NEWSLETTER 221 August 1989 Editor: Helen Gordon
Saturday August 12th Outing to Crickley Hill Excavation and Painswick, Gloucestershire (Details and application form enclosed)
Saturday September 30th Walk in Highbury and Canonbury with Mary O’Connell
Tuesday October 3rd Lecture on Excavation at Piddington by Roy Friendship-Taylor
Saturday October 7th MINIMART St Mary’s Church House
Tuesday November 7th Lecture on Prehistory in Greater London by Jon Cotton Tuesday December 5th Southwark Cathedral and Christmas Dinner at “The George”
Lectures are held at the Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon 8.0 for 8.30 pm Coffee is available. For information about outings and walks telephone Dorothy Newbury on 203 0950
SOME AUTUMN CLASSES in or near the Borough of Barnet
The Archaeology of Mexico and Central America
Tutor Ursula Jones, 10 meetings from Thurs Sept 28th, 8.00pm
WEA Golders Green, Golders Green Library, Golders Green Rd, NW1I
For information ring Mrs Michaelson 452 8850
Ancient Empires of South America
Tutor Nicholas James, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 8,00pm
WEA Mill Hill & Edgware St Martins School, Goodwyn Av. Mill Hill NW?
Byzantium Tutor Tony Rook, 22 meetings from Wed Sept 27th, 7.30pm
WEA Mill Hill & Edgware The Scout Hall, Edgware For information ring Peggy Davies 959 3505
Roman Archaeology in Britain and Beyond
Tutor B D Adams, 20 meetings from Tues Sept 26th, 7.30pm WEA Elstree & Borehamwood The Community Centre, Allum Lane, Elstree.
For information ring William Whitehead 0727 73309
Dark Ages: Anglo-Saxon England 400-1100
Tutor Brian. Adams, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 8,00pm WEA Stanmore & Kenton, Stanmore Library, 8 Stanmore Hill
For information ring Joan Meaden 205 4260
Tutor Denis Smith, 20 meetings from Mon Sept 25th, 7.30pm
WEA Potters Bar, De Havilland College, The Walk, Potters Bar
For information ring David Clark 0707 55217
Digging up the Bible
Tutor Lorna Oakes, 24 meetings from Mon Sept 18th, 2.00pm
Camden AEI, Maccabi Centre, 73 Compayne Gardens NW6
For information ring 388 7106/7
For summary of Diploma and Certificate courses see back page
Church Farm House Museum A Cabinet of Curiosities – the work of a small museum June 17th– September 17th demonstrating how our small museum, typical of many, has evolved from the old antiquarians’ collections of curiosities, and exploring ways for future development. Documentary material and rarely seen objects are on display and also The Changing Face of London – Photographs by Harold Rose July 8th – September 10th showing the dramatic changes which have occurred in the architecture of London: Open: 10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 5.30 pm. Tues.10am – 1pm and Sun. 2pm – 5.30pm
King’s Library, Great Russell St, WC1 Particular Places until September 3rd
This exhibition celebrates the 200th volume of the Victoria County History and focuses on places whose history is currently being researched. Open: Mon-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 2.30 pm – 6 pm
The Clink 1 Clink St, SE1. This is a permanent exhibition on the site of the original Clink prison; it is now a museum. Its history probably goes back to 816AD when the Bishop of Winchester’s “Colledg of Preestes” must have had a cell for erring monks to comply with the Synod’s edict of that date. Certainly by 1127 AD when Henry I created the estate as “The Liberty of the See of Winchester in the Clink in the Borough of Southwark” the Bishop had power of justice and imprisonment. Part of a buttress of the Bishop’s palace has been identified in the wall of the museum. The museum traces the history of the treatment of prisoners; it is no accident that the Clink was situated in an area devoted to entertainment of all kinds (including the Rose Theatre) and was also near a religious institution. It has a touch of the red light district, and is worth a visit. Open: 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 10 pm Thursday to Sunday
Barnet’s Triangular Market-Place by Andrew Selkirk
More than a dozen young archaeologists assembled at Barnet’s triangular Market Place on Saturday 3rd of June to see what survived of Barnet’s history, and to debate what could be done to enhance that history. Most of the young archaeologists were from Lamas, the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, though a few were from HADAS; we need more younger members! There were a number of not-so-young archaeologists, including two visitors from California,
We began in Barnet Museum where Jennie Cobban, who organised the whole event, distributed a six page information pack about Chipping Barnet’s Triangular Market Place. First point of call was Tudor Hall, the original building of The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, now marooned in the glass and metal archicture of the Barnet College of Further Education, Dennis Marshall, who taught history at the College showed us around and described the history of the school, originally founded in 1573. It was fascinating to compare this with the rather better known school at Harrow which we had visited a month previously. Both schools were Elizabethan foundations and had similar histories down to the 19th Centurya when Harrow under a succession of outstanding headmasters became pre-eminent, But Barnet Grammar School continued to flourish down to the 1930s when the Ravenscroft foundation who were the Governors decided it was no longer viable as a school and turned it into their headquarters, After the war it was converted into a College of Further Education, and most of the old buildings were pulled down and the assembly hail. Sad that so little a sense of history survives there.We then went across the road to the parish church where Bill Guider showed us around and distinguished between the original Medieval church and the Butterworth expansion of 1875. We also looked at the fine alabaster tomb of John Ravenscroft in the corner and followed the history of the other members of the family whose charity has played such a major role in Barnet’s history.We then adjourned for lunch, the adults to the Mitre and children to the Old Bull Art Centre where we visited the theatre that has been ingeniously installed at the rear of the old inn. After lunch we viewed the position of Middle Row, the old market hall that stood in the centre of the triangular market place until it was burnt down in 1889 – providentially in a way, for it removed an impossible traffic hazard. We then visited the backlands behind the fine frontages on the east side of Barnet High Street It is here that development is taking place and we viewed the destruction of the past year, the site of the old granary behind 62 High Street destroyed last November and then the site of the stables behind the Mitre, the last surviving stables of the old coaching inns of Barnet but destroyed last December.We then returned to the Museum where Graham Javes of the Barnet Local History Society had prepared an excellent questionnaire which we all snapped up and went around the Museum answering the questions and learning the history of Barnet. There was also a splendid special exhibition on the market place, laid on by Doreen Willcocks. This terminated the official proceedings but afterwards most of us repaired to the cafe on the site of the Red Lyon in the High Street and had cheesecake and coffee – just as Samuel Pepys did in 1667, when he went to the Red Lyon “and ate some of the best cheese cake that ever I ate in my life”.The big surprise for those of us who stayed until the end was the splendid Barnet Information pack that Jennie Cobban had prepared to enable the young archaeologists to enter the competition. Indeed they were so popular that the adults snapped them up too. When I produced my copy at the recent Committee Meeting there was such general admiration that I found at the end of the Meeting that it had mysteriously disappeared! Any young member of HADAS who was not able to come to the meeting should certainly write to Jennie Gobban at 42 Tudor Road, New Barnet EN5 3NP and see if there are any sets left. I was left with the increased conviction that Barnet’s Triangular Market place is perhaps the outstanding historical centre in the borough. But action is needed if we are to preserve anything in the face of new development. The forthcoming excavations on the site of the old stables will help to draw attention to it, but we must do more. We must make friends with the Old Bull Art Centre and bring together the literary and historic side of Barnet. This was the place where Samuel Pepys came to eat cheesecake and the last stopping place of Oliver Twist when he ran away from the orphanage to come to London. Could we not put plaques up on some of the historic buildings to remind everyone that Barnet does have a history? A martyr’s memorial to William Hale, who was burned at the stake in the market place in 1555? And what about the Horse Fair which still takes place every September? Many regard it as a nuisance but it is the direct descendent of the market which was granted a charter by King John in 1199. If only we can produce some ideas and initiatives, we can make Barnet into the finest historic town between London and St Albans!
HADAS Library By Brian Wrigley
It was on a Friday, 2nd June that the Hon. Secretary received the call from Barnet Council Administrator, John Rheam ………………….. the scaffolding at Avenue House had been put up to hold up the floor of our fire-damaged room – and how soon could we come and get our books to a place of safety – like Monday afternoon?
Well of course we were as anxious as anyone to get our hands once more on our collection and see what sort of state it is in. But the first problem was – where should we take them to? We have no other HADAS home to accomodate this number of books, reeking of smoke and soot! Well, as soon as he was approached by phone, the White Knight, David Ruddom, the Borough Librarian came galloping to the rescue with an offer of temporary space at the Borough Library bookstore in Friern Barnet. And after a flurry of telephone calls and appeals over the weekend to try to raise a workforce for Monday—in-the-end it was your-Chairman- (with his van for which the Society must be thankful!), the Treasurer and the Secretary who turned out in their working gear on the Monday, and then again on Tuesday, to load up the books and transport them. John Rheam donned his overalls and buckled to with us.
We had to tread warily on a new board placed over the blackened, lath-thin planks of the library floor (with daylight showing through in places). We concentrated on getting the books packed into cardboard boxes as quickly as possible for transport, to keep our activity on the precarious floor as short as possible; with no electric light and only a small window, we soon found ourselves working against time and fading daylight, with no time to have any detailed inspection of the books; however, we were at least able to see there was actual charring to only a few of the volumes, but the page edges of virtually every single book were blackened with smoke and soot. In moving them we noticed that the covers of most had stuck to their neighbour’s (smoke tar or heat?) but all seemed to separate easily. We didn’t want to stop to open many of them to see inside, but the few we looked at seemed legible still. Some paper-back periodicals have probably lost some numbers beyond recall.So, a great deal of work is needed to make our books readable without getting black all over. (We can now claim to have a unique collection of filthy books!).
This is a job that will have to be done, we think, in stages, by taking a batch at a time from their resting place in Friern Barnet, inspecting them and cleaning them up, June Porges, our Librarian, is prepared to start organising this as soon as possible, and we hope we may soon find somewhere to keep the refurbished volumes safe and accessible. We were, before the fire, discussing with the Borough the possibility of having another, slightly larger room at Avenue House (one which is in fact undamaged) and we are still in negotiation for this.However, we have to recognise that the fire damage has put a lot of pressure on the remaining accomodation at Avenue House, and we may have some delay. Meanwhile, our good news is that the site records and finds, and some other archives which were stored in another room at Avenue House, are unharmed.
NEWS OF MEMBERS
Mary O’Connell,our member who takes us on City walks has hit the headlines! I hope readers saw her picture and write-up in the Sunday Times supplement on July 15th. She now tutors the course in Guiding at City University .This is the Clerkenwell/Islington Guide-course of 20 sessions, mostly or. Wednesday evenings, but including some other times according to opening hours of places visited, and also four Saturdays each term. The class visits many interesting places and Mary assures us that it is not essential to take the exam. For details, ring her at 205 1501, or write to her at 2 Highfort Court, Buck Lane NW9 OQG.
Christine Arnott is making a slow-but-sure recovery from her fall which resulted in broken and sprained ankles, but she is not yet out of plaster and is still virtually chair-bound. However her physical incapacity in no way prevents mental activity, and at present she is infuriated at the BBC2’s misrepresentation of Stonehenge as a Druid’s Temple, In their programme ‘Country File’ from Pebble’ Mill, while discussing circles appearing in cornfields in Wessex, it was stated that Stonehenge was built 2,000 years ago by the ancient Britons as a Druid Temple. She thinks that such a disgraceful inaccuracy on a serious programme can only provide fuel for the annual midsummer confrontation at Stonehenge. She is boiling with frustration that she cannot organise a strong letter of protest from someone with the necessary authority, while she herself is physically deprived of access to the source material on which to base an informed protest. She hopes that an appeal to the Newsletter will not fall on deaf ears.
TO GREAT BURSTEAD AND MALDON, ESSEX SATURDAY 24th June
reported by Ruth Wagland:
A perfect morning, a smooth pick-up and then Dorothy’s opening remarks. ‘This is a picture of the Vicar of Great Burstead, he is a very difficult man so you can avoid him’. She went on to catalogue the lack of co-operation and information received from some of the institutions in Maldon, the partial closure of the M25, the new driver who was not sure of the way and the Greek cafe owner who didn’t understand about scones. Members of HADAS know that this is only a ploy and we set off confident that an enjoyable day was to come.
The first stop at Great Burstead coincided with the setting up of the village fete, tea, coffee and cake was provided in the tent and many members seemed content to sit outside all day. But we assembled in the church to be addressed by the warden, who pointed out the 14th century wall paintings uncovered in January 1989. There are three separate friezes, one shows St Michael weighing a soul with the Virgin interceding. Another series show the story of St Catharine, also depicted is doubting Thomas and Jesus. The church has registers showing the marriage of Christopher Martin, governor of the Mayflower. An earlier one recalls, through his widow, a martyr during the reign of Queen Mary.
We were then taken to the site of the new Maldon Southern Relief Road where at least two Roman cremations have been found, leading to some further investigation. It is thought that the site was a large agricultural area, probably owned by one family who divided the land with enclosure ditches for various members. Samian and grey ware has been found, also what are thought to be tanning pits, lined with clay and covered with gravel. There is also evidence suggesting a late Iron Age round house. Then on to the pleasant town of Maldon established as a Saxon burh (fort in 916, situated on the River Blackwater, where we had lunch.
A walk along the river brought us in sight of the causeway where the battle of Maldon was fought in 991 between the Vikings and the Saxons led by Brithnoth. There seems to be much dispute over exactly where and when this battle took place,
The evidence is based on an Anglo-Saxon poem, the beginning, and end of which are lost, The town plans a millenium celebration in 1991 with the erection of a statue to Brithnoth and much else.
Next, to All Saints church which has a unique 13th century triangular tower supporting an hexagonal shingled spire. There is a window presented by the citizens of Maldon, Massachusetts in 1928, to the memory of Lawrence Washington, the great-great grandfather of George who was buried somewhere in the churchyard in 1652.
As there were several places to visit we split into four groups. The Friary Walled Garden is only one-fifth of an acre, probably cultivated by a monastic community before the Reformation. The local Horticultural Society is restoring it to the Georgian design suggested by the path layout and box hedges surrounding small beds. There is much to do and they need volunteers!
The highlight of the visit was the Moot Hall, built in the 15th century for the D’Arcy family and bought for £55 in 1576 from Alderman Thomas Eve. The ground floor was used as a Jail; there is a door leading to the prison exercise yard. It was also a police station from 1863. From the ground floor the newel staircase winds to the roof. It comprises original Medieval bricks, has a built-in handrail and dates from the 1400’s. The first floor contains a Magistrate’s Court used possibly from 1576 until 1950. It is now an example of what would be called a ‘Dickensian Court House’. The second floor is the former Council Chamber, used as such from 1576 until 1974. It is now panelled in Regency pine.
We were shown round by a local councillor who was very informative, finally taking us up the newel staircase to the roof to see a panoramic view of the town and give us his theory concerning the Battle of Maldon. We then proceeded down the High Street to have tea and currant buns at the Mill House cafe,The Journey come was swift and despite Dorothy’s initial gloom another successful HADAS outing ended well.
Peter Pickering sends a footnote: Those who attempted to decipher the wall painting of “The Living and the Dead” in Great Burstead church may be interested in the following extract from History and Imagery in British Churches by M.O.Anderson. I regret that the book throws no light on the King of Cyprus.
“Another reminder of immortality once seen in many churches is that of The Three Living and the Three Dead. Some thirty examples have been identified and recorded in British churches but of these only about a dozen can be recognised, The fable may have had an eastern origin but the medieval artists knew it chiefly througn French 13th century poem by Baudoin de Conde which describes the meeting of three gay young courtiers with three Deaths. The animated cadavers remind them that even as they now are so shall all courtiers be. The first youth flees, the second hails the Deaths as sent from God, and the third discants upon the horrors of decay. Some of the remaining wall-paintings also differentiate the reaction of the Living. In the little chapel of Widford, near Burford (Oxon), the youth is intent upon his hunting and does not see the Dead, the middle-aged man tries to draw his attention to them and the old man shields his eyes from the horrible sight. At Charlwood (Surrey) the Kings were shown on horseback, a feature commoner in France than England. A pictorial tradition, independent of literary authority, associated the meeting of the Living and the Dead with a hunting scene, although neither this fact, nor the royal status accorded to the Living, are mentioned in the poems. A forest setting is suggested, if only by one tree, and the only King who survives at Paston (Norfolk) has two small huntsmen in attendance. At Peakirk (Northants) the horror of the vision is enhanced by a background covered with flies, beetles and other insects that feed upon corruption. Other examples can be seen at Tarrant Crawford (Dorset) and Hurstbourne Tarrant (Hants).
“The painting of the Three Living and the Three Dead at Raunds (Northants) is on the same wall as that of the Deadly Sins, and we can thus imagine the sequence of admonitions which these paintings were meant to express, At the west end of the wall, above the nave arcade, the little group of sins in the dragons’ mouths portray acts whose extreme familiarity inclines men to condone them, yet, as the eye travels down those branching dragons’ bodies into the giant form of Pride, and through her limbs to their true place of origin, in Hell, these petty vices are seen in the awful perspective of eternity. A few paces eastwards and our glance falls upon the second allegory, seizing first upon the rabbit and the hunting dogs, still clearly visible, and then discovering upon the darkened plaster above them, first the Kings, in their careless enjoyment of the chase, and lastly their horrible vision of the Deaths, unheralded and inescapable! The figure of St Christopher, also painted on this wall, offers a limited protection against unshriven death, but even his legendary power extends only to the day in which we have gazed upon his image, and only the vanished Rood, which has left a pale scar above the chancel arch, brought to medieval parishioners a hope of escaping from the terrors of damnation.”
OUTING TO BEDDINGHAM LEWES & MICHELHAM PRIORY Report by Micky O’Flynn
On Saturday 8th July we made our way down to the south coast, and after a coffee stop at The Bolney Stage and picking up our guide for the day Elizabeth Sanderson, we headed on to our first destination, Beddingham. Here, while half of the group were shown around the excavations at Beddingham Roman Villa by the Director, David Rudling, the remainder had time to browse around St Andrew’s Church.
The excavations have shown a winged corridor villa with a 3rd century AD bathroom addition. The site was discovered as crop-marks in July 1986 by aerial photography during work on a nearby late Saxon site. After preliminary fieldwalking and a soil resistivity survey the site is now half exposed, but there is a farm enclosure on site and probably more Roman buildings two fields away still to be dug. Dating by coins and pottery finds confirm a similar date range of 1st to late 3rd century AD. The villa was defined by the stone walls of the bottom foundations and we could see a small suite of baths at the North end and a central living room with furnace feature. Finds of slag possibly indicate that at some stage one of the other living rooms was used as a forging furnace. As well as being shown the site and some of the finds we were shown a 3-D contour map of the walls made by computer from the geophysical survey.
St Andrew’s Church was originally Norman but has been altered and rebuilt over the years. Of noticeable mention was the 13th century wall painting of mother and child on the East arch. I am assured that there were fourteen sheep grazing in the churchyard, but after some discussion we were still split as to whether a mound was a possible barrow!
Our next stop was the County town of Lewes where we only had time for a brief glimpse at its historic past. The high street of Georgian shops and houses leads to the castle, its early 12th century keep on a high mound protected by a massive 14th century barbican. Next to the castle is the Museum of Sussex Archaeology housed in the 16th century Barbican House, and in town there is Anne of Cleves House now a folk museum. I would thoroughly recommend a day trip to Lewes to explore the town fully.
Our last visit was to Michelham Priory, an Augustinian Priory founded in 1229, and encompassed by a large 14th century moat. A gate-house was built in the 1300s and the property was adapted as a Tudor farmhouse in the late 16th century. The house contains a collection of period furniture, tapestries, Sussex ironwork. ancient stained .glass, musical instruments and a doll’s house. The moat encloses beautiful lawns and gardens including a physic garden where the plants are laid out according to their healing properties in the grounds we also saw a forge, wheelwright’s shop and ropemaking museum; and there is a working watermill which grinds flour for sale.Many thanks must go to Elizabeth Sanderson who organised it.
THE NOTTINGHAM AREA (R.A.I. 1989) Report by Ted Sammes
The region centred on Nottingham was the venue for the 135th Summer Meeting of the Royal Archaeological Institute. During the week some 600 miles was covered by each. The places visited varied from Saxon churches to Papplewick pumping station, a fine piece of the history of Nottingham’s water supply and built by James Watt & Co. in 1884. For me the highlights were the smaller churches at Breedon on the hill (Saxon) and Melbourne (Romanesque). We visited Laxton famous for its open fields systems. One evening there was a talk and quiz on Tree-ring dating. Members will remember visiting Repton Church; its excavations which ran for 15 years have now been back-filled and look as if they had never been excavated.The last place visited was Southwell minster, a highly impressive church with two distinct phases, Norman about 1180 and Early English 1234 onwards, and with a chapter house built in 1295. Much of the stone cornicing in the latter was extremely fine. Next year the Summer Meeting will be based on Exeter. Membership is open to all interested parties on the recommmendation of a member. HADAS has several members.
THE WHETSTONE DIG Brian Wrigley
Since the last Newsletter, our enthusiastic diggers have been able to continue as before at weekends and a few mid-week days. As more features appear, we have expanded, so our opened area now spreads over 5 metres x 4. We have just had to move the spoil-heap once again! The base below the brick, a Tudor feature. Peter Huggins of the Vernacular Architecture Group, has visited the site and confirms this as similar to known features of Tudor buildings in the Waltham Abbey area, He considers (as indeed. several have wondered) that features in the standing building suggest it originally extended into the area now being dug, and these footings may belong to the missing end. It is not possible at present to check accurately on alignment, as the footings of the standing building are of course buried out of sight.
The ‘well’ turned out not to be a well. We shovelled down about 5 feet to empty it, to find a solid brick bottom keyed under the vertical side wall, and rendered all over. Peter Huggins suggested it might be a tank to collect rainwater, to provide soft water for washing, and there might have been a copper for laundering in a corner of the footings which appears to have been separated off by a single course of bricks.
A feature which has not been mentioned before is an area of burnt material, about 2 square metres, within the area enclosed by the footings. Under this scatter we found 3 small areas of concentration of burning, with slag, reddened clay, hammer scale and iron residues; one area (aka Feature 19A), about half a metre across, particularly looks as though it could be the lower remains of a small furnace dug into the surrounding clay. John Roche of the Department of Greater London Archaeology has visited to look at this and considers it indicates small-scale iron-working of some sort, quite possibly contemporary with, or even a little earlier than, the Tudor footings. The stratigraphy is difficult to interpret, but we still have some more to uncover which may help us to establish a relative chronology between these various features. Meanwhile, primed by reference to the books of Prof Tylecote, we are all on the look-out for a tuyere!
Tylecote, R P A History of Metallurgy (1976)
The Prehistory of Metallurgy in the British Isles (1986)
HELP WANTED IN PROCESSING FINDS FROM THE WHETSTONE DIG
Volunteers are needed for washing pottery. This can be done at home.
Experience is not necessary, though experienced workers are particularly welcome
Extra-Mural Studies in association with The Ecology and Conservation Studies
The Structure and Evolution of the British Flora Tutor: Dr Martin ingrouille on a Friday evenings
29 Sept — 17 Nov from 6.30 – 8.30 pm at 26 Russell Sq WC1
During part of the Ice Age the British Isles was a desert, Our entire flora is an immigrant one. Where did it come from? A different topic will be covered each evening 1 The background (soils & climate) 2 Before the Ice Age 3 Glacials Interglacials 4 The colonisation of Britain 5 The Wildwood 6 Wetlands & Heaths 7 Wetlands and Heaths 8 New species & varieties.