newsletter-092-october-1978

Newsletter

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WEST HEATH DOES IT AGAIN

By Daphne Lorimer

Each month we feel that the West Heath dig - first from one aspect, then another - has scaled a new peak and reached the maximum of its achievement; and each month it manages to do it again. September was no exception. On September 17 the first axe was found on the site - something for which we had all been hoping (and trowelling) for years.

It's a core axe - that is, one from which no sharpening tranchet flake has been struck - and a fine one. Such a find is rare. Axes are not uncovered on all Mesolithic sites by any means; and few Mesolithic sites can produce more than one or, two axes at most.

Nor was that all. Our September "bag" included pieces of sandstone of varying sizes and markings; these are becoming a feature of the part of the site in which we are now digging, and they pose interesting problems and give scope for interesting theories. A large possible posthole, containing a quite unusual concentration of charcoal, has also been revealed.

The sunshine of the last couple of months has been particularly welcome at West Heath, as the bad weather of early summer had slowed us up considerably. Members have turned out in some force, and great strides have been made towards the completion of a number of trenches.

The results of radio-carbon and thermoluminescence dating, and of magnetometric tests, are all eagerly awaited, and are promised soon by the various experts who are carrying them out. One of this season's projects has been to make tests for phosphate content of the soil, in an endeavour to locate a midden. A description of the technique that has been used, and the results, will be given in a forthcoming Newsletter.

Meantime digging will continue on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until the weather breaks - so do come and dig whenever you can. Every trowel counts and every hour helps at this stage. Needless to say, the site is, as ever, very rewarding and - who knows? - we may, "achieve the ultimate accolade by finding a buria1!

LAST KICK OF SUMMER

For the second time this year an outing has proved so popular that we have decided to repeat it, so that the many people disappointed on the first trip can have a second chance.

On Sat. Oct. 7 John Enderby has kindly agreed to organise once more his excellent tour of Framlingham and Heveningham, first run on Aug. 12 this year. In case you have mislaid your original information sheet, the coach will leave The Quadrant, Finchley Lane, at 8.15 am, and the Refectory, Golders Green, at 8.25. There are still three places available, so if you feel a last minute urge to join, please ring Dorothy Newbury and book one of them. The cost, including teat is £3.70. In view of this additional outing, there will be no digging at West Heath on Oct. 7.

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LECTURE SEASON OPENS

The first lecture of the winter season takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and is on the excavation of Henry VIII's Bridewell Palace. It will be given by Derek Gadd, site supervisor of the dig, who is employed by the Department of Urban Archaeology, Museum of London.

This was a rescue dig which took place last spring in advance of re-development. The palace, built between 1515-1523, was used by Henry as his principal London home for about six years and then became a, centre for state functions. By 1553, however, its palace days were over. It became in turn a workhouse and a house of correction, and was finally demolished -and its exact site forgotten -in the 1860s.

Demolition of modern buildings in 1977 revealed part of the main courtyard and, for the first time, pinpointed the precise whereabouts of the palace. Now, thanks to two months' intensive excavation, Mr.-Gadd, will be able to tell us a great deal about this historic building.

As the winter season is just beginning, a few notes about lecture arrangements may be helpful particularly to our many new members.

Lectures will, as usual, take place on the first Tuesday of each month at Central Library, The Burroughs, Hendon, NW4 (near the Town Hall). Buses 83 and 143 pass the door; Nos. 240, 125, 183 and 113 are within 10 minutes walk, as is Hendon Central Underground station. There are two free car parks nearly opposite the Library.

The lecture room upstairs opens at 8 pm, when coffee and biscuits will be available at 10p, and there will be an opportunity to meet each other and chat. New members are particularly invited to introduce themselves to the Society's officers and Committee (who will be sporting name badges), who will be happy to help them "break the ice." Our Hon. Librarian, George Ingram, will be there to arrange loans from the Book-box; and our publications will be on sale. Lectures start about 8.30, and, if time permits, are followed by questions. The Library building closes at 10 pm sharp.

Members are welcome to bring a guest, but guests who wish to attend more than one lecture should be asked to join the Society.

FUTURE PROGRAMME

Tues. Nov. 7. The Earliest Cretans - Prof. J D Evans, MA, PhD FBA FSA.

And, on Wed. Dec. 13, the HADAS Christmas party, which this year will - have a musical flavour.

We will dine in the Iolanthe Hall at the home of the late Sir William Gilbert, and will be entertained with excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan operas. An application form for this event is enclosed. Please return it as quickly as possible, because Dorothy Newbury must confirm our booking in a matter of days.

OTHER IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

.. are.. November 4th/5th and November 11th/12th.

This is when two West Heath processing weekends the Teahouse, Northway, Hampstead Garden Suburb.

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It is hoped that as many members as possible will help at these weekends, when a systematic study of finds from the dig will be undertaken. This will include: density counts, analyses of blades, flakes and debitarge; location of tool types {i.e. of, industry areas as opposed to chipping floors); and another attempt to re-assemble a flint nodule. Current projects will be continued - notably post-hole, core and burnt flint studies. The results are urgently needed for the interim report, so do come and lend a hand.

New members - or those who have difficulty in finding their way to the Teahouse, never a very accessible place - can get a map of the area and details of transport facilities - from our Hon. Secretary.

AIDS TO RESEARCH

Continuing her series on archives for local historians, JOANNA CORDEN, Archivist to the Borough of Barnet, describes further sources of information outside the Borough.

IV. External Sources: Pt. 2: House of Lords Record Office

This Office contains not only the records of both Houses of Parliament, but also, in ever-increasing numbers, the many petitions and documents presented to it. There are some earlier records, but mainly the material dates from the 16th c. There is a considerable amount of local information to be obtained from these records, which include, for example, the Protestation return (1641-2) - a record of those males of 18 years and over who at the behest of Parliament, signed an undertaking to support the rights of Parliament.

More recent information for this area is connected with the development of the Railways and turnpikes. The records of these enterprises are usually concerned with their legal function, the business records of the companies formed and maps and plans of various kinds. All such undertakings required the assent of Parliament; a great deal of local information can be found in the unpublished petitions and minutes of evidence placed before the parliamentary committees on Bills supporting the enterprises. This includes plans of the proposed works with books of reference giving details of owners and occupiers of lands likely to be affected, and subscription lists and contracts giving details of sources of capital. If permission was granted, it was in the form of an Act setting up a railway or canal company, or a turnpike trust. Private and public Acts are therefore a prime source of information.

There are many relevant parliamentary papers dealing with these enterprises, so that it is impossible to give more than a general indication that they exist. Of particular importance are the Select Committees on railways between 1839-44, the Annual Railway Returns (from 1841, under different titles), giving details of stock, capital and traffic, and the Report of the Royal Commission on Rai1ways, 1861.


For turnpikes there are the Select Committee report of 1836, Annual Returns (1836-1883) of income and expenditure, and roads disinturnpiked, 1871-8.

All these records should be used in conjunction with those in the Public Record Office, the chief collection there being the records of the Former Railway Department of the Board of Trade, now under the Ministry of Transport records. Here the most important items are the correspondence and papers for the years 1840-1919, the departmental minute books 1844-1857 and letter books 1840-1855. For turnpikes there are nineteen volumes of correspondence and papers 1872-92 at the PRO.

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These cover the transfer of turnpike roads and bridges to highway board; and the ending of trusts or the renewal of their powers. Searchers for information in this field should first consult Sources for the History of Railways at the PRO, by D Wardle, in Journal of Transport History, ii (1955-6).

The most fruitful sources of information at the House of Lords Record Office are the official series of parliamentary papers or Blue Books, These comprise thousands of volumes, covering such subjects as Poor Law, Education, Industry, etc. Here again a great deal of information relevant to our own area can be dug out, but prospective searchers are recommended to consult, first, Local History from Blue Books: A Select List of the Sessional Papers of the House of Commons, by W R Powell (Historical Assoc. pamphlet, 1962), and then the indexes in the House of Lords Record Office.

PROGRESS REPORT ON PROJECTS

Town Hall. Dig, adjoining The Grove, NW4. The trial dig in the area behind the Town Hall has now finished, and the four trenches which were opened have been back-filled.

Recording in Hendon St. Mary's churchyard. This continues and volunteers will be welcome. Recording takes place on Sunday afternoons from 2.30 pm. Please ring Jeremy Clynes and let him know if you intend to come along.

Recording, St. James the Great, Friern Barnet. This project has got off to a good start, and Ann Trewick, who is master-minding it has a keen team of about a dozen helpers. The churchyard has been divided into 15 areas, and recorders work in their own time. Further volunteers I will be very welcome, as the more people we have the quicker we shall finish. If you would like to take part, please ring Ann Trewick and let her know.

RIDING ROUND THE COTSWOLDS

By Joan and Andrew Pares.

The September outing was an outstanding one from any point of view. We entered Cotswold country at Northleach, where we stopped to visit the 15th c. church with its unique collection of wool merchants' brasses. Our sympathy went out to Margaret Bicknell, who had borne her wool-stapler husband six boys and seven girls!

Our main objective was Cotswold Farm Park and its collection of rare breeds of British farm animals. There were Longhorn and White Park cattle, Soay Orkrey and St. Kilda sheep, British Lop, Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot pigs, Shetland and Exmoor ponies, which once drew the chariots of our Celtic ancestors, the Shire horse which modelled for a recent issue of postage stamps, and the last four oxen in Britain trained for ploughing.

In the afternoon we visited Hailes Abbey, now not much more than a shell, but full of history, and with an interesting little museum. The main feature was a collection of six very beautiful Early English bosses: from the Chapter House, such as normally one sees only up on high with a craned neck.


Finally, at Stow-on-the-Wold there was just time to see another wool church. A plaque on the wall brought home forcibly the ravages of inflation over the centuries; it recorded a charitable bequest by a certain Thomas Selwyn who gave "a rent charge of £1 a year on his houses in Stow to be redistributed in bread."

Our charming shepherdess, Liz Holliday, guided her flock throughout the day with gentle firmness over a well-planned scenic route along Fosse Way, through Bourton-on-the-Water and the Slaughters, past many a stately manor house in restful "oolitic" limestone, with the added attraction of driving alongside fields of blazing stubble.. We were a little anxious at one point when, thwarted by the lord of the manor of Stanway, she led us past the splendid 16th c. gatehouse into the churchyard, and through the undergrowth at the side, looking for an illicit means of entry into his famous tithe barn.

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The staff work for the trip was impeccable: a punctual start at 9 am from the Quadrant, where we were issued with a well-produced programme of our itinerary; then delicious home-made cakes and coffee for elevenses at "Country Friends" in the market place at Northleach. There were excellent picnic facilities at the Farm, and a substantial cream-tea was served at Deborah's Kitchen in Stow.

It was our driver Alan's last trip for Finchley Coaches. He has chauffeured many a HADAS trip with dexterity and obligingness. Ho was fittingly bowed-out with a gracious vote of thanks by Joan Gaynair- Phillips.

BOOK REVIEWS

ELEMENTARY SURVEYING for INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS - Hugh Bodey and Michael Hallas (Shire, £1.25)

To quote the authors, "we have set out to describe the basic methods of surveying using short cuts where possible." In 58 pages of text they ~ have succeeded in this aim. Starting with surveying the land, they progress through surveying a building and surveying machinery to the use of film and tape to supplement the survey proper, with a final section on completing the report.

As one whose Industrial Archaeology activities take place in built-up areas where buildings can be related back to the OS 25 in. plans, I would have liked more on surveying-machinery and less on surveying the land. In fact, with 3 pages on surveying machinery, compared with 20 pages on buildings and 24 on land, the book is rather unbalanced. However, those who are interested in surveying quarries or other open workings will be more concerned with land surveys. This section will certainly be of interest and use to all archaeologists - not only to those of industrial persuasion.

A very proper and repeated caution is given on the need for patience and accuracy, with particular stress on measuring diagonals as the way to keep a check on the measurements actually required. Considering some of the surveys with which I have been associated and the mistakes which we have made, it is to be hoped that many industrial archaeologists (and other amateur surveyors) will read this book and learn from it. At £1.25 it is a bargain. WF

PREHISTORIC POTTERY - Nancy G Langmaid

ANGLO-SAXON POTTERY – David H Kennett

MEDIEVAL POTTERY – Jeremy Haslam

POTTERY ON ROMAN BRITAIN (revised edition) – Vivien G Swan


Many members may already know the Shire publication "Pottery in Roman Britain", first published in 1975. Now it has gone into a revised edition, and Shire have produced three other pottery titles.


The new booklets are in the same format as the Roman one They are illustrated with many drawings and a few plates. Prehistoric Pottery has 25 pages of illustration, most of them carrying drawings of between 6-l0 different pots; Anglo-Saxon Pottery has 3l pottery figures, and Medieval Pottery goes up to Fig. 29, sometimes with as many as 20 pots in each figure.

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Prehistoric Pottery runs from Early Neolithic, c. 4000 BC to the Roman Conquest; Anglo-Saxon from c. Ab 400-850; Medieval from AD 850-1500 (confirming the present tendency to sub-divide the Medieval period of earlier historians - which ran from AD 410-1485 into two, Saxon and Medieval proper).

These booklets are a good buy. It is difficult to find, and certainly not at so reasonable a price - a synthesised corpus of illustrated pottery for any of these periods. There are two possible criticisms: first, the text which precedes the figures is almost too simplified - but doubtless that is because Shire is aiming at the widest possible audience; secondly, in places the booklets rely almost entirely on differences in pottery form and decoration, and provide little information about fabric. This is a serious omission for anyone who wishes to work from them on pottery identification. To give just one example: when captioning a drawing of an early Neolithic pot, it is surely unnecessary to say "bag-shaped pot with horizontal lugs" when the picture show precisely that. A caption which described the fabric would be more helpful.

COURSES AND CONFERENCES

, , Archaeology of Dark Ages, HGS Institute (Tues. from Oct. 1.0, 8-9.30 pm), lecturer Miss M. Skalla. Places still available, and John Enderby will be glad to hear from any HADAS member who would like to join.

Certificate in Archaeology, Year 2, Barnet College. This class is on Wednesday evenings, not Mondays as advertised; lecturer Susan Geddes.

Introducing Archaeology, HADAS's own course at Hendon, College, Flower Lane, Mill Hill, starts Oct. 2. Members may still sign on at the opening lecture, 7.30 pm.

Weekend Conference on Roman Tiles and Bricks, Apr. 20-22 1979, Leicester Polytechnic – and - Saturday School on Recording Churchyards, Nov. ll. Northampton University. Further details of both from Brigid Grafton Green.

Lecture on Two Million Years of Man, Geological Museum, South Ken, by C B Stringer PhD, Fri. Oct 20 6.30 pm. Admission free.

HADAS ON DISPLAY

The Society will mount two exhibitions this autumn, and members who live near may like to drop in to see them.

One is at the Crest Gallery, Totteridge Lane, Sept. 29-0ct. l4. Barnet Borough Arts Council has invited us to show a panel of photos of the recording of the Dissenters Burial Ground at Totteridge, and a glass case of the West Heath finds. The exhibition is open on Tues. and Weds. 2.00-5.30 pm; Fris. 11-1 and 2-5.30; Sats. 11-1 & 2-4 pm. There will be a special Open Evening on Sat. Oct 7 at 8 pm; tickets 25p. at the door.

From Oct. 31-Jan. 30 1979 Barnet Museum, Wood St Barnet, has kindly invited us to put on a display of Industrial Archaeology in the Borough. Under the title "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" we hope to show some of the research which has been or is still being done by HADAS members, including transport ,(rail, tram, bus, trolley bus) arranged by Bill Firth; farm byegones (Daphne Lorimer); history of field drainage and recording of farm buildings (Brigid Grafton Green); history of Friern Hospital. (David Tessler); clay tobacco pipes (Jeremy Clynes); bottles (Alec Jeakins). The Museum is open Tues. Thurs. 2.30-4.30 pm; Sats. 10-12.30, 2.30-4.30 pm.


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