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December 2003 No 171



12 December 2003: Heritage of Iran - 2500 Years from Cyrus the Great to the Islamic Revolution

16 January 2004: Blossoms Inn Excavations

13 February 2004: Ethiopia: Africa’s Empire



Romano-British Cavemen

Planning for Archaeology: Current thoughts on evaluation methodologies

More Mysteries of the Lea Valley Industries Revealed






Lecture Programme 2004

Membership Renewal Form 2004

Society News is published quarterly in March, June, September and December

The Editor is Jeremy Grove, 119 Tenniswood Road, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 3HF

tel: 020 8363 9681; email:


Meetings of the Enfield Archaeological Society are held at Jubilee Hall, 2 Parsonage Lane, Enfield (near Chase Side) at 8.00pm. Tea and coffee are served and the sales and information table is open from 7.30pm. Visitors, who are asked to pay a small entrance fee of £1.00, are very welcome.

Friday 12 December 2003

Heritage of Iran - 2500 Years from Cyrus the Great to the Islamic Revolution

Stephen Gilburt

From their capital at Persepolis the Achaemenian kings ruled an empire which extended from the Aegean to the Indus from 559BC until defeated by Alexander the Great in 330BC. After periods of foreign rule the native Persian Sassanids took control of Iran and Iraq in AD224 and built the city of Bishapur. Zoroastrianism became the state religion although there were also Jewish and Armenian Christian minorities. The Sassanian Empire collapsed in 637 after attacks by Islamic Arabs. Seljuk Turks ruled from 1051 until defeated by Mongols under Genghis Khan in 1220. They were followed by Uzbek Timurids led by Tamerlane. The Safavids ruled from 1502 to 1722 and rebuilt their capital Isfahan with many fine mosques, palaces and bridges. The 18th century Zand dynasty moved the capital to Shiraz. The Turkish Qajars gained control in 1797 making Tehran their capital and building several palaces in Shiraz. The Pahlavi Shahs ruled from 1925 until the Islamic Revolution of 1979 led by Ayatollah Khomenei.
The talk will be illustrated with slides of Iran’s architectural and artistic heritage including stone relief carvings, floor mosaics, decorative wall tiles, stained glass, wall paintings, carpets, costumes and religious and political posters.

Stephen Gilburt

Friday 16 January 2004

Blossoms Inn Excavations, Gresham Street

Bruce Watson, MoLAS

The excavations at Blossoms Inn in Gresham Street in the City of London revealed highly significant Roman remains, including many 1st and 2nd century buildings and streets. The best known find was a remarkable Roman bucket-chain water lifting device, which is now on display at the Museum of London, along with a reconstruction outside the Museum. The dig was the subject of a Time Team documentary broadcast in 2002, and which was repeated this spring along with a further programme about the subsequent reconstruction project.

Friday 13 February 2004

Ethiopia: Africa’s Empire

Ian Jones

Ethiopia is both one of the cradles of humanity and the site of the only advanced African civilisation to develop in the vastness that lies south of the Sahara Desert. The 3.2 million year old upright walking hominid Lucy, named after the Beatles song, was discovered in 1974 and is one of many traces of early humanity found in this country. Much remains unknown about Ethiopia's early history but the knowledge of agriculture may have reached it from Egypt. Centuries later Ethiopia was in contact with the growing civilisation of southern Arabia and during the first millenium BC her first, mainly indigenous, civilisation blossomed and saw the development of the Amharic language still used by Ethiopian priests.
From the first century AD a uniquely African civilisation developed centred at the city of Aksum whose most distinctive monuments are the great stone stelae possibly raised to commemorate its kings. One of these, Ezana, reigning in the 4th century AD, adopted Christianity possibly as a result of contacts with the Byzantine Empire. Little is known of events after the decline of Aksum until the foundation of the Zagwe dynasty in the 12th century. It was three of their kings who were responsible for the incredible churches at Lalibela hewn from the solid rock.

From the 7th century a fluctuating state of war existed with Islam which reached its peak in the 16th century, the same period that saw Europeans arriving to seek help against the same enemy from the legendary Prester John. Attempts to introduce Catholicism led to the expulsion of the Portuguese in the early 17th century by the emperor Fasilidas, who nonetheless used European building forms in his new capital founded at Gondar in 1536. Its palaces form the third major group of monuments in this country.

Later centuries saw the building and decorating of many fine churches while the monarchy weakened. Revival began in the mid-19th century and despite some problems with the British the country continued to develop and repelled an Italian invasion in 1896. The Italians returned in 1935 but were driven out in 1941 by the British. The increasingly autocratic emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 by a socialist revolt whose regime collapsed in turn in 1991, being replaced with a democratic system which is finding the country's appalling economic problems hard to deal with.

The Society also regularly carries out fieldwork and other practical activities in the Borough. Please contact Mike Dewbrey on 0208 364 2244 (office number) if you are interested.



7.45 for 8.00 p.m. in Jubilee Hall, Parsonage Lane, Enfield unless otherwise stated. Visitors £1.00

Wednesday 17 December 2003

Seasonal Evening
Wednesday 21 January 2004

The Lost Houses of Winchmore Hill

David Hicks

Thursday 12 February

2.30 pm Ordnance Road Methodist Church Hall

Local Crime and Policing Through the Ages

David Pam


8pm in the Jubilee Hall, Parsonage Lane, Enfield

Tuesday 13 January 2004

The Causes of the English Civil War

Dr Barry Coward, Birkbeck College, University of London

Tuesday 10 February

The Revolting French’: British Reactions to 19th Century Revolutions in France

Prof Pamela Pilbeam, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London
9 March 2004

Richard III and the South

Dr Rosemary Horrox, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge


8.00pm at Avenue House, East End Road Finchley

Tuesday 13 January 2004

Portable Antiquities

Nicole Weller, MoLAS

Tuesday 10 February

London Burial Grounds

Dr Roger Bowdler


7.45pm in the 6th Form Unit, Woodford County High School, High Road, Woodford Green

Monday 19 January 2004

Social Evening
Monday 09 February 2004

Cosmopolitan Roman London - It’s all the rage

Sam Moorhead - British Museum


8pm in the Victoria Hall, Greenyard, Waltham Abbey

Thursday 22 January 2004

The Cuffley Airship

John Higgs

Friday 20 February

The History of Copt Hall

Sylvia Keith


Members are reminded that subscriptions fall due for renewal on 01 January 2004.
Please send the Renewal Form (enclosed with this edition of Society News), together with the appropriate sum, to the Secretary, Jon Tanner, 24 Padstow Road, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 8BU; or, if you prefer, catch him in person at a Lecture Meeting.
Subscription rates for 2004 are as follows:
Ordinary Members: £ 7.00

Joint Memberships: £10.00

Junior Members: £ 3.50
Please note that Joint Membership is defined as any number of named persons residing at one address and receiving a single copy of Society News.
Newer members who joined the Society after 30 September 2003 need take no action, as their subscriptions are valid until 31 December 2004.
Attention is also drawn to the necessity of having a current valid membership of the Society before taking part in any excavation or fieldwork, in order to provide adequate insurance cover.


If you studied the front cover of this bulletin closely enough, you will have noticed that following the appeals in previous editions, the Society has found a new Editor, but we still need a new Secretary and Membership Secretary to take over from Jon Tanner in the new year.

The position of Secretary involves attending committee meetings every two months, taking and distributing minutes and agenda. The Secretary also receives the Society’s general correspondence and distributes it to the other members of the committee as required, and is responsible for the Annual report and the AGM Agenda. Use of a word processor, or at least an electric typewriter, is required.
The Membership Secretary maintains the society membership database and provides address lists for society correspondence, currently using MS Access. Membership enquiries, new memberships and removals are also dealt with, and the membership is reported to the committee at meetings.
If any member is willing to step forward and help the society in either of these ways please contact Jon Tanner (020 8367 8000 day, 020 8350 0493 home) or Dennis Hill (020 8440 1593).

On November 21 2003, Committee members of the Society met with Jan Metcalfe and Val Munday of the Enfield Museums Service, both of whom were originally archaeologists, and Nicole Weller, the Community Liaison Archaeologist of the Museum of London, for a very useful discussion on matters of mutual interest.
A number of topics exist for specific displays including: Roman Enfield, Tudor Enfield, the old course of the New River and the role of metal detectorists. The Society would loan items from its archives to be supplemented by items from the Borough’s collection and loans from the Museum of London’s reserve collection. The Museums Service could help with display facilities and presentation.

As will be evident from the following article, Forty Hall museum is currently undergoing a renaissance which presents the Society with a valuable opportunity to show off its activities in a structured fashion to the public.

On Wednesday 19 November at Forty Hall, the Mayor of Enfield formally re-launched the Borough’s Museums Collections. The Hall was floodlit and looked elegant at night. Inside the rooms were in excellent condition and reminded visitors of the long period when the Hall was a family home.
Several display boards outlined the history of the hall, its owners and the servants who had worked for them. There was also an account of the Tudor Elsyng Palace and a display case with artefacts recovered from the Elsyng site when it was excavated by the Society in the 1960s. Another case showed artefacts from the Enfield Palace which stood on the site of the Pearsons department store in Enfield town centre.
A recent acquisitions display is housed in the staircase well and the museum hopes that residents of the Borough will offer further items to the Enfield museums.
It is anticipated that the new Borough museum to be built on the present car park site adjacent to the Catholic Church in Enfield will open in 2006 and its exhibitions and exhibits will link with those at Forty Hall.
The recent history of Forty Hall has been far from happy, but a change for the better is now clearly evident. The Hall and its grounds have been called the ‘jewel in Enfield’s crown’ and are much loved by the public. In addition they represent a substantial source of archaeology and it is good that the Society continues to be made very welcome and is co-operating with the Borough in projects such as the walled garden re-development, the archaeology uncovered in the CCTV trenches and the search for the Elsyng Palace gatehouse.

Dennis Hill


The Enfield Green Belt Forum covers the wards of Chase and Cockfosters and has the remit to discuss issues on land in the Green Belt which is not in the Council’s ownership.
The Forum met on Thursday 20 November under the chairmanship of Councillor Matthew Laban to consider the results of a Forty Hall Transport Assessment prepared by JMP Consultants and presented by Dr Colin Black.
The need for the assessment arose from the desire of Enfield Council’s Cabinet to consider the implications of increased usage of the Banqueting Suite and the resulting traffic congestion at the main entrance to the Hall in Forty Hill. This is currently restricted by the width of the Grade II stone gate pillars and the street parking opposite.
Since English Heritage are apparently opposed to any changes to these pillars, the Council was considering two alternative routes for vehicles into the Forty Hall estate. These involved the provision of another roundabout in the vicinity of that at the bottom of Clay Hill with a new road cutting through either the allotments or through historic Gough Park, leading to a car park to be built on Warren Field.
Chairman Dennis Hill represented the Enfield Archaeological Society and expressed concern that over-use of Forty Hall was likely to destroy a Grade I Listed Building and ruin the present peaceful country park atmosphere. The Hall and its surrounding were rich in archaeology and needed careful handling. The road building schemes and the removal of the existing car park to Warren Field may well involve major expense which would be difficult to recoup from increased use of the Hall’s facilities.
The Forum asked Dennis Hill to contact English Heritage to ascertain if their objections to modification of the present main entrance could be overcome.

Despite the good news that the present council is favourably disposed to the development of the Hall and its museum, it is evident that we cannot relax and assume the present situation will obtain for the long-term.

Dennis Hill


Romano-British Cavemen

Friday 19 September 2003: Dr Martin Dearne
Martin Dearne, well known to many as a committee member of the Society and a leading contributor to its practical activities, gave a very interesting and informative talk on what must be one of the more obscure facets of Roman Britain.
He began by asserting that some of the Romano-British were literally troglodytes, living in caves not just using them for other things. He noted over 100 caves in Britain with Roman finds, especially in the Peak district, around Settle in N. Yorkshire, in the Mendips and in north and south Wales.

However, as most were poorly excavated in the nineteenth century we now usually have only their artefacts and their sizes, shapes and locations to go on when interpreting what they were used for. An exception at Minchin Hole on the Gower peninsula had evidence for bone spoon and comb making around four hearths, perhaps one per family but to assess the rest the speaker and Prof. Keith Branigan have developed predictive models to suggest what objects and what types of caves may indicate different uses The suggested uses are habitation, craft workshop use (both shown at Minchin Hole and elsewhere including Poole’s Cavern at Buxton), use as a burial site (exemplified by a cemetery in the fourth chamber of Wookey Hole, Somerset), use as a shelter (e.g. for shepherds or tinkers), or hideaway (for fugitives and e.g. counterfeiters who seem to have been active at a cave called White Woman’s Hole in Somerset), or (seemingly rarely) as a store for food. Another use, for ritual purposes, seems to have been unexpectedly rare but seems to have occurred at Victoria Cave near Settle.

Martin took us in detail through the nineteenth century discovery and excavation of this cave and how modern research on the site has been possible because of its main excavator’s recording of his work and the preservation of the finds by the Lord family. Although other activities may have taken place here, the very low, dark, long cave with crawls between different chambers, and the presence right to the inaccessible limits of the chambers of the sort of objects not usually found in northern England away from Roman towns and forts, suggest that this could have been a ritual cave, perhaps used for initiations involving crawling through the cave system to leave offerings.
Finally Martin discussed why people might actually have wanted to live in caves, noting that they were relatively warm in winter, cool in summer, often dry but with a water supply, free, fireproof, safe from animals and bandits and necessitating no building; many also may have been only part of the living accommodation as there are often open-air farming settlements nearby. For craftsmen using fire there may have been advantages too to do with having a stable atmosphere and constant lighting conditions (e.g. a furnace’s temperature would be judged by the colour of the fire so light levels needed to be constant). The lecture, on a phenomenon which many don’t realise existed in the Roman period, ended with the observation that ‘Julius Trogloditus may well have deliberately chosen to live in his cave with a view’!


Planning for Archaeology: Current Thoughts on Evaluation Methodologies

Friday 17 October 2003: Dr Kim Stabler

In opening her lecture, Kim Stabler of the English Heritage Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service posed the question “how do we evaluate archaeology?” She showed photographs of a number of relatively complicated sites including: Stanmore Manor, plague pits at Spitalfields and Maiden Castle in Dorset.

Sometimes the presence of a site was well known, in others it was found unexpectedly. In these cases it was necessary to try to figure out what was likely to lie below ground before excavating commenced. Kim proceeded to outline various possible techniques.
Aerial photography was one of the oldest general surveying techniques and found use in the First World War with photography from tethered balloons. Photographs taken before modern buildings were erected can be most useful as was shown in a study of the new Terminal Five site at Heathrow Airport. English Heritage is currently conducting a ‘Fly By’ aerial survey of England outside Greater London. Shadows, soil marks (negative features) and crop marks all have a part to play in the evaluation of aerial photographs for the presence of archaeological features.
A field walking survey conducted under consistent rules is inexpensive and can be productive, for example with a likely Roman or prehistoric site where pieces of distinctive pottery or worked flints may be observed. However, for the Saxon period, it does not work so well as there were few substantial dwellings and settlements are not always easy to locate.
Metal detecting can be a valuable adjunct if there is activity in an area. It can help to confirm if the activity was intensive or not. It has for long been known that in Kent there were many hoards of metal objects. A liaison between archaeologists and metal detectorists revealed many new hoards and the presence of a major new settlement.
Resistivity, magnetometry and ground penetrating radar are all potentially useful geophysical survey techniques and a combination of all three can be most effective. The interpretation of ground penetrating radar results can be particularly challenging.

The Greater London Archaeological Advisory Service (GLAAS) forms part of English Heritage. It does not cover the borough of Southwark or the City of London since both of these have their own archaeologists. GLAAS looks after the other thirty one London Boroughs. It has no statutory powers, but London local authorities usually take the advice it offers them, although there is no compulsion to do so. Its professional staff consists of Regional Architect Robert Whytehead together with four other archaeologists.

GLAAS advises Local Planning Authorities on the archaeological implications of planning applications. The planning business is rapidly expanding from 55, 000 applications in 1996 and this is likely to double over the next decade. In 1996 there were 560 sites of archaeological interest and this had risen to 1100 in the year 2000.
The Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) keeps track of the finds from, and position of archaeological sites. Kim pointed out that it had not recorded any finds from the west side of the London Borough of Enfield.
Some thirty per cent of random excavations have been shown to produce results so a substantial number of sites are being missed. Of 104 fresh sites from north west London boroughs submitted to GLAAS under PPG16, only nine have so far been excavated.
It has been estimated that only five per cent of Roman archaeology remains in London. It is difficult to get at this in built-up areas and ‘keyhole archaeology’ must be considered when house extensions are commenced or garden sites can be utilised.
Kim reminded her audience that there was no point in excavating sites which have known archaeology. Unfortunately, local councils do not have trained staff who are able to determine if a site has archaeological interest and hence the burden falls on GLAAS.
Usually the developer has to pay for any archaeological investigation required, but the burden could be crippling when only a house extension is involved.
The good news was that within a period of four months, Kim expects the SMR to be up-to-date. It already contains about 75,000 records.
The highly qualified staff who vet London planning applications may not always have a detailed local knowledge of the site and its neighbourhood but have the advantage of a dispassionate approach.

The lecture was well received and gave rise to a number of penetrating questions.

Dennis Hill

More Mysteries of the Lea Valley Industries Revealed

Friday 14 November 2003: Dr Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis is a well known expert on industries in the Lea Valley, who has addressed the Society on the subject before.
On this occasion, he opened by making the point that the Lea Valley has been the home of more industrial ‘firsts’ than anywhere else in the world. However, in the 1960s and 1970s much of the local industry became bankrupt or moved away. As a result, the Lea Valley receives more than £162m in the form of European Community Objective Two funds aimed at areas which are socially and economically deprived.
Palmers Specification of 1871 describes a monorail railway with panniers attached to rods which run along the elevated monorail and are drawn by a horse. It was designed by Henry Robertson Palmer to carry brick or lime from brickfields near the present A10 road to the Lea Navigation at Cheshunt where there was a loading dock for barges at the bottom of Windmill Lane.
In 1829 Palmer had invented corrugated iron for building use and later founded what is now the Institution of Civil Engineers. Their grand building in Birdcage Walk contains a stained glass memorial window to him.
Edgar Morton Lee joined a financier Belling to found the Belling and Lee Company, Consulting & Manufacturing Wireless Engineers in 1922, for the production of mains powered radio sets at Queensway Works. This was licensed by the British Broadcasting Company and had a start-up capital of £400. At first they sold a three-valve radio having a hornless loudspeaker and then crystal sets in kit form.

Later they moved to the Great Cambridge Road on a site which later was home to the Ferguson Radio Corporation. Lee joined forces with Logie Baird who was the inventor of a mechanical television system and was transmitting television signals from the BBC aerials at Brookmans Park.

Colin Chapman, as the founder of the Lotus car company, is well known. His father took over in 1939 the then Fiddlers public house (previously The Railway Tavern) in Tottenham Lane, Hornsey. Colin, with a friend, bought up old cars and re-sold them. His first performance car was a modified Austin Seven. Colin had trained as an engineer, but why he chose the brand name of Lotus is unknown. The cars were manufactured in a bottling shed situated at the rear of the pub. The need for expansion resulted in a move to Delamere Road at Cheshunt.
The cars were road tested on local roads. This lead to objections being raised to more expansion, resulting in the factory moving out to a former American airfield in Norfolk.
The company of Carless, Capel and Leonard of Hackney Wick introduced the name of ‘Petrol’ in the 1890s but were unable to register it as a legal brand. Its advertisements carried the slogan ‘No Smell, No Dirt, No Trouble’ and mentioned the Shakespeare quotation ‘The spirit of the times shall teach me speed’.
Dr Lewis then moved his attention to Three Mills Lane at Bromley-by-Bow. Harper Twelvetrees had been apprenticed to a local stationer and printer in Biggleswade. When the owner died, Harper was sixteen and took over the business. He moved to a factory in Three Mills Lane on the site of the present Tesco store. It was called the Imperial Chemical Works and had its own Drum and Fife Band, Brass Band, welfare club, library and leisure hall. It also made the Villa washing and wringing machine with the iron component cast on site.

The Bow Brewery was founded in the 18th century by a man named Hodgson. It specialised in India Pale Ale which could be shipped out to our troops serving in India without deterioration.

Where the Lea joins the Thames is Trinity Buoy Wharf which housed navigation buoys belonging to Trinity House, for which Michael Faraday served as scientific advisor at a salary of £200 per annum. At the time lighthouses used oil lamps or candles, the smoke from which clouded the reflecting mirrors. This defect was overcome by having a current of air draw away the pollutants. Light from the improved lighthouse lamp could be seen from as far away as Warley in Essex. Faraday conducted experiments on optical instruments in the loft of one of the buildings.

The Marconi television mast at Alexandra Palace originally had its sound and vision aerials supported on wooden outriggers and is Grade Two listed. The world’s first regular high definition television service was inaugurated from here on November 2nd 1931.
At Swains Lane, Highgate, the BBC had established a listening post capable of monitoring the sound signals from German aircraft. During the war, Highgate could activate the Alexander Palace transmitters by remote control, resulting in the jamming of the radio reception for German aircraft. This resulted in only 20% of German air raids getting through.
Joseph Wilson Swan invented the incandescent filament lamp, which was made at the Ediswan Lamp Works at Duck Lees Lane in Ponders Ends. From this, Professor Ambrose Flemming developed the diode valve which replaced the coherer as the rectifier in crystal sets in 1904.
The audience clearly enjoyed this review of local technologies and asked a number of questions.

Dennis Hill


News of the Excavation and Fieldwork Group

On Sunday July 20th, National Archaeology Day, the Society in conjunction with the Enfield Museums Service organised events and an exhibition at Forty Hall called Under Your Feet. No doubt many of our members came along on the day, which attracted far more visitors than expected. The public were invited to bring artefacts along for identification and our team of experts were on hand to identify them - including some early rush light holders and some lost bronze brooches from the Roman site in Bush Hill Park.

On the day the sun shone and a test pit was opened to evaluate the stratigraphy in the Rose Garden prior to the landscaping of the area by the council. Our activities attracted a lost of interest from the public who asked lots of questions. Currently we are forging an excellent working relationship with the museum service, which in the long run should be beneficial to all concerned.

With assistance from our colleagues from the Hendon And District Archaeological Society (HADAS) a resistivity survey was carried out to locate the Elsynge Palace Gatehouse. The results so far have been inconclusive due to the amount of demolition rubble across the area.

English Heritage requested that a watching brief was carried out in the Rose Garden as work on the new Coronation Garden began. The hoggin of 19th century garden paths and the foundations of early 19th century walls were revealed and recorded - as reported in Martin Dearne‘s article overleaf. In September the watching brief continued when a trench was dug by contractors to install CCTV cameras around the Hall. As you may have seen reported in the local papers, archaeological features were uncovered on the front lawn which revealed a fine early 18th century brick and cobbled decorative surface and two brick and tile lined drainage channels. Closer to the Hall the foundations of the now demolished servants quarters were uncovered and a foundation trench containing broken bottle fragments had been cut through this when the extension to the house was added in 1928 using 18th century bricks from a house being demolished in Parsonage Lane. A fuller report will follow in a future bulletin.

We were asked by the Park Rangers to investigate a nettle filled hollow close to Forty Hall Farm in October, which looked to be either a silted up pond or a bomb crater. Evaluation of the underlying stratigraphy told us quite an interesting story: layers of cinders, fine ash and bones mixed with small fragments of broken glass suggest that the hollow was used as an ash pit and domestic midden by the Halls for about 50 years from around 1900. The bone consisted of large quantities of lower leg and toe bones from domestic pigs. Evidently these bones were boiled down to extract gelatine for making a rich stock in game pies. Gelatine was also used for making jelly and blancmange, much favoured by the Edwardian palate.

The test pit which was opened in the spring in the gardens of Myddleton House in our hunt for the elusive Bowling Green House, uncovered a tumble of 18th century brickwork but no sign of the Elizabethan building. We now suspect this, with reference to early maps of the area, may have stood between the lake and the conservatory. Further investigation needs to be undertaken to establish if anything remains of the structure, which may have been eradicated when gravel was extracted from the area when the lake was dug in the 19th century.

The excavation in Gilmour Close searching for the even more elusive Ermine Street is now complete. Layers of abraided gravel surfaces were uncovered with lenses of silt deposits within them, but alas we found no definite evidence of the Roman road, which may have been obliterated by Medieval ploughing. Fragments of course early Medieval pottery which were recovered during the excavation would suggest the area was being cultivated at this time. The line of the road may have deviated over the years but the value of negative evidence should never be underestimated!

Post-excavation work continues on Wednesday evenings on the Roman pottery from Leighton Road for those who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the many different fabrics and forms we have recovered.

If time and weather permit we hope to locate and record the remains of an 18th century gatekeepers lodge in the grounds of Capel Manor. More details of this and other projects in the next bulletin.

May I take this opportunity to thank all our Past Finders who have helped to make our work in 2003 so successful and to wish all our members a merry winter solstice!

Mike Dewbrey

Recent Work at Forty Hall Part 1:

The Walled (Rose) Garden (Site FHRG 03)

During the recent re-planning of the walled (rose) garden at Forty Hall the author and other members of the society carried out a watching brief for the London Borough of Enfield and English Heritage, recording former garden features and advising on strategies for mitigating damage to them. All the features were found in shallow cuttings for new paths (Fig. 1) and probably represented the broadly nineteenth century layout of the garden. This summary is based on the fuller archive report produced and photographs of some features can be seen on our web site (

A test pit cut on national archaeology day near the capped well in the garden had already given us a preview of the soil conditions and so it was easy to identify former ‘hoggin’ paths (marked F1 and F3) which evidently crossed the northern part of the garden north south and east west and another area of this material around the well (F2). Parallel to path F3 we also found a wall foundation (F4). This was seen in two new path trenches. In the more westerly it was covered by a substantial area of rubble (F7) which also ran north to the edge of F3 and we advised that only enough of this rubble should be removed to reveal the wall foundation’s top. The rubble itself was interesting as it included material of varying dates such as late eighteenth century dressing bricks, nineteenth and twentieth century bricks plus lime washed wall plaster, window glass, nineteenth and twentieth century pottery, a possible iron wheel tyre section and even an early bone toothbrush.

The brick wall was narrower but with a small decorative buttress on the south under F7 and one course of bricks wider where it was seen further east. Here the bricks may have been reused ones but under F7 they were nineteenth century ones, one stamped WDC. The wider eastern section ended in an expanded pier foundation suggesting that there was an entrance here flanked by decorative piers at the end of this wall and of another matching one further east (which would not have been encountered by any of the trenches cut). These walls would have divided the present garden into northern and southern sections.
In the southern part we found two sides of a brick built probable raised bed (F5 and 6), set a little back from the suggested entrance from the northern part of the garden and on a different alignment to the wall separating the northern and southern parts. There were suggestions that it was approached by more ‘hoggin’ paths and a larger ‘hoggin’ area was seen to the west but not enough was revealed to fully understand the plan in this part of the garden.
As is usual with watching briefs, which are intended only to identify and record archaeology which may be revealed but not badly damaged (or where it is uncertain if anything will be found), we did no actual excavation on the site. Therefore, any conclusions that we draw must be quite provisional, but it seems that what is now one walled garden may once have been divided into two sections. The northern part might have been split into just two large areas by the north south path and one wonders if that might indicate kitchen gardening. The southern part might be suggested as more ornamental, having a raised bed and a wall with decorative buttresses and piers separating it from the northern area.

Subsequently we were asked to mount another watching brief in front of the main entrance to Forty Hall where new trenches were to be cut to install CCTV cabling and at the time of writing this work is ongoing but it has already attracted local media interest because of what we have found. Part 2 of this article will cover this work once it is complete.

Dr Martin Dearne


Members with very long memories may recall excavations by the society in the 1950s and 1970s at the Roman site at Churchfields, Edmonton. These, and several earlier finds and excavations, are currently being reassessed in so far as the records (mainly preserved by the foresight of Geoffrey Gillam who is the only person ever to have published a proper report on any of the work) allow and some of the earliest finds, thought lost, have recently been rediscovered in the Museum of London.
By sheer coincidence Jenny Hall, keeper of the Museum of London's Roman collection, has now just let us know that they have been given a mortarium (Roman food preparation bowl with grit fired into its base) deriving from work on the site in 1938. It is 225mm in diameter, 73mm high with a flange around the top and only a slight lip (usually they had a large lip for pouring). It is in a buff fabric yet to be identified and is probably fourth century in date.
If anyone in the society by any chance worked on the site at any point and has any finds, plans, photographs etc which would help us re-evaluate what was found and exactly where, the author would love to hear from them.

Martin J. Dearne

(Tel: 020 807 7079 or

A new mini-museum display has been laid out in the tearooms at Ferny Hill Farm in Hadley Road, so if you are passing it is well worth a visit.


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