The Winter Programme
At this time of year diaries come out and members begin to plan activities for the coming winter. To start with, therefore, here is a run-down on what he Programme Committee has in store for us all the first Tuesday evening of each month from October to April next:
Oct. 7 – Archaeology in Shropshire – Geoffrey Toms
including Wroxeter Roman site
Nov. 4 – World Archaeology – Dr. John Alexander
Jan. 6 – Napoleonic Defences – Andrew Saunders
and Martello Towers
Feb. 3 – Medieval York – P. V. Addyman
Mar. 2 – Vernacular Architecture – Joan Harding
Apr. 6 – There was no road to Petra – Betty Hellings-Jackson
A good and varied programme, we hope you will agree. It has been chosen with the particular aim of providing something for everyone, because in a Society as large as ours people have many diverse interests.
Meetings, which take place at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4, will start at 8.00p.m. and the lecture will be preceded by coffee and biscuits. In addition to the above programme, there will be in December usual Christmas “happening” — details to be announced later.
As well as attending HADAS lectures, many members sign on for one or another of the courses in archaeology, local history or allied subjects which are provided by the University Extra-mural Department or WEAs in the area. Here are brief details of some of the courses available:
EXTERNAL DIPLOMA IN ARCHAEOLOGY (London University: 4 years). YEAR 1 (Archaeology of Palaeolothic and Mesolithic Man) — Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, Wednesdays, 7.30-9.30p.m.; lecturer Desmond Collins. YEAR 2 (Archaeology of Western Asia), same Institute, same time, Thursdays, lecturer D. Price Williams. There are no local courses for the year 3 (Prehistoric Europe) and 4 (various options), but these can be taken centrally at the Institute of Archaeology or at other non-local centres.
CERTIFICATE IN FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY (London University: 3 years). No local courses; all 3 years can be taken further afield.
DIPLOMA IN LOCAL HISTORY (London University: 4 years). No local courses; can be taken centrally at Senate House, Malet Street, WC1.
TUTORIAL CLASSES: the following local courses start in either of the week of September 21st or 28th; evening courses at either 7.30 or 8.00p.m.; cost £3-4; lecturers various; most courses are of 24-28 meetings:
Peoples of the Old Testament – Barnet College, Monday evenings
Archaeology of Western Europe, 1000 BC-1000 AD – Camden Institute, Thursday evenings
Greek civilisation – QE Girls’ School Barnet, Tuesday evenings
Londinium and Roman Britain – Middlesex Poly, Hendon, Wednesday evenings
Aspects of the Greek Arts – Edgware library, Monday evenings
Romans in the West – Barnet WEA, Friday mornings
Romans in the West – Friern Barnet WEA, Thursday mornings
Life in Regency and Victorian England – Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, Monday evenings
Legacy of the Anglo Saxons – H.G.S. Institute, Wednesday evenings
Late Victorian and Edwardian England – East Barnet Central library, Thursday evenings
The Victorians – Friern Barnet Library, Monday evenings
Victorian London – St. Margaret’s Parish Hall Edgware, Wednesday evenings
Further details of courses may be obtained from the Hon. Secretary.
Having started with plans for the winter, we must now remind members that summer isn’t over yet. There are still two events to come in the 1975 summer programme.
On Saturday 13 September, the last one-day outing of the season will be to Knole and Lullingstone. The Roman Villa at Lullingstone will be well known to many HADAS members, but it is hoped that a fresh approach to the villa and its excavation will be provided, since our guide will be Lt. Col. G. W. Meates, who directed the original dig.
Knole House, a National Trust property, dates from 1456 in its earliest phase. It is set in fine parkland and the state rooms contain a large selection of seventeenth century furniture. An application form, which should be returned as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury, is enclosed with this letter.
September 26-28 will see the Society taking coach for its second long weekend, this time at Hadrian’s Wall. Dorothy Newbury has filled all 48 available places at the moment, but sometimes there are cancellations. If any members would like to put their names on the waiting list, Dorothy will be delighted — she likes to have someone up her sleeve for an emergency.
Landscapes and Documents
By Colin Evans.
Recently, I was fortunate to attend an archaeological field surveying course tutored by Christopher Taylor of the Royal Commission for Historical Monuments. During the week, apart from providing a thorough grounding in basic surveying techniques and field archaeology, Chris took the opportunity of exposing us to his ideas and theories “total archaeology” (or “landscape history”). Using this technique, he feels that adequate interpretations of the sites may be made by competent field archaeologists who are “part geologist, geomorphologist, geographer, botanist, archaeologist, historian, archivist, architectural historian and much else,” and who also make themselves thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the sites. Such interpretations can either do away with the need for excavations altogether, or reduce excavation to a series of small incisive trenches designed to answer specific questions posed by the field archaeologist.
The result of a sunny secluded week of lectures, visits, surveying deserted villages and exposure to Chris’s forceful personality and logic was, for myself as least, complete conversion, and I now view with some suspicion those archaeologists who find it necessary to indulge in expensive open-area excavations of huge tracts of land, often in that process producing more questions than are answered.
The problem is that few of us, unless occupied with it full time, could hope to reach the required level of competency in all the stipulated fields. It is also doubtful if the technique of landscape history would be totally successful if applied to a multi-occupation site in a modern town centre.
Chris Taylor set down his views in a paper presented to a conference of adult education tutors held in Bury St. Edmunds in May 1972, arranged in the hope of bringing to about closer co-operation between historians and archaeologists. This paper — “Total archaeology or studies in the history of landscape” — has been reprinted, with six others given at the conference, in a paperback called “Landscapes and Documents.”
The conference did not entirely achieve its aims, but the book must be judged successful. It contains some stimulating reading which, while keeping to the main topic of the interaction of archaeology and history, sheds light on such intricacies as assarted fields, “Hooper’s Hedgerow Hypothesis,” “Italian” Bradford and Shropshire plate railways. Many will find this book worthwhile, if slightly overpriced at £1.50.
“Landscapes and Documents,” edit. Alan Rogers and Trevor Rowley, is published by the Bedford Square Press for the Standing Conference for Local History.
By Jeremy Clynes. By mid-September HADAS will, in the space of three months, have mounted six exhibitions in different parts of the Borough — quite a record when you consider how much work and planning goes into even a small exhibition.
As well as taking our usual stalls at the 3-day Finchley Carnival and the 2-day Friern Barnet Summer Show, we accepted the offer of a “one-day stand” at Woodhouse School fete in July. As far as possible we tried to match our displays to each district: for instance, the survey of the Finchley Manor moat was shown at Finchley Carnival and the St. James’s dig provided the centrepiece at Friern Barnet Show.
The largest of the summer exhibitions is on now at Burnt Oak Library, where the Borough Librarian has kindly given our space and the use of some equipment for a Roman Edgware display. This was originally intended just for Edgware Week, but the Library has kindly agreed to let it stay up for three weeks until September 13th. All material shown was found locally — either at Brockley Hill, in the Pipers Green Lane cremation or during the HADAS dig at Thirleby Road a site only a stone’s throw away from the Library. Any member who missed the original Roman Hendon Exhibition in 1971, when the material was first shown, will find a visit now to Burnt Oak Library well worthwhile.
We shall also have a stall at Edgware Carnival on 30 August; and on 6 September we have been invited to mount a display at the Henry Burden Hall in Hendon. Anyone who would like to help with this last event is asked to get in touch with Dorothy Newbury.
As well as keeping news of HADAS activities in the public eye, these exhibitions have been financially rewarding. At the first three we sold £18 worth of publications and, directly or indirectly gained some 19 new members. That’s why a vote of thanks is due to all who have helped with planning and manning the shows and — and why we hope for more of this kind of activity.
The dig at St. James the Great, Friern Barnet, is now closed and the trenches have been partially back-filled. On 7 September it is hoped to mount a small exhibit of maps, photographs and finds inside the Church for the information of parishioners. And Trewick will report further upon the results of the dig in a forthcoming Newsletter.
The dig on the Woodlands site (corner of Golders Green Road/North Circular) began on August 16th. Two trenches have been opened at right angles to Golders Green Road and slightly further north than the original trial trench cut by HADAS in 1968. Digging will continue every Sunday (not Saturdays) until further notice. Members who would like to dig are asked first to phone Alec Jeakins.
Edgware in History
Part II of a “potted” history prepared for the Edgware Week programme.
Agriculture has, with communications, been a big factor in the history of Edgware. Though parts of the area may have been farmed in Iron Age and Roman times, the greater part of the parish was forested until the twelfth century. Between the 1100 and 1250 assarting — the reclamation of woodland — went on apace, so that a survey of 1277 gives these figures: the demesne lands of the manor contained 357 acres of arable, 6 1/2 acres of meadow and 90 acres of woodland. The remaining land, about 1084 acres, was farmed by smallholders.
Between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries the pattern of farming changed: by 1845 7% of land was arable, 86 1/2% was meadow or pasture and only 18 acres of woodland remained. By 1791, in fact, London was chiefly supplied with hay by the fields around Edgware, “so it was no uncommon thing to see 100 loads of hay go up to London on a market day and each team bring back a load of dung for dressing the land.”
Edgware apparently had no manor house. The farm at Edgwarebury seems to have served as centre of the manor, although the manor court was held at the George Inn (demolished 1931). Today Bury Farm (part seventeenth part eighteenth century building, with the nineteenth century additions) is one of the oldest and also one of the few Listed buildings in the district. It has connections with Dick Turpin — if you can describe stealing the silver, raping the farmer’s daughter and pouring boiling water over her father as “having connections.”
First mention of Edgware manor occurs in 1216, when Eleanor, Countess of Salisbury, is “to hold her manor of Edgware in peace.” Subsequently the estate passed through various hands, being finally granted to All Souls College in 1441, by whom it has been held ever since. From the thirteenth century the manor included the greater part of Edgware parish.
Edgware Boys, a separate manor, lay along the east boundary of Edgware in a long, narrow oval. It belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, possibly as early as 1231, although the first mention of it as a separate manor is in 1397, when it consisted of 288 acres. The Knights held it until the Dissolution, since when it has had various owners. It, too, had no manor house; but the parish church of Edgware, St. Margaret’s, was in the gift of the Knights and then of the subsequent owners of Edgware Boys until 1926. The tower of St. Margaret’s is the oldest part — probably 15th century. The rest of the church was rebuilt in 1763 and 1845, with editions in 1927.
Only at the beginning (with the Roman Pottery kilns) and at the end does industry figure in Edgware’s history. In 1919 a firm of manufacturing engineers struck 2 million Mons stars and victory medals in Edgware, and during World War II 94 1/2 million metal parts of gas masks were made.
In 1607 Edgware had its own market, but this was discontinued by the 1790s. In 1810 lack of amusement for the inhabitants induced some local tradesmen to organise a fair in August. There were shows, booths, and stalls in Bakers Croft, a field north-east of Edgware bridge, and the Fair became an annual event until about 1855.
The Carnival which will form part of this year’s Edgware Week will therefore be in the historic tradition — though we doubt if it will include quite the same diversions as those that amused our forebears of 150 years ago: “wheeling barrows blindfolded for a new hat, jumping in sacks for a smock frock, grinning through horse collars for tobacco and climbing a lofty pole for a shoulder of mutton.”