NEWSLETTER 205; APRIL 1988                        Edited by: June Porges


Tuesday April 5   Archaeology and the Great Fire of London 1666, by Gustav Milne.

Members will remember the excellent lecture on the Roman City Centre Project 1986 which Gustav Milne gave us that year. Mr. Milne works for the Department of Urban Archaeology, Museum of London, and their recent work on the Great Fire has thrown new light on this event.

Saturday April 23   Morning tour of St Lawrence Whitchurch, Edgware, led by Sheila Woodward. Details and application form enclosed.


It is the 400th anniversary of the Armada and there will be an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, from 21 April to 4 September this year. An afternoon visit has been arranged for May 1st - a Sunday for a change. Details and application form enclosed.

Tuesday May 10   Annual General meeting. Programme to be announced in the May Newsletter.

Saturday May 14   Outing to Windsor - Ted Sammes.

Saturday June 11   Outing to Flag Fen and Peterborough - Dr Francis Pryor

Saturday July 16   Outing to London Dockland


SUBSCRIPTIONS   Phyllis Fletcher

April 1st is the time to renew your membership subscription. You will find a renewal form with this Newsletter. Please send your subscription as soon as possible - the rates are set out on the form.



It is hoped that a short dig will be possible over the May Bank Holiday weekend (April 30 to May 2). Details will be announced in the next Newsletter. Enquiries to Brian Wrigley tel: 959 5982



Letter to the Editor from Percy Reboul:

"Nell Penny has done it again with a fascinating and well researched article into local boarding schools. Congratulations, it was a good read."

The first half of this article was published in the March issue of the Newsletter - in good 19th century tradition it is being published in parts. So for Percy and everyone else who is eagerly awaiting the second part, here it is!

I have not been able to find any information about the Reverend George Lawrence's school. He appeared in the census of 1811 as the Occupier of a house of 35 males and 8 females. He paid a modest £1:5s.0d when a 6d rate was set and he paid rates between 1811 and 1817. He was not attached to the parish church so I can only guess that he was a schoolmaster clergyman earning his living in the Burroughs, Parson Street, Holders Hill area of the parish.

There were also small girls' boarding schools noted by the enumerator who visited William Lockwood's mansion and the Reverend George Lawrence's house. Mrs. Young had a household of 13 females in 1811, but I do not think that Mary Garvie dubbed "school mistress" was anything more than a children's nurse. In 1821 Mrs Williams had a small school: one of her 13 residents was an infant, 3 were between five and ten years old, 4 between 10 and 15 and 2 between 15 and 20 years.

In 1801 there were no boarding schools in the 'North End' of Hendon parish. Perhaps Mill Hill was too remote from London and served by no main roads. But by 1811 the most famous of Hendon's boarding schools, Mill Hill School for the education of the sons of Protestant Dissenters, had been founded on part of its present site. In 1807 a committee of ministers and London merchants purchased Ridgeway House, originally an Elizabethan mansion, for their new school. In 1811 the school appears in the census records. It is recorded as headed by John Wood although Mr. Atkinson was the headmaster. John Wood was the clearheaded, stern disciplinarian who taught mathematics until 1825. He was responsible for all "matters not scholastic". In 1811 there were 62 males and 5 females living in Ridgeway House. The school fees were £45 a year with a reduction to £15 a year for the sons of ministers and "deserving cases". The timetable had a heavy classical bias; Latin and Greek occupied a great deal of the boys' time; but French, Mathematics, Drawing, Geography, History and English were also taught. The school day was a long one: In summer it stretched from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. with 4 ½ hours for meals, prayers and recreation. There were half-holidays on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In 1821 the school was still "Mr Wood's Academy", housing 82 males and 6 females. Of the males 56 were obviously schoolboys between 10 and 15 years and 22 aged between 15 and 20 years. Before the next census in 1831 Ridgeway House had disappeared and the core of the present school had been built.

Mr Wood left Mill Hill School in 1825 when the new school was being built. Perhaps the trustees were annoyed that he was a partner in a junior school established by his brother-in-law, Mr Thorogood, in a castellated house in front of the present St. Paul's vicarage. This school had 20 boys aged between 5 and 10 years, and 27 between 10 and 15 years. Perhaps Mill Hill trustees thought Mr Thorogood was poaching their pupils.

Nearer the top of Bittacy Hill there was another boys' boarding school in Littleberries, the old mansion today part of St Vincent's Convent. Mr Lockwood of Burroughs Union House School had moved to Mill Hill - presumably in 1816. In 1821 his mansion housed 65 persons - 56 males and 9 females. There were 12 boys aged between 5 and 10 years, 31 between 10 and 15 years, but only 4 between 15 and 20 years. Mr Lockwood paid £2.10.00 rates on a 6d rate for his mansion and £2.10.00 for land. He continued to occupy Littleberries until 1825 when it was bought as a private residence by a Mr. Kerr.


Geraldine Beech began her lecture with a short account of the work of the Public Record Office. All Government Departments have to decide which of their many documents need to be preserved and these are deposited with the P.R.O. After 30 years most of these documents can be read by the public except in such cases as documents concerned with national defence, and personal records which may have a time limit of up to 100 years before they can be read. Going on from this introduction Miss Beech turned to tithe maps kept at the P.R.O.  emphasizing that these maps only constitute a very small proportion of the several million maps held by the Map Department of which Miss Beech is an Assistant Keeper.

Historically tithes were a tenth part of the annual value of the products of the land, of stock reared on the land and of profits made from mills and fishing which had to be paid to the Church.

Tithes were also divided into great and small tithes - great tithes which consisted of corn, grain, hay and wood generally were paid to the rector, and small tithes went to the vicar. At the dissolution of the monasteries many of the rectorial tithes went to laymen while the vicar kept the rest. From early times money payments began to replace payments in kind, this increased with enclosures especially in the 18th century. Enclosure Acts fixed a payment which varied with the price of corn or allocated an amount of land in lieu of tithes. But by 1836 tithes were still payable in the majority of parishes in England and Wales. So it was decided to commute tithes. This meant that maps had to be drawn to show details of each parish - areas of pasture, crops, orchards, common land, houses, boundaries, roads. Only about a sixth of the total maps were sealed as first class maps by the Tithe Commissioners. The remainder were sometimes old manorial maps or inferior original surveys. Finally in 1936 a Tithe Act abolished all tithe rent charges payable on land, these were replaced by redemption annuities and these in turn were abolished in 1976. To the local historian the tithe plans and the written survey that accompanied them are of greatest value, since they provide the first large scale survey of a large part of the country (extending to some 11,800 parishes in England and Wales) and from them it is possible to reconstruct rural and sometimes urban conditions as the work of the Tithe Commissioners extended to many towns. There are of course many errors and emissions in the maps and the maps need to be used with other evidence, but their value remains as the Commissioners said 'as a General Survey and Register of Real Property' 



(LAMAS )March 12 1988, at the Museum of London.   Jean Snelling

We had a full day of recent excavations in Greater London and of archaeology on Thames gravels, including work based on Oxford and northwest Surrey. This conference always produces a wealth of interesting stuff that is just too much to pass on (and why don't more HADAS members come? or even join LAMAS as individual members?).

Certain themes emerged, to be reported here. First the extraordinary extent of present excavations while the City Big Bang and the riverside gravel extractions make their impacts. London office buildings even of the 1960s are replaced by larger buildings to house new electronic needs; roads are insatiable for travel. The Museum of London's teams of archaeologists expect 50 excavations in 1988 and staff expanding from 97 to 168.

Among the organisational changes involved the theme of relating to developers is persistent and includes the gravel developers. Strides are being made in acquainting them with archaeological interests, in cooperating with them and respecting their needs, and in being funded by them. In the more promising areas flexibility advances; we heard of the rural Roman amphitheatre excavation (Frilford) to be funded by a neighbouring Italian restaurant, and of aerial photography for a site of common interest to be funded by the local metal detectors' club.

The eyots of the Thames were mentioned frequently. From Lechlade to Chertsey to Hounslow to Bermondsey to Barking and Rainham the search is on for the prehistoric settlements on those islands which are now obscured by the surrounding channels filled with alluvium. Alluvium masks but also preserves what it hides. The gravel extraction can help to reveal the archaeology, if the archaeologists are quick enough.

From these and other excavations the prehistory emerges little by little. A dig below the old canal dock and the old high road at Uxbridge, searching for the underlying ruins of an Elizabethan mansion, came eventually to an undisturbed late Paleolithic knapping floor. Flint flakes lay beside their cores , and large flint tools (10-14 cms) are attributed to the Long Blade industry, rare in England but known on the continent, and operating in the last glacial period about 10,000 years ago. Nearby bones of reindeer, horse and other large mammals are expected to give radiocarbon dating.

From South Woodford come lower Paleolithic hand axes and flakes in situ. From Bermondsey eyot comes a Neolithic hand axe of 20cms of chipped stone and hafted, found below the shoreline, perhaps a ritual deposit. Close to it lay a platform of cut and interlaced wood similar to platforms of the Somerset trackways, raising the possibility of Southwark trackways. From Sipson Lane, Harmondsworth, come the bones of an auroch (wild bull) along with barbed and tanged arrowheads. (in the displays mounted by local societies as part of this conference were our HADAS finds, the Mesolithic flints and Bronze Age arrowhead from Brockley Hill 1987. We can feel gratified to have a rare clay site, amid all this gravel.) Another Neolithic axe comes from the Roman villa site at Beddington, Sutton, with a BA perforated hammer head. From Shepperton come a Neolithic mace head, a BA socketed axe with wooden handle and an Iron Age sword with enamelled scabbard. 

The well-known 'ritual deposits' of BA and IA fine metalwork found in the Thames not only point to lost settlements, but may also indicate a particular spot for such deposits at the confluence of the Thames with the river Wey. Continuity extends to Roman pewter plates and Saxon swords.

New features of Roman London have appeared in the press, for instance the amphitheatre and the C1 mosaic in Gutter Lane. We heard too of the excavation of the Bucklersbury shaft (Mansion House) of the Docklands Light Railway. Roman buildings at the bottom set up property lines which were maintained by medieval buildings and so through to Victorian times. A Roman planked floor allowed soldiers to drop bits of equipment through it for excavators to find.

Saxon London, probably 600-900 AD, has also appeared in the press. Stretching from the Fleet River to the National Gallery and to Long Acre on the north, its Covent Garden industrial areas are emerging part by part.

We heard from the Oxford unit that early C5 Saxon farms around Lechlade, relaxing after the intensive land development of the Roman period, made the same choice of lighter soils as had the Neolithics and settled for the secondary gravel terraces.

After so much London and Middlesex activity it was refreshing to hear about the Oxford unit's five counties, where repeated aerial photography combines with field walking to discover new sites. Over such a wide area policy has to be considered with care. Regional complements and deficiencies in types of site influence planning. Comparability between suitable sites can be enhanced by selecting comparable methods of excavation. Large slabs of country, due for development, can be studied layer by layer from modern to prehistoric settlement - with help from the metal detectors. The study of weed remains can show ancient advances to new arable lands. The contents of Iron Age grain storage pits show distinctions between the large scale producers and the modest local consumers.

Contrasts between broad principles and excavation minutiae made this a very stimulating day.



We have had a feast of exhibitions in London recently and after the razzamatazz of the Emperor's Warriors and the Age of Chivalry there is still another waiting to be seen at the British Museum. This has parallels with the Chinese exposition in that Suleyman the Magnificent was also a great leader who consolidated an empire, doubling the size of the Ottoman Empire during his life.

Suleyman (born in 1494. son of Selim I) was contemporary with Henry VIII of England, the Habsburg emperor Charles V, Francis I of France and Ivan ("the Terrible"),  Tsar of Muscovy. He was an outstanding leader lawgiver and patron of the arts.

 The exhibition consists mainly of loans from Turkey, notably from the Topkapi Saray in Istanbul which was Suleyman's palace. There are prints from the British Museum's own collection and ceramics, especially from the Goodman collection which was bequeathed to the EM in 1983. The exhibition glows with colour, - costumes, armour, books and ceramics depicting the rule of Suleyman the conqueror and the ruler, as well as the religion and life of the court during his reign. 


ZIMBABWE - THE GREAT   June and Hans Porges

We left Bulawayo on a sunny morning driving through the suburbs filled with the astonishing blue of the jacaranda trees and the varying shades of bougainvillaea and out onto the good straight road to Masvingo (formerly Fort Victoria) which is the oldest town in Zimbabwe, founded by the first settlers as they trekked northwards. Matabeleland was dry and brown, suffering from the drought which has lasted seven years, and waiting longingly for the rains due in a month. The animals we saw from the car, mostly kudu and eland and cows, were thin and gaunt and the road dusty as we drove across the Highveld, passing the through areas rich in gold and other minerals. Gradually the country became less dry and glimpses of red appeared on the hillsides - the first masasa blossom of the spring. We turned off the road and found ourselves in a green flat valley, unloaded our cases at the attractive one- storey hotel, walked for five minutes and there standing up from the valley floor was a steep-sided rocky hill - the Hill Complex of the Great Zimbabwe. We only had time to scan it with field glasses that evening before the sun set, but had time to appreciate the wonderful position and atmosphere of the site.

Great Zimbabwe lies on the southern scarp of the 400-5000ft high plateau that forms the watershed between the Zambezi and the Limpopo rivers: cool, well watered, gently rolling plains covered in light savannah woodlands, free of tsetse fly and healthy for man and cattle. The largest and most striking hills around Great Zimbabwe are enormous smooth, bare, rounded domes of granite, formed by the exfoliation of layers of rock caused by marked daily changes of temperature due to the clear skies and tropical sunshine. These parallel-sided slabs of granite, 3 to 7 inches thick split off the domes, much as an onion peels, and slide down the slopes to collect as scree at the bottom. These can be readily cracked and broken down into manageable sizes to provide an abundant and natural source for building material. The fracture planes of the granite ensure that the broken pieces all have a very regular cuboidal shape with parallel top and bottom, vertical sides and a standard thickness, giving an accessible material which lends itself to building techniques based on more or less regular layers of stone.

All this became obvious the next morning when we set out to explore the site thoroughly, it was bright and sunny but cool enough for a cardigan, the following day was similar to the best hot English summer day. The whole site consists of three main groups of stone structures, the Hill Complex, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Complex. We went first to the Hill Complex which was known for many years as the Acropolis, there the huge natural boulders have been linked by short sections of dry stone wall built of neatly coursed, dressed blocks to form a series of inter-connected enclosures. There are several paths to the top which were used at different times and there are traces of circular huts built of daga, the local red clayey soil with gravel aggregates, which here must have been carried up from the valley. The Eastern enclosure of the Hill Complex, which incorporates towering natural boulders 50 - 60 feet high, and man-made platforms and stone pillars, six of which were capped with the famous stone birds - the Zimbabwe birds - is thought to have been a ritual site of some kind.

The Great Enclosure itself, sometimes known as the Elliptical Building, was a massive cuter wall, 100 feet in circumference and accompanied along about a third of its length by a parallel inner wall making a narrow corridor with walls in some places 30 feet high and 15 feet thick. At the end of the corridor is a solid conical tower. There are remains of daga huts within the enclosure, but unfortunately the whole site suffers from having been stripped by early settlers in the search for treasure. Radio carbon dates are few but from these, from the style of some pieces of pottery found and from parallel dating with other sub-Saharan structures five phases of occupation have been distinguished ranging from the Early Iron Age phase 1 occupation of the Hill Complex in the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, later Iron Age around the 11th and 12th centuries with Gumange ware pottery but no stone buildings, and around the 13th century pottery with a finer finish and relatively simple walled enclosures, pole and daga structures were more substantial than earlier. This was followed in the 14th and 15th centuries by the finest coursed stone and solid daga buildings.

In the valley there is a series of larger free-standing walled enclosures, which in several cases surrounded a complex of circular daga houses linked to each other by short sections of stone wall. The word Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona and means either stone houses or venerated houses. There are three wall styles at Great Zimbabwe - "P" style characterised by untrimmed face stone blocks and wavy courses with the bottom ones manning on unprepared foundations, these have been dated to the 13th century. The "Q" style has almost uniform sized face blocks and regular courses with the bottom ones on prepared surfaces, and includes steps, platforms and buttresses. This style has been dated to the 14th century. "R" style has a poor finish with irregular blocks piled haphazardly and wedged on top of each other, they were presumed to postdate the main building Phases.

Theories abound as to the use to which the enclosures were put, ritual, defence, prestige, slave or cattle enclosures. Opinion has fluctuated according to the political influences of the day. Zimbabwe is not unique, though it is the largest of an estimated 150 ruins that survive today over this area.

We spent nearly two days, not enough time, at this fabulous site - a marvellous combination of fascinating archaeology and an excellent hotel where we sat under the palm trees, sipping our cool drinks, watching the monkeys running across the roofs and the weaver binds chattering in and out of their tree colony.

While we were in Zimbabwe we also visited the Matopos, the hills to the west of Bulawayo, where there are many rock shelters and caves containing rock art. These Bushmen paintings, mostly depicting animals and humans, show four stages of development and ceased when animal husbanders and agriculturalists arrived and replaced the hunter-gatherers. The paintings are remarkable for the movement depicted. It is difficult to date this type of rock art, but carbon 14 dating has been used on some middens found underneath the paintings and these dates range from 60,000 to 1,000 years BC. Every phase of rock art shows the bow and arrow being carried by the human figures, therefore all the paintings must have been executed after the invention of the bow. Most of the paintings were done using colours obtained from the natural minerals found in nearby areas. Unfortunately time, damp and exfoliation are destroying some of the paintings, and at least one attempt at preservation has caused more problems. The highest point in the Matopos National Park is the dome named Malindidzimu (the place of spirits), where Cecil Rhodes loved to sit and where he arranged to be buried. The view is magnificent , Africa stretching away on all sides. Finally, after time spent at a comfortable safari lodge, where we wallowed in our watering hole and then lay on sunbeds to watch the animals visiting theirs, and where we had the opportunity to see wildlife moving across the landscape to which it belongs, we went on to the breathtaking Victoria Falls. Nature might have designed the Falls for tourists, the water comes crashing down into a gorge and then the river flows on to the right so it is possible to stand on the opposite side of the gorge to watch the rainbows forming and to attempt to photographs this immense sight. The spray from the Falls creates a rain forest, and water proofs and umbrellas are needed at some times of the year when walking along the edge of the gorge which is kept blessedly free of any commercial enterprises. Here we stayed at the historic Victoria Falls hotel, the first version of which was built in 1904 as soon as the railway, originally intended to go from the Cape to Cairo, reached Victoria Falls. It immediately became the fashion to make an excursion to the Falls and the father of our friend in Zimbabwe, who had been an early mining engineer in what is now Zambia, and who incidentally made his first journeys up from the Cape on a bicycle which he then used a his chief mode of transport, once arrived rather travel-stained and short of clothing to find in the two years he had been in the bush the railway and the hotel had arrived and there were ladies and gentlemen in full evening dress dining in the hotel. The hotel was also one of the stopover places for travellers on the Imperial Airways (later BOAC) flying boat route from London to South Africa, the plane landed on the Zambezi above the Falls, where the river forms one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted water in Africa. We have given this piece the title "Zimbabwe the Great" because that was how we found it, a beautiful country with friendly, smiling people, good hotels and roads, a beautiful climate and tap water you can drink!



This title has been given to an exhibition running at the Church Farm House Museum, Hendon until April 17. It is an exhibition of donations and other acquisitions from the Museum's own collection. This is an opportunity to see material from books to bee-skips, from cradles to calculators and from pie crimpers to projectors acquired during recent years. Don't forget the Museum is open weekdays (except Tuesday) 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5.30pm, Sundays 2pm to 5.30pm.