Newsletter-176-October-1985

Newsletter No 176: October, 1985

OCTOBER 5th means MiniMart

HADAS PROGRAMME

Tues Oct 1           Opening lecture of the winter season, on England's Heritage; An Aerial View, by Christopher Stanley

Sat Oct 5              Write this date in letters of fire: the HADAS Minimart, 11.30am-2.30pm, St Mary’s Church House, top of Greyhound Hill, NW4. Please let Dorothy Newbury (203 0950) or Christine Arnott (455 2751) know if you have found any more items for the Minimart. We are doing very well, but more will help; and we will be glad to hear from anyone who can give an hour or so help in the rush hour when the sale starts - and then recover over a splendid ploughman's lunch with Tessa. Everybody please come if you can to buy or just to browse and chat. From 9 am-9.30 help is required from car owners to transport goods from Church Road to the hall.

Tues Nov 5          Lecture: reappraisal of Star Carr by Tony Legge

Tues Dec 3 or Tues. Dec 10 Our Christmas party will be at the Meritage Club, next to St Mary's Church, Hendon, on one of these two dates. We will confirm which in the November Newsletter; meantime, please keep both free if you can.

Note: lectures are at Hendon Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Coffee from 8 pm, lecture 8.30.

IN SEARCH OF AN EARLY ENGLISH KINGDOM. Report by DIANA MANSELL on

the September outing

The recent TV portrayal of Britain's foremost archaeological discovery, the celebrated Sutton Hoo ship burial, prompted a larger enthusiasm for the September outing than is customary - our apologies to the disappointed overflow. The 53 fortunates who packed the coach warmly thank Sheila Woodward and Dorothy Newbury for all their reconnaissance and scheduling, which produced the usual high standard now expected of a HADAS outing.

Sutton Hoo (OE hoh: a spur of land) is situated on high ground above the east bank of the Deben estuary opposite the little market town of Woodbridge.. We approached the site along a sandy track at the edge of a bean field and were greeted by Cathy the site surveyor, along with the first spots of rain which she nonchalantly accepted as part of the scene.

We gathered on top of mound 1, the barrow of the ship burial, marked out with string to indicate the position and scale of the project. The ship itself was 89ft long; lying down in the marked rectangle representing the burial chamber, Cathy clearly demonstrated its position off centre. It seems likely that some destruction to the west end of the barrow by medieval ploughing had for once proved providential. The plunderers who came at a later date seeking treasure drove a hole down the centre from the top of the extant mound, missing the burial chamber and all its riches by inches.

 

The treasure itself, from the world-renowned 1939 excavation, is of infinite beauty and a craftsmanship which cannot be emulated today. It is on display in the British Museum.' Sadly, the ship is not; the acidity of the sand had destroyed its timbers, leaving only an impression of the great clinker-built rowing boat, the profile of which could be traced along the rows of rust stains from hundreds of iron rivets.

Although the grave goods constitute both pagan and Christian symbols the burial itself was of pagan ritual. All traces of the body have disappeared. The objects denote a man of great Power with contacts in Scandinavia, Merovingian France (where all the coins had been minted) and Constantinople. The most probable candidate is Raedwald, a 7th c king of East Anglia who died 625 AD.

As we watched the current excavations in the NE corner of the cite, we were filled with not a little pride at seeing one of our own HADAS members, Ann Trewick, trowelling actively - this is her second season on the site.

Great as the temptation might be to excavate another barrow, modern principles dictate a much stricter discipline of gathering maximum information with minimum destruction. The 1984-5 research directed by Martin Carver has revealed the site to be much more extensive than previously thought and has been extended into the surrounding fields and woods using a wide range of modern techniques and meticulous recording devices. As a result, it is now known that the Anglo-Saxon cemetery is superimposed on a larger prehistoric settlement spanning some 2000 years from the late Neolithic period.

Some 12-14 hectares (c 35 acres) have been surveyed and it is still grow­ing. Of particular interest in recent major discoveries are the so-called 'sandmen:' sandcasts of bodies in shallow graves. The most recent discovered last month - may yield important information on Anglo-Saxon religion, possibly reflecting the change from paganism to Christianity. This latest discovery was aligned approximately E-W and superimposed over an earlier grave with the body lying approximately N-S. These 'sandmen' are egg-shell fragile and require infinite patience and skill in handling. We were fortunate in seeing the latest experiment in preserving one in fibreglass resin, and to the inexperienced eye it looked most authentic.

Heaped on top of all the elemental difficulties, diggers have to contend with the hazards inherited from modern military exercises. Within days of retrieving the ship treasure in 1939 the country was at war and the army took over the site, leaving a legacy of scars from tank tracks and anti-glider landing trenches, together with unexploded shells and mortar bombs. Cathy told us that one such bomb found its way into a finds tray before being identified.

The sun was already drying us off as we retraced our steps to the coach to go into Woodbridge, where we were met by local historian Mrs Gwen Dyke. She regaled us with facts about some of the past worthies of Woodbridge and its more interesting sights - like the beautiful little 15c. flush work flint and stone church. A fascinating museum displayed local artifacts including a model replica of the Sutton Hoo ship and the iron rivet or clench nail found by Basil Brown, a self-taught Norfolk archaeologist, on an exploratory cut into the largest of the mounds in 1939. It led, ultimately, to the archaeological excavation that has been likened to a discovery in the Valley of the Kings.

At 2.30 we gathered on the quayside at the Tide Mill. Mr Dunnett, the Warden, told us something of its long history and how the machinery operated. A tide-mill had been in -continuous working on this site for 800 years since 1170. The present mill was built in 1793 and worked entirely by the rise and fall of the tides operating the sluice gates to fill the mill pool until 1954, when a diesel driven hammermill was installed. The diesel power could grind 1 ton of corn per hour compared to 7 or 8 cwt by water. Consequently water power was little used except for grinding cattle food, and long periods of inactivity caused the wooden wheel floats to become waterlogged and heavy, producing increasingly erratic rower. It largely contributed to the general decay of the mill. It was purchased in 1968 and lovingly restored to its original glory, and opened to the public. in 1973 - the only working tide mill in England.

Most of us enjoyed tea in Ye Olde Worlde cafe of 1553 - a date that seemed to have had a rather disastrous effect on the service - before leaving for home punctually at 5 pm. We all recommend that Bob, our most courteous of drivers, be high on any list of future HADAS outings.

Dorothy Newbury asks us to add that, in view of the great popularity of this trip - there was a waiting list of 20 - she and Sheila. Woodward are already planning a similar visit for next mid-August.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED - FINALLY!

To all who have not paid their subscriptions: there are still nearly 50 people who have not raid subs which were due for renewal on April 1 this year. If I do not receive them shortly I am afraid that this October Newsletter will be the last you will receive. I hope you have enjoyed belonging to HADAS.

Yours sincerely,
PHYLLIS FLETCHER

Membership Secretary

THE SONGS CHILDREN SING

Ring a ring o'roses

A pocketful of posies

A-tishoo, a-tishoo

We all fall down

Childhood beliefs - so often, alas, founded on fallacy - die hard. -Oneof mine went for a burton when I read The Singing  Game, by Iona and Peter Opie, who must be the world's greatest experts on children's games, lore and language.

In it I learnt that ring a ring o'roses - "the first of the singing games an infant is likely to learn, the only one he or she plays with older members of the family and ... therefore scorned as soon as a child becomes independent and goes to school" - does not, as I had always believed, date from 1665 and the Great Plague.

"In satisfaction of the adult requirement that anything seemingly innocent should have a hidden meaning of exceptional unpleasantness," say the Opies, "the game has been tainted by a legend that the song is a relic of the Great 'Plague"... that the ring of roses was the. purpuric sore that betokened the plague, that the posies were the herbs carried as protection against infection, that sneezing was the final fatal symptom of the disease and that 'all fall down' was precisely what happened. This story has obtained such circulation in recent years it can itself be said to be epidemic. The mass-circulation Radio  Times gave it a double-page headline on June 7 1973 ... lecturers at medical schools have repeated it as fact in Britain and America ..." and they add acidly that 'men of science are notoriously incautious when pronouncing on material in disciplines other than their own.'

Yet the earliest reports of the game being played in Britain are dated by the Opies to the 1880s - at Bolton-le-Moors, Lanes, about 1880; in Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose in 1881; at two places in Shropshire in 1883; and in London and Sheffield 1891. As negative evidence they mention that "no reference to 'ring a ring o'roses' appears in .Pepys's careful record of hearsay during the long months of the Plague ... Defoe's brilliant evocation in A Journal of  the Plague Year does not indicate that either sneezing or redness of spots was on men's minds ..."

In course of their argument the Opies demolish another favourite myth - that in saying 'Bless you' when someone sneezes, you also commemorate the Great Plague. They point out that The Golden Legend, printed by Caxton in 1483, particularly mentions the goodly practice of saying 'God help you' when a com­panion sneezes. So while ring a ring o'roses appears two centuries after the Great Plague, 'bless you' was current some two centuries before it.

The Singing Game is published by OUP at £15 and is highly recommended as a bedside book: it is eminently 'dippable'. Sadly, it is the last book from Peter Opie; Mrs Opie completed it after his death in 1982.          

MAPS AT HERTFORD RECORD. OFFICE                          a report from JIM BEARD

A major re-development of the Stapylton Road area of Chipping Barnett including the building of a new Library, has been proposed and before building work begins there, HADAS hopes to mount at least a trial dig.

From a documentary point of view, the first step has been to check what early maps of the area are available at the Local History Collection in Egerton Gardens and at Barnet Museum; and to get photo-copies of the relevant bits; and then to go further afield, to Hertford Record Office.

There was so much valuable material at Hertford that the half-.day I had available wasn't nearly sufficient to examine it all fully. An 1818 Barnet enclosure award map, of which we are obtaining a slide may well provide valuable information; but there are also a number of other maps of Chipping Barnet, East Barnet and Totteridge from the days before 1963, when these areas were cut out from the jurisdiction of Hertfordshire and transferred for administrative purposes to the London Borough of Barnet by the London Government Act.

Another visit to Hertford for further research is a must but meantime I have listed the Map material that is available there concerning our Borough. I felt that the list of what there is at Hertford might well be helpful to other HADAS researchers - so here it is. The first part of the list comes from the Record Office catalogue:

1.      East Barnet: Late 18c; 16" to one mile, drawn by F Taylor, 119 Chancery Lane. Names of fields, adjoining landowners, churchyards.

2.      Barnet/E.Barnet/S.Mimms. Map of Barnet Manor 1817. 13.3" to mile. Surveyor unknown. Tracing on linen. List of demesne lands, names of fields and woods, state of cultivation. Separate sheet with map. Footpaths, parish boundaries, strips in common fields, turnpike. Originals in Barnet & District Local History Society's strongroom.

3.      Chipping  Barnet/E.Barnet/Totteridge/Finchley. Descriptive Register of Estate of Edward Beeston Long Esq in above parishes of Herts/Middx. 10" to mile. Includes small maps with tables of reference of. following: Whetstone Farm; Spencers Farm, Russells Farm; ..E.Barnet Farm; Spivey Meadows The Mansion and Home Demesnes; details of School House but no map;  trees and shrubs; some roads; no adjacent landowners

4.      Chipping Barnet. Plan of Copyhold Estate 'of Mr Leonard Dell in parish of               Chipping Barnet, surveyed by J Taylor, 50" to mile. Fields with acreages, table of reference at side of map, ink on paper.

5.      Barnet Award 1818. 5 maps, Chipping  Barnet/E.Barnet/S.Mimms/Totteridge. Lists landowners, tenants, acreages, tenure. Bound volume.

6.      OS parish  of Chipping Barnet, 25" to mile, 1st ed. Acreage book, parish of Chipping Barnet„

The second part of the list comes from entries in Hertford record Office card index system, and consists of maps and plans contained in other documents. Numbers on left are Hertford catalogue numbers:

 

VII.C 4B

Nicholas King’s lands called King’s fields (Bray’

26323

Plan of property in High Street, Chipping Barnet, 1783

D/EBt.P1

Cherry Tree estate Southgate belonging to the trustees of Valentine Poole’s Charity. Coloured 1793

D/Z 24 P1

Plan of copyhold estate in Chipping Barnet, Property of Leonard Dell, 1797 (see 4 above)

D/P/15/18/1

Polio 28, Plans of Barnet Workhouse, 1807

D/P 15. 6/3

Detailed plans of church, 1¼” to 10ft. no date

80912

Manor of Barnet in Chipping & East. Barnet & South Mimms, 1817 (see 2 above)

178 D/ESb

Simpson’s bundle – Builders Arms. No date

D/EX 94 Z1

 

Marginal plan of land North of Workhouse.

D/P15.29/5

Plan of East Barnet UDC area (in Vol. of Barnet Parish Records)

DES 1/9

Chipping Barnet national School, Plans etc, showing proposed additions, 1846

DES 1/10

E.Barnet National School plans of school etc 1871

DES 1/11

New Barnet Lyonsdown Trinity C of E School, plans etc 1869-71

D/EB 1073.P1

Mansion? (Writing unclear0. Property of National Freehold Land Society 1852

D/EB 9222 P1

Printed plan of freehold building estate, plots fronting on Salisbury/Carnarvon/Strafford/Alston/Stapylton Rds. 1881

D/EEA/10

Lease of land in Wood St with plan, 1893-1920

D/P 15.28/1

Barnet (no. 2) Light Railways Order – plans etc 1901

37324

Plan of Barnet Cattle Market & Auction Offices, New Rd 1902

D/P 15A3/1

62 OS map showing proposed district of Arkley 1902

37439

Plan of church of St Marys E Barnet 1912

HCP1/1/11-13

Town area maps, land use, town and programme maps. 6” to mile 1951

HCP1/2/5-6

Town and programme maps for Barnet & E. Barnet 1958


 

Footnote: the most intriguing item on the list seems to be “Simpson’s Bundle”. The very phrase conjures a world of imaginary possibilities. Who was Simpson, and what was in his bundle? Jim Beard says he can hardly wait to find out. He's going back at the earliest opportunity to unearth the truth about Simpson and his bundle - and why it has Barnet connections.

 

 

NEWS ABOUT PEOPLE

Founder member OLIVE BANHAM (familiar to anyone who. has .ever been on a HADAS outing as 'the lady with the sweet tin on the coach') has been under the weather suffering, she thought, from sciatica. She asks us to thank the many members who sent her 'get well' cards, which cheered her immensely. "Please tell them it wasn't sciatica at all," she writes, "but a badly sprained back. And all I did was to bend down to pick up a key. However, I'm getting quite good now at crawling."  

Also news of another HADAS invalid - who we didn't even know was an invalid till after it was all over. Isabella Jolly, a Hendon member of some 9.years standing, was whisked away in the middle of the night for an operation. She reports she's now back home and 'as good as new,' though under orders not to. Drive or garden for six weeks. However she managed the Sutton Hoo outing without wilting!

And talking of that outing, it was a great pleasure to meet ex,-HADAS member Wendy Page (now Wendy Colles and the proud mother of 4-year-old Anthony) in Woodbridge, near which she now lives. Sheila Woodward is still in touch with her; and told us the interesting fact that the Dublin surgeon who discovered - and named - the Colles fracture was a great (or even possibly a great-great) grandfather of Wendy's husband.

 

Among the 1985 intake of new members is chartered surveyor DEREK J BATTEN a friend of Dorothy and Jack Newbury. He 'is interested in an unexpected aspect of archaeology, and he wrote the following account of a field exercise in which he took part earlier this year under the title

SURVEYING CUSTERS LAST STAND

At the end of May I was privileged to take part as a volunteer in an archaeological survey of the Custer Battlefield, at the side of the Little Big Horn River in Montana USA. The project, organised by the US National. Park Service, 'continued a 5-week survey begun in 1984. The work was carried out mainly by volunteers under the direction of professional archaeologists. I was proud to be the only non-American taking part.

In case you are not a Custer fan, the-Battle took place on June 25, 1876; and the two days following. George Armstrong Custer, CinC of the 7th Cavalry,' had some 600 troops, together with about 40 civilians and Indian scouts. His advance was part of an overall strategy to force recalcitrant Sioux and. Cheyenne Indians back. to their Reservations in S.Dakota. Custer approached the headwaters of the Little Big Horn River knowing there was a sizeable encampment of Indians on its banks; but'without taking the precaution of establishing the the enemy strength. In fact, there is estimated to have been between 12000 - 15000 Indians of whom roughly one third were warriors - so the odds against him were heavy.

Custer divided his attacking forces into tree battalions, each with a different objective. Two of the groups, failing in their Objectives, managed to establish a defensive position on high ground and with great difficulty to hold it for three days until they were relieved by US forces coming up the river valley; but Custer himself, leading the third battalion composed of 5 Troops, was not so fortunate. He was cut off and cut up, and the relief force found only the dead and mutilated bodies about 5 miles from the defensive position.

The exact movements and eventual end of Custer are not perfectly known. Since then historians have spent much time researching possibilities and a number of different conclusions and accounts have been published. The area where the bodies of Custer’s men were found, and the defensive position, were purchased as a National memorial and are open to the public.

The archaeological survey work on the battlefield was in three main parts. First, there was a complete metal detector survey of both battle sites. Well over 5000 artefacts were found in 1984-5. Although these consisted mainly of bullets and cartridge cases, other finds included tunic buttons and buckles, horseshoe nails, a watch, parts of a Cavalry revolver and spurs.

Each artefact was identified, its orientation established and its position surveyed by means of a,transit theodolite. The artefact was bagged and taken away for subsequent cleaning. All the bullets and cartridge cases removed were sent to firearms forensic science laboratories, where it was poSsible to identify and match cartridge case with bullet, and to plot the movement of rifles and ' other weapons around the battle. The general conclusion is that there was, almost certainly, a Last Stand; which took place roughly in the position indicated at the present time on the Battleground. In other words, Hollywood and Errol Flynn were right after all ('They Pied-with Their Boots On,' released 1941).

The Custer Battlefield is unique in being the only one in the world which has marker stones indicating the places where troopers actually fell in battle. The main problem is that there are more marker stones than there are troopers known to have died

The second part of the survey involved detailed excavation of 2m squares to a depth of 200mm close to certain of the existing markers. The soil was removed very carefully and screened for bone fragments or similar objects. This was done in an attempt to -persuade the authorities that such a survey should be carried out at each marker, so that these may be positioned more accurately. Although the remains of all officers who were killed were removed in 1877, and the remains of all troopers were buried in a mass grave in 1879, in the pen­ultimate week of the 1985 survey a virtually complete skeleton was found close, to a marker. It is gruesome that the skull of this skeleton was missing, and both thigh bones were chipped in roughly the same place, indicating that the body had been slashed on each upper leg – a known way in which the Cheyenne Indians marked their dead foes. Incredibly; one boot had survived, with the bones of the foot still inside again a vindication of Hollywood, and proof that they did indeed die with their boots on.

The third part of the survey was the least successful. Twenty-eight bodies, mainly men of E Troop, are recorded as having been buried at the head of a deep ravine, but none of these bodies has been located. Trenches were dug, borings taken, and a world expert geomorphologist (also a Custer buff) gave his skilled time to try to determine how the soil pattern might have changed over these last 109 years, all in an attempt to locate these bodies. Alas, to no avail. Most, of the other amateur Custer experts were convinced that he was digging in the wrong place, and there is certainly no unanimity as to the location of the correct ravine where men of E Troop wore laid to rest.

I found that American survey methods varied between the pedantic and the haphazard. My demonstration of setting out a simple right angle by the well-established five: four: three method was greeted with a mixture of wonderment and disbelief.

Hazards in the field included cactus spines, poison ivy, sharp Yuca plant leaves, wolf spiders, ticks, fiendish mosquitoes and even the occasional rattlesnake. These difficulties were more than compensated by the wonderful team spirit amongst all of the archaeologists and volunteers, and the friendship and hospitality shown towards an eccentric English chartered surveyor.

 

OIGNONS A LA PLINY

The August Newsletter reported that a Roman farm-and-garden complex has been created by the Butser Ancient Farm Project beside Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex. Now we have some more details of the project.

There are Shetland and Soay sheep, which are the direct descendants of the domestic sheep of southern England in the Iron Age; and Cotswold sheep, believed to be exactly similar to the.sheep introduced by the Romans. The Dexter cattle and the Old English type of goat have similar bone structure to archaeological bone evidence from Roman sites.

The field area has been sown with basic wheat cereals grown in the Roman period emmer and spelt, with areas of modern wheat to provide a comparison for yields and weed infestation.

The herb garden at Fishbourne includes two kinds of fennel, coriander, parsley, chives, caraway, borage, rue comfrey and thyme. The vineyard shows different methods. of Roman viticulture, using the Wrotham Pinot variety of grape, believed to be a direct descendant of the vines imported into Britain in the first century.

The vegetable garden bears direct comparison with a modern kitchen garden in terms of range and variety – there are three kinds of bean, lettuce, spring onions, shallots, and larger bulb onions endive, turnip, radish, carrot, beets chicory, two sorts of pea, lentils and garlic.,

Many of the plants are modern equivalents, some are exactly the same vari­eties as were grown two thousand years ago. A booklet tells us the fascinating fact that. "the onion Pliny refers to as coming from Ascalon (a Palestinian sea-port), corresponds exactly with the modern shallot, both in its description and cultivation. Oddly enough, the shallot is occasionally referred to as a. 'scallion' in certain parts of Britain even today, a word which is doubtless derived from Ascalon."

I've met the word scallion used for shallots - but it was in the eastern counties of Ireland, Wicklow and Dublin, and that's an area to which the Romans are not meant to have penetrated. I've also met the name “chibols” for shallots - in Wales. If HADAS members have come across these usages anywhere else - or if they have found other variations on the shallot theme - the Newsletter would be most interested to hear of them.           

CONGRESS of INDEPENDENT ARCHAEOLOGISTS                                                                             

A stop-press report by DAPHNE LORIMER, HADAS’ representative at the Congress

It would take a whole Newsletter to cover all the papers read at the Congress of Independent Archaeologists at Cambridge during the weekend of Sept 21/22. Andrew Selkirk, urged by Plantagenet Somerset Fry, had drawn together representatives from all over Britain and beyond to give us papers which ranged from the workings of America's Earthwatch to Henry Cleere's personal concept of Independent Archaeology; from the vanishing funds from central Government and the sparse sums provided by industry to the successful, self-financing efforts of the Jorvik Viking Trust; and from the working of local societies to the contribution of the individual researcher (some amateur, some freelance). Some papers pondered on the nature of an Independent while others explored the vast, untapped manpower resources of the newly retired and the mothers of grown-up families (did you know that the Americans call them 'empty nesters?').

Above all, loud and clear, through practically every paper (except, obviously, that from Brian Hobley) came the anguished cry of what can only be described as the disestablished amateur - "Why are we pushed out in the cold?"

Henry. Cleere pinpointed the moment of the great divide of what he called two perfectly valid movements in archaeology in Britain. That moment came at the very peak of public fervour, when 'Rescue' was started and created the Units. He laid the responsibility for this polarization at the door of the very young professionals who staffed them. Their arrogance blinded them to the strengths of a system of amateur and professional co-operation which had been the envy of archaeologists abroad (he cited HADAS's excavation at West Heath as an example of, that combination in practice).

Robert Kiln, an instigator in the foundation of the Units, was even more trenchant in his condemnation of the professional 'Young Turks' of the mid-seventies whose behaviour caused him to re-channel the charitable funds at his disposal away from archaeology.

There was, however, a note of hope in the Conference. It was suggested that there should be a clearing house of talent to put experts in touch with excavations; small funds are still available from commerce and there are charitable foundations able to donate sums of as much as £1000 or £2000 to projects. Robert Kiln offered to act as a clearing house for that, and he reminded the Congress that many development firms were insured against inter­ruption of their work due to archaeological discovery. A resolution was sent by the Congress to Lord Montague asking that a modest sum, in the order of £250000, should be set aside from the money granted by English Heritage in England (the Scottish Development Department and CADW for Wales should also set aside proportionate amounts) for distribution in small amounts for smaller projects by the independent sector.

These are just brief impressions of two days fascinating papers. The independent amateur archaeologist is there waiting and willing – it only needs that gifted professional (adept at man-management, public relations, inspira­tional teaching, organisation and delegation) to loosen the floodgates of man­power and talent and, as a result, the purse strings of the nation both public and private.         


 RECIPE FOR ROARING INFLATION

The marble head of a medieval knight which once graced a statue in Waltham Abbey is an instructive guide to the rising price of antiquities.

The statue was probably broken up at the Dissolution; the head was found between the wars then stolen from the Abbey by vandals in 1973, found again - buried - during building of a nearby council estate and sold by the builder who discovered it to a friend for 25 in 1982.

Next a local antique shop bought it for £90, then a Kensington shop paid £400 then a French business man acquired it at £7000. He sold a half-share to a London dealer, who persuaded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to offer £36000 for it. Now a consistory court is trying to decide who it belongs to and whether it ought to be sold at all.

£5 to £36000 in three years really must be a record.

NEWS FLASHES

20th LAMAS Local History Conference will be held at Museum of London, Sat Nov 30 1985, 11.30am-5.30 pm.- Main theme: rural and agricultural history in London & Middlesex.' Tickets Z3.00 (inc. tea) from Miss P A Ching, 40 Shaef Way, Teddington, TW11 ODQ,

On the Waterfront is title of a morning of lectures about the Port of London from Roman times to today, arranged, for Sat Oct 26 at Museum of London, followed in afternoon by a conducted river cruise. Coincides with launch of' Gustav Milnes new book 'Port of Roman London'. Price (book not included) £6.50. Tickets from Citi sights, 102a Albion Rd, N16.

With its current Newsletter LAMAS is circulating a 2-page Selected Reading List provided by transport expert Michael Robbins, on Transport in London for Local Historians to back up his excellent lecture at the last LAMAS Local History Conference, Material from days of horse-drawn society to age of aircraft. HADAS members wanting a copy should ring Brigid Grafton Green (455 9040).

Book Sale. On Sat Oct 19, at Education Dept., Museum of London, from 11.30am-4PM, LAMAS will be selling 700 surplus books and runs of periodicals from its library. LAMAS members and representatives of affiliated societies (and HADAS is an affiliate)-will be able to get in a 10.30 am. Prices from 10p, upwards, most in the £4 to £6 range.

The Times recently carried a photo of a farmer standing knee-deep in waving corn and holding a whole Roman pot, Complete with lid. Anyone who was on the HADAS outing to Gestingthorpe in June, 1983, would have recognised him at once: it was Harold Cooper, who showed us round his marvellous collection of Roman objects, unearthed from twelve of his rolling Essex acres in the last 35 or so years. Coins date the occupation of the site from about 50 BC-423 AD. A few weeks ago, in East Anglian Archaeology No 25, his work received its accolade: the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission did a full academic study of his thousands of finds.

To celebrate Domesday's 900 years, the PRO will next year mount an exhibition

Apr 3-Sept 30, with documents and demonstrations by a parchment maker and an illuminator

A 13c  pavement has been found, during rebuilding work, in one of central London's few surviving medieval buildings,' which 'was saved from the Great Fire by a last minute change of wind. The building is the oldest Catholic parish church in the country, St.Etheldreda's in Ely Place, Holborn. The pavement is part of the cloisters of the palace of the Bishops of Ely and is Flemish work - terracotta coloured tiles on which some painted pattern still remains. There are plans to preserve it.       

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