newsletter-342-october-1999

 

BROCKLEY HILL STUDY DAY - Pottery, Potters, Kilns

 

STEPHEN CASTLE has agreed to speak to HADAS about his excavations at Brockley Hill kiln sites in the 1970s and about his subsequent published conclusions regarding the Roman pottery, as part of our Brockley Hill study day on Saturday 30th OCTOBER. He last visited us in the 1980s and this is an opportunity for newer members to learn more about this scheduled site in the north of our Borough. BARRY HORNE of the Manshead Archaeological Society will be explaining his theory about why the types of Roman pottery which his society have excavated in the Dunstable area do not include wares from the Brockley Hill kilns. YOU will have the opportunity to look at several types of pottery from the Suggett collection which is usually in store, as well as some of the finds from our fieldwalking at Brockley Hill last year, and to examine them microscopically.

If you have any thoughts about the precise location of Sulloniacis then please come along and share them - we need your input. We also hope to see contacts from other organisations, including MOLSS finds specialist Fiona Seeley who has already spent a couple of days looking at our finds.

THE DAY: Saturday 30th October 1999       THE TIME: 11.30am through to 4pm

THE PLACE: The Training Centre behind Hertford Lodge (beside Avenue House), East End Road, Finchley Central. THE COST: £3 towards coffees sandwiches & hire of hall - cheques payable to HADAS.
Contact: Vikki O'Connor, 2a Dene Road, London N11 1ES.

 

HADAS DIARY

 

Monday 4th October WALK with Mary O'Connell around the Euston area, visiting the Quakers' (Society of Friends') House, the new headquarters of the Magic Circle, and the refurbished "The Place" Theatre. A few places left - phone Dorothy Newbury (0181-203 0950).

 

Saturday 9th October MINIMART: LOTS OF BARGAINS! - our annual fundraiser.

St Mary's Church Hall, Greyhound Hill, Hendon NW4. 11.30am-2.30 pm. Please phone Dorothy Newbury (0181-203 0950) if you have items for sale or can help on the day.

Lectures are held at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley. The Committee has decided to try a new arrangement for the lectures. In future the lecture itself will start at 8 pm, lasting about an hour, followed as usual by questions, with coffee being served at the end of the evening.

 

Tuesday 12th  October Our winter lecture programme begins with Dr Eric Robinson: "The Archaeology of Local Building Materials"

Unfortunately Caspar Johnson is not able to speak to us on Mexico in October, but he still hopes to make it at a later date. In the meantime we are delighted that Eric Robinson, who was not able to speak as expected in April, will now be with us on October 126. All is not lost on the Southern American front as Dr Colin McEwan, the Head of the Ethnography Department of the British Museum, has agreed to lecture in March on an aspect of Peruvian archaeology.

Tuesday 7th December CHRISTMAS DINNER. First a visit to Dr Johnson's House in Gough Square, followed by dinner at nearby "Ye Olde Cock Tavern" in Fleet Street. Coach, timing details and application form with this Newsletter. Please reply AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

 

HADAS OUTING TO WEST STOW, FRAMLINGHAM CASTLE AND WOODBRIDGE, SUFFOLK

 

The outward journey took us past several military airfields - Northolt, Mildenhall and Lakenheath. We also passed through Newmarket (complete with racehorses ... not surprisingly!) and Icklingham, an attractive village with many of the buildings constructed from flint.

Our first stop was at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. This consisted of a visitor centre and, a short walk away, the reconstructed village. The buildings had been reconstructed for two reasons: firstly they were arranged to demonstrate the Anglo-Saxon social structure (i.e. a hall with six or seven houses all occupied by elements of the same extended family). Secondly, as little evidence of surface structures survives, they were constructed of different styles. This experimental work has revealed one particularly surprising conclusion, i.e. that the conventional view that part of an Anglo-Saxon house was built below ground level is wrong. It is now felt that the pit (usually associated with these houses) was boarded over and did not form part of the living accommodation. Attempts to identify the function of the pit quickly discounted storage (as it was too damp). One novel (and potentially hazardous) idea was that it was to store hay, which duly decomposed, therefore generating heat - underfloor central heating!

During the summer the huts are sometimes occupied by volunteers giving demonstrations on aspects of Anglo-Saxon life. We were fortunate enough to see a demonstration of a wood-turning lathe and to be entertained by a Saxon musician, whose Black Country accent certainly made Andy feel at home! (Appropriately enough, scholars have identified elements of Saxon speech in Black Country dialects -Andy). The visitor centre (recently opened) housed a comprehensive exhibition which went beyond simply displaying artefacts. The emphasis was on the interpretation of the site's archaeological evidence. We then stopped for lunch at Framlingham. Framlingham Castle, with its impressive earthworks, was built by Hugh Bigod in the twelfth century as a motte-and-bailey and then rebuilt in 1190 by Roger Bigod, Hugh's grandson. It is the remains of this second castle that can be seen today. The surviving flint curtain wall rises to an impressive 44 feet and is 8 feet thick. There are 12 rectangular towers, which rise a further 20 feet, and a gateway. The wall walk  provided the basis for a fascinating and detailed audio tour, much favoured by English Heritage these days. This pointed out interesting architectural details, such as the Tudor six-sided brick extensions to the original Norman chimneys, and outlined aspects of the castle's history. The walls gave extensive views of the surrounding countryside, and the opportunity to appreciate the extent of the defensive features. The castle was built on a mound with extensive wide and deep ditching, with high counter-scarp banking. Little survives of the internal buildings, although parts of the great hall had been incorporated into a 17th  century poorhouse.

Our final stop was at Woodbridge Tide Mill, situated on the River Debden close to Sutton Hoo. This was a weather-boarded building arranged on three floors. It housed an exhibition on the history of the mill and tide-mills in general. By the time we had looked around the mill, the weather had improved considerably and we were able to look around the boatyard (Bass's Quay, with one house named 'Little Bass'!) before returning to the coach. This was a very pleasant way to end an informative and successful trip.

This account of the trip comes from your `Yatton Correspondent'. (Yatton is a village situated between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, on the North Somerset levels). As an old college friend of Andy Simpson, I have been associated with HADAS for a number of years (joining us on two trips, Brockley Hill, Church Farm digging and various real ale research trips - Andy).

Finally, as an 'outsider', I can honestly say that my impression of HADAS is that of a well organised and enthusiastic body fulfilling a useful social function and achieving practical results. (Thanks, Greg, your cheque's in the post.)

GREG HUNT

 

 


THE LEY FIELD REVISITED by Pamela Taylor

Without the time currently to go back to the Barnet court rolls, I can't respond in any detail to Philip Bailey's piece on the Ley field (September Newsletter), but it's likely that he's doing the historical equivalent of fabricating a cloud-capped palace from three postholes. No-one has ever been able to reconstruct a detailed medieval field layout from documentary records - and in the almost total absence of medieval mapping, many have tried. His internal boundaries must belargely invented, and I also have considerable doubts about the external ones.

The development of field systems was not as he states it. As all HADAS members who have learned A Place in Time by heart will remember (memories could be refreshed around pages 63-7) local people did not 'own plots of the shared land by agreement with the lord of the manor'. Although landholding peasants had long-established customary rights, including inheritance, they had no freehold: the land was and remained the lord's. Even in this limited context the point is more than a legal quibble, since it helped the high degree of regulation essential to open-field agriculture, which was fundamentally for arable production. In particular, without internal fences, grazing had to be tightly controlled, and animals were normally only allowed into the open fields for limited periods after the harvest, to graze on the stubble.

Open fields and arable were not the only forms of agriculture, and in areas of heavy clay soil such as Barnet, never even predominant. The clay supported trees well but was heavy to clear and plough, and in any case not particularly fertile. Woods were valuable in themselves, combining the provision of essential fuel and building materials with perfectly adequate grazing for pigs, horses and deer. They were rather less useful for sheep and cattle, which needed an abundance of grass or, in winter, hay, and in areas such as Barnet with plentiful woodland but scant water-meadows, pasture was created by clearances. These normally went straight from woodland to small enclosed fields and were never

part of the open-field system. Peasants who were given permission to assail (clear), particularly in the tenth to twelfth centuries and in new settlements, often achieved a slightly greater degree of freedom, but only relatively slightly (`Market') Barnet was founded c.1100 to capitalise on the new road from London to the north, and its various early designations include both Barnetley and West Barnet. But although it became a town in economic terms, it never achieved autonomy, and its inhabitants remained unfree tenants of St Albans Abbey.

Areas of poor soil and little open-field husbandry are also areas of polyfocal settlement. There were probably two main earlier centres within Barnet, both of which may have suffered from Chipping Barnet's runaway success. One was East Barnet, hich had the parish church. The other was at Barnet Gate, known throughout the medieval period as Grendelsgate, where the manor courts were sometimes held. This is an interesting name - Grendel was a monster in the Old English epic of Beowulf - and the spot was on Wood Street at the manorial and county boundary. It was also, beyond any doubt, in Southaw - the name continued in use for the remaining adjacent wood.

Throughout the middle ages and beyond, Barnet never ran short of woodland. This was normally divided between the lord of the manor's enclosed or emparked areas - Osidge was one such - and more general woodland where peasants had some rights (though again heavily regulated) of commoning their animals and of gathering fuel and timber. It was these woodland areas, in Barnet, Finchley and elsewhere, which were gradually transformed into the later Commons. Open fields were also known as common fields, because they were not divided into separate individual parcels and were to that extent, as with the open woodland, enjoyed in common, but the two were not interchangeable categories, and should not be confused.

The Victoria County History volumes for Barnet

and Totteridge are too early to go into agricultural detail, but the more recent volumes which cover Hendon and Finchley are far more generous, and available in all the borough's reference libraries.

The whole borough is geologically and agriculturally similar, and anyone wishing to diversify beyond A Place in Time should find them interesting, and authoritative. Pamela Taylor


Jennie Lee Cobban also writes

 

Re article: THESE WERE BARNET'S FIRST ALLOTMENTS (September Newsletter)

Philip Bailey states with great authority in the above article that the Leye or Lay Field occupied the area between Wood Street and Dollis Brook, and Barnet Hill and Bells Hill in High Barnet.

Is this an established fact of which I was totally unaware, or is the article intending to present new evidence to suggest that this might have been the case? If so, I cannot see how the evidence presented in the article warrants such a confident statement. How, for example, have nineteenth century maps of Barnet been 'developed' to show the location of this particular field? And what does Barnet Common, which developed out of woodland (as did all commons), have to do with it?

I feel I have lost the plot here, somewhere! "

 

MARKET TRADERS BROUGHT TO BOOK ...    Vikki O'Connor

Barnet Local History Society recently celebrated the 800th anniversary of the granting of Barnet Market's charter by dressing for the occasion. At a garden party held in the grounds behind Barnet Museum, Master of Ceremonies Richard Selby read the conditions of the charter of 1199 to 'King John', 'Queen Isabella', whilst the character of the Bishop of St Albans was played by present day rector of St John's at High Barnet, the Rev. Esdaile. As a medieval gesture, homing pigeons were released, but the two chickens in rustic-looking pens were not! To set the scene several realistic stalls had been hired from a theatrical supplier and be-costumed BLHS members assumed the roles of stallholders. The sundry characters included a blood-spattered medieval tooth puller who bore an uncanny resemblance to HADAS

Committee member Peter Pickering... Jennie Cobban pounced on Andy Simpson and Bill Bass who sportingly agreed to dress up from the contents of her costume case - Andy in bright yellow looking like a 'Team Barnet' member, and Bill in a flowing black velvet cape resembled a character from Star Wars. Jean Bayne somehow escaped Jennie's efforts and assisted with our stall, which profited £25 from HADAS book sales.

Barnet Local History Society was also celebrating the occasion with the publication of 800 Years of Barnet Market by Jennie Lee Cobban and Doreen Willcocks. A copy was presented to William Harding Young, whose family owned the market from 1902 to 1999. When he sold the market in May this year it was on condition that the site remain a stall market for the next fifteen years, but the whole story is told in the book -copies available at Barnet Museum, Wood Street, Barnet. (We have purchased a copy for the HADAS library).

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Davies and the Mayoress expressed an interest in the HADAS stall - Mrs Davies recalled attending an archaeology class at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute in the 1960's taught by Professor Zeuner - there may be a few HADAS members who recall likewise?


Cricklewood Station                                                                           by Bill Firth

Recent planning applications include two small items for the old ticket office at Cricklewood Station. One is for a 2.4 m. high palisade fence with gates round the site; the other is to change the use of one room to a base for a taxi/vehicle hire service and erection of a refreshment kiosk.

Neither of these items in themselves is very interesting but they indicate the reuse of an old building, which has been empty and rather derelict for some time, and thus its preservation for the present at least.

The old ticket office at Cricklewood Station is believed to be original. I think it is the only remaining Midland Railway building in the borough, but I have not made a detailed check recently. The station was opened as Child's Hill and Cricklewood on 2 May 1870 and renamed Cricklewood on 1 May 1903.

 

Glassy, Ghastly and, I say!     Vikki O'Connor

 

The main autumn exhibition at Church Farmhouse Museum is on Carnival Glass but running with it is a small exhibition on Hauntings, Horrors and Oddities in Barnet borough - from the ghost of Nan Clark's Lane to the Hendon nudist riots. Curious? You have from 26th September to 14th November when all will be revealed!

The Carnival Glass should cause some to mutter 'Oh, I remember that', or, We chucked that out years ago', and some of you may go home to rummage the recesses? Our newsletter editors await your findings with bated breath....

The HADAS digging team deposited Basil the sheep excavated at Church Farmhouse Museum grounds this year with CFM curator Gerrard Roots, as an example of the Oddities (the sheep, not Gerrard!). Being slightly osteologically-challenged, it took half a dozen HADAS members to fit a 55cm skeleton into a 45cm box and at one point it seemed that Basil had six legs. That would have been an excellent reason for burying him/her complete and unbutchered.

 

SPELLCHECKER STRIKES AGAIN

 

Computer spellcheckers do not always recognise proper names or a specialized vocabulary, and suggest the nearest word they have in their innards. When Liz Sagues ran the spellchecker over the September Newsletter, the computer obligingly suggested the following surrealistic replacements:

Minimart - minaret, numerate; Johnson - jingoism; HADAS - Hades; Claudius - cloddish.
Hendon - undone; Vikki vodka (!); hillforts.- halfwits, flowerets; neolithic - inelastic,
nihilistic, unethical; dolmen - demon; smithing - smashing; Barnet - baronet, Bronte; Edgware

drawer, dweller; brasses - brushes, bruises; woolmark - womanlike; Boadicea - bodice, bookcase; Newbury - neighbour, nobler; AD66 - ado; Blackfriars - backfires, backstairs; cuppa

coypu, cupola; arcading - racketing, archdeacon; Greyfriars - graveyards, glorifiers; Saxons-stations, sexiness; burgage - bragged, burgled; Spitalfields - hospitalised, Spitfires; on-going -nagging; Fishbourne - fisherman; backfilling - backfiring, backsliding; pikeman - pigment, pediment; portaloos - portcullis; LAARC - lark; SCOLA - scowl, scaly; ribcage - robotic; website - weepiest, wobbliest, riposte.

 

BROWSERS CORNER

I Details of LOCAL HISTORY COURSES in London for the 99/2000 academic year at  this WEA site:            office@Jon.wea.org.uk

 

2 FREE INTERNATIONAL BOOKSEARCH

"no obligation to purchase": www.argonet.eo.uk/users/male.kbs

 

3 INSTITUTE OF HERALDIC GENEALOGICAL STUDIES based in Canterbury, have information on training, library, bookshop - visit their site: www.ings.ac.uk

 

 


OTHER SOCIETIES' NEWS/EVENTS

London & Middlesex Archaeological Society's 34th LOCAL HISTORY CONFERENCE will be on Saturday 20th November at the Museum of London Lecture Theatre between 10am and 5pm -the theme is The Effect of Tudor and Stuart Royalty on the Greater London Area.

Simon Thurley, the high-profile Director of the Museum of London will be talking about Royal Palaces in London; Michael Berlin (who sometimes lectures for Birkbeck in Barnet) will discuss the clash between royalty and the City; Geoffrey Toms, archaeologist and historian is to talk on the royal estates of Greater London, Andrew Cameron of Hounslow Local History Society will speak about the Hounslow area; and Rosemary Weinstein, writer/researcher will discuss the Royal Parks. Tickets, price £4, from LAMAS, 36 Church Road, West Drayton, Middx UB7 7PX, tel 01895 442610. These local history conferences are well-attended and highly informative so, do book early!

POST-MEDIEVAL LONDON

Another date for your diary at the Museum of London - Saturday 27th November, with sessions on the port, life & death, homes, households, halls and palaces. Organised by CBA Mid-Anglia and CBA South-East in conjunction with SCOLA, this event looks like another feast of information.

Booking de 'tails from Derek Hills, CBA Mid-Anglia, 34 Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead, Herts, AL4 8JJ.

 

COLAS on TV

The City of London Archaeological Society were filmed surveying the Thames foreshore recently, as part of the BBC series called The River. This will be screened before the end of the year, possibly in October. Keep an eye open for HADAS committee member Andy Simpson splashing about in the mud.

Barnet Local History Society meet on Wed 13th October, 8pm, The Story of London through its Pubs told by Sandra Lea: Wesley Hall, Stapylton Road, High Barnet

Hornsey Historical Society Wednesday 13th October, 8pm Ice Houses and Ice Cream with Ruth Hazseldine. Venue: Union Church Community Centre, corner of Ferme Pk Rd/Weston Park, London N8

Enfield Archaeological Society 15th October Jon Cotton on Lundenwic: excavations on the site of Saxon London. 8pm at Jubilee Hall, corner Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield (visitors: donation).

Pinner Local History Society 7th October Popping into Uncle's, Victorian & Edwardian pawnbroking with Peter Street at Pinner Village Hall, Chapel Lane car park (visitors: El donation)

Berkhamsted & District Archaeological Society Only a half-hour's drive 'up the road' - their next meeting 8pm, October 28th is about Quarrying in Roman Egypt, by Dr Donald Bailey of the British Museum at Berkhamsted Collegiate School, Newcroft Wing, Mill Street, Berkhamsted. Donation of £1 requested.

The Friends of Dacorum Museum and the Dacorum Heritage Trust have organised a Canal Exhibition which is well worth a visit, especially if you have an interest in industrial archaeology. The exhibition will be at Hemel Hempstead Pavilion from 18-23 October and Jubilee Hall, Tring from 25-30 October so, if you are in the area...

St Albans - FREE CITY WALKS - Sundays in October, meeting at The Clock Tower, St Albans -no booking required but PLEASE CHECK WITH THE TOURIST INFO CENTRE BEFORE­HAND (office hours) Tel: 01727 864511

3rd 11.15am Market Place 3pm Historic St.Albans 10th 11.15 Historic St Albans, 3pm St Michael's 17th 11.15 Coaching Inns, 3pm Market Place

24th 11.15 Coaching Inns, 3pm Historic St Albans 31st 11.15 Market Place, 3pm St Stephens 8pm Halloween Ghost Walk

Kenwood Estate: Wed 20th Oct lecture & walk Autumn leaves, fruits & nuts and Sunday 31st October guides walk of the estate, both with Estate Rangers. Bookings: 0171 973 3893


SCOLA lecture (as mentioned by Peter Pickering in the August Newsletter) Saturday, October 23rd  2.30 pm. Lecture by Professor Graham-Campbell, the Chairman of the Standing Conference on London Archaeology (SCOLA) on LONDON AND THE VIKINGS in the Lecture Theatre of the Institute of Archaeology, Gordon Square; his lecture will be preceded by a brief report on SCOLA' s activities.

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