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Salon: Issue 301
1 July 2013

Next issue: 22 July 2013

The Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector. It focuses on the activities of the Society and the contribution that the Society's Fellows make to public life. Like the intellectual salons of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, it aims to amuse and to stimulate debate as well as to inform. A copy of Salon’s editorial policy can be found on the Society’s website. News and feedback for publication in Salon should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.
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Inside this issue

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013

To the list of three Fellows honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list, we can now add a fourth: our Fellow Antonio (Tony) Sagona, Professor of Archaeology in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to tertiary education in the field of archaeology.
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Fellows’ Day at Kelmscott Manor

Although the previously announced deadline has passed for booking Fellows’ Day tickets, there are still tickets available, so if you change your mind and find the idea of spending Sunday 14 July 2013 in the company of other Fellows and their guests in the atmospheric surroundings of the Manor and its gardens, listening to the music of jazz duo ‘Impromptu’, enjoying delicious and home-made food and watching Dick Dufty and Peter Locke on film talking about the 1960s campaign of restoration at the Manor, you can book by contacting the Kelmscott Manor staff.

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Kelmscott Manor Conservation Management Plan

Our General Secretary, John Lewis, has written to everyone who responded to the consultation on the Kelmscott Manor Conservation Management Plan to thank them for the time and effort they put into reading the Plan and responding in detail. The volunteer authors of the plan, Fellows John Maddison and Merlin Waterson, say that they will take account of the consultation feedback in producing the final version of the Plan, which the Society hopes to publish later this year.

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Summer closure

The Society’s library and apartments will close for the summer at 4pm on Friday 26 July 2013 and reopen at 10am on Monday 2 September 2013. Fellows who wish to use the library during this time are advised to telephone in advance to arrange an appointment to visit.

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English Heritage to become a charitable trust

The Government has announced that it is planning to provide an £80 million endowment to enable English Heritage to become a self-financing charity, responsible for the management of the portfolio of 420 historic properties that form the National Heritage Collection, including such prime visitor attractions as Stonehenge, Kenwood, Audley End, Dover Castle and Charles Darwin’s home, Down House in Kent.

Under such a scheme, the properties would remain in public ownership, but English Heritage would be licensed to manage them by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, the statutory body that currently governs all the activities of English Heritage. The statutory planning and heritage protection arm of English Heritage is to be rebranded as the National Heritage Protection Service and may well end up being transferred to the Department for Communities and Local Government, with which it will have closer affinities once divorced from the National Heritage Collection.

Such a move on the part of the Coalition Government has been on the cards for some time. Our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, hinted as much in his recently published book, Men from the Ministry, where he wrote: ‘the English part [of the National Heritage Collection] is virtually self-sustaining again. This must open up questions about its future management and governance’ (p 255).

It was no coincidence that Simon was appointed a transitional trustee of British Waterways in 2010, helping to oversee the successful transformation of the former government agency into the Canal & River Trust one year ago. In an interview with Salon’s editor, published in Current Archaeology in October 2011, Simon said that the Government would look to the conversion of British Waterways into a charitable trust as a model ‘for other cultural institutions ― not just English Heritage, but national museums and galleries [including] the British Museum, the British Library’.

At the time, Simon said that the major barrier to the mutualisation of English Heritage was the organisation’s £35m annual deficit. The announcement, then, of an £80m endowment looks like a compromise: sufficient to help but not sufficient to remove the problem. The new charity will, however, have far greater flexibility in the way that it generates commercial and philanthropic income.

A public consultation on the Government’s proposals will begin shortly as will, in due course, the recruitment of a Chair and Trustees for the charitable trust.

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New Designation documents from English Heritage

English Heritage is highlighting the work of its designation team, headed by our Fellow Roger Bowdler, with the publication of the first ever Designation Yearbook, illustrating the wide range of buildings, monuments, gardens and landscapes ― and one wreck site ― added to the National Heritage List for England in 2012―13. The yearbook demonstrates the team’s increasingly thematic approach to designation ― looking last year, for example, at motor car structures, post-war commercial offices and Peak District lead mines; this in turn reflects the focus on those assets that are most under threat and that would benefit most from enhanced understanding.

The approach is further reinforced by a series of forty-four Listing Selection Guides, setting out concise histories and designation criteria for a range of assets from Agricultural Buildings to Utilities and Communication Buildings. Twenty of these have been in circulation for some time, but a further twenty-four Selection Guides have just been published, including a new Marine Selection Guide on Ships and Boats: prehistory to present, a new Battlefields Selection Guide, a Scheduling guide and four new guides to assets on the Register of Parks and Gardens. These, says Roger, are ‘not intended to be the last word on the subject, and they remain subordinate to government guidance, but they do provide an introduction and leads for further investigation, and meet the need for transparency by setting out our assessment approaches. We also find they are useful tools to share with owners and managers to explain their asset in a national context.’

Related guidance can be found in the Introductions to Heritage Assets (IHAs), which provide a more detailed overview of different asset types and complement the relevant Selection Guide. Thus far these have concentrated on archaeological assets ― with forty-one titles ranging from Animal Management to Stone Castles ― but two further marine guides have now been published, and the first buildings IHA, on Coastguard Stations, while others ― on libraries, post-war commercial offices and signal boxes, for example ― are said to be ‘in the works’.

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The National Trust for Scotland objects to a merged HS―RCAHMS ‘super-body’

The new English Heritage (or whatever the new charity will eventually be called) will compete (as indeed it does now) with the National Trust for memberships and visitors. North of the border, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has raised concerns about similar competition from the proposed merger of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The NTS points to the possibility of ‘unintended but serious consequences’ from the creation of a single ‘super-body’ that could work to the disadvantage of other voluntary and private organisations caring for Scotland’s heritage.

The NTS has warned of a number of potential conflicts of interst. It says that the new body, while aspiring to be ‘Scotland’s leading heritage tourism provider’, will continue to regulate how other operators manage their properties, will take over responsibility for grants to the sector at the same time seeking access to grant support itself, and will compete with the voluntary sector for membership support and charitable giving.

NTS Head of Policy, Diarmid Hearns, said: ‘While we welcome the broad thrust of the Scottish Government’s proposals, we are calling on them to make sure there is a level playing field, with no unfair advantages given to the new organisation as it competes with us and others for income.’

NTS members are being asked to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation, which is due to end on 31 July, and are being directed to a Briefing Paper on the proposed merger.

Department of Culture, Media and Sport cut by 7 per cent

Also announced in the Chancellor’s spending review for 2015―16 was the news that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport is to make real-term cuts of 7 per cent in its budget for 2015―16. The detail of where the cuts will fall has yet to be announced, but Arts Council England and the national museums and galleries have been told to make cuts of 5 per cent, so heavier cuts will fall in other parts of the DCMS budget. It is a sign of the times that arts leaders welcomed the cuts, simply because they might have been worse. Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, said that a 5 per cent reduction was the ‘best case scenario in what are difficult and testing economic times’.

The true picture is complicated, however, by the much larger cuts being made in local authority spending. Keith Merrin, Director of Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland, told the BBC that many regional museums are struggling as a result of local authorities taking the easy option of cutting arts and heritage spending. ‘The belief that philanthropy will pick up the slack is simply unrealistic in most parts of the country’, he said. Local authorities in England and Wales have each spent an average of £380,000 on arts in the last two years, though some have abolished their arts budgets altogether.

Can heritage survive another hammering?

Before the Chancellor announced the outcome of the spending review, our Fellow Matthew Slocombe, Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, warned in the Guardian that cuts to the English Heritage budget have a huge knock-on effect for many heritage charities, whose work is supported by English Heritage with sums that are very small in the grand scheme of things, but that make all the difference to the bodies who receive this funding.

‘The government seems to view heritage as a soft target and an unaffordable luxury in the current climate’, Matthew wrote. ‘But is this really so? The catalytic effect of historic buildings and sites on schemes for the regeneration of urban areas is well documented. Far from being an impediment to growth, heritage often provides a successful centrepiece for redevelopment. Just look at the so-called “knowledge quarter” around King’s Cross and St Pancras, or sites like Spitalfields Market in east London where the old and new thrive side by side. Heritage is an asset to the UK and one that’s all too easily undervalued within plans for growth.

‘Assets require care, and at a national level two of the greatest carers are English Heritage and the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT). These agencies also work collaboratively with a network of voluntary sector organisations that bring considerable resources to the field but depend on a small trickle of public sector funding. Modest financial help from English Heritage allows the SPAB to deliver advice, training and advisory services ... to support the planning process, helping elected members at a local level make informed decisions about applications which affect their historic structures and sites ... and to conduct research into the improvement of energy efficiency in old buildings. With older buildings forming a high proportion of England’s building stock, and certain to remain so into the future, it is essential that we find sympathetic and effective ways to reduce carbon emissions. Without English Heritage backing and collaboration, this work will cease.

‘Heritage cuts will yield savings too small to help the Treasury, but much damage will still be done. Vast numbers of people appreciate the historic environment as part of their daily lives and will notice the effect as its care erodes. The heritage sector accepts that public spending cuts are a fact of life, but we do not consider it right for heritage to be penalised beyond the level suffered by others.’

Join the debate on the future of local societies: CBA discussion paper published

Opportunities for societies and community groups to make a significant impact on archaeology were explored earlier this year during a UK-wide forum on the role of the voluntary sector in archaeology in the twenty-first century, facilitated by the Council for British Archaeolog. Our Fellow and former President, Rosemary Cramp, gave the keynote speech on ‘The value of societies: past, present and future’, and a number of Fellows took part in panel discussions on the subject of ‘the relevance of local societies today’. The forum revealed a willingness on the part of those societies to grasp the opportunities presented by new technologies and the public’s demand for hands-on archaeology. The discussions and case studies also showcased the rich diversity, and wealth of expertise and energy, that characterises the UK’s archaeology and local historical societies.

In order to widen the discussion, the CBA has now published case studies, presentations and videos from the forum, along with a round-up of social media comment from the weekend. The website also has a discussion paper, setting out a number of proposals for moving forward on some of the initiatives identified at the forum, and a response form, designed to gather information from local societies on their future plans, their advocacy and campaigning work, the partnerships, publications, use of digital media, work with young people, research and fieldwork.

The CBA says it will respond by developing a number of resources and training events for voluntary archaeology groups to meet the needs identified by the discussion document, in such skills as fundraising, campaigning, branding and marketing.

The deadline for responses is 27 September 2013 (but earlier feedback is welcome).

Time to make people pay to visit Venice?

Fellow Anna Somers Cocks follows up her New York Review of Books article on the impact of big cruise ships visiting Venice with an opinion piece in the Art Newspaper, arguing that tourists should be charged €30 ($40) for the visit to Venice. This, she argues, would reduce the numbers and ensure that visitors rnjoy the 'visit of a lifetime' that they expect but rarely experience because of the 'iintolerable, even hazardous, crowds',

Anna believes that those who come to enjoy its beauty should make a direct contribution to the city’s survival: ‘Mayor Orsoni says that he needs a minimum of €140m each year in special funding to maintain the city. The only certain statistic for the number of tourists to Venice is the 6.4 million who spend at least one night in commercial accommodation in or around Venice. This does not take account of the day-trippers, who are numerous and should also pay, but for argument’s sake, 6.4 million x €30 equals €192m gross.

'Charging is therefore potentially a game-changer as it gives Venice a regular, predictable source of funding, and if presented properly, would not be a hard sell to visitors, who can all see how vulnerable the ancient buildings are. But for this same reason, the money would need to be seen to be spent on protecting Venice, so it would have to be ring-fenced to prevent it being deviated or just disappearing into the black hole of Italy’s public finances.’

Anna believes that this principle applies not only to Venice but to most of the world’s heritage sites. The concept of managing and limiting access as well as making a financial contribution to the maintenance of a site is already well established in ecotourism (for example, at the Galapagos Islands).

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation predicts that global tourism, currently standing at 1 billion people, will reach 1.6 billion by 2020, with Europe as the most popular destination. Anna concludes: ‘we have to accept that the days of unlimited access, not just to Venice but to most famous cultural sites, will very soon be over’.

Social networking the seventeenth-century way

Fellow Peter Kuniholm was much amused by an article in last week’s New York Sunday Times suggesting that today's obsession with social networking is mirrored in the seventeenth-century coffee house craze.  Whereas today people tweet and text and use Facebook to stay in touch, taverns and new-fangled ‘coffee houses’ were the social networking hubs of the late 1600s, the places to hang out with chums, read and discuss the latest pamphlets and news-sheets and catch up on rumour and gossip (ditto, says Salon’s editor, the salons of continental Europe).

Patrons would visit their favourite coffee houses several times a day to catch up on the news and talk; some coffee houses specialised in discussion of particular topics ― science, politics, literature or shipping. As customers moved from one to the other, information circulated with them. The diary of Samuel Pepys is punctuated by variations of the phrase ‘thence to the coffee house’. His entries give a sense of the wide-ranging conversations he found there. The ones for November 1663 alone include references to ‘a long and most passionate discourse between two doctors’, discussions of Roman history, how to store beer, a new type of nautical weapon and an approaching legal trial.

Just as people fear that social networking reduces employee productivity and undermines people’s ability to concentrate on their studies or their work, so critics such as Anthony Wood, the Oxford academic, believed that ‘Coffea Houses’, where dons and students alike spent all their time, were responsible for the decline of ‘solid and serious learning’ in the university. Over in Cambridge, his naysaying counterpart was the lawyer, Roger North, who bemoaned the ‘vast Loss of Time grown out of a pure Novelty. For who can apply close to a Subject with his Head full of the Din of a Coffee-house?’

Looking back, we now view coffee houses as crucibles of creativity: it was a coffee-house argument among fellow scientists that spurred Isaac Newton to write his Principia Mathematica. The British Coffee-house, in London’s Cockspur Street, was a popular meeting place for Scottish intellectuals, where Adam Smith wrote much of his treatise on The Wealth of Nations, circulating early drafts of his book among fellow customers for discussion. Scientists often conducted experiments and gave lectures in coffee houses, and because admission cost just a penny (the price of a single cup), coffee houses were sometimes referred to as ‘penny universities’.

Merchants used coffee houses as meeting rooms: Jonathan’s coffee house turned into the London Stock Exchange and Edward Lloyd’s, a popular meeting place for ship owners, captains and traders, was the forerunner of the Lloyd’s insurance market.

The author of the article, Tom Standage, has written a book called Writing on the Wall: Social Media — The First 2,000 Years, whose title rather implies that Belshazzar (shown left in Rembrandt's painting) was the first recipient of a text message (in which case the subtitle of the book should probably be The First 2,552 Years, Belshazzar having met his fate in 539 BC). But what this analogy between social networking and coffee houses seems to have missed is that we have still have coffee-house culture ― although today’s customers of the likes of Starbucks, Costa, Hudson’s, Bewley’s, Caffè Nero and Coffee Republic are more likely to be found sitting in silence huddled over their iPhone or iPad, making use of the free Wifi connection for social networking, rather than engaging in intellectual debate with their fellow imbibers.

Emery Walker Trust and the William Morris Society win Heritage Lottery Fund support

The Emery Walker Trust and the William Morris Society are to receive development funding of £91,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for their joint project ‘Arts and Crafts Hammersmith: developing the legacy of William Morris and Emery Walker’. This initial support will enable them to progress their plans to open up access to the rich collections of both organisations and the wider histories ― personal, social, political ― of the arts and crafts movement in Hammersmith, and to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The project involves essential conservation work to the collections of both organisations, and scanning to provide online access to the collections for the first time. New joint programmes of education, interpretation and outreach will be offered and a group of volunteers will be trained to help run the programmes and care for the collections.

Geographically, the project is concentrated on Emery Walker House (7 Hammersmith Terrace), home of the printer Emery Walker (1851―1933), one of William Morris’s closest friends and mentors, and on Kelmscott House (26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith; shown left in an archive photograph), named after Kelmscott Manor and the London home of William Morris for the last eighteen years of his life (1834―96). These houses stand a quarter of a mile apart in Hammersmith on a stretch of the Thames where many members of the arts and crafts movement, particularly those concerned with printing, lived and worked. Both houses will benefit from much-needed repairs as well as alterations designed to improve the visitor experience by creating spaces for exhibitions and better support of public activities.

Our Fellow John Cherry, Chair of the Emery Walker Trust, said: ‘With this wonderfully encouraging support from the HLF, the Emery Walker Trust and the William Morris Society can forge ahead with a long-cherished project to develop public access to their remarkable arts and crafts collections in Hammersmith, the rich legacy of two extraordinary men and their families. William Morris and Emery Walker would have been pleased that this grant means their work will be appreciated by so many more people.’

Fiona MacCarthy, author of William Morris: a life for our times, said: ‘This imaginative joint project will refocus attention on two of the great figures of artistic London in the late Victorian period. William Morris and Emery Walker, his friend and close professional and political collaborator, lived and worked almost side by side in this atmospheric Thames-side area of Hammersmith which became an enclave for the arts and crafts. The new possibilities for the development of these two related houses with their extraordinary collections will delight the many people who care about Morris and his unique place in our national heritage.’

Lives Remembered: Mick (Michael Anthony) Aston, FSA (1 July 1946―24 June 2013)

For many of us, Midsummer’s Day 2013 will forever be remembered as the day we learned of the death of our Fellow Professor Mick Aston at the too-young age of sixty-six. Mick was the best-known archaeologist of his era, a Mortimer Wheeler of the hippy generation, but someone who earned the love and respect of his peers by remaining utterly unspoiled by his television fame and utterly committed to teaching and collaboration with anyone who shared his archaeological interests.

Obituaries were published in several newspapers the day after his death and they can be read online in the Independent, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph (The Times has published one too but that is only accessible to subscribers).

These give the facts of Mick’s life, but for the full self-effacing flavour of the man, it is worth turning to the video that was made to record the presentation of a Lifetime’s Achievement Award to Mick by the trustees of the British Archaeological Awards (BAAs). Knowing that Mick would not come to London to attend the awards (which Mick had personally helped to fund for many years), Mike Heyworth, Chairman of the BAAs, plotted with Mick’s friends to visit him at home in Somerset on his birthday, on 1 July 2012.

Mick was not at home, of course. Where else would he be but out in the field, digging test pits in the village, alongside a group of friends and neighbours, researching the medieval origins of their community. That was how Mick worked, teaching by example, not from on high, determined that archaeology should be, at heart, a communal, democratic activity.

Back in Mick’s conservatory, the presentation was made. Those who witnessed it and sang 'happy birthday' were not the knighted stars of the glitzy TV world, but the local people with whom Mick had spent the day.

Mike Heyworth's words on that occasion sum up why Mick was loved by the whole archaeological community: for his substantial contribution to our knowledge of archaeology, his originality of approach, methodology and presentation, his commitment to recognised professional standards and ethics, his effectiveness in the dissemination and presentation of research, and the support and inspiration ha gave to colleagues, students and members of the public, with the result that millions of people across the world have gained something in terms of their understanding of archaeology and of themselves.

Sadly, Mike Heyworth's concluding remarks, saying that the Lifetime Award was NOT intended to signal the end of Mick's career, and confidently asserting that ‘you've still got decades of research and original contributions to make’, have proved not to be prophetic, though no doubt Mick's family and his many friends are planning even now a suitable memorial and a way of ensuring the continuity of his legacy.

Lives Remembered: Constance Mary Fraser, FSA (1928―2013)

Salon’s editor is grateful to our Fellow Colm O’Brien for the following tribute to our late Fellow, Constance Mary Fraser.

‘Professionally Constance was a university teacher, appointed in 1957 as Staff Tutor in Local History in the then Department of Extra-Mural Studies at Kings College, Newcastle. From within that role she went out and about widely on Tyneside and in Northumberland and arranged summer schools with her departmental colleagues. She was early trained in the practice of adult education, for, in the years before the Second World War, summer holidays saw Constance as a teenager offering guided tours to visitors at Hexham Abbey Church. She cut her teeth as a doctoral student on medieval documents in the archives of the Dean and Chapter of Durham for her study of Bishop Bek, one of the so-called Prince Bishops of Durham, and after completion she set to write A History of Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, 1283―1311, published by the Clarendon Press in 1957.

‘The solid underpinning of her scholarship was her skill in reading and elucidating manuscripts written in Latin and Norman French; and her most enduring scholarly legacy is in her printed editions of these documents. For the Records Series of the Surtees Society of Durham and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne she edited manuscripts on matters of government and legal administration and of trade and taxation and so made these readily available to others: The Records of Anthony Bek, Bishop and Patriarch, 1283―1311; Ancient Petitions Relating to Northumberland; Northern Petitions of the Fourteenth Century; The Northumberland Lay Subsidy Roll of 1296; The Newcastle Chamberlain’s Accounts 1508―1511; The Durham Quarter Sessions Rolls 1471―1625; The Northumberland Eyre Roll for 1293; each a work of disciplined scholarship.

‘In parallel with these, she was for some thirty years General Editor for the Yorkshire Archaeological Society of the project to publish the Rolls of the Manor Court of Wakefield. In this capacity she saw to completion twelve volumes, six of these under her own name. Her intensive reading of primary documents followed through into publications (usually journal articles) on topics of historical import. With Kenneth Emsley she wrote on the Palatine Courts of Durham and on other matters legal; and she wrote a series of papers around trading and the merchant communities of Tyneside in the Middle Ages. Her 1959 paper on the ‘Life and Death of John of Denton’ is a compelling account of corruption in local government in the early fourteenth century; worth reading at any time. Such was her command of this field that, as recently as 2009, the editors of a new book on Newcastle and Gateshead Before AD 1700 turned again to Constance for an essay on “The economic growth of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1150―1536”.

‘Constance built her life around involvement in organisations. In the historical sphere, she was a founding member in 1966 of the Association of Northumberland Local History Societies, sometime President of that organization and Editor of its journal, Tyne and Tweed. She served on the Council of the Surtees Society of Durham. Her strongest and longest-lasting affiliation was with the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, which she joined in 1952. For many years she was a regular participant in its outings. She served on its Council and its Committees and was for some twenty years its Secretary; in 1990 she was elected President and served in that office for three years.

‘Constance leaves one project unfinished, a study of the Northumberland Hearth Tax of the 1660s. She had been working on this for some time and had of late been collaborating with Dr Adrian Green of Durham University, and so she leaves the project in good hands.’

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Lady (Jane) Roberts is retiring as Librarian and Curator of the Print Room at Windsor Castle on 26 July 2013. Our Fellow Jonathan Marsden, Director of the Royal Collection Trust, says that Lady Roberts is the first to have held both appointments and that, on her retirement, the posts will once more be separately held. Her successor as head of the Print Room will be our Fellow Martin Clayton, currently Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at Windsor. The post of Librarian is now being advertised (see ‘Vacancies’ below).

Several Fellows have been involved in events leading up to the Diamond Jubilee celebration of The Queen’s Coronation, held in Westminster Abbey on 4 June 2013. Over the past two years, the thirteenth-century Coronation Chair has undergone thorough study and conservation, under the supervision of Fellow Tony Trowles, Head of the Abbey Collection. The chair has now been redisplayed in St George’s Chapel at the base of the south-west tower; the new display has been designed by Ptolemy Dean, the Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric.

At the same time, Fellow Warwick Rodwell, the Abbey’s Consultant Archaeologist, has carried out a detailed study of the Chair, leading to the publication of the first monograph on the subject (see ‘Books by Fellows: The Coronation Chair and Stone of Scone’ below).

On 29 May Country Life featured an article on the Coronation Chair, for which Fellow John Goodall commissioned the magnificent reconstruction drawing of its likely original appearance, based on the latest research into the structure and decoration of the Chair and drawn by the artists Stephen Conlin (photograph: © Stephen Conlin, commissioned by Country Life magazine).

Research has shown how both the Chair and the Stone of Scone have been considerably modified over the centuries. An article on the ‘Georgianization’ of the Chair has appeared in the latest issue of The Georgian, published by the Georgian Society.

On 4 June, The Queen and members of the royal family inspected the newly displayed Chair before attending a reception and celebratory lunch in the medieval College Hall, where the guests included our Fellows the Bishop of London, Sir Roy Strong, Tony Trowles, Warwick Rodwell and James Wilkinson. Afterwards, in the Deanery, the author presented a leather-bound copy of The Coronation Chair to HM The Queen, who is also the book’s dedicatee.

A photographic exhibition of the 1953 Coronation has been staged in the Chapter House, and an exhibition of historic models ― The Coronation Chair in Miniature ― has been mounted in Westminster Abbey Museum by Diane Gibbs, the Museum’s Co-ordinator. Eighty models and representations of the Chair in gold, silver, base metals, china and timber are on display. These have mostly been loaned from the private collections of Fellows David Breeze, Nigel Israel, Warwick Rodwell and James Wilkinson.

The ‘second’ Chair, made for the joint coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689, has also just been conserved and put on display in the museum. Both exhibitions run until the end of September.


Salon 300 got some facts wrong in reporting on the threatened closure of the William Morris Gallery in 2007: instead of the ‘fourteen’ expert staff who were made redundant at the time, there were just two ― our Fellow Peter Cormack and a curator colleague ― plus two attendants, who together had managed to keep the Gallery open until that date, ‘with no effective support from the local authority’.

And our Fellow the Bishop of London lost some of his honorifics in the same issue of Salon. He should have been styled: ‘The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres’.


13―14 September 2013: ‘Pre-Raphaelitism: past, present and future’, Ashmolean Museum and St John’s College, Oxford. This two-day conference will present new and innovative approaches to the study of Pre-Raphaelite art, literature and design. It will consider such questions as: what is Pre-Raphaelitism; where does the movement begin and end; who should be included or excluded; what are its major influences; to what extent has it influenced other artists and movements; how have perceptions of Pre-Raphaelitism changed or remained the same since its nineteenth-century beginnings?

The provisional programme can be seen on the Oxford Brookes website, along with booking details.

14 September 2013: ‘Archaeology and Standing Buildings Study Day’, in partnership with the Kent Archaeological Society and the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. The mid-fourteenth-century barn at Court Lodge, Brook, seven miles from Ashford, owned by the Wye Rural Museum Trust, is hosting this Study Day comprising a series of workshops at which participants can learn how to ‘read’ and assess stone and timber-framed buildings, go field-walking to look for evidence of ancient settlements and be taught how to identify and record their finds. For further details, see the website of the Wye Rural Museum Trust.

30 November 2013: ‘Assessing the Contribution of Commercial Archaeology to the Study of Romano-British Towns’, a day conference at the Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, in collaboration with English Heritage, Cotswold Archaeology and the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. The papers will examine the value of commercial work, highlighting areas where much has been learnt and those where comparatively little progress has been made. The papers are intended to help to inform future curatorial strategies and assist in the setting of research objectives for future investigations. For more information, see the Cotswold Archaeology website.

Books by Fellows: Roderick O’Flaherty’s Letters 1696―1709

Above: Fellow Richard Sharp third from left) presents a copy of his new book to the Irish President Michael Higgins (second from left) at Áras an Uachtaráin, the President’s official residence, shortly after the book was launched at the Royal Irish Academy by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn.

The great Welsh scholar Edward Lhwyd (1660―1709) visited the Irish antiquary Roderick O’Flaherty / Ruaidhri Ó Flaithbheartaigh (1629―1718) when touring Ireland in 1700, and thereafter the two men corresponded regularly until the year before Lhwyd’s death. Fellow Richard Sharp has now given us a transcription and commentary on those hitherto unpublished letters and placed scans of the originals online, which, says Richard, is guaranteed ‘to send people back to my edited text’ because Ruaidhri's handwriting is so difficult to read.

The letters provide an exceptional insight into the thinking and working methods of two pioneer antiquaries, literally forging new forms of knowledge, as Ó Flaithbheartaigh reads and comments on the drafts of Lhwyd’s Irish–English Dictionary, the first of its kind, published as part of his Archaeologia Britannica (Oxford, 1707).

Left: a page from one of the twelve surviving proof sheets of Lhwyd’s Irish-English Dictionary, extensively annotated by O’Flaherty and originally transmitted by letter (TCD MS 1392, no. 8). Reproduced by permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin

Alas, it is also a tale of frustrated ambition, for O’Flaherty’s aim in assisting Lhwyd was to seek help with publishing his own work, Ogygia Vindicated, a defence and expansion of his earlier work, Ogygia: seu Rerum Hibernicarum Chronologia (‘Ogygia: a Chronological Account of Irish Events’, 1685), which had been criticised by contemporary reviewers, and which Richard describes as ‘a difficult book that deals with ancient Irish annals, genealogies, and chronological poems, and is the first to quote from medieval Irish manuscripts by folio, making much use of the Book of Lecan (then in Trinity) and the Book of Ui Mhaine’.

At this point, O’Flaherty began a new correspondence with the eighteen-year-old Samuel Molyneux, whom Richard characterises as a ‘rich kid from Dublin trying to make it in scientific learning’, later elected Member of Parliament and appointed Lord of the Admiralty. The correspondence lasted a year but was promptly dropped when the young Molyneux visited O’Flaherty. Apparently he was horrified by the wretchedness of the aged scholar’s life in his windowless smoke-filled home in Cois Fharraige, the area west of Galway city where the Irish language remains the predominant language. Clearly O’Flaherty did not live up to Molyneux’s idea of the gentleman scholar, though there are reasons why O’Flaherty lived in poverty, as Richard explains in the biographical introduction to the correspondence, his ancestral estate at Moycullen, near Galway, having been confiscated under the Connacht transplantation scheme.

Ogygia Vindicated was not published in O’Flaherty’s lifetime, says Richard, so ‘the presentation of the book to President Higgins (who in earlier days was TD for Galway West) is as near as we can get to allowing O’Flaherty to vindicate himself as he had wanted. Money was always scarce for O’Flaherty, and so it is now. The Royal Irish Academy only took on the publication if I could raise sponsorship. And an Irish company, O’Flaherty Holdings, has generously sponsored this book, for which I am very grateful.’

Roderick O’Flaherty’s Letters 1696―1709, edited by Richard Sharpe; ISBN 9781908996046; Royal Irish Academy, 2013. The book costs 40 euros, but using the promotional code ‘Roderick’ when ordering online will secure a 15 per cent discount

Books by Fellows: Archaeological Walking Guides: the South Downs National Park

Fellow John Manley’s book reveals the extraordinary diversity of England’s newest National Park (designated 31 March 2010) by means of fifteen walks that take us from Winchester, in the west, to Jevington, in the east, with its tantalising views of the Pevensey Levels, Hastings and the East Sussex Weald beyond. Now is the time to grab this guide and go because the Downs are always at their best in June when the chalkland flowers are in bloom (a little late this year, so you still have time to catch them in July). The sheer natural beauty and romance of the Downs is not lost on the author, who declares that therein lies the Park’s ‘uncanny ability to make you forget about the everyday ... the here and now becomes blurred by the past and future. Alone, lost in thought, you can easily seek transcendence and solitude’.

He is not misty eyed, however, when it comes to archaeology: every dewpond, quarry and shrub-covered mound is noted and explained, along with sarsen stones, Roman farmsteads, medieval gardens surviving as earthworks in a horse paddock, flint walls built by Napoleonic prisoners of war, the remains of a funicular railway that once conveyed day trippers to the top of Devil’s Dyke (no solitude in those days; some 30,000 picnickers came here on Whit Monday in 1893) and an eerily silent bungalow on the summit of Truleigh Hill that is the entrance to a Cold War Early Warning Radar Station, built in 1952 to warn of approaching Soviet bombers.

John makes an informative and entertaining companion, whether guiding you round the historic towns of Winchester, Lewes and Brighton (with a keen eye for a good bookshop or tea room) or such curiosities of the countryside as a corrugated iron barn that hides an intact medieval timber frame, or the walls of a chalk-and-flint building embellished, if that is the right word, with spray-painted letters 'MSK', a legacy of a visit to the Park of the Los Angeles-based graffiti crew, the Mad Society Kings, proof that there is very little that John does not know about this much-favoured patch of England.

Archaeological Walking Guides: the South Downs National Park, by John Manley; ISBN 9780752466088; History Press, 2013

Books by Fellows: The Coronation Chair and Stone of Scone

Fellow Warwick Rodwell rightly declares at the start of his book that Westminster Abbey’s Coronation Chair (commissioned in 1296 by Edward I) ranks with Charlemagne’s throne in Aachen Cathedral as one of the two most important royal chairs in existence. He then proceeds, with the help of a number of specialist contributors, to provide an exhaustive account of its history and archaeology, from the copious graffiti carved on the back (much of it recording the names and initials of pupils of Westminster School, including one W Page, possibly the future headmaster William Page (1778―1819)) to the myth-endowed Stone of Destiny, the sandstone block housed below the seat of the timber throne, about whose origins there is so little agreement that Warwick simply gives us five plausible accounts and leaves the choice to our own judgement.

As we have come to expect of Warwick, his eye for significant detail is acute: he manages to tease meaning out of the smallest striations and rasp marks, from broken mouldings and apparently redundant notches as he scours every millimetre of the surface: close-up photographs illustrate all of this, along with the marks on the chair’s corner posts where souvenir hunters have removed fragments of the timber with their penknives (shocking as this seems to us, it was, says Warwick, one consequence of the birth of antiquarian scholarship, and the habit of amassing cabinets of curiosities and collections of ‘specimens’).

In his entertaining account of the chair’s popular influence, Warwick tells us that a replica of the chair was the must-have accessory for every foreign magnate in the nineteenth century, with furniture makers churning out thrones of state modelled on the Coronation Chair for ceremonial use in Britain’s many dominions. Prior to that, in 1689, a second chair was made as a way of solving the dilemma posed by the crowning of William III and Mary II as joint rulers: now known as the Marian Chair, this receives a detailed study for the first time even if Warwick concludes that ‘it was not a piece of fine furniture over which much time and effort were lavished’.

The same might be said of the thousands of scale models of the chair that were manufactured as souvenirs and collectors’ items from the 1850s onwards. Indeed, the magazine Hobbies Weekly even included a free paper pattern for a DIY coronation chair in its 1950 issue, while factories as far away as Bohemia were kept busy turning out scale models of the chair in porcelain and a range of metals, as money boxes, teapots, toys, jugs, charms and even door knockers for the Coronation in 1953, for whose sixtieth anniversary this book is a most valuable and well-executed tribute.

The Coronation Chair and Stone of Scone: history, archaeology and conservation, by Warwick Rodwell; ISBN 9781782971528; Oxbow, 2013

Books by Fellows: The Anglo-Saxon Church of All Saints, Brixworth, Northamptonshire

The Brixworth Archaeological Committee was officially founded in 1972 (chaired by our Fellow and former President Rosemary Cramp), so this volume brings before us the fruits of four decades of research on the part of its principal authors, our Fellow David Parsons and Diana Sutherland. That is a period during which the discipline of church archaeology has been forged, and All Saints, Brixworth, has played a key role in that forging. It has served, for example, as a test bed for such techniques as mortar analysis, brick dating by means of optically stimulated luminescence, a stone-by-stone survey accompanied by identification of the stone types used in the construction (the petrology is beautifully reproduced in the form of a series of colour-coded elevations at the back of the book) and carbon-dating of the charcoal used in the mortar.

This has enabled precise phasing and dating to be given to the surviving above-ground fabric. Adding this to the evidence from below-ground excavation reveals that the main body of the church was built towards the end of the eighth century (not in the seventh century as previously accepted; the authors note with sadness that ‘Sir Alfred Clapham’s frequently quoted description of the church as “perhaps the most imposing architectural memorial of the seventh century yet surviving north of the Alps” has to be abandoned’) and that remodelling resulted in the addition of a western tower and stair turret and a polygonal apse before the end of the ninth century.

Having pinned down the structural sequence, the authors have been able to place the church in context ― to compare All Saints with standing and excavated churches of similar age elsewhere in Europe (Cirencester’s Saxon church proves to be a close parallel, as does St Gallen, in Switzerland) and to look at the liturgical considerations underpinning the design and use of the building.

In a chapter on the significance of the building materials, David Parsons argues that the Roman walls and bath complexes at Leicester and Towcester may well have been the source for some of the sandstones, bricks and tiles. Asking who might have had the power to grant permission for stone to be taken from these sites, and who might be able to command the resources to transport the materials, Fellow Paul Barnwell trawls the place-name, landscape and documentary evidence and concludes that Brixworth was at the centre of a significant royal estate, broken up in the later Anglo-Saxon period. Suggesting that post-Roman rulers used Roman building materials as a symbol of continuity to underpin the legitimacy of their rule, he hypothesises that Offa of Mercia (757―96) might have been the patron and that the use of Roman spolia at Brixworth was an intentional imitation of Charlemagne’s practice at St-Denis.

This is consistent with what we know of Offa, who sought to present himself as Charlemagne’s equal, to the extent that when Charlemagne offered his daughter Bertha in marriage to Offa’s son and heir, Ecgfrith, Offa insisted that one of his daughters should marry Charlemagne’s son, Charles. Offa’s presumption of equality cost him Charlemagne’s friendship for a time, though relations were later restored.  Paul Barnwell presents plenty of further evidence for the influence of Charlemagne on Offa’s legal and ecclesiastical reforms.

The involvement of Offa would explain the sheer grandeur of Brixworth. What is lacking, as several of the contributors point out, is evidence for other structures associated with the church that would help confirm whether it was intended to be part of a royal palace or some kind of religious community. Answering that question is a task for the future, one that the authors hand on to the next generation, and to new non-destructive techniques of geo-physical survey, yet to be developed.

The Anglo-Saxon Church of All Saints, Brixworth, Northamptonshire: survey, excavation and analysis 1972―2010, by David Parsons and D S Sutherland; ISBN 9781842175316; Oxbow; online orders are being taken now at a special pre-publication price of £59.95 (regular price: £90)


University of Oxford: Research Fellow ― Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire project
Salary: £29,541; closing date: 5 July 2013

Requirements include a doctorate relating to Roman numismatics, either completed or due to be completed before October 2013, with extensive experience of recording and analysing Roman coin finds, with relevant computing skills and a strong record of publication. See the Ashmolean website.

UEA, Norwich: Lectureship in Medieval History (AD 500 to 1480): ref ATR1139
Closing date: 8 July 2013

See the UEA website.

Queen’s University Belfast: Lecturer in Archaeology: ref 13/102731
Closing date: 16 July 2013

Preference may be given to those whose research focuses on prehistory and will complement or enhance the research activities of the Past Cultural Change Research Cluster. See the QUB website.

Leicester University School of Historical Studies: two Graduate Teaching Assistantships in History and Heritage
£9,595 maintenance grant plus salary of £3,994 per annum; closing date: 17 July 2013

The University of Leicester is currently making a strategic investment in the area of heritage and its interpretation, leading to the launch of a new MA in Heritage and Tourism and a suite of BA joint degrees with Heritage in the College of Arts, Humanities and Law. These two assistantships, supervised by our Fellow Rosemary Sweet, offer the opportunity to undertake research leading to a PhD in two areas: ‘An English heritage? Mediating, interpreting and presenting a “nation’s history”’, looking at the experience of visitors to English Heritage properties, and ‘The place for archaeology in urban regeneration initiatives: Leicester 1945―2013’, looking at the neglected role of urban archaeology in fostering attachment to historic cities and in the creation of sustainable communities.

Full details can be downloaded from the university’s website, using the reference: AHL00261.

British Museum: Chair of the Board of Trustees
Closing date: 19 July 2013

Someone of international standing in business, academia or public life with extensive experience of chairing diverse and complex boards is sought as the Chair of the BM’s twenty-five-member Board of Trustees whose main role is ‘to safeguard the collection for present and future generations and to make it accessible to scholars and the public across the world’. For further information, see the BM’s website.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB); Project Manager
Salary of £34,000 pa (pro rata £13,600); deadline 19 July 2013
The task is to lead the SPAB’s new Maintenance Co-operatives project, which recently received a round two HLF pass, ensuring the efficient delivery of the three-year project, working with seven staff based across a wide geographical area, responsible for liaising with the HLF Grants Officer/Project Monitor and submitting regular grant claims and reports. See the SPAB website ) for the job description and application form.

Royal Collection Trust: Librarian
Salary: £53,000; closing date: 22 July 2013

The Royal Collection Trust is looking for an exceptional scholar and bibliophile to head the Royal Library, in Windsor Castle, with its unique collection of 125,000 books, manuscripts, coins, medals and insignia. The Librarian is responsible for all matters relating to the care and conservation of the collection, for its presentation through displays and exhibitions and for furthering understanding and interpretation of the collection through scholarly catalogues and both paper and digital publications. Further information can be found on the Royal Household’s website.

University of Cambridge: the Disney Professorship of Archaeology
Closing date: 16 September 2013

Our Fellow Graeme Barker, Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge since 2004, retires in 2014, and a successor is now being sought for this prestigious post. Candidates need to have an outstanding research record of international stature in archaeology and the vision, leadership, experience and enthusiasm to build on current strengths in maintaining and developing a leading research presence. Informal enquiries may be made to the convenor of the Board of Electors, our Fellow Professor Martin Jones (tel: +44 (0)1223 333 507). Further details may be found on the Cambridge University website.

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