West Heath becomes a Training Dig
The West Heath dig took on a new dimension between 14 July and 21st: it became, in part, a training dig. Ann Collins, wife of our Director, Desmond Collins, brought along a group of fifteen students, aged thirteen and upwards, from Camden School for Girls, to do a weeks archaeology as a special end-of-term project. None had been in a trench or had used a trowel before: most were quick and willing learners and seemed to enjoy themselves.
HADAS provided experienced diggers each day to help with any archaeological problems which arose, to organise the supply of tools and equipment, the mantling and dismantling of the sieve, the supply of elevenses and tea and the recording and marking of finds. Many thanks to the members who stepped in to help with this worthwhile job: Nicole Douek, Helen Gordon, Brigid Grafton Green, George Ingram, Helen O’Brien, June Porges, John Squires, Myfanwy Stewart, Philip Venning, Freda Wilkinson.
Talking of the sieve, another word of thanks must go to HADAS member R.W.Martin. For a very small cost of some of the materials, he made the excellent sieve which we have been using on the site for the last six weeks. Every bucket of spoil from the trenches has gone through its two meshes, and many additional flint flakes and blades have come to light as a result.
Originally, for the first month of the dig, we borrowed a sieve from London University Extra-mural Department; it is a pointer to the value set on this equipment that we were asked to ensure it for £100. Mr Martin saw the borrowed sieve, and realising that we had to return it, kindly offered to make a replacement. His sieve incorporates a number of improvements on the original, and HADAS is proud to possess such a useful piece of equipment.
The West Heath dig will continue into September, probably ending on Wednesday 15 September. There will be no digging on Saturday 7 August, when there is a HADAS outing.
As the holiday season is in full swing, and many regular diggers are away, volunteers will be especially welcome on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, even if they can spare only an hour or two. Digging is from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. If you’re not sure where the site is, ring Brigid Grafton Green for further information.
West Heath has provided HADAS with 2 unexpected honorary members: a pair of delightful and friendly of ducks. They turn up every morning a few minutes after the first digger arrives; and a regular as clockwork, they waddle stiffly across the site three more times each day — for morning coffee, lunch break and tea.
The stiffness is due to the fact that their wings have been cut cruelly short and are held out from their sides at an angle. They can’t fly. They are extremely tame, and the park keepers think they were pets dumped in the park by an owner who no longer wanted them.
When on-site they eat bread and biscuits ferociously, use the flint-washing bowl for noisy drinking and even try to bathe in it (one just fits at a time). They are most gregarious and you often find your shoelaces being searchingly explored by a long blunt beak in search of worms!
Follow-up to West Heath
The West Heath investigation will not end with the closing of the dig in September. It is intended to study the material from the site throughout the coming winter. As a first step, with the kind connivance of Mr. Enderby, the Teahouse in Northway, Hampstead Garden Suburb, has been booked for the first three weekends in October (2nd/3rd, 9th/10th, 16/17th) for work on the finds. Will all members who would like to help please note the dates — we shall be at the Teahouse from 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. each day and all volunteers will be welcome.
An autumn course at H.G.S. institute may also interest many who have dug at West Heath. The lecturer is Desmond Collins and the subject “Advances in Knowledge of Early Prehistory.” There will be twelve lectures, designed particularly to update the knowledge of those who have done (or partly done) the London University External Diploma in Archaeology. Those who have taken Part I of the Diploma during the last four years will already have covered most of the ground; but people whose Diploma is four or more years old will find the course particularly valuable. Lectures will be on Thursdays, 7.30-9.30p.m., in Room 8 of the HGS Institute, starting 23 September. Course fee £3, and you can enrol now at the Institute.
The Art of Archaeological Surveying
One of our Honorary Members is Mr Barrie Martin, FRICS, ARVA. On many occasions and on various sites he has deployed his skill as a surveyor on HADAS’ behalf.
When he was working recently at West Heath setting up a datum he suggested that, if enough members were interested, he would be willing to teach a small group the rudiments of archaeological surveying — for instance, levelling — during the coming winter. The Research Committee, feeling that several members might like to take advantage of Mr Martin’s offer, responded enthusiastically to his overture. We hope to settle the details of the project in the next month or two, and to get the group working at weekends in the late autumn.
As a preliminary, would any member who is interested in learning some elementary practical surveying please let the Hon. Secretary know, so that we can estimate of the possible size of the group?
Hendon St. Mary’s Brasses
Members may like to know that the Society has bought some offprints from the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society (vol. 26, 1975) of No. 16 in the series of articles recording the brasses of churches of Middlesex.
No. 16 deals with Hendon St. Mary’s. It is by H.K.Cameron, MA, PhD, FSA, and records all the brasses at present in the church, both old and new. It is illustrated; and as a bonus the brasses of Heston Church are also in the offprint.
Copies are available from the Hon. Secretary price £0.55 including postage.
August Outing to Crickley Hill and Chedworth Roman Villa
On a Saturday 7 August the Society will visit an important excavation at Crickley Hill, where Philip Dixon of Nottingham University is proving that hill forts can be extremely complicated structures and that their internal lay-outs are not always as expected.
A visit will also be made to Chedworth Roman Villa, a well-known site belonging to the National Trust. Not only is it located at the head of a charming Cotswold Valley, but it is also an extensive, well laid out site with selective restoration of certain buildings.
An application form for the outing is enclosed. Please return it as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury.
Looking ahead, the last outing of this season will be our weekend in York September 17-19 inclusive. The coach for this event is already fully booked, but Dorothy Newbury will be happy to add your name to her short waiting list, if you like to take a chance on a possible cancellation between now and mid-September.
A Medieval Pottery find in Arkley
(TQ 229 966) By Edward Sammes.
Do you look down every hole in the ground at which you see a workman digging? If not, try it down it often pays dividends.
When the men from the Gas Board dug a small trench in the concrete driveway of Mrs. Myfanwy Stewart’s house in Galley Lane, Barnet, she was amazed to see pottery sherds sticking out of the side. She collected the pottery and showed it first to archaeological friends and then to the Museum of London, who in turn contacted HADAS.
The pottery is thirteen century grey coarse ware, and gritty to the touch and possibly sand-tempered. Mrs. Stewart found more than 100 fragments in the area about 1/2 metre by 1 metre. The collection contains rims, body sherds and bases. The rims are usually rectangular in section. One or two pieces have applied strap decoration.
The find-spot is only 1/4 mile from Dyke Cottage (TQ 233 964) where in 1959 a complete cooking pot was found. Subsequent excavations at Dyke Cottage produced fine-bar fragments and sherds of pots, jugs and dishes. The Dyke Cottage finds are reported in “Potters and Kilns in Medieval Hertfordshire,” by Derek Renn (Herts Local History Council, 1964).
The pottery in this latest find is so concentrated that it may be dumped kiln waste, again indicating medieval kilns in the area.
Museum and Exhibition News
Those who went on the first outing of this season will remember that Waltham Abbey Museum at 41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, was specially opened at a late hour for our visit, Until 31 October this Museum and will be open at weekends — Saturdays 10.00-4.00p.m. Sundays 3.00-5.00p.m.
Archaeology in Southwark is the title of a small exhibition showing the work of the Southwark Archaeological Excavation Committee. The exhibition, at Bear Gardens Museum, off Bankside, contains a range of Roman and Medieval finds, together with photographs and drawings. It opened on 11 July and will close 12 September 1976. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday noon to 4.00p.m. Sundays 12.00-5.00p.m. entrance £0.10, and there is a Shakespeariana display in the same building.
NEWS FLASH. The Museum of London is expected to open in December.
https://www.hadas.org.uk/cgi-bin/nl/nlarchive.pl?issue=066&page=4 Issue 66 page 4] HADAS on Show
This seems a good point at which to report on the various displays which HADAS itself has put on this summer. It has been a very busy season.
First, the Parent-Teacher Association of St. Mary’s Junior School, Hendon, asked us to mount a small exhibit at the school’s Summer Fair on 26 June. Percy Reboul and Vincent de Paul Foster did so; and their work was clearly appreciated. The Headmistress wrote thanking us for a very interesting exhibit and sending a donation to the Society’s funds.
Then in early July John Enderby, Principal of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute, invited us to take part in Institute Week. This involved a small display of publications at the Teahouse several evenings running; and on Wednesday 7 July an additional and larger exhibit in the Institute Hall showing material from the West Heath dig. Daphne Lorimer, Jeremy Clynes and Harry Lawrence organised all this between them. A number of publications were sold and considerable interest was aroused in the West Heath site. In fact we hear that the Mayoress, who has been a HADAS member for some years and was officially visiting the Suburb that evening, became so interested in the West Heath flints that the Mayoral timetable almost went for a burton.
In the same week of July, this time under the organisation of Christine Arnott and a band of stewards, HADAS had a successful stall at Finchley Carnival, which resulted in a welcome addition to our funds. The total was swelled by a generous contribution from one of founder members, Miss P.M. Simmons, who still keeps in touch with us from her retirement at Whitstable in Kent.
Finally, from 12-17 July HADAS went on show at the new Brent Cross Shopping Centre. This was an excellent shop-window for us, and resulted in many new members and the sale of a number of publications — not to mention the general interest in archaeology which was engendered.
At Brent Cross, Daphne Lorimer provided an exhibit on the West Heath dig, including a show-case of flints, a fine series of photographs by Peter Clinch and some excellent drawings by Colin Evans. Brigid Grafton Green and Ann Trewick staged, with the kind permission of the Borough Librarian, a display of Roman Pottery and other artefacts from Brockley Hill, with drawings by William Morris; and Ted Sammes arranged an exhibit of materials from and photographs of the Church Terrace dig of two years ago. Nell Penny helped with both setting up and taking down.
Special thanks are due to the team of “strong men”, under the organisation of Jeremy Clynes, who humped heavy glass showcases and exhibition panels to the Centre from all over the Borough; thanks, too, to those who lent us cases, screens and transport and helped in other ways, and to the band of highly responsible stewards, organised by June Porges, who manned the stand throughout shopping hours.
These various displays involve much time and effort for those who arrange them. This year there has been a splendid response from members who were asked to help. In all, over 50 members have been involved: a real corporate effort from a Society whose main strength lies in the enthusiasm and the diverse talents of those who belong to it.
Friern Barnet Summer Show
One exhibition is still to come this summer — our stand at the Friern Barnet Show on 20th/21st August. We plan to display material from last year’s dig at St. James the Great, Friern Barnet and some farm byegones from Totteridge, kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. And Mrs. Morley of Laurel Farm.
Stewards are needed for both days, and members who can spare an hour or two — particularly those who live in the district — are asked to contact Jeremy Clynes.
HADAS goes into Norfolk
A report on the July outing by Joanna Wade.
Nell Penny said that she had worked very hard at everything — and especially hard at the weather — when she organised the HADAS outing to Castle Rising and King’s Lynn on 10 July. Efforts were entirely successful. Everything, including the weather, was perfect.
Castle Rising, our first port of call, and its attendant village stand on a hill, commanding a wide view over the surrounding plain. The castle is almost hidden by the extensive earth ramparts of its outer and inner baileys, which possibly have Roman or Saxon foundations, for the site is an ancient one. The present castle was built about 1150 by William de Albini. From 1329 it housed Isabella, “she-wolf of France,” the mother of Edward III, in semi-confinement after she had been overthrown by her son.
In appearance the building is remarkably complete, squat and also extremely beautiful. Its outside is decorated with interlacing blind arcading, while the entrance is up a long flight of stone steps: hard to defend, but doubtless magnificent for processions.
The Great Hall has corbels carved with grotesque faces and an arcaded gallery running its length — attractive and, we felt, engagingly homely. The castle was not vast or riddled with dark staircases, but was of a manageable size and light. Despite having undergone much alteration, it was easy to understand its geography.
We ate our picnics in the sun, and many were loth to move down to the village to see the church, Bede House and the village cross. Those who did found a small, sleepy colony somewhat spoilt by modern houses, in every way different from our next stopping place, the town of King’s Lynn. It was fascinating to compare these two places, whose history is so intertwined. An old rhyme expresses the situation:
“Rising was a seaport town
When Lynn was but a marsh,
Now Lynn it is a seaport,
And Rising fares the worst.”
Rising, with its old foundations, had for long been a thriving coastal port, whereas Lynn, set in marshy country, was not attractive to early settlers, and was not established until the end of the eleventh century. Then the diversion of the Ouse, plus general prosperity in Europe, made it opportune for merchants to settle at Lynn; and as the harbour at Rising slowly silted up, Lynn grew. It became the third most important port in England, and as it thrived its merchants built themselves great towers (a 16th century one still remains) to demonstrate their wealth and to watch for their ships’ return. Wharves and warehouses crowded upon one another and the treasures of the town accumulated.
At Lynn, for the first time in HADAS history, we were given a civic reception, being greeted most charmingly by the charter Mayor in Trinity Guildhall, a fine basically 15th century building with an impressive eighteenth century assembly room and other additions. Here we met our two excellent guides. It is impossible to do justice to the town in a couple of hours, but they managed to show us a great deal, beginning with the regalia.
The most stunning item was King John’s cup, in enamelled gold of wonderful workmanship and tantalisingly unknown provenance. We were also shown the town’s original King John Charter and the “Red Register” (1307), said to be the oldest paper (as opposed to parchment) book in existence.
At the church of St. Margaret we saw the two great Flemish brasses, the largest in England. One of them, (to Robert Braunche, 1364) is famous for the “Peacock Feast” depicted upon it. We went on to see Hampton Court, a mediaeval merchant’s house built round a courtyard and Thoresby College. Unlike many places, Lynn’s is not a story of constant thoughtless destruction of historic monuments. It is watched over by an amazingly dynamic Preservation Trust, which has restored an impressive number of buildings and converted them to modern use, as old people’s flats, a youth hostel and so on.
As we walked to see you at the Duke’s Head Hotel we passed the latest acquisition of the Preservation Trust, bought only the week before. The exterior looks like three houses, possibly of different periods. Inside, we were told, is a Norman Hall-house — one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of its type in Britain. When next we go to Lynn perhaps it will have been restored and we shall be able to see its full glory.
Accessions to the HADAS Book Box
Among recent additions to the book box are the following:
The Archaeology of the London Area: Current Knowledge and Problems. London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Special Paper No. 1.
Medieval Research Group Report No. 22, 1974.
Fieldwork in Medieval Archaeology (1974) by Christopher Taylor.
Iron Age Communities in Britain by Barry Cunliffe (presented by Mr. And Mrs. Frauchiger).
British Prehistory — a New Outline, edit. Colin Renfrew (presented by E. Sammes).
Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain, 3rd Edition, 1956 (presented by Miss R.D. Wells).
Many thanks to all those who have contributed to the book box during the last year.
In the last Newsletter we welcomed 51 new members of HADAS — but it should have been 52. The name of one new member, Mr Richard Button, who joined the Society on the West East dig, was omitted. Our apologies and a belated welcome, to Mr Button.
A further nineteen people have joined us in the last month, so the Newsletter takes the opportunity of saying hello to them to, and wishing them well in their membership of HADAS. They are:
John Altmann, Golders Green; Henry Barnett, East Finchley; Peter Clayton, Wisbech, Cambs; Miss P.M. Dobbins, West Hampstead; Arye Finkle, North Finchley; Eileen Flack, Hadley; Mrs. A.V. Harrison, Kings Langley; Miss Helen Jampel, Finchley; S. Jampel, Garden Suburb; Miss I. Katchoorin, Cricklewood; Mrs. Moriarty, Garden Suburb; Jacqueline Nathan, Golders Green; Margaret Osborne, Cricklewood; F.M.J. Pinn, Golders Green; Miss G. Scarles, Hendon; Barbara Shandy, Colindale; Hilary Silk, Colindale, R. Weinman SW10 Brien Wibberley, Barnet.