NEWSLETTER 220: July 1989 Editor: Anne Lawson


Saturday July 8 Beddington Roman Villa Excavation, Sussex and Mickleham Priory ­Elizabeth Sanderson. There are places still available for this outing – please contact Dorothy Newbury 203 0950.

Saturday August 12 Crickley Hill Excavation, Glos. and Painswick.

Saturday Sept 30 Highbury, Canonbury: Mary O’Connell

Saturday 7 October MINIMART St Mary’s Church House. A “sales and wants” slip is is enclosed with this Newsletter as several larger items are becoming available.



LECTURE July 11 by

Alexander Flinder

(Founder Chairman, Nautical Archaeology Society)

An Underwater Discovery and the Book of Jeremiah”

at the New Synagogue Hall, 33 Abbey Road, London NW8
on Tuesday 11th July 1989 at 8.30 pm. Refreshments.

All enquiries to the Secretary, Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society, 3 St. Johns Wood Road, London NW8 8RB (Tel. 01-286 1176)


Do we have any member who knows anything about mechanical earth moving? We have been offered financial help for our forthcoming excavations at High Street Barnet, and we want to hire a JCS to remove the extensive overburden on the site. Unfortunately no-one on the Committee knows how to set about this. Is there anyone out there among our members who has any experience of this? Even better, is there anyone who can drive and operate one of these beasties? If so, please ring 435 7517 or Brian Wrigley on 959 5982.

Letter printed in BARNET BOROUGH TIMES May 25th 1989

MITRE Stables should have been preserved

Regarding your article “Flattened stable fuels attack by Conservationists” (May 11, 1989), I was most surprised to learn that planning permission to demolish the Mitre Inn stables would have been granted “even if proper procedures had been observed.”

How very odd. In my innocence I have always thought that buildings were listed because they were important to a town’s history, and to protect them from this sort of calculated destruction.

The Mitre Inn and its detached stables formed the last surviving group of buildings representing Chipping Barnet’s role as an important coaching stop in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and as such should have been preserved as a unit.

If Barnet Council is so sure that planning consent would have been granted to demolish an integral part of this listed building in a conservation area, I am forced to ask the question: Why bother having listed buildings in Chipping Barnet at all (or in the rest of the borough for that matter) if planning permission to demolish them seems so readily available? Jennie Cobban, Tudor Road, New Barnet.

TO: The Controller of Development Services

London Borough of Barnet

Barnet House

1255 High Road

Whetstone, London N20

Dear Sir,


Thank you for your long-awaited letter of 3 May, which we note does not answer the question put in our letter of 22 April, why we could not be told immediately if the explanation of the demoli­tion was so simple and innocent.

I have to say that it now appears my information about the particular site appearing in the weekly lists was incorrect. Now that you have given us the dates of the relevant lists, we have been able to confirm that we did receive them and this site was referred to these particular lists apparently did not get to our Member most concerned, who was on the lookout for applications relating to this site, and we have to accept this as due to some communica­tion failure within our Society.

However, this is not the real point, even had we been put on notice by the weekly lists, we should still have had to inspect the application plan, and the site, in order to observe that the site of the proposed office building overlapped the site of the stables, making it impossible to erect the new building without the destruction of the old stables (diagram enclosed).This fact is now plain on the plan with the LBC application NO2946D, and surely to notice this should have been the job of the Planning Department when Application NO29468 was first made? Was it noticed and ignored? Or merely not noticed, in spite of the fact that the application related to a Conservation Area and the site of a listed building?

We await your comments, which we trust will not be too long delayed.

Yours faithfully,

Just before the chill set in on Anglo-Soviet relations, a marvellous long letter arrived from Jill Braithwaite, skating lightly over the obvious strains of her life, especially during April (four hundred com­panies represented at the British Trade Fair, various political

visitors and Prince Edward with the National Youth Theatre). She has lost a good deal of weight, which is not surprising, but her letter fizzes with enthusiasm and she says “This is the most marvellous time to be in Russia.” They must be dashed by the present turn of events and even more overburdened than they were by shortage of staff, but we must hope that this down-turn is a very brief one.

The greater part of her letter tells of a welcome, six-day break, spent near the Estonian border. “I never could have imagined we could have spent such a totally relaxed, normal, pottering-about holiday in the Soviet Union.” They drove, by themselves, through fertile but almost completely deserted country, “looking at lovely, unspoilt villages with picturesque, well-maintained churches, at ruined fortresses … and one of the few working Orthodox monasteries of Russia, Pechory, which has never closed or ever, it would seem, been destroyed and is now in a wonderful state of preservation.” They went to the Easter midnight service in Pskov and next day had tea with the young Archimandrite, who had previously served for seven years in Jerusalem.

The remaining days were spent at the estate where Pushkin was exiled and wrote “Eugene Onegin”. Pushkin’s Ethiopian great-grandfather, given as a slave to Peter the Great by the Turkish Ambassador, rose to be a famous general and governor of what is now Tallin. His estate, burnt down during the Civil War, has been carefully rebuilt and is now a kind of Pushkin Museum, rather on the Williamsberg principle” set in glorious surroundings – but here, again, Jill returns with sorrow to the theme of the deserted countryside, the “green, grassy, empty fields … left to old people who don’t mind, or can’t afford to escape from” the total lack of civilised amenities. How young people can be persuaded to return and put this fertile territory into full production is the major problem in Russia today.

It seems a shame to reduce this wonderful,buoyant letter to a few short paragraphs but perhaps this summary will give an idea of its flavour and will cheer Jill’s HADAS friends, who wish her well in her demanding role.


Our small band of enthusiastic diggers have continued their good work, with an average attendance of 6 or so at weekends and 2 and 4 on the occasional weekdays.

A new entrance to the site has been arranged at the back of the house. This is through the fence at the back of the garden and so avoiding dis­turbing the occupants of the shops. This is approached through a conveniently placed public car park in the first turning past the traffic lights at Totteridge Lane and Whetstone Northern Line Station is only about 100 yds. away. We would welcome further help from anyone particu­larly interested in timber buildings, and to help in measurement and drawing.

Excavation work has progressed well. The remaining brickwork we reported finding last month, formed two of the walls of the extension to the timber building and has now been fully exposed. The drainage system has also been fully recorded and is now removed. Some new features are exposed inside the walls but are not understood. Finds suitable for dating continue to be sparse, probably because the site has been very dis­turbed, most recently by the construction of modern paths and drains and

previously 19th C drainage system we had uncovered, and perhaps by the construction of the extension to the house.

A new development has been the finding of a 5 ft diameter well just outside the rear wall of the extension building. The top course of the brickwork we have exposed is in good condition and we hope to excavate this in the hope of the usual treasure, or at least of finding dateable material if it is not too deep. Most of the finds at present have been very small pottery fragments, many of the standard Victorian types with a few pipe stems, a Victorian farthing (1/4d) and a few buttons. These are being cleaned and labelled for examination and dating.

Documentary investigations have continued. John Heathfield has traced the occupancy of the house back to about 1830, records seem to cease then. Pam Taylor has undertaken a review of some documents which John had previously found and has written a report which gives a framework within which we can understand the development of Whetstone.

The Museum of London Department of Wood Technology has just advised us that they are ready to take samples from the house timbers to see if they can be used to date these by the new dendrochronology process.

There is still a lot of work to be undertaken on the project and either Brian Wrigley or Victor Jones will be glad to hear of people, particularly for processing the finds and drawing and measuring the timber construction.


This land was held in 1336 by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, who were Lords of the Manor. At that time, all land transactions were recor­ded at the Manorial Court.

In 1540, the manor passed to the Crown, and in 1544 to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral. The Chapter sold the land just before 1780, and the Lordship of the Manor passed to the Ecclesiastical Commis­sioners. Many of the records of early land transactions appear to have been lost.

Early records of Rate Payers or Hearth Tax Payers are just lists of names usually without mention of a location.

In 1832, the shop appears to have been owned by John Fletcher, a draper.

It was certainly a drapers in 1839, when the owner was Robert Parker. He was still there in 1841.

By 1851, Robert Gilmour was owner/occupier. He was born in Perthshire in 1815. He was a toll collector at the Whetstone Toll Gate, and when the Toll Gate closed, part of his shop was used as a Post Office. The family business, run by his daughters, closed in May 1939.

The building is clearly shown on a map of about 1780. There are references to buildings nearby going back to the fifteenth century.



The documentary background is by no means as complete as we could wish. We know that the manor of Friern Barnet was given to the Hospitallers (the Order of St John of Jerusalem in England) in c. 1199, with whom it remained until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535 when it was transferred to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a small manor, and never ranked among the major estates of either its great overlords.

The one respect in which it was unusually important was that it lay along the route of the medieval Great North Road. This road was developed at some point in the late 11th or early 12th century (Chipping Barnet, which was founded on it, was granted a weekly market in 1199 but is not mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086). The original route came up through Muswell Hill, Colney Hatch Lane and Friern Barnet Lane, but this stretch was replaced in the 13th century by a better route up Highgate Hill and the eastern side of Finchley. The old and new routes therefore net at what is now Whetstone, where there were also important road junctions with Totteridge Lane and Oakleigh Road. Totteridge Lane is certainly a very early route, dating at least from the Anglo-Saxon period. Oakleigh Road was in existence at least by 1499 and very probably considerably earlier.

The original parish church of Friern Barnet is St James’, on Friern Barnet Lane. The church was built in the late 12th century, when Friern Barnet Lane was still on the Great North Road. Since churches were normally built to serve settlements, it must be assumed that the church marks- the original settlement site. The settlement almost certainly moved up to the new road junction after the new route and junction were created, but we have no documentary proof and therefore do not know when exactly this occurred. The first documentary reference to “Whetstone” occurs in a Finchley court roll of 1398 where it is called “le Weston”, probably meaning the western part of Friern.

As you probably know, the boundary between Friern and Finchley runs just east of the Great North Road. The whole of the western side, as well as a small part of the eastern, therefore lies within Finchley. Unfortu­nately, though, the Finchley manorial records cannot tell us much about the development of Whetstone since they do not distinguish between the different parts of the manor. The whole manor was both larger and more populous than Friern, and it included other settlements on or near the Great North Road.

The manorial records for Friern are very sparse. In the Hospitallers’ Cartulary in the British Library the pages for Friern have been headed but were never filled in. At the Dissolution when the Hospitallers’ estates were broken up, any documents which covered the whole group, par­ticularly the financial records, since they could not be distributed along with the estates, were probably mostly destroyed. The Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s did however inherit a few of the Friern manor-court rolls, which are preserved with their own. Until recently these were all at St Paul’s but they have now been transferred to the Guildhall Library. No parish or relevant national tax records have so far been found earlier than the 17th century, although the search continues.

The earliest court roll in the group dates from 1486, and there are at least some rolls for each of the following decades. There are therefore enough from which to draw at least some conclusions concerning Whetstone in the 15th and 16th centuries, and mine are as follows:

1. The population of the whole manor was and remained small during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was never a town like Chipping Barnet.

2. Whetstone was clearly the most important settlement within the manor.

3. Whetstone by 1487 was serving the needs of the Great North Road. The court rolls report infractions of the assizes of bread and ale. These assizes were originally supposed to prevent the general production of bread and ale for sale, but in fact they were constantly broken and the penalties were simply treated as a licence payment. The rolls do not record which part of the manor the individuals came from, but it is obvious that most if not all operated in Whetstone. In 1487 there were four female retailers of ale in the manor, and in 1494 six. In 1495 and 1496 there was one male brewer, and five female keepers of alehouses. In 1521 four male alehouse keepers were selling their ale at overhigh prices. In 1544 two men were brewing ale and two others retailing and breaking the assize with their measures.

Straight forwardly in 1559 two men and one woman kept alehouses and this time the rolll records’ that they paid their fine for licence to sell victuals. A baker was also fined in 1522 and 1544. Although alewives operated in ordinary villages, I am sure that this was a concentration along the Great North Road, and the fact that men became 90 involved is probably also significant.

There is thus general supporting evidence from the documents that Whetstone existed front at least the 14th century, and that it developed a rather different economy from an ordinary rural village. The documents provide terribly little detail, however, on both the precise chronology and the exact nature of the settlement. To find a surviving building which might be able to throw more light is therefore very exciting. T understand that the building may also be of wider interest, but in the purely local context it gives us a much needed chance to understand more properly the most basic factor in the history of Whetstone.



Irene Frauchiger has been a HADAS member for many years. Before she moved from Edgware to Radlett she gave very valuable service duplicating and ”stuffing” the Newsletter. The article about women’s work in the mid-nineteenth century, in the last Newsletter, reminded Irene of her mother’s experiences as a domestic servant in Mill Hill at the time of the 1914-18 War.

Miriam Carter was a country girl from Chiltern Green near Luton. Her first job was with the Frazer family at Hendon Park, a mansion which used to be in Highwood Hill near Nan Clark’ Lane. The homesick fourteen

year old had to carry the household washing to convent in Lawrence
Street every week and carry it back, freshly laundered. All the servants had to walk together to St Paul’s Church to attend Sunday service.

Promoted to parlour maid, Miriam’s wages were £10 a year “all found”. Then she moved to Highwood House where her older sister worked and conditions were “better”.



HADAS manned a stall at the Methodist Church Hall in Ballaxds Lane on this occasion, which turned out successfully, reflecting great credit on the planners. More than fifty organisations took part and the visitors must have been impressed at the wealth of caring, informative, educational, cultural or recreational facilities which Finchley can offer.

In spite of the crush, we were well pleased with our day’s work, selling a few books, running out of membership forms – some of which we hope will be returned. Best of all, we talked ourselves hoarse to a constant stream of interested people, some of them well informed about archaeology.

It was a glorious day, so the Toddler Group Mums who ran the excellent buffet set out tables and chairs in Ballards Lane and there, in our time off, we got to know other volunteer workers and watched Finchley residents, attracted by this Continental scene, venture inside for food and information.

We must express our gratitude to the organisers for this opportunity to show what we have to offer, especially to Pichard Tayler of Finchley Library who invited us to take part – and of course to the HADAS helpers; to Victor Jones and Brian Wrigley for eye-catching displays, and to Hans and June Forges, Jean Snelling, Robert Michel and Paula Allen for porter­age and “standing watch”. We enjoyed. ourselves, and were very pleased to be singled out for mention in the press.



The following sites, the subject of recent Planning Applications, could be archaeologically “sensitive”. Members living in the vicinity are asked to keep an eye on them and report anything of possible interest to the Site Co-ordinator, John Enderby, on 203 2630.

Northern Area

60, Barnet Gate Lane, Arkley Two detached houses

Laurenny, Totteridge Common Development

The Warren, Totteridge Common The demolition of detached house

Land to the rear of 176-204,

High Street, Barnet Residential development

Western Area

38, Hartland Drive, Edgware Extensions
Fiesta Cottage, Edgwarebury Lane,

Edgware Detached House

3, Francklyn Gardens, Edgware Extensions

Hyver Hall, Barnet Gate, Arkley Demolition of old Barn and erection

of new

Rose Cottage, Brockley Hill,

Stanmore Detached house and garage

10, Cedars Close, Hendon NW4 Extensions

3, Tenterden Drive, Hendon, NW4 Extensions




We hear from the Lea Valley Water Company that the pipeline is due to go through in September, but that its position has been changed to higher up the hill, where it will follow the line of Mill Lane. This takes it into a far more sensitive area and is likely to cut through the area of the Roman kilns. The Chairman has written to express HADAS’ concern.

The Site Watching lists which HADAS produces depend largely upon the

weekly Planning Applications lists which LBB prepares for each of its Planning Divisions. HADAS has been receiving these at no charge for some years. Recently LBB imposed an annual charge of £50 per division, making the charge to HADAS of £150 per year. As a result of the Chairman’s appeal against the fee, the charge has now been waived.


Mrs Tallant
. Mrs Banham writes to tell us that Mrs Tallant after her serious injuries in her house fire, has moved to Camberley to be near her nephew. If any old aquaintances wish to write to her, her address is Camberley Beaumont, 19-21 Heatherley Road, Camberley, Surrey.

Mrs. Banham misses the HADAS outings and lectures very much. Her spine has deteriorated further, and two more vertebrae have been crushed. But as always Mrs Banham brushes off her pain with a joke, by writing, “I am much shorter now, I shall soon be ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame'” All HADAS members send her their good wishes. Dot Whitcombe and Miss Sheldon, two more active members of long standing are leaving the area, and we shall miss them at lectures and outings and their help at the Minimart.

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