Newsletter 194: April 1987 Edited by Jean Snelling
Wednesday April 1st “The Nanking Cargo and The China Trade” by David Lewis, secretary of the City of London Archaeological Society. Mr. Lewis will give us an assessment of the cargo of this mid-18th century sunken ship salvaged in April 1986. We hope as many members as possible will come to this last lecture of the winter season.
Saturday April 4th Afternoon walk in North Clerkenwell and tour of Sadlers Wells, with Mary O’Connell
There is still room for a few late-comers on this walk. If you would like to join in please ring: Dorothy Newbury 203 0950. Price including tea, guides and entrance fees £3.75.
Saturday April 25th Brockley Hill Seminar 2.00-5.00pm at St Mary-at-Finchley Parish Hall (Small Hall)
32A Hendon Lane, Finchley N3. This is a venue we have not used before. It is 10 minutes from Finchley Central Underground (Station Road exit), and on the 13, 26 and 260 bus routes from Golders Green and the 143 from Hendon. See enclosed notice.
Wednesday May 13th Annual General Meeting. 8.00pm for 8.30 at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4
Saturday May 16th Outing to Burnham Abbey, Hartley Court Moat, Taplow Saxon Burial Mound/Dorney Court and Church, with Ted Sammes. Application form will be in May newsletter.
Saturday June 20th Outing to Dover Roman Painted house
September weekend Application form enclosed
April is the month for renewal of subscriptions so with this Newsletter I am enclosing a copy of the letter our Chairman Mr. Andrew Selkirk has addressed to all members. I look forward to receiving your subscriptions in due course. Thank you in advance.
Phyllis Fletcher – Membership Secretary.
The Stapylton Road (Barnet) exploratory excavation is ON. Any more diggers? Please contact Brian Wrigley without delay 959 5982.
THE EARLY SAXON PERIOD IN THE LONDON REGION by John Mills
This lecture gained from John Mills’ experience as West London Field Officer (Museum of London) at Brentford, as he conveyed his own sense of searching for the early Saxon settlers and spelt out the careful, limited evidence. The early period is essentially the 5th and 6th centuries, when rising sea levels and pressure from warlike communities in Europe were pushing coastal peoples from north France to Denmark to seek new homelands – in, for instance, England. With Angles, Jutes, Frisians, Burgundians and Franks on the move, it was mainly Saxons who settled in southeast England from East Anglia to Sussex.
There is no archaeological evidence of their actual arrival or of their encounters or relationships with local Britons or with remnants of Roman occupation. London is especially baffling, with no late Roman or early Saxon levels; only depths of dark earth. However, it appears that in the 4th and 5th Centuries there were Germanic military immigrants employed to protect Romano-British communities, as is evidenced by typical metal accoutrements from Dorchester-on-Thames, Croydon and Sarre, Kent.
The kind of evidence expected for Saxon settlement is signs of buildings, rubbish pits, tracks, ditches and remains of cemeteries. Dating is more likely to rest on pottery than on metal objects.
The principal house type should be the full Beowulf hall with wooden walls and thatched gabled roof; as yet it is conspicuous by its absence in Greater London. The secondary type with sunken floor does appear, usually as a weaving or pottery workshop but occasionally for residence. Also of wood and thatched, its ground surface is often eroded now but loom weights, potsherds and postholes may remain. The earliest known, of early to middle 5th Century, is at St Mary Cray, Kent. Inner London, West Drayton, Harmondsworth, Heathrow and Brentford have single huts. Harmondsworth has Saxon hedged enclosures amid prehistoric pits, a Bronze Age trackway and Roman ditches. Keston .(Bromley) has a sunken hut on the Roman villa estate. Stanwell, Surrey, has Saxon enclosure ditches and trackways over a Neolithic cursus. These seem to indicate a Saxon interest, in using historic sites. Grass-tempered pottery was found at Sipson, Yewsley, West Drayton, Harlington, Yeoveney Lodge, (all Middlesex) and at Ham and Kingston-on-Thames. Harmondsworth produced an iron door key or latch-lifter and a polished pin of bone or horn probably for a weaver.
The 19thC was great for opening graves and barrows. Cremation urns and skeletons with warrior equipment were found in cemeteries of late 5th and 6th Centuries at Shepperton and Hanwell. A necklace of 31 coloured glass beads found at Longford (Middlesex) in 1780 possibly came from a grave. Early cemeteries found at Mitcham and Croydon had, cremations and warrior graves with weapons and brooches, Mitcham matching the saucer brooch found above fallen roof tiles in London’s Billingsgate Roman bath house. Grave goods shrank to single personal mementoes as Christianity spread but there was a final conspicuously pagan fling in warriors’ barrow burials. At Farthing Down, Coulsdon, there was a splendid wooden and gilt drinking cup, and at Banstead the bones of a strong, horse-riding man lay cloaked, with his spear and his bronze hanging-bowl full of crab apples. A recent discovery is a barrow cemetery at the Hoover Goblin Works at Leatherhead.
Most of these early Saxon sites are on gravel where commercial stripping of large areas has made opportunities for archaeologists. Some Saxons moved later in the period to the dry North Downs, perhaps as pressure of population increased on the fertile lower grounds. But where are the settlements on the northern clays? There are no known early sites in north London, even Hendon and Hampstead West Heath appearing as middle or later. Perhaps the first Saxons stuck to the gravels, or to the Romano-British settlements (and they too are missing). Perhaps some later sites were also early, and some may be on medieval or modern peripheries as populations have moved. John Mills urged us on to field walking and site watching, especially in non-descript little places on the clay, where we might still discover early Saxons; and – who knows – we might even track down some Romano-Britons in LB Barnet. JMS
Following our Saxon lectures members will have been interested to learn, via the BBC or the press, of the three deep Saxon pits found very recently beneath the National Gallery. They were excavated by the Department of Greater London Archaeology (Museum of London, who found Saxon and German pottery, animal bones and weaving equipment. So far this is the furthest point west to be discovered of the Saxon settlement along the Strand, which raises hopes of more evidence awaiting excavation when the new extension site becomes free.
AFTER ONE MAN’S ARCHAEOLOGY by Ted Sammes
Now that it has all been packed away it is rewarding to look back on the 25th year exhibition.
We caused a lot of interest, mostly local, but got a very good write-up in the CBA British Archaeological News Vol 1 No 9 Jan 1987.
We gained some new members, thanks to the persuasive powers of those thirty people who manned the bookstall on Saturdays and Sundays. Mr. D.A. Ruddom, Borough Librarian, in a letter of thanks reported that the exhibition attracted 1559 visitors during the 51 day run an average of 31 daily.
A caricature of myself on the cover of the exhibition brochure was drawn (so I learn from Val Bott, formerly of Grange Museum, Neasden) by Ralf Sallon. He came to this country as a Jewish refugee before the last war and worked as cartoonist for London evening papers. Finally I must thank the many helpers; especially Gerrard Rootes at the Museum, Dorothy and Jack Newbury for the printing of Pinning Down the Past, and Mike Shearing of Barnet Library Services for designing the exhibition poster and brochure.
A DOMESTIC DIG Alison Balfour-Lynn
In August 1986 I moved into 50 The Burroughs, Hendon NW4. This is one of a small range of cottages on the south side of The Burroughs, near the junction with the Watford Way. It is the last house in the range to be repaired and restored and was suffering from a considerable state of neglect. Initially appearing to date from the latter quarter of the seventeenth century, their construction is somewhat unusual. The cottages have brick front and back walls and brick chimneys but all the internal partitions and structure are timber, including the partitions between the individual houses. In the attic the eaves space runs across several of the cottages with no partition at all.
My house consists of a ground floor with two rooms, with a kitchen and loo housed in a Victorian extension at the back. The first floor has also two rooms with an attic above. While removing a hardboard ceiling in the back bedroom on the first floor, preparatory to its conversion into a bathroom, we found under the roof-tiles in the eaves a layer of straw thatching used as an insulation layer, exactly similar to that in the roof of Church Farm, Hendon. Another interesting discovery was that at one time the cottages were probably of completely timber-frame construction. On the underside of the timber roof plate, front and back, where the rafters meet the walls are mortice slots to secure the upright timbers. Some of the timbers still remain buried in the brickwork of the walls. A piece of further evidence is that while removing rotten floorboards in the front bedroom on the first floor some signs were found that there had been a jetty at this level, a feature common to all timber-framed buildings. Although most of the joists had been replaced in Victorian times, one still remained in its original length with a slot on the underside, where the timber upright from the ground floor would have been slotted into it.
Before taking up yet more rotten floorboards in the dining room on the ground floor at the back, we made the unpleasant discovery that at some point in the past the joists had rotted and, instead of replacing them, some bright spark had packed the spaces between with earth and rubble, thus creating the twin problems of rising damp and beetle infestation. The floor boards had then been put back over the whole mess. While digging the earth out we came across a considerable amount of domestic debris in the shape of a large amount of C18th and C19th wine bottle glass, cow and sheep bones showing evidence of butchery and some dog bones. Also domestic pottery and C18th clay pipes with makers’ marks. In the foundations also were found several massive but unfortunately much rotted timber base plates with mortice slots in them providing further evidence for the original timber frame. It is certain that this room was the original kitchen and that this debris represents its use as such. It was unfortunate that we could not dig deeper into the earth under the floor, but this was impossible without disturbing the already tenuous foundations. A trench dug for new drainage in the garden has so far produced nothing except building rubble.
Any member of HADAS is welcome to come and inspect the building and finds; please ring Alison Balfour-Lynn at 202-8722 after 7.00pm.
Who is this Percy Reboul who supplies the magnificent photographs of old Barnet to our local papers? Our P.B.? In that case he must possess the secret of eternal youth, as the captions often reveal that he was around before the main flood of brick and concrete engulfed our pleasant, pastoral area. Can’t be!
Of course, it’s our Percy’s father, now aged 78 and launched into a new enterprise – lecturing. He’s greatly in demand as a result of interest in the photographs (many of them our Percy’s). Though he’s not a member of HADAS he certainly works hard on our behalf. He declines a fee but asks if he can sell copies of Those Were the Days. Copies of this, our most popular production to date, are flowing out of stock and each sale brings a very welcome addition to our funds.
We are extremely grateful to you, Mr Reboul; and of course to Percy for producing such a lively informative little book.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF LONDON ARCHAEOLOGISTS MARCH 14th 1937 LONDON & MIDDLESEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY (LAMAS)
Brisk lectures and handsome slides made a busy, interesting day. Morning presentations concentrated on recent excavations. Brian Philp spoke of the remarkable Roman site of Keston (Bromley), excavated over 20 years by local volunteers and Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit. Lying on iron age farm land and just below the Holwood hill fort (Caesar’s Camp) is a complex of two Roman villas , a large timber frame building with corn-drying ovens, a cemetery with foundations of a mausoleum, numerous auxiliary buildings and ditches and three shafts cut into the chalk. A recent find is another deep shaft containing stratified chalk wash and eight levels of articulated animal skeletons – oxen, pigs, sheep, dogs, and at the bottom three very large horses. This shaft is dated to late 1st Century-early 2nd Century by pottery; other features being largely 2nd C-early 3rd C There is also a Saxon hut floor and a medieval kiln.
A Saxon cemetery at Tadworth was described by Steve Nelson (Nonsuch Antiquarian Society) On Banstead Downs amid Saxon barrows and medieval chapels and fields lies Preston Down with 43 graves in the chalk. They lie in 8 rough rows, all but one having east-west orientation and 35 containing bones; also 14 iron knives and one Frankish pot of 6th C. A quartz pebble mounted in bronze strapwork seems to resemble the little rock-crystal balls worn attached to the girdles of Saxon ladies; 50 of these southeast England specials are known, of late 5th and 6th Centuries.
The London basilica excavations, Leadenhall Street (Department of Urban Archaeology) led to Simon O’Connor-Thompson’s demonstration of the difficulties of discovering; the inner alignment of the forum buildings and the puzzlement of a large structure lying to the north where there ought to be a road; a stumbling-block requiring the re-study of the north-eastern section of the city. For the Department of Greater London Archaeology Kevin Wooldridge showed medieval walls of the St John of Jerusalem priory found inside and under 49-52 St John’s Square; developers will conserve these walls. He showed walls of St Clare’s Franciscan nunnery (1293) below Haydon Street EC3, with Roman graves beneath. Finds include part of a medieval crucifix of painted pipestone, and Roman glass and pottery, bracelets and a jet Medusa medallion.
Eric Norton (also DGLA) reported on a small royal palace of Edward 111 found below Platform Wharf, Rotherhithe with a hall, two courtyards, ancillary buildings and a surrounding moat, all built in 1350s for £1200. The site was converted to a pottery factory in 17th C. The foundations of the medieval hall survive amid kilns and clay-processing pits and the moat contains a huge cargo of London Delft ware, painted but unglazed; dumped presumably in 1662 when the factory closed.
The afternoon was given to the archaeological study and recording of standing buildings. Scott McCracken (DGLA) spoke on St Mary’s Church, Barnes, a fire-damaged building of stone and Tudor brick with a complex fabric including remnants of five layers of medieval wall painting. Colin Bowlt (Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society) drew on timber-framed buildings in Uxbridge and Ruislip. Richard Lee (DUA) spoke mainly of inner London buildings including Winchester Palace, Southwark but also of the Broomfield Museum, Enfield – fire-damaged again. Richard Harris (Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton, Sussex) had the special experience of taking buildings apart and discovering how to put them together again, elsewhere and in their earlier form. Common themes emerged, with emphatic messages. How many historic buildings have vanished with no record left of their construction and alterations? (Colin Bowlt – “alterations are history”.) The importance of examining a building and its surroundings in meticulous detail, for it will have more history than it will reveal. The importance of scrutinising all parts for signs of reuse (e.g. builders habitually move timbers about) and for signs of lost earlier buildings which may have dictated the original plan. The need for various ways of recording according to purpose; e.g. a detailed archaeological study is different from a rebuilder’s working plan, and neither is suitable in itself for public supporters or the local Planning Committee. The need to involve the general public and public authorities whose understanding; and financial backing is crucial, was stressed by everyone who spoke.
On this day we recalled that LAMAS needs more individual members. It runs lectures, visits and day tours, a library and a youth section; publishes proceedings (which we hope will include our West Heath report), and speaks for archaeology and local history to public bodies. HADAS is affiliated. For information on individual membership
(ordinary subscription £7.50 pa) please contact the Hon.Secretary Miss Jean Macdonald, 3 Cedar Drive, Pinner, Middx HA5 HDD.01-428-1328. JMS
A LOSS TO HADAS
With great regret we hear that ANN TREWICK, a member of 16 years standing who has worked on many a HADAS project, is leaving the area. It was Ann who directed the St James the Great dig in Friern Barnet in the early 1970s and who masterminded the churchyard survey there too – and she has always been one of HADAS’s cleverest and most willing putters-up of displays.
Ann lives in Western Way, Barnet, and is now both changing jobs and moving house. Her new job will be in a comprehensive school in Ipswich, teaching special-need children, and she looks forward to that immensely. She has long had a holiday flat in Felixstowe, and that’s where she and her mother are now house-hunting.
Another advantage is that she will be on the doorstep of Sutton Hoo, where she has already dug several times. She says that digging is going on there all week throughout this winter, because Mound 2 is still open and has to be finished. It is known that there was originally a boat in Mound 2, because ship’s bolts have been coming up -.but no one yet knows What its condition is nor whether it was robbed in antiquity. What Sutton Hoo is going to gain from Ann’s work she’s among the quickest and most careful trowellers we know HADAS alas, will lose her but she’s determined to keep on her HADAS membership “because I must have all the news of everyone”. We wish her the best of luck in her new job and at Sutton Hoo.
AIRCRAFT NEWS Bill Firth
Despite what you may have read in the Daily Telegraph about the hangar being saved, the only firm news is that the enquiry has been postponed – no other decisions have been made. For the present therefore it will not be demolished. However, it remains in a bad state of repair and representations are being made that at least remedial repairs such as the clearing of gutters and drains should be done to prevent further deterioration. Otherwise the hangar may fall down anyway and the MoD will have achieved their object,
Aircraft Factories – Origins, Development and Archaeology
A.D.George. A Manchester Polytechnic Occasional Paper soft covers 22 pages 4 pages notes and references- Price, 75p.
David George has been researching early aircraft factories for a number of years and his latest publication. Summarises the results of a two-year part-time research project any of the firms in the aircraft industry have their own books devoted to them; in a short OP there can only be a brief history of each site. Of particular interest to enthusiasts are the descriptions of what still remains and the notes and references. For such enthusiasts this is a “must” and can be Obtained from A D George, Manchester Polytechnic, John Dalton Building, -Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD.
TED SAMMES MISCELLANY
The Guildhall Library On March 4th two HADAS members joined the LAMAS visit to the library of the City of London. Both Sheila Woodward and I were impressed by the whole layout and by the manner in which the archives were stored and presented. It was stated that the library held 29000 prints, 22000 maps, photographs, a playing card collection, book plates and watch makers’ trade material. It was emphasised that the library is not concerned only with the City but covers also the environs of London. We were allowed to look at a wide selection of archives which had been laid out. A particular surprise was the large boxed pile of drawings by Sir Christopher Wren for St Paul’s Cathedral.
Thracian Treasures from Bulgaria
This is an exhibition currently running at the British Museum but closing on March 29th. I spent a pleasant hour browsing among 165 pieces of silver or silver gilt dating from the late 5th century and the 340s BC. The treasure was found in 1986 in a garden at Rogozen in north western Bulgaria between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains. It is likely that these
jugs, “bawls” and, beakers belonged to a ruling Thracian family and were hidden in two pits at a time of invasion. It is suggested they were not the work of travelling craftsmen but of royal workshops established in villages. This smaller exhibition complements one of Thracian Treasures from the whole of Bulgaria, including many pieces in gold, which was shown at the British Museum in 1976.
A new museum for Silchester? The March number of the CBA British Archaeological News carried a short note on a proposal now under consideration by Hampshire County Council. The Council now owns the site and clearly the present small museum is inadequate. One can only hope that the scheme will come to fruition and a new museum perhaps be sited at the end of the town near the present church and amphitheatre. It is estimated that the project will cost at least a quarter of a million. Sounds promising! What then will be the position of the other finds in Reading Museum?
NEWS FROM THE BOROUGH ARCHIVISTS
During the last quarter a further Alan odfrey reprint of the 1890s
25″ Ordnance Survey for our area has appeared; Friern Barnet and New Southgate 1898 (Middlesex 7.13).
We also seem to have received a particularly wide range of accessions Voters lists for Barnet, East Barnet and Finchley, mostly from the 1940s and 50s, have been transferred from the Electoral Registration Department and although our holdings are still far from complete at least the contrast with Hendon (which is much better covered) is now less stark. The papers of George Dickinson Byfield of Tavistock House, Barnet, give a fascinating glimpse of the life of one of the pillars of the local establishment and also of the charitable pursuits of his daughter, at the turn of the century. Deeds add to our knowledge of Friern Barnet, New Southgate, Finchley, Woodside Park and Hampstead Garden ;Suburb while photos include some taken by Finchley Council in the 1930s including several of Hampstead Garden Suburb. Inter Library transfers continue to be fruitful. The British Library gave copies of photos of the devastation to the newspaper library at. Colindale in the wake of the 1940 bomb, while Dorset County Library gave a charming poster of Joseph Wells fireworks ‘as at Hendon Aerodrome’. To illustrate the continuing nature of that process, North Finchley Library contributed photos taken during its recent jubilee celebrations.
The following sites, the subject of recent Planning Applications, could be of possible archaeological interest. Members are asked to keep an .eye on them and report anything unusual to John Enderby on 01-203-2630
“Dingle Ridge”, Barnet Road, Arkley
Arkley Hall, Barnet Rd.,Arkley
High Barnet Station. Great North Road.,Barnet
The Paddocks, Frith Lane, NW7
Manor house, 80 East End Rd., N2.
313 Regents Park Rd., N3
Brockley Cottage Pipers Green Lane Edgware
52 Brockley Avenue, Edgware
Following the listing of Little Pipers, Monken Hadley, (for “rear extension’) in our March Newsletter, Alan Simpson points out that this house was built on the site of Hadley Priory.
The Curtis Collection, HADAS members will recall the enthusiasm of the late Hugh Curtis for the Hampstead and Highgate area, where he worked on many local committees. He died in July 1986.As a memorial, part of his remarkable collection of Hampstead memorabilia (pictures, postcards, ceramics, ephemera) will be shown at Burgh House. New End Square, NW3 (01-431-0144) from 7th March to 25th May. Included in the exhibition will be the Curtis Collection of Crested China which Helene Curtis, the collector’s widow, has presented to the Museum in her husband’s memory
Listed Buildings in Barnet -The Borough now has 369 listed buildings and monuments including College Farm. Copies of the Statutory List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest can be obtained from the Planning Group, Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone N20 0EJ, price £3.50.
A small exhibition about the listed buildings has been touring Barnet’s libraries. There is still time to catch it East Finchley, 226 High Road, March 31-April 7: South Friern Barnet, Colney Hatch Lane, April 7-14 Friern Barnet, Friern Barnet Road, April 14-20: Osidge, Brunswick Park Road, April 28-May6: and East Barnet 85 Brookhill Road, May 6-15.
Barnet Museum, Wood Street, .Chipping Barnet, (01-449-0321) now opens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2.30,- 4.30pm, and Saturdays 10.0-12 noon. Course Field Archaeology and the Landscape May 29-June 4. Tony Brown and Christopher Taylor. Methods of field survey, practical work in recording earthwork sites. £165, residential. University of Cambridge Board of Extra-Mural Studies, Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge CB3 8AQ Tel. Madingley (0954) 210636.
Course, Archaeological Field Survey, July 13-19 at Wansfell College, Theydon Bois, Epping, Essex.
R.A.H.Farrar and C.J.Dunn. £127.45 residential, £121.45 non-residential (evening sessions required).
Arranged by University of London Department of extra-Mural Studies.
Apply directly to Wansfell College.
Course, the Landscape Archaeology of East Anglia August 17-21
Dr Peter Warner. £110 residential. At Madingley Hall (see above).
Tour, Jordan and Israel October 23-November 4, £670. Information and
booking form from Mr and MRS R.E.Butler,205 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashstead Surrey KT21 2DF.(sae) They are members of Epsom & Ewell National Trust Centre and of archaeological and geological societies and offer tour “for members of such societies”.