Newsletter-137-July-1982

NEWSLETTER No 137:                                                            JULY 1982

OUTINGS - NEWS AND INFORMATION from Dorothy Newbury

Visit to Canterbury on SATURDAY, 10th JULY. Please note that Dorothy Newbury will be away from July 3rd - 10th and applications should be made to MR. VICTOR JONES, 10 HEATH CLOSE, N, W. 11 Telephone 458 .6180. The full details of this outing are given in the itinerary - a previous HADAS visit was made in June 1965. Paul Craddock who works at the British Museum, a member who left the area a few year ago, will be leading the visit. Last year he conducted an excellent trip to Swanscombe and Lullingstone, ending with a lovely tea at his charming old house in Rochester his wife Brenda has agreed to provide tea again, and from what I heard last year, not only was the tea excellent but also the welcome that went with it

For the benefit of new members (who we will be very pleased to see on ouroutings) we do not issue tickers, but please ring Victor Jones if you wish to confirm that your application has been received We often have late cancellations, so if you decide at the last minute that you would like to join an outing, please always ring to make sure that a place is available If you wish to join the outing to Canterbury, please complete the enclosed application form and send it with your cheque to VICTOR JONES as soon as possible

Future visits this year

Saturday 14th August - to Colchester

Saturday 25th September - to Greensted and Waltham Abbey

Friday 3rd Sept -Sunday 5th Sept The proposed visit to Newcastle and district has had to be cancelled due to lack of support Sorry to disappoint those members who were keen to go

NOTE FROM THE ROMAN GROUP

The next meeting of the Roman Group will be on Wednesday, 28th July at Peter and Jenny Griffiths, 8 Jubilee Avenue, London Colney, Herts (Telephone 612 3156)

The Roman Group are hoping to organise a walk at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore on Wednesday, 21st July at 7p m Members plan to observe the area round the tennis court where excavations resulted in Roman finds This walk has not yet been confirmed by the hospital but if you are interested, please let Tessa Smith know as the party will be limited Her telephone number is 958 9159

 

DIALOGUE FOR DAME AND CANON

One of the events in the recent 75th anniversary celebrations in Hampstead Garden Suburb was an imaginary conversation piece between Henrietta and Samuel Barnett This was scripted by Kitty Slack from Dame Henrietta's biography of her husband ("Canon Barnett - His Life, Work and Friends" published by John Murray in 1918) and was delivered by two Suburb residents, actor Cyril Luckham and his wife Violet

It was a great success, and many people have asked for a repeat so there will be another performance in the rebuilt Institute Hall on Thursday 8th July at 8pm. Tickets price £1 will be sold in aid of the St Jude’s Appeal fund and the Institute Rebuilding fund. They are obtainable from the HGS institute or at the door on the night.

 

VISIT TO KING'S LYNN  on Saturday, 12th June.                    Report by Reva Brown

As usual on HADAS outings, the trip to Castle Rising and King's Lynn proved to be a day of pleasure and information not only were there no hitches in the organ­isation of the day, but also it seemed that Nell Penny had a direct line to the weather­man - it rained when-We were on the coach and eased when it was necessary to walk around and see the sights we had come to view

The first stop was Castle  Rising, about 5 miles from King's Lynn, a fortified dwelling begun about 1150 in King Stephen's reign by William de Albini who married the widow of Henry I and who was Earl of Sussex and of Arundel. Through de Albini's descendants, Castle Rising passed to the family of de Montalt, and for some thirty years it was the home of Isabella, :Mother of Edward III - he and the Black Prince visited Isabella at the castle In 1544, Henry VIII granted it to the Duke of Norfolk, and it was held by a branch of the Howard family until 1958 when it was handed into the guardianship of the Department of the Environment

The principal building still standing is the Great Tower (or keep) This is of squat rectangular type, its height less than the other dimensions length,(east-west) 78½ feet breadth 68½ feet. Two storeys with walls up to 3 feet thick are strengthened by buttresses and the windows are unusually large parts of the gatehouse remain and north of the keep are the foundations of a Norman chapel The high earth wall which surrounds the castle Was put up at the same time as the castle was built, and the great building nestles in the hollow created by the erection of the banks which surround it It is possible to walk round on top of the grassy rampart of the inner enclosure This is encircled by a ditch with scarp going down about 100 feet To east and west are further enclosures defended by ditches, cut out by the Normans In the grounds are a beech and oak With commemorative plaques giving the information that they were  planted by the Prince of Wales in 1864

At King's Lynn, we were met by Miss Bullock, a member of the Preservation Trust. Starting off at Tuesday Market, she guided us along King Street, Queen Street and into Nelson street explaining the origins and development of the town. Keys were produced and we were allowed into locked buildings of considerable interest. The Preservation Trust has uncovered behind what looks like a Tudor facade, three parallel buildings of great age, one of them probably going back to the 12th century The Trust hope to open this complex as a Heritage building, with exhibitions about King's. Lynn and its complicated past

The origins of the town are still being investigated, but it is known that about 1100 Herbert de Lesinga, the first, Bishop of Norwich, had the first St Margaret's church built on the central of three islands, where four streams, or 'fleets', run into the Ouse, to serve an already established community By 1160, this community was so prosperous

that it was necessary for Bishop Turbus to reclaim the island to the north and lay it out as the New Lande with its own market and chapel of ease, linked by two wide steets to the old settlement The town Was then called Bishop's Lynn and was changed to its present name by Henry VIII

On our informative walk, we saw the Corn Exchange, several historic inns, the Custom House We went into Clifton House which has a handsome early 18th century front and portico with twisted columns, thought to be the work of Lynn's creative architect of the period, Henry Bell The house contains panelling and plasterwork from the early and mid-18th century In the entrance hall there are two rooms with early 14th century tiled floors exposed to view and the crypt has beautiful late 14th century brick-vaulted undercroft with tracers of a yet earlier stone house of about 1200.Our last call was at the 15th century Hall of the Trinity •Guild, where the undercroft has been refurnished as the Regalia Rooms, and houses the civic regalia, plate and charters of Lynn, including the unique 14th century cup of richly enameled silver gift,' known as the King John Cup. Once we were seated in Thoresby College, with a grand view of the Ouse, to be refreshed by an excellent tea and spread provided by the members of the Preservation Society, it began to pour down heavily, The College was built around 1511 by Thomas Thoresby as a college for thirteen Priests of the Trinity Guild After the usual changes of ownership - the place has been a private home, a school, a warehouse for a mineral water factory, - the Trust has restored it as flatlets for retired people, as well as a Youth Hostel. The west wing - once the priests' dining room (in which we had our tea) - is also used for meetings The work of the Preservation Trust was explained to use, and it is a record of rescue & preservation of many buildings which are now being used and enjoyed when they might have become derelict and have been pulled down.

King's Lynn had its period of prosperity when the Ouse was an important waterway and the town traded with Europe. Industrialisation passes it by and as a result, it contains many buildings of great interest and beauty which might well otherwise have been destroyed in the name of modernisation and progress.

Once again HADAS has provided us with more than an enjoyable day out I am sure I was not the only person who travelled home with new knowledge and an increased appreciation of our past 

 

DOCUMENRARY GROUP

The next Group meeting will be towards the end of September (precise date later) During the summer group members will, carry on gently with various current projects (such as the survey of field names in the, borough, a map of 18/19th century brickworks, a study of tin tabernacles etc.) but the call of the trowel (both archaeological and garden variety) becomes paramount about this time of year

The group would be delighted to have more members, as "one-off' bits of research crop up fairly constantly., e.g. the notes on a field next to East Barnet church in last month's Newsletter anyone who would like to be on the documentary rota for odd jobs, or who would like advance warning of the autumn group meeting, please let Brigid Grafton Green have your name.

 

CORRESPONDENCE

Our senior Vice-President, Eric Wookey, sends us this letter:

“I have just received back from the photo-framers the 90th birthday scroll which

all of you gave me at the A.G.M. U looks splendid and makes quite the nicest birthday

present I had, Even the figure 90 seems toned down a bit, and does not hit you between

the eyes As for 'bottles', they go as quickly as 'they come, and this doesn't

Quite a few nice people must have got together to think this one up. Will you accept my grateful thanks?”

 

WINGS OVER NORTH WEST LONDON                   a note by Bill Firth

In the Newsletter for April 1981 we announced a research project under the above working title,  to investigate the local aircraft industry Some of you may be wondering what has happened         

We got off to an enthusiastic and productive start with quite a lot of progress on Handley Page at Cricklewood and Grahame-White at Hendon, but someone to research de Havilland at Stag Lane proved elusive Then the Gremlins struck and the project was nearly grounded As, an, example, arranged a day off to Investigate the RAF Museum's archives but, as t was leaving hothe for the Museum, the 'phone rang and the office requested my presence (the firm landed a fat contract which was nice but it didn't help my research) Now, following some desultory activity, there are signs of a renaissance.

 

I had better not say more in case the Gremlins are still around, but I would add an appeal for more help, particularly to research de Havilland Any offers to Bill Firth (455 7164) PLEASE

 

NEW MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

Members who have already pa d their subscriptions for this year will have noticed that we now have a new officer a membership secretary PHYLLIS FLETCHER has kindly agreed tb take on all the duties, hitherto shared between the Hon. Secretary and the Hon Treasurer, which concern membership matters

That means that as well as collecting your sub, she will make sure that you have a current membership card plus - if you are a new member - all the information you want about HADAS She will keep the membership list up to date (quite a job with over 400 members) and answer any enquiries from members that come her way

And by the way, if you haven’t yet paid your 1982-83 subscription, please do and get Phyllis off to a flying start Subscriptions run from April 1st each year, and should be sent to Miss Phyllis Fletcher, 27 Decoy Avenue, NW11 OES They are:

 

            Full membership          £3.00

            Under 18                     £2.00

            Over 60                       £2.00

            Family membership

                        1st member       £3.00

            Additional members     £1.00

 

LECTURES AND COURSES

Members who have been following the current Billingsgate excavation can get up-to-date information from two lunch-time lectures at the Museum of London this month On Thursday, July 8th there is a Museum workshop on the subject of Computers In Archaeology, geared particularly to Billingsgate, given by Kevin Flude and on July 9yh Steve Roskams will report on Current Progress in Billingsgate Both are at 1 10p m

Other Museum events include a workshop on Housekeeping in Limehouse in the 1830s (July 1st, by Joanna Clark, based on the Young Manuscripts) and Wren and the Growth of London, by Frank Kelsall, on July 2nd Both at 1 10p m

Madingley Hall, Cambridge, has a number of interesting one-day Saturday courses  including:

September 4th             The Romans in Britain (Morag Woodhuysen)

September 18th          The Medieval English Town (Dr Rosemary Horrox)

September 25th           Radio Carbon - Exploded or Exploding? (Professor Colin Renfrew Dr V. R. Switsur, & Dr. David Trump)

November 27th           The Golden Age of Athens (Richard Evans)

December 11th            The Civilisation of Ancient Egypt (Barry Kemp) One-day courses begin a 10.30a m. and end about 6 30p m.

 

Madingley is some 4 miles out of Cambridge, so with an early start a one-day course is a feasible proposition for North Londoners The fee, which includes morning coffee, lunch and tea, is usually £10. Further details (and also information about equally interesting full weekend courses) are available from the University of Cambridge Board of Extra Mural Studies, Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge, CB3 8AQ

In Newsletter No 121 - March 1981 - TESSA SMITH described one of the eight objects which form the Moxom Collection of Roman Pottery from Brockley Hill, now kept at Church Farm House Museum It was, she had discovered, a spacer used to separate tiles from the wall of a hypocaust since then, Tessa has been investigating another Moxom oddity - this time a pottery flagon of unusual shape (for drawings of it, by DAVE KING, see final page) This is the story of her research.

A FLAGON REJECTED          by TESSA SMITH

The first thing one notices about the Moxon flagon is its shape it is square - & square shapes in pottery, particularly Roman pottery, are rare

As soon as you start to examine it closely, you notice other curious points the neck looks pressed in at one side, the square base is caved-in and cracked. The flagon is, like so many other Brockley Hill vessels, a waster, or potter's reject

Then you see that it is cracked down the length of one side, which means that it could have been slab-built the crack occurs at the weakest point, where two edges had been welded together during construction. When I peered inside the flagon by torchlight however, I discovered what looked like ring-marks on the inside walls you can imagine my excitement, because that indicated wheel-thrown construction and not slab-building at all. How had this thrown pot, initially curved, taken on a final square form? My first thought was that the flagon, while drying, could have toppled over on the bench and, under pressure of its own weight, one side could have taken on the flatness of the bench top the Roman potter noticing this, could have then flattened the other three sides on the bench to match, and thus invented a new shape of flagon Very romantic!

Next I consulted potters with specialised knowledge - first HADAS member Myfanwy Stewart, then professional potter Brett Sampson It was agreed that the int­erior ring marks were evidence of the use of the wheel. The slightly curved base was also a clear indication that the pot was originally thrown. The method of squaring the flagon was thought either to have been done on a flat bench, which could have caused the caving-in at the base or, more likely, the flagon may have been laid in the potter's hand, his thumb pressed against the neck, at the near-leather-hard stage (incidentally, this could account for the neck distortion) while a wooden slat would have been used to flatten the cylindrical sides, rather like a butter pat This would, incidentally, leave traces of 'knife' marks' noted by Philip Suggett in 1955  (1)

One modern potter showed me a pot he had made recently in just this manner, complete with thrown neck and rim, showing what a simple and satisfactory method of manufacture it was. A third method was considered - namely, that a thick cylindrical shape could have been thrown, then the sides pared down with a knife to give a square form this would also give 'knife marks' . No hand-made coiled pots of Roman origin have been found at Brockley Hill this Method would have been too time-consuming for the Romans, and was ruled out. Opinion was that the flagon was definitely a wheel-thrown form, later squared off .

Next point to consider was whether the Brockley Hill potter could have had know­ledge of other square-sided pots at the time (AD50 - 160), or whether the form could be original enquiries to many archaeologists and to the British Museum and the Museum of London brought the same response no one had ever seen anything in pottery quite like the Moxon square flagon (2)

if the potter had not copied his idea from some other ceramic, what about glass? Was it just a coincidence that the flagon happened to look so much like the new square bottles which were all the rage in the Roman provinces just then?

One novelty which the Romans brought to Britain was newly invented blown glass It was easier to manufacture than the older type of mould-pressed glass, and the square bottle was already widely known in the provinces by the mid-1st century AD  At Brockley Hill, various examples of Roman glass of the period A050 - 120 have been found

Whole glass bottles of similar shape and date to the Moxon flagon are known from Verulamium, Edmonton and Moorfields (5) so there is clear evidence that square glass bottles were available which could have been copied in clay Imitations of glass and metal vessels have been noted at Brockley Hill (6)

To investigate this further, I consulted Hugh Chapman of the Museum of London He suggested I look at the base of the pot for markings similar to the concentric rings

found on the base of Roman glass bottles. These rings are the result of the gob of glass splaying out, due to centrifugal force, in the initial stage of glass making a

reeded (or grooved) handle and a flat rim were other points to note Although the shape of the Brockley Hill flagon is similar to that of many Roman

glass bottles, also the rim is flat and the handle reeded, beneath the base only the most casual scratch marks can be seen, typical of a pot that has been sliced from the

wheel. No attempt had been made to copy the underside rings of a Roman glass bottle It seems that it was sufficient for the potter to: attempt a rough clay replica.

But why? Could it have had some connection with a burial? The glass bottles from Edmonton and Moorfields had both been associated with burials. An eyewitness

to the finding of the Moxon Collection is reported to have said that the objects were found "all together" and "accompanied by two burials" (7)

During the late first early second century. AD it was normal practice for the dead to be cremated on a pyre. The ashes were collected and placed in a container for

burial, usually an ordinary domestic pot but sometimes something more elaborate like a glass jar (8) on the other hand the eyewitness report is unsubstantiated and no .

evidence has been found since of these two burials In fact from the Borough of Barnet two Roman cremation burials are known both were in jars, not glass bottles

Alternatively the flagon could have been made for general use It would probably have been cheaper to produce than imported glassware, and the shape could have

been more practical than a. curved flagon Was it perhaps designed as another kind of domestic jug? Plenty of glass bottles of this shape are found on occupation sites &

are unconnected with burials ft seems to me that: the potter may have been simply trying to copy anew shape, in clay, for domestic use, perhaps to boost dwindling

orders for flagons from :the Brockley Hill potteries. It might perhaps be helpful here to mention the history of flagon development at Brockley Hill.

The earliest flagons from the site were of Hofheim types collared flagons, dated AD5O -~60, (9) Knowledge of this flagon design was brough to Brockley Hill by master

potters from Gaul in pre-Flavian. times. A wide variety of flagon forms was then produced during the early years of the potteries pinch-mouthed flagons, derived from a metal form (10) two-handled flagons with a squat bulbous body and disc-mouthed flagons. The most popular line of production was ring-necked flagons, usually single handled, with long, flaring necks. These were characterised by a number of moulded rings at the rim, which form the basis of classification. These flagons were strong and imposing, and were supplied to the Roman army, which used a number of flagon types in Claudian days, later rationalizing them to just one or two standard forms In the Flavian period (ad 69-96)Brockley Hill .production settled down to a steady standardisation of output of ring necked flagons (11) In one dig alone at Brockleyy Hill at least 462 ring-necked flagons were represented in the finds, all being long-necked types (12).

However, in the early second century the Verulamium region ( of which the Brockley Hill potteries were a part lost its northern mortaria markets to the Mancetter-

Hartshill kilns,  which must have been a serious blow (13) Decline in output by AD120-130 was apparent and it is clear that the potteries of this region were facing

fierce competition offered by the Oxford and Warwickshire potteries With lost trade and dwindling markets for Brockley Hill wares there seems to

have evolved a new spirit of experimentation ft was now, AD 120, that several new forms of flagon appeared (15) Long-necked flagons were superseded by flagons of

short expanding neck type There were experiments with a new finer type of red clay, and for the first time slipped wares appeared (16) It was time for new thinking and design for this reason I would suggest it is the most likely time for the square Moxom flagon to have been made

The flagon is the largest piece in the Moxom Collection, 21cm high, with high square shoulders, stubby neck and disc rim. The Handle is angled sharply down and is reeded It is dirty pinkish-buff in colour, in the granulated fabric, rough to the touch, which is typical of most Brockley Hill wares : Its outer measurements are 17x 8x8 cm = 1088,cm (3) and its capacity is under once lltre Like the Moxom spacer, it was found during the laying of tennis courts at Brockley Hill House in 1909 (

The tennis courts were built on what was later discovered(18)to be an unusually large oval clay pit with a maximum width of about 70 feet The kiln for firing pots made from clay from the pit was no doubt destroyed when the tennis courts were built its wasters, however, date it to the latter end of the firs century AD After the kiln had gone out of use, the pit continued to be used during the succeeding cent-

ury as a dump for rubbish and later wasters                        -

After studying this unique flagon, I am still left with a number of unanswered questions. Perhaps the most interesting one is, why was it unique? Why, having made the experimental prototype, did the potter reject the idea - and the flagon.?

Footnotes to the text

(1)     Suggett (1955)

(2)     Those consulted included Catherine Johns, British museum Hugh Chapman, Museum of London Graham Webster. University of Birmingham Kevin Blockley, of the Canterbury Archaeological Unit & Tony Rook, Welwyn Archaeological Soc

(3)     Isings (1957) 64

(4)     Appelbaum (1951), 222 Castle and Warbis (1973), 106

(5)     Frere (1972) Harden (1970) RCHM 1928)

(6)     Suggett (1954), 272

(7)     Suggett (1955), 60

(8)     Marsden, 76

(9)     Castle (1972). 36

(10)  Richardson (1948) Marsh and Tyers (1978). 551

(11)  Marsh & Tyers (1978), 549

(12)  Castle (1972)

(13)  Marsh & Tyers (1978) 534

(14)  Castle (1976) 224

(15)  Marsh & Tyers (1978) 550

(16)  Ibid

(17)  HADAS newsletter 121 March 1981

(18)  Suggett (1956) 65

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPELBAUM, Shimon (1951) "Sulloniacae 1950" Trans LMAS NS vol X pt3, 201-228

CASTLE, Stephen (1973) "Trial Excavations in Field 410", Lond. Arch vol 2, Nos 2

            (Spring) and 4 (Autumn) (1976) "Roman Pottery from Brockley Hill, Middx 1966 & 1972-4" Trans LMAS vol 27, 206-227

CASTLE, Stephen & WARBIS, John (1973) "Excavations in Field No 157, Brockley Hill" Trans LMAS vol 24, 85-110

FRERE, Sheppard (1372) "Verulamium Excavations 1955-61 Vol 1

HARDEN, D, B. (1970) "Glass in London" (publication of the Museum of London)

ISINGS, Clara (1957) "Roman Glass from Dated Finds"

MARSDEN, Peter (1380) "Roman London"

MARSH, Geoff & TYERS, Paul (1978) "The Roman Pottery from Southwark" Southwark Excavations 1972-74, Pt II, 533-582

RCHM (1928) London III Roman

SUGGETT. Philip (1954) "Excavations at Brockley Hill, Middx March 1952 - May 1953" Trans LMAS NS vol Xi pt 3 253-276

(1955) "The Moxom Collection", Trans LMAS vol 18 pt 1, 60-64 (1956) "Report on Excavations at Brockley Hill. Middx 1953-54" Trans LMAS vol 19 pt 1, 65-75

 Members may be interested to know of the formation of a new local society which meets at Hendon Library on Wednesdays The Hendon & Hampstead Antique Ceramics and Glass Club has been started by Mr & Mrs Pulver, both of whom lecture at H.G.S. Institute

The club's inaugural programme includes an outing to the Spode Museum on Thursday. 29th July a lecture (with slides) by Rosalind Pulver at 8p m on Wednesday 11th August at Hendon Library entitled "The Development of Glass from Earliest Times" and an outing to the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Stoke on Sunday, 12th Sept

Membership subscription is £5 p a (visitors £1 50 per visit) Full details from Mrs Pulver at 115 Church Street, N. W 8 (Telephone 202 3508 or 723 6383)

New publication from Barnet Libraries

“COACHING DAYS IN BARNET" by Suzan Carr

This ten-page booklet published last month contains many hitherto unpublished illustrations of Barnet's inns from the Barnet Museum collection It also includes a time-table of stage and mail coaches known to have passed through the town in 1836 Spare a thought for the eleven passengers perched on the top of "The Express" on their 25½ hour journey to Leeds '

The booklet is available from all Barnet Libraries price 50p

 


 

Comments