Newsletter-331-October-1998

HADAS DIARY

MINIMART - our annual fundraiser. Will helpers and contributors please phone Dorothy Newbury (0181-203 0950).

Cake, jam and marmalade makers with anything for the fruit and produce stall, please ring SheilaWoodward (952 3897),

Quiche-makers and ploughmans lunch contributors please ring Tessa Smith (958 9159). Please see enclosed leaflet.

Lecture: "The Wroxeter Hinterland and Survey" by Roger White

Lecture: "Bronze, Brass and Zinc in Ancient and Modern China" by Paul Craddock

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE.

CHRISTMAS DINNER at Avenue House with talk about "Inky Stephens" and the history of the house by Norman Burgess, Curator of the Stephens Collection.

(Application form enclosed)

"The Royal Exchange" by Dr Ann Saunders, President of HADAS.


(Lectures are held at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, N3 - 8.00 pm for 8.30 start)

 

A TRIP TO WESSEX                                                            by SHEILA WOODWARD

In a summer of disappointing weather HADAS achieved the seemingly impossible: at least 90% sunshine on all its Saturday outings. It rained as we set out for the west country on 15th August but thereafter it was sunshine all the way.

The A303 affords splendid views of a variety of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments: henges, round barrows, long barrows, cursus and the like. ( The view of Stonehenge is at present rather too splendid for the monument's good but that will change if and when the new road plans are implemented ), Bill Bass's admirable outing programme and his commentary during the journey ensured that we missed no part of this prehistorian's dream landscape. The historian's interest was catered for, too, in the pleasant old county town of Wilton, with a glimpse of the fine entrance porch to Wilton House and a reminder of the town's carpet-weaving fame, and the extraordinary Fovant Regimental Badges cut into the hillside during the First World War by troops stationed there for training.

After a brief stop for excellent coffee at the hospitable Lancers Inn at Sutton Mandeville we wended our way to Old Wardour Castle. And I do mean wended! The tortuous winding lanes called for skilful navigation by Bill and even more skilful manipulation by our coach driver. The ruined castle was well worth the effort to reach it and its setting is superb. Built in the 14th century as a fortified manor, the building was extensively damaged during the Civil War and was never fully restored. When New Wardour Castle was built in the 18th century, old Wardour became a feature of its landscaped grounds, one of those "picturesque ruins" so popular in that period. Nevertheless the remains of the hexagonal keep are substantial enough to repay a detailed exploration and the reinstatement of some upper floors enables one to climb almost to roof level to enjoy the magnificent view. Curiosities adjacent to the keep include a fantastic grotto, a Gothic Pavilion, and a miniature "Avebury stone circle".

And so to Shaftesbury, Thomas Hardy's Shaston, a Saxon foundation on a 700 foot high ridge commanding views over Blackmore Vale and Cranborne Chase. It is not surprising that Alfred the Great made the town his capital for a time and founded a nunnery there in 888 with his daughter Aethelgifu as its first abbess. John Enderby a founder member of HADAS now living in Dorset was joint organizer with Bill of this day's outing and he had arranged a delightful reception for us at the Grovesnor Hotel where we were greeted by the Mayor of Shaftesbury. He and two local historians talked to us about the town and its history. We were also able to admire - and I use the word in its old sense, to marvel at - the Chevy Chase Sideboard, 12 feet wide,10 feet high and 4 feet deep, carved in solid oak in 1863 and depicting in 6 panels the tragic story of the Battle of Chevy Chase. That, you may recall, recounts how a hunting expedition turned into a vicious battle between Harry Hotspur of Northumberland and the Earl of Douglas. The elaboration and vigour of the carving is indeed wondrous but I can only quote Sir Kenneth Clark: "The attempt to make a sideboard into the equivalent of a large historical painting has produced an object so monstrous as to be almost amiable. However nobody could, I think, accuse it of good taste". The local populace are said to be inordinately proud of it and refer to it as That Monstrosity.

After a short conducted walk through the town we were free to explore on our own. I found the ruined abbey a peaceful and poignant place and the adjacent small museum, shortly to be closed for enlargement, full of treasures: carved stones, lovely medieval tiles, fragments of cloth and pins. St. Peter's Church has a crypt which was once an inn cellar. Picturesque Gold Hill was made famous by the Hovis bread advertisement. And from all sides of the town the views are spectacular.

In the afternoon we travelled a few miles south to Fontmell Magna where John and Barbara Enderby now live. It is a village with a long history, its origins being probably pre-Saxon. John took us on a walking tour of its charming lanes. Fontmell was once well known for its watermills and I was impressed to find that the Enderby property includes half a millpond! The Flower family, brewers and publishers, made their home in this village. The parish church contains no fewer than 3 fonts: Saxon, rather too battered to be usable, Norman, currently in use, and Victorian, now superseded. In addition to the Pugin tiles in the chancel and some rare Munich glass in the west window, we admired an arras, made by the Kneeler Group, of features of the village, and the Village Millennium Tapestry Project involving some 50 people and being masterminded by Leonora Luxton.

Finally we drove to Springhead, a mill of Saxon ancestry on the eastern fringe of Fontmell, used through the years for a variety of purposes - corn mill, fulling mill, bottle plant - and now an Arts and Environmental Study Centre. At this idyllic spot, in perfect weather, we had a gorgeous alfresco Dorsetshire Cream Tea. A walk throgh the mill's lovely gardens afterwards rounded off a glorious day - but 2 members of the party got lost in the gardens - and a search party itself disappeared just as the missing members turned up! Eventually all were re-united and it really had been a GLORIOUS day. Thank you, Bill and John.

 

FIELD WORK REPORT - BROCKLEY HILL PROJECT BYF 98                       by VIKKI O'CONNOR 

Thirty seven adults and four children made the trek to Brockley Hill during the fieldwalking survey, enabling us to cover three-quarters of the scheduled area. We finished on August Bank Holiday Monday, and the task of cleaning and classifying finds has already begun. There is enough work for everyone so, if you have a spare couple of hours during October weekends, please contact Bill Bass on 0181-449 0165 or Vikki O'Connor on 0181-361 1350 to check which days and times we are working at the Avenue House Garden Room. With enough volunteers it may be possible to work weekdays.

We have appreciated this opportunity given to us by English Heritage to work on a project that is of benefit to them as well as, judging by the turnout, to ourselves. It was also appreciated that the nearby Royal Orthopaedic Hospital allowed us access to their staff car park and to their toilets.

Several of our more recent members have contributed much to the success of this project, and we once again have a sizeable team of active members on which to base future projects.

Brian Wrigley led our training day in June when his instructions in surveying complemented the work of Duncan Lees, a professional archaeological surveyor employed with the aid of a grant made by English Heritage. Fiona Seeley, a Museum of London finds specialist, instructed our fieldwalking team on the types of pottery expected on site. Her University dissertation was on Brockley Hill pottery typologies and she will take a personal interest in the analysis of our finds as well as advising us in a professional capacity. This professional help, at no direct cost to ourselves, has been most useful to the Society and has served to expand members' skills.We will report on our progress in future newsletters and we intend to publish our final report later this year. There should be some interesting slides of HADAS at work, and of the finds, to show at next year's AGM. 

WHAT'S ON THIS WINTER?

Now is the time to enrol for new courses and lectures -

Historical Association lectures are held every month during the winter at Fellowship House, Willifield Way, NW 11 at 8pm. Thursday 15th October British Feature Films and the Re-Writing of the Second World War (with video clips) by Stephen Guy of Queen Mary College. Thursday 19th November Female Witnesses in 15th Century Italy - Nun Historians by Kate Lowe of Goldsmiths College. Visitors welcome (small donation).

Church Farm House Museum, Greyhound Hill, Hendon N1114 (0181-203 0130) continues showing HADAS finds. The current exhibition is on Minnie Abse, Poet and Doctor. He lives locally and refers to local scenes in some of his poems. On Sunday 15th November - closing date of the exhibition - Minnie Abse will give a Reading at Golders Green Library, 7.30pm.

St. Mary's Church, Church Hill Road, East Barnet is holding a History Festival over the weekend of aid and 4th October. Exhibition on the history of the Church and East Barnet, admission £1. The event runs from 11am to 5 pm on Saturday. There will also be sideshows with a Victorian theme. On the Sunday they plan to hold special church services as they might have been in the past'.

Enfield Archaeological Society, Friday October 16, lecture on A walk through Gardening History at Capel Manor by Steven Dowbiggin - at Jubilee Hall, junction of Chase Side and Parsonage Lane, Enfield, doors open 730 for 8pm. Visitors welcome on donation of 50p.

Pinner Local History Society hold their meetings at Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane Car Park, commencing 8pm. Visitors welcome on donation of £1. The 1st October talk by Louise Leates is on Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford, and the 5th November talk by Eileen Bowlt is about Harefield, the Last Village in Middlesex.

Barnet Local History Society's next talk, Wednesday 14th October is on Hadley Wood by L. Redgrave. Venue: Wesley hall, Stapylton Rd. (next to the public library), 7.45 for 8pm. Visitors welcome (small donation).

RAF Museum, Hendon. Autumn lectures, monthly, on Wednesdays:

2nd September, The RAF's Air Historical Branch; 4th November, Archive Films; 2nd December, RAF Logistics. In the Museum Lecture Theatre - Free.

Just in case you have slipped through *Peter Pickering's net - SCOLA (Standing Conference on London Archaeology) are holding their science-themed conference LONDON UNDER THE MICROSCOPE on Saturday 17th October at the Museum of London 10am - 4.30pm. Speakers are Alistair Bartlett, Ian Tyers, Jane Siddell, Tony Waldon, Bill McCann, Keith Wilkinson, Richard Macphall. Reports include:the Bull & Bush Wharf; Black Death Cemetery at the Royal Mint; the formation of dark earth; and the changing levels of the River Thames. (*Hadas committee member Peter Pickering, also the Assistant Secretary of SCOLA, has mastered the art of leafleting - as slow-off-the-mark fieldwalkers at Brockley Hill will attest.) Tickets: JS McCracken, Fiat B, 231 Sandycombe Rd. Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2ZW, £10 per head (£8.50 to SCOLA members). Cheques payable to SCOLA - and please enclose SAE.

And whilst you have your cheque books at the ready,why not sign up for the 19th Symposium on Hertfordshire History? The River and the Road: the Lea and the Old North Road before the 19th Century - Saturday 7th November at Presdales School, Hoe Lane,Ware, 9.30am to 5pm will present: The River and the Road - Theme and Variations; The Roman Road; Hertfordshire Malt and Enfield Traders; John Scott and the 18th Century Turnpikes of East Herts.; Mills and Millstreams; The Navigable Lea before 1767. Admission £7.50. HADAS members wishing to attend should contact Alan Greening, 12 Links Avenue, Hertford SG l3 7SR (01992 554713).

AND FOR THE HARVEY SHELDON FAN CLUB          Harvey's public lecture series at the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square, WC1. The Archaeology of the Towns in England. 7pm prompt. Pay on the door. (Last year £5 per evening was definitely value for money - as the HADAS digging team will confirm! The first five talks are:

Thurs 1st October: The Archaeology of Colchester by Mark Davies.

8th Oct. Chichester by Su Fulwood   15th Oct: Lincoln by Mick Jones

22nd Oct. York by Patrick Ottaway  29thOct.: Cirencester by Neil Holbrook


BIRKBECK COLLEGE 1998/9 archaeology courses cover a wide range of topics, including field archaeology, evolution, prehistoric Europe, the Aegean, South America. artefacts, and industrial archaeology. Most courses commence end-September/early October. Contact Birkbeck for details: 0171 631 6633.

SOME COURSES IN BARNET

Discovering London: 30 week course of walks, visits, lectures at Barnet College, Russell Lane, N20, commencing Friday 25 September, choice of morning or afternoon sessions.

Birkbeck College's History of London Certificate - two of the three 24 week modules will be at Barnet College , Wood St.:

The Making of Modern London 1660-1990, from Mon. 21 Sept. 11.15am - 1.15pm

The Culture of Victorian London       from Tues. 22 Sept. 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Programme 3 of Birkbeck's Field Archaeology Diploma: Field Archaeology and the Post Roman Period in Southern Britain will be at Barnet College, Wood St.. commencing Thursday 24 September 7.30-9.30pm. Further details from Barnet College - 0800-919 963.

WEA/Birkbeck College Course in Industrial Archaeology at the Queen Elizabeth's Centre, Meadway, Barnet. 20 weekly meetings beginning Monday, 5th October at 7.45pm. You may attend the first meeting without obligation - turn up on the night or phone Peter Nicholson (0181-959 4757)

 

YET MORE GOLF CLUBS!

HADAS is asked to comment on many planning applications. To carry any clout the comment must stick to the archaeological implications, but many people will be dismayed to learn that there is an appplication to build 2x18-hole golf courses around Bury Farm, Edgwarebury Lane, together with a 30 bay driving range, clubhouse and large car park. Brian Wrigley undertook the work - and it is a lot of work- of researching and drafting a comment.. He stressed the importance of this area of open farmland, one of the few in Barnet and indeed in Greater London, which may still carry evidence of ancient farming techniques on its surface as well as below ground. HADAS backs up MOLAS in recommending a thorough field assessment before any earth-moving starts.

 

SITE WATCHING AT THE PADDOCK, HENDON

The Paddock is a small field between the Burroughs and Church End, which you will pass on the way to the Minimart. A sewer is being constructed, involving considerable digging. Stephen Aleck, who is site watching, has recovered fragments of brick, tiles and coarse pottery from the top soil - some medieval and some later,

 

IN MEMORY OF GILL BAKER

It is a year since Gill died. She was a member of long standing, and a friend of many of us. She had run our Minimart gift stall for years, and was known to so many as a participant in all our outings and weekends away. Her affairs have been concluded and HADAS has received a legacy of £1000. It has been decided to use this for the publication of an updated "Blue Plaques" brochure, dedicated to Gill as a permanent memorial. Dorothy Newbury and Gwen Searle.

 

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