The Birkbeck/HADAS Course – Do come and join us!! by Don Cooper
It’s that time again! The task of processing the Ted Sammes archives of the HADAS excavations from the 70s continues anew this Autumn. As usual the course is being run at Avenue House by Jacqui Pearce (see details below reproduced from the Birkbeck website). This is your chance to learn how to identify artefacts found in excavations, research the sites, write up the results and publish as well as all the techniques of post-excavation processing at a local venue and in a very friendly environment. So do come and join us! To apply write, phone or e-mail for an application form quoting the course code below to: Archaeology FCE Birkbeck 26 Russell Square London WC I B 5DQ Tel: 020 7631 6627 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Course title and description: Course code is FFAR015UACP After the Excavation: Archaeology from Procession to Publication The module will run as a workshop, providing a model for post- excavation procedures based on current practice, covering finds procession, identification, recording and analysis leading to publica¬tion and archive deposition. Amateur groups and local societies are encouraged to bring along material from excavations to be used in practical sessions, with teaching and supervision by specialists.
Wednesday, 20th 2006, 6.30pm-8.30pm – 26 meetings including visits. £215 (£105 for concessions) Jacqui Pearce, BA, FSA, Avenue House, 15-17 East End Road, Finchley N3. (30 CATS points at Level 2).
HADAS DIARY – Forthcoming Lectures and Events in 2006
Wednesday August 30th – Sunday September 3rd 2006: Annual HADAS Long Weekend Devon and Cornwall, staying at Plymouth University. Now fully booked, with a small waiting list.
Tuesday, 10th October 2006 – Nadia Durrani (Assistant Editor, Current Archaeology) “The Queen of Sheba”
Tuesday le November 2006 – Barry Taylor and Steve Ellwood (both of English Heritage) “The Sites and Monuments Records for Barnet”.
Tuesday 9th January 2007 – Stephen Knight (Curator, Colne Valley Postal Museum, Essex) “British Post Box Design and Use – the First 150 Years”.
Tuesday 13th February 2007 – TBA.
Tuesday 13th March 2007 – Eileen Bowlt (Chairman, LAMAS) “The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) in the Early Days”.
Tuesday 10th April 2007 Denis Smith (Lecturer, Industrial Archaeologist) – Title TBA.
Lectures take place at 8pm at Avenue house, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. (Non-members £1. Tea, coffee and biscuits 70p). Fifteen-minute walk from Finchley Central tube station. Nos. 82, 143, 260 , 326 and 460 buses pass close by. Limited parking.
AN OUTING TO THE COTSWOLDS WITH JUNE AND STEWART
It was an unexpectedly rainy start to the early morning as we set off for the Cotswolds, but soon the clouds lifted, the road works ended and we then had a clear, fast and comfortable run to Minster Lovell in the beautiful valley of the River Windrush. Our coffee stop was in the picturesque 15th century “Olde Swan” Inn, where once a year a game of skittles used to be played in the “Swan’s” skittle alley for the prize of a goose. From the inn we walked up to St Kenelm’s Church and the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall, past glowing Cotswold stone cottages, Old Bake House, Lavender Cottage and the Post House, set about with roses, hollyhocks and elderflower. And the sun shone on one and all. Now to the archaeology! The Church of St Kenelm was built in 1450, and the alabaster tomb in the Lady Chapel is believed to be that of William 7th Baron Lovell, who built the Manor house, the ruins of which lie immediately behind the church. His grandson Francis the 9th Baron rose to high favour with Richard III and fought at Bosworth Field, but was later accused of treason and his lands given to the Crown. In 1747 the buildings were dismantled – an engraving of 1775 shows the ruins in very much the same state as today. The buildings surround a quadrangle, the southwest tower being the most impressive, built with four storeys. On the turret, which runs from a finely carved corbel, the battlements still survive. The whole tower is built solidly but precariously near to the river. When we were there, wall plaster was being repaired to prevent erosion. The stables, kitchen and bake house areas are mainly only foundations, but the northwest buildings show the structure of the Hall: windows, gables, a fine vaulted hall entrance porch, fireplaces, doorways and chimneys. This part of Minster Lovell Hall was occupied until the 19th century. Nearby an attractive medieval dovecot has been carefully renovated, its internal walls lined with nesting boxes – pigeons come in through a special hole in the roof. Our next stop was at the mysterious Bronze Age Rollright Stones. These famous Stones were one of the monuments included in the first Ancient Monuments Acts of 1882. In the centenary of the Act, a detailed review and survey was commissioned, and by comparing 17th century and later drawings, and also noting the degree of lichen on the stones, the thinking now is that only 23 are still in their original upright position (2500-2000 BC), others are thought to be Victorian “improvements” to the circle known as the King’s Men. HADAS members were drawn to circle the Stones, some counting, some chanting “widdershins turned we, keeping it low,” “64 66 69” as folk must have done since ancient times. There are actually thought to be over 70 stones. A short distance away, three tall stones lean towards each other conspiratorially. The Whispering Knights are remains of a portal dolmen burial chamber erected long before the stone circle, approximately 3800-3000 BC. Across the road stands a single standing stone, the King Stone, marking a Bronze Age cemetery. Excavations in the 1980s identified a previously unknown burial cairn next to the King Stone. It had a central burial chamber and several human cremations. Another burial mound nearby contained an upturned urn with cremated bones of a child. The question is, where are the settlements of these late Neolithic and Bronze Age people? Large scatters of flints indicate only temporary occupation.
So on to the secluded Cotswold setting of St Mary of the Hailes (1245-1538). In 1242 Richard, Earl of Cornwall was saved from drowning at sea, and vowed to found a religious house. His brother, King Henry III, gave him the Manor of Hailes so that he could keep his pledge, and the Abbey was built. In 1270, Richard’s son Edmund gave the Cistercian monks a phial of what was said to be the Holy Blood of Christ, and to house this previous object a shrine was built. The east end of the church was extended into an apse with several vaulted chapels included to surround this shrine. As a result of having this image of great worship, Hailes Abbey became a place of faithful pilgrimage, and over the years thrived greatly. Today a square plinth and foundation stones mark the shrine, and it was near here that several HADAS members enjoyed their picnic in glorious sunshine. In 1539 the monastery was dissolved, and by the 17th century, rather like Minster Lovell Hall, only one wing survived as an elegant country house. A small modern museum contains exhibits of the vaulting bosses, .very _fine early, floor tiles and a 13th century effigy of a knight, possibly Edmund Earl of Cornwall, and several fragments of finely carved stone from the Shrine of the Holy Blood. Close to the Fosse Way, Chedworth Roman Villa is set on a steep slope overlooking the valley of the River Coln. It is one of the most important Romano-British villas in the UK, and dates from 120 AD. Exciting finds have been excavated recently, including a ring with an intaglio of Minerva, 3 silver denarii, a 2nd century forgery, mosaics attached to their cloth backing made in Cirencester, and boxes of unused hobnails. Recent excavations have shown continuation of the south wing with a shallow 4th century hypocaust which heated a long corridor, used well into the 5th century. The north wing, near where the Nymphaeum water shrine rises, had rainwater problems, and excavations here have discovered beyond the original wall of the villa, an outer pathway with cement tracking, which was possibly used as a service road to bring in building materials from the Fosse Way. At the end of the north wing, a six-foot deep furnace has been found, which provided heat for the two-story dining room which overlooked the valley below. Finally, we ended this amazing trip to the Cotswolds at the stunning town of Burford, where some members still had energy to follow the town trail, and admire and identify the wonderful old buildings. Others only reached as far as a delicious cream tea! Our admiration and thanks to June and Stewart for organising such a delightful day out, where everything ran so smoothly and covered such a rich diversity of archaeological heritage. A 15th century riverside hall, a Bronze Age monument, a medieval abbey, a Roman villa and a 17th century town!
RECENT FIELDWORK SNIPPETS by Bill Bass/Don Cooper
Hendon School -Under the government’s “Widening participation scheme”, UCL/HADAS, having carried out a resistivity survey and archive search, excavated a number of trenches in the playing fields of Hendon School under the project management of Gabe Moshenska. He will submit a report for our Newsletter in due course.
Kingsbury Old Church – Following up on Andy Agate’s lecture on the above, a team from UCL and HADAS dug a number of trenching looking for archaeological evidence for the age of Church etc. Andy will submit a report in due course.
Pinner Golf course – Between July 4th-6th 2006 HADAS dug a further trench at the Tudor mansion site at Pinner following the trial trench of last year. More brickwork was found including a possible doorway to a cellar, it was hoped to find a floor associated with the cellar but none was found in the time allowed on the dig.
Kingsbury School – Andy Agate was back there again this year for the third year carrying out training digs with the 6th form pupils. HADAS members assisted his team.
Battle of Barnet Working Group – The group is to undertake a survey on the possible site of the Chantry Chapel associated with the battle.
Garden Room Work has very nearly finished on the resorting/boxing of the West Heath flints, next will be the archive, photos etc.
THE ORIGINS OF THE PLACE-NAME WHETSTONE (continued) ) by Philip Bailey
I would like to try and answer some of the questions raised by the letter sent to the editor (July newsletter) by John Heathfield, Percy Reboul and Pamela Taylor regarding my article about the place-name Whetstone. Firstly I would like to point out that I have been a member of the English Place-Name Society for over five years now and have a keen interest in the subject of English place-names. I am thus aware of the many pitfalls that lie in the path of someone searching for the meaning of a place-name. In my article I was trying to understand what sort of settlement might have given rise to the name Whetstone. I felt that Westen had probably derived from two Anglo-Saxon words which meant ‘western estate or farm’ giving a correct spelling ‘Weston’. Place-names ending in ‘ton’ seem to often be derived from farms with a large holding of enclosed farmland. I felt that with the presence of a medieval hall in Whetstone, that this was quite plausibly the type of estate which could give rise to a `-ton’ name. Secondly, although I know of West End Lane, I have never known anyone to show that West End either as a place-name or a settlement has any antiquity to it. As West End Lane protrudes on to Barnet Common, which seems to have been known as ‘the Lord’s wood’ or `Suthawe’ in medieval times, it is hard to understand why the authors of this letter find West End such an attractive proposition for the place-name Weston. In addition to this, whilst at the Barnet Archive recently I came upon an 18th or early 19th century (pre 1817) map which seems to be a survey of Barnet Common as it was first enclosed and which clearly shows that West End Lane did not exist at that time and that there are no houses in the area. The map also labels that area as ‘West Hook End’ which as a place-name doesn’t indicate a settlement at all. Thirdly, to say that ‘absolutely no weight’ can be placed on whether a settlement such as Weston was exactly west of another seems to me to be overstating things a bit. Unless the authors have consulted a study of compass points in relation to place-names, I can’t see that they are in a position to make such a statement. In my article I was trying to point out that there may well have been an Anglo-Saxon settlement in East Barnet and since it is my understanding that place-names derived from ‘-tun’ were laid down predominantly in the Anglo-Saxon period, I felt that this was relevant. If Weston was laid down in this period as most other such names were, then it would have existed before St. James’s church was even built in the late 12th century (see A Place In Time). So my point about Whetstone being due west of East Barnet was only one of several reasons why Whetstone’s name may have derived from being west of East Barnet. In order for me to tackle the issue of whether the spelling of Bywesten is reliable or not I must first point out that there is no doubt that it is spelt this way in the original text as I have looked at a facsimile of the original and seen it for myself. As for the system of recording manor court meetings I have no doubt that the authors of the letter are right in this. However I think we must remember that by 1246 the Norman French had been running the country for 180 years and it seems to me that just because the person recording the court’s proceedings spoke and wrote in Norman French doesn’t mean that he couldn’t also speak and understand a certain amount of English. It is true that there was no agreed-spelling in 1246, and the authors of the letter list several spellings: Weston, Westen, Westun, which would all sound much the same. It is worth pointing out that according to Journal 36 (Baker, 2004) of the English Place-name Society ‘tun’ is the most common of all English habitation place-name elements. This means that when a place-name ends in either -ton, -ten or -tun the first element that one considers as the origin for it is ‘tun’. Only if this element does not fit with other relevant information is there really any need to consider other possiblilites. As I made clear in my article I considered Whetstone a very good candidate for a name derived from ‘tun’.
One of the reasons why I felt Whetstone was a good candidate for Westen which I didn’t mention in my article was that Whetstone was conspicuous by its absence from the rolls. I had already come across Edmonton, Enfield, Hendon, Mimms, Old Fold, and Southgate, and felt that Whetstone should be mentioned as it is literally next to East Barnet. When I saw the name Bywesten I felt and still feel that this name is Whetstone. Whilst researching this response I came across the name Gilbert de Eston in the court rolls. However I also found that there is a Weston and an Aston [ie. Eston] in Hertfordshire. Since individuals from Hertford, Oakhurst [Okers], Sandridge [Sandrugge], and Hexton [Hexteneston] (all in Hertfordshire), and Winslow in Buckinghamshire are all mentioned in the court rolls it has to be considered that Westen could be Weston in Herts. I think that the prefix ‘By’ and the fact that East Barnet is next to Whetstone, gives Whetstone the edge as the best candidate for being Westen. Also in the reference in the court rolls Richard is mentioned as the father of Ailward whereas all the individuals from Hertfordshire are only mentioned in their own right or with their wives. This may also point to Richard Bywesten being a local man. Although Aston in Herts. may not seem to be the same place-name as Eston, the two spellings were largely interchangeable in the medieval period. Also the fact that Gilbert was said to be ‘of Eston means there is nothing that specifically points to him being a local man, and so he may well have been from Aston. I hope I have made it clear why I felt that Whetstone was such a strong candidate for Weston, although while there is only one example of this name known, one can never be sure. Hopefully further examples will come to light in the future. This of course is just my interpretation, and I am sure that there are people with other views, which I look forward to hearing.
A note from the Chairman
I am concerned by the tone and content of the letter in last month’s Newsletter in response to Philip Bailey’s speculative article on the origin of the place-name Whetstone in the June Newsletter. The HADAS newsletter is not a journal of record, it is a newsletter (as its title proclaims!) for the information and entertainment of its readers. Articles, as opposed to information, should be vaguely relevant and obviously not libellous etc. however, I and the Committee do believe that speculative articles should be encouraged as should responses to these articles. By all means let’s have a healthy debate.
SECRETARY’S CORNER by Denis Ross
The Society’s Annual General Meeting was held on 13 June 2006, with the President, Harvey Sheldon, in the Chair. 25 members were present. The various resolutions in the Notice of Meeting were duly passed including, in particular, approval of the Annual Report and Accounts and the Resolution that the Membership Secretary for the time being should be a standing Officer of the Society. The Officers elected for the current year are: Chairman: Don Cooper; Vice-Chairman: Peter Pickering; Hon. Treasurer: Jim Nelhams; Hon. Secretary: Denis Ross; Hon Memberships Secretary: Mary Rawitzer. The following were elected as other members of the Society’s Committee: Christian Allen, Bill Bass, Jackie Brookes, Stephen Brunning, Andrew Coulson, Eric Morgan, Dorothy Newbury, June Porges, Andrew Selkirk and Tim Wilkins.
The formal Meeting was followed by the display of Bill Bass of slides of photographs taken in the past year of some of the Society’s activities; by a short talk by Don Cooper accompanied by slides on some of the activities, and by an update from Andrew Coulson, also included by slides, on the investigations into the Battle of Barnet.
A NEW PUBLICATION FROM AVENUE HOUSE by Don Cooper
Avenue House have launched a new version of the booklet on the trees of the estate. Not surprisingly it is called “Avenue House Estate: discover our unique species of trees”. This well-produced booklet describes many of the specimen trees on the estate and is accompanied by excellent photographs and an insert map of where they are. The map also shows the paths on the estate and can be used to create an enjoyable walk to admire and locate the trees. The booklet is priced at £5 and can be obtained from Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley, N3 3QE. The gardens at Avenue House, which the estate is trying to restore to their former glory, are important. They were designed by Robert Marnock, said to be the best landscape gardener of his time. Marnock, a Scotsman, was born in 1800 and moved to Yorkshire in 1825. He was head gardener at Bretton Hall in West Yorkshire and then became the designer and curator of the Botanic Gardens in Sheffield and later the Royal Botanic Society’s gardens in Regent’s Park. He is also associated, for example, with the Cleveden estate in Buckinghamshire, Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire, Warwick Castle and a great many other great estates as well as undertaking private commissions in Italy, for instance, at Villa San Donato in Florence. He also wrote and edited a great many gardening journals. Avenue House was one of his last commissions and he died in 1889. Many of the original features in his design still exist as do many of the trees both rare and unusual that he included. We are fortunate to have this example of his work on our doorstep, so speak.
LAMAS CONFERENCE report by Andy Simpson
43rd Annual Conference of London Archaeologists Saturday 25 March 2006 An excellent collection of papers, as ever. These included one each from the morning and afternoon sessions I was asked to write up for the CoLAS journal ‘Context ‘ [Andy Simpson] `A Later bronze Age Site at Oliver Close, Leyton’ (Barry Bishop, Pre Construct Archaeology) The East London landscape is rich in prehistory. The Oliver Close Estate, Leyton is on the edge of the River Lea gravel terraces, now much covered by industrial and residential development. The site was originally on a slight rise next to a knoll in the Lea Valley. There has been much archaeological work in the area, demonstrating widespread and dense late Bronze Age occupation. Early work by the Passmore Edwards Museum just to the south of this site found a ring ditch with nine structures and much Bronze Age pottery a series of settlements are indicated. In 2001 PCA found evidence of more occupation, which was duly excavated. The site was severely truncated by Victorian pits and drainage ditches, and a wartime Anderson shelter right over the Bronze Age ditch. Most features found were of late Bronze Age date, with a small area of Mesolithic/Neolithic flint. The main Bronze Age occupation featured a large circular ditched enclosure, first located in 1992, the ditch being
1.5m wide and lm deep, surrounding an internal space 35m across with a tiny west facing entrance, a second entrance possibly not yet located. Complex ditch fills, mostly gravel, with evidence that the ditch was recut at least once, and possibly had an internal bank. Postholes either side of the gate — four in all — suggest a gate tower or revetted bank. 40-50 features were found west of the enclosure, including a palisade line and fire pit. The palisade was next to a different enclosure, circular and of similar diameter to the first, possibly clipping this earlier enclosure with its ditches, or they may have co-existed in the early phases, if contemporary. The second palisaded enclosure may have been a stock coral or enclosure; a four or six post grain store was also located. The fire pit was 2m in diameter and contained 14kg of burnt flint and 7kg of pottery, and a cylindrical weight, with an associated row of stakeholes, possibly a windbreak. It may have been used in ceremonial feasting. Inside the enclosure were over 300 features, very close packed and truncated, including a curved possible feature dividing the enclosure, perhaps an internal screen, with a possible round house adjacent, being a fairly curving post hole feature. 14kg of late Bronze Age pottery were recovered from 3-4 pits and the enclosure ditch, consisting of coarseware jars and bowls, with few decorated pieces. One outstanding find was of a dainty 9-10cent. BC cup, complete with contents, of which the results of environmental sampling are awaited. Clay pedestals found may indicate salt manufacture. Notable is the absence of perforated clay slabs, of indeterminate use, found on other Thames Valley sites. Occupation of the Bronze Age Lea Valley appears to have been quite dense, with complex agricultural settlements on well-drained gravel terraces, with numerous metalwork finds. Marshy areas in the valley were exploited, for instance for seasonal pastoral use, and roundhouses were even built on islands. There was less occupation on the heavier clays, which were perhaps too heavily wooded for much settlement to occur Similar Bronze Age enclosures have been found in SE Britain perhaps suggesting a regional pattern, for instance that at South Hornchurch being of similar shape and size, with two entrances including a possible gate structure and centrally placed round house, but with no dividing palisade lying in a complex of drove ways, fields, roundhouses as part of a system of organised agricultural production. Reconstructions show very substantial ditched/banked enclosures with gatehouses and central round houses, sometimes screened. At Mucking, Essex, 15km away, there were two enclosures 1km apart, slightly larger than those at Leyton, with a series of round houses screened by a palisade. Others have been located in Essex/Thames Valley, facing into the Thames Estuary/English Channel or into major tributaries, perhaps suggesting a maritime aspect to local Bronze Age trade. There may also be links with ritual metalwork deposits in adjacent rivers and marshy areas, giving overall links with the late Bronze Age landscape both east and west of London. (The second of these papers, will appear in the HADAS September newsletter)
BATTLE OF BARNET WORKING GROUP
These selected highlights of the Battle of Barnet Working Group’s activities during the last year formed the basis of a talk given at the AGM, and are neither inclusive nor in order of importance. The Group produced a map based on Jennie Cobban’s researches into local traditions, projectile find spots from Barnet Museum and other sources. The object was to locate centres and patterns of activity relating to the battle. Whilst none of the locations or finds have as yet been authenticated, and some of course can never be, the patterns produced are significant and provide ample food for speculation. Indeed, I am told that the map aroused considerable excitement when it was presented at a meeting at RUSI. (Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies).
Brian Warren, whose researches into the locality over many years are well known, intends to publish his work on the site of the main conflict zone this Autumn. He favours the eastern approach to the escarpment as did Sir James Ramsay in the late nineteenth century. It should be explained that we have conflict zones extending from Hornsey (definite) to Salisbury Hall (possible). It is interesting to note that the topography of the presumed main conflict zone does lend itself tactically to the “swinging door” format comprising artillery infantry cavalry, in that order. This formation was used by the Duke of Burgundy at Martens in 1476, apparently in preference to existing Burgundian arrangements. The Duke, of course, was Edward’s brother-in -law and would have been familiar with his activities. It has been said that the finds left after a medieval battle are similar to those left after a rugger match. Barnet is fortunate in having cannon and handguns which produce projectiles which can be found. Barnet Museum has a large collection of “musket balls” found by an anonymous metal detectorist in the neighbourhood of Hadley Wood. Originally dismissed as being too modern, these have now been examined by Glenn Foard, the Battlefields Trust consultant archaeologist. His initial assessment is that this assemblage is quite unlike any 17th century assemblage studied so far; that whilst the possibility of a hunting connection cannot be ignored, it is significant that the focus of the collection is 17 bore which is “exactly the bore of the arquebus”. There are other assemblages available to us for which we propose the same treatment. The sources mention the presence of artillery on both sides at Barnet. We had no idea what this might consist of except the fact that Edward’s equipments must have been capable of being moved from Smithfield to Barnet in about eight hours. We know he left London at four in the afternoon and guesstimate that with an attack at first light he would have wanted to be in position by midnight. Did such guns exist? Happily, yes! In a series of battles Edward’s brother-in-law, the Duke of Burgundy, was defeated by the Swiss. They took his guns and they still have some of them. Could any of them be considered the comparatively fast moving field artillery we envisaged? Again ,yes! Working from the 556 lb pull weight per horse of Victorian gun teams, the Burgundian “two horse guns” and “three horse guns” give us an all up weight of 11121bs and 1668Ibs. The guns we have seen probably weigh less. Such guns could well have been part of the Burgundian assistance given to Edward by the Duke, and we feel they could have got to Barnet in the time allowed. It is interesting to note that some of the possible cannon shot recovered in the area correspond closely in calibre and material to the designated ammunition for these guns. We are attempting to locate possible firing positions from the shot find spots, relying initially on an estimate of the places from which the shot concerned probably could not have been fired. The technology for updateable digital maps has been obtained and is expected to be of great value. But to plot finds we need finds and it is expected that the Society’s recently acquired metal detector will, in concert with experienced metal detectorists, be very useful in this respect. We are hoping to develop a field section to exploit this technology and to act in conjunction with our existing research group.