newsletter-061-march-1976

Newsletter

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MINIMART

STOP PRESS **** STOP PRESS **** STOP PRESS

Don't forget the HADAS MINIMART - our main fundraising event --- Saturday March 6th 1976 - Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4 (almost opposite the Town Hall). 10.00a.m. - 12.00 p.m. Roll up in your hundreds!

Contributions still gratefully accepted - "unwanted" gifts, cosmetics, "cast-offs", white elephant. Bring them to the March lecture - or ring Christine Arnott to arrange collection.

Dig News

WOODLANDS, GOLDERS GREEN. Alec Jeakins reports that this site has now been back-filled. An account of his findings will appear later.

HAMPSTEAD HEATH. Advance news of the next HADAS dig on this probable Neolithic site: digging starts on Saturday 1st May and will go on for a fortnight, fulltime, under the overall direction of Desmond Collins. Thereafter, digging will be at weekends. All members who wish to take part in the whole or part of the first fortnight are asked to give their names now to the site supervisor, Daphne Lorimer. At this stage it is difficult to estimate how many diggers will be needed, but if necessary a rota will be arranged.

By the way - if any member can supply Mrs. Lorimer with old-fashioned metal meat skewers, these would be most welcome. They are unbeatable for the job of stringing out our trenches.

Next Lecture

On Tuesday, March 2: Vernacular Architecture - Medieval Houses and their Development, by Joan Harding, FSA.

Since retiring from her work as a technical librarian in a Government Department, Miss Harding has devoted her time to masterminding, in Surrey, a scheme for recording the historical and architectural features of the small farmhouses and cottages which often disappear without a trace. Surrey is rich in genuine old farm buildings, and the files of the Domestic Buildings Research Group (Surrey), which Miss Harding founded, now cover about a thousand vernacular structures. On March 2, she will tell us of her work and discoveries.

Other Dates

Apr. 6 - There was no road to Petra - Betty Hellings-Jackson
Wednesday May 5 - Annual General Meeting


Lectures and the AGM are at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4, at 8 p.m.

Summer Season

Our Programme Secretary, Dorothy Newbury is, like the swallows, a harbinger of summer. As soon as she mentions outings, it means the worst of the winter is over. Here is her first budget of news about summer, 1976:

On Saturday April 3, the first outing of the year will be organised by Ted Sammes. It will concern a fort, a Saxon church and a Norman abbey.


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It will be a full day's outing covering a time span from Saxon to the 19th century. The places visited will be Tilbury fort, Greensted Church and Waltham Abbey. A booking form is enclosed with this Newsletter. Please return it as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury.

The rest of the summer programme, in outline, will be:

Sun May 9 - Combined trip with Hampstead Garden Suburb
Institute Society to Letchworth.
Sun June 13 - Butser and Portchester.
Sat July 10 - exact details not yet fixed.
Sat Aug 7 - Chedworth Roman villa and Crickley Hill.
Sep 17-19 - inclusive - weekend in York.

Bulgarian Treasures

Report by Ted Sammes.

The current exhibition of Thracian treasures at the British Museum can be thoroughly recommended. The fine collection on display is from that part of Thrace which is today in Bulgaria.

The period covered ranges from the Neolithic (5000 BC), through the late Chalcolithic into the Bronze Age. With the late Bronze age (13th/12th century BC) fine gold and silver work begins; it continues through the Iron Age into the Roman period. The material has mostly come from burial mounds - for example, the Vratsa treasure (380-350 BC) which contains among other things a delicate gold wreath of laurel leaves and a greave, with the knee formed by a woman's head and snakes and griffins on the leg piece.

On the same visit you may, if you wish, see in the adjoining rooms the new exhibition of 2000 years of British coins and medals and the partly completed Iranian and Anatolian Room. This latter gives a chance to compare the treasure of the Oxus (5th/4th century BC) with the Thracian material.

The exhibition is open until March 28 next. Weekdays 10a.m.-5p.m. (Monday mornings - school parties only), Sundays 2.30p.m.-6p.m. Late night opening Thursdays 5.45-9p.m., last admittance 8.45p.m.

Background from London Transport

By Jeremy Clynes.

Enclosed with this Newsletter is a booklet on London Industrial Archaeology, published by London Transport, who produce many informative free publications which might interest members. Two others are illustrated booklets on the London architecture of Wren and Nash.

Of interest to members going on the April outing is a leaflet called "A Day at Epping and Ongar." It is full of good background information. Other places dealt with by leaflets in this series are St. Albans, Greenwich and Richmond. London Transport also publishes a comprehensive set of posters and postcards, as well as specialist books on transport at reasonable prices. All can be obtained from London Transport, 280 Old Marylebone Road, NW1 5RJ.

York

A report by Christine Arnott on Peter Addyman's February lecture.

The city of York, set in the plain of York, is at the crossing point of the River Ouse, where the natural routeways north-south and east-west meet. These factors caused the Romans to establish there their Northern Command HQ - thus beginning a link between York and the Army which still exists today.

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It was on medieval discoveries, not Roman, that Peter Addyman concentrated in his recent talk to HADAS. He first explained the background to the present exciting archaeological developments taking place at York. As a result of the pressures of redevelopment and new roads, the York Archaeological Trust was set up to excavate threatened sites. It enjoys good financial backing plus active co-operation from the local planning authority.

Much of the medieval material has come to light in the wet area between the Ouse and Fosse rivers, where objects of wood and leather have been preserved to an unusual degree and are easily recognisable. An eighth century poem mentions York as a merchant town, a mighty stronghold and a port for sea-going ships. The Ouse was tidal at York in Roman times and later, and sea-going ships could have tied up alongside the wharves. Peter Addyman suggested that many buildings described in the early poem were originally Roman, proving that much of the former town remained into the Saxon period. Many Roman buildings were robbed out to provide material for later builders. Recent excavations under York Minster, during the strengthening of the foundations of the tower, show that the tower was built over the Roman Principia. Finds suggest that the original building was in use till the tenth century. The length of the Minster nave is the same as that of the Principia.

During the Viking period (10th /11th century) there was a change in occupation area. A new bridge over the Ouse may have been built, with a consequent clustering of settlement by the river. A flourishing trade network is confirmed by finds such as silk (?from China), metalwork from Ireland and Norway, amber from the Baltic, bonework from the Friesian Islands and Rhenish pottery.

Excavations on the Lloyds Bank site underneath an eighteenth century building uncovered some 30 feet of occupation levels, including outlines of a series of rectangular houses of the Viking period. Part of this area was subsequently identified, from environmental remains, as a tannery. Elderberry seeds - originally thought to have been used for wine-making - turned out, for instance, to be part of the tanning process.

In an excavation at St. Helens on the Walls, the Church was found to have been built above Roman levels. Here many skeletons were uncovered. Skeletal material from the medieval layers of all digs is being specially studied in order to build up a picture of the health, mortality and way of life of medieval York. Bones and dental material provide valuable pointers -- for example bone malformation gives clues to diseases and dietary deficiencies.

Peter Addyman's lecture was fascinating and wide-ranging. It was warmly received by the many members who braved wintry conditions to fill the Library Reading Room.

The Dissenters' Burial Ground, Totteridge. PART II: The Survey

By Daphne Lorimer.

In last month's Newsletter I traced the background to the survey of this burial ground which HADAS decided to undertake last year. Now for the survey itself. Permission for the work was readily granted by the Borough of Barnet's Estates Officer. Welcome help was obtained from Mr Marris, archivist to the Totteridge Manor Association and the Rev. Howard Rady, Minister of Whetstone United Reformed Church, who provided a written list of all inscriptions on the gravestones.

The graveyard is thickly overgrown with trees, brambles and other hazards. The gravestones have, for the most part, vanished under herbage and it was with some dismay that the intrepid team of two (Peter Clinch with his camera and the writer with billhood and notepad), ably supported by Mr. Rady, squeezed through a gap in the railings to start work. Many graves, especially those with wooden headboards, have disappeared completely, but all remaining stone memorials were photographed, their inscriptions checked and described. It was a process not without peril since, on straightening one tumbled gravestone, a wild bees' nest was disturbed.

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The earliest burial appears to be that of Henry Kerridge (1836) and the last that of Susannah Chapman (1881). The graveyard was, therefore, in the use some 45 years. The stones record some 37 deaths -- although there appears to have been a practice of recording the deaths of relatives buried elsewhere. William Purser, for example, was interred in Islington Cemetery, having apparently outlived his family.

Two graves do not record age but the mid-nineteenth century Nonconformists of Totteridge appear long lived, since the average recorded age is 50.68 years. There was, however, a practice (especially among lower income groups) for infant burials to be made in unmarked graves. This may account for the apparently very low infant mortality rate of 5% (one boy and one girl under 2). Only one boy and one girl died among the 3-12 year olds and from 13-18 three girls and one boy died. It is, perhaps, significant that of the 9 deaths recorded under 18, six were from only two families. Among young adults (18-25) the death of one male is recorded. It is interesting, however, that 19 (51%) of the burials (8 men, 11 women) lived to over 60; 11 (30%) record ages of 70 or more. Twice as many men as women (6:3) died between 25-60.

The congregation was drawn from as far afield as Hadley; the birth places of at least two were in the country -- Joseph Reynolds, Swindon, Wilts, and Joseph Claypon, Boston, Lincs, where Claypon is still a familiar name. This supports Woodward's comment ("The Age of Reform 1815-1870") on the noticeable migration of Nonconformists to nineteenth century London.

It is hardly surprising, given the disabilities under which Dissenters suffered, that great public servants are absent from the graveyard and it is unfortunate that Catherine Puget, while remembered in her lifetime by a magnificent marble tablet in the chapel itself, was in the end buried at Paddington. Most distinguished member of the congregation in the burial ground was Thomas Jarman of the Middle Temple, barrister-at-law and one of the conveyancing council of the Court of Chancery. He is also author of a standard textbook -- "Jarman 0n Wills world."

The decoration of some of the stones is quite elaborate and some handsome iron work protects one vault, while the charming little gravestone of Rosa Fanny Rose, aged 2, has Tudor roses round the capstone. Most stones merely contained a record of birth and death, but some include a Biblical quotation. Two are adorned with in gems of Victorian funerary verse:

Farwewell dear friends, adieu, adieu,
I can no longer stay with you.
My glittering crown appears in view.
All is well. All is well.
and - I left this world in blooming years,
Likewise my friends in floods of tears,
A sudden change in moment fell,
I had not time to bid my friends farewell.


The passing of this graveyard marks the passing of an era; men were not afraid to be different and not afraid to proclaim it, so they died, as they had lived -- free, idiosyncratic Englishman.

FOUND

At Dorothy Newbury's after the recent Hadrian's Wall film show: man's blue-green cardigan, hand-knitted.


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