Newsletter-212-November 1988

Newsletter 212: November, 1988 Editor: Brigid Grafton Green


There’s only one possible lead story for this month’s Newsletter – and it ought to be written in letters of gold, not dull old everyday ink: we had a Minimart last month and it made a profit of £1200. Yes, do savour that: twelve hundred pounds. That’s £300 more than last year; it’s well into four figures for the first time; and it’s a 25% advance in 12 months.

The Minimart is a co-operative effort: everyone in the Society who can puts their bit into it, so our corporate thanks are offered to all helpers, whether they heave heavy tables, make mouth-watering quiches or tot up the takings. But top credit for this year’s magnificent result must go to Dorothy Newbury (without whom there would be no Minimart on the scale to which HADAS has become accustomed). Her record of steadily rising profits year by year is one that blue-chip companies like ICI or Glaxo might well envy.


Tues Nov 1 1988 Special General Meeting at 8 pm at Hendon Library, followed by lecture “Excavations at the Mint” by Peter Mills, who is known to many of us for his work with the North London Section of the Department of Greater London Archaeology. He has led excavations at Westminster Abbey as well as at the Mint, which is the subject of this lecture.

Tues Dec 6
Christmas supper at St Georges Shakespearian Theatre, Tufnell Park Road, N7. We have had an excellent response for this and have reached the maximum number that can be catered for, plus a short waiting list.

Departure times for this will be

Finchley Central 6.10 pm

Hendon Quadrant 6.15

Golders Gr. Refectory 6.25

Royal Oak Temple Fortune 6.30

Will members who have booked please let Dorothy Newbury know C203 0950) their required pick-up point.


Nov 19/20 Pot and Potter: practical residential weekend at Rewley House, Oxford*

Sat Nov 26 11am-6pm, Museum of London. 23rd Local History Conference.

Theme: From the Armada to the Glorious Revolution – Change and Growth in London 1588-1688. Lectures and local society exhibits, including a HADAS display on the Hendon ice-house. Tickets £3.50 from Miss P A Ching, 40 Shaef Way, Teddington TW11 ODQ 

Wed Dec 7 LAMAS lecture by Ralph Merrifield on the Archaeology of Ritual (subject similar to his book published last year, The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic). Lecture 6.30, Museum of London, preceded by coffee/sherry 6.00. Members of affiliated societies (HADAS is one) welcome.

Dec 9/11 What Can We Learn from Human Bones? Residential weekend at Rewley House, Oxford*

Fri Jan 20 One-day conference, 10am-5pm at Soc. Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, on the Archaeology of Rural Wetlands. Speakers on the Somerset Levels, Fenland Project, estuarine environments and river valleys*

*Further details from Brigid Grafton Green 455-9040

WALK ROUND A MELTING POT MICKY COHEN enjoys the last outing of 1988

For the last outing of the season Muriel Large took us on a fascinating walk round Stepney – once a village on the outskirts of the City of London, where people went to refresh themselves and follow country pursuits. Only later did the stews and opium dens replace the countryside, attracting Dickens who was looking for local colour and the toffs of the day who were looking for thrills. Over the centuries Stepney has received waves of immigrants – a racial melting pot.

We started at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine, a leafy oasis in a commercial area, now a retreat and conference centre. Originally founded in 1147 near the Tower, the Foundation moved in the 18c to Stepney to make way for St Katherine’s Dock. The chapel blends Gibbons carving, 14c choir stalls and a lamp which was the gift of Henry III with modern sculpture and painting.

On to Cable Street, scene of a famous battle between Mosleyites and locals in 1936, now somnolent with old cottages upgraded to Yuppy standards and modern Council blocks. The devastation of the war has made way for the new.

Passing an attractive row of early Victorian almshouses, we walked through the large graveyard of Stepney parish church, St Dunstans, the site of multiple burials during the great Plague in London. The largely 15c church is medieval in feeling and full of light (the glass was destroyed during the war). There is some modern glass – above the altar a controversial figure of Christ in a red cloak. The greatest treasure is a 10c Saxon cross set in beneath the window – a carving which was found weathered outside.

“Stepping Stones,” an urban farm, provided a delightful venue for tea and cake. We managed to fit into tables and chairs designed for 8-year-olds! After tea we passed Stepney Green and some beautiful Georgian buildings on our way to the Whitechapel Road. There the Trinity Almshouses, designed by Wren, surround a quiet courtyard garden – a gem hidden from the bustle behind a wall. Finally although we did not visit, Muriel told us about the house in a narrow street nearby where Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Litvinov met to found the Comintern, watched over by Scotland Yard and the Tsar’s police.

Muriel pointed out so many historical associations in the area during her informative talk there is no space to list them all. Among the notables Captain Cook lived in the Whitechapel Road, Dr Barnardo left London Hospital to work with destitute children in the district and William Booth founded the Salvation Army – a statue commemorates him. A most enjoyable afternoon.


Famous men have their monuments and their biographers: the poor “perish as if they had never been.” But by studying parish settlement examinations and removal orders it is possible to draw thumb-nail sketches of some of the humble folk of the l8c.

What was a settlement? The Settlement Act of 1662 limited parish help to those persons born in the parish or those who had owned or rented substantial property in it. “Foreigners” could be removed from a parish even if they had not sought poor relief. A removal could not be made unless the person had been ‘examined’ before two magistrates and then made the subject of a removal order. In Hendon folk were examined in the vestry room at the Greyhound Inn, and in Finchley at the Queen’s Head next the church. The conditions of settlement were later widened to include (a) anyone who had been a contracted ‘servant’ for at least a year; (b) or who had served as a parish officer, and (c) or had served an apprenticeship in the parish; and in 1795 Parliament ordered that folk could not be removed from a parish or even examined until they asked for relief.

Presumably part of the purpose of the 1662 Act was to restrict the movements of potential revolutionaries; the upheavals of the Civil War were a recent memory. Whatever the purpose the results seem to have been frustration and misery all round. Parishes spent time and money on investigating settlements, in removing the old, the sick and orphaned children and in fighting legal battles with other parishes trying to enforce removal orders on them.

Men too old to work were sent away to villages they had not seen since they were children. A widow with a young family was dumped fifty miles away because her husband had been a farm worker there before he married. In 1709 Hendon overseers of the poor spent 5s (25p) sending “Oul Richeson into Essex” to “find out about his settlement:” later they removed him for 10s7d (53p) “for horse hire for him and ourself and to bring his horse back.” In 1787 it cost Hendon ratepayers £2.12s.6d (£2.63p) to move a sick Irishman to Parkgate, then a small port on the river Dee in Cheshire, for repatriation to his native land; and they even paid £22.15s.3d (£22.76p) to transport four orphan children to the parish in Shropshire where their father had been born.

One Finchley record proves how far parish officers would go to dispute a settlement. Finchley officers had removed a pauper family to Horsley in Gloucestershire. At Quarter Sessions Horsley disputed the removal because they denied that the pauper had been legally married to the mother of his children and argued therefore that Horsley was not responsible for her and the children. Finchley sent the constable to Farnham in Surrey – presumably because that was where the marriage was said to have taken place – to inspect the parish registers.

There is, alas, no record of the outcome of the case. It is one of the frustrations of this kind of research that the documents don’t always finish the story off, and you are left in eternal suspense about what happened. But I would be long sorry to be without records like this, even though they have shortcomings. Examinations and removals may have been – indeed, they often undoubtedly were – tragic for the poor and bothersome for parish officials, but they are often pure gold for local historians trying to put flesh on the dry bones of names in local records. For four parishes of our Borough in the l8c – Hendon, Finchley, Edgware and Friern Barnet – the Local History Collection holds records of a number of settlements from which much can be gleaned.

How else would we know why two Eastbourne girls, Ann Lever and Abigail Earl, were marooned in Finchley with their newly-born babes in 1780? Ann had been a contracted servant, a dairymaid, at £3.10s.0d (£3.50p) a year. She had been “delivered of a child on Finchley Common;” the child’s father was John Reddle, a private soldier in the 2nd Queen’s Regiment of Foot. Abigail also had followed John Morris of the same regiment and had also been abandoned with her baby when the troops marched away.

In 1762 James Wilson turned up in Hendon. He had been born “in Flanders.” His father lived in Wearmouth, Sunderland, and worked “on the keels,” but Wilson didn’t know where his father had been born. He himself had been “a stroler” all his life. The connection between Jordan Bland and Friern Barnet parish is not clear. Jordan was examined in 1803: born in 1771, in Weddington, Essex, he had joined the Navy when he was 14 years old. He had served in HMS Invincible – 74 guns – for two years and then in the Fleet transports Polly and Isabella. In 1801 he began work at the New Rope Ground in Limehouse “till he was taken ill the other day.”

In 1781 Sarah Burton was removed from Witham in Essex to Finchley,

The removal was by stages: the first move was to Stratford le Bow “being the first town in the next precinct.” Sarah did not know where her husband, John Burton, was – “for he goes about the country mending chairs.” She had married John in Morpeth in Northumberland in 1779 and had a baby daughter. John’s uncle, a Finchley chimney sweep, said that John’s father had been a brick-layer in the parish, but the son had never served an apprenticeship nor been a contracted labourer.

Wholesale examinations before 1795 sometimes netted respectable parishioners. One can almost hear the indignation of Alexander Nelson, a gardener, when he was examined in 1763. He had been born in Musselburgh “in the Kingdom of Scotland.” He had been hired by Mr de Ponthieu of Mill Hill in 1753 as a living-in servant at £15 a year. In 1758, when he married Margaret Johnson, he had warned his employer “to get someone else” because as a married man “his wages would not do.” Mr de Ponthieu solved the problem by hiring Margaret as his cook at £10 a year.

Also surprisingly Isaac Messeder – whose name will be familiar to many HADAS researchers — was examined in 1767. Isaac said he was a 53-year-old carpenter and surveyor. Proofs of the latter occupation are the meticulous notes and plans of the Manor of Hendon which he had made in 1754. His field book survives in the archives of Barnet Library Services, where it is usually referred to in conjunction with James Crow’s huge plan (it is 106″ x 64”) of “the Mannor and Parish of Hendon,” made in the same year – the work of Messeder and Crow both being part of the survey of the Hendon estate of Henry Arthur, Earl of Powys, the then lord of the manor.

Isaac said he had been born in Aldenham but had been brought up by his uncle in Green Street, Ridge. Although he had never been apprenticed to his carpenter uncle nor been a contracted servant to him, he had lived there till he was twenty years old. When he lived in Hampstead in 1765 he had paid 14s (70p) a year poor rate on the house he had rented. All his five children, aged between 28 years and 20 years had been born in Hendon.

I called this article “The Annals of the Poor” but you will already have realised that the rest of that quotation does not apply. Settlement records are far from “short and simple.” I hope to talk about them in two instalments – this present one, to whet your appetite; and another next month, as a second helping.


The Minimart certainly gathers HADAS members together from all points of the compass. It was a pleasure this year to welcome two former Committee members from far away. From the west came VINCENT FOSTER, who joined the Society back in 1974 when he was working for his banking exams from his home in Finchley. Now – long a fully-fledged banker – he is a paterfamilias (we saw a photo of his delightful daughter), living in Quebec and still valuing his HADAS connections. He was back for a brief holiday with his parents in Finchley.

From the north came DAPHNE LORIMER, also in London on a flying visit, to shop and to stock up with the latest computer know-how – she and Ian have installed one and are now ‘into’ computers in a big way. But she had time not only to visit the Minimart but to do some sterling work on the Food stall, which she used once to organise.

Also at the Minimart – though from Chipping Barnet, not far-distant parts – was another long-time member whom we see all too rarely nowadays – BRIAN WIBBERLEY, with two of his youngsters. He brought with him, as always, some of Rosemary’s delicious cooking for the Food stall. It included various honey confections as well as bottled honey. We noticed that the jars carried a printed label, “WIBBERLEY HONEY,” so we suspect that among their many other activities the family has set up a bee-keeping enclave, which raises the pleasant picture of bees buzzing round the Wibberley garden in the middle of bustling Barnet.

The September Newsletter mentioned that ALAN HILL, a longtime HADAS member, had become Hon. PRO to the Prehistoric Society. Now there’s more news about his activities. A few weeks ago his autobiography, In Pursuit of Publishing, was published. It tells the story of his work at Heinemann’s, building up that firm’s Educational Books department – an occupation which took Alan (and often his wife Enid, also a HADAS member) many times round the world and into some unexpected (for a sedate publisher) situations.

Usually we report with pride when a HADAS member has ceased to be “Mr” and become “Dr” – because it means that he has survived the gruelling process of producing a thesis on some esoteric subject and has earned a PhD. Today we report the reverse process – someone who is now proudly a Mr instead of a doctor. PAUL O’FLYNN has passed the arduous examinations for a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons and can now – as all surgeons do – proudly claim the title of Mr O’Flynn FRCS. Our warmest congratulations to Paul and to his wife Michaela, who has helped him through his years of study.

Congratulations too to the Newbury family this month – not so much to Dorothy, who we so often congratulate, but to her son CHRISTOPHER who has recently become a proud father. Christopher has been a strong HADAS supporter since he was 14: he solves many of our more abstruse technical difficulties and on his expertise depends the safe arrival of your Newsletter every month: he is in charge of all its production problems. The latest Newbury, Alexander James, was born on Sept 11 in Hendon to Christopher and his wife Laura, weighing into life at 71/2 lbs. His proud grandma described him as “a perfect babe” and I was reminded that September 11 was a Sunday and that “the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe and good and gay.”

The saga of the canny sheep of Islay is a long running one in these pages. These preternaturally clever animals (a total reversal of the “silly sheep” of normal practice) first appeared in the Newsletter several years ago, when HADAS member MAIR LIVINGSTONE reported on their ability to negotiate a tricky stone stairway and so enter a Scots churchyard where no sheep was meant to enter, Dr Livingstone reports that they have now, however, had their come-uppance. She told Argyll county council about their goings-on, and how the finely carved recumbent stones in the 10c churchyard were being disfigured by small sharp hooves. This summer she was delighted to see that a device of fine wires now prevents ovine trespass while still permitting human entry. It is thought that the sheep have probably retired to lick their wounds (entirely metaphorical) and plan the next phase of their campaign.

Trains are much in the HADAS news. First Christine Arnott popped off to China on one and now PHYLLIS FLETCHER returns from Canada with her train story. It concerns a momentous 2-day journey from Seattle to Phoenix, Arizona, via Los Angeles by American Amtrak train. “Each compartment of an Amtrak train carried about 50 people,” she writes, “with an attendant who looked after our every need and kept the place as clean as a new pin – even using a carpet sweeper each day. There was a ‘trash bag’ for rubbish and you could get iced water from a little machine. Snack bars and a restaurant served excellent meals – British Rail please note both the food and the cleanliness! There was an observation area where you could sit watching the beautiful scenery through Washington State, then climbing through 21 tunnels in Oregon State, then California with huge areas of fresh fruit, vines, herbs and vegetables, and at last the Pacific Ocean. What a thrill to be beside the Pacific, especially as the train wound a long way round, passing such names as Burbank, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. At Los Angeles I waited three hours, then boarded the Phoenix train. It was now dark so did not see much of the scenery. When I arrived at Phoenix at 7 am it was 100 degrees. What with the fine scenery and so many interesting people to meet on board I enjoyed the train journey much more than flying. Incidentally, we passed Mount Helen, which is said to be responsible for the bad summers we have had recently after it erupted a few years ago – so on your behalf I glared at it,”


The terminal buildings and apron on the south side of Northolt Aerodrome were built at the end of WW2 for use by RAF Transport Command, whose operations gradually gave way to the civil aircraft of the European Division of BOAC (as it then was). They remained in use as a terminal for BEA and other European operators until 1954 when the last BEA internal flights remaining at Northolt were transferred to Heathrow.

The buildings have continued to be London’s Military Air Terminal and include a Royal Waiting Room used when members of the Royal Family fly by the Royal Flight from London.

It is no longer economic to keep these buildings, which are standard RAF huts, in good repair and they are to be demolished in 1990 and replaced. Clearly this is a historic aviation site and a visit has been arranged for a Friday afternoon in April 1989, The actual date will not be known until nearer the time when the RAF know what movements are planned in April 1989. Photography will be allowed.

Anyone wishing to join this visit should apply, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope for return of visit instructions, to

Bill Firth 4-9 Woodstock Avenue London NW11 9RG

Applicants should give names of participants and car registration numbers. Numbers are strictly limited and will be dealt with on a “first come first served” basis. The actual date and joining instructions will not be available until quite near to the date of the visit.


In the August Newsletter we carried a piece by Brian Wrigley on his reactions to Colin Renfrew’s important book, Archaeology and Language. In it Brian enquired why the Near Eastern homeland from which domesticated plant and animal species spread across Europe had to be “proto-Indo-European-speaking” rather than “proto-Semitic-speaking.” He did not feel that Professor Renfrew had made the point clear.

Dorothy Newbury has been sending Professor Renfrew copies of HADAS Newsletters containing comments by various members – and the August issue went off to Cambridge as usual. Professor Renfrew – who must have few spare moments in his day – has most courteously acknowledged all these comments, and his reply to Brian’s points will interest many members:

Thank you for your letter and for the new copy of your Newsletter.

Brian Wrigley’s comment seems to me a very relevant one. I too feel, that the need to review the whole subject emerges much more clearly from the present situation than my own specific proposed solution.

In response to his specific point, the matter can be explained if we imagine that before the development of farming a proto-Indo-European language was spoken in Anatolia with other very different (and perhaps Semitic) languages in Mesopotamia and surrounding areas.

There was great scope for expansion of the farming economy into the temperate lands of Europe, hence the Indo-European expansion. But further south the “fertile crescent” was geographically more circumscribed (mainly due to the arid environment).

In geographical terms there was simply not the same opportunity for the expansion of a farming economy.

I hope that gives at least the outline of an answer to his very reasonable point.


The following sites, the subject of recent planning applications, could be of possible archaeological interest. Members living in the vicinity are asked to keep an eye on them and report anything unusual to John Enderby on 203 2630.

Northern Area

52/54 High Street, Chipping Barnet extension to Listed building

96 Gallants Farm Road, East Barnet erection of detached bungalow

51/53 Wood Street, Chipping Barnet alterations/extension to Listed building in Conservation Area

30/34 Prospect Road, New Barnet erection 28 new housing units

29 Union Street, Chipping Barnet demolition of Listed building in Conservation Area

Central Area

2 Waverley Grove & 128/130 Hendon Lane, N3 erection 22 flats with parking

Western Area

Fiesta Cottage, Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware side extension

West Acres, Tenterden Grove, NW4 4 detached houses

Land adj. 6 Neeld Cres, NW4 detached house


There was nearly a crisis with last month’s Newsletter – we were within a whisker of there being no October number at all.

The members who saved the Newsletter’s bacon – together with its record of never missing a month – were Anne Lawson and Dawn Orr, the latter tapping away on her typewriter all night in order to produce a copy for reproduction. We seize this chance of thanking them both publicly for their noble effort.

That brings us to another point. We desperately need offers from members who, in an emergency, would be prepared to type the Newsletter. This is a long-standing need – we first voiced it about 12 years ago – but it is not so daunting today as it once was. Today we don’t need typists experienced in cutting stencils, because the Newsletter is no longer stencilled. Anyone who would be prepared to do a quick, reasonably accurate occasional job of straight copy-typing would be greatly welcomed. If you feel you could help, please ring Liz Holliday on 204 4616 (evenings/weekends) and put your name down on the list. Emergencies, by the way, don’t often crop up – you probably wouldn’t be asked to help more than once a year.


Following the report in last month’s Newsletter of the find of a Belgic coin at Brockley Hill, I can now confirm that the coin dates from the reign of Cunobelinus (c10-40AD). The British Museum has identified the reverse design as that of a sphinx (Type = Mack 237) and the coin is made of base silver (not bronze as first thought) under a brown surface patina.

The coin could have circulated until the Boudiccan revolt of AD61. Until this time, British Celtic coinage was allowed to circulate freely along with Roman coins, so the find of a Celtic coin at Brockley Hill need not imply pre-Roman settlement of the site, although this remains a possibility.

Another very worn coin found at Brockley Hill at the same time and in the same location (TQ175939) as the above has been identified by the British Museum as an as of the Emperor Domitian, AD81-96. Both coins have now been duly recorded by Helen Gordon, and the Museum of London has been notified of the finds.


is the pertinent question asked by Phyllis Fletcher, our Membership Secretary; and she goes on

Have you a guilty conscience? Or do you sleep easy o’nights?

I ask because more than 50 members have not yet paid their subscriptions, which were due last April 1.

If you are among the forgetful 50, you’ll find a separate reminder with this Newsletter. Please deal with it at once. I’d hate you to find your Newsletter cut off in its prime – and that’s what may happen if I don’t hear from you soon. What a threat to chill your blood!


This is an apology which the Post Office, not the Newsletter, should be making. The report on the October lecture (Peter Huggins on Waltham Abbey excavations) should have appeared in this Newsletter: but sadly it has missed the deadline, although posted (carrying above maximum first class postage) in time to meet it. On the Post Office’s behalf, apologies.

FROM BARNET TO DOCKLANDS JOHN ENDERBY adds another chapter to the tale of a 19c sack-lift

In the October Newsletter I reported the rescue, from certain destruction, of massive metal winding gear from the site behind 62 High Street, Chipping Barnet; and I added that this had been offered to the Docklands Museum.

They were happy to accept it, and now I can report that the transfer of the equipment has gone unusually smoothly. David Dewing, Senior Assistant Keeper of the Museum, and a team of helpers have collected all the machinery for restoration and future installation as an exhibit.

If all goes well the Museum will open sometime in 1992 (not 1990 as previously reported). It will provide visitors with a wealth of information on the story of the development of the Port of London from its Roman origins to the present day. The Museum would be glad to know of any further items of industrial archaeological interest that may come to light within the Greater London area.

Jennie Cobban, who appealed for help with a possible excavation at the rear of 62 High Street has asked me to say that, unhappily, protracted negotiations have broken down and that the development has now advanced to the stage when trial trenching would serve no useful purpose. However, she will be reporting on her research into this site and on discoveries recently made at 58 High Street – a known late medieval building of some importance – in the December Newsletter.

A HADAS LEGACY TO ORKNEY DAPHE LORIMER discovers an unexpected result of our visit 10 years ago to Orkney

Those members of HADAS who went on the great Orkney trek may be interested to learn that their trip left its mark on the archaeology of the islands.

When HADAS visited the Round Church and Earl’s Bu in Orphir, the farmer, Mr Stevenson, on whose land those monuments lay, opened up the entrance to an underground passage for HADAS’s inspection. Via the then secretary of the Orkney Heritage Society, Sue Flint, this fact came to the ears of Chris Morris, who was excavating the approach road to the Brough of Birsay (he acted as our guide to the Brough). Chris and his fiancée (now wife), Colleen, who was doing her PhD on Viking coastal settlement, examined the entrance to the passage; and Colleen has been back every summer (grants permitting) to dig it ever since.

The tunnel was sealed beneath Norse midden deposits which subsequently yielded a rich harvest of seeds, as well as animal and fish bones. The tunnel proceeded in a north-west direction into a large chamber, probably a souterrain. Since all the soil from the midden was put through a soil flotation unit, it was only this year that the roof could be completely taken off the passage and its excavation completed!. An exit was discovered to the chamber which continued westwards and other walls were found – right at the end of the dig.

Bone artefacts (one with runes on it) and steatite which were found were probably Norse, but the dating of the chamber is not certain. Colleen considers that the whole mound (which is considerable) on which the present day farm buildings stand, is man-made – an Orkney Tell, in fact J

This year the dig was run as a training dig for first-year students from Durham University, but local volunteers came for training as well. Chris is Senior Reader in Archaeology at Durham; and Colleen, who did extra¬mural lecturing in Durham, has now taken up a 2-year post at University

College, London: she speaks warmly of the merits of the Amateur Archaeologist.


This exhibition at Verulamium Museum is a welcome and unusual chance to see some 35 Romano-British mosaics in miniature.

They are presented in watercolour, and are executed in great detail. They are the work, over many years, of David Neal of the Central Excavation Unit of English Heritage. In their preparation much detailed study of each piece must have been undertaken. This is a great chance to compare mosaics from the north of England with those of the south and west. At the same time the rest of the museum is open to view and one can compare the detailed painted drawings with the mosaics in the museum.

The mosaics exhibit remains open until the end of December. Opening hours Mon-Sat 10 am-5.30pm (4pm from November); Suns from 2 pm. Entrance fee payable. TED SAMMES

or should that be An Orr’s Eye View? Anyway, this piece is by DAWN ORR

That happy HADAS habit, the annual Minimart, took off to a flying start with a fine day and excellent stock. The Newbury elastic-sided garage disgorged its treasures into elastic-sided cars, which moved in stately caravan along Sunningfields Road, led by John Enderby – at least I knew I was in the right road when I saw him.

At the hall, a noble company of carters and heavers had responded to Dorothy’s plea for “more men”, and all those wonderfully organised boxes and bags were speedily distributed and unpacked. Inevitably, a few bits and bobs arrive on the day …

“What on earth is this?” “What price …?” “Try 50p!” “Good heavens! What would anyone use that for?” …. and so on we pressed, more and more welcome friends arriving to help, until …

“Would you like a cup of coffee?” (just at the right moment!)

If we made a Video someday, the soundtrack would run something like this:

“Has this saucepan got a lid?” “Will this do for a kitty?” “Has anyone seen the other bit of the Bible?” “Who wants a pinny with a pocket?” “Try those briefcases with the shoes” (Leather goods? Yuppie wear?) “Has this lid got a saucepan?”

“May I take your lunch order?” (More kind thoughts)

And then at last the whistle blows, the merry hubbub of preparation ceases: “Stand by your stalls!”

And so the customers troop in – some at first diffident, others seasoned bargain-hunters diving straight at their goals. The decibels rise and it’s lip-reading time – have I just nodded prematurely to a query on half-price? Panic … relief … satisfaction … £2 in the kitty and an unhinged sandwich toaster has been lumbered off. More tempting wares find room, but nobody succumbs to the five demijohns which remain firmly dominant for the duration … Isn’t anyone recently retired enough to want to make wine?

Soon it’s collection call and HADAS’s own securicor service escorts Dorothy on her rounds. “Mind out for any pick-pockets!” she advises. “One of ‘them’ will distract you while his mate nicks the lot!” “Can’t tell me anything about ‘them’ Ma’am! I was a copper, y’know.”

The pinny pockets grow heavy and the kitties are overflowing as the stalls begin to clear. The SOLD piles, held “just for a minute, dear!” shrink – they form an awkward corner, but what can you do when the customers have paid?

Suddenly a 2-foot high patron gives forth an enormous yell, which no amount of soothing from his pretty mother will assuage. Over the din I discover that he is an enthusiastic member of the Play Group and had rushed up the stairs, thinking that he was coming for an extra session … imagine his dismay at the unaccustomed invasion of surging adults and all their noise! He wailed all the way downstairs again, but finally quietened down in the lunch room.

At last it’s time for lunch for the workers – value and pleasure in generous measure. Query: if 200 meringues were laid end-to-end – how long would they last? Answer: Not long! And Brigid’s carefully packed boxes didn’t last long either – nobody mentioned diets! They simply melted in many mouths amongst the cheerful gossip, and after a wonderful boost it was back to the fray, picking up a scarcely worn skirt and as-new black shiny shoes on the way. (Wore them for the rest of the afternoon – instant fit!) Gasped at a beautiful statuesque Vogue-like lady gliding off in a long 50p skirt, and another with an armful of allsorts – she comes every year to buy for her relatives at home in the West Indies.

Whistle tells us “Half-price Now!” – real bidding for bargains. An anxious member comes seeking a mysterious plastic bag full of wrought iron, which he has decided he wants back again. Best persuasions had failed to sell it, so he was lucky, though 50p lighter. Another member bought the box of spotlights – maybe we shall see these items again in some HADAS guise – even if it’s the next Minimart?

Which reminds me – this “one day of the year” is certainly unique, both in fun and purpose – but now that we have the “Sales and Wanted” slip in the Newsletter, the fund-raising effort and the thrill of the purchase and the sale can continue all year round. In no time at all that very grand total of £1200 will be on the upward move …

Do I hear a tinkling call from Downing Street? A special AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE? Yes, ma’am … we’d be delighted!

News from the Borough Archives & Local Studies Department


The medieval, and later, history of Edgware is particularly complicated because the township was split between different manors and parishes. The primary evidence can therefore be hard to unravel, and this is reflected in the standard authorities, up to and including the Victoria County History of Middlesex.

The department has recently acquired photocopies of the pages from the Hospitallers’ cartulary in the British Library (MS Cotton Nero E VI vol 1 ff.80-83v) relating to their estates in Edgware. The cartulary was compiled: in the mid-15c but the ten items which it includes date back at least another hundred years. Although it is cited in the standard authorities, the full extent of the information which it provides has not been realised.

The first five items trace the descent of a house and acre of land from the time when the Hospitallers granted it away to Hugo de la Hegge in the late 13c or early 14c until it returned to them in the will of Sayer de Stevenage, chaplain of Edgware, in 1375. The deeds make it absolutely clear that although Sayer was chaplain of St Margaret’s, Edgware, the house was on the Little Stanmore side of the Edgware Road, in the parish of St. Lawrence. The VCH (vol iv, pl64) seems to suggest that it was the vicarage house next to St Margaret’s.

The will of Sayer is as follows:

In the name of God amen, on Thursday in the feast of St Matthew the apostle (21 September)1374 I Sayer de Stevenach chaplain make my testament in this form. First I bequeath my soul to God the omnipotent and to all the saints and my body to be buried in the parish church of Edgware. Item I leave to the light of the blessed Margaret there half a mark. Item to the fabric of the church of Whitchurch 3s4d. Item to the church of Hendon 2s. Item to the church of Elstree 2s. Item I give and bequeath my house with garden, dovehouse and meadow to the prior and convent of St John at Clerkenwell. Item I bequeath my black book or breviary with a sufficient portion of my other goods to a suitable priest to celebrate (masses) for my soul for a full year. Item I bequeath to Emmot the wife of Nicholas atte Wode the two best cows with the best pitcher and small pitcher and the best salt-pan (patella). Item I bequeath to the said Emmot 10s of gold or silver. Item I bequeath to Sayer Ounde six silver spoons. Item I leave the other spoons to the said Emmot. Item to Sayer Presgate 2s. Item I bequeath to each of my sons (filiorum) 6d. The residue of my unbequeathed goods I bequeath to Walter Baker and Nicholas atte Wode whom I appoint my executors that they may arrange and dispose for my soul as seems to them most expedient.

The will, which was proved in January 1375, seems to have led to an immediate dispute, and in July the Official of the Archdeacon of Middlesex summoned the two custodians (churchwardens) of Edgware and Sayer’s executors to attend a hearing. Unfortunately we are not told the grounds of the dispute or the verdict.

In 1395 the prior again granted out Sayer’s messuage, but this time instead of alienating it on a permanent basis he only granted it out to farm for 20 years, to the then farmer of the whole manor of Edgware Boys, “Two years later the whole manor, including the chapel of Edgware, was let out on a new farm for 10 years. The farmer had to find and maintain a suitable chaplain for St Margaret’s, and keep both the manor buildings and the chancel of the church in good repair.

It was presumably because of the impending farm that the manor was surveyed, and the resulting Extent is the next item, unfortunately rather too long to be reproduced here. It lists 12 fields of arable, totalling 235 acres, 4 meadows totalling 7 acres, and 14 acres of Boysgrove. Three tenants were holding houses with gardens, one tenant a cottage and another a toft, garden and croft. The manor also had all the tithes. Annual outgoings were a rent of 7s7d on 100 acres of land originally purchased from Roger Stronge; 33s4d to the chaplain of Edgware together with a suitable house and garden, and altarage; 6d at Easter for consecrated bread; 3s4d for bread, milk and cheese at Boys on rogation days (presumably for sustenance to those beating the manor bounds); and another 3s4d in bread, wine and wax for celebrating masses.

The cartulary does not tell us when or how the Hospitallers acquired their manor of Edgware Boys. No earlier reference to it as a manor has been found than in the farm of 1395 recorded above. The VCH (vol iv p157) states cautiously that it may have originated from a known grant of land made in 1231/8. An Extent of the main manor of Edgware which was made in 1277 records 7s7d rent due from the Hospitallers of the Wood (Public Record Office SC 11 296, published in LAMAS Transactions NS vol vii, 1933). The 1397 Extent of Boys (a corruption of bois or wood) makes it plain that this was the 100 acres added by purchase and not, as the editors of the 1277 Extent wrongly assumed, the full manor. This is not, however, proof either way since a completely separate manor would not have been mentioned.

The cartulary also fails to provide a firm early date for St Margaret’s. Again, though, it gives the earliest that we have, in the implication that Sayer de Stevenage was already its chaplain in 1362. It is interesting that the uncertain status of St Margaret’s, whether a chapel (of Kingsbury), or a full-scale parish church, which was long-continuing, is reflected here. 

The photocopies have been given the reference number MS 13259, and a detailed list which includes translations of both the will and the Extent is also available at the department.

And a news flash from the Borough Archives:
a map for Finchley and Holders Hill is now available in the Alan Godfrey edition (price £1.20 from libraries). As well as the whole of the sheet for 1895 it includes, on the back, the eastern half of the next edition, surveyed in 1912.


Leafing through the current issue of The Local Historian (it’s for May, 1988, because the magazine has had an editorial upheaval and is running late) we came on three beautifully reproduced plates. The captions read:

Hendon Vicarage

Mr & Mrs Sneath, Mr Sneath’s brother and Miss Barber outside 24 Sunny Gardens, Hendon, Good Friday 5 April 1901

Edgware c1890

The pictures illustrated the first article in a new series which Local Historian is running on Local Photographers and Their Work. The photographer featured is James Barber; he was Ludlow-born, but did most of his work in Hendon from the 1880s to the 1920s. The originals (as was mentioned briefly in the June Newsletter) are in LBB Archives, housed in 7 albums or among a group of loose prints. Negatives have recently been made of the whole collection.

Pleasant that this new series should kick off with an LBB subject.


David Whipp and Peter Mills have left the Department of Greater London Archaeology in order to set up as independent consultants to developers. Roy and Leslie Adkins made a similar move last year to Somerset, it looks as if independent consultancy could become a growth area for professional archaeologists – but one doubts whether that process will be in the best interests of archaeology as a means of obtaining maximum information about the past.

Meantime their move has necessitated a change in the North London Section of DGLA. Laura Schaef has replaced David Whipp and she will be assisted by Robert Whytehead and Mike Hutchinson.



Whisky and archaeology don’t usually go together – unless it’s a wee dram at the end of a hard day’s digging. But it’s thanks to Glenfiddich whisky, which operates the “Living Scotland” awards, that the excavators of what has been described as “one of the most extensively excavated Roman forts in Britain” have been able to provide visitors to the site with a beautifully produced full colour guide. The fort is Elginhaugh, near Dalkeith, a first century fort on the crossing of the River Esk by Dere Street. The fort was built and occupied during Agricola’s campaigns in Scotland (77-84 AD) and not for much longer than that.

Discovered by air-photos during the 1979 dry spell, the excavators, from Glasgow university, have been able to wring a lot of information from the site, not only for the Roman occupation but also for Bronze Age, Neolithic and Mesolithic phases (nothing much in the Iron Age). The booklet they published with their whisky award can be obtained from Dr Henson, Dept. of Archaeology, University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, for £1 plus 30p postage.

It is interesting that the first three articles in the October History Today are on archaeological subjects. Ten years ago I don’t believe that would have happened. Historians are becoming much more archaeology conscious.

The first article discusses English Heritage’s excavation of formal gardens at Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire. Brian Dix, in charge of the dig, is pleased with the “sophisticated 17c flower pots” which have been found. They boast “an intricate drainage system consisting of a hole at the bottom with more holes punched into the side of the vessel just above the junction with the base.” Shades of the days when I started in archaeology – most of my finds were greeted with “oh, that’s only flower pot – you needn’t keep that.”

The second story seems even stranger, because it concerns a material which we would not expect to have much measurable impact on the archaeological record – blood. The article describes excavations on the site of an Augustinian monastic hospital at Soutra, 17 miles south of Edinburgh, in occupation from 12c-l6c. There the remains of an estimated 300000 pints of blood (among other infirmary waste) have been found. The dig aims to recover the “physical residues of medical practice and evaluate them against documentation.” The blood has survived because of poor drainage, which resulted in the soil being saturated. Exotic plant material – including pollen of cloves imported from Zanzibar and the Spice Islands – also survives, thought to be evidence of herbal remedies.

There is documentary evidence that blood-letting was practised among Augustinians between seven to 12 times a year. The process finished, according to medieval manuals, when the patient was on the point of unconsciousness – estimated at 3 to 4 pints in a normal healthy adult. Blood-letting, it was thought “strengthens the memory, dries up the brain, sharpens the hearing, curbs fears … produces a musical voice … and gives a long life.”

The third article deals with a subject mentioned by Ted Sammes in his “Miscellany” in the September Newsletter. History Today’s representative, like Ted, had been to one of the Ancient Monuments Laboratory Open Days and had been hooked by the huge range of articles that the Laboratory handles. He instanced some of them: from a single pollen grain found in the intestines of a Lindow Moss bog-body and now under microscopic examination; to “an awful corroded chunk of glob … a Saxon horse’s bit with part of the horse’s mouth still attached.”

Volumes published this year in the Shire Archaeology series include Life in the Ice Age by Anthony J Stuart and Brochs of Scotland by J N G Ritchie. Both are worth adding to your bookshelf. Stuart summarises present thought on climate, dating and vocabulary in periods where received opinion is constantly changing – the Middle and Upper Pleistocene. Ritchie’s volume includes a chapter on Orkney and Caithness and some fine photographs of Gurness and Bu Brochs on Orkney. Each costs £2.50 – from booksellers or direct from Shire.

If you watched Thames Television’s Living Memories programmes in September you may like to know there is a free booklet to go with them – write to PO Box 1322 London NW1 3H2. It is fact-packed – how to start on oral history, what equipment you need, what it costs, how to plan a session, how to interview. There is a booklist, addresses of groups operating in in London and facts about the London History Workshop sound and video Archive.

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