No 355 OCTOBER 2000 Edited by Deirdre Barrie
VISIT TO IFFLEY, IFFLEY LOCK & WALLINGFORD by Graham Javes
Forecasts were for worsening weather towards the weekend, culminating in widespread severe weather on the Saturday. In the event the rains came early clearing before we left home. A storm the day before had knocked out the power supply to the Full Moon public house near Tring, where we took afternoon tea: a knock on effect of which was to immobilise beer-chilling equipment. However, no one minded that there was only Real Ale on draught, or tea.
On the map Iffley is almost hidden in the Oxford conurbation. Passing the Cowley car factories and the infamous Blackbird Leys estate opposite, where cars were tested to destruction, we arrived at the Harkwell Hotel at Iffley, where coffee was served. Then, back to the coach for a short ride to Iffley church, where Sheila Fairfield, a church member, addressed us, afterwards fielding questions as we walked round. The church of St Mary the Virgin was built around 1170-80, the gift of a rich patron, probably one of the St Remy family then lords of the manor_ The church is strikingly overlarge and over- ornamented for such a small village. I rather like Mrs Fairfield’s suggestion that it was built as a visible act of defiance against Henry II when one couldn’t overtly condemn his ill-treatment of the church in England. Despite some later additions and restoration, remoteness and lack of moneyed patrons has saved Iffley from the excesses of both the puritans and Victorian improvers. Today lffley is one of the best-preserved 12th century, Norman-Romanesque churches in England: deservedly famed for its west doorway, with beak-head carvings of the signs of the zodiac and symbols of the evangelists; Norman arches with zigzag tooling, stairs marking the position of the 15’h century rood loft and much, much else. With so much to see we had to get our skates on to visit nearby Iffley Lock, alas now mechanically-powered, through which pleasure craft pass up and down the peaceful Thames.
At Wallingford we divided into two parties: one group walking the Saxon walled- town defences with Judy Dewey, our guide from The Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society (TWAS.); whilst the others explored the town centre, visited Wallingford Museum (run by TWAS.) and, oh yes, had lunch! Continued on page 2
Tuesday October 10 — Lecture “Archaeology in Winchester” by Graham Scobie — a follow-up to our weekend in Winchester and Portsmouth in 1999, when Mr Scobie showed us round the Hyde Abbey Site.
Saturday October 14 – MINIMART. This has become a social event as well as our annual fund-raiser. Do come and join us — you do not HAVE to buy — have lunch and a chat. Please let Dorothy (8203 0950) know if you can help, or Sheila (8952 3897) know if you can make cakes, scones, jams, pickles, meringues or produce, or phone Tessa (8958 9159) if you can make quiches for the lunches.
Thursday October 26 — Lecture “Arab Decipherment of Hieroglyphics” by ()kasha El-Daly. Please note that this is held at the Egyptian Education Bureau, 4 Chesterfield Gardens, WI. Okasha El-Daly gave us the excellent January lecture on “Pre-Dynastic Egypt”. This is one of several lectures run by the Egyptian Embassy at 6.30 pm, free of charge. Further details can be obtained from °kasha on 7435 1274.
Tuesday November 14th – Lecture “Mediaeval London Bridge— Lost and Found” by Bruce Watson.
December – Christmas Dinner. Dorothy says “I am panicking as I cannot find a suitable place at a suitable price. I thought I had a return to Grimsdyke organised, but the cost has escalated out of our reach. I am still trying — any suggestions?”
All lectures (with the exception of October 26) start at 8pm prompt in the drawing room (ground floor) of Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley N3 and are followed by question time and coffee. We close promptly at 10 pm_
Wallingford is a Saxon burh or fortified Saxon town, built on a grid pattern, with defensive earthworks that survive today. It is a Thames-side town built by King Alfred or his son Edward to defend the river crossing against the Danes. In 1006 the Danish Swegn Forkbeard almost destroyed the settlement. William the Conqueror built the castle, where Henry II held his first parliament in 1154. Six years after he had besieged the castle, Cromwell, still smarting, ordered its demolition, almost brick by brick.
The museum is in part of Flint House, built in the 16th and 17th centuries but containing a 15th century hall house. The site had been an 11th century priory – a cell of St Albans Abbey. From the museum we set out on our perambulation of the town defences. This proved quite strenuous in the heat, especially when, towards the end we were led straight through the garden of a local hostelry past afternoon drinkers, without time to stop! Judy, our excellent guide, did the walk twice in succession.
Amongst the many buildings we saw was the former brewery of Edward Wells, JP and four times mayor of Wallingford. Some of us pondered a family connection with Charles Wells the Bedford brewer: does anyone know?
Full marks go to our leader Bill Bass for yet another excellent HADAS outing, not forgetting Dorothy’s role beforehand.
CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM
The Museum’s Autumn Exhibition is British Folk Art, and shows naive paintings, shop signs, canal boat wares, models and farm equipment, borrowed from Compton Verney House in Warwickshire. This is an unusual opportunity to see these fascinating pieces, as Compton Verney will not be fully open to the public until 2003. The exhibition runs from 23rd September to 26th November, and running concurrently with it is a small display of items from Church Farm’s own collection not normally on show.
MEMBERS’ NEWS FROM DOROTHY
Bryan Jarman — our Chairman for twenty years , until he left London for Sussex in 1986 — had a mishap at home in February and thought he had simply sprained his ankle. After a few weeks the pain got worse, and the hospital found he had broken several bones. He still cannot walk properly, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Many members will remember his arrival, dressed in a toga, at our splendid Roman Banquet in 1979.
Ann and Alan Lawson. We will miss them at our Minimart as Ann was our regular Meringue Creamer and Alan was usually in charge of household linens. Unfortunately Ann is unwell now, and Alan is looking after her.
Marjorie Errington. Stewart Wild very kindly took me to Potters Bar where Marjorie is now residing in a Residential Home. We found her well and happy and pleased to hear news of members, and particularly our Orkney trip, which she remembered in detail from our last visit in 1978. Please let me know if any old friends would like her phone number or address.
Muriel Large. Sadly Muriel can no longer join us on outings — she has had nasty accidents (one with a bus and one with a car). She hopes to come to the Minimart if anyone can offer her a lift (N3).
John Enderby — one of our Vice-Presidents and one-time Principal of Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, is getting as well known in the village to which he retired as he was in our borough. He resigned from 14 committees when he left Hendon, and judging by the village newsletter he publishes, he seems to have joined as many in Fontmell Magna. Many members will remember the outing to his village in 1998 where he and Barbara welcomed us to their lovely cottage and garden. Unfortunately he knocked over his wife Barbara with his car a few months ago, but both have recovered with their usual fortitude.
Reva Brown, one of our newsletter editors, has moved from Nene University College, Northampton to the School of Business at Oxford Brookes University, where she is now Professor of Business in charge of Doctoral Programmes.
EXCAVATIONS AT SITE OF ELSYNG PALACE
Enfield Council and Enfield Archaeological Society have applied to English Heritage for permission to excavate the remains of Henry VIII’s residence, which lie buried not far from the front of Forty Hall, Enfield. The first small-scale dig took place back in the 60s, but geophysical surveys have shown the site of the gatehouse, not yet excavated. Elsyng is often confused with Enfield “Palace”, another Royal Tudor dwelling in the town itself, which stood on the site now occupied by Pearsons Department Store. DB
Erna Karton writes “As a long-time member of HADAS, I would like to express my appreciation of the fascinating account of the Orkney visit. Unable to manage this myself; it was good to read about the visits and study the photographs. The joint production of the “Saga”, all by members, demonstrates what an able and willing membership we have.”
REMINISCENCES OF FREDA WILIKINSON
Like others (writes Philip Venning) I first met Freda Wilkinson in a trench on the Hampstead Heath excavation. Because of its location it attracted many passers-by, almost all of whom were interested and friendly. We did however get the very rare person who was hostile. One middle-aged couple became extremely angry, announcing loudly for all to hear, “It’s outrageous! All these people shouldn’t be wasting their time like this. They should be building council houses.” What made this remark especially fatuous was the fact that the person nearest them at the time was Freda. At that stage she was well past retirement age and decidedly frail-looking. Imagining her with a hod of bricks on her shoulder, climbing a builder’s ladder still makes me smile today.
The 14th Century – Monday October 23- organised by the Finds Research Group AD700-1700 The Society of Antiquaries, Burl ington House. For further information, contact Geoff Egan, MOLSS, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N17 ED (Tel 7490 8447)
Barnet Borough Arts Council — Friday October 13/Sunday October 15. Leaflets and information from member societies (including HADAS) Outside M&S Food Store, Brent Cross, Fri 9 am-8 pr/ Sun 10 am-4 pm. BBAC would welcome any HADAS members who could give a little time on their stall, to answer any questions customers may have concerning HADAS.
Community = Care Fair Thursday October 12. Events and Exhibition with the theme of Communication. RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, NW9
OTHER SOCIETIES’ EVENTS
Barnet & District Local History Society — Wednesday October 11, 8 pm. Talk: “Women in Roman Times” by John Brodrick. Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, Barnet.
it Mill Hill Historical Society Wednesday October 11, at 8 pm for 8.15 pm. “Tales from the Tower” by Mrs Mary O’Connell Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, Mill Hill.
Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery Wednesday, October 18 at 7 pm. Talk: “Tombstones” by Dr John Physick, the Dissenters’ Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery, W10 (Ladbroke Grove) £3 donation.
Camden History Society Thursday October 19 at 7.30 pm. Talk: “Catching the Past” by Robert Leon. Burgh House, New End Square, Hampstead, N W3.
Enfield Archaeological Society- Friday October 20, 8 pm. Talk: “Medieval Religion in Hertfordshire” by Stephen Dore. Jubilee Hall, Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. (Visitors £1).
Wembley Local History Society – Friday October 20 at 7.30 pm. Talk: “65 Years in Brent” by John Lebor. St.Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9.
Edmonton Hundred Historical Society — Wednesday 25 October at 8 pm. Talk: The History of Wood Green” by Albert Pinching. Jubilee Hall, Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield (Visitors £1).
Finchley Society — Thursday October 26, 8 pm. Talk: “History in the Field” by Tony Rook. Drawing Room. Avenue House, East End Road, N3.
Cast of 2000 — Friday October 20 — Sunday October 22. Story of Barnet’s History from Roman times. Performance from Barnet’s Arts Community. Barnet’s “Own Dome” at Brent Cross Shopping Centre. Tickets £5 (with concessions) purchased from the Bull Arts Centre (8449 0048).
Thanks to Eric Morgan for supplying all this information.] STOP PRESS!
Diggers required for Burnt Oak “Roman Site” during September / October and November. All names to Brian Wrigley (8959 5928) or Andrew Coulson (8442 1345) or Vikki O’Conner (8361 6825).
URGENT! “HADAS expects ……. It”‘