden blocks to rest one’s head,

From all or any King’s Bench bed –

Libera nos Domine

“Duke Humphrey”= “dining on air”

**A lower depth


news from the North

In the August Newsletter there was a news flash from Daphne Lorimer about the discovery of a rock-cut burial chamber in Orkney – possibly the first in a new class of ancient monument – and a promise of “more news next month.” However, we shall have to be patient a bit longer, because there is an embargo on information about the discovery until laboratory tests on the cremations and inhumations it contained have been completed. Daphne holds a watching brief for the Newsletter and will keep us informed.

Meantime, she has information about another site in which HADAS has been interested since our Orkney holiday in 1978 – the underground passage near the Round Church and Earl’s Bu in Orphir. We carried a report on that about a year ago (see November 1988 Newsletter); now here is another.

Last year the excavation of the mysterious passage at the Bu Farm revealed a large chamber thought to be of prehistoric origin. This year Dr Colleen Batey and her team dug up the floor of the chamber and discovered that beneath it was a sealed Viking deposit. Not only that: the continua­tion of the excavation beyond the chamber began to give an entirely different picture. They now think it represents the lade of a horizontal water mill, similar to the clickmill at Dounby. This will be the first Viking mill found in Britain. A clickmill is really a mechanised quern, in which the mechanism is propelled by a controlled rush of water of moderate force which can be derived from quite small streams.

The stream is dammed at a convenient place some distance from the mill to form a reservoir. The water is controlled by a simple sluice and is diverted along a mill lade to the mill house, where it is directed down a trough onto the fins of a horizontal mill wheel. The fins are set obliquely so as to revolve a vertical spindle which passes upwards through the lower millstone to be fixed to the upper, which then rotates and grinds the grain between the two. Wedges are used to regulate the pressure and allow flour of different degrees of fineness to be milled.

Stones with central holes to take a spindle were also found on the last day of the dig; and next year’s discoveries are eagerly awaited. Geophysical surveys were done on the fields all-round the site and revealed the large industrial complex which once surrounded the Viking Earl’s palace: all this, from a hole that HADAS discovered!


Hendon has one strange – and ghoulish – claim to fame, recalled by last month’s commemoration of the 50th declaration of WWII on Sept 3 1939. Heading Street – now swept away under the Church End development – was the scene of the death on active service of the first member of the British WWII armed forces He was 28-year-old John Noel Isaac, on an exercise out of RAF Northolt that Sunday morning – training for a war in which he would have no part. He became the first casualty – to be followed by so many millions – when his plane crashed as he tried a single-engine approach to Hendon. The plane, a Blenheim bomber, stalled. Three houses in Heading Street were burnt out, but no civilian was killed or hurt. Pilot Officer Isaac died instantly. There is a memorial plaque to him in Golders Green Crematorium. On Sept 3 1589 someone remembered – and put flowers on it.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 4 : 1985 - 1989 | No Comments

NEWSLETTER 222: September 1989 Editors: Christine Arnott, Dawn Orr

After the lovely summer we have enjoyed, it is difficult to realise that Autumn is upon us – but, as you will see below, the academic season invites your attention.


Saturday September 30th Walk in Highbury and Canonbury with Mary O’Connell

(Details and application form enclosed.)

Tuesday October 3rd Lecture on Excavation at Piddington Roman Villa by Roy Friendship – Taylor.

Saturday October 7th Minimart at St Mary’s Church Hall, Greyhound Hill, Hendon. N.W. 4.

Ring 203-0950. if you have saleable items available now. We do not like goods brought in on the day, as everything is sorted and priced beforehand. Also old helpers and new volunteers please ring in if you are available on that date. (See separate leaflet for details and Sales and Wants List of larger items.)

Tuesday November 7th Lecture on Pre-history in Greater London by Jon Cotton.

Tuesday December 5th Southwark Cathedral and Christmas -Dinner at “The George

Lectures are held at the Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon. N. W.4. for 8.30 p.m. Last year, the doors were found to be closed on several occasions. If this occurs, please bang and ring until the porter hears you

For information on outings, lectures and walks, please ring 203 – 0950 and ask the programme Secretary.



On Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, the archaeological excavations at the moated manor site at Scadbury will be open to the public. Members of the Orpington & District Archaeological Society (ODAS) will give guided tours showing the work that is currently being done on the site, as well as the foundations of the drawbridge by the side of the moat. The moated area contains the foundations of the buildings associated with the Walsingham family that stood on the site in Elizabethan times.

Guided tours will start at 2.00 p.m. each day from the circular footpath at the point where it now goes pact the moated site. Follow the signs to the site from the Nature Centre in Grovelands Road, St Paul’s Cray. The walk from the Nature Centre takes about 15 minutes.

For elderly or disabled people, car parking is available close to the site, by free ticket only, for which application should be made (enclosing s.a.e. and stating for which day required) to Meekums, 27 Eynsford Close, Petts Wood. KENT. BR5 1DP

A warm welcome is extended to any HADAS member who would like to visit on ether of the above dates.


A new version of a “bread and butter” letter, from Cherry Lavell.. Having had the bare-faced cheek to beg a “returned” coach ticket (and not even being a card-carrying HADAS member, though an avid reader of your invaluable Newsletter) I should not have been surprised to find myself ‘volunteered’ into writing this report on the very delightful August trip.

After a slightly shaky start, the journey to Gloucestershire went well, including a coffee stop at The Windmill near Burford and the Cotswolds looked their loveliest in the bright sun with passing clouds. Arriving at Crickley Hill Country Park at about 11.45 a.m. and needing to find the dig director, Dr Philip Dixon, I was despatched as the (ex-native) runner to find him Normally he is the first person I see whenever I visit Crickley, however this time it took two whole circuits of the hill (leaving messages all round) to run him to ground. The by-then somewhat restive party was rallied, and rewarded by a thoroughly fascinating tour.

We saw first the Dark Age (post-Roman, sub-Roman, what-have-you) area close under the ramparts, where the old Iron Age quarry scoops had been recycled as sunken-featured buildings with stone footings and turf walls. This gave us an immediate taste of the difficulties of the natural rock on this site: it is a fissured and fractured oolitic limestone which takes some practice to deal with. Nearby were big 4-post structures (presumed granaries) cut into the rock. There was also an Iron Age hearth in this area, originating in the Earliest Iron Age (conservatively, about 700 B.C.) and re-made in the Second Iron Age phase, about 500 B.C. (The main part of the EIA settlement was dug years ago and is rather inaccurately marked out by the Country Park authorities in set-flush concrete posts – blue for the early, long house phase, and yellow for the later 500-ish B.C. phase with its round houses.)

We then followed Phil through a gate which was also a time-gap of about 2,000 years, for it led us into the Neolithic causewayed enclosure which takes up the furthest promontory of the hill. Here there had been numerous phases of build­ing and rebuilding, including more than one attack and burning, with 480 arrow­heads clustered round a burnt entrance. (This, if I remember rightly, was the first site at which the myth of the peace-loving Neolithic people was first seriously dented.) Here too is the Long Mound, with its circular business end or ‘ritual’ terminal, which is only slowly giving up its secrets.

Beyond this area we found prehistoric crafts being demonstrated, this being the annual Open Weekend. Dr Ros Cleal was firing pots made of the local clay-in an open bonfire, and other pots she had made were on show. A flint-knapper in an Asterix T-shirt was doing fine pressure-flaking with an antler baton, and a trio of weavers were doing battle with a ware-weighted loom in the strong Severn Vale breezes. From here there were glorious views of the Vale, right up towards Evesham, with the Malvern Hills of Worcestershire and the Black Mountains of Wales beyond to the west. Past lunchtime now, so a hurried return to the coach for a quick munch before leaving for Painswick village.

Here we emptied rapidly out of the coach on a double yellow line – Painswick suffers the twentieth century as best it can. Through the churchyard, with its 99 yew trees (the 100th allegedly will never grow) and a splendid collect­ion of table tombs, we were met by Mr Roy Truman, who acted as our guide to the 14th century church – much Victorian restoration reasonably well done. On dis­play was a very large collection of kneelers made by needlewomen (and men) of the parish, beautifully crafted though variable in quality of design. We were then free to wander round the village, using the excellent guide map produced by the Painswick Women’s Institute – whoever said all they do is make jam? Many of us visited the exhibition of the Guild of Gloucestershire Craftsmen, and were duly staggered at the prices asked, even granting the superb quality of the bookbinding, woodcarving, screenprinting and everything else on show.

Then off to tea up the road in the hall of Christchurch – a splendid spread provided by Mrs Truman and her helpers. The homeward coach ride was enlivened by the customary raffle with several lucky winners and a handy sum made for HADAS funds.

Has this report suitably repaid your kind hospitality? I certainly had a lovely day, and happily echoed the warm vote of thanks which Alan Hill made to Dorothy Newbury for all her hard work in planning such a successful trip.


“Eyes Down” in N.W. 4 ……………

Walking along Brampton Grove recently, I inspected a pile of bricks from a house about four doors away from Brampton Court, opposite No. 63. My eyes soon espied some red facing bricks. It took some while to find a complete one with the maker’s name in the frog of the brick which was readable. It read : E. SMITH & CO. COALVILLE.

Coalville is in the Charnwood Forest area of Leicestershire, six miles south­east of Ashby de in Zouche. This area was developed by George Stevenson, who in 130 was living at Alton Grange at Ashby. In the area there was plenty of good clay for brickmaking, which needed no additions. Also in the area were coal-bearing seams, in which he had an interest. The addition of railway connections made transport possible for both products. Prior to “Beeching” Coalville was on the old L.M.S. Railway, so transport to a station near to Hendon would not have been difficult.

I suspect that these bricks which found their way to Brampton Grove were probably not made until after the turn of the century.


Andrew Selkirk has received a recent copy of the “Young LAMAS Newsletter” and sends us the following. extracts, in which some of the youngsters describe their visit to Chipping Barnet on Saturday, :rd June , 1989. We reproduce in toto some illustrations which we think our readers will find amusing as well as informative. The Young Lamas visitors began their “Local Studies Days” at Barnet Museum where they were met by Jennie Cobban, and first of all we visited the Tudor Hall, which used to be part of Barnet’s Grammar School. In the centre of the Hall was the whipping-post. The older boys during Tudor times were expected to speak in Latin all the time – if they lapsed into English they got a dose of the whipping post. A number of us
were relieved that whipping posts are not important parts of schools today The gentleman showing us the Hall remembered it being used when he was at the school ! We also saw where the dormitories used to be – boys used. to sleep five to a bed.In the afternoon we were taken on a walking tour of Barnet – seeing how some people (see HADAS July Newsletter to find out who ‘some people’ are – had pulled down important Tudor stables, before the archaeologists could excavate them.””Perhaps the most interesting thing out of all the trip was why Chipping Barnet was called Chipping Barnet,we were soon to find out, for ‘Chipping means ‘market’ and ‘Barnett’ is thought to mean ‘a place cleared by burning’ . Chipping Barnet was a market in the place cleared by burning.”

Update on the Rose Theatre from Young LAMAS

Excavations by archaeologists from the Museum of London at the site of the Rose Theatre have now finished. You will be pleased to know that everyone agrees that the site should be kept and that eventually it should be on dis­play to the public. There are, however, different opinions as to how this would best be done.

The theatre itself was small, the stage area perhaps being no more than 13 metres. The archaeologists found a lot of organise (animal or plant matter) debris on the floor; this could be the remains of a roof hatch.

All the information is important in helping archaeologists and historians to understand how early playwrights, such as Shakespeare, staged their plays. If you want any more information, telephone or write to me: Elizabeth Hess, Young LAMAS, Museum of London, London Wall, EC 2. Telephone: 600 – 3699. (HADAS younger readers please note.)

” Update on the Huggin Hill ‘Roman Baths’ from Young LAMAS

We were very lucky to see this site when we did. Although the developers did agree not to destroy it completely, it is not going to be open to the public, as it will be at the bottom of their new building. To help protect the site for future archaeologists, the site was covered by a layer of sand.

The interesting finds have been on display in the front hall of the Museum of London.

Let us know if there is any interesting or important local history or arch­aeological work going on near to where you live. ”


The Whetstone project has been like Topsy; although starting small, it has grown of its own volition until it now it has become the major HADAS project of the summer, with sections working in local history, a regular drawing and photography group as well as its loyal band of diggers.

As some members will know, central Whetstone has several listed houses. These are where Totteridge Lane and the Great North Road meet opposite the Griffin pub. There used to be a set of toll gates here, and it was a convenient place for refreshment of man and horse.

In 1981 the Society investigated one of these houses, and we produced a splendid set of drawing of 1260 High Rd Whetstone. This building has since been very beautifully restored by the present owners, a local building company who now use it as their offices. The society’s 1981 work may have contributed to this happy outcome.

The present project is at No.1264, and between them the three buildings form as remarkable a group as any in the Borough. From our present investigations they appear they have been in continuous use for the last 450 or 500 years. They are not mansions or palaces or churches but ordinary houses. No 1264, the subject of our present project, could perhaps be described as a minor Tudor hall.

From the street the site presents a somewhat undistinguished Georgian Frontage. The interest lies to the rear, where there is a Large timber framed hall, lying at right angles to the frontage. Currently it is divided into four rooms on each of its two floors and a large loft above. Originally it appears to have been a single large structure with a hearth at either end. At the back there is a paved area with an outhouse, and behind that a large garden. We have been excavating in this garden, while within the house we have been recording the archaeological aspects in the unoccupied part. From the first inspection of the house it had seemed it could be rather unusual and possibly early type of construction.

We started the digging programme with a ‘quite heroic effort and soon cleared about 1 meter of assorted rubbish from the dig area. This was achieved by a few of the “regulars” and some great work by a number of our new members. The details of the subsequent dig have been reported in previous Newsletters. We have recently started on a new set of trenches further away from the house to search for rubbish pits.

We had earlier decided to seek specialist advice on the house construction and consulted Phillip Venning a long standing member and veteran of the West Heath and many other HADAS project who is now Secretary of The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. He asked two of his members to advise us and they expressed the view that the building was probably older than the listed date of the 16th century.

At the same time members have been researching the records and have found traced continuous occupation of the site right back to the 15th century, with the names and trades of many of the occupants. Meanwhile the Museum of London experts have taken samples of the timbers for tree-ring dating. Let us hope that they will provide the final clues to the dating of this major survival from Whetstone’s past.


Micky Cohen We are pleased to learn that Miss Cohen has passed her second year Diploma Course in Archaeology – with merit. (We would like to hear about any other members who have passed their course examinations this year. Ed.)

Aubrey and Valerie Hodes We are sorry to learn that the Hodes have moved away to Morecambe – for peace and quiet to get on with their writing, we understand. We shall miss their cheerful participation on outings and their Minimart help.

Mr Levison was a non-participating member, but he enjoyed our Newsletters and was always interested in our activities. He died recently. He had earlier given a generous donation to the Society.

Mrs Holliday we are very sad to hear that Liz Holliday’s mother died suddenly in hospital on Thursday, 10th August. Mrs Holliday was a member with Liz for several years and came on outings with her. She suffered some ill health latterly, but they had a happy holiday in Venice earlier this year. We send Liz our sincere sympathy.

Mr. and Mrs Ivor Leverton The Levertons have advised change of address to:

26 Heath Road, Little Heath, Potters Bar, HERTS.


By | Past Newsletters, Volume 4 : 1985 - 1989 | No Comments

NEWSLETTER 221 August 1989 Editor: Helen Gordon


Saturday August 12th
Outing to Crickley Hill Excavation and Painswick, Gloucestershire (Details and application form enclosed)

Saturday September 30th Walk in Highbury and Canonbury with Mary O’Connell

Tuesday October 3rd Lecture on Excavation at Piddington by Roy Friendship-Taylor
Saturday October 7th MINIMART St Mary’s Church House

Tuesday November 7th Lecture on Prehistory in Greater London by Jon Cotton Tuesday December 5th Southwark Cathedral and Christmas Dinner at “The George”

Lectures are held at the Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon 8.0 for 8.30 pm Coffee is available. For information about outings and walks telephone Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950

SOME AUTUMN CLASSES in or near the Borough of Barnet

The Archaeology of Mexico and Central America

Tutor Ursula Jones, 10 meetings from Thurs Sept 28th, 8.00pm

WEA Golders Green, Golders Green Library, Golders Green Rd, NW1I

For information ring Mrs Michaelson 452 8850

Ancient Empires of South America

Tutor Nicholas James, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 8,00pm

WEA Mill Hill & Edgware St Martins School, Goodwyn Av. Mill Hill NW?

Tutor Tony Rook, 22 meetings from Wed Sept 27th, 7.30pm

WEA Mill Hill & Edgware The Scout Hall, Edgware For information ring Peggy Davies 959 3505

Roman Archaeology in Britain and Beyond

Tutor B D Adams, 20 meetings from Tues Sept 26th, 7.30pm WEA Elstree & Borehamwood The Community Centre, Allum Lane, Elstree.

For information ring William Whitehead 0727 73309

Dark Ages: Anglo-Saxon England 400-1100

Tutor Brian. Adams, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 8,00pm WEA Stanmore & Kenton, Stanmore Library, 8 Stanmore Hill

For information ring Joan Meaden 205 4260

Industrial Archaeology,/u>

Tutor Denis Smith, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 7.30pm

WEA Potters Bar, De Havilland College, The Walk, Potters Bar

For information ring David Clark 0707 55217

Digging up the Bible

Tutor Lorna Oakes, 24 meetings from Mon Sept 18th, 2.00pm

Camden AEI, Maccabi Centre, 73 Compayne Gardens NW6

For information ring 388 7106/7

For summary of Diploma and Certificate courses see back page


Church Farm House Museum A Cabinet of Curiosities – the work of a small museum June 17th– September 17th demonstrating how our small museum, typical of many, has evolved from the old antiquarians’ collections of curiosities, and exploring ways for future development. Documentary material and rarely seen objects are on display and also The Changing Face of London – Photographs by Harold Rose July 8th – September 10th showing the dramatic changes which have occurred in the architecture of London: Open: 10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 5.30 pm. Tues.10am – 1pm and Sun. 2pm – 5.30pm

King’s Library, Great Russell St, WC1 Particular Places until September 3rd

This exhibition celebrates the 200th volume of the Victoria County History and focuses on places whose history is currently being researched. Open: Mon-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 2.30 pm – 6 pm

The Clink 1 Clink St, SE1. This is a permanent exhibition on the site of the original Clink prison; it is now a museum. Its history probably goes back to 816AD when the Bishop of Winchester’s “Colledg of Preestes” must have had a cell for erring monks to comply with the Synod’s edict of that date. Certainly by 1127 AD when Henry I created the estate as “The Liberty of the See of Winchester in the Clink in the Borough of Southwark” the Bishop had power of justice and imprisonment. Part of a buttress of the Bishop’s palace has been identified in the wall of the museum. The museum traces the history of the treatment of prisoners; it is no accident that the Clink was situated in an area devoted to entertainment of all kinds (including the Rose Theatre) and was also near a religious institution. It has a touch of the red light district, and is worth a visit. Open: 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 10 pm Thursday to Sunday

Barnet’s Triangular Market-Place by Andrew Selkirk

More than a dozen young archaeologists assembled at Barnet’s triangular Market Place on Saturday 3rd of June to see what survived of Barnet’s history, and to debate what could be done to enhance that history. Most of the young archaeologists were from Lamas, the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, though a few were from HADAS; we need more younger members! There were a number of not-so-young archaeologists, including two visitors from California,

We began in Barnet Museum where Jennie Cobban, who organised the whole event, distributed a six page information pack about Chipping Barnet’s Triangular Market Place. First point of call was Tudor Hall, the original building of The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, now marooned in the glass and metal archicture of the Barnet College of Further Education, Dennis Marshall, who taught history at the College showed us around and described the history of the school, originally founded in 1573. It was fascinating to compare this with the rather better known school at Harrow which we had visited a month previously. Both schools were Elizabethan foundations and had similar histories down to the 19th Centurya when Harrow under a succession of outstanding headmasters became pre-eminent, But Barnet Grammar School continued to flourish down to the 1930s when the Ravenscroft foundation who were the Governors decided it was no longer viable as a school and turned it into their headquarters, After the war it was converted into a College of Further Education, and most of the old buildings were pulled down and the assembly hail. Sad that so little a sense of history survives there.We then went across the road to the parish church where Bill Guider showed us around and distinguished between the original Medieval church and the Butterworth expansion of 1875. We also looked at the fine alabaster tomb of John Ravenscroft in the corner and followed the history of the other members of the family whose charity has played such a major role in Barnet’s history.We then adjourned for lunch, the adults to the Mitre and children to the Old Bull Art Centre where we visited the theatre that has been ingeniously installed at the rear of the old inn. After lunch we viewed the position of Middle Row, the old market hall that stood in the centre of the triangular market place until it was burnt down in 1889 – providentially in a way, for it removed an impossible traffic hazard. We then visited the backlands behind the fine frontages on the east side of Barnet High Street It is here that development is taking place and we viewed the destruction of the past year, the site of the old granary behind 62 High Street destroyed last November and then the site of the stables behind the Mitre, the last surviving stables of the old coaching inns of Barnet but destroyed last December.We then returned to the Museum where Graham Javes of the Barnet Local History Society had prepared an excellent questionnaire which we all snapped up and went around the Museum answering the questions and learning the history of Barnet. There was also a splendid special exhibition on the market place, laid on by Doreen Willcocks. This terminated the official proceedings but afterwards most of us repaired to the cafe on the site of the Red Lyon in the High Street and had cheesecake and coffee – just as Samuel Pepys did in 1667, when he went to the Red Lyon “and ate some of the best cheese cake that ever I ate in my life”.The big surprise for those of us who stayed until the end was the splendid Barnet Information pack that Jennie Cobban had prepared to enable the young archaeologists to enter the competition. Indeed they were so popular that the adults snapped them up too. When I produced my copy at the recent Committee Meeting there was such general admiration that I found at the end of the Meeting that it had mysteriously disappeared! Any young member of HADAS who was not able to come to the meeting should certainly write to Jennie Gobban at 42 Tudor Road, New Barnet EN5 3NP and see if there are any sets left. I was left with the increased conviction that Barnet’s Triangular Market place is perhaps the outstanding historical centre in the borough. But action is needed if we are to preserve anything in the face of new development. The forthcoming excavations on the site of the old stables will help to draw attention to it, but we must do more. We must make friends with the Old Bull Art Centre and bring together the literary and historic side of Barnet. This was the place where Samuel Pepys came to eat cheesecake and the last stopping place of Oliver Twist when he ran away from the orphanage to come to London. Could we not put plaques up on some of the historic buildings to remind everyone that Barnet does have a history? A martyr’s memorial to William Hale, who was burned at the stake in the market place in 1555? And what about the Horse Fair which still takes place every September? Many regard it as a nuisance but it is the direct descendent of the market which was granted a charter by King John in 1199. If only we can produce some ideas and initiatives, we can make Barnet into the finest historic town between London and St Albans!

HADAS Library By Brian Wrigley

It was on a Friday, 2nd June that the Hon. Secretary received the call from Barnet Council Administrator, John Rheam ………………….. the scaffolding at Avenue House had been put up to hold up the floor of our fire-damaged room – and how soon could we come and get our books to a place of safety – like Monday afternoon?

Well of course we were as anxious as anyone to get our hands once more on our collection and see what sort of state it is in. But the first problem was – where should we take them to? We have no other HADAS home to accomodate this number of books, reeking of smoke and soot! Well, as soon as he was approached by phone, the White Knight, David Ruddom, the Borough Librarian came galloping to the rescue with an offer of temporary space at the Borough Library bookstore in Friern Barnet. And after a flurry of telephone calls and appeals over the weekend to try to raise a workforce for Monday—in-the-end it was your-Chairman- (with his van for which the Society must be thankful!), the Treasurer and the Secretary who turned out in their working gear on the Monday, and then again on Tuesday, to load up the books and transport them. John Rheam donned his overalls and buckled to with us.

We had to tread warily on a new board placed over the blackened, lath-thin planks of the library floor (with daylight showing through in places). We concentrated on getting the books packed into cardboard boxes as quickly as possible for transport, to keep our activity on the precarious floor as short as possible; with no electric light and only a small window, we soon found ourselves working against time and fading daylight, with no time to have any detailed inspection of the books; however, we were at least able to see there was actual charring to only a few of the volumes, but the page edges of virtually every single book were blackened with smoke and soot. In moving them we noticed that the covers of most had stuck to their neighbour’s (smoke tar or heat?) but all seemed to separate easily. We didn’t want to stop to open many of them to see inside, but the few we looked at seemed legible still. Some paper-back periodicals have probably lost some numbers beyond recall.So, a great deal of work is needed to make our books readable without getting black all over. (We can now claim to have a unique collection of filthy books!).

This is a job that will have to be done, we think, in stages, by taking a batch at a time from their resting place in Friern Barnet, inspecting them and cleaning them up, June Porges, our Librarian, is prepared to start organising this as soon as possible, and we hope we may soon find somewhere to keep the refurbished volumes safe and accessible. We were, before the fire, discussing with the Borough the possibility of having another, slightly larger room at Avenue House (one which is in fact undamaged) and we are still in negotiation for this.However, we have to recognise that the fire damage has put a lot of pressure on the remaining accomodation at Avenue House, and we may have some delay. Meanwhile, our good news is that the site records and finds, and some other archives which were stored in another room at Avenue House, are unharmed.


Mary O’Connell,our member who takes us on City walks has hit the headlines! I hope readers saw her picture and write-up in the Sunday Times supplement on July 15th. She now tutors the course in Guiding at City University .This is the Clerkenwell/Islington Guide-course of 20 sessions, mostly or. Wednesday evenings, but including some other times according to opening hours of places visited, and also four Saturdays each term. The class visits many interesting places and Mary assures us that it is not essential to take the exam. For details, ring her at 205 1501, or write to her at 2 Highfort Court, Buck Lane NW9 OQG.

Christine Arnott is making a slow-but-sure recovery from her fall which resulted in broken and sprained ankles, but she is not yet out of plaster and is still virtually chair-bound. However her physical incapacity in no way prevents mental activity, and at present she is infuriated at the BBC2’s misrepresentation of Stonehenge as a Druid’s Temple, In their programme ‘Country File’ from Pebble’ Mill, while discussing circles appearing in cornfields in Wessex, it was stated that Stonehenge was built 2,000 years ago by the ancient Britons as a Druid Temple. She thinks that such a disgraceful inaccuracy on a serious programme can only provide fuel for the annual midsummer confrontation at Stonehenge. She is boiling with frustration that she cannot organise a strong letter of protest from someone with the necessary authority, while she herself is physically deprived of access to the source material on which to base an informed protest. She hopes that an appeal to the Newsletter will not fall on deaf ears.


reported by Ruth Wagland:

A perfect morning, a smooth pick-up and then Dorothy’s opening remarks. ‘This is a picture of the Vicar of Great Burstead, he is a very difficult man so you can avoid him’. She went on to catalogue the lack of co-operation and information received from some of the institutions in Maldon, the partial closure of the M25, the new driver who was not sure of the way and the Greek cafe owner who didn’t understand about scones. Members of HADAS know that this is only a ploy and we set off confident that an enjoyable day was to come.

The first stop at Great Burstead coincided with the setting up of the village fete, tea, coffee and cake was provided in the tent and many members seemed content to sit outside all day. But we assembled in the church to be addressed by the warden, who pointed out the 14th century wall paintings uncovered in January 1989. There are three separate friezes, one shows St Michael weighing a soul with the Virgin interceding. Another series show the story of St Catharine, also depicted is doubting Thomas and Jesus. The church has registers showing the marriage of Christopher Martin, governor of the Mayflower. An earlier one recalls, through his widow, a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary.

We were then taken to the site of the new Maldon Southern Relief Road where at least two Roman cremations have been found, leading to some further investigation. It is thought that the site was a large agricultural area, probably owned by one family who divided the land with enclosure ditches for various members. Samian and grey ware has been found, also what are thought to be tanning pits, lined with clay and covered with gravel. There is also evidence suggesting a late Iron Age round house. Then on to the pleasant town of Maldon established as a Saxon burh (fort in 916, situated on the River Blackwater, where we had lunch.

A walk along the river brought us in sight of the causeway where the battle of Maldon was fought in 991 between the Vikings and the Saxons led by Brithnoth. There seems to be much dispute over exactly where and when this battle took place,

The evidence is based on an Anglo-Saxon poem, the beginning, and end of which are lost, The town plans a millenium celebration in 1991 with the erection of a statue to Brithnoth and much else.

Next, to All Saints church which has a unique 13th century triangular tower supporting an hexagonal shingled spire. There is a window presented by the citizens of Maldon, Massachusetts in 1928, to the memory of Lawrence Washington, the great-great grandfather of George who was buried somewhere in the churchyard in 1652.

As there were several places to visit we split into four groups. The Friary Walled Garden is only one-fifth of an acre, probably cultivated by a monastic community before the Reformation. The local Horticultural Society is restoring it to the Georgian design suggested by the path layout and box hedges surrounding small beds. There is much to do and they need volunteers!

The highlight of the visit was the Moot Hall, built in the 15th century for the D’Arcy family and bought for £55 in 1576 from Alderman Thomas Eve. The ground floor was used as a Jail; there is a door leading to the prison exercise yard. It was also a police station from 1863. From the ground floor the newel staircase winds to the roof. It comprises original Medieval bricks, has a built-in handrail and dates from the 1400’s. The first floor contains a Magistrate’s Court used possibly from 1576 until 1950. It is now an example of what would be called a ‘Dickensian Court House’. The second floor is the former Council Chamber, used as such from 1576 until 1974. It is now panelled in Regency pine.

We were shown round by a local councillor who was very informative, finally taking us up the newel staircase to the roof to see a panoramic view of the town and give us his theory concerning the Battle of Maldon. We then proceeded down the High Street to have tea and currant buns at the Mill House cafe,The Journey come was swift and despite Dorothy’s initial gloom another successful HADAS outing ended well.

Peter Pickering sends a footnote: Those who attempted to decipher the wall painting of “The Living and the Dead” in Great Burstead church may be interested in the following extract from History and Imagery in British Churches by M.O.Anderson. I regret that the book throws no light on the King of Cyprus.

“Another reminder of immortality once seen in many churches is that of The Three Living and the Three Dead. Some thirty examples have been identified and recorded in British churches but of these only about a dozen can be recognised, The fable may have had an eastern origin but the medieval artists knew it chiefly througn French 13th century poem by Baudoin de Conde which describes the meeting of three gay young courtiers with three Deaths. The animated cadavers remind them that even as they now are so shall all courtiers be. The first youth flees, the second hails the Deaths as sent from God, and the third discants upon the horrors of decay. Some of the remaining wall-paintings also differentiate the reaction of the Living. In the little chapel of Widford, near Burford (Oxon), the youth is intent upon his hunting and does not see the Dead, the middle-aged man tries to draw his attention to them and the old man shields his eyes from the horrible sight. At Charlwood (Surrey) the Kings were shown on horseback, a feature commoner in France than England. A pictorial tradition, independent of literary authority, associated the meeting of the Living and the Dead with a hunting scene, although neither this fact, nor the royal status accorded to the Living, are mentioned in the poems. A forest setting is suggested, if only by one tree, and the only King who survives at Paston (Norfolk) has two small huntsmen in attendance. At Peakirk (Northants) the horror of the vision is enhanced by a background covered with flies, beetles and other insects that feed upon corruption. Other examples can be seen at Tarrant Crawford (Dorset) and Hurstbourne Tarrant (Hants).

“The painting of the Three Living and the Three Dead at Raunds (Northants) is on the same wall as that of the Deadly Sins, and we can thus imagine the sequence of admonitions which these paintings were meant to express, At the west end of the wall, above the nave arcade, the little group of sins in the dragons’ mouths portray acts whose extreme familiarity inclines men to condone them, yet, as the eye travels down those branching dragons’ bodies into the giant form of Pride, and through her limbs to their true place of origin, in Hell, these petty vices are seen in the awful perspective of eternity. A few paces eastwards and our glance falls upon the second allegory, seizing first upon the rabbit and the hunting dogs, still clearly visible, and then discovering upon the darkened plaster above them, first the Kings, in their careless enjoyment of the chase, and lastly their horrible vision of the Deaths, unheralded and inescapable! The figure of St Christopher, also painted on this wall, offers a limited protection against unshriven death, but even his legendary power extends only to the day in which we have gazed upon his image, and only the vanished Rood, which has left a pale scar above the chancel arch, brought to medieval parishioners a hope of escaping from the terrors of damnation.”


On Saturday 8th July we made our way down to the south coast, and after a coffee stop at The Bolney Stage and picking up our guide for the day Elizabeth Sanderson, we headed on to our first destination, Beddingham. Here, while half of the group were shown around the excavations at Beddingham Roman Villa by the Director, David Rudling, the remainder had time to browse around St Andrew’s Church.

The excavations have shown a winged corridor villa with a 3rd century AD bathroom addition. The site was discovered as crop-marks in July 1986 by aerial photography during work on a nearby late Saxon site. After preliminary fieldwalking and a soil resistivity survey the site is now half exposed, but there is a farm enclosure on site and probably more Roman buildings two fields away still to be dug. Dating by coins and pottery finds confirm a similar date range of 1st to late 3rd century AD. The villa was defined by the stone walls of the bottom foundations and we could see a small suite of baths at the North end and a central living room with furnace feature. Finds of slag possibly indicate that at some stage one of the other living rooms was used as a forging furnace. As well as being shown the site and some of the finds we were shown a 3-D contour map of the walls made by computer from the geophysical survey.

St Andrew’s Church was originally Norman but has been altered and rebuilt over the years. Of noticeable mention was the 13th century wall painting of mother and child on the East arch. I am assured that there were fourteen sheep grazing in the churchyard, but after some discussion we were still split as to whether a mound was a possible barrow!

Our next stop was the County town of Lewes where we only had time for a brief glimpse at its historic past. The high street of Georgian shops and houses leads to the castle, its early 12th century keep on a high mound protected by a massive 14th century barbican. Next to the castle is the Museum of Sussex Archaeology housed in the 16th century Barbican House, and in town there is Anne of Cleves House now a folk museum. I would thoroughly recommend a day trip to Lewes to explore the town fully.

Our last visit was to Michelham Priory, an Augustinian Priory founded in 1229, and encompassed by a large 14th century moat. A gate-house was built in the 1300s and the property was adapted as a Tudor farmhouse in the late 16th century. The house contains a collection of period furniture, tapestries, Sussex ironwork. ancient stained .glass, musical instruments and a doll’s house. The moat encloses beautiful lawns and gardens including a physic garden where the plants are laid out according to their healing properties in the grounds we also saw a forge, wheelwright’s shop and ropemaking museum; and there is a working watermill which grinds flour for sale.Many thanks must go to Elizabeth Sanderson who organised it.

THE NOTTINGHAM AREA (R.A.I. 1989) Report by Ted Sammes

The region centred on Nottingham was the venue for the 135th Summer Meeting of the Royal Archaeological Institute. During the week some 600 miles was covered by each. The places visited varied from Saxon churches to Papplewick pumping station, a fine piece of the history of Nottingham’s water supply and built by James Watt & Co. in 1884. For me the highlights were the smaller churches at Breedon on the hill (Saxon) and Melbourne (Romanesque). We visited Laxton famous for its open fields systems. One evening there was a talk and quiz on Tree-ring dating. Members will remember visiting Repton Church; its excavations which ran for 15 years have now been back-filled and look as if they had never been excavated.The last place visited was Southwell minster, a highly impressive church with two distinct phases, Norman about 1180 and Early English 1234 onwards, and with a chapter house built in 1295. Much of the stone cornicing in the latter was extremely fine. Next year the Summer Meeting will be based on Exeter. Membership is open to all interested parties on the recommmendation of a member. HADAS has several members.


Since the last Newsletter, our enthusiastic diggers have been able to continue as before at weekends and a few mid-week days. As more features appear, we have expanded, so our opened area now spreads over 5 metres x 4. We have just had to move the spoil-heap once again! The base below the brick, a Tudor feature. Peter Huggins of the Vernacular Architecture Group, has visited the site and confirms this as similar to known features of Tudor buildings in the Waltham Abbey area, He considers (as indeed. several have wondered) that features in the standing building suggest it originally extended into the area now being dug, and these footings may belong to the missing end. It is not possible at present to check accurately on alignment, as the footings of the standing building are of course buried out of sight.

The ‘well’ turned out not to be a well. We shovelled down about 5 feet to empty it, to find a solid brick bottom keyed under the vertical side wall, and rendered all over. Peter Huggins suggested it might be a tank to collect rainwater, to provide soft water for washing, and there might have been a copper for laundering in a corner of the footings which appears to have been separated off by a single course of bricks.

A feature which has not been mentioned before is an area of burnt material, about 2 square metres, within the area enclosed by the footings. Under this scatter we found 3 small areas of concentration of burning, with slag, reddened clay, hammer scale and iron residues; one area (aka Feature 19A), about half a metre across, particularly looks as though it could be the lower remains of a small furnace dug into the surrounding clay. John Roche of the Department of Greater London Archaeology has visited to look at this and considers it indicates small-scale iron-working of some sort, quite possibly contemporary with, or even a little earlier than, the Tudor footings. The stratigraphy is difficult to interpret, but we still have some more to uncover which may help us to establish a relative chronology between these various features. Meanwhile, primed by reference to the books of Prof Tylecote, we are all on the look-out for a tuyere!


Tylecote, R P A History of Metallurgy (1976)

The Prehistory of Metallurgy in the British Isles (1986)


Volunteers are needed for washing pottery. This can be done at home.

Experience is not necessary, though experienced workers are particularly welcome


Extra-Mural Studies in association with The Ecology and Conservation Studies

The Structure and Evolution of the British Flora Tutor: Dr Martin ingrouille on a Friday evenings

29 Sept — 17 Nov from 6.30 – 8.30 pm at 26 Russell Sq WC1

During part of the Ice Age the British Isles was a desert, Our entire flora is an immigrant one. Where did it come from? A different topic will be covered each evening 1 The background (soils & climate) 2 Before the Ice Age 3 Glacials Interglacials 4 The colonisation of Britain 5 The Wildwood 6 Wetlands & Heaths 7 Wetlands and Heaths 8 New species & varieties.