Newsletter-204-March-1988

NEWSLETTER 204: MARCH 1988         Edited by Isobel McPherson

DIARY

Tuesday March 1st Tithe Maps - Geraldine Beech

 Miss Beech's knowledge of the resources of the Public Record Office, especially of the maps which refer to our own district is bound to be of interest to many members. The Assistant Keeper in the Map Department of the P.R.O., she has a special interest in Tithe Maps and has published work on the subject.

Tuesday April 5th   Archaeology and the Great Fire of London 1666 - Gustav Milne

Saturday April 23rd   Morning Tour of St Lawrence Whitchurch, Edgware - Sheila Woodward

Tuesday May 10th   Annual General Meeting

Saturday, May 14th   Outing to Windsor - Ted Sammes

Saturday June 11th   Outing to Flag Fen and Peterborough

 

ROMAN ROUMANIA, FEBRUARY 2ND 1988, DR. MARGARET ROXAN

Those of us who have been faithfully following Margaret Roxan's adventures in the world of the Romans for a number of years now, knew that we were in for a lively, thought-provoking and thoroughly absorbing evening. We certainly were not disappointed. Well, fancy the Romans having got as far as Roumania, too, as if Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Syria etc. were not enough.

It seems the Romans had been up to their old tricks again with a few local variations. The reasonably peaceful Dacians had been happily settled in Transylvania, having the odd battle, such as with the Scythians, who mainly occupied the area North of the Black Sea. This was reported by Heroditus around the 5th century B.C. There was also a battle with Alexander the Great around 335 B.C. when he was on his way to conquests elsewhere.

The Dacians, also liking to be known as the Getaie tribe, were strong in the Black Sea area and said to be a sort of local Mafia. The tribe was good at assimilating cultures from other more developed lands, Greece traded pottery; from Thracia (now Bulgaria) came silver and gold repoussé work. There was a big input from the Celts at the end of the Iron Age, such as a typically, distinguishably Celtic helmet. A drinking horn has also been found. The Celts also brought coinage, which tended to be of the symbolic variety, mainly based on coinage from Philip of Macedonia. It was probably used for prestigious purposes rather than by hoi-polloi.

 

The Romans began to cast their eagle eye on the Dacians around 44 B.C., when a king of the Dacians contemporary with Julius Caesar called Burabista started sending an army across the Hungarian plain, towards the coast. The Romans duly took note. By coincidence Burabista and Julius Caesar were both assassinated at the same time. The Romans were always worried about their Northern frontier and in any case saw no reason for frontiers, as there could be no possible reason why the whole known world did not want to come under their control. In any case they could not let a likely adversary get away with it and so Augustus relieved the Dacians of their borders. They, however, put up a good fight, but the Romans knew a trick or two and sent in a neighbouring tribe, the lazyges, to the Hungarian plain to attack. This, however, made the Dacians consolidate and along came a king, Decobalos, ready to take on the Romans. Domitian, Vespasian’s son was Emperor in Rome and not thought to be up to much. Decobalos put up a very good fight and a peaceful settlement on good terms for the Dacians was made around 80 B.C. Dacia was now used by the wily Romans as a buffer state.

Dr. Roxan showed us some interesting slides of Dacians, depicted on Constantine’s Arch and Trajan's Column, both in Rome. The Dacians certainly looked most dignified. A war memorial was also constructed at Adamklissi. Sites in Roumania of Dacian/Roman remains are still being excavated and they seem to have much singularity.

City walls consisted of two walls, tied together with open beams. There were mud-brick buildings (shades of the Greeks), with sanctuaries of stone circles inside each other and could have been calendars. At the same time there were quite sophisticated settlements, with roads, drains and a variety of crops and sighs in the Greek alphabet.   

True to form, the truce did not last long and Trajan once again declared war and defeated Decobalos, one of the reasons for attacking being that they had discovered gold in those hills. Trajan earned his place in Roumanian history by building paths along the Danube cliffs, and a canal parallel to the river, so avoiding the rapids. He had five legions, at least 6,000 men, posted in Roumania, including, it is related, some Britons. The wars are depicted most graphically, if perhaps not with historical accuracy, on Trajan's Column. Trajan was followed by Hadrian who built colonia in old Dacia with, it appears, "all mod. cons," and a wall along the frontier The main colonia was at a place called Sarmizegetusa. There is still much excavation going on in modern Roumania, and so much more to be discovered and visited.

Our appetites were delightfully whetted by Margaret Roxan's talk, and once again a whole new world opened up. Thank you very much.

 

A NEW HADAS PUBLICATION Victor Jones

In the course of preparing for our 25th birthday programme, we approached the Borough authorities for some limited financial support We were advised that no smaller grants were available but that support might be sanctioned for a wider ranging project of general interest to the Borough.

The Society's years of investigation into the archaeology and local history of Barnet have brought to light much evidence of the past; traces of mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger in Edgware, stone- age man on West Heath, Golders Green, the Romans on Brockley Hill and Saxons and medieval villagers in Hendon. Documentary research into the Battle of Barnet, churchyard recording, the study of field and farm boundaries and many other records of interest swell the body of new evidence which we can present.

It seemed that a collected record of this material, set in a wider framework of established knowledge, could provide a useful account of the development of the borough. The committee approved of the possibility and agreed to set up a working party to plan the undertaking, the members being Ted Sammes, Helen Gordon, Percy Reboul, Liz Holliday and the present writer. After various discussions it was decided to consult Brigid Grafton Green, our active and resourceful digger, researcher, archivist and Newsletter editor for many years, about our plans. We have also taken advantage of the recent recruitment to the Society of Mrs. Pat Taylor, a qualified local historian and one of the helpful team at the Local History Library. She is willing, with the support of the working party, to undertake the difficult task of co-ordinating and editing the publication. She will, no doubt, be glad to hear from other members who feel they can contribute to the work in hand.

The whole publication is expected to consist of eight or more chapters in two separate parts, the first dealing mainly with archaeological subjects in chronological order while the second will be more concerned with local history and the life of the people of Barnet from, roughly, the later Middle Ages to the present day.

 

SMALL AND BEAUTIFUL                       BRIGID GRAFTON GREEN

If you want to see one of the most beautiful shows in town, get along fast to the British Museum. You'll need to put your skates on, because it closes on March 6.

It is the Glass of the Caesars - not a big exhibition, perhaps 160-170 pieces - but its sheer quality makes up for any lack of quantity. It brings together the cream of three great collections of Roman glass - one from the BM itself, one from the Corning Museum of Glass in New York and the third from the Romisch-Germanisches Museum of Cologne.

 The Imperial Age (1st C BC to Mid-6th AD) covers the period when there were major developments in glass making and decoration, and this story is followed steadily through. At the end, if you have time, you can drop in and see a film on glass-making in the ancient world. The period is historic for glass because it covers the revolution which occurred when glass-blowing - inflating and manipulation on a blow-pipe - started, as distinct from the older methods of casting, ciré-perdu or cutting from a solid block. The old methods were slow, expensive and confined the possession of glass only to the very wealthy. Glass blowing, quick and comparatively cheap, brought this shining material within the reach of many.

 

One of the most beautiful objects in the exhibition is the smallest - a tiny bust of the Emperor Augustus, only 5 cm high but with every detail perfectly modelled - the hair in curls, the furrowed brow and expressive eyes, the aquiline nose, the determined mouth and chin. This was a master craftsman at work.

It is difficult to single out particular objects when there is such a wealth of lovely things, all finely displayed, but I will try to mention a few: mosaic and ribbon glass bowls in glowing colours; cups in translucent green glass that copy the familiar shape of the Samian form 27; a cover, like a fish, in brilliant Prussian blue; and an old familiar friend, the Portland Vase, holding its own well among all these beauties. If you can afford to invest in a catalogue (price £19.50, but it's my bet that this will increase in value in the years that follow this unique exhibition) there is an excellent 8 pages in it devoted to every aspect of this famous piece.

All those were from the sections dealing with the older methods of glass-making. From the "blown" sections, look specially at a fairylike bluebird, some 12 cm long, which may once have contained cosmetics; at a shapely, marvered 2-handled jar in reds, blues, yellows and whites, that melt into each other; at the most elegant drinking horn I've ever seen, in silvered pale-green glass, gently curving, decorated near the base with a slim trail of appliquéd glass winding round it; and at "The Masterpiece", a wonderful, 30 cm tall flat-bodied bottle, decorated with coloured and gilded trails of leaves, garlands and bows. It comes from Cologne Museum and is a gorgeous piece - but no more gorgeous than our own Lycurgus cage-cup, which glows nearby, now red, now green, according to the light.

Of course there are one or two pieces which are, to modern eyes, monstrosities - for instance, an unguent bottle with 4 compartments, with bits sticking out all over it so that it looks like nothing but a demented hedgehog on its hind legs. Though outstandingly ugly, it is still interesting however - not least because the caption says it was "virtually unusable", and that its purpose was presumably for display. Perhaps.it was used to encourage the Roman shopper to buy a. phial of the 5th century equivalent of Chanel Numerus Quinque.

 

BOARDING SCHOOLS IN HENDQN IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY     NELL PENNY

In 1821 the local census enumerators were asked to explain the causes of any abnormal increases or decreases in population in their parishes. Since 1811, Hendon's population had grown from 2589 to 3100 in that decade. The clerk copied the enumerators' opinions into the vestry minute book. It was thought that the increase was partly due to the increasing number of boarding schools in the parish and to the establishment of two parish orphanages - St Clement's Danes in the Burroughs and St Martins-in-the-Fields at Highwood Ash in Mill Hill. Trying to find out the facts about these boarding schools has been a fascinating job. Why were there so many - or any - where were they - how long did they flourish - and what did they teach?

I think that boarding schools, like gentlemen's villas, increased because some people, who could afford to, chose to live or have their children educated on the healthier "Northern "Heights" rather than in the close-packed, disease-ridden streets of London.      

In the "South End" of the parish, Miss Lockier's girls' school appears in the 1801, 1811 and 1821 census books. In 1801 she paid £1.10.00 on a half-yearly rate at 6d in the £ for what must have been quite a substantial property which I think was in the Brent Bridge or Shirehall Lane area. In 1821 she paid £2.17.00 on a 6d rate and 15/- on another property for what must have been an enlarged house or another one in the same district. In 1801 there were 24 persons in Miss Lockier's house - 2 males and 22 females. One person was working in agriculture, 2 in trade and 21 females were "unoccupied". Was the agricultural worker the gardener and odd-job man? By 1811 Miss Lockier was officially a "schoolmistress" with a flourishing establishment of 51 females and a solitary male - the same gardener, odd-job man? The male occurs again in 1821; he was aged between twenty and thirty years so he probably was not one of the males of 1801. In 1821 there were 35 females in the house, 14 between 10 and 15 years, 12 between 15 and 20 years and nine older women. I don't know what the young ladies were taught. The novels of Jane Austen tell us what their parents expected from their education - an ability to write a good hand and to spell correctly, to sing prettily and accompany themselves on the piano and perhaps to paint in water colours. Above all they were to learn the correct deportment of a young lady of good family.

In 1821 there were two other girls' boarding schools in the Golders Green area. Miss Pegg housed 17 females - 13 of them less than 20 years old. Mrs Stables had 9 girls between 5 and 10 years and nine between 10 and 15 years..

The Burroughs had one boys' school in 1801 run by James Goodyer - either the meticulous vestry clerk or his father or a male relative of the same name. The school used' Burroughs House next to the workhouse, a pleasant eighteenth century house now tenanted by a firm of surveyors. In 1801 there were 56 persons in the house - 52 males, 4 females. Of these, 6 were occupied in "trade" and 50 were 'unoccupied". By 1811 James Goodyer, if the same man, was a “gentleman" living modestly with 2 females in a smaller house.

But there was a school in the Burroughs in 1811 – Burroughs Union House, maintained by Mr. Lockwood. In 1813 this gentleman put an announcement in an unidentified London paper declaring he had been "engaged in the arduous and important duty of instructing youth for 15 years". He promised "to exert the same personal assiduity, the same strict attention to the selection of properly qualified assistants and the same strenuous endeavours to promote the moral and intellectual improvement of the pupils entrusted to his care that has been sanctioned by such very flattering marks of approbation." The school fees were 35 guineas a year with one guinea entrance fee. Mr, Lockwood promised to ground his pupil's "in the grand, rudiments of education" and to "qualify them completely for the public schools, the Army and Navy and mercantile pursuits etc." Parents of prospective pupils were referred to two London gentlemen who had sons at the school.

In 1811 Mr. Lockwood had an establishment of 55 males and 5 females. He left the Burroughs in 1816 because the Hertfordshire Record Office holds an advertisement for the sale of Burroughs Union House in that year - "Freehold and Tithe free, with a forecourt, offices, coach house and stables on the road to Burrows, and a meadow in Church Lane." Lockwood had paid rates of £3.00.00. on a 6d rate between 1810 and 1816.           {TO BE CONTINUED) 

 

FROM OUR MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

I received a nice Christmas card from one of our members, Mrs. Louise de Launay, from her home in Canterbury. I append below extracts from her letter which I think would interest members:

"I always am interested finding reference to the Grahame White Hangar, Hendon Aerodrome. Site watching notes etc. The Boundary Stone at The Spaniards, Hampstead. Until my mother died in 1957, we lived opposite what is now the Royal Free Hospital and The George, Haverstock Hill. Many household items of ours are at Church Farm House - desk, chest of drawers, coal hod, brass hearth fitting, yew armchair from Yorkshire years ago, battered warming-pan in kitchen - on permanent loan."

So when you are next at Church Farm Museum have a look for the above items. Many thanks, Mrs. de Launay, for letting the Museum have so much on loan which the younger generations will find so fascinating.

If anyone would like a copy of the List of Members as at 1st February 1988, please write to me, Miss P. Fletcher, 31 Addison Way, London NW11 6AL.

Dorothy Newbury has had a letter from Mr. Jarman in which he wishes to be remembered to you all. He is back in good health, working and enjoying life at his new home in Herstmonceux. For the benefit of new members, Mr.  Jarman, a founder member, was our Chairman from 1965 to 1985. He contributes this notice on the death of Mrs. I. Worby, aged 91 years, in January of this year.

"I was very sorry to hear that yet another of our long-serving members is no longer with us - Mrs. I. Worby. She will be remembered by those who, like myself, have belonged to the Society since the early days, as an early member of the Committee, a regular on our outings and as one who had a great interest in Archaeology. I also remember how in her younger days she was always willing to help and I can well remember her washing finds in somewhat primitive conditions at our early digs at Church End Farm in the days before the Polytechnic College was extended.

To the end of her days she maintained her interest in the Society and I am sure this helped to keep her happy in the evening of her long and useful life."  BRIAN JARMAN

News has reached us of the deaths of two other valued members, Dr. L.B. Hunt, who died last April, and Mr. J. K.  Haughton, who died very suddenly early on New Year's Day. Mrs. Hunt now lives at 30, The Comyns, Bushey Heath, Herts. WD2 1HP. Mrs. Haughton is keeping on the flat in St. Peter's Court, with its lovely southern view. We send them our sympathy and our good wishes for the future.

 

COMMITTEE CORNER

Owing to pressure of space, these notes must be compressed. Members of the Committee may be consulted by those who wish for further details.

Very soon, our cramped store room at College Farm will be needed by Chris Owers, and we now face a crisis. Advertisements will be placed in the local press, but if possible, we should like to hear from any member who could offer some kind of accommodation for the excavation finds now at the farm - or who knows of someone else with space available. PLEASE HELP, THIS IS A MATTER OF URGENCY

The Computer Sub-Committee reported a recommendation for the purchase of a computer at a cost not exceeding £450, offset by a grant of £125. At a later date, a printer (not to exceed £200) would be needed.

The Excavation Working Party reported that the site north of the Burroughs, designated for development, is scheduled for clearance in about a year's time. .It is hoped to excavate the mound in the Convent grounds if permission can be obtained. The site of a medieval house - possibly Mayshulle - was excavated in 1955-7 by the East Herts. Archaeological Society, South of Barnet Church. This area, chiefly allotments, may be available for excavation and certainly for field-walking. No painting was found on the (?) mid- 13th C. north wall of Barnet Church. Barnet Museum report that drawings and records of the wall are in preparation.

Dorothy Newbury has a quantity of surplus Newsletters covering the last two years. If any member wants back numbers, please ring her before she disposes of them. This is also an appeal - she is one Newsletter missing, No. 180 February 1986. Have you a spare, or could she borrow one to make a photocopy?

Eight new members have joined since the last meeting.

 

MATTERS OF INTEREST                                   

The fierce division of opinion over the 11th World Archaeological Congress shows no sign of dying down. As Paul Lashmar said, reviewing Peter Ucko's book, Academic Freedom and Apartheid in the Observer, "The ramifications of all this for archaeology may well still be felt long after South Africa has achieved majority rule." He regards the book as "a powerful, personal and honest account of the emotions and the logic that brought about the split." The most interesting part of the argument he feels is the revelation of anger felt by indigenous groups at the lofty attitudes of European archaeologists; their ability to impose a dominant view of minority cultures from a distant, academic viewpoint.

Reviewing the same-book in the Independent, John Torode adopted the opposite position. In a largely hostile notice, he says "There is one thing on which all sides agree: the banned white South Africans are distinguished and liberal academics who have stood up against apartheid; and the South African government. They have not prostituted their professional standards to help 'prove' the ethnic inferiority of blacks or their supposedly weak title to the lands of southern Africa. Indeed their research has helped demolish the myths upon which claims of white superiority were built."

Of the emerging, articulate groups of indigenous archaeologists, he comments, "Leaders of these indigenous groups will want academic results which further their political claims. Their rulers will want the opposite. Under such competing pressures, archaeologists like Professor Peter Ucko will need cool heads." He points out the 71 countries represented at Southampton "include many of the most vicious, repressive regimes in the world, including a number which systematically distort their own history and- prehistory. Less than half are fully democratic. Yet he regards their participation and South Africa's exclusion as a victory for the cause of freedom." He finishes by saying "Mr. Ucko evidently sees an insistence on one kind of freedom (unimpeded academic discourse) as a denial of another (free political expression). But by establishing a false dichotomy between academic freedom and opposition to apartheid, he succeeds only in undermining both."

The debate continues.

Comments