newsletter-423-june-2006

Newsletter

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HADAS DIARY

Tuesday 13 June — Annual General Meeting

Saturday 24 June — Outing to Minster Lovell, Rollright Stones, Hailes Abbey, and Chedworth Roman Villa with June Porges and Stuart Wild. If anyone has not received an application form please contact Dorothy Newbury

Saturday 22 July — Outing to Leicestershire with Tessa Smith and Sheila Woodward Wednesday

30 August — Sunday 3 September — HADAS Long Weekend to Devon and Cornwall, staying at Plymouth University.

Lecture programme from Stephen Brunning, Lectures Coordinator

The lecture programme for the 2005/6 season is now over. I hope you enjoyed them. Many thanks to all who attended, and I hope to see you all in November for the next season. Among the topics arranged so far, are: The queen of Sheba (postponed from March 06), The Early Days of Lamas, and The Greater London Sites and Monument Record (GLSMR) for Barnet. Please keep an eye on the website and monthly newsletters for more details. The GLSMR lecturers have asked if there is anything specific we wanted them to focus on, such as the initial creation of the SMR for Barnet, a summary of the contributions from HADAS, etc. Please let me have any suggestions by 15 August 2006, in time for the lecture content to be prepared. My telephone number is 020 8959 6419,or write to me at 1 Reddings Close, Mill Hill, London NW7 4Th.

Religious site could reveal cult secrets from Peter Pickering

By Kevin Barnes

Archaeologists hope to uncover a glimpse of the mysteries of cult worship in Roman Britain by excavating a vast religious complex in Ewell. A series of deep shafts found cut into chalk bedrock at Hatch Furlong gave researchers the clue that a ritual site existed there about 1,900 years ago. Over the next fortnight an expert team led by Harvey Sheldon of Birkbeck College, London, intends to unearth the sacred stone building lying near the Ewell bypass. Although similar temple complexes have been discovered in Britain, the dig may provide new evidence about Roman religion. Ewell was the largest Roman settlement in Surrey, divided by Stane Street, a major flint road between Chichester and London. It is believed that weary travellers would refresh their spirits at springs in Ewell before making offerings to native deities. In the 1840s evidence for a cult centre emerged as pottery vessels, wares, coins and dog bones were retrieved from the 30ft shafts. Many of the finds are exhibited now at the Museum of London. The latest project will ensure the National Trust can manage effectively land given as a wildflower area not "a lost Roman ritual site full of votive gifts". Caroline Thackray, the trust's territory archaeologist, said: "This is a great opportunity for us to learn more about the mysteries of this place using modern techniques. What is its meaning and importance? Who were Ewell's earlier inhabitants? And what was the reason for the chalk shafts that seem so bizarre to us today? We look forward to sharing a greater understanding and interpretation of our site with the local and wider academic community." The excavation is supported by Surrey County Council, Epsom & Ewell History and Archaeology Society, Surrey Archaeological Society and the Council for British Archaeology South. Local people can tour the site during two open days on May 5 and 6. Talks and an exhibition are planned at Bourne Hall Museum in Ewell later this month, from where leaflets with directions to the site are being distributed next weekend. In September, Birkbeck College will run an archaeology course at Ewell Court House. For more local news go to our website www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk and click on Epsom Guardian.

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Remembering Julius Baker (1907 — 2006)

We regret to announce the passing of HADAS' oldest member, Julius Baker. Julius, who died aged 98 in hospital on April 20 after a fall at his Hampstead home, was well known in this country and South Africa as a staunch Communist and a leading figure in the African National Congress's struggle to end apartheid. He was a member of HADAS for well over twenty years, and will be remembered as a fiercely independent yet very lovable friendly person who continued to participate in HADAS activities and outings well into his nineties. He was interested and knowledgeable in a great variety of subjects, was a competent violinist and very fond of classical music. He seemed to have boundless energy, and tinged his stubbornness with a great sense of humour. Julius was born in the Transvaal in 1907, one of six children. He trained as a lawyer, and became one of the most reliable volunteers of both the ANC and the South African Communist Party during the 1940s. He played an important role in the struggle against apartheid and, having participated in a number of demonstrations and liberation activities, was hunted down by the apartheid regime. In order to avoid imprisonment he fled to London with his wife Tamara and children in the late 1960s and continued his close contacts with other exiles and comrades in South Africa, fighting ceaselessly against racism and social injustice. In 1997, he was involved in an art mystery when a controversial painting banned by the South African government was recovered. Ronald Harrison's The Black Christ, depicting ANC leader Chief Lithuli crucified, with two apartheid politicians dressed as Roman centurions guarding him, had been smuggled out of South Africa by Canon Collins and passed on to Julius for safekeeping. Many years later, after a major media appeal, Julius realised that the missing artwork was the one that had been safely housed in the basement of his home in Kidderpore Gardens. There was great media interest in its recovery and the following year Julius attended a ceremony in Cape Town when the painting was put on display. In 1962, at the age of 55, Julius gained an A-level in Russian, and in 1999, aged 92, went to the Okavango and got lost in the bush. Energetic as ever, a few days later he flew in a microlight over Victoria Falls. At the age of 96 in 2003 took part in London's great anti-war demonstration, joining a million others as he walked from Embankment to Hyde Park. Julius is survived by his son and daughter and three grandchildren to whom we offer our sympathies. His humanist funeral took place at Golders Green Crematorium on 26 April, attended by a large congregation of family, friends and colleagues. HADAS was represented by June Porges and Stewart Wild, who jointly penned this appreciation of his long and fruitful life.

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The Origins of the Place-Name Whetstone by Philip Bailey

I was looking through the translation of Barnet Manorial Court Rolls in Barnet Museum recently and came across the name Richard Bywesten (1246). I had noted this name several years ago but because of the copperplate writing in which the translation is written I had mistakenly thought it said Richard Bifwesten. Apart from thinking what a strange name it was, I had thought no more about it. However by comparing it to a typed transcript of the early rolls in A.E. Levett's book 'Studies in Manorial History' (1938) I saw that what I had previously thought said Bifwesten did in fact say `Bywesten'. Not long after this it dawned on me that I was probably looking at a surname containing the place-name Whetstone and that Richard had lived `by' Whetstone. At first glance this may not seem very likely. However I had remembered reading in the introduction to `Finchley and Friern Barnet' by Stewart Gillies and Pamela Taylor that they felt that 'The original settlement [of Friern Barnet] was probably by the church [St James's] but moved up to Whetstone, whose name almost certainly reflects this westward move; certainly since it is recorded by 1398 it has nothing to do with the legendary stone outside The Griffin used as a whetstone by soldiers sharpening their swords en route to the Battle of Barnet in 1471.' The English Place-Name Society's Survey of Middlesex (1942) explains the name as 'at the whetstone' from the Old English hwetstan. It notes that 'Tradition holds that there was once a large stone here, on which the soldiers sharpened their weapons before the Battle of Barnet in 1471.' Other books note other reasons why 'Whetstone' may be the correct spelling. Despite the- erroneous explanation of this name in the EPNS survey; it lists some early spellings which may support an original spelling containing 'west': Wheston 1417; Wheston 1486-93; Wheston 1496;Westone 1535 And some which don't: Whetestonestret 1437; Whetstone 1492; Whetstone 1516; Whetstone 1535; Whetston Strete 1571 If the name contains the word west then it must also contain the word tun thus meaning 'western estate or farm'. The Old English words 'west' and 'tun' would normally give a modern place-name spelt Weston as in (Weston-Super-Mare). It is tempting to think of this medieval farm being centred around the site of the Pizza Express building, part of which has been excavated by HADAS and which seems to have originally been a medieval hall occupied at least back to c.1490 (HADAS Journal Vol.I 2002). I then looked up modern surnames beginning with By... in P.H. Reaney's 'Dictionary of Surnames (1976). All those listed had been noted in the thirteenth century in various places around the country and the ones listed below had the prefix `by'with the meaning 'by/alongside': Byard (by the yard); Byatt (by the gate); Bygrave (by the grove); Byfield; Bysouth; Bywater; Bytheway; Bythesea; Bythesseashore (apparently this is pronounced Bitherseyshore with stress as in Battersea). The explanation that Whetstone got its name from being situated west of the medieval parish church in Friern Barnet Lane, seems to make sense. So given this and the survival of several examples of medieval surnames containing the prefix `by' meaning alongside, It seems to me quite plausible that Richard Bywesten had lived alongside Weston, the western estate! Although the centre of Whetstone is west of that of Friern Barnet, it is actually distinctly north-west. It may be interesting to note given the theory that Friern Barnet and the other Barnets were once linked, that Whetstone is almost due west of the centre of East Barnet which has the oldest parish church of all the Barnets, and contains the place-names Wakeling Mor (moor/morass of the Waeclinga tribe) and Arrowes possibly denoting Anglo-Saxon hill shrines. Perhaps Weston was actually the western estate of an Anglo- Saxon settlement at East Barnet. It may be of interest to historians from Southgate that an early spelling of this place-name can also be found in Barnet Court Rolls, again in the form of a surname: John de la Suthgate (1246). Although other old versions of the name may have come to light since the 1942 EPNS survey of Middlesex, the only ones it lists are: S(o)uthgate 1370,1372 and le Southgate 1608.

Church Farm Museum's Summer Exhibition

Church Farmhouse Museum's Summer exhibition traces the connexions of Barnet Borough with the story of popular music since the 1950s. It includes displays on artists and bands as different as Cliff Richard, Hawkwind, George Michael, the Spice Girls, the Kinks, Marc Bolan and Fairport Convention, including material never before publicly shown, and also features a big section on our area's major music venue - The Torrington Arms, in North Finchley - sadly, no longer with us. The exhibition ends on 10 September.

OTHER SOCIETIES' EVENTS by Eric Morgan

Thursday 8 June 8pm. Finchley Society Local History Group, Avenue House, East End Rd, N3. EARLY FILM MAKING IN FINCHLEY talk by Gerard Turvey. Non members £1.

Monday 12 June 3pm. Barnet & District Local History Society, Church House, Wood St. THE BOYS' FARM HOME, EAST BARNET talk by Gillian Gear . Wednesday 14 June 8pm. Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall,corner of Ferme Park Rd/Weston Park, N8 THE STORY OF BARRETTS SWEET FACTORY talk by David Evans. Refreshments 7.45pm.

Wednesday 14 June 7.30pm. Camden History Society, St. Pancras Old Church, NW1 HISTORY OF THE CHURCH talk by Michael Ogden & AGM.

Friday 16 June 7pm. COLAS, St. Olave's Parish Hall, Mark Lane EC3. BRITAIN'S ROMAN ROADS talk by Harvey Sheldon (HADAS President) £2.

Sunday 18 June 3-7pm. Finchley Society A SUMMER AFTERNOON IN THE PARK. Comedy, Jazz, Choir, Big Band, Barbeque and Drinks. £8 per family, £4 per adult - proceeds to Spike Milligan statue fund.

Sunday 25 June EAST FINCHLEY FESTIVAL Cherry Tree Wood, opp. Station, N2 Stalls, HADAS information. Street Procession, Music and Dance stages. Local Artists Exhibit at All Saints Church, Durham Rd. N2.

Tuesday 27 June 10.30am Enfield Preservation Society, Jubilee Hall, junction Chase Side/Parsonage Lane, Enfield. ENFIELD PAST talk by Stephen Sellick.

Wednesday 28 June 8pm Friern Barnet & District Local History Society, St. John's Church Hall (next to Whetstone Police Station) Friern Barnet Lane, N20. MILESTONES talk by John Donovan. £2 +Refreshments.

Thursday 29 June 8pm. Finchley Society, Avenue House, East End Rd. N3. AGM followed by MORE FROM THE FINCHLEY SOCIETY ARCHIVES talk by Derek Warren.

Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 July 12-7pm EAST BARNET FESTIVAL Oak Hill Park, Church Hill Rd. East Barnet. Stalls, Theatre in Woodland, Music and Dance Stages & Festival of Transport.


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