newsletter-060-february-1976

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

As events are crowding thick and fast into the HADAS programme, here is a run-down on what's ahead -- just so that you won't miss anything that interests you.

NEXT LECTURE, 3 February, Central Library, NW4. Medieval York, by Peter Addyman, MA, FSA. We hope to start punctually at 8.00p.m. as later our lecturer has to get back to York.

Mr Addyman has been working at York since 1971, when he reported, for the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and the Council for British Archaeology, on the archaeological implications of proposed road developments in York. In 1972 he was appointed to his present post as Director of the then newly-formed York Archaeological Trust. He is a co-opted member of the CBA Executive and Chairman of the CBA's Churches Committee.

Whatever he may tell us about York is bound to be interesting. A wealth of medieval material has been uncovered in rescue excavations in the city in the last three years. These have included a number of Church and monastic sites; a 14th century hospice for infirm chaplains; the Medieval Waterfront on the Ouse, built as a single development in the early fourteenth century; an early mediaeval (Viking) commercial settlement which produced 7 meters of waterlogged material going backwards from the twelfth century. This last site contained layer on layer of houses and a stratified sequence from middle Saxon through late Saxon times, with wood, leather and textile finds and environmental evidence from flora and fauna.

FURTHER MEETINGS include:

Mar. 2 - Vernacular Architecture - Joan Harding
Apr. 6 - There was no road to Petra - Betty Hellings-Jackson
Wednesday May 5 - Annual General Meeting - More detail later


SATURDAY FEBRUARY 7TH. BOOKS-AND-COFFEE MORNING by kind invitation of HADAS member Daphne Lorimer. This is the result of an unexpected windfall of some 200 second-hand books given by another HADAS member, Philippa Bernard. Please come along for coffee and a browse from 10.30a.m. and bring your bookworm friends, too.

FEBRUARY 14/15, 21/22, 28/29. three pottery processing weekends at the Teahouse, Northway, NW11, 10.00a.m.-5.00p.m. each day. Finds from Brockley Hill, Church Terrace and from recent field walks will be dealt with.

SATURDAY 6TH MARCH. Don't forget THE MINIMART 10.00a.m.-12.00p.m., Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4. Contributions of garden produce; home-made cakes, sweets, preserves; good clothing; books; cosmetics; stationery; bric-a-brac; jewellery; Victoriana -- all gratefully received at the February or March lectures or will be collected by Mrs. Lorimer, Mrs. Newbury or Mrs. Arnott.

AND A FEW DATES OF NON-HADAS EVENTS

Thursday 5 February, Hendon Library, talk on the Mogul Empire, by James Hall.

Saturday 27 March, Conference of London Archaeologists, Guildhall. Doors open 1.30p.m. Short talks on London digs; exhibits by various societies, including HADAS. Further details from the Hon. Secretary.

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24-25 April, Kiln Seminar, organised by London Kiln Study Group, University College, Gower Street. Talks on London kilns of all periods and on pottery technology.

Until 29 February. Exhibition at Church Farm House Museum, Hendon, on the world of birds.

Death Of A Founder-Member

It is with deep regret that we announce the death, on 13 January last, of Miss E.A.R. Hinge, a founder-member of our society and, until quite recently, one Vice-Presidents. Her family, owners of a flourishing in dairy business, were linked with Hendon for many years, and passing breaks a local link.

When, on Wednesday 19 April, 1961 a group of people met at Hendon Library, the first Resolution on the Agenda was "that a local archaeological society be formed." It was proposed by Miss Hinge, and past nem. con. Then Mr T Constantinides suggested that the actual inauguration of the Society be back-dated to 1 April 1961, because, he maintained "that was the day that St. Dunstan gave this land (of Hendon) to the monks of Westminster and it also coincides with the beginning of the financial year". This, too, was passed. Three Vice-Presidents were elected -- Mr Constantinides, Miss Hinge and Mr J.H.B. Warden.

Throughout her association with HADAS Miss Hinge showed interest in our work and gave us warm support. It was on her land at Church End that the Society's first dig took place in the early 1960s -- in the area behind the Scout Hut, between the old barn and the then Church End Farm, where Miss Hinge lived. The barn and the farmhouse – a 19th century building which replaced an earlier house -- were both demolished eight or nine years ago. All that remains of Hinge's Farm is the curiously shaped building, at the top of Greyhound Hill almost opposite the Museum, which was once the Model Dairy.

Napoleonic Defences and Martello Towers

A report by Elizabeth Holliday.

At last I (in company with about 95 other members of the Society) know considerably more about "those round towers" along the South Coast, after Andrew Saunders' fascinating January lecture.

Our speaker briefly outlined the military threat to England after the 1779-80 invasion scare by the Franco-Spanish fleet which led to the planning of improved coastal defences. Mr Saunders led us to expertly through the bastion system of fortification, explaining the use of geometric design to provide gun platforms with overlapping fields of fire. The resumption of war in 1803, and the previous disbandment of the militia, leaving a regular force of only 130,000 men, forced the military planners to examine the south and east coasts for all places vulnerable to attack.

Principal ports had been protected since the time of Henry VIII and although improvements had been made and some new batteries built at the end of the eighteenth century, the renewed war impelled to the authorities to act. Work began on the building of an entrenched camp at Chelmsford, protective fortifications along the lower Thames and at Chatham, the strengthening of the western heights at Dover and the construction of the Royal Military Canal sited to cut off the low-lying land at Dungeness.

The first suggestion to erect fortified towers was made before 1803 but it was not until 27 December 1804, after considerable political and military wrangling, that instructions to begin building were given. Of the 81 to 86 towers proposed, only 74 were actually built, and these were not completed until after 1808.

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When complete, the towers presented a formidable stronghold. About 33 ft high, 26 ft in diameter and with walls 9 ft thick at the bottom and 6 ft thick at the top, each tower contained a store at ground level, barrack accommodation for about 27 men on the first floor and was surmounted by a platform mounting a 24-pound gun. The towers were either surrounded by a protective ditch or the means of access was by a removable ladder leading to an entrance on the first floor. Larger fortifications mounting eleven guns were built at Eastbourne and Dymchurch.

Throughout the early years of the century isolated gun towers were built at many other vulnerable places along the coast and may still be seen on the East Coast, at Leith Harbour in Scotland, Hoy in the Orkneys, St. Mary's in the Scilly Isles, on Guernsey and in Ireland.

The towers were never tested in battle and the advent of more powerful guns rendered them obsolete. It is perhaps fitting that their popular name should commemorated the tower on the Corsican Cape Martella, which showed such remarkable resistance to a British attack in 1794.

(Note: a tape recording of the lecture was made by Peter Wilson who is a professional sound recordist. He hopes to build up a collection of recorded lectures for use by members of the Society).

Congratulations

-- to Colin Evans, HADAS member who lives in East Barnet and does much work for the Society on both the Programme and Research Committees. This year he not only completed the London University Extra-Mural Certificate in Field Archaeology, with Distinction; he also gained one of the two Gordon Childe Book Prizes for Extra-mural Studies. These two prizes, of £10, are awarded each year, one for Diploma of Archaeology finalists and one for the Certificate, on an assessment of the results of sessional examinations, essays and practical work.

The Certificate represents three years work -- hard work, too, considering it is all done in spare time. Each year there are 24 lectures, 4 field visits at least 12 "units" of essay work, practical work and, at the end of each academic session, an examination.

The Dissenters' Burial Ground, Totteridge

Part I: The Background --- by Daphne Lorimer.

In the middle of the eighteenth century John Wesley pulled the bewildered, rootless, virtually pagan workers of the new Industrial Revolution out of the gin palaces and gave them a new face. By accident, he taught them sobriety, industry and thrift, which not only damped down possible Jacobin tendencies, but had the unexpected result, half a century later, of producing the phenomenon of the wealthy, Nonconformist, merchant middle classes which dominated industrial England during the nineteenth century.

Totteridge already had a Dissenting tradition. Richard Baxter, eminent English Puritan divine and "the chief of England Protestant" (Dean Stanley), retired there, following the Act of Uniformity in 1662. Baxter, a great preacher and writer, had been a King's chaplain and had refused, on principle, the Bishopric of Hereford. From 1662 to the Indulgence of 1687 Baxter was continually harassed and persecuted but his time in Totteridge and in Acton, Middlesex, was his greatest period of activity as a writer.

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At the end of the eighteenth century, despite of the Toleration Act of 1689, Dissenters were still effectively barred from public life by the Occasional, Conformity Act of 1711, barred from sending their children to the older universities and public schools by the Schism Act of 1714 and barred by the Church authorities from burying their dead in consecrated parish churchyards. The Conventicle and Five Mile Acts of 1664 had made them wary of worshipping within a town so, as persecuted minorities will, they tended to congregate in groups, outside the cities -- often along the route of an itinerant preacher of their faith. With this history behind them, a large group of wealthy Nonconformists settled in Totteridge in the nineteenth century -- to the disgust of the curate of the parish, George Meyler Squibb, who was to write, later, that when he came to Totteridge in 1869 "it was a stronghold of Non-conformity, the handsome residences which form so conspicuous a feature being occupied by some of the wealthiest and most influential Nonconformist families – Puget, Wood, Claypon and others of high standing."

"The Grammar School for the sons of Protestant Dissenters," founded in 1807 at Mill Hill, provided the excellent education the Nonconformists craved for their children. In 1825 a rival establishment was started at "The Grange" by John Wood, former "Resident Master-In-Charge and Domestic Superintendent" at Mill Hill and his brother-in-law, John Charles Thorowgood, who had run a preparatory school for Mill Hill on the Ridgway. By 1851 yet another Nonconformist school was flourishing at Totteridge Park.

On 1 September 1825 a room was certified for use as a Dissenting Chapel in "The Grange." In 1827 Catherine Puget of Poynters Hall (widow of John Puget, a Governor of the Bank of England) built a Dissenting Chapel in Totteridge Lane (Whetstone Lane as it then was) opposite the present West Hill Way. It was plain and unprepossessing but, in its heyday, it had a large congregation and, later, a gallery had to be built to accommodate the boys from Totteridge Park School.

It is believed that burials were originally made in ground now covered by James and Sons' premises at the top of Totteridge Lane, where the original Congregational Mission was thought to have stood; but a new burial ground was opened beside the new chapel and, since the congregation and clergy of the parish church were reputed to be riven by feuds, in Totteridge, at least, the Nonconformist faith appears to have been that of the social elite.

In 1888 the Chapel moved to Whetstone and the passing of the Burial Laws Amendment Act in 1880 made the provision of a Dissenters' Burial Ground unnecessary. The chapel was leased for use as an Austin car repair depot before the Second World War. It became an ARP headquarters during the war and a factory afterwards, having then been acquired by the then Barnet Urban District Council in 1939.

It was the news that the Borough intended to develop the site for use as an Old People's Home and Day Centre which stimulated HADAS to undertake a churchyard survey before another piece of Local History disappeared. I hope to tell you of the actual survey in the March Newsletter.

HADAS Members' List – A Correction

Our Hon. Sec. (who is not very bright at figures) has a recurring nightmare at this time of year. She dreams that the "phone numbers on the HADAS members' list have got inextricably mixed up." She hopes this hadn't happened this year -- but one number, certainly, has gone awry. Would have members please correct Mrs. Lucile Armstrong's number on their lists to -----. And if any other number is wrong, will the owner please accept of the Hon. Sec's apologies and let her know?


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