newsletter-441-december-2007

Newsletter

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As it is that holiday season again, we take the opportunity to wish all our readers a happy holiday and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

HADAS Diary

Tuesday 18th December 2007, HADAS Christmas Dinner Handel choral music with members of the Finchley Chamber Choir, followed by a tour of St Lawrence Church in Little Stanmore, then dinner at the Apollonia restaurant in Stanmore. The dinner will be held in a private room, where there will be a bar available for you to buy your drinks. For last minute bookings check with Jim Nelhams (contact details below) to see if there are places available. The cost is £30 per person.

Tuesday 8th January 2008, Kate Sutton - Museum of London. "The work of a Finds Liaison Officer." • Tuesday 12th February 2008, Christopher Sparey-Green BA MIFA. "The archaeology of Dorset - a Time-torn Landscape." • Tuesday 11th March 2008, Chloe Cockerill - Regional Development Manager. "The work of the Churches Conservation Trust." • Tuesday 8th April 2008, Peter Davey - Bristol Tram Photograph Collection. "Clifton Rocks Railway." • Tuesday 13th May 2008, Angela Wardle - MOLAS Finds Specialist. "Finds from Roman London". Angela hopes to present some results of a Roman London glass working project, and talk about a new Roman London website with online finds catalogue.


The winter lecture series takes place in the Drawing Room at Avenue House, 17 East End Road, Finchley N3 3QE. Lectures start promptly at 8pm – non-members £1, Coffee or tea 80p.As we are now starting to think about the 2008/9 winter lecture series, if there are any suggestions for future lecturers, please pass them to Steve Brunning, 1 Reddings Close, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4JL


CHRISTMAS AT CHURCH FARMHOUSE MUSEUM by Gerard Roots


‘The Moving Toyshop’ An exhibition, based on two extensive private collections, showing how toys and games have changed since the beginning of the 20th Century. The exhibition includes lots of toys for the very young to play with. (It ends Spring 2008.)


The Case of the Illustrious Illustrator: Sidney Paget and Sherlock Holmes

Sidney Paget was one of the earliest and most influential illustrators of the Sherlock Holmes stories. It is he, rather than Conan Doyle, who created the now iconic image of Holmes - the hawk-like face, the deerstalker cap. Paget lived for a time in Finchley, and is buried there in Marylebone Cemetery. This small exhibition is for the centenary of his death in January 2008. (It ends 20 April 2008.)


Christmas Past

As is customary, the Museum’s 1850s dining room will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas from 6 December to 6 January. NB The Museum will be closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January.


The Museum staff wishes all HADAS members a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

The report on the Excavation at Hendon School between 11th June and 15th June 2007 by Don Cooper

Site code HDS06 Grid reference: 23660, 89033

1.Introduction This is a brief report of the second season of excavations at Hendon School. As in the previous year, the project at Hendon School is a joint collaboration between University of London’s (UCL’s) Institute of Archaeology (IoA) and HADAS. The report and results of the previous year’s excavation, written by Gabe Moshenska of UCL, appeared in last year’s December HADAS newsletter. In preparation for the project, Sarah Dhangal, UCL’s widening participation officer gave a number of introductory talks at the school for the students, who had volunteered to take part and received an enthusiastic response. The other essentials for an excavation these days are the project design document which was produced by Gabe Moshenska and the risk assessment document by Sarah Dhangal. The background to the site; the history of Hendon House, as so far researched, was published in the September 2007 HADAS newsletter by Don Cooper. In summary the objectives were to provide the students with a taste of archaeology and also to explore the archaeology of the playing field.

With the scene set, the excavation took place on the school’s playing field in the week commencing 11th June 2007 for five days.

2.Summary

The UCL/HADAS dig team opened a 2m by 4m trench alongside the north boundary of the playing field of the school. The team assisted by 14 students carried out the excavation. Whilst no structures were found, the trench proved to be remarkably “fertile” in terms of finds. Clay pipe bowls and stems, medieval and post-medieval pot sherds, modern coins, lots of brick and tile fragments not forgetting worms and ants!!! The weather was generally kind with rain only on the Monday, suntan cream was required on the rest of the days. Apart from one student slightly cutting himself with a trowel there were no health and safety issues.

3.Detail


Image & photos not yet included

The location of the trench was heavily constrained (as last year!) by the fact that the playing field is laid out as a sports field. Particularly important this year as the school’s sports day was to take place a week after the excavation. It was decided, therefore, that the trench should be located in one of the few sports-free areas. As can be seen, from the overlay of the old estate map onto a Google Earth satellite image of the area (see below), the northern boundary of the estate lies close to the current boundary of the playing field. The trench was sited by this boundary (although marked on the image below it is difficult to see!!) in the hope of finding evidence of the old estate’s boundary. Two students from University College London’s (UCL) Institute of Archaeology (IoA) and four members, two of whom were part-time, of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) took part as well as Sarah Dhangal of UCL’s widening participation initiative and Maria Phelan representing the school. Fourteen students took part during the week at an average of five sessions each, three students were returnees from last year’s dig. The dig attracted a lot of attention from both teachers and students, who returned time and again to ask questions and view the progress of the dig. Following the decision to open a 4m by 2m trench, the area was deturfed (context 100). Then over the next three days, approximately 30cm of top soil (context 105) was carefully taken out. Below the top soil, was a layer of clayey soil (context 110) of which only about 10cm was excavated as time ran out. Two small sondages were sunk (contexts 115 and 120) to test the depth of this layer, but natural sub-soil was not reached. Auguring indicated that London clay, the probable natural sub-soil, was still some distance further down. The modus operandi was as follows: Excavating started at 10.00 to fit in with the school timetable. The students arrived for two three-quarter hour sessions either side of the school lunch hour. After the students had returned to class, further “spits” were taken from the trench and work finished about 17.00.

4.What did we find?

The key objective of bringing archaeology to school, both pupils and teachers, was achieved to some extent at the expense of the archaeology!! Weather and the small number of excavators also contributed to the fact that we did not get down to the natural level. In the event, no structures were found, and no evidence of the boundary of the old estate. On the other hand, there were many finds as follows: Pot sherds 198 (33 modern flowerpot sherds discarded) Clay pipe parts 92 Slag 24 Building material 292 (282 bits discarded) Misc: pen parts 6 Bottle caps 2 Plastic 9 Wrappers 3 Coal 37 Slate 8 Flint & stone lots (all discarded) Coins & tokens 7 modern with one unknown Metal Nails many Bits of iron many Bullet 1 Bone animal 5 pieces of abraded bone including one horse’s tooth

5.What does it mean?

Both the “deturf” layer and the top soil (context 105) were, not surprisingly, much disturbed whether in situ or re-deposited it was not possible to tell. A lady who had been at the school during Word War II, said that students had been allocated parts of the playing field as allotments to grow vegetables, presumably to supplement rations. The amount of flowerpot sherds and plant identity sticks support this evidence. The dateable clay pipe pieces indicate a date of 1840 to 1845 for the context, although the pot sherds cover a huge date range from early medieval (ESHER dated 1150 -1300 & LOND dated 1080 - 1350) to modern 20th century sherds. Once the clayey-soil layer (context 110) was reached the stratigraphy became more reliable. The pot sherds recovered give a date range of 1350 to 1620, the small amount of glass and building material from this layer seem consistent with these dates, as does the lack of clay pipe. The two sondages (contexts 115 & 120) that were sunk into the clayey-soil also bear out the stratigraphy with the pot sherds in context 115 having dates in the range 1200 to 1480 and those for context 120 dates between 1500 to 1550. One surprise was the lack of animal bones found in the excavation (we only found one horse’s tooth); excavations in the area have generally turned up lots of animal bone. As the area excavated is small and the dateable sherds few, not too much should be read into the result. It is a pity that lack of time prevented the excavation reaching the bottom of the clayey-soil layer. However, it seems clear from the artefacts found that the archaeology of the playing field has more to tell us about Hendon House and Hendon. It is to be hoped that next year an excavation in an adjacent area, with perhaps more time might unravel more of the story.

6.Contribution to research questions The research questions posed by the project design brief can be answered as follows: a. Is there any residual evidence of prehistoric activity? There was no evidence of prehistoric activity, probably because the excavation did not reach such depths. b. Considering the proximity to various Roman roads, is there evidence of Roman activity? There are three or four small much-abraded sherds of Roman pot. Again, however, the excavation did reach the levels at which one would have expected to find such material. c. Excavations in the area have uncovered considerable Anglo-Saxon material, is there any evidence of similar remains here? There was no evidence of Anglo-Saxon activity, possibly for the same reason as prehistory and Roman above. d. Is there any evidence of activity in the area between its mention in Domesday and the construction of the house? A number of early medieval pot sherds were recovered, which, if not re-deposited from elsewhere, would indicate activity locally during that period. The evidence from the nearby Church Terrace site (CT73) and Burroughs Gardens site (BG72) and the history of St Mary’s Church would support this proposition. e. What evidence remains for the different phases of the rebuilding of the house up to the demolition in 1909? As no structures were found, there was no archaeological evidence of any rebuilding phase.

7.Results

The main objective of the project was to provide training and practical experience of archaeology for the students of Hendon School. The interest and enthusiasm shown by the pupils that took part in the excavation, the number of pupils and teachers who came to view it during their leisure time, as well as the many well-formed questions, made this excavation a considerable success. From the point of view of the archaeology, all that can be said is that the artefacts found indicate a long period of occupation in the area, always provided that the ground material is in situ and not re-deposited from elsewhere. The physical archive will be housed at Hendon School. There is also a photo library of the excavation largely compiled by Sarah Dhangal. The SMR has been updated under the site code HDS06. Copies of this report will be sent Jon Finney at the London Borough of Barnet and to Kim Stabler of English Heritage.

8.Recommendations

If a third season is proposed, then it is recommended that the excavation take place over two weeks rather than one week, and that the location should be further up the sports field along the same border but nearer to the old long jump pit.

9.Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to a whole range of people from staff at the school especially Maria Phelan, to UCL students Hannah Davis and Alex Mulhall, to HADAS members Andrew Coulson, Angela Holmes, Jim Nelhams, not forgetting the students who took part. Thanks also to Jacqui Pearce for reviewing the pot sherds found. Sarah Dhangal, UCL‘s widening participation officer and Gabe Moshenska UCL made it all possible.

Update on the history of Hendon House by Don Cooper

Since putting the report of the research on the history of Hendon house on to the HADAS internet site, we have been contacted by Geoffrey Cornwall, a direct descendant of the John Cornwall that lived there. He has kindly sent us a photocopy of miniature portraits of Mr. and Mrs. John Cornwall. The miniature portrait of Mrs Cornwall is signed by Adam Buck and dated 1828. The portraits are labelled “John Cornwall Esq. of Hendon House and 37 Grosvenor Place” and “Mrs. Cornwall of Hendon and Grosvenor Square”. It is wonderful to have confirmation of our research – Thanks Geoffrey. As an aside this demonstrates the power of the internet (if such a demonstration was required!!). As you know, Jim Nelhams loaded the first 100 HADAS newsletters on to our internet web site so that they can be searched. The remaining three hundred and forty still remained to be transcribed into a searchable form. They are currently held as .pdf files and need to be passed through an Optical Character Reading software program, corrected, edited to remove personal data, formatted and loaded onto our site. Anybody........ ********

A Plea for information

At the beginning of May 1972, HADAS began excavating on the site of six demolished houses at Burroughs Gardens opposite the White Bear pub. Digging took place only at weekends, and there are constant complaints of a lack of diggers in the newsletters of the time. The dig finished in mid-October 1972. Although the dig didn’t last very long and was poorly manned, significant amounts of medieval pot were said to have been found. Until last month, the fate of the artefacts from the dig was not known. A number of boxes of them have now turned up, and there are fine examples of medieval pot sherds (ESHER, SHER, LSS & CHAF). WHERE ARE THE REST? Please search attics, garages, and anywhere else you can think of and let us know if you find anything including documents and/or artefacts, or if you have any information as to where the results of the dig went. Why are we interested now? Many digs have taken place in the area since, both by HADAS and other archaeological units, and a picture seems to be gradually emerging of the settlement pattern in Hendon during the medieval period. We now know that there was a significant medieval settlement around St Mary’s Church, Hendon (the book on the detailed results of the excavation by HADAS at Church Terrace in 1973/4 should be published next year by the members of the post-excavation class). The medieval pottery sherds from the dig at Burroughs Garden seem to indicate that there was another settlement in the immediate area. Some of the pot sherds were looked at, at the time, by the late John Hurst, an expert on medieval pot, who visited the site and identified them as early medieval. However, the many excavations (Church End Farm, behind the Hendon fire station, on the Middlesex University site among others) that have taken place between the two sites have failed to find, other than the odd sherd or two, any medieval pot or any other indications of medieval occupation. Were there two distinct settlements in the area? On Warburton’s map of 1749, the road that runs by the Burroughs is called “Watling Street”; does this reflect an ancient route with a small settlement on the high ground? We know that there were separate settlements later on, but the few artefacts recovered from the Burroughs excavation seem to indicate that there was occupation there by at least the 10th century, whereas the Church Terrace site seems to have been in continuous occupation since Roman times. The White Bear has closed (October 2007) and it is to be hoped that when the site is redeveloped, there will be an archaeological condition included in the planning consent, which might help to clarify the details of the occupation of the area in medieval times.

St Mary’s Church, Harrow-on-the-Hill

Daniel Secker has been doing research and limited survey work on the above during this summer (2007). He has kindly sent us a copy of his report (Secker, 2007) and given us permission to quote his preliminary results. His main finding shows that “despite assertions to the contrary, the fabric of the nave of the late eleventh century church survives, and that the present early thirteenth century arcades are insertions. There are also signs that the predecessors of the present late medieval transepts were diminutive structures; it is just possible these originated as porticus of an even earlier minster church. While no minster was ever directly mentioned at Harrow, the indirect documentary and place-name evidence suggests that such a foundation existed”. The documentary evidence for the building of a late eleventh century church by Archbishop Lanfranc (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1070 to his death in 1089) is provided by Eadmer, the twelfth century chronicler, who says that Lanfranc began building a church at Harrow in 1087, which after Lanfranc’s death in 1089, was completed and consecrated by Archbishop Anselm (his successor as Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1094. Another finding is “the presence of Roman brick in the later fabric of the church”. If you would like more details and to request a copy of his report please write to Daniel Secker, 48 Walbrook House, 1 Huntington Road, Edmonton, London N9 8LS. St Mary’s Harrow-on-the-Hill is another of the so-called “Middlesex Marys” together with others including our own St Mary’s Hendon. These churches seem to have been built during the “great rebuilding” that took place between the conquest and the first half of the twelfth century. They are often on prominent hills in the landscape. The top of St Mary, Harrow-on-the-Hill’s spire is the highest spire at 169.47m above sea level in the country even higher than Salisbury Cathedral at 168.24m! (Harris, 2006). But was there any structure on these hill tops before these: such as an older Anglo-Saxon timber structure or Romano-British pagan temple? I wonder will we ever know.

Secker, Daniel. 2007. St Mary, Harrow-on-the Hill: The evidence for Langfranc’s Church and the Possible Anglo-Saxon Minster. Unpublished

Harris, Brian, 2006. A Guide to Churches & Cathedrals: discovering the unique and unusual in over 500 churches and cathedrals. London: Ebury Publishing.

Other Societies’ Events Compiled by Eric Morgan

Tuesday, 4th December 7.00pm. The British Postal Museum & Archive, Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell, WC1 (Corner of Mount Pleasant Sorting Office). “War heroes of the Post Office” The history of the Post Office Rifle Volunteer Corps. To book call 020 7239 2570.

Thursday, 6th December, 8.00pm. Islington Archaeology & History Society, Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1. “Berthold Lubetkin – Master Architect” by John Allan.

Saturday, 8th December 10.30am. Enfield Society. Meet at platform 9, King’s Cross main line station. “Linear Tunnels old & new”, a walk ending at Highbury & Islington Station led by Roy Nicholls details 020 8360 0282. Shorter options, lunch stop in the Angel area.

Saturday, 8th December. RAF Museum, Grahame Park Way, NW9. “Freedom & Liberty Activity day – to tie in with the Museum’s temporary exhibition includes talks by curators, escape & evasion gallery trails, poster design & displays.

Tuesday, 11th December, 5.30pm. Institute of Archaeology, Room 412, Gordon Square, WC1. “Recent research on Late Medieval Alchemy - British Museum Medieval Seminar” by Dr. Marcos Martinon-Torres.

Tuesday, 11th December, 8.00pm. Amateur Geological Society, The Parlour, St Margaret’s Church, Victoria Avenue, N3 (off Hendon Lane). “The Forensic use of Micro-Fossils” Talk by Dr. Haydon Bailey.

Wednesday, 12th December 8.00pm. Mill Hill Historical Society, Harwood Hall, Union Church, The Broadway, NW7. “A London Quiz” by John Cooke (a Blue Badge Guide).

Wednesday, 12th December 8.00pm. Hornsey Historical Society, Union Church Hall, corner Ferme Park Road/Weston Park, N8. “Grimaldi lived here”, the National Census & a house in Clerkenwell. Talk by Marlene McAndrew, Refreshments 7.45pm £1.

Thursday, 13th December, 6.30pm. LAMAS, Terrace Room, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2. “Merv - A forgotten city on the Silk Road”, by Tim Williams (IoA).

Friday 14th December, 8.00pm. Enfield Archaeological Society, Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane/Junction Chase Side, Enfield. “The Christmas Story in Art”, by Stephen Gilburt £1.

Thanks to our contributors: Eric Morgan, Steve Brunning, Gerard Roots


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