Newsletter 240: March 1991 Edited by Helen Gordon
Saturday March 23 LAMAS Annual Conference at the Museum of London (See February Newsletter for details).
Tuesday April 2 Lecture: ‘Jordan visited’ by Ted Sammes
Please note the advertised lecture ‘Valley of the Kings’ has been post-poned to Tuesday October 1st. Ted Sammes has kindly stepped in to talk and show slides of archaeological sites in Jordan.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday Weekend in Norwich
August 30/31/September 1
Saturday October 5 City Walk with Mary O’Connell
Saturday October 12 MINIMART
Tuesday December 3 CHRISTMAS DINNER AT THE GEORGE AND VULTURE
Lectures are held at the Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, at 8.00 for 8,30 pm.
EXCAVATION AND POST-EXCAVATION by Brian Wrigley
As the weather turns out, we seem to have got it right in not having a dig going on, this year, right through the bleak mid-winter as we did the last two years! In fact, good use is being made of the time in sorting and processing finds from 19/25 High Street, Barnet and from 1264 High Road, Whetstone. Our room at Avenue House is proving a great convenience for this, and much appreciated.
A few of the more intriguing or puzzling finds have been referred to the Museum of London. One, from Whetstone, was a small metal tube which Jeff Egan of the Museum pronounced to be a ‘chape’ or tag from a bodice lace which caused the imagination of at least one of us to run riot!
It is hoped to provide a full report and analysis on the pottery from Barnet in April or May, to add to the reports already published on the excavation itself and the animal bones.
The Borough Planning Department recently asked us about a planning application for Hill House, Elstree; this site adjoins Watling Street and is of course not far from the well-known scheduled site at Brockley Hill. Since the proposed development appeared to involve some disturbance of ground, we advised that there should be an archaeological evaluation before making a decision, and offered our help in this, so that any needed archaeological conditions for preservation or recording of remains could be included in any consent. This just could be an opportunity for a trial dig this summer. Apart from this, there might be some chances at Barnet or Hendon, but both are very much in the air at present.
SOME NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR 1991 by Victor Jones
Brian notes the possible sites for excavation this coming year, while Dorothy announces the season’s outings and other events which, as always, cover a wide range of interest.
I have been asked to report some of the other activities we have in hand which we hope to complete before the end of the year.
Finishing the work on our new room at Avenue House is, perhaps, the most important of these, because it gives us a place to carry out such activities as processing finds, arranging and storing the finds, exhibition material, and equipment. There will be space to prepare exhibits, to preserve and store properly our photographic records and detailed maps which are in constant use.
As reported in the last Newsletter, preparation of the room is going well, and it has been in use for find sorting in the last few weeks.
Cleaning of the books remains to be done; we could not start on this until the space and the facilities for doing it had been prepared and it was possible to heat the room satisfactorily. Now this is ready, and a fine new made-to-measure bookcase has been built by one of our excavation team, Arthur Till, so that the books, after proper cleaning, can be put away.
The collection of earlier records and finds from major investigations undertaken by the Society during its 30 years of activity has continued, and they are being housed in our new room.
However, a problem still remains about the room: we accepted the offer of the room, made by the Council shortly before the Avenue House fire, and sometime later at their suggestion, we stored our books there, pending preparation of a lease. This has never appeared, but the cost charged by the Council for the room has increased considerably. A grant from the Council’s Charity had been suggested, to help with the proposed rent, but this may not now be available, and we are to consider further negotiation.
Another major development in progress is the long-delayed publication of the first phase report of the West Heath dig. For the information of new members, this was a six-year investigation of a Mesolithic hunter/gatherer camp site, some 8/9,000 years old, found by one of our members on the Golders Green side of Hampstead Heath. The site is the closest of this type to the centre of London.
We also intend to publish the second part of ‘The Place in Time’ with an update on our latest work and, to hold a party to celebrate these events!
Some members will be glad to learn that the Newsletter index of the period 1986 onwards is in progress, and we hope will be finished this year.
STOP PRESS THE WEST HEATH REPORT GOES TO PRESS THIS WEEK AND WITH ANY LUCK WILL BE OUT IN TIME FOR THE A.G.M.
THE SITES AND MONUMENTS RECORD FOR LONDON BOROUGH OF BARNET
By Brian Wrigley
Members may remember from my appeal in the Newsletter of July 1990 that we have a printout of this invaluable archaeological tool, put on computor by th Museum of London, intended to include all sites or finds of
archaeological significance. We now have this information put onto disc for our own HADAS computor, thanks to Margaret Marshall who in the few months she has been a Member, has already performed this sterling work for the Society – a magnificent job, as the whole of the Museum’s 40-metre-long printout had to be typed out to be fed into our machine!-
Now, we hope we can, from the computerised information, produce a manageable written summary of the record, which can be more readily copied and circulated for information, correction and addition. Work on this is starting – and we may hope it is a job that will never end so long as the Society continues to be active in finding new sites and finds!
DISCOVERY OF A NORSE HORIZONTAL MILL reported by John Hopson
‘Recent Excavations at the Earl’s Bu, Orphir; Orkney’, the Royal Archaeological Society’s February Lecture, given by Dr C.Batey, described the excavations undertaken in the last decade north of the Earl’s Bu (farm) and Round Church. This site will be well remembered by those who were fortunate to take part in the HADAS trip arranged by Daphne Lorimer in 1978. In fact the first visit to the site on the farm of Daphne’s uncle by Dr Batey, together with her husband (now Professor) Christopher Morris and a group of archaeologists working at Birsay, coincided with ours.
However, what was then believed to be a souterrain, into which some intrepid members endeavoured to venture, excavations have now revealed to be a structure with a long passages This has been identified as the underhouse of a horizontal mill with the passage containing two leats. While the stonebuilt chamber is of unusual shape, the positioning of the wheel has been found. The Norse middens infilling the structure and underlying it, confirm a date of the late Norse period.
Similar mills have been found in Orkney (e.g. the Click Mill), also visited in 1978), in Ireland and in the Shetlands, where they continued in use until the Nineteenth Century.
Associated survey work confirms that the Norse complex is far larger than yet revealed. However, excavations would require the removal of an overburden of about 1.5 metres over a number of hectares and would be very costly.
PALISADED ENCLOSURES IN THE WEST KENNET VALLEY reported by Enid Hill
At the Prehistoric Society’s meeting on February 5th, Dr Alasdaire Whittle, who has been working on a Neolithic programme in the Avebury area for some time, described his recent work in the West Kennet Valley. Returning to get some more detail of the palisaded enclosure found in 1977, he has now added a second palisaded enclosure. Within a circular ditch was found a circular timber monument of a probable diameter of around 180 metres with closely spaced post-holes and sarsen packing stones.
From sherds of Grooved Ware it seems likely that both of these can be dated to the late Neolithic. Thus, in this area there are now two palisaded enclosures, one straggling the Kennet River, and the second close to it on the south west, near to Silbury Hill, the Sanctuary and the West Kwnnet long barrow.
MARY O’CONNELL’S TALK on February 5th reported by Margaret Marshsll
In spite of a forbidding weather forecast, there was an excellent audience for Mary O’Connell’s delightful talk on “Discovering Little Known London”. Mary spoke from a chair, a broken leg made it impossible for her to stand. We all admired her courage in speaking under such circumstances,
Those of us who thought that we knew London were discomfited by the superficiality of our knowledge. I had no idea that there was a police control box in the Marble Arch, nor that there was a river flowing above me when in Sloane Square underground.
The slides showed me London from a different and exciting angle, often giving a curiously homely touch to the imposing – like the chimney on Tower Bridge. Napoleon’s carriage, with its extraordinary furnishings and comforts, showed that luxury exists in curious settings. Jeremy Bentham’s waxwork head will add interest to University College for anyone passing by, while the statue of Boadicea driving a reinless chariot must increase one’s admiration of that lady’s lesser known abilities. I had already noticed the camel seats and dolphin lamp standards on the Embankment near Cleopatra’s Needle, but never knew that they were a gift from the Grocer’s Company, or even the origin of the word ‘grocer’.
As its title promised, the talk gave an insight into the lesser delights of London – two mice nibbling a piece of cheese immortalised in plaster on a wall by the workman whose lunchtime sandwich had just been eaten by mice, a porters’ rest in Piccadilly – things most of us have passed a hundred times without even noticing, let alone questioning. The old proverb may well be right, and the blind should not lead the lame, but during the evening Mary proved beyond doubt that the lame can make excellent guides for the blind!
FIELDWALKING AND FINDS – THE PIPELINE by Tessa Smith
A small group of fieldwalkers were in action before, during and after the pipe laying operation last year. Finds have been collected and processed.
About 20 miscellaneous struck flints were found, some in the field east of Brockley Hill, where Gillian Braithwaite’s team recovered “hundreds” a few years ago, thus confirming finding of evidence of prehistoric man.
Quite a lot of small pieces of red brick and tile were found, mainly in the middle area of the same field, including 3 pieces of tegulae. Gillian Braithwaite also recorded “a definite concentration of Roman building material” here.
We found no stratified material, and the deep trench dug for the pipeline was mainly pure clay from beginning to end. However, the spoil heaps were a bit more rewarding and produced 2 sherds of ring-necked flagon, a Samian rim. 1 handle, 4 rim pieces and 2 sherds of pottery.
The spoil heaps adjacent to the A41 produced abundant samples of 19th and 20th century pottery, glass and pipestems. This type of dumping was evident tut less concentrated over the fields of Edgwarebury Farm. Red tile and brick was evident, probably not Roman, a few horse-shoes and a few flints. One area of struck “core-type” material is thought not to be flint but mud-stone and possibly dumped. We met the Metal.. Detecting Group here, they have permission to use these fields once a month excluding the SSSI field at Brockley Hill.
The Mill HIll Golf Club area showed up a lot of modern decorated glazed pottery and glass bottles. A nearby dump has been excavated regularly by collectors.
The Scratchwood area spoil heaps were of clay and rooted material with no evidence of man-made artefacts. The Al Barnet By-pass section provided a few sherds of modern pottery, natural stratification and glacial residue.
The Hyver Hall fields were mainly clay, becoming stony with water-rolled pebbles, rising up to a wet area of springs.
The fields to Arkley were clay and showed no evidence of tile or brick or metalling at all.
The last field of the water pipeline is on the line of the Viatores suggested route to Cambridge, but no road or metalling or foundations were evident in the pipeline trench.
Sadly we found no new Roman kilns, although the pipeline ran fairly close to known sites at Brockley Hill. We found no foundations of any building, but the finding of Roman tegulae indicates either a building with roof tiles, or a tile manufacturing site.
We do however have a very interesting record of natural and man-made materials found along this narrow strip of our Borough, and it is hoped to mount a small display to be on show at the April lecture.
It was during the crossing of Brockley Hill A5 that Trevor Cox of the Museum of London noted (HADAS 237) part of a 10 metre wide “gravel road” exposed on the east side of Brockley Hill. Ile found 2 pieces of Roman pottery on the surface and he interprets this “gravel road” as being the original road of Watling Street – More of this on my next report.
COLD WEATHER PAYMENTS …. plus ca change .. writes Nell Penny
The government’s relaxation of the strict rules on cold weather payments to old and vulnerable persons reminds me of what happened in Hendon in February 1794.
The corn harvest of 1793 had not been a good one. The naval blockade of continental Europe was already restricting imports and the vestrymen of Hendon were unwilling to watch their neighbours starve. These people were not regular parish pensioners. They were day labourers on farms who still constituted two thirds of the working population and for whom there was no work in the frozen fields.
“Because of the severe frost” the vestry decided to subsidize the price of bread and coal. Every Tuesday and Friday at 11 am, two bakers Hobbs and Taylor were to deliver bread to applicants at 6d (21/2p) a quatern loaf – the ordinary price was 121/2d (5p). I am sure delivery was at the bakery door. “A single person was to have one loaf, a married couple two loaves, a family with 2 children three loaves, with 3 children four loaves and over 4 children five loaves. Three pounds of potatoes were to be distributed free. Coals “if they could be got” were to be sold at 6d (21/2p) a bushel.
As often in English social crises, the vestry decided to tap the generosity of the significant number of landed gentry and “fund holders” living in Hendon. £51.45p was raised in contributions of 5, 4 and 1 guineas and in many smaller contributions.
NEWS FROM HADAS COMMITTEE reported by Micky Cohen
Our computerised records and progress on our library at Avenue House have been reported above by Brian and Victor. Helpers are needed for work on the restoration of books damaged by fire, and their arrangement.
HADAS will have a stand at the LMAS Conference on March 23, and will cooperate with Barnet Local History Society on the Local History Open Days on April 13/14 – this will be an opportunity for showing the public round our sites and participating with a display of finds in Barnet Museum.
THE MOATED SITE OF OLD FOLD MANOR FARM, HADLEY by Ted Sammes
The Old Fold Manor Club recently applied for planning permission to demolish and re-develop part of the area and buildings within the moat. Part of the site is the 18th green of the golf course and presumably sacrosanct, but never the less it has some interesting ground contours.
HADAS first took an interest in the few moated sites in or near our Borough when in 1973 the Mooted Sites Research Group was formed. This has since become the Medieval Village Research Group.
There are many such moats spread over the country, but just what are they? Only careful study and excavation may, in the long term, elucidate this problem.
They are generally islands or platforms approximately rectangular in shape, varying in size from half to several acres in area. They often have a house within the mooted area. Old Fold has lost its house.
In date they range from the 11th century AD to the 14th. There are some later ones but the chief period was in the 14th century. They may be part of a Deserted Medieval Village, or on the edge of a village. Many Mill have a house or farm within the moat as at Salisbury Hall or the much nearer Fold Farm in Gulley Lane. Whilst the majority are on clay sell there are many on other geological soils. During the Medieval period the climate was wetter than today and the moats may have been dug to drain the house site. In doing so they would also have become an obstacle both for cattle and unwanted human visitors. Since moats are also found round Manor houses, they may be also a fashion or perhaps a status symbol.
HADAS looked at the Manor House Finchley complex (mostly filled in) in 1973 and again in 1977, carrying out a survey of both the Finchley and the Hadley moats.
We were successful in 1980 in securing the scheduling of the moat at Manor House, East End Road, Finchley, but, to date the Hadley moat has not received similar protection.It is hoped that it will shortly be scheduled. The site is close to the area of the Battle of Barnet 1471, and its famous hedge.
The house on this site was one of the homes of the Frowyke family in the 13th century, a site said to have been occupied by them for over 300 years. One Henney Frowick was Lord Mayor of London in 1435 and again in 1441. A Sir Thomas Frowyke was born at Gunnersbury about 1464 and died in 1506, being buried at Finchley. A Henry Frowyke who was the last male heir died in 1527. The Manor then passed to Conningsby and later to various members of the Allen family, who also held the Finchley Manor. They were followed by the Coopers, who sold it to the Byng family in 1841.
Possibly the best memorials to the Frowykes are to be seen in their chantry chapel at South Mimms.
The plan as seen on the 1898 edition of the Ordinance Survey where it is marked Old Fold Manor Farm and the moat is shown to be incomplete on the East side. However a plan of the area taken in 1726 for Thomas Allen, shows a return on part of the East side and although shown heavily wooded there are probably buildings within the moat.
Whilst the present house of Old Fold Manor outside the moat, is mid 18th century, the site behind it is most likely to date to the 13/14 centuries.
For further reading:
BA Research Report No 17 Medieval Moated Sites, pub 1978
Moated Sites, David Wilson, Shire Archaeology 44 pub 1985
Local Historian Vol 11, No 2, p 89, 1974
A Place in Time p 76, HADAS 1990
Georgian Hadley p 23 W H Gelder 1974
Dictionary of National Biography
Mr Mike Wadham Those members who came on the outing to Cressing Temple last July will remember Mr Wadham who conducted us so enthusiastically round the site, and gave us an excellent talk in the farmhouse. Sadly we report that he died suddenly just before Christmas.
Mrs Winnie Clark She was not a member but did a lot for HADAS in her life time- sorted and washed items for our minimart, cooked for our cake stall, helped and washed up at our banquets and social functions, swept up the wreckage after the minimart, made the contacts for our outing to Quainton last year and joined us there for tea. Sadly she died suddenly in January.
DOROTHY ASKS …DO WE HAVE ANY MEMBERS WHO KNOW ABOUT CAR BOOT SALES?
We have been receiving quantities of good saleable general items and would like to dispose of some of it before our minimart, as much more has been promised. We have a member who will help us with transport. We need members who know the details. Please ring 203 0950 if you can help.