HADAS Diary 2007
The winter lecture series takes place at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Nearest tube Finchley Central. Lectures start promptly at 8 pm – non-members £l, Coffee or tea 70p.
Tues. 9th January lecture by Stephen King – Curator of the Colne Valley Postal Museum, Essex: British Post Box Design & Use – the first 150 years
Tues. 13th February lecture by Dr Andrew Gardner – Lecturer in the Archaeology of thw Roman Empire at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL: The End of Roman London
Tues. l3th March lecture by Eileen Bowlt – LAMAS chairman: The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (LAMAS) in the early days
Tues. 10th April lecture by Denis Smith – Lecturer on Industrial Archaeology: Thomas Telford (1757-1834) 250th Anniversary lecture
Tues. 8th” May lecture: TBA
Excavation at St Andrew’s Old Church Kingsbury by Andy Agate
Excavation report on a site where HADAS members helped, Andy also gave a talk to HADAS on the same site in May 2006 Following a programme of previously reported topographical survey at St Andrew’s Old Church, Kingsbury six test pits were excavated during the summer of 2006. The excavation took place between the 4th and 30th June 2006 and the archive from the excavation will be placed at the Museum of London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC). The site code is ODL06. The work was undertaken by students from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology and by volunteers from HADAS. It was generously funded by the Churches Conservation Trust. The test pits (TPs) aimed to investigate broad questions about the site, primarily concerning the character and date of the earthwork which is thought to surround it, and the origin and development of the church. The earthwork The aim of TPs 1 and 2 was to assess the character of the earthwork and to record any dating evidence. The evidence from the two test pits strongly suggests that there is no continuous earthwork around the site. Previous excavations in the 1970s suggested that there was a ditch to the south of the church; however the current excavation found no evidence for an earthwork bank and the shallow ditch which was found is interpreted as a drainage ditch for the ‘holloway’ (Old Church Lane) revealed by the topographical survey. In addition the few pottery finds from TP1 are all post medieval in date. TP2 established the extent of the original graveyard on its eastern side. Two burials (not excavated), were revealed within the first metre of the TP at its western end. TP2 extended a further five metres east and no further burials were found. A sequence of deposits was revealed which suggest that building materials, especially roof tiles, were dumped outside the churchyard at various times. The pottery finds were few and all post medieval in date. Once again no bank feature was observed. Since the limit of the early graveyard was established it is clear that if an earthwork existed it would have been located in this area. It has previously been suggested, in the Victoria County History, that the eastern `earthwork’ was created by the up-cast from gravel quarrying to the east of the church and this may be the case. It is, however, possible that any earlier feature was destroyed when the eastern graveyard extension was laid out in the 1930s. Considering the evidence from the two test pits and the topographical survey together it appears that the impression that the church sat inside an earthwork was created by three factors,
1.The natural topography – the site is on the edge of a natural spur of land.
2.The creation of a holloway – accessing the church via Old Church Lane created a holloway (with a drainage gully), creating the impression of an earthwork
3.Gravel extraction and dumping – creating the impression of an earthwork to the east of the church.
It remains possible that 18th century antiquarian William Stukeley did observe a continuous earthwork which has not survived (and the map evidence is clear that the church was in an enclosure – although not necessarily an earthwork), however, based on the new evidence it would appear that the alternative interpretation, outlined above, is likely. In and around the church – test pits 3-5 Test pits 3 and 4 were excavated against the external walls of the church whilst TPS was inside the church overlapping TP4. The aim of each was to record the sequence and method of construction of the foundations, to look for any evidence for the development of the church over time and to recover any dating evidence. TP3 straddled the join between the nave and chancel on the south wall. The architectural evidence and some watercolours of the church suggest that the nave and chancel were built at different times. Interestingly, no break in the foundations or the wall was observed. Indeed, the construction of the foundation and the wall was similar to that seen in TP 4 on the north side of the church; a foundation trench, filled with compacted pebbles and stones, on top of which a similar layer is differentiated only by some mortar flecks. Above this is the lowest level of flints – the main wall of the church. In TP3 the flints were bedded in brown sand, with little evidence of mortar, whilst In TP4 the flints were bonded in a yellow sandy mortar. The different bonding methods appear to be the only differences in the construction method. From this evidence it is not possible to say conclusively that the nave and chancel represent different phases of building, indeed the absence of any clear evidence of a break in the wall at this crucial juncture is highly suggestive that the building is of one phase. TPS was located inside the church and uncovered part of a vaulted brick structure – most likely a tomb. This may belong to the four Sidebottom brothers who drowned in the Brent reservoir on 14th August 1835 and who are commemorated on a plaque on the north wall. The pottery finds from TP3 and particularly TP4 are more revealing. Although once again few they are from undisturbed deposits and provide crucial dating evidence. In TP3 a single sherd of Roman pottery was recovered. This badly worn sherd probably entered the backfill of the foundation trench during the construction of the chancel. Aside from the Roman material used to build the church, Roman finds are not uncommon in Kingsbury. In TP4 five sherds of early medieval flint-tempered London ware (EMFL), dated to 970 -1100 were recovered, once again from the backfill of the foundation trench for the church. Interpreting the pottery evidence from TP4 is difficult; as the pottery is of one type it suggests one phase of (probably domestic) occupation. Thus the pottery may be interpreted as a phase of domestic occupation prior to the construction of the church. On this interpretation the sherds would have already been in the ground for a period of time prior to the excavation of the foundation trench. However, the good condition of the pottery suggests that the sherds entered the ground freshly broken. This would link them directly with the construction phase of the building, making them perhaps broken and discarded vessels belonging to the workmen. On this interpretation the latest date for the construction of the foundations lies around 1100. Stretching this point further, a late 11th-century construction date raises the possibility that this building, or at least the foundation, is contemporary with a Domesday Book entry for Kingsbury which records a priest. In TP6, which cut across the main pathway to the church, the ground was much disturbed by burials and a gas pipe. Numerous sherds of domestic wares, mostly within an 18th-century date range, were recovered. Residual finds from this TP include a further sherd of EMFL and two sherds of south Hertfordshire-type greyware (SHER – dated 1170-1350) demonstrating that domestic wares have found their way onto this site over a broad date-range. The recent work at St Andrew’s Old Church has shown that investigating a site such as this requires a combination of different approaches. The historical evidence, topographical evidence and the excavated evidence compliment one another. The archaeological evidence shows that the earthwork around the church, historically recorded by Stukeley, is not a deliberate and continuous man-made feature. However, as discussed above, the topographical evidence supports an alternative explanation. The wider topographical survey suggests that the site occupies a significant location in the landscape, whilst the excavated dating evidence provides the first primary evidence of a late 11th-century origin for St Andrew’s Old Church.
A tale of two counties by Celia Gould
Question: What is the link between two streets in Hendon and a Victorian church in Wiltshire? Answer: Rundell and Neeld.
Joseph Neeld was born in 1789 to a family resident in the borough of Hendon. His father was a solicitor and ‘perpetual president’ of Clement’s Inn in the Strand. In 1827 Joseph had the great good fortune to inherit £900,000 – equivalent of over £40 million at today’s values – from his great-uncle Philip Rundell, of the London silversmithing and jewellery firm of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, a handsome reward indeed for having looked after the old man during the last 14 years of his life.The following year Neeld purchased the Grittleton estate in Wiltshire from Col. Joseph Houlton, and also became MP for Chippenham, retaining the parliamentary seat until his death in 1756. In 1830 he contracted a disastrous marriage with Lady Caroline Ashley-Cooper, eldest daughter of the 6th Earl of Shaftesbury. After a high profile separation in 1832, which was somewhat of a cause-celebre at the time, Joseph Neeld seems to have devoted himself to the management and expansion of his estate and a series of huilding activities.Neeld engaged the services of James Thomson, a little known 32-year-old architect, and former pupil of J B Papworth who had been responsible for much Regency style building in Brighton, Cheltenham and Tunbridge Wells. Neeld’s projects included the rebuilding of Grittleton House, unfinished at the time of his death, together with farmhouses, schools, almshouses and a cheese market in Clippenham. It is known that Thomson’s theories about `the picturesque tradition’ not infrequently conflicted with Neeld’s functional and utilitarian ideas. In 1846/47 Neeld and Thomson collaborated in the replacement of the decayed medieval church at Leigh Delamere – today alas best known as the site of a service station on the M4 motorway – with a church designed by Thomson. The result was the extraordinary, now Grade II* listed, church of St Margaret of Antioch. The plan of the old church was retained with the addition of a north aisle for the Neeld family and a vestry leading off this aisle, but a number of medieval features were altered. The most striking external feature of the new church is the bell turret, and there is a contemporary statue of St Margaret of Antioch in the niche above the south porch entrance.Inside can be found contemporary stained glass, an impressive organ and a number of stone fittings.The climax of the building is the east wall, dominated by the imposing painted stone reredos. There are also a number of monuments from the old church. Now pastorally redundant and in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust, St Margaret’s is open to visitors and a guidebook can be purchased at the church or by post from the London office of The Churches Conservation Trust (1 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9EE) at a cost of £1.50, plus 50p postage and packing for mail order. So, when you next walk through Neeld Crescent or Rundell Crescent in Hendon, spare a thought for the riches of Philip Rundell and the works of his beneficiary Joseph Neeld in the Wiltshire countryside.
Vintage Stonehenge by Peter Keeley
I was tidying my bookshelves and found my copy of Stonehenge To-day and Yesterday by Frank Stevens (1924 HMSO price 6 old pence Net) It is a very well written guide and good value being illustrated and having 90 pages dealing not only with the Henge but also all the Salisbury Plain Barrows. I thought your readers would be interested in the item under the heading of the Slaughter Stone, a horizontal Sarsen which was carefully excavated by a Mr Cunnington of Devises in 1801 but nothing very definite resulted. It was again thoroughly investigated by Col Hanley and Mr Newell in 1920. They concluded that the original builders had intended to bury the stone in a hole roughly dug in the soil to cover it at ground level. Unluckily the hole was not quite long enough to allow the soil to cover it so the stone rests on the sloping chalk at either end with a l0inch void under. In the rubbish beneath the stone was found a sealed bottle of port wine considerately inserted there by Mr Cunnington for the benefit of future excavators. It is not recorded who drank it or what condition it was in after 119 years but perhaps the Society should start a fund to lay down suitable vintages for those who re-excavate our sites in the future? Editor – not sure about wine, there are a few beers I could think of… …..
Unfortunately the HADAS Xmas Dinner was called off at the last minute as it appears Harrow Museum have run into financial problems and may have to close. Bad luck to the organisers and better luck next time.
South MIMMS Castle by Brian Warren (The November HADAS lecture report)
Matilda granted a second charter (25th – lst August 1141) to Geoffrey de Mandeville II, which entitled him, `to maintain that castle which he has built upon the river Lea and to found another wheresoever he wishes on his own land’. Derek Renn suggested the castle on the Lea was probably near Bow Bridge, since all other known castles on the river were of an earlier foundation. Whilst that castle was on the eastern flank of De Mandeville’s estates, it would not be unnatural to erect the other castle on the western extremity of his lands. In this case it would have been a strategic position placed near the Abbot of St Albans’ lands and across an early trackway. As R.H.C. Davis wrote, “What castles did was to block particular roads, crossroads or river crossings”. The castle was built but one can state it was most likely the one referred to in the charter (1141). The construction of a castle must have had an enormous repercussion on the local inhabitants. The feeding, clothing and housing of the extra workers and soldiers must have disrupted the local life of South Mimms. Following Geoffrey II’s arrest at St Albams (Michaelmas 1143) he was allowed to go free after surrendering all his lands. He set up his headquarters on an island in Ramsey Abbey, which was approached by a narrow causeway. In August 1144 he was struck on the head by an arrow and died an unabsolved excommunicant for his treatment of the monks of Ramsey Abbey. His body was refused a Christian burial, his earldom abolished, his lands and offices forfeited and his family disinherited.
The Castle – its discovery
It remained undiscovered for nearly 800 years, until the autumn of 1918, when G. F. Cruikshank and A. F. Major, while they were investigating the course of Grimm’s Dyke came upon the castle, subsequently making reports to the Earthworks Committee of the Congress of Archaeological Societies in 1919 and 1920. Nothing happened until 1931 when C. Lee Davis and his son, of the Mill Hill Historical Society re¬discovered it. An article appeared in `The Times’ in February 1933 and by July a South Mymms Excavation Committee had been established and an appeal made for funds. Once again nothing resulted.
The Castle – Dr. J. Kent’s excavation 1960-1967
Dr. Kent, with the assistance of numerous volunteer helpers, carried out the most extensive excavations on the site so far. These were undertaken for a fortnight each year and also at weekends. The results were summarised by him in, `The Story of Potters Bar and South Mimms’, published in 1966, and in the Barnet and District Local History Society’s bulletin, No. 15 published in November 1968. Dr. Kent’s excavations were primarily concerned with the Motte, though he did extend two trenches across the Motte ditch and excavated into the western inner bailey, where a curved wall of a pre-castle building was discovered. The extensive excavations on the Motte established the existence within it of flint footings for an almost square timber tower, which was estimated at six foot square at a height of 69 feet. It has been suggested that the tower could have been like the Navestock Parish Church tower, in Essex. As a result of Dr. Kent’s excavations a pre-castle phase is known to have existed, also the discovery of 14th century pottery indicates a later period of use.
The Castle- South Mimms to Roestock Green Motorway 1977 (the A1M)
The construction of the motorway across the supposed Outer Bailey of the castle provided another opportunity to observe the site. A line in a 1934 aerial photograph had led to the suggestion that it was the boundary of the outer bailey. As a result of the 1977 observations it is now known that the presumed boundary was of geological origin. However, that line could have been utilised as a field boundary, so therefore the problem of whether there was an Outer Bailey is still an open question. The most important result of the 1977 observations is that it proved the existence of human occupation much longer than had previously been known. The castle site was used from Mesolithic times through Belgic and Iron Age periods. Pottery dating from 1150 to 1325 was discovered, which was comparable with that found at Northolt. This is not the end of the South Mimms castle saga but only another brief phase of enlightenment in uncovering the mysteries of the past. As Dr. Kent wrote in 1968, “There is need for much work on the castle. Virtually nothing is yet known of the Bailey, its building or defences, and the pre-castle phase of the site requires further elucidation.
Update on the excavation at Victors Way, High Barnet
The site was dug by AOC Sept-Oct 2005, HADAS visited the dig which was reported in the Jan 06 Newsletter. This update is from The London Archaeologist roundup 2005. Three separate medieval properties were identified, the plots divided by a series of ditches and a path of compacted gravel. Different uses of the plots were evidenced by the numerous rubbish pits and deep ditches in two of them, and the remains of tree bowls and garden features in the other. They are provisionally dated to the 12th – 15th centuries. Was a large square structure made entirely of flint, it is undated. Above these were 17th and 18th century features, including a brick built drainage system and a path separating properties. These may relate to previous properties of the 17th to 18 century Mitre Stables which would have lined the main High Street. A capped well or water tank, probably dating to the 18th century was also found, its depth has yet to be established but water was present at over 3 metres deep.
Avenue House/Garden Room
The sorting of the West Heath archive project is nearing completion. With the listing and cataloguing of site note books/registers, paperwork, photos, slides and charts etc. Hopefully we can negotiate with the LAARC to deposit the finds and archive with them early in the New Year (2007).
Request for speakers from Barbara Walding
We run coffee mornings at Friern Barnet and Chipping Barnet Libraries, at the moment we are looking for groups and societies who would be willing to come and speak at coffee mornings in 2007. Unfortunately we are not able to offer payment but would ensure your coffee cup was bottomless! Friern Barnet coffee mornings take place monthly on a Wednesday between 10.30-11.30am, Chipping Barnet coffee take place weekly on a Monday between 10.30-11.30am. I look forward to hearing from you. Barbara Walding Friern Barnet Library, 0208 368 2680
College Farm Saved/Barnet & Potters Bar Times
After a 34 year battle the future of College Farm in Finchley appears to be assured as it was recently purchased by a charitable trust recently. The College Farm Trust had spent nine years trying to buy the Grade II-listed community farm, in Fitzalan Road, which dates back to the 14th century. The current farm buildings were built on the site in 1883 when it was used for milk production by Express Dairy. The farm has been used as a store by HADAS over the years and we have conducted experimental archaeology there.
Register Office, Wood Street, Barnet – Listed/Barnet Residents Association
This fine looking building has been Listed as Grade II by English Heritage. The citation notes that “29 Wood Street is a handsome, well-preserved early 20th century (1915) municipal building in a restrained English Baroque style. The interior survives well, retaining its plan form, staircase, most joinery and restrained but pleasing civic rooms in the neo-Baroque style. Although most of the grand Town Halls of the former LCC Boroughs survived and are now listed, smaller suburban town halls have fared less well, with many demolished or converted to other uses”.
It’s All in the Game by Stewart J Wild
I was looking into the origins of London street names and thought members might be interested in a connection I found between St James’s and Brent Cross. It’s the history behind The Mall and Pall Mall; both get their name from an ancient game, /pallo a maglial or /pallamaglial, a sort of aerial croquet, that was very popular in Italy in the 16th century. /Pallamaglia/, or mallet-ball, from /pallo/ ‘ball’ and /mall eus/ ‘mallet’, involved hammering a boxwood ball towards, and then through, a large iron ring suspended high above the ground. In France it was known as /palle-maille/ which crossed the Channel into English as pall-mall, although some say it reached London via Scotland. To keep casualties to a minimum, a long grass alley bordered by trees was required, and this came to be called a ‘mall’. The name was first recorded in 1650 as Pall Mall Walk, although this thoroughfare actually dates back to at least 1222, when it was recorded as Spittelstrete (Hospital Street) since it led to St James’s Hospital, founded in the 12th century as a leper hospital for young women on the site now occupied by St James’s Palace. Samuel Pepys in his Diary mentions watching the Duke of York playing the game in 1661. Pall Mall was clearly the place for society to mingle, and incidentally was the first area in London to get public street lighting by the new-fangled gas lamps in June 1807. After the Restoration, because of the dust and the traffic, Charles II ordered the construction of a replacement mall in the adjacent royal park; this has become the processional avenue we know as The Mall. For a while in the 1660s the new road of Pall Mall was briefly known as Catherine Street to honour the king’s wife, but the familiar name prevailed even though the game had moved into the park. The fact that the king’s mistress, former actress Nell Gwynne, was by 1671 living in a house on the south side may have had something to do with it. Pall Mall has continued to be a fashionable area and is still favoured by gentlemen’s clubs and top-name companies. Would that today’s shopping malls were as elegant.
Other Societies’ Events by Eric Morgan
Thurs 4 Jan: 10.30am, Mill Hill Library, Hantley Avenue, NW7. The Bothy – Finchley’s Forgotten Castle by Mollie Harris. Talk with coffee and biscuits, 50p.
Thurs 4 Jan: 8pm, Pinner Local History Society, Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, Pinner. The Highway Men on Hounslow Heath by Andrea Cameron. Visitors £2.
Mon 8 Jan: 3pm, Barnet & Local History Society, Church House, Wood St, Barnet, (opposite museum). East Barnet & New Barnet -A History by Graham Javes (HADAS member).
Weds 10 Jan: 8.OOpm, Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. Bizarre Barnet by Gerrard Roots (Curator of Church Farmhouse Museum & HADAS member).
Weds 10 Jan: 7.45pm, Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, Corner of Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8. Early Television Revealed by Jacob o ‘Callaghan.
Weds 17 Jan: 6.30pm, LAMAS, Terrace Room, Museum of London.Diving into History – Nautical Archaeology What’s in it for us? By Jan Barefoot Weds 17 Jan: 7.30pm,Willesden Local History Society, Scout House, High Rd, (corner of Strode Rd) NW 10. Newspaper Adverts by Brent Archivists
Fri 19 Jan: 7pm, City of London Archaeological Society, St Olave’s Parish Hall, Mark Lane, EC3. Life & Death in the Jordan Valley – What burials can tell us by Jack Green
Fri 19 Jan: 7.30pm, Wembley History Society, St Andrew’s Church Hall, Church Lane, Kingsbury, NW9. London Underground, Past & Present by Geoff Donald. Refreshments
Sun 21 Jan: 11.00am, Barnet Pubs, Guided Walk by Paul Baker, meet at High Barnet Tube. £5.00 (lasts 2hrs)
Weds 24 Jan: 7.45pm, Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St John’s Church Hall (next to Whetstone police station), Friern Barnet Lane, N20. The Great North Road by Harry Glutck. Sun 28 Jan: 2.00pm, Historical High Barnet, Guided Walk by Paul Baker, meet at Barnet College. £5.00 (lasts 2hrs)
Tues 30 Jan: 10.30am, Enfield Preservation Society, Jubilee Hall, Junction of Chase side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. The Hidden hall by Peter Lawrence.
Thurs 1 Feb: 10.30am, Mill Hill Library, Hartley Avenue, NW7. History of Photography & Its Uses. 50p.