No. 288 Edited by Liz Sagues MARCH 1995
Remember: New meeting venue for 1995. HADAS now gathers in the Stephens Room (first floor) at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3, starting at 8pm for for 8.30pm. The HADAS library, also located at Avenue House, should be open before the meetings.
Tuesday March 7: Landscape Archaeology in North Wiltshire —
Lecture by Andrew Reynolds, from the Institute of Archaeology.
This lecture will give some recent results from the Compton Bassett Area Research Project. An outing has been arranged to this site, on June 17 this year.
Tuesday April 4: Excavation at Folly Lane, St Albans — Lecture by Simon West.
Tuesday May 2: Annual General Meeting
Please phone June Porges on 0181-346 5078 or Dorothy Newbury on 0181-203 0950 if you have slides on any HADAS activities over the past year for showing at the AGM.
Tuesday May 16 (to be confirmed, alternative dates Monday 15 or Wednesday 17):
Evening visit and supper at the House of Commons with John Marshall MP
The uncertainty is because definite dates cannot be fixed more than two months ahead. A firm date and application form will be with the April Newsletter. In the meantime, please phone Dorothy (0181- 203 0950) if you would like your name added to the list.
A Programme Card for 1995 is enclosed with this Newsletter.
Chosen for the nation’s archives
Membership secretary Vikki O’Connor was some¬what surprised to receive a request from the British Library for back numbers of the Newsletter. Had we been remiss in not — as all commercial publishers are obliged to — giving the Library a copy of every¬thing we bring out, she worried.
Not so, came the charming explanation, it was simply that the Library’s “selector” had felt the copies would be an appropriate addition to the collection. Could this be a result of the enthusiasm shown by members during the excellent HADAS guided tour of the BL Newspaper Library at Colindale last year?
Not all quiet on the excavation front
Rather than cavorting in the mud, the excavation team is hard at work tying up loose ends in the publications department, including reports on the Golders Green 1991 and the Barnet High Street 1992 excavations.
Do you want to be on the list?
Following several requests, the Committee proposes issuing an updated membership list to all members. HADAS used to distribute such a list, comprising members’ names, addresses and telephone numbers, to members on a regular basis.
However, as some time has now elapsed since the last issue, we may well have new members who would not wish this information to be made avail¬able to all members. This could apply especially those whose numbers are ex-directory. The informa¬tion is currently available only to Committee mem¬bers, for administrative purposes.
Any members who would like their names/ addresses/phone numbers, or any combination of these, omitted from the new list, should advise Vikki O’Connor, 2a Dene Road, London N11 lES (tel: 0181¬361 1350) by April 15th. If we have received no objection to listing your above details by that date, we will issue the list as it stands. Please note that the list will be purely for internal distribution within the Society and must not be passed to anyone outside it.
A collection of
Liz Sagues finds nostalgia, and more, at Church Farmhouse Museum.
Do you remember a poster? It was used for the poster publicising Chinese Papercuts from the Cultural Revolution, a display of intricate scissor-work at Church Farmhouse Museum back in the ’80s. Like so many other of the papercuts shown, it had a caption as naive as its execution was sophis-ticated: “Sending grain to the state”.
The original is back at the museum, one among many hundreds of objects in Collectomania!, an ex¬hibition in which curator Gerrard Roots has brought together a synthesis of displays past. Some 20-plus collections are represented, from limited edition prints to paperclips, from trolleybus tickets to Victo¬rian cartes de visite, from English cottage glass to models made of matchsticks.
As Gerrard points out, they serve splendidly to illustrate the variety of exhibitions which have been seen at Church Farmhouse over three decades. Most archaeological is the mineral display from Clement Krysler, which includes fossil-bearing rocks and three neolithic flints alongside Victorian coral and jet jewellery, Florentine inlaid stone pendants and a lot more besides.
Among the souvenir silver spoons is a shovel-shaped reproduction Roman spoon, designed to prise open oysters and scoop out their flesh. Given the Roman Londoners’ propensity for consuming oysters, surely there’s the possibility of an original turning up sometime, somewhere in Barnet.
Many memories will be evoked by the writing equipment collected by not-quite-retired stationer Philip Poole, who, at the age of 85, still plies his trade, supplying old steel nibs to artists. Centrepiece of the showcase is a monitor’s ink tray, full of those ceramic wells which slotted into the desks of so many of our childhoods. Beside the tray, ready to pour, is a quart jar of Stephens (yes, ‘Inky’ Stephens, of Avenue House) Blue Black Writing Fluid.
Then there are the headlines of 40 years ago. 1955 was the year when Eden became Prime Minis-ter, a Comet flew from London to Sydney in a day and Princess Margaret declared that her romance with Group Captain Peter Townsend was over — the papers are on show, to prove them all.
But what prompts people to gather together so much, so specialised? One answer comes from the enthusiast of anything to do with piers — for him, the spark was buying a plate decorated with Colwyn Bay’s.
And why, sometimes, such horrible objects? For the answer to that, look no further than HADAS member Percy Reboul. “You can become very at¬tached to some of the more exotic items of bad taste,” he explains of his repulsive plastic pieces. Really? To the banana harmonica, or the Highland piper backscratcher? Beware, however: “Be prepared for the seminal moment when you conclude that what you thought was an example of bad taste is now rather artistic and something to be admired.”
Collectomania! continues at Church Farmhouse Museum, Greyhound Hill, Hendon, until April 9.
Major find in the spoil heap!
Some embarrassing typing errors crept into the last issue of the Newsletter. Apologies for them all:
Page 1: The 32nd LAMAS Conference is, of course, on Saturday March 18, not 20 as printed.
Page 3. The OS grid reference for the Brockley Hill reference should be TQ, not TZ.
Page 6: St Martha’s Convent: Jennie Cobban has helped (not hoped) to produced a detailed re-search design, visiting the site mid January to get the lie of the land, paying particular attention to the site of a now levelled mound.
Clearly, computer programmers have not yet caught up with archaeology. For fun, here’s a selection of suggestions from the spellchecker of the desktop publishing program on which this issue of the News¬letter was produced.
HADAS:Hades; Brockley: broccoli; Cistercians: sisters-in-law; mesolithic: measliest; microburins: macrobiotics; microliths: humiliators; mortaria: mortuary; neolithic: inelastic; tranchet: turncoat. Palaeolithic, however, foxed the system completely! The editor just hopes none of them have crept in..,
London’s other mesolithic site
The first lecture of 1995 had a new organiser of meetings (everything went very smoothly, thank you, June) and a new venue. The Stephens’ Room in Avenue House, Finchley, was warm and comfort¬able and the admirable signposting ensured that we didn’t get lost.
HADAS claims a vested interest in the mesolithic of the London area, and it was good to see so many of the West Heath digging team at this lecture. John Lewis compared and contrasted West Heath with his own more recently excavated site at Three Ways Wharf, Uxbridge.
He commented first on the general scarcity of mesolithic material from London where, for obvious reasons, urban archaeology has been the priority. The sensational discoveries at Star Carr in 1954, and even earlier at Broxbourne in 1934, had no parallel in London. Scattered finds from the Colne and Lea Valleys and the Thames flood plain were published in the early 1960s, and suggested the presence of itinerant hunting groups. It was only recent heavy gravel-extraction from these valleys and the conse¬quent archaeological watching briefs which led to more extensive finds and the Uxbridge excavations from 1986 to 1988.
Unlike West Heath, there were buildings above the Uxbridge site, which lies alongside the Grand Union Canal and the River Colne. The remains of a twin-turreted Tudor gatehouse had to be removed, and a medieval ditch (which produced 13th century pottery) had cut through the earlier levels, river gravels laid down in about 10,000 or 11,000 BE
The two main flint scatters have been labelled A and C. Scatter A, which appeared to be mainly in situ, included microliths, largish crested blades with heavy edge-damage and opposed-platform cores.
Originally thought to be mesolithic, this flint-scatter is now identified as a late palaeolithic long-blade culture not unlike the Ahrensburgian. Faunal remains are of horse and reindeer, characteristic of the late glacial tundra of about 10,000 BE Similar artefacts and fauna have been found on several French sites; at that period there would still have been a land-bridge between Britain and the Conti¬nent. The flint artefacts at Uxbridge tend to be smaller than their counterparts elsewhere, due to the use of poor river-gravel flint.
Flint-scatter C represents the mesolithic phase of the site, though Dr RogerJacobi has suggested that half of that scatter may date from the late glacial.
The illustration from Animal Bones by James Rackham (British Museum Press) was used by John Lewis to illustrate how the discarded bones found on an archaeological site can indicate whether it was a kill site (black bones, top skeleton) or a temporary hunting camp (black bones, bottom skeleton). The Uxbridge bones, toes apart, fitted well with the lower skeleton.
Indeed, some horse and reindeer bone has been found there. But the rest of the bone is mainly red and roe deer, species associated with the woodland which replaced tundra as the climate warmed up between 10,500 and 9,500 BE
Many of the artefacts are typical of the early mesolithic as people adapted to a forest environ¬ment and different hunting quarry: tranchet axes (sharpened by a transversely-struck blow), micro¬liths, microburins and obliquely blunted points. Scrapers and burins are also present, and unlike those in scatter A they have been retouched.
The flint-scatters sit on the ground surface ad¬jacent to the contemporary water channel but high enough to escape flooding. Scatter C is much denser than scatter A. Areas of flint knapping can be iden¬tified by the distribution of waste-products and hammer-stones, and concentrations of burnt flint suggest activity round a camp fire. John Lewis showed some eye-dazzling computer graphics to illustrate this data!
Refitting of flakes/ tools to cores has confirmed
their manufacture on site, but cortex is missing so
the flint nodules were rough-trimmed elsewhere. The bone surfaces have been eroded and butchering cuts are seldom visible.
A “reconstruction” of the mesolithic way of life suggests there were three types of camp: a base camp, with some hunting nearby; a temporary camp set up on larger hunting trips away from base; and a kill site where initial butchering was carried out and some parts of the animals discarded. Red deer, like those from the Uxbridge site, might weigh up to 6001b, so carving up before carrying made sense.
Analysis of bone and antler remains gives clues to the use of the site. At Uxbridge there were no ribs or vertebrae, but legs (toeless!) and parts of skulls are found, and the tines only of antlers. This suggests a temporary hunting camp, not a kill site. No bone or antler tools have been found, nor any evidence of vegetable or plant processing as would be expected at a base camp. (How sad that the West Heath soil was too acid to preserve bone and antler.)
Pollen analysis at Uxbridge reveals arboreal vegetation typical of Zones V and VI (hazel, birch and pine). Large-scale burning, presumably to open up the forest, is indicated by bands of charcoal. This modification of the environment may well have contributed to the subsequent waterlogging of the site and its abandonment. The effect of human activities on the natural habitat is nothing new!
This was a most interesting lecture. It is to be hoped that more mesolithic sites will rapidly be¬come available for excavation in the London area. We need them!
Liz Sagues follows up February’s lecture with a visit to the Museum of London.
A gallery of sights, sounds, but no smells
You’ve heard the lecture (or even if you haven’t), now see the finds… The Uxbridge material is used to illustrate mesolithic life in the newly revamped prehistoric gallery at the Museum of London, an exercise in modern display techniques which aims to slow down visitors’ urgent progress to the Roman section.
The showcase — complete with the gory out¬come of a successful hunt comes at the end of the chilliest part of the gallery, as the tundra landscape depicted on the backdrop changes to open wood¬land, and the recorded birdsong moves on from arctic geese to the familiar British blackbird. Even the lighting changes, as visitors move through 500,000 years of London’s past. The aim, says curator Jon Cotton — HADAS members will remember him as a lecturer to the Society — is to appeal to the five senses. Touch is there (come on, urge the captions, tap these pots, stroke these textiles, feel the cutting edge of this flint blade) as well as sight and hearing. But taste and smell? Those would be intriguing…
There’s a great deal of emphasis on reconstruc¬tions and models, on trying to set finds in context, on explaining technology and on interpretation (politi¬cally correct, with a place for prehistoric woman, and environmentally conscious).
Large-type titles, in newspaper headline style, catch the attention, and more detail comes in smaller print. A time-tine provides the chronological se¬quence, linking events in prehistoric London to those in the rest of the world: the building of the Pyramids, for example, or the first Olympic Games.
But do not despair that nothing conventional remains. There are a lot of objects on show, there are some typological displays, there are cases full of treasures, there is room for new finds, there are groups of material from specific sites.
Three Ways Wharf is one of those featured sites, but West Heath — largely because the finds are not at the Museum — is not. The elm bark beetle find does get a mention, however, and the prehistoric bibliog¬raphy refers to the HADAS report. Sadly, north west London as a whole can contribute little to knowledge of other prehistoric periods in the capital, as the sites map makes clear.
But the display is well worth far more than a passing visit. And let me share with you one advan-tage of being shown round by an insider: the acqui¬sition of snippets of information that never reach the general public. Take the problem of moth, for exam¬ple — yes, the common clothes moth. However hard you seal a display, it gets in, admits Jon Cotton. Which is why there is nothing made of wool — spot the Indian cotton, instead — in the iron age hut, and everything in it was fumigated before display .
Specialisation and experimentation
Tessa Smith reports on a student survey which provides new insights on Brockley Hill.
Did you come to the one-day exhibition of Brockley Hill pottery held at St Mary’s Church Hall, Hendon, in 1993? Two young archaeology students, Fiona Seeley and Cheryl Thorogood, were busy taking measurements of a large selection of the Roman pottery, which is in our safe keeping. This activity was, for them, part of a master’s degree.
They compared pottery from sites at Brockley Hill, one on the east side excavated by Stephen Castle, and one on the west side, a kiln of the Roman potter Doinus. They also used Brockley Hill pottery which is kept at the Museum of London — 174 boxes to choose from! (Several members of HADAS visited the museum some time ago for a “hands-on” display of some of that pottery.) Seeley and Thorogood were also able to use Brockley Hill pot¬tery which had been excavated from Leadenhall Court and Newgate Street.
The results of the research have been published in the London Archaeologist (Autumn 1994, Vol.7 No.9) with a splendid photo on the front cover of the archaeologist Phillip Suggett, who excavated at
Brockley Hill between 1951 and 1954. He is examin¬ing the handle-less flagon which imitates a metal form, found at the café site there.
Seeley and Thorogood give an up-to-date resume on Brockley Hill production types, includ¬ing wine amphorae, and a clear diagram shows the results of their quantifying and comparing the pot¬tery at four different locations.
Their conclusions are that certain kilns seemed to specialise, e.g. mortaria at one kiln, flagons at another, and that the Roman potters did not only produce a limited range of vessels but were also keen to experiment.
This report is well worth reading, comprehen¬sive and concise. Our congratulations to its authors.
Follow-up note: Bearing out their conclusion re experimenting — we have in the Moxom collection at Church Farmhouse Museum the square-sided flagon which is an exact copy of a Roman glass form. Nobody in archaeological circles has ever seen any¬thing similar in pottery. It is clearly a “one-off” experiment.
The Iceman herdeth
HADAS vice-chairman Brian Wrigley has been in correspondence with the distinguished German academic Professor Andreas Lippert, following the latter ‘s lecture at the Prehistoric Society before Christmas and the subsequent letter in the Times in which Dr Michael Ryder argued that the Iceman was no mountain herdsman, but a hunter.
Professor Lippert confirms his thesis, though acknowledges that “some quite critical investigations are as yet far from completed”.
He continues: “We do not yet know the true cause of death, albeit freezing to death is the most likely. This could, however, be recognised from changes in the stomach lining.” Knowledge, too, of the Iceman’s last meal could offer indications of his occupation.
Professor Lippert tells Brian of a symposium in Vienna where results of la test research were reported. It is now clear, he says, that no bone fractures hin¬dered the Iceman in his journey, and previous sug¬gestions that the exhausted man slipped into an ice channel have been discounted. “In my view, Otzi deliberately sought out the rock hollow, in some¬what finer weather, and laid himself down to sleep, whereby in a cold snap in the following hours he was frozen to death.”
The Finchley Society: March 30 — The North Circular Road Project in Finchley. A talk by Mr J. Dodman, resident engineer of the project engineers/ constructors, at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, starting at 7.45pm. Numbers are limited, so check with hon sec Eileen Cox on 0181-445 8422.
Barnet & District Local History Society: March 22 — Victorian Table Glass. A talk by Beryl Clarkson, in the Hyde Room, Chipping Barnet Library, Stapylton Road, 8pm for 8.15pm.
Enfield Archaeological Society: March17—Annual General Meeting, followed by reports of excavations, fieldwork and research. At the Jubilee Hall, Parson¬age Lane, Enfield, starting at 8pm.
Last month, Pamela Taylor investigated the early history of Monken Hadley. Here, Jennie Cobban concentrates on its early religious community.
Who, and where, were the Hadley hermits?
During on-going research into the origins of Monken Hadley, a document of apparently unrecognised significance recently came to my notice in records relating to Hurley Priory, Berkshire.
It takes the form of a letter, dated before 1141, from Geoffrey de Mandeville II to King Stephen, in which he informs the king that he is exchanging the tithes which Hurley Priory receives from Edmonton, Enfield and South Mimms churches, for 100 shillings of his own rents. So, prior to Geoffrey’s grant of these churches to Walden Priory circa 1140, the monks of Hurley received the tithes from these churches, and Geoffrey’s thus returning the income to the churches concerned, “so that each church may have its abso¬lute freedom for the support of the priests there serving God”, while compensating Hurley by grant¬ing alternative income in the form of rents.
Geoffrey continues: “…and regarding anything left over (from the tithe income) it is to go for provid¬ing support and clothing for the brethren of Adlege, who are living according to rule.” “Adlege” can with confidence be identified with Hadley. (Dugdale, Monasticon (III), p. 434, gives “Adlege” (Wethered’s rendition) as “Hadlega”.).’
This is significant, as the document confirms that an unknown group of religious personnel was present in Hadley before 1141 and, therefore, that a chapel of some sort for the brothers’ use is almost certain to have been present at this time. Previously, our earliest documentary evidence for a church at Hadley dates from 1163-68. The document also tells us that this religious settlement, presumably the hermitage of Hadley, had, at least at this time, no independent income.
Geoffrey’s motives for this reorganisation are unknown, but it may be commented that at this period a religious house which had received the gift of a church was free to dispose of its income from tithes however it wished, and the bishops constantly made it part of their duty to see that the owner of a church made proper provision for the priest. Possi¬bly, therefore, by restoring the tithes for the benefit of the local priests, Geoffrey was making it known to the king (and through him the church authorities) that he was being a responsible lay patron in that he was aware of current concern in these matters.
However, also around the year 1140, Geoffrey granted the same churches removed from Hurley’s control, along with Hadley hermitage, to his new foundation of Walden Priory. The priests of Edmon¬ton, Enfield and South Mimms cannot have felt the full benefit of their restored tithes for very long! At this point we can only wish for a tighter chronology
The identity of the religious brethren, living together in what we must assume to be the hermit¬age of Hadley, is unknown. Likely candidates would be members of a house of canons who followed the Rule of St Augustine and some of whom continued the hermit tradition. Many of these houses were founded in the post-Conquest period. A completely independent settlement of monks, which had bro¬ken away from a mother house in order to follow a more spiritual path, is also, of course, a possibility.
The relationship between the canons of the hermitage and its new Benedictine owners remains anyone’s guess at present. As the brothers of Hadley were to be maintained by any surplus of tithes, it is possible that Walden decided that there was no surplus, and that the hermitage ceased to exist as such. We know, at any rate, that Walden itself was maintaining a small cell at Hadley in 1144. How long this cell endured is also unknown.
We remain in the dark, therefore, as to the chronological relationship between the hermitage and Walden’s cell, and we are equally in the dark concerning the location of these religious sites.
The archaeological implications of the above are interesting. I would suggest that the site of the hermitage should, on balance, be sought in the vicin¬ity of Monken Hadley church.”2 While it is always possible that the Benedictines chose an entirely new site in Hadley for their church and cell, it would surely have been more sensible for them to utilise and adapt the existing hermitage for their own pur¬poses in order to maximise the potential of this grant from Geoffrey de Mandeville.
The high plateau of land on which the church stands, with water readily accessible, would have been recognised as a suitable site to settle by hermit and Benedictine alike. The wilds of the heathland
clearing of Hadley would especially appeal to the hermits, as a perfect “desert” environment where they could emulate the privations of the Desert Fathers of the fourth century. At the risk of piling
speculation upon speculation, there is also the former presence of a mound at St Martha’s School (just north of the church) to consider. Apparently isolated mounds with a good water supply nearby are one of
the hallmarks for sites selected by groups of hermits. Hermits were living in the wilder parts of Brit- ain in the early 12th century and this may have been the case since the Conquest:3 It became quite com-
mon for the great monastic houses to take over the sites of these isolated settlements. It may also be significant that in 1582, when William Kympton, Lord of the Manor of Monken Hadley, was squab-ling with the Duchy of Lancaster over his rights in Enfield Chase, he based his claims on the fact that “the Manor or Lordship of Hadley in auncient tyme was knowen by the name of the heremytage of Hadley and was sometime cell of the possessions of the late dissolved monastery of Walden”. This could suggest that the hermitage and cell were thought of as one and the same shortly after the Reformation.
It seems probable, therefore, that the hermitage site lies near to Monken Hadley Church, although it is interesting that no artefacts of the medieval period seem ever to have been found in the village.
Precincts of the canons varied enormously both in size and style in the early medieval period. Many sites were similar to those of the Cistercians, in secluded situations, with surrounding defences and with great attention being paid to the management of local water supplies. Bearing this in mind, a survey of the various banks and ditches observed in the vicinity of Hadley church may pay dividends, although many of these probably represent the south¬ern boundary between Enfield Chase and Monken Hadley, and others may be C18 or C19 drainage ditches. A study of the old Monken Mead stream (see the 1777 survey of Enfield Chase) whose course is now difficult to trace on the ground due to residen¬tial development, may also be in order, when consid¬ering possible monastic water management.
*1 Pam Taylor is engaged in studying the original documents which pertain to this article and will no doubt comment on the above in due course.
*2 Another favoured location for the hermitage is within Wrotham Park, citing as evidence a 1606 survey of the Manor of South Mimms which makes mention of “the herrnytage”. How¬ever, the wording suggests that the writer was in fact referring merely to a cottage of that name. This site cannot be ruled out as the early medieval extent of the Hadley boundaries is uncertain. As to other suggested locations, another C 17 cottage named “the Hermitage” was present in Monken Hadley village until 1872. This lay very close to Hadley Lodge, where a Saxon village apparently awaits Bill Bass under the garage (according to the Barnet Press). Can’t wait, Bill! There is a modern house, “The Hermitage”, in the village at present.
’13 It is possible that the monks of Hurley had been supporting a hermitage at Hadley since 1086-7, as Hurley Priory was a foundation of Geoffrey de Mandeville I, who inherited vast land holdings around Hurley from Ansgar after the Conquest. The lands around Hadley also, it might be remembered, were part of Ansgar’s estates in pre-Conquest times.
Selection of source material
F.T. Wetherell, St Mary’s Hurley in the Middle Ages: Based on Hurley Charters and Deeds 1898, p228
M. Aston, Know the Landscape: Monasteries, 1993
R. Morris, Churches in the Landscape, 1989
D.M. Stenton. English Society in the Early Middle Ages, 1951 F. Cass, Monken Hadley, 1880
N. Clark, Hadley Wood, (Map of Enfield Chase 1777)
Personal communications: Dr. Pamela Taylor
P.S. Readers of the Barnet Press last month may have read the startling news: “Jenny Cobban has come up with documentary evidence of a Saxon village in the area.” This surprised me immensely. It probably sur-prised Pam Taylor, too!
A sight of the Abbey’s hidden history
Deidre L. Barrie reports on a rare privilege.
The “Great Pavement” of Westminster Abbey was shown to the public for five days in February for the first time in three years. This Abbey treasure dates back to 1268 when King Henry III and Richard de Ware, Abbot of Westminster, caused one Petrus Odericus to assemble the mosaic, “these porphyry stones”.
The pavement is usually covered to protect it from further erosion. The general effect of the design is of an ancient, valuable but tattered carpet pattern in stone — a complex design of whorls and roundels in porphyry, marble and glass tesserae.
It is (says the Abbey’s useful guide sheet) “the finest example of so-called ‘Cosmati work’ north of the Alps”. There is apparently similar work on St Edward the Confessor’s shrine and the tomb of Henry III. Experts say the style of the pavement is not the Gothic one would expect from its date but that it is “more akin to Roman or Renaissance work”.
The Abbey leaflet gives scholar Stephen Wan¬der’s translation of one of the pavement’s mysterious Latin inscriptions. To my inexpert ear this has the ring of alchemical writings, an ancient riddle, or even an obscure board game!
The pavement is some 24ft square and is in the sanctuary, before the high altar. During my lunch-hour visit a dozen or so awed visitors gazed down over the surrounding rails at the complex and still colourful pattern being revealed for so short a time. A gaggle of academics conferred. A young woman examined the stones through a special magnifying eyeglass. I felt very privileged to have seen this mysterious, battered masterpiece unveiled.
No further Roman finds
HADAS held a watching brief for English Heritage’s London Sites and Monuments Record on work at Annunciation Infants’ School, Thirleby Road, Burnt Oak — opposite the site where in 1971 the Society excavated pits containing Roman pottery — for the first ten days of February.
Brian Wrigley reports that observation of foun¬dation trenches dug at the rear of the school showed much disturbance of clay sub-soil by previous build¬ings, drains and concrete and tarmac surfacing. Two or three modern fence postholes were seen, on the line of the present garden boundary. No artefacts were found, apart from modern building material.
One feature was noticed — a chalk lump de¬posit with a humic rectilinear patch directly above it. This possibly could be a remnant of a footing for an early timber-framed building.
Glass fit for a Queen…
A celebration of the stained glass of Crathie Church on Deeside — where Queen Victoria was a frequent worshipper — will published on April 3 by long¬standing HADAS member Douglas Morgan.
The glossy 72-page A4-size softback (printed, incidentally, by the Newbury family’s Hillary Press) contains detailed text and fine colour photos of the windows, the work of designer-craftsmen who both followed the Gothic revivalist tradition and looked forward to a more modern, original style. Robert Anning Bell was one of the noted artists involved; another was George Daniels, from the workshop of John Richard Clayton and Alfred Bell.
The church was designed in Gothic style by Alexander Marshall Mackenzie (known for, among other buildings, the Waldorf Hotel in London’s Aldwych). Queen Victoria approved of the plans and laid the foundation stone in 1893.
DouglasMorgan is offeringthebook to HADAS members at a special pre-publication price of £6.50 including p&p (a £3 reduction). Cheques to Ara¬besque Publications, 12 Wildwood Grove, NW3 7HU.
… and grist for mill enthusiasts
Another forthcomingbook which may interest mem¬bers is an historical survey of Windmills & Watermills of Middlesex, written by Guy Blythman and with some 75 illustrations. It is planned by Quotes Ltd, a Northants-based publisher, which is inviting sub¬scribers to reserve numbered copies in advance, as 500 reservations are needed to justify publication.
The price will be £15.95, a £2 saving on the post-publication price. If any member wants an order form, please ring Liz Sagues, 0181-868 8431.
Time to pay up
Subscriptions will be due on April 1. A payment slip is enclosed with this Newsletter. Please complete it and send it back to Vikki O’Connor, Hon Member¬ship Secretary, as soon as possible.
More about mortars
Further to my recent article (Newsletter 286) and Roy Allen’s interesting letter and photos about domestic mortars in the following issue, while wandering around the Museum of London’s medieval section I noticed two mortars there, writes Bill Bass.
One, dated to the late 13th century, was roughly shaped from Purbeck marble. It is attributed to Crutched Friars, in the City of London, and looks very similar to the types in Roy’s photo, confirming his medieval date.
The example found in Edgware appears to have a finer fabric, being from a different marble. In general, mortars of this type were used from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
The past and the future
Current thoughts and ideas on London’s prehistory and problems associated with its interpretation were aired at the Standing Conference on London Archae¬ology at the Museum of London at the end of January. Ways were suggested to find out more, and, hope¬fully, to conserve evidence for the future.
The conference was well attended, including by HADAS members. We also put on a small exhibition of West Heath material and set up a bookstall, from which we sold £103 of publications — a successful weekend.
Topics included the history of prehistory in London, by Nick Merriman; the Thames Valley before and after Swanscombe, by John Wymer, who discussed the gravel terraces and their associated palaeolithic industries; the early mesolithic, from John Lewis (who covered some of the same ground in the HADAS February lecture, see report on p.3); environmental evidence, from _lames Rackham, who mentioned glaciation, pollen and bone evidence between 20,000 and 3,000 years BR
Other papers covered aspects of the neolithic, bronze age wetland use of the Thames flood plain, and the iron age.