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Salon: Issue 322
23 June 2014

Next issue: 14 July 2014

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

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014

Congratulations to the following Fellows on their well-deserved inclusion in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list:

CBE: Professor Martin Biddle, OBE, for services to archaeology;

OBE: Dr Jane Clare Grenville, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Students, University of York, for services to higher education;

MBE: Sally Frances Badham, lately President, Church Monuments Society, for services to the conservation of church monuments; William (Bill) Britnell (pictured left), lately Director, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT), currently Research Associate with CPAT and Editor of Archaeologia Cambrensis, for services to archaeology and conservation in Wales; Howard Martin Stuchfield, JP, for services to heritage, charity and to the community in Essex.

Also of potential interest to Fellows are the following honours: Joseph Rykwert, CBE, for services to architecture; Harriet Devlin, OBE, of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, for services to heritage and the historic environment; Loraine Elise Knowles, OBE, Stonehenge Project Director, English Heritage, for services to heritage; Antony Paul Wilson, MBE, Project Director, World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, British Museum, for services to museums; and Elizabeth Anne Yarnold, for ‘services to skeleton racing’ (though one suspects that has nothing to do with human remains).

Another birthday and another honour: Beatrice de Cardi, FSA

Our Fellow Beatrice de Cardi, OBE, celebrated her 100th birthday on 5 June 2014, and was guest of honour at an event hosted by the Society at Burlington House, organised jointly by the Society and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). The guests, who included many of Beatrice’s personal and professional friends, convened in the Society’s Council Room to hear tributes to Beatrice’s professional accomplishments.

Fellow Mike Heyworth, Director of the CBA, opened the speeches and Fellow Jane Grenville, Chair of the CBA’s board of trustees, spoke warmly of Beatrice’s contributions to the CBA over the years, reminding everyone that Beatrice became the CBA’s first employee in 1948 and that, in her capacity as CBA Secretary, she was the public face of British archaeology. Through the ‘Calendar of Excavations’ that she compiled and published in the 1960s and 1970s, she was the first person from the world of archaeology that many of us encountered as we took tentative steps towards taking part in a dig and gaining some experience of the discipline.

Fellow Peter Addyman, former Director of the York Archaeological Trust, reminisced about his first meeting with Beatrice, and spoke of his growing admiration and her significant contributions to the field of archaeology. Finally, our President, Gill Andrews, spoke of Beatrice’s sixty-four years as a Fellow of our Society, reminding all that Beatrice had been awarded the Society Medal in 2003 for her years of outstanding service to the Society and its aims.

Gill ended by presenting Beatrice with the Society’s Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished services to the field of archaeology, which include a lifetime’s fieldwork and research into the cultural and trading links between the Arabian Gulf states and the Indus Valley civilisation, as well as discoveries that have transformed the previously blank archaeological map of Qatar into one full of evidence of Qatar’s very rich past.

A video of the medal presentation can be seen on the Society’s YouTube channel, and pictures can be seen in the Society’s Facebook album.

British Archaeological Awards 2014 shortlist

The British Archaeological Awards (BAAs) have attracted a record number of nominations this year, the trustees announced as they revealed the projects shortlisted for the 2014 awards. Fellow Deborah Williams, Chair of the BAAs, said that ‘the bumper crop of nominations this year reflects the incredible wealth, diversity and quality of archaeology, uncovering and presenting the very latest thinking and discoveries right across the UK’.

The entries are judged by independent panels made up of leading archaeologists from across the professional and voluntary sectors. This year the entries they have shortlisted are:

Best Archaeological Project: Bloomberg London
, Museum of London Archaeology; The Hungate Archaeological Project (shown above), York Archaeological Trust; The Tameside Archaeological Survey, Fellows Michael Nevell and John Walker

Best Community-Engagement Archaeology Project: Dig Greater Manchester, Centre for Applied Archaeology, University of Salford; Jigsaw Cambridgeshire: Piecing Together Cambridgeshire’s Past, Oxford Archaeology East and Cambridgeshire County Council; Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP), The SCAPE Trust

Best Archaeological Book: Bosworth 1485, by Fellows Glenn Foard and Anne Curry, Oxbow Books; Interpreting the English Village; landscape and community at Shapwick, Somerset, by our late Fellow Mick Aston and Fellow Chris Gerrard, Oxbow Books; Star Carr: life in Britain after the Ice Age, by Fellow Nicky Milner, Fellow Barry Taylor, Chantal Conneller and Fellow Tim Schadla-Hall, Council for British Archaeology

Best Public Presentation of Archaeology: ‘New Secrets of the Terracotta Warriors’, Lion Television and MediaLab for Channel 4; The Post Hole, University of York; Wemyss Caves 4D, Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, The SCAPE Trust and The York Archaeological Trust

Best archaeological innovation: The Archwilio App, Clwyd–Powys Archaeological Trust, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust; ShoreUPDATE: Sites at Risk Map, web portal and app, The SCAPE Trust; Forensic time-lapse photography, York Archaeological Trust Dickson Laboratory for Bio-Archaeology

The winners will be announced by our Fellow Loyd Grossman, Chair of The Heritage Alliance, at the awards ceremony, to be held in front of an invited audience at the British Museum on 14 July 2014. The ceremony marks the start of a two-week celebration of all things archaeological during the 24th annual Festival of Archaeology, which this year features more than 1,000 public events across the UK.

Magna Carta conservation grant from Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Society of Antiquaries MS 60, the Magna Carta draft preserved in the Black Book of Peterborough

Our Society’s plans for participating in the national programme of events marking the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta have been given a significant boost by the announcement that Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BoAML) will fund much-needed conservation work on two of the Society’s three Magna Carta copies. The grant will also allow for the digitisation of all three charters so that they can be made available online.

The funding is being made available through BoAML’s 2014 global Art Conservation Project. The grant will allow the Society to conserve the Society’s Black Book of Peterborough, which contains an early draft of the charter, reflecting the negotiations conducted at Runnymede in 1215. It will also be used to conserve the Society’s copy of the 1225 reissue. Our third Magna Carta copy (1225) underwent conservation in 2007 in preparation for our Making History exhibition, marking the Society’s tercentenary.

The Society will mount a special exhibition of all three copies in May and June 2015, as well as hosting a series of public lectures related to the charter, demonstrating how these important documents have had, and continue to have, relevance for successive generations of English people.

National Heritage Protection Plan consultation: consultation findings

English Heritage has published the results of its consultation on the National Heritage Protection Plan. The full report can be downloaded from the English Heritage website, but here is a summary of the key findings:
  • there is broad support for having a unifying framework that identifies the most important tasks facing the heritage sector;
  • there is general agreement that the right opportunities, threats and priorities for heritage have been identified; threats include diminishing resources as a result of budget cuts, skills shortages and loss of expertise within the sector, changes to the planning framework that disadvantage the heritage, conflict between the growth agenda and heritage protection;
  • greater clarity is needed concerning the roles and responsibilities of various heritage sector organisations in relation to those tasks;
  • there should be more opportunity for people to get involved, with a stronger emphasis on community, education and outreach;
  • and (hooray!) there is an acknowledgement that the presentation and language of the NHPP needs to be clearer and its relevance better established; in particular, the report recognises that many respondents view the NHPP as an internal document to guide English Heritage activities, and that it does not reflect the priorities of the sector as a whole, nor the views of the wider public.

Chris Smith, Director of Heritage Protection and Planning at English Heritage, says that this feedback will now be reviewed and fed into the National Heritage Protection Plan for 2015—20, currently being developed by the independent Advisory Board, to be published later this year.

Public Libraries and Commercial Offices: two new Heritage Asset publications

The Heritage Asset series published by English Heritage consists of potted guides to the history of particular building types, designed to support the organisation’s listing activity by setting out what is special and significant within any particular building type. Two new guides have just been published in this excellent and informative series: The English Public Library 1850—1939 focuses on purpose-built ‘public library’ structures erected under the terms of the 1850 Public Libraries Act, and its successor, the 1919 Public Libraries Act; while The Late 20th-Century Commercial Office provides an introduction to recent architectural developments in commercial office building in England.

Designation Yearbook 2013—14

Also newly published by English Heritage is the second annual Designation Yearbook, featuring a wide range of buildings and sites added to the National Heritage List for England in 2013—14, together with several amendments and upgrades made to existing List entries. From buildings to boats to battlefields, it is intended to give an idea of the diversity of work carried out by the Designation Department, which, says English Heritage, is increasingly undertaking more strategic projects, an approach that is reflected in this edition of the Yearbook by such themes as inter-war pubs, pre-1840 ships and boats, HM prisons and prehistoric rock art.

Virtual Chapels of Wales: a new online archive

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and Addoldai Cymru (The Welsh Religious Buildings Trust) have secured a £60,000 grant for the development of a virtual museum recounting the story of more than 300 years of nonconformity in Wales through the history and architecture of the nation’s nonconformist chapels.

The project will build on the long-running work of the Royal Commission, in conjunction with Addoldai Cymru and Capel (The Chapels Heritage Society), in highlighting the importance of chapels as a distinctive and iconic building type in Wales. Variety in chapel building ranges from the small and simple vernacular chapels, commonly associated with the Welsh countryside, to the grandiose architect-designed ‘show facades’ of town and city chapels, now recognised as being on a par with the other great public buildings of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Despite this, chapels are a class of building in Wales most at threat from redundancy, so the survey is a timely contribution to expanding the existing Coflein online database.
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Restoration of Woking's Muslim war memorial

David Robbins, of the Horsell Common Preservation Society (HCPS), our Fellow Paul Stamper, of English Heritage, Zafar Iqbal, of Woking Borough Council, and Elizabeth Cuttle, of HCPS, at Woking’s Muslim burial ground

A large grant from English Heritage, together with funds from Woking Borough Council, has enabled the restoration of Woking’s unique Muslim burial ground. Created in 1917 for the burial of Muslim soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War, and later accommodating those who died in the Second, the walled enclosure has distinctive arches, minarets and a domed gateway reflecting the architectural style of the near-by Shah Jahan Mosque, the first purpose-built mosque in the UK.

Secretary of State for Culture Sajid Javid said: ‘Over one million troops from pre-partition India fought as members of the British Armed Forces in the First World War, many of them Muslim. Now standing as a symbol of those lost, and an early and important part of British Muslim history, the restoration of the Muslim Burial Ground to its former glory is particularly poignant in the year we remember the outbreak of the First World War.’

The Muslim burial ground is located on the south-east corner of Horsell Common and was designed by architect T H Winney and built by local firm, Ashby & Horner Ltd. The site is owned by the Horsell Common Preservation Society, which has been a driving force in getting this heritage rescue underway. A second phase of work will begin shortly to create a peace garden within the walled burial ground featuring twenty-seven Himalayan Birch trees, representing the original number of servicemen buried at the site, a water feature incorporating a memorial stone bearing the names of those once buried at the site, strips of pink and white heather oriented towards Mecca and two ceremonial prayer mats of stone.
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Campaign news

The Council for British Archaeology and the Woodland Trust are campaigning to prevent the destruction of an area of Smithy Wood, which is recognised as ancient woodland, on a site near Sheffield that is subject to a planning application for a new motorway service station close to M1 junction 35. The CBA has written to Sheffield City Council to stress the archaeological significance of ancient woodland and to point out that the impact of their destruction cannot be mitigated by planting new trees on an adjacent site.

Ancient woodland is given special protection within the National Planning Policy Framework because of its ecological significance (NPPF, para 118). However, the CBA strongly believes that additional consideration must also be given to the archaeological significance of these important landscapes, and in particular to the living archaeology of the woodland itself, which is unique and irreplaceable.

There is more information about the campaign to save Smithy Wood on the websites of the CBA and of the Woodland Trust.

As the public inquiry into the proposed demolition of more than 400 terraced houses in Liverpool’s Welsh Streets gets underway, SAVE Britain’s Heritage is keeping up the pressure to prevent their destruction by showing what good homes these and other classic housing terraces could easily make with a small investment in redecoration and refurbishment. As part of its campaign to pressure the planning authorities into a change of heart, SAVE purchased No. 21 Madryn Street three years ago; the father-and-daughter design team of Wayne and Tilly Hemingway has now shown how easy it is to adapt the house to suit modern living.

‘The newly decorated house effectively makes the case for bringing empty homes back into use — we argue that it can be seen as a pilot scheme opening the way for the regeneration of the street and the entire area, that enjoys thousands of visitors every year to see Ringo Starr’s birthplace’, SAVE said.

Assisted by the archaeological consultancy DigVentures, SAVE launched a crowd-funding campaign at the beginning of June to raise funds to help pay for this work, and to cover the costs of appearing at the public inquiry. SAVE says that it has now raised nearly £8,000, or 20 per cent of the target, thanks to sixty-five generous donors.
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The ‘Carbuncle Cup’ and Wolfson Economics Prize garden cities

Building Design magazine has launched its annual search for the UK’s worst building, saying that ‘the Carbuncle Cup judges are poised and ready to shine a spotlight on the nooks and crannies which don’t feature on any tourist maps’. If you can bear to look, past winners can be seen on the magazine’s website.

On a more positive note, the five shortlisted entries competing for the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize have been announced. Entrants have been asked to come up with ideas for delivering a new garden city that is visionary, economically viable and popular; the prize organisers have also unveiled polling results showing that 74 per cent of people believe garden cities are a good way to meet Britain’s need for more housing. For full details see the Policy Exchange website.
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Jersey and Jacquetta Hawkes inspire ‘Garden States’

New Jersey, despite being the USA’s most densely populated state, has managed to hang on to its rural small farm and orchard character to the extent that it has been known since 1954 as ‘the Garden State’. Fellow Christine Finn has used that appellation to create a new work of art, called ‘Garden States’, to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the granting of New Jersey to Sir George Carteret (of ‘old’ Jersey) as a reward for his loyalty to Charles II during the Civil War.

As ever with Christine Finn’s work, there is a Jacquetta Hawkes link. Hawkes wrote her first book, The Archaeology of Jersey (1939), just before the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, and her descriptions pre-date the ‘concrete’ legacy of the Occupation in the form of the many surviving Second World War lookout towers, forts, bunkers and underground facilities that now characterise parts of the island.

Combining the two ideas, Christine’s work comprises 350 concrete pots filled with vividly coloured paper flowers, a reminder of gardens lost to development and to the heyday of the island’s annual Battle of Flowers parade. Christine says: ‘I have been making the pots with the generous assistance of Granite Products, at their quarry close to the Jersey War Tunnels. The installation, which is supported by the Jersey Arts Trust, will go on display at the Frances Le Sueur Centre at St Ouen, with some pots placed on concrete German defences along the Atlantic coast, during the week of the 350th anniversary, beginning on 24 June’.

In preparation for the installation Christine has been giving a number of lectures as a guest of the Société Jersiaise on ‘Jacquetta Hawkes: the pre-history of an archaeologist on Jersey’ and at CCA, St Helier’s contemporary art gallery, where she talked about Hawkes and her art interests and showed the film ‘Figures in a Landscape’ (1953), about Barbara Hepworth, that Hawkes scripted.
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‘Tomorrow, Today’

Another example of archaeology inspiring a work of art has just closed at the North West Cambridge Development site, where Fellow Chris Evans and his team have been excavating a mainly Iron Age site in advance of the builders moving in to create a new city quarter with 3,000 houses and 2,000 student rooms plus primary school, community centre and hotel.

Artists in residence Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope have used the spoil from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit’s excavations to create a scale model of the future development out of cob. Having been open to the public for the last three weeks, the ‘model village’ will now be carefully buried, perhaps to be uncovered by archaeologists of the future.

Nina Pope explained that ‘the main reason we came up with the idea is that we have been working in residency with the archaeology department and we were struck by the sensitivity the archaeologists had for working with the soil, looking at the change in colour and working out what things had been. They are so in touch with the past of the site and it seemed interesting to work with the material they are working with to give people an idea of the future of the site.’
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Lives remembered: George Stuart, FSA, 1935—2014

Our Fellow George Stuart, elected on 2 March 1989 and a pioneer in the field of Mayan studies, died at his home in Barnardsville, North Carolina, on 11 June 2104 at the age of seventy-nine.

The obituary published on the website of National Geographic, for whom George worked as Staff Archaeologist and Senior Editor, pays tribute to his passion, his research and the lucidity of his writing, which ‘helped unlock the mysteries of the Maya for readers’.

The obituary said: ‘In the course of a nearly forty-year career at the Geographic, as well as after retirement, Stuart helped shape the field of Maya studies; his contributions included work on the ruins of Coba, Dzibilchaltún, Balankanche Cave, and others. He also served as vice president for research and exploration, overseeing millions of dollars in research grants every year.’

Our Fellow Jeremy Sabloff, President of the Santa Fe Institute and a Past President of the Society for American Archaeology, said: ‘George was a cheerleader for Maya studies and a champion of supporting Maya research’.

Stuart’s books, including The Mysterious Maya and Lost Kingdoms of the Maya (both written with his first wife, Gene), Ancient Mexico and Ancient Pioneers, as well as his articles in National Geographic, introduced the Mayan world to a broad audience. He also co-authored Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya with his son David, an eminent scholar in his own right and professor in Mesoamerican studies at the University of Texas.

Stuart is described as ‘a raconteur in the Southern tradition; his stories would unfurl like a honeysuckle vine. He was thrown out of Egypt and declared persona non grata on suspicion of being a spy. While flying to a Maya tomb in Guatemala, his helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed in the jungle. He submitted expense accounts for black candles and sacrificial chickens. Once, he put the cost of clearing a helicopter-landing pad on his credit card.

‘Stuart’s sense of humor was wicked, underscored by an allergy to bureaucracy. He once riveted an auditorium full of the magazine’s staff with a deadpan parody of an academic paper, based on the excavation of a building at the corner of 17th and M Streets in AD 6900 near the city of “Pound Laundry”. It was, the audience slowly realized, National Geographic headquarters — Pound Laundry being a play on Washington. The paper, complete with footnotes and diagrams, gently ribbed what he termed “the archaeological foibles” of several institutions at one go.’

In retirement, he and his wife Melinda founded the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center (formerly the Center for Maya Research) at their home in Barnardsville, which helped make studies of Maya hieroglyphic research widely available through the Research Reports of Ancient Maya Writing series.

George Stuart, a pioneer in the field of Mayan studies, explores ruins in Copán. Photograph: Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic Creative

Bats and parish churches

In the House of Lords debate on the value and importance of our historic parish churches held on 12 June 2014, our Fellow Lord Cormack took the opportunity to highlight the impact of bat faeces and urine on church fabric and monuments, making the point that the presence of protected bats had made the liturgical use of some churches impossible, while others were spending scarce parish resources on frequent cleaning. Warning that ‘Britain’s churches are at risk of turning into giant “bat barns”’, Lord Cormack said: ‘the impression is that bats matter much more than the worshipping community’. He called for a ‘better balance between the demands of English Nature and the needs of English Heritage’.

In the same debate, Lord Lloyd-Webber urged the Government to set up a national heritage memorial fund to protect and promote works of art in parish churches, saying that protecting works of art such as memorials and stained-glass windows was beyond the means of some churches and suggested a fund should be created to do the job. He also said that anything people could do to further the use of churches as the centre of communities had to be good: ‘We should have Wi-Fi in churches and apps that say “look this is what this building is about”’, he said.

Lord Cormack’s remarks sparked off a debate that was continued on the ‘Today’ programme on Radio 4 on 14 June, and followed up in The Times on 17 June when our Fellow Jean Wilson, President of the Church Monuments Society, contributed a piece to The Times newspaper’s ‘Thunderer’ column, saying that ‘Britain’s churches are not animal sanctuaries’ and that it was time to stop the destruction of woodcarvings, paintings, brasses and funerary monuments, organs and wall paintings by ‘incontinent bats’. ‘Bat-conservationists’, she thundered, ‘should recognise that in preserving nature they are destroying our cultural heritage. Bats should not be given priority over heritage, human health and freedom of worship.’

Fired up by Jean’s rallying cry, Fellow Sally Badham then wrote to The Times as a member of the Church Buildings Council’s Conservation Committee on Sculpture and Furnishings to ask where was Natural England’s financial contribution to the £175 million annual cost of maintaining England’s parish churches, and where was the financial compensation to those churches who suffered a loss of income from church tourism because of the closure of bat-infested churches?

It was then the turn of Fellow Julian Litton, Chairman of the Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales, to chip in. His letter to The Times said that: ‘the architectural historian Lawrence Jones prefaced his book, What to See in a Country Church (1960) with the words: “So far as I am aware, no book has ever yet referred to a particular charm of a country church — put bluntly, its smell. Only centuries, and no doubt a little damp, can produce it.” To this short recipe of aromas we can now add bat urine. Nothing short of minute nappies will eradicate the problem and I, for one, have no desire to become a bat nursemaid. I’d far rather spend my time recording ledger-stones. The bats must be asked to leave, courteously but firmly.’

But perhaps there is a simpler solution: Margaret Angus, Churchwarden of St Peter’s Church, Levington, Suffolk, wrote to The Times to say that ‘I am reliably informed that bats hate the smell of incense. Many country churches will not have used incense since the Reformation, but it might be worth reintroducing it. I may well suggest it at our next PCC meeting.’

Andrew Gilliat wrote in to share his experience at Grade-I listed Shobdon church, in Herefordshire, saying that the parish had secured grants from English Heritage and the World Monument Fund to undertake important repairs; the English Nature licence required the parish to install a sound-deadening barrier between the bats’ roost and the main work area, but when they did so, the bats simply ‘made an executive decision to relocate to a position where they could watch and hear the builders at work’ so the large sum spent on the bat screen was wasted.

The Revd Christopher Kevill-Davies wrote to say that he had been informed that he could recognise the presence of bats in his churches by the ‘dry deposits on the pews’: ‘I replied that, sadly, I sometimes recognised my congregation in a similar way’.

Finally, Edward Towne, of Rochester, Kent, suggested that ‘a stuffed owl should do the trick: preferably the eagle owl (Bubo bubo), which has fearsome ear tufts and flashing yellow eyes, and which is called hibou grand duc in French, and uhu in German, on account of its eerie call’ (leading Salon’s editor to wonder what deters the bats in this case — the tufts or the eyes — clearly not the hoot if a stuffed owl will do).

London Blue Plaques scheme re-launched

The London Evening Standard reported on 18 June 2014 on the launch of the Blue Plaques Club, at which 100-plus guests sat down to dinner alongside Fellows Simon Thurley and Blue Plaques Scheme Chairman, Ronald Hutton. The members of this newly founded donors club were told that their generosity was helping to secure the scheme’s long-term future, and that members of the public are now welcome to submit new blue plaque nominations. ‘Those small roundels are reminders of the people and places that made history. We are delighted to re-open nominations to the scheme’, said Simon Thurley, while Ronald Hutton said that ‘public nominations are the lifeblood of the London Blue Plaques scheme and we are looking forward to seeing lots of new proposals’.

Two people who might have been expected to attend the dinner but who were absent because they disagree with the direction in which the scheme is going are David Edgerton, Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History at King’s College London, and Fellow Gillian Darley, the renowned art and architecture author and critic. Both resigned from the Blue Plaques advisory panel earlier in the month, concerned that it had been 'reduced to a marketing tool for English Heritage'.

News of Fellows

On a far happier note, Gillian says she was very proud to have been elected President of the Twentieth Century Society at the AGM on 14 June 2014; she takes over from Fiona MacCarthy who, as Salon reported in the last issue, is curating a major William Morris exhibition, opening at the National Portrait Gallery later this year.

Wolfson History Prize judge Professor Julia Smith congratulating Cyprian Broodbank (with fellow judge Sir Keith Thomas in the background). Photograph: Justin Grainge

Fellow Cyprian Broodbank, recently appointed Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, had another reason to celebrate this week when his book, The Making of the Middle Sea: a history of the Mediterranean from the beginning to the emergence of the classical world (Thames & Hudson, 2013), was awarded the Wolfson History Prize. Cyprian (above right) was presented with a cheque for £25,000 at a ceremony held at Claridge’s on 2 June 2014.

The Wolfson History Prize, which has been awarded every year since 1972, promotes and encourages standards of excellence in the writing of readable and scholarly history suitable for a general audience. The Wolfson History Prize judges in 2014 were Sir Keith Thomas (Chairman), our Fellow Sir David Cannadine, Sir Richard Evans and Professor Julia Smith.

Fellow Anthony Cutler has just been appointed to the Forsyth Lectureship on Medieval Art by the International Center of Medieval Art at The Cloisters. The Lectureship, established in memory of medievalists William H Forsyth (Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) and George H Forsyth, Jr (Professor of Fine Arts and Director of the Kelsey Museum of Ancient and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Michigan), is intended to sponsor a lecture by a distinguished scholar of medieval art to be presented at multiple venues. In this case, Anthony will give the four lectures at institutions in the US Midwest in September and October, one of which will be the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where George H Forsyth taught.

As we wait for the imminent publication of Francis Pryor’s new archaeological detective story, The Lifers’ Club, Fellow and retired anthropology professor, Phil Duke, informs Salon that he has just published his first historical novel, A Terrible Unrest (ISBN 9781782794370; John Hunt Publishing), which is based on his archaeological work at the site of the infamous Ludlow Massacre in southern Colorado. Philip says the novel ‘follows a young Greek immigrant family who end up working in the coalmines of southern Colorado and becoming embroiled in the most violent strike in US labor history. The book culminates in the attack by the Colorado National Guard on a camp of strikers and their families, with great loss of life, that took place in 1914.’

Our Fellow Pamela-Jane Smith writes to say that the memorial days that she organised in Cambridge for her late husband, our Fellow Thurstan Shaw, succeeded in turning Cambridge into a small part of Africa, thanks to the largest delegation from Africa ever to visit the city. ‘I am hoping,’ says Pamela, ‘that many research collaborations will grow from the contacts that were made as a result and that African archaeology will blossom in Thurstan’s memory!’ Pictures of the memorial events can be seen on Pamela’s website, as can a documentary film made by the Nigerian Television Authority.

Fellow Peter Chowne announces that he has started a new blog devoted to prehistoric Lincolnshire. His aim is to ‘encourage and promote research into the prehistoric archaeology of the historic county of Lincolnshire, the second largest county in England with a long tradition of archaeological research but one that rarely features in general works on British prehistory other than reference to Neolithic long barrows on the Wolds, the Witham Shield or the Iron Age timber causeway at Fiskerton.’ Already up on the blog are a number of open-access excavation and survey reports, plus book reviews and a bibliography.

Finally, there is an enjoyable essay by Will Self in the edition of the Guardian that was published on 21 June 2014, to mark the summer solstice, with pen portraits of several Fellows, including Simon Thurley, Heather Sebire, Mike Pitts (and possibly Bob Bewley in the guise of ‘the man from the Heritage Lottery Fund’). Self’s article makes the point that Stonehenge is a magnet for many different stories about the past (he credits Fellow Rosemary Hill with having gathered many of these stories together in her Stonehenge book, published by Profile Books in 2010).

Self also explores the fascinating topic of where the boundaries fall between heritage and entertainment (particularly apt in view of the forthcoming ‘conscious uncoupling’ (or ‘demerging’ as Simon Thurley describes it) of English Heritage and Historic England). He also tells us that Arthur Pendragon’s trusty sword, Excalibur, is ‘a superannuated prop from John Boorman’s film of the same name’, and that Arthur’s name for English Heritage is ‘English Heretics’, because he fears that the commercial demands on the new model English Heritage will lead it to neglect archaeology in favour of income and sponsorship: ‘How long before McDonald’s Stonehenge or World of Warcraft Battle Abbey?’, he asks.

In sum, Self’s article adds up to an expanded version of Jacquetta Hawkes’s pithy apothegm: ‘every age has the Stonehenge it deserves — or desires’. In Self’s view the Stonehenge we have at the moment is a monument ‘to modern Mammon’s triumvirate of commoditisation, gambling and charity’.


More errors than usual found their way into the last issue of Salon, so to set the record straight: in the report on the Anniversary Meeting it should have been made clear that the birthday party for our Fellow Beatrice de Cardi was a joint event hosted by our Society and the Council for British Archaeology; and an unfortunate spelling error made it look as if our new President ‘resented’ her predecessor, whereas she presented gifts to him on behalf of Fellows and Council.

Some sort of late night brain entanglement led to Salon referring to the battle that decided the Wars of the Roses and that saw Richard III lose his life as the ‘Battle of Boswell’. As Fellow Oliver Harris pointed out, Dr Johnson (in his youth a master at Market Bosworth grammar school) would no doubt have had something acerbic to say on the matter. Oliver adds that it is almost as good as the reference in the 1991 English Heritage Properties Guide to William the Conqueror’s landing at Pevensey in 1066, after which he ‘marched to Hastings and defeated King Alfred, irrevocably changing the course of English history’. Salon also referred to DNA samples being donated by two of Richard III’s ‘direct descendants’; Salon intended to say ‘indirect descendants’, as the king’s only child, Edward, predeceased him, in 1484.

Ortrun Peyn, the Society’s Head of Library Cataloguing, was not at all happy with Salon’s suggestion that sandals and beards are the uniform of Guardian readers: ‘I have been a Guardian reader for thirty-plus years,’ Ortrun wrote, ‘and I have never worn a beard and I rarely sport sandals — certainly not of the kind implied in your report.’

Fellow Tom James points out that the email address given in Salon for the Constitutions of Clarendon 850th anniversary conference contained a transposition error: the email to use for further details is '', not 'clarendon580' (for the avoidance of doubt, the conference notice has been repeated under ‘Events’ below with the correct details).

Not so much a correction as an amplification, our Fellow Keith Ray says that Simon Thurley was not the only Fellow speaking in front of an audience at the Hay Festival earlier this month: Fellow Julian Thomas gave an illustrated talk on last year's ‘Beneath Hay Bluff’ prehistory project at Dorstone Hill, co-directed by Keith and Julian, the results of which were reported widely in the press last July.

‘Over 400 people attended the event’, says Keith, ‘and the level of interest in the subject was indicated by the many questions that came from the audience about the burnt Early Neolithic halls and the contemporary and later burial chambers that we found. One question put with some incredulity by member of the audience said that “if so much was out there to learn about our shared history from archaeology, why did Herefordshire Council and other local authorities see fit to cut such services to the bone, or to remove them altogether?”’. ‘You can imagine’, says Keith, ‘that it was not possible for the lecturer to give a satisfactory answer!’

Keith adds that the 2014 season of excavation at the site takes place from 1 to 28 July. The main open day is on 27 July, to which all are welcome, but if any Fellow wishes to come on another day (except Saturday, the weekly day off), they should contact him by email.

The site is at Dorstone Hill between Bredwardine and Dorstone, on the crest of the ridge that divides the Dore (or Golden) Valley from the Wye Valley, very close to the Arthur’s Stone chambered tomb. It can be reached by driving west from Hereford on the Brecon road (A438), branching left after Staunton-on-Wye, then over the River Wye and turn left in Bredwardine, then first right up the steep hill; or from the Ross-on-Wye to Hay-on-Wye road via Peterchurch, turning right up the hill just before you enter Dorstone village.

Finally, Salon’s report on the splendid Wolsey angels produced a response from Fellow Julian Litten who said that Nelson’s coffin does not lie within the Rovezzano black marble sarcophagus: ‘if I remember the details of Nelson’s interment correctly, he was deposited in a brick grave in the crypt beneath the central dome, which was subsequently marked by an inscribed black marble ledger stone. The Rovezzano sarcophagus was not positioned until 1810, some six years after Nelson’s funeral.’ Julian goes on to say that ‘I remain concerned that the four rough blocks of granite protruding from the lid of the Duke of Wellington’s sarcophagus nearby, to which the huge iron lifting rings were attached to facilitate the sarcophagus’s closure, were never chiselled off, thus giving the tomb an “unfinished” appearance. Perhaps the Chapter would care to consider addressing this omission?’

Fellow Tim Tatton-Brown adds that he sincerely hopes the Victoria and Albert Museum is successful in raising the money to purchase the angels from what was the grandest tomb and monument in sixteenth-century England, and he reminds us that two candlesticks from the tomb are now in St Bavo’s Cathedral, in Ghent. Tim says that the tomb was actually completed by Nicholas Bellin of Modena but it did not leave its Westminster workshop for St George’s Chapel, intended as a monument to Henry VIII (died 1547), until 1567. He agrees with Julian that the great marble sarcophagus is solid, and that Nelson is buried below the crypt floor.

HMS Trincomalee joins the  National Museum of the Royal Navy

Staying with Nelson, our Fellow Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), has announced that HMS Trincomalee, the last of Admiral Lord Nelson’s frigates and Britain’s oldest warship still afloat, is to join the fleet of historic ships under the care of the NMRN, which includes HMS Victory, HMS Caroline, the sole survivor from the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and the newly refurbished HMS Alliance, the UK’s only surviving British Second World War submarine.

HMS Trincomalee was built in Bombay, India, in 1817 and brought to Hartlepool in 1987 for a ten-year programme of restoration. She is now the premier attraction at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, attracting in the region of 50,000 visitors a year. John Megson, Chairman of HMS Trincomalee Trust, warmly welcomed the news, saying that: ‘we are delighted to join the considerable firepower of the NMRN family. It demonstrates just how important HMS Trincomalee is, that she can hold her own alongside such illustrious ships. It is highly significant for the long-term future of the ship and will bring some very real benefits to Hartlepool’s visitor economy and, we hope, a much-welcomed boost to visitor numbers since we will be able to market her as part of a national brand, thereby attracting many more visitors to the site.’

Left: HMS Victory bronze cannon raised from the seabed in 2008

Meanwhile at West Dean College, student conservators, working with metalwork conservation expert Jon Privett, have restored two bronze cannon recovered from HMS Victory, predecessor to Nelson’s flagship, for public display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Victory was on active duty under the command of Admiral Sir John Balchin when she sank in a storm in 1744, taking more than 1,000 of her crew to their deaths. The cannon were raised from the seabed in 2008. Following chemical desalination treatment, the thick marine concretions were removed to reveal the detail of the Georgian crests, dolphin handles and the makers’ name and dates of their production.

The same cannon after restoration


Peace Breaks Out! London and Paris in the summer of 1814

As we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War on 28 July 1914, an exhibition that has just opened at Sir John Soane’s Museum reminds us that 100 years previously, in the summer of 1814, Britain was engaged in lavish celebrations for the peace that followed the Treaty of Paris and the fall of Napoleon.

Two rooms at the museum are packed with more than 100 choice items from Sir John Soane’s collection that tell the story of this forgotten peace. The first room is devoted to the Grand National Jubilee that was staged in London’s royal parks, when miniature naval battles were fought out on the Serpentine, dinners were hosted for 8,000 people at a time and the world’s largest ever firework display was mounted, with firecrackers bombarding the Temple of Discord, which, once the smoke had dissipated, had turned into the Temple of Concord. The second room, devoted to Paris, includes cartoons satirising the British who flocked to Paris, eager to fill up on French cuisine, to enjoy the carnal delights of French brothels and to visit the Louvre, now stuffed with the artistic treasures of all Europe, looted by Napoleon’s troops as they rampaged across the continent.

The pleasures of Paris: a fashionably dressed courtesan beckons as she enters a restaurant advertising private rooms, but her English squire is apprehended by his far from happy wife

How is this connected with Sir John Soane? First, he played a minor role in the Napoleonic Wars as quartermaster of the Bank Volunteer Corps, the militia set up to defend the building that Soane himself had so recently designed to house the Bank of England — though Dr Jerzy Kierkuć-Bieliński, the Soane Museum’s exhibitions curator, questions just how effective that militia would have been if Napoleon’s troops had invaded, since the main duties seemed to consist in parading around the City in smart uniforms and holding lavish banquets within the bank.

Second, Soane seems to have identified with the great bogeyman — he certainly built up a sizeable collection of Napoleonica, including the ring displayed in the exhibition containing a lock of the deposed emperor’s hair, originally given by Napoleon to Betsy Balcombe, daughter of Napoleon’s jailer on St Helena. Perhaps Soane saw parallels between his own rise from humble origins, as the son of a bricklayer, to become the greatest architect of his age and the rise of Napoleon, the self-made man.

But most of all, Soane was as eager as everyone else to see and study the urban improvements that had been wrought on the medieval city of Paris under Napoleon, to admire the Arc de Triomphe (unfinished as it was), and to study the Empire style that Charles Percier (1784—1838) and P F L Faine (1762—1853) had created for Napoleon and Josephine’s palace at Malmaison, the stylistic trademark of the Napoleonic era.

Though small, this is a rich exhibition, full of insights into life in London and Paris 200 years ago, the fashions, the entertainments, the invention of the souvenir trade, the origins of some of the stereotypes that still survive regarding the chic and fashionable French and the frumpy, bilious English, not to mention the reminders that the Great Peace, as it was called, was not to last: plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the peace in 1914 came crashing down, as did the whole political structure set up by the Congress of Vienna — the optimistically named ‘Concert of Europe’ —  with the tragic outbreak of the First World War.

CoLAT announces major new archaeological award

Thanks to a bequest from the late Rosemary Green, the City of London Archaeological Trust (CoLAT) has announced the creation of the Rosemary Green Grant, a one-off award of up to £80,000, payable over a period up to three years, for a single project. The award will be given to a project that is judged to make ‘a major strategic impact on our understanding of the City of London’s historic and prehistoric past through archaeological research’. The project does not have to be exclusively linked to the City’s geographical boundary, but applicants must demonstrate a link between their project and the City.

Activities such as survey and excavation, artefactual, environmental and documentary research, post-excavation analysis and publication all fall within the remit of the award. However, the Trust emphasises that the award is intended to support a multi-disciplinary project that draws on varied sources of data from several sites and / or assemblages and collections to produce new synthetic narratives of the past.

The successful project will need to demonstrate that it will deliver significant outcomes in the areas of interpretation, explanation and education. It will particularly need to show proven engagement with the general public and promotion of the wider values of archaeological work.

More details and application forms can be found on the Trust’s website, and the closing date for applications is 31 December 2014.

UK archive collections honoured by UNESCO Memory of the World Awards

The Scottish Council on Archives in Edinburgh hosted this year’s announcement of nine new inscriptions to the UNESCO Memory of the World UK register of outstanding documentary heritage. Joining the forty-one archives already listed on the UK register, the new inscriptions are:
  • the Carmichael Watson Collection held by Edinburgh University Library, consisting of records of Scottish Highland Gaelic prayers, blessings, charms, stories, songs, folk customs, proverbs and unusual vocabulary compiled by the pioneering folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832—1912);
  • the Hepworth Cinema Interviews, held by the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, created in 1916 by Cecil Hepworth, a pioneer of cinematography, who filmed politicians, including Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith, giving their personal views of the First World War;
  • some 8,000 engineering drawings (1792—1882) from Neath Abbey Ironworks documenting the contribution of south Wales to the industrial revolution, held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service;
  • Robert Hooke’s Diary, 1672—83, held by London Metropolitan Archives covering all aspects of his life and scientific research and his relationships with other well-known individuals at that time, such as Christopher Wren;
  • Roman Curse Tablets from Bath, held by Bath and North East Somerset Council, being the private prayers of 130 individuals inscribed on small sheets of lead or pewter and cast into the hot spring at Bath, giving an insight into language, literacy and belief in the second to fourth century AD and the earliest known reference to Christianity in Britain;
  • the Royal Mail Archive 1635 to the present, one of the oldest business archives in the world, held by the British Postal Museum and Archive, documenting the organisation’s history and the impact of post on peoples’ lives;
  • the archives of the Royal National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck (1823—54), held by the RNLI and documenting the foundation of what became the RNLI, the first national lifeboat institution in the world;
  • Shakespeare Documents, held by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and The National Archives, the key archive sources for understanding the life of the world’s most celebrated poet and playwright, William Shakespeare (1564—1616);
  • West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum records 1814—1991, held by West Yorkshire Archive Service, documenting the work of this pioneering research institution and the resulting developments in the treatment of the mentally ill, including detailed case notes and photographs of more than 5,000 patients from the late 1860s onwards.
To learn more about the Memory of the World programme, visit the organisation’s website.

Call for papers: New Insights into Sixteenth and Seventeenth-century British Architecture

The fifth annual conference on this theme is to be held at the Society of Antiquaries on 24 January 2015. Proposals in the form of short abstracts (up to 250 words) are invited for papers of 30 minutes in length. While the emphasis remains on new research in architecture, proposals are welcomed on related themes, such as the decorative arts, gardens, sculpture and monuments. The proposals should be submitted by mid-August and the final programme will be announced in September. For further information, please contact Fellows Paula Henderson or Claire Gapper.

Call for papers: Cornish Buildings Group Conference

The Cornish Buildings Group, in conjunction with the Cornwall Heritage Trust, Yale University Press and the National Trust, invites abstracts for a forthcoming two-day inter-disciplinary conference to be held in either Falmouth or Truro on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 March 2015. The aim of the conference is to celebrate the recent publication of Fellow Peter Beacham’s revised and substantially expanded Cornwall volume in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England series. The conference will challenge the words that Pevsner wrote in the introduction to his guide, published in 1950, in which he said: ‘Cornwall possesses little of the highest aesthetic quality’ (he did, though, go on to say that the county nevertheless had ‘much that is lovable and much that is moving’).

Those wishing to attend the conference can express an early interest and subscribe to updates by sending an email to the Cornish Buildings Group, while full details of the conference themes and call for papers can be seen on the Group’s website. Abstracts or enquiries should be sent to our Fellow Paul Holden, the Group’s Chairman, by 31 August 2014.


24 June 2014: ‘Cornelius Johnson’s Robert, Lord Bruce: a new portrait acquisition’; this lecture by our Fellow Karen Hearn, to be given in the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh, at 12.45pm (ending around 1.30pm), marks the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s recent acquisition of its first ever painting by the prolific portrait-painter Cornelius Johnson (1593—1661), who was born into a German/Flemish migrant family in London in 1593, worked for various court and gentry families and was employed by Charles I from 1632 onwards. Following the outbreak of civil war in Britain, Johnson migrated to the northern Netherlands, where he conducted a successful career until his death in Utrecht in 1661.

28 June 2014: The Victorian Life Study Day, at Southampton University, has an interesting programme of short talks led by experts from within the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research on such topics as ‘Murder on the Rails: reading and the Victorian train traveller’, ‘A Very Moral Panic? Josephine Butler, W T Stead and the politics of prostitution in the late nineteenth century’, and ‘Victorian Afterlives: reputation and generation in the first Dictionary of National Biography’. Further details can be found here.

30 June 2014: ‘Animal collecting at the Medici court: deploying living and stuffed species as an inspiration for art’, by Angelica Groom, the latest in the Wallace Collection History of Collection seminars will take place at 5.30pm in the Wallace Collection Lecture Theatre.

5 to 7 September 2014: ‘Monuments of Power’, the biannual symposium of the Church Monuments Society, will be held jointly with the Centre for Medieval and Modern Studies, University of Kent, with the monuments of the cathedral as the primary focus for study. Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. For details, see the society’s website.

19 and 20 September 2014: 850th anniversary of the Constitution of Clarendon 1164, at Salisbury Museum, beginning with a lecture on the significance of Clarendon Palace to be given by our Fellow Tom Beaumont James, followed by a guided site visit to Clarendon Palace the next day and papers by leading experts in the field. For further information, contact Mary South, Treasurer of the Friends of Clarendon Palace.

28 October 2014: The Hospital of St Cross, Winchester: symposium on the choir stalls following their recent restoration, 9.45am to 4.45pm. Within the church of the Hospital of St Cross, near Winchester, there is a highly important set of Renaissance choir stalls about which our Fellow Nicholas Riall has published detailed studies in volumes 82 and 88 of the Antiquaries Journal, showing that the carving of the choir stalls is of the highest importance and quality. Nicholas is one of eight speakers at this symposium, convened to celebrate the restoration of the stalls, which will also be addressed by Fellows John Crook and Charles Tracy and by leading conservator Hugh Harrison and the Hospital’s Architect, Louise Bainbridge.

For further details and a booking form, contact William Corbett, Chairman of the Trustees of the Hospital.

15 to 17 April 2015: planning has already begun for next year’s annual conference of the Institute for Archaeologists, to be held at the Mercure Holland House hotel in Cardiff. The conference will examine ways of promoting understanding of the role of archaeologists in society and improving our status.

Session proposals are being invited that ‘tackle the subject head on. What do you think the future holds for the profession? What will the public and clients want from archaeologists? Whom will we be working alongside? How will we be commissioned? What techniques will we be using? Who are the archaeologists of the future, and how will they differ from those of today and yesterday? What should Generation Y be learning so they can succeed in being the archaeological leaders of the future? What do you think the newly Chartered Institute for Archaeologists should be doing to inspire the profession? Are we thinking radically enough?’

If you have thoughts on the subject, you can complete a Session Proposal Form by going to the 2015 Conference web pages.

Ham House: 400 years of collecting and patronage

Our Fellow Lord Sudeley (Merlin Charles Sainthill Hanbury-Tracy, 7th Baron Sudeley) has contributed the following account of his family's involvement with Ham House, following the publication of a comprehensive account of the house and its furnishings, edited by our Fellow Christopher Rowell. Lord Sudeley explains that: ‘my great-grandmother, the fourth Lady Sudeley, was a niece of the Earl of Dysart at Ham and a considerable authority on the house; my review provides an amount of hitherto unpublished information and corrects two  important mistakes.

‘Soon after the war a history of the Tollemaches of Helmingham and Ham was published by Major-General E D H Tollemache, grandfather of the present Lord Tollemache at Helmingham. His account is highly readable in the way that most of this kind of literature is not, but it does have its drawbacks. The General died just before his work was completed; and it was undertaken before any listing of the Ham Archive had begun. The Tollemache Archive is rich in correspondence and personal memoranda that brings them alive, especially if it is for their faults that we enjoy them.

‘One such fault is avarice, the peccadillo of the rich. How lucky we are that the Baroque splendour of Ham, which this book evokes, stayed untouched because succeeding generations were such wonderful misers. When Lord Huntingtower wished to marry Horace Walpole’s niece, Charlotte, he asked his father the 4th Earl of Dysart for more money. Dysart replied that he had none to give, but plenty to lend at a low rate of interest. Breakfast at Ham was declined to George III on the grounds of economy. The 8th Earl of Dysart (uncle of my great-grandmother the 4th Lady Sudeley) left Ham to occupy two rooms in The Strand, his meals served through a trap door, reciting the poetry of Byron to himself. He sent for a shoemaker who measured his feet and asked: “How many pairs, M’Lord?” Dysart replied: “Pairs. Pairs. All I ordered was one shoe.”

‘William Murray was rewarded with the Earldom of Dysart because he was Whipping Boy to Charles I. If Charles I forgot his irregular Greek verbs, it was Murray who received a good thrashing. This book tells us that the Dysart Peerage was created in 1651 by the future Charles I. The Complete Peerage however tells us that the peerage was created in 1643.

‘The Helmingham and Ham inheritances became divided between Louisa, Countess of Dysart, and her younger sister, Jane, who married Captain Halliday. Insufficient mention is given in this book to Louisa’s husband, the MP John Manners, illegitimately descended from the Duke of Rutland, who acquired Buckminster, in Lincolnshire, and traded very successfully in annuities. There is a good entry on him in the volume of biographies of eighteenth-century MPs published by the History of Parliament Trust.

‘The Yale book gives us Augustus Hare’s account of the house when, after the 8th Earl of Dysart retired from Ham to live in the Strand, Ham came to be occupied by his younger brothers Frederick Tollemache MP, father of the 4th Lady Sudeley, and Algernon Tollemache, who lived in a single room with nothing but a wash basin and a bed and thirty pairs of boots. Augustus Hare adds that, for luncheon, the two brothers had only bread and cheese, and we know that their mother chided them for refusing to have any fires by reminding them that such avarice would simply cost them more in doctors’ fees.

‘The book says too that Augustus Hare gives us to understand that Algernon Tollemache, from whom 4th Lady Sudeley inherited, made a great fortune in Australia. That is wrong. After the Treaty of Waitangi, Algernon Tollemache became the Grand Domestic Bursar, or moneylender, in New Zealand, and turned many settlers into minor gentry. The more complicated his transactions, the further he preferred them. Amongst usurers he was an exceptionally nice one, never allowing second mortgages; and if any of his clients got into difficulty his wealth allowed him to say: “forget it”. It was a shrewd move, which enhanced his reputation in competition with other usurers and brought him much extra custom. It is the longest purse that wins in the end.

‘My great-grandfather, the 4th Lord Sudeley compiled an enormous scrapbook of Tollemache correspondence and personal memoranda from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, which has descended in the female line through his eldest daughter, Dame Eva Anstruther, to her daughter Joyce Anstruther (who, under her pen name of Jan Struther, wrote her famous novel Mrs Miniver), and now to Joyce’s grand-daughter. I have ensured that a full copy of this scrapbook is in the keeping of Sir Lyonel Tollemache at Buckminster. It includes a magnificent exchange of correspondence between Algernon and Frederick Tollemache. Further correspondence by Algernon Tollemache records his close friendship with the Maclean family, which arranged many of the Maori land settlements, and now lies at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand. The Maclean fortune in New Zealand descended to Constance, who married Admiral Fountaine of Narford in Norfolk, never open to the public, with its great collection formed on the Grand Tour by Sir Andrew Fountaine.

‘Algernon Tollemache married his first cousin, and they had no children. In 1892 he left half his great fortune to his widow, and the other half to his niece 4th Lady Sudeley. The 4th Lord Sudeley had inherited two estates: Toddington first came to us through the Earl of Hereford, who was Edward the Confessor’s nephew. The 1st Lord Sudeley, who was Chairman of the Commission for the Rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament, built the new Toddington, our new “ball gown”, which we did not keep for very long, in the same blend of Perpendicular Gothic and Picturesque styles. Our second home of Gregynog in Powys is now part of the University of Wales.

‘At the onset of the agricultural depression in 1879, land could no longer pay for itself. Gladstone’s refusal to rescue farming was based on expediency: we had just become a democracy and any Government that put up the price of food would be voted out of office at the next election. To get round this difficulty, the 4th Lord Sudeley planted the huge area of 600 acres of fruit on the Toddington estate, because fruit was not affected by the agricultural depression. By 1893, his debt amounted to half of what he owned.

'The proper proceeding then would have been to reschedule his debts, so that some assets could be sold at a comfortable pace to fetch their proper value, enabling the 4th Lord Sudeley to keep the rest, including his orchards, until they came into full bearing and the produce could be sold to repay the remaining debt.

'None of 4th Lord Sudeley’s major creditors wished to press him into bankruptcy. Instead, it was Lloyds Bank, low down on his list of creditors, who filed the petition for bankruptcy against 4th Lord Sudeley that destroyed his capacity to borrow more and give himself enough time to sell assets at their proper value. The result was that all his assets were sold at a decimated valuation — and the creditors received just sixpence in the pound.

‘The 4th Lord Sudeley’s most painful conflict was with his wife, whose Tollemache inheritance was substantially reduced owing to her acting as guarantor for the 4th Lord Sudeley’s Lloyds Bank loan. They retired to Ormeley, on the Ham Estate, where every feeling in her for him was dead except pity and stiff hatred. Nowadays they would have divorced, but in their day divorce was not allowed. My friend Olivia Bristol, who is one of the Walsingham Gurneys, tells me that when the bankrupt couple left Ormeley and her grandmother moved in the house had to be exorcised.

‘Lloyds Bank would not have acted as they did unless the 4th Lord Sudeley had an enemy. It has been very plausibly suggested that the enemy was Joseph Chamberlain, leader of the middle class radicals within the Liberal Party who conducted a running feud with the old Whig aristocracy, like the 4th Lord Sudeley. Chamberlain was a very powerful politician who completely dominated Birmingham, where Lloyds Bank originated.

‘On the whole, the book is a remarkable body of fine scholarship. It is a valuable contribution to the knowledge of our magnificent historical and cultural heritage. The subject of the book, Ham House, is described as “a villa in the Italian style”; the Viennese would say it is a Gartenpalais. Ham’s unique history lends itself brilliantly to a detailed historical overview of its famous architectural, decorative and pictorial features, as well as providing an inspiring social background of its famous architects, owners, visitors and guests. The bibliography and illustrations are excellent, and the index is wonderfully thorough.’

Ham House: 400 years of collecting and patronage, edited by Christopher Rowell; ISBN 9780300185409; Yale University Press, 2013

Englefield’s black mistress

Our Fellow Bernard Nurse has contributed this short note on another interesting insight into past life and manners. He writes: ‘the launch of the film this month about Dido Belle, the mixed-race daughter of Lord Mansfield’s nephew, Sir John Lindsay, and an enslaved African from Jamaica, has raised interest in the place of black people in eighteenth-century British society. George Cruikshank’s cartoon of a Society meeting in 1812 depicts the failed candidate for the Presidency, Sir Henry Englefield, examining closely a black bust with a damaged nose and the caption ‘Antiquity of the Black Joke’. This has recently been identified as a cruel representation of Englefield’s black mistress.

‘The architectural historian, Jeremy Musson, recently discovered a reference to her in The Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke (1889: vol 1, cxvi). The letter refers to Lady Coke’s black servant from the French West Indies, named “Claire”, who is later described as “the favourite sultana of Sir Harry Englefield, whose friends were never tired of complimenting him on his taste for the black princess — the Queen of Sheba” (there will be more on this in Jeremy Musson’s forthcoming History of Aubrey House). ‘Perhaps this also explains the bequest in Englefield’s will of 1819 to “Mary Anne Clere, commonly called Mrs Sutton ... of the premises where she now resides”.

'Black mistresses were common enough in the West Indies at the time, as were black servants in Britain, but I wonder how many other examples there are of black mistresses in British society and if there are any other references to “Claire”.’

Not a saint but a spelling mistake

Fellow Andrew Breeze has a habit of using philology to puncture myths: one of his recent essays in this realm was featured in the Daily Telegraph recently in a report that explained that St Ninian, perhaps Scotland’s most famous saint after Columba, never existed. This despite the fact that when Pope Benedict visited Scotland in 2010, he chose to do so on St Ninian’s Day, because, as the Scottish Daily Record explained, ‘Ninian is the man who first brought the Christian faith to Scotland’.

Writing in volume 7 of the Welsh Journal of Religious History. Andrew Breeze strips away Bede’s contention that, before Columba, the southern Picts were converted by ‘Ninia’, who was ‘a most reverend bishop and holy man of the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome’. Strangely, if so, Ninian is absent from the early Celtic annals and does not appear in the genealogies that the Welsh provided for multitudes of saints. No archaeological evidence has been found at Whithorn to support Bede’s claim that this was Ninian’s base for converting the Picts — not to mention the fact that Picts did not live in Galloway.

What, then, is the truth about Ninian? Andrew Breeze points out that, as long ago as 2001, Professor Thomas Clancy of Glasgow University proposed that Ninian was a scribal error for Uinnian: in other words, St Finnian of Moville, a sixth-century British missionary in Ireland. It looks as though Pope Benedict and many another pilgrim have not been revering St Ninian so much as a spelling mistake.

Hunterian to reveal the lost tomb of Robert the Bruce

On the other hand, Robert the Bruce (1274—1329), though greatly mythologised, really did exist, and the Hunterian Museum will mark the 700th anniversary of his victory at the Battle of Bannockburn with a special exhibition (24 June 2014 to 4 January 2015) reconstructing his long-lost tomb, based on the surviving fragments.

Crowned Robert I in 1309, the king fought a brutal civil war against his own opponents in Scotland for eight years before turning against the occupying English forces, fighting a guerrilla war of raids and ambushes. The Battle of Bannockburn, fought on 24 June 1314, was the first full-scale confrontation between the English and the Scots and Robert the Bruce’s victory against a bigger force is a landmark in Scottish history.

At his death in 1329, Robert I was buried in the choir of Dunfermline Abbey and his grave was marked by an impressive gilded white marble tomb imported from Paris. The tomb was lost in the turmoil of the Reformation, but fragments of carved and gilded stone, claimed to be those of the vanished tomb, were found in 1818 and later given to the Hunterian and to National Museums Scotland. A further fragment has recently been found in the collections at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott.

To mark the 1314 anniversary, a consortium of Scottish heritage bodies, including the Hunterian, has carried out research on the provenance of the fragments. The exhibition presents the conclusions of that research and showcases the use of 3D digital modelling developed to create a detailed visualisation of the tomb architecture in its original setting.

And finally: rocks and aurochs

At the public lecture he gave at the Society on 17 June 2014, Fellow David Jacques proudly claimed that the Blick Mead spring, at Vespasian’s Camp, Amesbury, had produced more auroch bones than any other site in north-western Europe. Well, Blick Mead now has a rival: Salon’s photograph shows Fellow Phil Bennett, Culture and Heritage Manager with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, holding one of two auroch horns that were exposed on Pembrokeshire’s Newgale beach as a result of the storms of January 2014.

Phil says: ‘the horns were found by a local chap, Shawn Thompson, and one of our rangers who sensibly covered it with a damp cloth. After conservation, it will go on display at some stage in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s museum and gallery, Oriel y Parc, in St Davids.’

Phil continues: ‘we suffered three major storms over a two-week period last January. The storms did a lot of damage and stripped the beach at Newgale, where several thousand tons of shingle were deposited on to the adjacent road on three separate occasions, revealing a lot of peat and ancient tree remains. As well as the auroch bones, animal tracks and one human footprint were exposed, all probably of Mesolithic date. All but the auroch horns have since disappeared, thanks to our lovely Pembrokeshire weather!

‘Whitesands was hit hard too, with the early medieval St Patrick’s Chapel cemetery being scoured by the storm and exposing cist graves right on the beach. An excavation by Dyfed Archaeological Trust in mid-May recorded and stabilised the monument. Our Fellow, National Park Archaeologist Pete Crane, provided an outreach service for the hundreds of visitors who came to the beach to see the remains.’

Having seen the photographs, our Fellow Geoff Wainwright, who lives not far from Newgale and Whitesands, has suggested that Salon readers should be invited to submit a caption, so can anyone think of a witty aphorism linking bluestones and aurochs, Stonehenge and Pembrokeshire?


Sir John Soane’s Museum, Director of Development and Communications
Closing date: 25 June 2014

Visit the Museum Jobs website for further information.

British Museum: Keeper of Asia, ref 1420191
Salary £58,482; closing date 2 July 2014

Visit the British Museum website for further information.

Cardiff University: Lecturer in Archaeology, job ref 2178BR
Salary scale £30,728—£36,661; closing date 4 July 2014

Preferably with specialist research interests in the area of landscapes and/or the built environment, materiality, or death and burial in the medieval world, though other specialist research interests are not excluded. Visit the Cardiff University website for further information.

Norfolk Churches Trust Ltd: Company Secretary and Charity Administrator
Salary to be negotiated and dependent on experience; closing date 7 July 2014

The Trust aims to support church buildings through grants and independent advice. The position includes the administration of the charity, liaising with grant-giving bodies and others, responding to questions from church authorities and working to ensure church buildings are well maintained. A knowledge of company and charity law would be advantageous. For further details see the Norfolk Churches Trust website.

Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge: Assistant Keeper, Manuscripts and Printed Books
Salary scale £33,562—£45,053; closing date 8 July 2014

Visit the Fitzwilliam website for further information.

Chair of the Church Buildings Council
Closing date 15 July 2014

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York in consultation with the Appointments Committee of the Church of England wish to appoint a new Chair of the Church Buildings Council to succeed Anne Sloman, OBE, who is standing down at the end of September 2014. For more details and an application pack, see the ChurchCare website.

Propose a lecture

Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer if you are interested in giving a lecture at one of the Society's Ordinary Meetings (Thursday evenings at 5pm) or as part of our Public Lecture series (occasional Tuesday afternoons at 1pm).

We welcome papers based on new research on themes related to the Society's field of interest: the study of the material past.

You can view our current lecture programme in the Events section of our website.


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