Newsletter-306-October-1996

No. 306                                                    OCTOBER 1996                                           Edited by Micky Watkins

DIARY

Tuesday 8 October

Saturday 12 October

"The Temple of Mithras, Cripplegate Fort and Professor Grimes" Lecture by John Shepherd, Museum of London

Professor Grimes was HADAS President for many years and led us on an exciting weekend in South Wales in 1983.

John Shepherd is Curator of the Grimes Archive.

MINIMART 11.30am. - 2.30pm.

Helpers and contributors please ring Dorothy on 0181 203 0950 Bring your friends and relatives. Children will enjoy buying early Christmas presents. Lots of bargains, homemade quiche lunches.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR HADAS

HADAS RESISTIVITY METER                                                                                                   Brian Wrigley

We are grateful and pleased to be able to tell members that HADAS has received a grant of £500 from the Milly Apthorp Charitable Trust, via the London Borough of Barnet, towards the cost of a new resistivity meter. Our old Martin-Clark instrument was giving us some odd readings ( e.g. in our surveying at Kenwood for the ancient ditch ), which we at first put down to the extremely dry weather last summer, but we at last came to the conclusion that the instrument was not working right and this was confirmed by Victor Jones' tests in his own back garden where he had previously tested it over many years, thus having a good knowledge of the results that should be obtained! So we decided that, the machine being some 25 years old, it was time we had a new one.

The new instrument will cost a little over £900, so the grant is a great help, and we are proceeding with the purchase. We are applying to the CBA Challenge Funding scheme for help with the balance, which we hope we may get. We look forward to being able to proceed then, with a reliable instrument, to continue our work at Kenwood, Hampstead Heath, Church Farm Hendon and elsewhere.

GREATER LONDON SITES AND MONUMENTS RECORD                                          Brian Wrigley

Earlier this year, we obtained, by the good offices of English Heritage, an up-dated print-out of the SMR for the London Borough of Barnet. The Excavation Working Party have studied this voluminous document with interest, and as a result have been able to send in over a dozen "error report" forms which we hope will help to keep it accurate. One or two of these have been references to digs in the distant past, where reference to old HADAS work notes have helped to clear up discrepancies. We certainly hope to continue this work in the future, as the SMR is a most useful archaeological tool - so long as it can be relied on! - and it is clearly a duty on us to do our best to help.

CAN YOU HELP HADAS TO FIND NEW PREMISES ?

HADAS may have to relinquish the Garden Room at Avenue House and we must look for alternative accommodation for our library and store. See Roy Walker's appeal on page 5.


A WEEKEND IN CORNWALL, AUGUST 29TH - SEPTEMBER 1ST 1996

THURSDAY                                                                                                                                   Paul O'Flynn

At 8am. (not pm. as advertised), the last of our party of HADAS members climbed onto the coach at Golders Green at the start of the 20th HADAS weekend. All appeared well as we started off around the North Circular Road, until just past Ealing we joined the end of a substantial traffic jam caused by slip road works at the Chiswick flyover. After an hour and a half delay we finally reached the M4. An average speed of 10 mph. - things were not going well!

As we journeyed West along the M4 concern was raised about the coach's on board plumbing. Our driver Barry explained that it had become blocked on a return journey from Amsterdam - a cache of drugs perhaps? Fortunately the motorway was remarkably clear and so the long haul towards Truro started in earnest.

Members had started to relax (and a few to doze off ) when a loud bang at the front of the coach rudely awoke us. A stone thrown up by a car in front hit the windscreen and shattered part of it. I found some of the glass in my road maps, more was found half way along the coach. We were not deterred.

By 3.25pm. we were in the outskirts of Truro and navigating the one-way system down narrow streets in the 57 seater coach. This was to be the first of many challenging manoeuvres for our driver (see King Harry ferry below ). As much by good luck as good judgement we pulled up right outside the Royal Cornwall Museum on the tick of 3.30, and were advised to take afternoon tea before visiting the museum. ( Dorothy says this amazing punctuality was in spite of Paul and Barry ignoring the four colour direction maps from the Tourist Office - an excellent feat of navigation. )

At 4pm., Anna Tyacke, curator of the Human History Department of the Museum took us on a conducted tour of some of the exhibits. The Museum was founded in 1919 and is very much in the 'old style' with cabinets, exhibits and labels chronicling the history of Cornwall from pre-history to the modern age. There is also a geological section and a small art gallery. The explanation of the various exhibits helped to put them in context and very much brought them to life. I particularly enjoyed seeing the early bronze age gold collars on display.

We departed from Truro to travel on to Falmouth, our base for the weekend. There we settled into our respective hotels for supper and an evening of leisure.

FRIDAY                                                                                                                                             Julius Baker

Friday morning saw the members of our party bestir themselves from about 7am.. Most of us had learnt to avoid starting the day on an excursion in a last minute rush and to sit down calmly to a good breakfast.

The sky was blue and cloudless except for the arrays of clouds on the horizon out at sea. We soon found ourselves on the typical narrow winding Cornish roads most of which, after centuries of different forms of transport, upon what had originally been paths, have been worn down three feet and more below the level of the land, and were lined with hedges of sycamore, hawthorne and gorse.

Our guide today was Peter Herring whose knowledge of the countryside, its history, geology and agriculture he tried to share with us - whilst we frantically attempted to pen the information in a moving bus and to look around at the fascinating countryside.

We were told that slate is the main rock in Cornwall but with outcrops of granite many of which were large enough to be quarried. Our attention was drawn to the quarrymen's little cottages and smallholdings on which they carried on subsistence farming. The houses of the quarry captains were larger, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

We passed a number of wind farms with modern gaunt windmills. These are a relatively new way of producing electricity and though they cause some hostility from local people they will reduce the number of pylons strung out across the countryside. We were told that there were at least as many Methodist chapels as churches in Cornwall.Close to the road we came upon the Merry Maidens - upright stones embedded in the earth, standing some 3 to 4 feet high in a circle. The story was that on an important ritual of the coming of Spring the maidens began to dance and were turned to stone.

The bridges of London were built of Cornish stone and of course many of the grand houses of the millionaires who owned the land and who had become rich during the boom in tin, copper and stone mined in Cornwall in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these families have migrated to London and neglected their homes and fields in Cornwall.

As we travelled the countryside became more lush, with bigger fields, hills and ravines and taller trees possibly because of richer soil. We stopped at Breage Church. There is a 2000 year old barrow nearby and on Tregonning Hill an iron age fort. In the parish a Roman milestone was found which is now in the Church. The stone bears a Latin inscription to the Emporor Postumus A.D258-268. The settlement there was in existence when St. Breaca arrived in about 500AD. The tower of the Church is 67 feet high and can be seen far out at sea. The paintings inside the Church were of great interest showing the tools of trade and the tradesmen of the 15th century remarkably clearly.

Scattered around there are many solitary stacks and roofless engine-houses, mute witnesses of the great days of Cornish mines. One of the largest and richest mines nearby had by 1840 a workforce of 1174. The slump in metal prices in 1877 led to a decline and to a final closure in 1901.

It was interesting to know that the Romans did not take over Devon and Cornwall as they did most parts of England. Since most of the tin the Romans used came from Spain in adequate quantities there was no need to direct their forces to the South West.

Breage Church has a Godolphin Chapel and the next stop was Godolphin House. The Godolphins were one of the most important families in Cornwall.The house is in grounds of about 450 acres with every indication that the grandees had been magnificent. In the 1620s it was famous architecturally, a building without peer in England, with a radical design for the times. Though there have been many changes to the house, the garden is the only known surviving medieval one in England. Recent documents discovered in the British Museum describe the gardens as the finest in England in 1530. Mrs Scofield, the present owner served us with tea in the inner courtyard and I doubt whether we will ever again sit in such gracious surroundings.

We left reluctantly and went on to Chysauster Ancient Village. This is a Celtic site on a windswept hillside with the remains of eight stone houses some with walls of 4 or 5 feet still standing. Most of the rooms were circular in which the families lived, with smaller rooms which may have been used for storage or animals. The settlement seems to have been for quite a well organised community. It was abandoned 1500 to 2000 years ago.

Our next stop was a Quoit where we had a magnificent walk over wild and rough country with the sea below on our left and all around the abandoned relics of the great tin mines. We returned to the bus tired but exhilirated and were then driven to our tryst with the dinner at Gurnards Hotel.

All in all a memorable day in an exciting and very busy four days. The weather throughout had been very kind to us, and the arrangements made by Dorothy were beyond praise.

SATURDAY                                                                                                                                      Tessa Smith

Our guide on Saturday was Peter Rose, and so, where better to go than St. Just-in-Roseland. This area does not refer to roses however, but is a derivation of the old Cornish word roos', meaning promontory. We set off smoothly enough, admiring the ancient field patterns, cultivated since Celtic times, the sheep and the barley, when, suddenly, we had to negotiate a tortuous drop, down to King Harry ferry, King Harry being Henry VI and the ferry originally a steam chain ferry. Our driver, Barry, skilfully twisted and turned the coach to board, and the crossing was serene enough. However, on the other side the exit was impossibly steep and the whole coach of HADAS members had to disembark in order to lighten the load, then we watched anxiously as the valiant coach strained and scraped uphill on to the road again.

Surviving this ordeal we arrived safely at St-Just-in-Roseland. The setting of the 13th century Cornish
church was an absolute delight, nestling beside a small fishing creek and surrounded by magnificent steep
terraces of exotic shrubs and trees. The church contained a double piscina and some interesting modern roof bosses, but it was the setting of this church that was so enchanting, and a HADAS member was heard to remark, as we puffed back uphill, that it would be a lovely place to be buried in, so when one member failed to arrive back for roll-call, we did wonder ? However these steep pathways at St Just were nothing compared to our next exploit.

Cam beach was picturesque and inviting, but it was not to be, our guide headed in the opposite direction towards the height of Cam Beacon. At a brisk pace he led us up the diagonal hillside. That morning we all experienced the disadvantage of attacking a fortified Iron Age farmstead uphill, but, using our walking-sticks as crampons, we all arrived victorious, more or less intact, at a circular grassy plateau with bank and ditch carved out of the surrounding hillside. Admiring the wonderful views towards the south-west, the Lizard, and Goonhilly Downs, we gazed out where neolithic forests once grew and where now seas sparkled on a glorious summer day.

But we were ever upward bound towards the actual Beacon, site of the largest bronze age burial mound in Cornwall. When excavated, a limestone cist had been found with burial ashes inside and secondary cremation burials with a bronze age urn inside the stone cairn above.

The tiny hamlet of Cam village lay seemingly abandoned to the ghosts of smugglers past. The majority of us accomplished the long walk via the coastguards' path to the smugglers bay at Prada Cove, near Nair Head. Through bracken and butterflies we tottered thankfully back down towards the ice-cream van and beach.

We then headed to the north coast of Cornwall to visit the Church of St. Mawgan-in-Pydar to admire, inside, its fine 16th century brasses, surprisingly still intact on the floor, and outside, its collection of 13th century wayside crosses gathered in from the countryside where originally they marked the way to church. An unusual and curious 10th century lantern cross had carving of seemingly a bishop, the crucifixion and annunciation. Beyond the church, in a small garden alcove, of a Carmelite convent, once the home of the Arundell family stood a fine 10th century cross with Christ-figure, serpents and dragons, signed Ruhal and reminding us of crosses in the Isle of Mann.

Our last stop on this lovely day was at Wheal Coats tin mine, on the cliff edge, originally mining tin from below sea-level. Peaceful and silent now compared to its tumultuous hammering past, the chimney and pumping engine ruins stood stark against the seascape.

Finally, to the Miners Arms, where rumours of ghosts and hauntings were quickly dispelled by good food, good wine and good company. So ended a long but satisfying day.

SUNDAY                                                                                                                                    Frances Radford

On our last day, alas ending our trip to West Cornwall, we visited Pendennis Castle, Falmouth. A steep uphill climb for the coach ( but then the driver was used to that! ) but affording us magnificent views over the coastline and sea southwards. We arrived at the outer gateway built, it is thought, about 1611. The high massive outer rampart set in a rocky base is most impressive and no doubt daunting for any would be attackers. Constructed in Elizabethan times when the threat of Spanish invasions ( more than one occasion ) seemed highly likely it must have appeared as a formidable obstacle. In the 16th century the Spanish and French showed considerable interest in this part of the coastline, the Spanish in particular having planned to invade and take control of West Cornwall as Sir Walter Raleigh had feared. Their attempt, however, was again thwarted, like the first, by the gales which blew up the Channel dispersing the fleet.

Our guide, Charlie Johns from the CAU, led us to the older centre of the fortress, the 1540-45 building, explaining the relationship between Pendennis and St Mawes Castle which stands on a lower promontory across the water, the two of them guarding the entrance to the river Fal, known as the Carrick Roads. Early 16th century guns were not long range hence the forts on either side of the entrance.

Life inside the forts must have been fairly grim judging by the display we saw at the upper gun deck. Guns were drawn up to the windows, any amount of cannon balls were strewn around and puffs of asphyxiating smoke rose up from the floor. Quarters were clearly very cramped for the gun crew who appeared to live and sleep close to the scene of action. Their food was cooked in a subterranean cavern or kitchen where there was very little light from the high windows. No sign of a well, but there must have been one. The Governor's quarters attached to the keep showed he lived in comparative comfort having rooms with larger windows, ample fireplaces and a bedroom with his own `mod-con' in a closet.


Though the keep was the main focus for the artillery there were gun placements at different levels including a minor fort "Little Dennis" with more guns at water level on the tip of the promontory. It could provide
auxiliary fire power at a lower level_

Returning to the central open space to the north west of the keep our guide pointed out an area known as The Hornwork" which is thought to have had a variety of buildings on it, probably to house soldiers. North of the area is a large barracks dating from 1901. The forts of St Mawes and Pendennis are built in the same circular pattern as other Henry VIII forts such as Deal.

Just recently the `Sealed Knot' Society has been re-enacting the Civil War battle here. St Mawes fell quickly to the Parliamentarians being more vulnerable but Pendennis continued to withstand the siege until after five months, starvation forced them to surrender. The enactment was over but curiosity was aroused at the sight of many high cylindrical wicker work constructions standing about. It turned out these were filled with earth and used for protection for the soldiers. Did they fire between them? - how were they used? Suggestions or answers please!

A memorable four days trip with so much to see and many questions to stimulate the brain cells. Who has the answer to a `fogou'?

Our thanks to Paul O'Flynn for his excellent navigating, and an enormous 'thank you' to Dorothy for all her careful organisation.

 

HELP!

THE GARDEN ROOM AT AVENUE HOUSE                                                                               Roy Walker

The Borough of Barnet has formally terminated our lease of this essential storeroom at. Avenue House but has started negotiations for a further three years letting with effect from January next year.

The proposed new rent is £190 higher than that currently passing (fixed four years ago) and is held to reflect the open market for such properties. We feel this increase is too high being equal to about a 5% compound increase per year which cannot reflect the increase in commercial property values within Barnet. However, we are awaiting details of the service charge before we can put fully our counter-proposals to the Council.

In the meantime, it would be helpful to hear from any member who knows of premises of about 200 square feet available at a reasonable rent which could be adapted for our long-term use as a library and finds store. Such information might be helpful in our negotiations or, indeed, as a standby should the total cost of renewing our lease be beyond the Society's means.

Details to Roy Walker please on 0181-361 1350.

MAX HOATHER. It was with regret that we heard of the death of Max Hoather, a member of very long standing. Max was an active participant at the 1955 excavations at Brockley Hill and kindly gave us several pieces of original information from those digs.OUTING TO WAVERLEY, FARNHAM AND SHALFORD                                                 Deidre Barrie

Sunday 17th August

"It's even got an index !" breathed the man in front of me. He was of course referring to the superb 20-page illustrated outing booklet handed round on the coach by Vikki O'Connor. (And Dorothy Newbury must have done her usual anti-rain dance, so naturally the day was fine ). A well-briefed coachful of HADAS members headed for Surrey, stopping for tea en route at "Lloyd George's local" with its rather kitsch Welsh-themed wrought iron fence.

Waverley Abbey was founded in the 12th century, when Abbot John and 12 Cistercian "white monks" arrived from Aumone, near Chatres. The ruins stand in a low, lush meadow by the river, with the picturesque 18th century Waverley Abbey House opposite on the other side of its lake.An anxious heron watched our approach. Judith Roebuck of English Heritage gave us a short, informative talk.

At the award winning Farnham Museum in 18th century Wilmer House, local author Jean Parratt spoke to us, mentioning the Roman villa and Bronze Age sites under her house. Charles I nightcap ( a lilac silk "pill­box" with gold thread embroidery - akin to ethnic day ware of the trendy young nowadays ) was one of the Museum exhibits.

Once again, Judith Roebuck was our guide when we visited Farnham Castle - a round shell keep, with 15th century brick entry tower. (The habitable part of the csastle is occupied by the Centre for International Briefing and not open on Saturdays.)

After time to explore Farnham ( definitely worth another visit ) we sped off for tea in the "Seahorse" at Shalford. The fit among the party scrambled tip at least three levels of ladders to the top of the 18th century mill - a picturesque old wooden building on one side of a nature trail. (An "undershot corn-mill", said The Booklet . ) Our thanks to English Heritage for their guides and to Vikki O'Connor and Bill Bass for arranging a fascinating outing.

MEMBERS' NEWS

BIRKBECK COLLEGE EXTRA-MURAL EXAMINATION SUCCESSES

Malcolm Stokes has passed the third and final year of the Certificate in Field Archaeology. Vikki O'Connor has passed the second year of the Certificate in Local History.

Roy Walker has passed the first year of the Certificate in the History of London. Our congratulations to all of them.

If anybody else has news of members' successes, please let us know.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

DIGGING AND THE SILLY SEASON

It is fortunate for archaeology that the best season for excavation coincides with the silly season when there is a dearth of political news. This summer The Times ran a series of articles on Roman Britain as well as giving good space to many reports on current digs.

South African archaeologists have found the remains of a King and Queen in a walled citadel in the Kruger National Park, close to the border with Zimbabwe. They lived in the 16th century, and artefacts found around, such as gold, iron, copper and bronze jewellery, show that their society was highly skilled and they were trading with faraway countries such as India and China. Times 8.8.19%

Where did the Romans land in AD43? Many HADAS members will have visited Richborough in Kent, which hitherto has been regarded as the only bridgehead. But recent excavations near Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex have revealed a military garrison and it is now being suggested that the invasion took place through Chichester harbour as well as at Richborough. Times 5.9.19%Roman Fort in Norfolk. The dry summer weather brought the 16-acre site to light in an aerial survey. In very dry weather, plants grew higher in the ditches, so revealing the outlines of the fort. It seems it was built to accomodate up to 2000 soldiers who were given the task of imposing order on Boudicca and the Iceni. The barracks were of wood, and the fort was only occupied for ten years. Times

Roman Wreck? A mile off Hayling Island, Hampshire, a diving team has discovered the remains of a 40 ft. ship and dating by the rings has shown the timbers are more than 500 years old. Carbon dating will establish whether the ship was Roman. It is thought that there must be many Roman ships sunk round Britain, but hitherto none have been found. Times 18.7.1996

Folly Restored. If you went on the Durham weekend last year, you will have seen the Penshaw Monument on the way to South Shields. Built as a tribute to the first Earl of Durham, it is a double sized replica of a Greek temple in the doric style. At a cost of £100,000 it is being re-pointed and strengthened - but not cleaned. The stonework is to remain blackened as a reminder of the area's tradition of heavy industry!

Is this a new folly? Times 8.8.1996

Latrunculus, the Roman Board Game

The remains of a Roman board game have been found in a burial pit near Colchester. The game is virtually intact, with all the disc shaped pieces near their starting positions so that the method of play can be worked out. It seems that the ten white and ten red discs represented soldiers and they were lined up facing each other as in draughts. Players were captured by trapping them between two pieces.The board was made of wood measuring 22in by 14in, was hinged in the middle and had metal corner pieces.

Are any members learning to play? 


CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM

" Images of the Spanish Civil War" is an Exhibition to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war. HADAS member, Alan Lawson, has contributed some of the photographs and the Exhibition also includes a film which Alan helped to make when he was in Spain from 1937-38.

Why not visit the Exhibition after lunch at the Minimart? - It is only just across the road on Greyhound Hill. Open 10am- I pm and 2pm-5pm. ( closed Fridays and Sunday Mornings }.Tel: 0181-203 0130

CONFERENCES

SCOLA CONFERENCE ON DARK AGE LONDON

Saturday 5th October, 1996, at the Museum of London from 10.00 am. Tickets at £7.50 from Peter Pickering, 3 Westbury Road, London, N12 7NY, enclosing an sae. Cheques payable to SCOLA please.

CBA CONFERENCE ON ROMAN LONDON

Saturday 16 November, 1996, at the Museum of London from 10.00 am. Tickets at £5.00 each are available from Derek Hills, CBA Mid Anglia, 34 Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead, Herts. A14 M.


COURSES

See p.8 of the September Newsletter for the many courses, lectures and weekend events starting this Autumn, including Diploma and Post-Diploma courses, lectures on the Roman Empire and weekend meetings on Egyptology.

ENGLISH HERITAGE WINTER LECTURES

English Heritage experts will give a series of 'entertaining and informative' talks on a variety of subjects: 16 Sept. Great Castles

7 Oct. English Heritage Treasures

4 Nov Archaeology

9 Dec. Craftsmen at Work

10 Feb. St. Augustine's Abbey

10 Mar. Quality of the Landscape

Lectures cost £3 each and can be booked in advance. They will be held at 6pm. in the English Heritage Lecture Theatre, 23 Savile Row, London. W1A 1BB

WEA EXTRA-MURAL CLASSES

June Porges writes:

Last season 1 attended a class given by Janet Corran at Bushey on The Golden Age of Rome. This was a WEA class but is included in the Birkbeck Extra-Mural assessed classes programme. Rather to my astonishment as it is part of the Archaeology Department programme, the course was on the history of Rome (Augustan period ) based on the literature. I didn't do classics at school and was completely ignorant of all this but found myself swept into the most exciting mornings with discussions which ranged over all sorts of related topics including English and French literature and history as my fellow students brought in their knowledge of these fields. Janet is a marvelous lecturer - unfortunately I think she is retiring after this year -and I would very much recommend this year's classes which are:

Emperors and Citizens: The Romans from Tiberius to Nero. Wed. 25th September, 10am. to 12 noon. 20 meetings. The Stable Room, Rudolph Road, Bushey, Herts. Watford WEA. Ring Peter Francis 0181-950­3199

The Age of Alexander. Thurs 3 October, 10am. to 12 noon. 20 meetings. Pinner Centre, Chapel Lane, Pinner and Hatch End WEA. Ring Heather Moodie 0181-427 5651

Incidentally I expect everyone else knows this quotation from Virgil's Georgics Book 1, but it came as a complete revelation to me so I'm going to quote it. Writing about Philippi he says:

"Surely the time will come when a farmer on these frontiers Forcing through earth his curved plough

Shall find old spears eaten away with flaky rust

Or hit upon helmets as he wields the weight of his mattock And marvel at the heroic bones he has disinterred."

It could be the Battle of Barnet!

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