Newsletter-295-October-1995

HADAS DIARY

LECTURES;

Tuesday, 3rd October                                                  "The Spitalfields Project"

An interpretation of the skeletons from Christ Church, presented by Theya Mollison of the Museum of London.

Tuesday, 7th NovemberNot What There Used To Be" Presidential address byMichaell Robbins, FSA.

The reasons for the massive work of church restoration undertaken in the nineteenth century, some of the principal figures engaged in it and the controversies it gave rise to, and the intellectual, artistic, and social background to the process.

REMEMBER ! Venue for Lectures in 1995 is the Stephen's Room, 1st Floor, Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley. N.3. 8 p.m. for 8.30 p.m.

MORNING WALK and VISIT to the TRAVELLERS' CLUB with MARY O'CONNELL Thursday, 5th October PLEASE NOTE this event is fully booked.  MEMBERS who have BOOKED, please meet at the Club at 10.15 a.m.(not 10.30)

 

LAMAS EVENTS

Tuesday, 10th October LECTURE by Colin Manton on "The Early Aircraft Industry of North London"

Lecture is at the Museum of London - refreshments at 6 p.m.-lecture 6.30. Saturday, 18th November    

LOCAL HISTORY CONFERENCE - ONE DAY

"Banishing London's Slums"

Conference is in the Lecture Theatre, Museum of London, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

MEMBERS' NEWS

HADAS EXAMINATION SUCCESSES 1995

MASTER of ARTS - ANDY SIMPSON, in MUSEUM STUDIES,LEICESTER UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR of ARTS - CELIA GOULD (1st Class Honours) in ANCIENT WORLD STUDIES, UNIUERSITY COLLEGE, London

BIRKBECK COLLEGE CERTIFICATE and DIPLOMA in FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY

BILL BASS, CARL HUMBERSTONE and ROY WALKER have completed the DIPLOMA YEAR; JEAN BAYNE has completed the third (final) year of the CERTIFICATE.

BIRKBECK COLLEGE CERTIFICATE in HISTORY VIKKI O'CONNOR has completed the first year of the CERTIFICATE.

 

We hear that TED SAMMES, who has recently had a spell in hospital, is

now safely back home again, We are sure he will soon be fully restored

to health and fighting fitness as usual

HADAS members were not the only ones curious about the identity of the bearded gentleman on last Autumn's cover of the London Archaeologist. Sadly, it is not Paddy Musgrove after all. In the following Spring edit­ion of that magazine, Stephen Castle wrote to identify Philip Suggett, the site director, with Gilbert F. Cole inspecting a flagon at Brockley Hill in 1952. Our thanks to Max Hoathen for that information.

From Tessa Smith.

 

HENDON AERODROME

I had not been close to the buildings at Hendon Aerodrome for some time, although I had kept an eye on them in passing from the train or the motor­way and was satisfied that they were still standing. It was something of a shock, therefore, to walk around the area one hot afternoon in August to find that all but the Listed Buildings around the Grahame White Hangar have been razed to the ground,

The hangar, factory, and offices with control tower above are now highly visible from Grahame Park Way. The windows are boarded up and the balcony to the offices is in a poor state of repair. The neglect of these hist­oric buildings is only too evident. Unfortunately, there is not much one can do. The site retires money and that is the one thing that is lacking.

By contrast, the nearby hotel built by Grahame White for VIPs has been taken over by Middlesex University and, at least externally, looks in

good shape. One wonders what the university has done, or what the students will do, to the interior.,,but let's be thankful that something of the Grahame White 'empire' looks likely to survive.

From the grounds of the RAF Museum one can also see the 1930s buildings put up by the RAF during the expansion period before World War Two. These, too, are boarded up, and the weeds are growing high around them. They seem to be the next candidates for demolition. They are not unique - the RAF still uses similar buildings at other stations. However, it seems a pity that they cannot somehow be incorporated into the RAF Museum as actual ex-

amples of some of the buildings typical of RAF stations. They would be so much better than the models in the museum.

From Bill Firth.

DURHAM and HADRIAN'S WALL

The 1995 Long Weekend at Three World Heritage Sites  - DAY 1

It's ten past eight at Golders Green station, and the last group of hardy HADAS members join the coach bound for 'Up North'. To our sur­pulse, there are a few empty seats. This, our amiable driver (Andy) explains, is because we are in a substitute coach; the one we should have had (plus loo) was leaking through the roof. By the time we reached Hadrian's Wall in the rain, we were glad to have the water­proofed version.

The first leg of the journey took us to Tuxford, where we stopped for coffee at The Newcastle Arms. After coffee, the members divided into two main groups. One group explored the nearby church of St. Nicholas, part of which dates back to Saxon times. A stained glass St. Lawrence window dating from the 15th century could be seen - but why is it there in the church of St. Nicholas ?

From there we headed North. . The first. World Heritage site on our tour was Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Gardens, where we stopped for our lunch and a walk. Once the largest Abbey in England, and now the largest monastic remains, Fountains Abbey was founded in 1132, on a site which was later described as 'fit more for the dens of wild beasts than for the use of man'. The buildings were reconstructed between 1148 and 1179, after enemies of the Abbot had broken in and destroyed the.Abbey by fire. The only major additions after 1179 were the Chapel of the Nine Altons in the 13th century, and the north Tower in the 15th century. At first, the monks suffered considerable hardship but the Abbey ultimately became the richest Cistercian house in England. The ruins clearly demonstrate the layout of a Norman and medieval monas­tic foundation as the whole ground plan has survived, and we could see the nave,tower, refectory, lay brothers' quarters and cellarium with its fine vaulting, The Abbey also possesses its 12th century tunnell - ing, constructed to conduct the river Skell for waterworks and drainage. After viewing the Abbey, we then had time to walk around the beautiful water garden, dating from 1716, which is set in the steep-sided valley of the Skell. It is made up of straight canals and geometrically-shaped pools, with statues, temples and towers tucked into the land­scape of ridges and trees. An altogether enchanting place...

North again to Durham. We parked in the coach parkand transferred by minibus or on foot to St. John's College. On arrival we were ushered into the dining hall where tea was served and rooms were allocated. Supper was taken in the dining room - a fine wood-panelled room with photographs of former college students on the walls. After refresh­ments, HADAS adjourned to the lecture theatre, where we had a short welcome talk, and then met our guide, Richard Brickstock. He present­ed an illistrated Lecture to introduce us to the area of Durham and Hadrian's Wall, and to familiarize us with some of the local delights to come...

In summary

When HADAS from Hendon departed,

Our journey to Durham had started.

With Richard our guide,

Whose knowledge was wide,

Our experts were truly out-smarted.

Paul and Micky 0’Flynn

Day 2 - Saints and soldiers

Friday was a busy day with visits to a 12th century church, two major sites and Durham University's Archaeological Museum.

The first stop of the day was at St Lawrence Church, Hallgarth in Pittington which was once part of the endowments of the Benedictine monastery in Durham. The church has the most wonderful carved Norman pillars, alternately octagonal and round. The octagonal pillars are decorated with vertical fluting; the round ones each have a spiral carved in relief, climbing sinuously round them from base to capital. Chi either side of the westernmost of two small windows are two impressive 12th century wall paintings, rediscovered in 1846 and restored in the early 1970s. One shows the consecration of St. .Cuthbert as a Bishop, with Ecfrith the King of Northumbria in the background. The other records St.Cuthbert's vision of the death of "a holy person" which occurred when he was dining with the Abbess Aelfleda at Whitby Abbey. These two paintings may once have been part of a much larger cycle illustrating St.Cuthbert's life. At the west end of the nave there is an intriguing collection of medieval sculptured stones and grave markers.

On our way to South Shields we paused briefly at the Penshaw Monument, a 19th century classical Greek temple paid for by subscriptions from Durham miners and later we glimpsed Hylton Castle, a 12th century fortified manor house, now reduced to a gutted shell.

Our main visit of the morning was to the Roman fort of Arbeia at South Shields, which lies in the middle of a residential area of the town on a flat-topped hill overlooking the mouth of the River Tyne. The importance of the site to the Romans was its position guarding a port on the riverside below (as yet undiscovered), through which passed men, materials and supplies on their way to Hadrian's Wall and the frontier area.

Early excavation took place in 1875 when the land was cleared for housing. Many finds were unearthed and the remains of the buildings preserved as a "People's Roman Remains Park". Further excavations were carried out in 1930s, 50s and 60s. In 1975 Tyne & Wear Museums were given the responsibility of the site and they have been working continuously on the research area. (which covers 1000 square metres) since 1983.

Recent fmds of flint tools and an Iron Age farmstead indicate early occupation of the headland site but the date of the earliest Roman military occupation has still to be determined. Buildings dated to c. AD 125 seem to belong to a civilian settlement outside an early fort which has still to be located.

The site is very complex as buildings were altered, enlarged and adapted to the changing circumstances of the legions during the centuries of Roman occupation. In AD 160s when Hadrian's Wall was re-occupied following the abandonment of the Antonine Wall further north, a new fort was built at South Shields. Its size indicated a garrison of 480 foot soldiers and 120 cavalry. In the early 3rd century it was enlarged to form a great supply base with thirteen huge stone-built granaries, each raised above ground level to allow underfloor ventilation of the stored grain. In the late 3rd/early 4th centuries there is evidence that many buildings within the fort were destroyed by fire and in the re-building granaries were converted into barracks. As previously, the fort was divided into two areas, the supply base to the north and the garrison accommodation to the south. A large courtyard house, a set of baths and a new headquarters building were erected. When the legions left Britain in the 5th century the fort continued to be occupied, probably by a local British chief. It may finally have been abandoned in the 7th century when the monasteries at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow were built. Dominating the site today is the impressive reconstructed West Gate, opened in 1988, which gives a vivid idea of the scale of Roman military building.

The afternoon visit was to Bede's World, the museum of early medieval Northumbria in Jarrow. It is being developed on an 11 acre site on the banks of the River Don, adjacent to St. Paul's Church and the remains of Bede's Monastery. The centrepiece is a new museum building, not yet finished, designed in the style of an Italian villa complete with atrium. An experimental medieval farm is being recreated around the museum building to bring to life the world Bede knew. Medieval techniques are being used to construct timber-framed buildings and two oxen (called Wellington and Bantu) are being trained to pull a wooden plough. Ancient strains of wheat are being grown and more crops will be planted as the soil is improved. Sheep, pigs and pond complete the picture. 10,003 native species trees have been planted but unfortunately most have suffered badly in this summer's drought. The whole ambitious project which aims to preserve the Jarrow site as a centre of historical, religious and cultural importance will cost £5 million.

The 7th century church of St. Paul built by monks from Monkwearmouth, has a beautiful Saxon chancel with fragments of some of the oldest stained glass in Europe set together in a small window. Outside the church are the remains of the domestic buildings of the monastery and the standing ruins date mainly from the 11th century. Bede came to Jarrow c.685 and taught, studied and wrote sixty books. He died in 735 and his bones now lie in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral.

Our return to Durham was delayed by traffic approaching the Tyne tunnel and unfortunately we were too late to visit the Heritage Centre in the city. After supper we walked to the old Fulling Mill on the river bank below the Cathedral which now houses the University's Archaeological Museum. Richard Brigstock, our guide for the week-end is Curator of the Museum and arranged to open it specially for us. The excellent displays traced the development of the City, and presented key information about the history of Northumbria from Neolithic times to the present day. Friday was a full, exciting and exhausting day -well planned and illuminated by enthusiastic guides at every stop.

Day 3 – Saturday – Hadrian’s Wall

We woke to rain and leaden skies, the Sun-god had deserted us! No Problem! Our cohort set out for Hadrian’s Wall brandishing umbrellas instead of swords and spears, raincoats instead of cuirasses. We travelled north via Penshaw Monument. Hefty black and Parthenon-like, conspicuous for miles around, until the driver of our chariot manipulated a very tight corner most skillfully and we drew up at Corbridge (Corstopitum) Fort at the point where Stanegate – East/west, met Dere Street – north/south,

The vast expanse of stone foundations was impressive indeed buttressed stores with flagged stone floors suspended ation flues - elaborate series of conduits to channel supply - an aqueduct with basin pediment and statue bases - the famous Corbridge lion astride a stag. Inside the museum we warmed our hands and used our imagination to bring the camp to life - the Roman tools, medical instruments, ornaments, rings and the fascinating boxed hoard of armour, clamoured for our attention.

ndeed, huge over ventil­the water

 

 

In Corbridge village we saw the stone arch purloined from the Roman site and integrated near the bell-tower of the church. Some of us also saw the local leek show! Huge monsters, like fallen warriors, vied with each other for prize money of over £3,000

Then on towards Housesteads (Vercovicium). En route we stopped for a really close look at part of the wall and a turret, to see the construction building material, the facing stones, and huge vellum ditch. The wall was built by three Roman legions :

II Augusta, XX Valeria Victrix, and VI Victrix, and the turrets were a third of a Roman mile apart. Hands up those of you who know how long is a Roman mile !

Housesteads itself is built on a dramatic site on the crest of a steep escarpment with a huge drop on the north side. The hills were green and wet, we were damp and cold ...

' Over the heather the wet wind blows,

I've lice in my tunic and cold in my nose –

The rain comes pattering out of the sky –

 I'm a Wall soldier, I don't know why.'

(W.H. Auden, with thanks to Muriel Large)

In contrast to the barracks, the commander's house was opulent and impressive; built round a courtyard with under-floor heating, it incorporated kitchens, latrines and stabling. Another court-yard building has been interpreted as a hospital block, and, of course, there was the granary. But the best preserved building is set at the south-east corner, with scalloped stone holding-tank, a magnificent temple-like latrine with panoramic views.

We slithered down the slippery slopes; some slithered more than others, and on to the mysterious Carrawburgh Mithraeum. Here the Roman soldiers worshipped Mithras the god of light and witnessed the slaying of the bull in dark secrecy, with initiation rites to test powers of endurance and courage. The small sanctuary contained stone altars and sculptures, one of which had a pierced halo to allow through the flickering light& a candle. Spooky !

Thence onwards to altogether more convivial and lively wining and dining at the County Hotel in Hexham. Then, for some, a final spirited gathering in the college cellar-bar, for others a sprightly search for an empty hypocaust, for all of us, reluctantly, our last night in Durham.

Tessa Smith

Day 4         Sunday, 3rd September              Part One - Durham Castle

We left St John's College, where we had all enjoyed our stay, on Sunday morning, to visit the Castle and later Durham Cathedral. It was raining hard, so we walked quickly to the Castle and all were pleased to see a canopy opposite the main entrance where we could shelter before our guide arrived. The Castle, like the

Cathedral, was built on the narrow neck of land that once guarded the approach to the City. It was originally on the site of a Saxon church, founded in A.D. 995. The Castle was built about 1072, and formerly, for a while, the seat of the Bishops before they

moved to Bishop Auckland. The Bishops were the secular as well as the spiritual lords of the County Durham - which is a County Palatine.

Before we were taken upstairs, we descended to the old Norman Chapel, started 1078, but abandoned and opened up years later in 1840. It has the original Norman floor tiles. The sandstone pillars are mixed with iron, hence the lovely shades going down each one. The windows had been closed off with soil years ago to protect the Chapel. Services are held there today. We then climbed a spiral staircase and after I got my breath back I was able to walk along the Constable's Gallery and admire the big table which is over 500 years old. Part of this gallery had been made into the Bishop's quarters, but not now - there was some mention

of a ghost, but not around whilst we were there !

We then went to see the Great Staircase and admired a surrounding table which was originally used for hearing in the Cathedral, but earlier thought to be an ordinary table. The stairs were really beautiful, but had to be re-inforced over the years with black-looking tree trunks, which blended with the stairs.

We moved on to see the 13th century Great Hall, which was probably built in Bishop Bek's time and is still used by the University

for many functions, including the awarding of degrees. The Castle houses the University and is the third oldest after 0xford and Cambridge. The students still have their meals in the Great Hall and we saw the Royal Arms of Charles II. On one wall there were hel­mets from the Civil War, including small helmets worn by children, who were in the army too. The lovely woodwork walls in the Hall were put in by the University, but blended in well. Then we were taken to see the original kitchens - still in use today, but mod­ernised. Bishop Fox in the 15th century had them built, and his black service hatches are still in use - in front there are prayers carved at the top of the hatches, so when food is served it has already been blessed by the Bishop. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Castle.

P.S. On Wednesday, 6th September, I watched a repeat of 'Songs of Praise' on BBC 2 and it was about Fountains Abbey -how lovely to see again the Abbey and beautiful walks along the river and the ruins of the area.

Thanks to all who arranged this weekend away.

Phyllis Fletcher

Day 4 Sunday, 3rd September Part Two - Durham Cathedral

Our final visit was to Durham Cathedral. As we entered via the Galilee Chapel, we could hear beautiful choral music. There was a service in progress, followed by a Communion Service for a vast gathering of lady bowlers in their whites and panama hats. The service was not due to finish until 12.30 p.m., so we took the opportunity to visit the cloisters, almshouses and other places of interest, followed by an early snack lunch at the Undercroft Cafe. Although time was limited, we were able to see the main features of the Cathedral: the tomb of the Venerable Bede in the Galilee Chapel; the 17th century font with magnificent carved canopy; a few yards from the font, a line of Purbeck marble set in the floor marking the boundary which no woman was allowed to pass-in accordance with Benedictine regulation; the splendid nave with huge incised columns;

the Bishop's throne built by Thomas Hatfield, 1345 - 1381; and in

the choir in place of honour, St Cuthbert's tomb behind the altar, together with a semi-circular lead line set in the floor showing

the position of the Norman Apse. Before leaving by the North door, I could not resist touching the Sanctuary Knocker, so called because it was used by criminals and others for their safety from pursuers.

The Cathedral was the ideal setting to bid farewell to Durham.

Thank you, Dorothy, for a well organised trip, full of archaeol­ogical and historical interest.

Marjorie Errington.

 

THE TREASURE OF PIGSTY VILLA  from John Enderby, Fontmell Magma, Dorset

About two years ago when endeavouring to create a shrubbery from waste ground by our barn, I unearthed some fifty fragments of pretty flower-patterned porcelain. One wet evening sometime later, I occupied myself piecing these together with the help of polyfilla and UHU and, to my amazement, found I had an exquisite soup tureen, from what had previously been a doll's dinner service! Every piece, including the cover, was there.

I placed the completed article on the mantelpiece, radiating pride in my handiwork. Then some six months later, Eddie and Betty Fuson, both 91, accompanied by their daughters Joan (Cherrie) and Dawn (together with Joan's Husband, Eric), who had moved from Lurmer Street to Fosse Cottage (where John now lives) in the 1930s, called to see what we had made of their old home. Joan now lives with Eric in Zimbabwe and was on a brief visit to her parents in Bournemouth. When Joan looked at the knick-knacks on the mantelpiece her face dissolved in tears. When she had recovered, she explained that the soup tureen was hers some 60 years ago when she used to hold pretend dinner parties in the partitioned end of the barn which she called Pigsty Villa. How her treasured possession came to be found in its broken state in what had been the yard of the barn remains a mystery, but what is a happy fact is that the treasured relic is now displayed proudly in Joan's beautiful home in Harare, Zimbabwe, having been at last reunited with its happy owner.

'INTERNET ARCHAEOLOGY' a new journal available to subscribers on 'Internet' is reported in The Times of 21st September. Published by the Council for British Archaeology, papers sub­mitted will be judged on scholarly criteria and suitability for the new medium. General articles, excavation reports and studies of new technology applied in archaeology will be available, with the advantage of much shorter time-lags to publication.

 

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