ISSUE No. 231 JUNE 1990 edited by Andy Simpson
DIARY SUMMER OUTINGS – SEE INSIDE for Explanation of Outing Procedure
Saturday, 23rd June RICHMOND – MARBLE HILL and HAM HOUSE (Details and application form enclosed.)
Saturday 21st July HARLOW MUSEUM (Finds from Temple of Minerva) and CRESSING TEMPLE, BRAINTREE (Knights Hospitallers)
Saturday, 25th August PIDDINGTON (Roman Villa)
Friday 31st August to Sunday, 2nd September SHROPSHIRE WEEKEND – now fully booked, but any member who wants to go is advised to get on a mailing list in case of cancellations.
29th September CAMDEN TOWN WALK – Muriel Large
The lecture season starts on 2nd October with Paul Craddock talking about his excavations in West Africa.
19 – 25 HIGH STREET, CHIPPING BARNET
HADAS work on this site began on Saturday, l9th May, when Brian Wrigley and the Editor were on site for the initial concrete stripping, using the JCB driver provided by the contractor. It quickly became apparent that little of archaeological significance remained in the area fronting the High Street, since the natural clay was immediately over lain by the concrete floor of the demolished shop building. However, stripping of two areas in the centre and rear of the site revealed hopeful signs of buried soils. Excavation is scheduled to start in late May. Anyone interested in joining the excavations is very welcome to contact Brian (959 – 5982) Arthur Till (368 – 6288) or the Editor (205 – 6456). All ages and all levels of archaeological experience are welcome
STOP PRESS! DIARY ADDITION
UNTIL 8th JULY at CHURCH FARM HOUSE MUSEUM EXHIBITION on the “BATIK GUILD” An exhibition of wall hangings, clothing and accessories. (The first published reference to Batik was made by Sir Stamford Raffles.) DEMONSTRATIONS every Sunday afternoon.
FIELD WALKING the THREE PIPE LINE PROJECT
A long delayed HADAS project.
Work on clearing the top soil from the track of the 18 M. pipe line has now commenced at the Edgwarebury Farm site. By Thursday l0th May, it had already crossed two fields in a N.E. direction, and the cleared area was also partly fenced. We may now walk this freely at week-ends and (with the permission of the site agent) during the week. It will now continue towards the Scratchwood service area of the M1.
This first section is accessible from Edgwarebury Lane. The pipe line will later cross the M1 by tunnel, about where the North access roads part from the motorway to the main Scratchwood service area, progressing at about 430 Metres per day.
S.W. from Edgwarebury, top soil removal and fencing commenced on 11th May, and will progress towards Brockley Hill at about the same rate. We do not know yet the exact programme, but a construction site is planned at Brockley Hill to work towards Edgwarebury and in the opposite direction along Wood Lane. There may also be one between the M1 and Arkley, so progress may be very rapid.
The clearance of all the top soil is expected to take about four weeks, and then cutting and laying of the main pipe, at about 1 metre deep, will follow swiftly. This is a mechanised process and with continuous bucket excavation will need watching if we are to be able to learn from the deeper layers. This can be planned when we know more about the details of the programme.
In the first stage during clearing the top soil, it should be possible to walk the cleared and fenced areas in evenings and week-ends, and to observe and examine the surface exposed and the heaped soil excavated from these areas.
As some members may recall, we did field walking at Brockley Hill, just after ploughing and seeding, when new soil was exposed, in 1987/83. This was on what was then planned as the route of the pipe line (now modified). We were then of course, expecting and looking for Roman material, but we also found post-Ice Age flint tools, much Roman brick and tile, and also Iron Age and other items.
The very large surface area that will be exposed between Brockley and Arkley by this wide track offers a unique opportunity to explore many times in the Brockley area, a new section of which is traversed – including the crossing of Watling Street towards the top of Brockley Hill, which may expose the original foundations.
Little is recorded about some of the other areas that the route passes, such as Edgewarebury Farm near Clay Lane (reports of early building remains), Moat Mount area, a suggested Iron Age site, through Scratchwood, possibly a remnant of the great Middlesex Forest, and across Barnet Road to near where a Roman route from the north is reported to have been traced, and also near where in earlier times a Saxon name was used.
We are looking for all kinds of artefacts, for worked flints, tiles and brick, signs of past building, small items such as pottery sherds, traces of fire such as charcoal, metal and other worked objects. All of these, if properly recorded, can indicate settlements, occupation sites, roads, etc.
Editor’s note: By Sunday, 20th May, topsoil had been stripped westwards as far as the A 41, this area being intensely walked by HADAS members, a distance of some 1,000 metres in all. Little of great archaeological import has been located in this stretch; the finds begin with 18th/19th century pottery and much modern-looking red tile. The exceptions are four sherds (possibly Roman) and two flint flakes.
ARCHAEOLOGY AND BARNET’S UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN BRIAN WRIGLEY
Better news this month – the Borough Planning Dept. have been in touch with us to arrange a joint meeting with HADAS and the Museum of London’s Dept. of Greater London Archaeology. We are to discuss the archaeological provisions of the proposed Plan, which are at present very brief, and (we and the Museum think) inadequate. The meeting is fixed for 21st June.(Meanwhile several objections to the Plan have been formally lodged by the Secretary on behalf of the Society.
EXCAVATIONS at CHURCH FARM, EAST BARNET by JOHN HEATHFIELD
The Barnet Court Rolls for 1610 refer to a tenement and a parcel of land next to the cemetery of East Barnet Church. By about 1810, this was referred to as a “decaying tenement” and was replaced about that time by a farm house, later to be incorporated into the Church Farm Boys’ Home.
In Apri1, 1990, an exploratory trench 8 metres long and 50 cm. wide was dug about a metre away from the cemetery fence. Extensive remains of the farm house were found, this was shown clearly on the early ordnance survey maps. At the East end of the trench a wall of 9 inch brick work was found. This may relate to the earlier tenement. Since the site is on a school playground, it was back-filled. It is hoped to explore further during the August school holidays.
(It is worth noting that as well as being an inter-disciplinary project, using both archaeological and documentary evidence, this excavation involved several local societies. John and Janet Heathfield, and other members of HADAS, worked with Gill Geer of the Barnet Local History Society and Bill Griffiths of British Heritage. Thanks are also due to Mr Davies, Head Teacher of Brunswick Park J.M.I. School – Ed.)
THE TUDOR HOUSE, HIGH ROAD, WHETSTONE by VICTOR JONES
Following on from work in 1989, it is hoped to return to complete investigations, both within the house itself and to dig in the courtyard and on the site of the adjacent 19th century building when it is demolished, probably in August. This remarkable building, 500 years old, is now to be preserved.
Together with the adjacent Tudor House (reported in Newsletter No. 225, December 1989) it is a unique monument to the knowledge and skill of its Tudor builders, and also to Whetstone’s long history as an important stopping place for travellers on the Great North Road.
The HADAS programme last year included investigation of the timber framing, concurrent with excavations to the rear. Initial examination suggested that the building was much older than first thought. Smoke staining in the roof suggested that it might also be a twin-hall construction. Discovery of foundations for an extra bay at the back support this view. A precise date could not be established for the building, despite the use of the latest dating techniques by the Timber Research Group of the Museum of London.
The dig itself was quite productive, despite considerable post-medieval disturbance. There are a few sherds of medieval pottery and some evidence of metal-working in the form of small charcoal scatters, possibly of the seventeenth century. A long and complex documentary study (with help from Pamela Taylor) traced records of ownership of the two houses back to the late 1400s. This task was greatly assisted by Mr Rodwell, Snr., of Charles Pilgrim Trust Ltd., who use No. 1268 High Road as company offices. They are a local building company, and they have fully restored their building and kindly showed HADAS members how this was done. During this visit the name of one of the earlier occupants of No. 1264 was noticed carved into a floor board in an upper room. This was discussed, and HADAS were shown various leases and documents collected by the company, which led to the tracing of documents in various record offices which dated back to the late 1400s – No. 1264 to 1485, and No; 1268 to 1505. It is probable that they were both built somewhat earlier, 1264 in the reign of Henry II and 1268 in the reign of Richard III – both much earlier than previously suggested for these buildings. We hope to complete the drawings of the house, as it appears to be unusual in several ways.
HENDON AND DISTRICT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
THE CASE FOR CHANGE
“HADAS should change its name to reflect more accurately the scope and geographical boundaries of its activities today”
At the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, Percy Reboul requested that the Committee consider the above motion, which was duly passed.
Changing the name of a well-established society like HADAS is bound to arouse strong emotions, especially among those members who helped to establish the society twenty-five years ago. However, the baby that was born in Hendon all those years ago has grown up to become an active, Borough-wide society, and for this reason I agree wholeheartedly with Percy that HADAS both deserves and needs a new name.
I consider that many prospective members are deterred by the name Hendon and District Archaeological Society, which suggests (however erroneously) that the society is biased towards the history and archaeology of the Hendon area.
Changing the society’s name to reflect the fact that we look after the archaeology of the whole Borough would encourage people in other areas of the Borough to join, or, if they are already members, to take a more active part within the society. These members would feel that ‘their’ town or area had an equal chance with others of figuring in HADAS’s research and excavation programme, and would thus be more willing to come forward and become involved.
In conversations and negotiations on behalf of the society in areas outside Hendon, the reaction – more often than not – on hearing the name Hendon and District Archaeological Society is: Hendon? What are you doing here, then?” I have considered pre-recording an opening sentence for such conversations beginning, “Hello, this is Hendon and District Archaeological Society, but we do cover the whole of the Borough.” Our name should be self-explanatory.
It has been suggested that HADAS’s name is far too well-known to change. I take issue with this opinion. HADAS is certainly, I would imagine, well-known in Hendon. It is also pretty well-known in Chipping Barret now, because redevelopment in Chipping Barnet has necessitated an almost constant HADAS presence in the town over the past couple of years, which has led to a great deal of publicity in the local press. I find it unlikely, however, that we are equally ‘famous’ in, for example, Brunswick Park, Cricklewood, Totteridge, Colindale or Golders Green, to take a few places at random; and yet it is in these very areas that we most need more actively involved members to monitor redevelopment, to alert the committee to anything we should be keeping an eye upon, and to undertake historical and archaeological research.
Changing HADAS’s name to rid ourselves of an undeserved parochial image and to emphasise our Borough-wide interest is vital if we are to increase awareness of the society’s role throughout the Borough and indeed, if we are to continue to increase our knowledge of the Borough’s archaeology. We need to de-emphasise Hendon and make it crystal clear that all parts of the Borough are of equal importance to us archaeologically.
Should we make a change, the most logical choice for a new name would be ‘The London Borough of Barnet Archaeological Society. It would of course be necessary as a matter of courtesy to consult LBB on the issue, but need not necessitate consultation with other archaeological or historical groups – as far as I know, no other group uses ‘Borough of Barnet’ in its title.
Another possibility would be ‘North West London Archaeological Society’. This name blurs somewhat our area of interest, and would require consultations with several groups, but has the advantage that it contains neither ‘Barnet’ nor ‘Hendon’ in the title, which would put an end to the petty jealousy between the two towns.
All in all, a new name for HADAS would require a great deal of consideration.
I must emphasise that the opinions expressed on the previous page are my personal ones and in no way should be taken to represent the views of any member of the committee, so any bullets or arrows loaded in Barnet or Hendon should be aimed my way – not at the HADAS committee!
Editor’s note: Should HADAS change its name ? After a long debate at the A.G.M. last month, the meeting voted in favour of the committee considering such a change, and this will be duly discussed at future committee meetings. Before this, however, the committee would be glad to hear the opinions of the members, including the arguments for and against the change, for inclusion in the Newsletter. Let us have your opinions, for or against, and forward them to the Secretary or the Editor of the Newsletter. Lively debate is vital and will help us to reach the right decision for the society.
HADAS OFFICERS: 1990 – 1991
At the A.G.M. on 8th May 1990, the following were nominated and elected unopposed as society officers:
Chairman: Andrew Selkirk Vice Chairman: John Enderby
Hon. Sec: Brian Wrigley Hon. Treasurer: Victor Jones
Committee: (11 nominations for 13 vacancies)
Christine Arnott, Deirdre Barrie, Alan Lawson, Margaret Maher, Phyllis Fletcher, Peter Pickering, Ted Sammes, Dorothy Newbury, Jean Snelling, Myfanwy Stewart, Andrew Simpson.
For the benefit of new members we should explain that application forms are enclosed with the Newsletter at the beginning of the relevant month, and you are advised to send them in as early as possible as it is “first come – first served”. Applications are not acknowledged, but if you want to confirm, please ring Dorothy Newbury (203 – 0950). If you know in advance that you wish to participate in a particular outing or may be away when the application form appears, please ring Dorothy as above, at the beginning of the season. On the other hand, if you make a late decision please ring, as there are often cancellations.
ANN KAHN is back home again after a long spell in hospital. She is confined to a wheel-chair but is as cheerful as ever and looking forward to moving into a more convenient flat.
ANN YOUNG who moved away to Rochester a few years ago but retained her membership is anxious to return to the Hendon/Barnet area. She misses HADAS lectures and outings. If anyone knows of a flat or small house, please let her know.
MONASTIC EXCAVATIONS in NORTH LONDON VIKKI O’CONNOR
The April lecture was given by Barney Sloane of the DGLA, who discussed two recent monastic excavations in North London. Despite technical problems with two slide projectors he provided us with a very detailed picture of the areas excavated. (Because of the equipment it nearly came to shadow pictures with a candle, which would have been appropriate?)
The Priory of St John of Jerusalem, founded c. 1140 as a Hospitaller Priory by Jordan de Briset, was excavated by the DGLA in the latter part of 1989 to locate remains of the Priory to the north of the crypt and church and to trace the transition of the site from religious to secular use following the Dissolution.
The original circular nave of the Priory church was located from the stone-robber trenches only 12 circular churches are known in Britain, with 3 or 4 still standing. A later re-build following a fire during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 indicates a narrow building to which aisles were added. A thick external buttressed wall of the 13th century crypt has been revealed and the site developer has been persuaded to incorporate plate glass for viewing as a feature of the development. It was noted that one of two 13th century burials found in the cloisters had its arms folded square.
A lay cemetery was located, probably that of the infirmary, with both shroud and coffin burials. The Priory was duty-bound to take in foundlings and these burials included the skeleton of a 4-year old. A medieval surveyor’s error was implied by an abandoned wall construction cut which was about 50 off the line of the completed cemetery wall. The eastern cemetery wall was found to be exactly on the line of Hollar’s engraving of the Prior’s apartments, of which some decorated floor tiles survived. Although the stone foundations were removed in the 17th century, the remaining robber trenches will enable a ground plan to be drawn.
To the north of the cemetery was a 14th century well and to the east of this was a tower built in the early 1500’s which is believed to have been part of the north nave aisle, projecting beyond the line of the church which was demolished by Protector Somerset in 1547. In the 17th century, the Earl of Aylesbury owned the land and excavations showed that he re-used priory stone for his own mansion.
The second site – the Augustinian Priory and Hospital of Blessed Mary-without-Bishopsgate (St Mary Spital) was founded in 1197 by Walter Brown, to provide a hospital for sick poor, women giving birth, orphans, waifs and strays. If any child was directed to their doors, the 11 canons and 7 sisters would take them in up to the age of seven. The site was recorded archaeologically in the 1930’s by Frank Cottrill during re-building work in Spital Square, the accuracy of which has been verified by the recent DGLA excavations.
A series of drains, latrines, and pits were excavated and the Museum of London’s Conservation Dept. have made felt replicas of a prize find – the first PAIR of medieval boots discovered, which were small with patterned sides and a shape cut out to accommodate a bunion The Priory suffered from regular winter flooding which could be the reason why the external walls of the 1235 church were built on foundation arches. Later, circular ragstone piers wet added to support the vaulting with circular columns and circular scalloped capitals, a style of 1150 rather than 1250 – was this purely nostalgia? Several hundred bodies have been recorded in the cemeteries, and one rare viscera or heart burial was discovered in the transept.
The Hospital was one of the largest in the country and at the time of the Dissolution provided 180 beds. The Museum have much information to assemble for their full report. Meantime, in case anyone missed it, the Autumn London Archaeologist had a detailed article on St Nary Spital.
Footnote: Barney Sloane left two excellent 8pp offprints (Nos. 3 and 4) covering the two excavations: ‘The Priory and Hospital of St Mary Spital’ and ‘The Royal Mint Site’. Ring 203 – 0950 if you would like to borrow them to read. They will be deposited in the library when it is re-established.
THE YEAR’ S ACTITIVIES, OUR RESOURCES, POSSIBLE NEW LIBRARY FOR 1990.
by Victor Jones
At the A.G.M. the writer had the pleasure of presenting a “good health” report on the society’s finances. Happily, this year we were able, not only to write off much of the cost of our computer equipment, and to pay (with the help of a grant from L.B.B.) the expense of a major new book, but to end with a moderate surplus.
Our general activities were much increased this year. We undertook three archaeological excavations at various places in the Borough; we finished the writing, published and launched our new book “A Place In Time” and then sold about half the copies (approximately 1,000 at the time of writing- Ed.); staged exhibitions at the LAMAS archaeology conference; and smaller general exhibits in Finchley and Barnet. A large month-long promotional exhibition for “A Place In Time” was mounted in the Hendon Library.
There was also an interesting programme of outings to archaeological sites, and the winter lectures, which were well attended, covered a wide and varied range of subjects. Other activities included the annual get-together at the “Mini-mart” (fun and lunch as well as fund-raising). Not least was the annual dinner at The Old George Inn and the very interesting visit and lecture at Southwark Cathedral.
It is also pleasing to report that, due to the efforts and persistence of our Secretary, our claim for the loss of the Society’s Library in last year’s fire at Avenue House has been met in full at £3,667. We can now consider replacing it with something even better. We are in great need of somewhere to house our collection of maps; site records, and our many photographs. Indexed Newsletter files, drawings, etc.– and in due time our new library with standard reference books, etc..etc..etc..
I always appreciated the presence of the “Book Box” prepared by June Porges for our winter lectures. It generally attracted a lively pre-meeting discussion around June as members chose from the books she was offering. I think that this is a feature which we should resume. June, until her recent resignation, had been our Hon. Librarian for a number of years, during which she made a great contribution to the society. This was in building up and arranging and listing the collection of journals and books, despite great difficulty due to the restricted space in our old room at Avenue House. Always the material was efficiently arranged and displayed. It was not, however, well used, since it was in a very small room, difficult for two people to work in at the same time, and in any case without any surface on which to lay out references. Access through the offices at Avenue House, and restricted use to “office hours”.
Now the new room at Avenue House has none of these disadvantages. It is larger, and entry is possible direct from the carpark entrance. It is large enough to have a table at which one can consult reference books and maps, prepare reports, and even hold small meetings. The shape is suitable for housing a small well-ordered library. Now our insurance claim is settled, we can start planning and we are looking for members to help in this, and in running the library when it is finished.
I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the society, to thank June for her quiet and sustained work with the library; also for her help, and that of her late husband, Hans, with the “Mini-mart”; with occasional mini-bus driving; and exploration for outings. All these contributions were such appreciated. We hope that despite her recent great loss we may still seek her advice and guidance in developing our new library.
CLERKENWELL’S HIDDEN HERITAGE
A joint exhibition by the Museum of London and the Museum of the Order of St. John of recent facts and finds under the buildings of historic Clerkenwell is on from 20th JUNE – 25th AUGUST (not on Bank Holiday weekends not 22nd June).
DON’T FORGET JOIN US on site this season! New diggers and new members always welcome – FULL TRAINING in excavation and recording will be given….
NEOLITHIC SITE FOUND!!
Neolithic settlement dating from 5,000 B.C. has – been unearthed by archaeologists working on new flood relief project at Horton, near Staines. Human bones, primitive tools and basic household items have been discovered. (From “EVENING STANDARD”)
Ted Sammes has visited the Horton site and reports that some later Roman evidence was found above the Neolithic material.