Newsletter 188: October, 1986
TWENTY-FIVE NOT OUT
HADAS’s silver jubilee year is nearing its end. There’s, still a final flourish to come in the middle of this month – the opening on Oct. 18th of our exhibition “One Man’s Archaeology” at Church Farm House Museum. More of that later.
Four years ago, when we were 21, the April 1982 Newsletter published a year-by-year potted history of the Society. This time we hope you will enjoy a quick fly-past of some high spots in our 25 year existence. .
Starting point is the founding of the Society by a Graeco-Hendonian, Themistocles Constantinides, who badly wanted to establish Hendon’s Saxon origins. He gathered together a group of like-minded enthusiasts at Hendon Library in April 1961. From that meeting HADAS emerged, to be quickly equipped with a President, Vice-Presidents, officers, committee and 73 members. The first dig began almost at once, in the grounds and outbuildings of Church End Farm, which was then still standing. We dug each summer for 5 years, during which time we established a tradition of exhibiting at Church Farm House Museum by showing our finds there twice.
Those were the days when our archaeological belt had to be pulled very tight. How would today’s Hon.Treasurer feel if he had only £25.14s. 5d (old money) to juggle with at the end of the year? That was our credit balance in 1964, when we were 3 years old. When we were 10, in April 1971, we still had only £234,81 in the kitty. In 1972 we broke through to a four figure surplus The balance sheet presented at the 1986 AGM showed that our bank accounts (now plural, ‘please note), plus such assets as surveying equipment, amounted to £3980.13. Such figures would have seemed an impossible dream, as late as 1971.
When we were 4 on. April 1, 1965 – the London Borough of Barnet, created by the Local Government Act of 1963, came into being, taking unto itself the boroughs of Hendon and Finchley and the urban districts of Friern,Chipping and East Barnet, Our founders had, with foresight, given us the title of ‘Hendon & District.’ In the new, larger borough the ‘&’District’ took on a fresh meaning, as later digs in Friern Barnet, Finchley, High Barnet and Hadley were to testify.
In the early years. membership, like money, stayed stubbornly low, plummeting to a miserable 56 in 1963 and sticking at not much above 100 till 1972, In ‘73 it broke the 200 mark, in ’76 the 300 and in ’77 the 400. We stayed in the 400s until 3 years ago, when we began to slip back into the upper 300s (377 at the 1986 AGM). That sort of slippage seems to have happened in many areas of archaeology in the 1980s. The ’70s were heady times, both for, HADAS and for archaeology in general. The ’80s are not proving as propitious
Now for some of those high spots we mentioned.
Among them must be rated the recording of the tombstones in Hendon St Mary’s churchyard not only for itself but because it broadened our vistas and introduced us to a whole new area of work. We began at St Mary’s in 1970 and went on right through the decade. It was a happy experience. The church- yard was both pleasant and historic; its inscriptions led down many unexpected by-ways. Later we did similar recording in part of St James the Great, Friern Barnet; and there were two-‘rescue’ jobs – one at the Dissenters Burial Ground in Totteridge; the other in an early area of New Southgate cemetery,
The Quincentenary celebrations of the Battle of Barnet were, in large part, a HADAS brainchild, and the Society provided three of the 7-member organising committee, including the Chairman and Hon Sec. The Committee spent 18 months on its plans, particularly those for the 3-week exhibition in the old Council Chamber in Wood Street, In the end the whole Borough, and many people outside it, became involved, Local Women’s Institutes and Townswomen’s Guilds embroidered 8 magnificent banners of the main commanders in the battle, as well as guidons, crests and pennons; local War-Gamers provided a spirited model of the entire battlefield, hillocks and ditches, mill and church, troops, horses, weapons, the lot, The Tower of London lent 15c armour and weapons and the British Museum lent mediaeval retainers badges; student calligraphers from HGS Institute produced, genealogies of the houses of York and Lancaster, and fine-lettered the eve-of-battle speeches of Warwick and. Edward IV. Lord Brook lent Warwick’s mace from Warwick Castle; and the University of Ghent made a special transparency; which we showed in a light-box, of their greatest medieval treasure, the 15c Ghent Manuscript. It was the illuminated heading of the chapter on the Battle of Barnet. HADAS members played a notable part both in setting up and in stewarding the book stall and exhibition, which was visited by 10,000 people..
Two digs stand out from among many; Church Terrace (1973/4) and West Heath (1976-81, 1984-6), Church Terrace established Hendon’s Saxon origins beyond doubt thereby fulfilling the vision of our founder and justifying the Society’s’ existence. Ditches of Saxon date, grass-tempered pottery and a rare Saxon pin was found. Only sad thing was that Mr. Constantinides had not lived to see his beliefs so triumphantly vindicated.
In l976 West Heath, with its attendant excitements, began, Apart from providing the London area with one of its most important Mesolithic sites, HADAS found itself appearing on ITV and on the BBC’s Chronicle programme; and moving up the academic ladder by providing training weeks for London University’s extramural Diploma and. for the Certificate in Field Archaeology.
1979 produced an unforgettable event: our Roman banquet, at which Roman food was served, Roman fashion, under Roman lighting, to guests attired in toga or tunic. (and even in centurion’s gear); the menfolk sported laurel wreaths, the tables stood under the eye of Roman household gods and the guests enjoyed Roman type entertainment(including readings from Homer) between the courses. As one member wrote afterwards “when we archaeologists let our hair down, we do it in style!
Skipping to 1984; we come to a day All Fools Day, naturally – when HADAS tangled with the clowns. This was the hilarious occasion (culmination of months, even years, of laborious and far-from hilarious HADAS work on the project of increasing the number of Blue Plaques in the Borough) when one of our most illustrious members, Spike Milligan, flanked either side by a clown in full dress (Mr Woo and Barney) unveiled a Blue Plaque on Finchley Memorial Hospital to the great clown Joseph Grimaldi who used to live nearby. Spike described it as the craziest opening ceremony of my life (a description which in itself was something of an achievement by HADAS)
Those are a few of peaks: in HADAS’s career so far, don’t forget, though, that you can’t have a peak unless there’s a good solid foundation underneath for it to spring from. So to end with here’s a reminder of the foundation which underlies our finer flights of fancy that foundation is our day-to-day archaeology, composed of many jobs done by many people- our research and field groups, our dedicated band of active diggers, our officers and all our members who deploy their talents on HADAS’s behalf. The jobs are manifold: they include the many smaller digs which don’t make headlines (except occasionally in the Newsletter) but all of which add to our knowledge. In 25 years we have dug on 26 sites all over the Borough of Barnet: no bad record.
Field exercises of various kinds come in this category -.resistivity metering, field walking, street surveys, recording buildings and features. Then there is the job of spreading the knowledge we acquire as widely as we can by exhibitions, by publishing occasional papers, town trails, pamphlets by talks to schools and groups, even by getting the Newsletter into your letterbox each month. There is work on finds – pottery weekends at the Teahouse or flint Studies to back up West Heath reports; and research into maps, plans, photos and documents which precedes most digs. Last, but certainly not least, there is our programme of winter lectures and summer outings which holds the structure of the society together; and fund-raising efforts, like our inimitable Mini-mart, when 3 hours frenetic salesmanship usually earns our surplus for next year as well as plugging a few financial holes in current expenditure.
Taken one by one such ploys may sound bread and butter stuff: but you don’t grow into a healthy archaeological body unless you have your bread and butter. We’ve grown pretty strongly up to our 25th birthday: let’s hope we will continue to thrive in the years ahead which lead to a golden jubilee.
ONE MAN’S ARCHAEOLOGY
This exhibition, from Oct 18-December 7th at Church Farm House Museum, celebrates our 25th birthday and has been designed and organised by one of our founder members and vice-presidents, Ted Sammes.
It will be, so I’m told (I haven’t seen it yet, of course) a Ted’s-eye view of archaeology, describing how a younger Sammes was lured into the toils of this most addictive of hobbies and why it has provided a near life-time’s pleasure,”Toils” isn’t a half-bad word to describe what archaeology does to you: many is the time I’ve seen Ted wielding a pick-axe in a downpour, hacking through a layer of gravel compounded into the sticky clay of Middlesex – and if that isn’t toil, in pursuit of knowledge, I don’t know what is.
Though I haven’t seen the exhibition, Ted has kindly given me a preview by providing the manuscript of the brochure which will accompany it. I can assure HADAS members they are in for a treat: a visit (and probably more than one) is a definite must,
This is perhaps the moment to let you know that SUN OCT. 19 HAS BEEN EARMARKED AS A SPECIAL DAY FOR MEMBERS. Do come along then, between 2-5.30.pm to see the show, meet your HADAS friends and shake hands with Ted himself. He might even autograph his new booklet on the Church Terrace dig, which will be on sale- if you press a pen firmly into his hand.
Displays at the Museum will deal not only with aspects of HADAS with which Ted has been specially concerned, but also with the new horizons, here and abroad, which archaeology opened for him. He’s an outstanding photographer (as many of you already know, and as everyone will be able to see at the exhibition the places he has visited on trips abroad, camera in hand, read like a digger’s litany: Ayia Irini (Cyprus),. prehistoric temples in Ephesus, Catal Huyuk, Sogazkoy, Yasilikaya. Come and see them, and many more. Brigid Grafton Green
Ted’s booklet on Church Terrace – HADAS Occasional Paper No 6 – is called Pinning Down the Past – Some Finds from a Hendon Dig. Price isn’t yet finalized but will be around £1.50.
GLASS FROM THE END OF THE DAY
While you are at Church Farm House Museum, don’t miss a display downstairs of the John Franks Collection of English Cottage Glass. Here GERRARD ROOTS, Curator of the Museum, describes it:
“Until Dec 31 Church. Farm House Museum is holding an exhibition of this unusual glass sometimes referred to as ‘end-of-day glass” which was produced throughout the Victorian period. Made sometimes as apprentice pieces, but more often produced by small glass-making concerns by using up all the pots of coloured glass left over from their main work (hence end-of-day) cottage glass was primarily aimed at a working class market.
The shapes of the glassware on show illustrate in a popular manner changes in taste during the 19c, from the elaborateness of Gothic to the sinuous lines of art nouveau, whilst their method of manufacture ensures that the coloring of each piece is unique. Some of the glass is bizarre, some is most pleasing, none is without interest. I do hope that HADAS members will visit what is the most comprehensive display of this material to be shown in Britain in recent years”.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Sat Oct 4. The outing to Winchester Domesday Exhibition is full, with a short waiting list. If anyone still wants to go please phone Dorothy-Newbury (203 0950) the night before sometimes there are last minute cancellations
Tues Oct 7. Opening lecture of the winter season at Hendon Library: Lost Kingdoms of the Middle Nile- Valley by Dr John Alexander
Many members will know Dr Alexander from his Diploma courses some years ago; others will recall his previous excellent lectures to HADAS on Quasr Ibrim and the History of the Safety Pin. He is Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and we welcome his return visit.
LECTURE INFORMATION for new members. Buses 183 and 143 pass, the. Library, which is 10 minutes’ walk from Hendon Central Underground Station and a few minutes’ walk from the 113 (Edgware) and 240 and 125 (Quadrant Hendon) buses; There are 2 free carparks opposite the Library. Members may bring guests to one lecture, but if they wish to attend further lectures visitors should be invited to join the Society. Will new and old members please make every effort to introduce themselves to each other.
Getting to lectures is becoming quite a problem nowadays for those who don’t drive. Some older members can’t face the journey alone in these times of muggers and disturbance on streets and public transport. If you are a driver, can you help by offering a lift? Not necessarily regularly, as that can be a tie; but by giving members who live near you your phone number, so they can ring and ask if a lift is available? And when you are at a lecture, could you offer a lift home?
Sat Oct.1st, MINIMART, St Mary’s Church House, Greyhound Hill, NW4, 2.30. Goods and help still needed. Last minute offerings can be handed in on lecture night, Oct 7 but we would prefer to have them earlier for sorting and pricing: bric-a-brac, clothing, books, toiletries, unwanted gifts and jewellery. Please let us have them and help the Society’s funds. Food on the day will be most welcome: cakes, pies, bread, sausage rolls, jams, chutneys; sweets, fruit, herbs, Brigid Grafton Green will be delighted to know, on 455 9040, what goodies you hope to bring.
And a special SOS for 2 or 3 tough people to transport goods to the hall on Saturday morning between 8.30-9 am again ring Dorothy if you can volunteer.
Sat Oct 18 – Dec17. HADAS exhibition, One Man’s Archaeology, at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon (see above). Several members have offered to man our bookstall on Sats & Suns during this 7-week period. We have a rota -please ring Dorothy Newbury if you can add your name to it, even a couple of hours will help.
Tues Nov 4. Lecture, Hendon Library: The Roman City Project 1986. By Gustav Milne
Fri Dec 12. Christmas Supper and tour at the Gatehouse of the Priory of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell.
A LETTER FROM 1821
(with some notes in brackets by Nell Penny)
Please take a short walk with me on May 31, 1821. I will be your guide to the ‘Burrows’ and Church End. I know the district well because I live there and I am Clerk to the Hendon Vestry. I have been told that Golders Green is named for one of my forbears. Today I am working as an enumerator for the national Census. At the front of my notebook I have copied down the questions I am ordered to ask at each door. They are:
1. The name of the householders
2. The number of families in the house
3. The occupation(s) of the head(s) of the household (s)
4. The number of males/females in the house and their ages
Filling in the details of the answers to the last question is going to take some time. I have to divide the householders into occupational classes: (a) agriculture; (b) trade, manufacturing, handicraft; (c) others.
The vestry has ordered the enumerators to ask three further questions, of ‘cottagers’ (as distinct from gentry, NP). What rent do they pay? How many windows has their house? Have they a dog? The motives for asking these further questions are not quite clear. Window tax is not payable on houses with fewer than seven windows. No cottager owns land to be taxed at about 4s (20p) in the £ and poor people’s dogs are exempt from the 3s (15p) tax. Perhaps the gentlemen of the vestry wish to find out which dogs have been worrying sheep and birds.
When we have finished we shall have called at 83 houses, finding 4 of them empty. Gentlefolk, among whom I count myself, live in 10 of the houses, but we do not hold ourselves aloof from common folk in a special district; I live in a house between those of a ‘taylor’ and a cordwainer. It is difficult to decide which persons can be classified under ‘agricultural occupations.’ I am noting down 19 such which means I have decided to class farmers and `yearly contracted farm workers together, but to enter day labourers as “others” along with gentlemen-and gentlewomen and those employed in what you might call the service industries,. Tradesmen are shopkeepers like Thomas Jackson who has a general shop in the Burrows, and Thomas Bennett the baker. Of ‘manufacturers’ we seem to have none, but of men ‘engaged in handicraft’ I can find you carpenters, blacksmiths, cordwainers, taylors, gardeners and a sawyer.
You say there is ‘a great deal of noise along the road? No wonder there are have two workhouses -You say you cannot see either of them? Our own parish house is a low building near Burrows Pond (the-modern flats at the Prothero Gardens corner of Watford Way/The Burroughs are nearest to the site now, NP), I have counted 35 inmates, including 2 infants, 4 young children and 18 men and women between 60-80 years old.
The other workhouse is the orphanage belonging to St Clement Dane’s parish, in 1815 that parish bought the lease of Burrows Place from Mr James Allen of Clerkenwell. The property consisted of a “messuage, gardens, stables and a coachhouse.” If you cannot see Burrows Place you must look for a house with a row of poplars in front of it. The house had 99 inmates – 31 of them infants and 38 children between 5-10 years. If you think it must be expensive for a London parish to maintain some of its poor in a village outside London, you must remember that 50 years ago, when Parliament was told that four out of every five children born in the City and Westminster workhouses died before they reached their first birthday, it was enacted that children under 6 years old must, be boarded out more than 3 miles from the City.
A much quieter establishment than the workhouses is Mrs Williams’ school. At present she has 10 boarders between 5-15 years. Mary Burneby looks after a few young children in her cottage with 5 windows; the parish may pay her to care for orphans and bastard babies. But we have three women who maintain themselves and their families by taking in washing. Widow Weston lives alone in her cottage with one window, but Widow Piggott has a family of two to support in her cottage with two windows (do windows, in these instances, mean rooms? NP). She pays £10 a year rent and keeps a puppy for the children.
Now I have finished my task and. I must go to the Greyhound Inn at Church End. Census enumeration is thirsty work, and I shall kill two birds with one stone. I will also deposit my notebook in the cupboard in the parish room at the inn – the one with the bow window.
I am, dear Sir or Madam,
Your obedient servant
Clerk to the Vestry
St Mary’s, Hendon
HADAS is lucky in having two professional indexers among its members, who have been prepared to put their expertise at the Society’s, disposal, indexing, as well as being time-consuming, is a highly-skilled occupation.
The first 10 years of the Newsletter (1969-79) were admirably indexed for us by Freda Wilkinson. When she found, regretfully, that she must give up, Jean Neal took on the task, and produced the index for 1980, Now Jean has completed the 2-year index for 1981-82; and she tells us that1983-84 is nearing completion, -When it is ready we shall be as near up to the minute .as we’ve ever been, index wise.
That news will be rapturously received by those members who like to acquire a photo-copy of each index; and also by the various libraries that receive regular Newsletters and want to be able to refer to them quickly.
We have further cause for congratulation: HADAS also has a member who is prepared to type Mrs Neal’s manuscript indexes – another time-consuming job which needs expert handling. For that we are indebted to Deirdre Barrie, who is in fact typing. 1981-82 as this Newsletter is published.
Will any member who would like a copy of the latest index please let Brigid Grafton Green know (455. 9040)? It will probably run to same 14 or 15 double column A4 pages: a photo-copy may cost about 75.-90 pence, plus postage. At this stage we can’t be more exact than that.
FRAGMENTS. FROM OUR FINDS TRAY
The Repton dig (HADAS visited Aug ’84) unearthed a sculpture of a Mounted warrior who Martin Biddle thinks is King Aethelbald of Mercia. He ruled for 41 years & was buried at Repton AD 757. If true this would be earliest known sculpture of an English king.
Annual Museum of London Archaeology Lecture will be by Harvey Sheldon, Dec 1, 6pm, on Work of Dept.of Greater London Archaeology. Tickets from Museum Press Office.
LAMAS Conference at Museum of London on Archaeology of London Region to 1500: Oct 25/26. Powerful panel of speakers (many well-known to HADAS) from John Wymer on lower Palaeolithic (10.15 am Sat) to Bridget Cherry on mediaeval churches (4.45 pm Sun). Tickets £8.
TL dating on flints from Le Moustier (type-site of the Moueterian) has produced dates between 115,000 – 40,000, says a recent paper in Nature. This suggests a time overlap between Neanderthal Man and Homo sapiens, and therefore the possibility of interbreeding
Museum of London’s autumn attractions include “Capital Gains” – story of the last 15 years of excavation in London (on until Feb 1 1987). Lectures and workshops tie in with the exhibition – including two workshops (Dec 4, 11): on environmental material illustrating medieval diet. LAMAS private view. (open to HADAS members as affiliates) Oct 29, 6.30-8.30 pm.Tickets £2.50 (send a sae) from Mrs Parnum, 28 Wolseley Gns W4 3LR).
“Common Ground” founded 1983, to promote the community heritage common plants and animals, local places and local links with the past – has launched its first project: making of parish maps by local groups. More information from Common Ground, 45 Shelton. St. WC2.
At 1.15 Weds, Oct 15-Nov 19 in’ British Museum lecture theatre, 6 lectures to celebrate the British School at Athens, including talks on Knossos, Lefkandi, Mycenaea, etc. No tickets needed.
Digging inside Danebury hillfort has finished, though Barry Cunliffe plans excavations outside the fort next season. One fifth of the interior will be kept as an archeological reserve & not touched for a century. A Museum of the Iron Age is opening at Andover for finds from 18 years excavations at Danebury.
At British Museum next month special Sat study days: Nov 1 prehistory, Nov 8 Roman Britain; Nov 29 Medieval Britain. Details from 636 1555 ext-511
Excavations at York this summer produced evidence for the ‘lost’ 8th/9th c Anglian city of Eorforwic which suggests it was a riverside trading town like London’s Aldwych and Southampton’s Hamwic. The ‘wic’ towns are one of the most exciting areas of British archaeology at present.
Shire Archaeology’s latest: Rock Carvings of Northern Britain by Stan Beckenstall, £2.50. Cup and ring marks, concentric circles, ducts and channels, spirals, peck marks, even what looks like an outside game of noughts and crosses.
Letter to The Times from Acting President of the Church Monument Society calls for more care for sepulchral monuments inside churches as well as in churchyards. He describes some as “being allowed to crumble away from lack of interest,’ and appeals for more people to try to save monuments in churches.
Our colleagues in Enfield Archaeological Society (who have an enviable record of publication) have produced “Theatres, Music Hall and Cinemas in London-Borough of Enfield” by Geoffrey Gillam (56 pp, numerous illustrations) price £4.30 inc; postage. From author, 23.MertonRd, Enfield EN2 OLS.
Repair work on the shrine of St Alban, in St Albans Cathedral, is likely soon to provide a chance for Martin Biddle to examine the site under controlled archaeological conditions – a unique opportunity to disentangle the history of the shrine and of the cult of St Alban.
University of Sheffield Archaeology Dept. offers weekend “Skill Schools:” intensive weekend courses (max 15 students), using its labs on Environmental Archaeology (Oct 24/26); Human Bones (Nov 21/23); Animal Bones (Feb 6/8). Fee £49 per weekend inclusive. Book with Dept. Archaeology) Sheffield University, Sheffield S10 2TN.
Niall Sharpies, directing the Maiden Castle dig, has (says The Times) found 3 circular houses (c.200 BC) with stone ovens and paved entrance porches; grain-storage pits; 30,000 animal bones; and many small finds. English Heritage intends to build a “visitors centre” about a mile from the site;’ & a-flock of English Heritage sheep (15 in The Times, 12 in The Guardian) in care of their own shepherdess, are in future to ‘nibble-mow’ the grass.
From Ireland news that peat-cutting has unearthed, in a bog in Co. Longford, evidence of timber trackways similar to those found by John Coles in the Somerset Levels – a Bronze Age track dated c 1250 BC and another Iron Age, one dated by dendrochronology to 148 BC. Incidentally Somerset Levels Paper No 12 is now available, £6 plus 80p. Postage, from Dept. of Archaeology, University of Exeter (Queens Building), Exeter, Devon EX4 4QH.
HADAS AT THE OLD BAILEY
STEWART WILD reports on a visit on Sept 18 to the Central Criminal court.
A select band of some 20 HADAS enthusiasts was fortunate to participate recently in an after-hours tour of the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, organised by Mary O’Connell. Visits to this august and historic building are normally limited to foreign dignitaries and persons with connections in high places, but through Mary’s professional contacts as an official London guide we were privileged to enjoy a fascinating tour conducted by the Keeper of the Old Bailey, Captain Ray Whitehouse.
We started in a memorabilia room below ground at the corner of the building where Old Bailey joins Newgate
Street. This of course is the site of the New Gate in the old Roman wall (a section of the wall can still be seen) and as Bailey means a fortified place, thus its use as a prison. The old Newgate Gaol was demolished around 1770 and rebuilt as a prison and sessions house in 1776. Outside opposite the famous Magpie and Stump public house, public executions were held; the last was in 1868. The current building dates from 1907 and was considerably extended in 1972; there hasn’t been a prison on the site for more than a century.
We saw the central gallery on the first floor, recently refurbished and showing no sign of the considerable damage caused by a flying bomb in 1943. Interesting comparisons were made between the original murals painted and dated in 1906 and these by the same artist (G Moira) painted 48 years later when repairs to wartime damage were completed in 1954.
Our next stop was No 1. Court, since. 1907 the most famous in the land, in its dock has stood the majority of the most infamous and notorious criminals of our time, from Crippen onwards. Captain Whitehouse proved an. excellent guide, full of knowledge and anecdote to hold our interest, Mary O’Connell stood in the dock whilst court routine was explained, but was released with a recommendation that this sort of thing be done more often!.
Afterwards we visited Court No 5, one of the 12 ‘modern style’ courts built in 1972, and then downstairs again to see the holding cells and transfer area where the accused are brought and kept pending their appearance in the docks upstairs, but (fortunately for us) never held overnight. Some members expressed disappointment that recent renovation had robbed them of the opportunity to see any graffiti on the corridor walls. What a contrast between the prisoners’ quarters below and the law courts above.
The tour ended in the sumptuous Sheriffs’ dining room on the first floor with a hearty vote of thanks for Captain Whitehouse for giving us such a fine tour and to Mary O’Connell for making it possible.
NEWS ABOUT HADAS PEOPLE
One member who travelled far this summer – to the American Deep South and beyond is D MAIR LIVINGSTONE, who retired a year or two back from the Public Health Laboratory-at Colindale. One of her specialties is the study of mycoplasida. “It’s a little organism I’ve always been fond of,” she-explains. “It’s not quite up to being a bacterium, but it can cause a lot of trouble.” Apparently throughout the world people are studying mycoplasma for varying reasons. Dr Livingstone is interested in its effects in gynaecology but since it concerns animals, insects and plants as well as humans, its researchers.’ include vets, bee-keepers and plant pathologists, to name a few. Every two years they all meet at a different centre to tell each other what they’ve found out. Two years ago, it was Jerusalem, before that Tokyo this year it’s Alabama. After the US the Livingstones intend to go north to Vancouver Island.
Sad news about two members this month. CRAIGIE MEYER (a HADAS member for 15 years, who joined when she was Craigie Beswick) says that her husband FRANK (also a longtime member), had a nasty accident last May. He was knocked down by a car in Kenton Road and has not yet completely recovered from his injuries. We wish him a full return to health in the near future.
And ERIC WARD who has so often helped us with photographic assignments, reports that he is no better: indeed, although he manages in the house without a wheelchair, he uses one when he goes out. All his HADAS friends will feel greatly for him – someone so active must find it horribly frustrating.
A sharp-eared HADAS listener, tuning in to BBC Radio London on the morning of Sept.161 picked up a familiar voice – PERCY REBOUL being interviewed about one of his pet hobby-horses – the need for a museum of plastics. Percy is Chairman of the Plastics History Society, which aims to preserve the records of the discovery and use of plastics (first material which could be called plastic was parkesine, an early type of celluloid, invented around 1860).: Percy has promised to write a piece about the subject for the Newsletter -. so that’s a treat in store.
Some time ago we reported that NIGEL HARVEY,.near-founder member of HADAS, was carrying out a study of historic farm buildings for the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) and the Council for British Archaeology. Earlier this year his first publication for this project appeared: Historic Farm Buildings Study: Sources of Information (published by the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service of MAFF at £5). It is designed as a working tool for those involved or interested in ancient farm buildings and is jam-packed with solid facts. Want to know what surveys of old barns have been made, where, when and by whom? This will tell you. Want to know what’s been written on the subject? The bibliography is extensive, with lists of modern books/booklets; details of county inventories nearly 2 pages giving titles and whereabouts of unpublished texts.
A delightful final appendix provides historical facts and quotations that you might like to have at your fingertips should you wish to argue about “repellent modern buildings.’ It is surprising to find that the first protest 1810, by William Wordsworth. It concerns a building that a Leicestershire farmer who had moved to the Lake District tactlessly built near the poet’s home at Grasmere. Wordsworth demolished it verbally as “a huge unsightly barn, built solely for convenience and violating all the modesty of rural proportions.”
LITA SILVER – a keen supporter of outings and lectures; who joined us 10 years ago, when we had an exhibition in an empty shop at the then brand new Brent Cross has recently moved to Chinley, near Stopkport Like many members who move, she’s decided to keep up her HADAS membership. She writes to say that her new home is near a good starting point for the Pennine Way and she would be happy to welcome any HADAS friends who may be in the area.
PETE and JENNY GRIFFITHS: were active HADAS members till recently pillars of the Roman Group, keen West Heathers and participants in most HADAS activities. That was while they lived first in Barnet and, then London Colney. Now they have moved further out, to Litlington, a village hear Royston on the Cambridge/Herts border. They still keep up their HADAS connection although now, alas; we don’t see them nearly so often.
There is a wealth of local archaeology and history around their new abode – but not many of their neighbours seem to be interested. Jenny is hoping they may be able to change that. She has started by researching the history of their own house, which she describes as “originally 2up, 2down with a passage through the middle.” It has a suggested date of 16/17c. Though it has been remodelled outside, some early features remain within, including a huge walk-in fireplace and many original beams. You can even see the Tudor carpenter’s marks – like a little “3” on a mortice joint and a corresponding “3” on the tenon .that fitted it. The house has been extended at the back so when you walk along the passage to the master bedroom you are walking along the top of the old back wall..
The village is as interesting as the house at neighbouring Lithlow Hill there are the-remains of a round barrow; nearby runs Ashwell Street – a road that has caused much argument it the past about whether it is Roman or a branch of the prehistoric Ickneild Way, .Romanised later; ‘.and modern histories of Cambridgeshire record, that a large Roman courtyard villa was excavated on the outskirts of the village in 1822, in what Jenny suspects may have been a rather hit-and-miss excavation. Some finds from it are in the Museum of Archaeology .and Anthropology in Cambridge. Near the villa was a 3c Romano-British cemetery in a field with the evocative name ‘Heaven’s Walls.’ ‘Part of the villa/cemetery area has been destroyed or sealed under a modern housing estate; but part is probably still under open fields. It sounds the right sort of setting for a pair of HADAS enthusiasts.
DIGHT ME A PEACOCK
An interest in medieval cookery was aroused by the chance find in a public library .of Lorna Sass’s book “To the King’s Taste,” in which the recipes of Richard 11’s cooks are set out with modern equivalents of measures and ingredients, I was rather put off by recipes which began “Hack your chicken in pieces and cast him into a boiling cauldron.” It evoked a vision of a large castle kitchen, hot and steam-filled, with many cooks hacking and casting. The total effect was more of a battlefield than a temple of culinary art.
The interest was, however, further developed by the discovery of a booklet on sale at Goodrich.Castle (and no doubt elsewhere) on “Food and Cooking in Medieval Britain” by Maggie Black (English Heritage, £1.50). One or two extracts may be useful when planning the next dinner party.
The high spot, of course, is the peacock even though the flesh may be found tough and indigestible (it says). However, it must be served as in life in full plumage; the well-prepared cook will keep a cured skin with feathers; feathered head with beak, and tail feathers, handy in the drawer next to the food processor. To present the bird “as if sitting upright on its nest,” the head should be held erect by a rod thrust through the mouth and down the throat.
(If your supermarket is out of peacocks, you can always fall back on a Swan and as a guide to cost, we know that this was 3s,4d in 1380, The Bird must be presented garlanded and crowned, on a silver or gold stand with wings erect, neck arched backwards, head erect.” The effect should be stunning).
However, to return to your peacock, to dight him you
“breke his neck and kutte his throate and fle him….. draw him
as a hene …. and roste him,” When he is rosted ynowe take`him offa and lete him kele,
then wynde the skyn with the fethurs and the taile about the body and serue him forthe as he were alive.”
To accompany the fowl, what about buttered wortes (i.e. vegetables)?
“Take all maner of good herbes that you may gete and put them on the fire with faire water; put thereto clarified butter a great quantite. Whan thei ben boyled ynogh, salt hem; late none ‘otemele (oatmeal?) come therein. Dise brede small in disshes and powre on the wortes, and.serue hem forth.”
For a sweet course there are Pokerounce, i,e. honey toasts with pine nuts, a similar dish being called Poor Knights.
The book contains many other recipes as well as hints on how to behave at table, and for the whetted appetite there are further booklets covering food and cooking from prehistoric Britain to the 19c, to add a new dimension to life for the adventurous cook (with an understanding family …)
THE SEVEN AGES OF-COOKERY
As a follow-up to Muriel Large’s exploits with a peacock, here are details of the sevenfold series of cook booklets published last year by English Heritage:
Food and Cooking in Prehistoric Britain Jane Renfrew
Food and Cooking in Roman Britain Jane Renfrew
Food and Cooking in Medieval Britain Maggie Black
Food and Cooking in 16c Britain Peter Brears
Food and Cooking in 17c Britain Peter Brears
Food and Cooking in 18c Britain Jennifer Stead
Food and Cooking in 19c Britain Maggie Black
The booklets vary between 44-52 pages, and are illustrated with line drawings by Peter Brears. The first half of each deals with the culinary history of the period; the second gives recipes.
Prehistoric cookery is, understandably, the least convincing because there are no written sources however, Mrs Renfrew contrives to deduce a lot from archaeological evidence about what foods may have been available (taking climatic conditions into account) and how they might have been cooked and served. She doesn’t shirk the lower Paleolithic, in general terms; but when it comes to recipes she points out that there are “several practical restraints” i.e. mammoth steaks and rhino joints are hard to come.by.” So her prehistoric recipes are confined to “the early postglacial period… to the -end of the Iron Age.” In fact the recipes (some of which sound quite horrible) are based. on classic cookery writers such as Mrs Beeton and Elizabeth. David; on modern writers about hedgerow food; and on regional cookbooks from e.g. the Shetlands.
I to-and the Roman booklet a trifle disappointing. It will contain few surprises for HADAS cooks, since all the recipes are basically from Apicius. Mrs Renfrew has drawn heavily on the Flower & Rosenbaum translation (pub 1958 and republished 1974), not only for recipes but also for notes about ingredients and methods. – Experience in the Roman cookery courses run by Southampton University and our own experiments for Our Roman banquet suggest that a more practical selection of recipes might have been made; and it seems a pity to settle for anchovy essence as a substitute for garum when, as our cooks know, a good garum can be made and bottled at home.
The remaining booklets have much documentary material to draw on, and they follow an expected pattern. The booklets are obtainable, price £1.50 each, from English Heritage, PO Box 43, Ruislip, Middx HA4OXW. The set costs £9.95 plus £1, 50 postage; post on single copies is, 25p.
THE USE OF OBSIDIAN
The 1986 Bulletin of Experimental Archaeology has recently appeared it is as always, full of unexpected titbits, Here, for instance, is a piece about modern experiments with obsidian, from Fracture Mechanics, Ltd, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. It is headed Surgery with Obsidian and Glass Blades:
For some years now we have learned from press reports that the use of obsidian and glass blades for certain forms of surgery has been successfully revived in the ‘United States. The fullest discussion we have seen is by Sharon McIlrath in American Medical News, Nov 2 1984. The starting point was the discovery by Don Crabtree in late 1960s of a technique of rapidly producing standardised obsidian blades; their surgical uses were recognised at once and tested in surgery by Crabtree himself in 1980. The Medical profession has accepted them and two Crabtree disciples formed separate commercial organisations (Fracture Mechanics Ltd and Aztechnics Inc.) to produce respectively glass and Obsidian scalpels to the required specifications. The blades are 12-15 cm long; parallel-sided and unretouched with a range of tip shapes; plastic coating serves as handle, and although they are sterile when supplied, they can be resterilised and – within limits – reused. Electron microscopy shows that they are 500 times sharper than surgical steel blades the finer edge makes a cleaner incision and facilitates healing. If they are correctly used, on soft tissues only, breakage is not a problem, but their use is at present specialised, they are more expensive than steel, but cheaper than diamond scalpels. The ‘medical profession is pressing for controlled trials to evaluate their uses. The direct prototypes of ‘these blades were used by Maya and Aztec Indians until the Spanish Conquest, when it is believed they were suppressed in favour of imported metal blades. The initiative in this revival has come from archaeologists, the production is commercial and (as the Aztechnics brochure puts it) “the resultant product is a perfect blend of stone age technology with space age demands.”
HADAS GOES SOUTHWEST
PADDY MUSGROVE reports on the September weekend in Exeter. HADAS members who set off by coach on Sept 18 for Exeter wisely were equipped with woollies and rainproof clothing to cope with all possible perils of Dartmoor and Exmoor. On Sept 21 they returned with sun-reddened faces after what must have been the best weather of 1986. The 30 who left London were joined in Exeter by Julius and Tamara Baker.also by the Morgans (now of Charmouth) and for the Dartmoor expedition, by the Spiegelhalters (now of Bideford),
On the outward trip to Mardon Hall, Exeter University there was just time for a rapid assault on Maiden Castle. From the height of the viewing ‘gantry’ there we were able to observe the large area excavated this year in the southwest corner, next to one of Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s trenches of 50 years ago. The gantry also provided an impressive view along the formidable southern defences.
Niall Sharples, director of this major investigation by the Trust for Wessex Archaeology, kindly took time to comment on some of the features, such as large storage pits, round house and post holes. This, the second year of the 2-year programme, has to finish by the end of September; its main purpose has been to study the occupation of the hillfort in the period immediately before its sacking by Vespasian in 43 or 44AD.
In Devon our escorts and preceptors on the moors were to be Henrietta and Norman Quinnell, but on the afternoon of our arrival we were whisked off for a lively walking tour of Exeter with Neil Holbrook, Asst. Director of the Exeter Museum’s Archaeological Field Unit. We climbed the oddly shaped Norman motte which is squeezed into one corner of the Roman-medieval town walls, and observed in front of the Cathedral’s West End the forum site and that of the earlier bath-house of the legionary HQ. Exetert Museum hope eventually to excavate this, together with a possible cockpit.
Rougemont Castle was built by William in 1068, but only the gateway remains. Its architect obviously gave the contract to a local firm; the-masons insisted on introducing their own touches to the Norman design, such as distinctive ‘long-and-shorts Saxon quoins!
Two excavations are in progress in the City One is just outside the wails, where a 12ft deep ditch, frequently re-cut and extended, is close to a suspected Roman cremation cemetery. Another is the ancient manor house and farm of Hayes Barton, which can be traced back to the 12c. Used in the Civil War by besieging Royalists as a position for cannons, the buildings were demolished by disgruntled Parliamentarians in a sally across the river. With no subsequent building on the site, it is providing a splendid opportunity of studying an early manor house and farm as they survived into the 17c.
In preparation for our expeditions into Exmoor and Dartmoor, Mrs Quinnell gave us an illuminating talk on the rich prehistoric remains on the moors. Few of the hundreds of sites have been dug, let alone properly dated; the purpose of many of them remains obscure; many more certainly are to be discovered.
Some of the monuments were of a type unfamiliar to many in our party in particular the Dartmoor reaves (low prehistoric boundary banks, sometimes running for several kilometres) and the ubiquitous and enigmatic “stone rows.” In Exmoor at Five Barrows (where, in fact, there are 9 or more round barrows of various sizes and shapes) we found after much searching the double rows of smallish local stones, now partly buried in encroaching spaghnum moss, known earlier as the White Ladder. In Dartmoor, however, substantial granite boulders used for stone rows stood proud as noticeable landscape features.
Reaves and stone rows abounded, but perhaps the most intriguing site if only for its complexity, was Merrivale, between Two Bridges and Tavistock. Here are standing stones, a stone circle, many stone hut circles, cairns, barrows cists and two major stone rows – one single, another ia double row incorporating a cairn with a very small cist.
Another Bronze Age settlement was on the slopes of Leeden Tor where a near-circular stone enclosure neatly surrounds a group of hut circles in an area notable for long-distance reaves. Wambarrows, Winsford Hill and the Iron Age hillforts of Shoulsbury Castle Woodbury and Blackbury were other prehistoric sites visited, together with a deserted Dartmoor medieval village cosily set in the valley east of Hound Tor.
The village was abandoned in the 14c, probably because of deteriorating climate. The stone walls of the longhouses to be seen today probably date from the 12c, at which time they replaced turf houses which possibly went back to the 8c. Maurice Beresford claims that the standing remains of these houses are amongst the most noteworthy in the country.
Even on the journey home there were sites and sights, including the cathedral-like caves at Beer south Devon, where beer stone has been quarried since Roman times. Beer stone is to be seen today in Exeter and Winchester cathedrals and is recorded as being used in Westminster Hall and Abbey, the Tower of London and London Bridge.
Pleasant event on Friday was a visit to the. Old Rectory at Clayhanger, home of Desmond Collins, director at West Heath 1976-81, we are most grateful to him and his wife far entertaining the HADAS party to tea in their charming old house and gardens. So far no mention has been made of Anne and Alan Lawson, yet it was they who made the plans, did the recce and nursed and cajoled us only as necessary. They were presented; very appropriately, with a copy of Desmond’s recent book “Palaeolithic Europe – a Theoretical and Systematic. Study” (pub. Clayhanger Books, of The Old Rectory, Clayhanger, Devon!)