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Salon: Issue 334
19 January 2015

Next issue: 2 February 2015

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

Forthcoming ordinary meetings

Unless stated otherwise, tea is served from 4.15pm and meetings start at 5pm. Guests are welcome if accompanied by a Fellow. Details of all forthcoming meetings up to June 2015 can be seen on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

29 January 2015: ‘The Thames Tunnel: Brunel’s first project’, by Robert Hulse, Director of The Brunel Museum
Brunel’s first project, the Thames Tunnel, built between 1825 and 1843 to connect Rotherhithe and Wapping, was the first tunnel constructed beneath a navigable river. It was originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, but it paved the way for underground transport systems all over the world, and now forms part of the London overground railway network.

5 February 2015: ‘Britain’s medieval episcopal thrones’, by Charles Tracy, FSA, and Andrew Budge
This lecture will principally focus on the early fourteenth-century timber throne at Exeter Cathedral and the two stone thrones at Wells and Durham. The Exeter throne is the largest and most impressive in Europe. It is a distinguished and early example of the English Decorated style and it exemplifies most of the historical and formal strands that characterise medieval episcopal thrones generally in terms of visual appearance, distinctiveness within the building, prestige, construction, stylistic context, finance and the patronage and personal role of the bishop himself; as well as the subtler issues of the individual and collective politics of bishop and chapter, the throne’s liturgical role, its relationship with the cathedral’s relics (where applicable), its symbolism and what it tells us about the aspirations of the institution within the existing ecclesiastical hierarchy.

12 February 2015: ‘New Light on early nineteenth-century art and industry: South Wales iron making’, by John Van Laun, FSA
South Wales was in the vanguard of the iron industry from the end of the eighteenth century, and remained so until the advent of steel in the 1850s. During this period pictures of industrial holdings were commissioned by owner ironmasters. Through the application of industrial archaeology, it is possible to establish that their content is accurate. Furthermore, the inclusion of documentary evidence reveals more, such as date and location. However, artistic treatment varies by coinciding with prevailing values. Up until the 1830s ironmaster patrons required artists to temper the apocalyptic in their quest to be accepted as ‘country gentleman’. Paradoxically, as the march of industrialisation gained respectability, ironmasters shifted their ground from ironworks being portrayed as country estates to one for celebration of what might be seen today as feral. It was thus that by the 1840s the ironmaster was declaring his empire as an ennobled industrialist with an avenue to power at Westminster beyond county interests.

19 February 2015: ‘Archaeology, community and university: the East Oxford Project’, by David Griffiths, FSA
This lecture will focus on the ‘Archeox: Archaeology of East Oxford’ project, which Dr Griffiths has been directing since 2010 and that engages the community of East Oxford in researching their own history and archaeology, in combination with Oxford University departments and museums. A leper hospital and a nunnery have been excavated, along with a cluster of prehistoric pits. The project, which was Highly Commended at the 2012 British Archaeological Awards in the ‘Best Community Engagement Project’ category, has contributed to methodologies for researching built-up residential areas, engaged a range of communities and groups in archaeology and furthered the university’s outreach mission in less-advantaged areas of its own city.

Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton (left) with David Griffiths (right). Image from The Oxford Mail (16 July 2013).

26 February 2015: ‘The Syon Abbey Herbal: the last monastic herbal in England’, by John Adams, FSA, and Stuart Forbes
Syon Abbey, to the west of London, was founded 600 years ago (in 1415) by Henry V after Bridget of Sweden affirmed that Christ had told her that England had a justifiable claim to France; six months later, England triumphed at the Battle of Agincourt. The English Bridgettine abbey ― a mixed community of nuns and brothers, headed by an abbess ― was dissolved in 1539, when the community relocated first to Flanders and then to Lisbon, returning to England in 1865 and only finally ceasing to exist in 2011.

In the 124 years between its founding and its dissolution, Syon Abbey gained a reputation for preaching, teaching and publishing in English. Thomas Betson, Abbey Librarian from 1481 until his death in 1516, was a major figure in that process, best known as the author-compiler of A Ryght Profytable Treatyse ... to Dyspose Men to be Vertuously Occupyed in Theys Myndes and Prayers, a devotional miscellany printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1500, which contains Betson’s translations into English of the seven sacraments, ten commandments, Creed, Pater Noster and Ave Maria. He also compiled the celebrated Syon Library Catalogue (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 141), listing the 1,747 volumes of what was one of the largest monastic libraries in England (what few books survive are now at Exeter University).

Betson was also the author of the last monastic herbal to be compiled in England, with entries for some 700 plant and 425 remedies, many for female ailments. Fellow John Adams and palaeographer Stuart Forbes will describe the herbal (Cambridge, St John’s College, MS 109) and explain what was involved in transcribing and editing it for publication (see ‘The Syon Abbey Herbal’ below).

Forthcoming public meetings

Public meetings are from 1pm to 2pm on Tuesdays. These meetings are very popular, so advance booking is advised to be sure of a place. Details of all forthcoming meetings up to June 2015 can be seen on the 'Events' page of the Society's website.

10 February 2015: ‘Monuments of the Incas’, by John Hemming, FSA
John Hemming will speak about some of the work illustrated in his latest book relating to new research into Incan architecture, particularly focusing on Inca masonry techniques, new thinking about the functions of Incan sites, and developments in the discovery, excavation and conservation of Incan ruins. John Hemming has been awarded Peru’s two highest honours: Gran Oficial de El Sol del Peru (South America’s oldest order of chivalry) and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.

10 March 2015: ‘“Stitches in Time”: recreating Captain Cook’s waistcoat’, by Alison Liz Larkin
With the help of the Society’s Janet Arnold Award, Alison has travelled to Australia to examine a waistcoat and other objects belonging to Captain Cook at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Based on her research there, Alison has been able to create a facsimile, to be displayed by the Captain Cook Memorial Museum Whitby in 2015. Alison will talk about her research project and its significance.

The Society of Antiquaries in the south west: 2015 lectures

The following lectures have been organised by the Fellows Group in the south west of England. All Fellows and their guests are welcome to attend and advance booking is not necessary.
  • 12 February 2015: Fellow Mike Parker Pearson on ‘Stonehenge and its bluestones: recent research’, at 6pm in the Laver Building LT6, University of Exeter (directions here and here).
  • 24 February 2015: Fellow Roberta Gilchrist on ‘Glastonbury Abbey: myth and medieval archaeology’, at 6pm in the Laver Building LT6, University of Exeter
  • 11 March 2015: Fellow Roger Leech on ‘The town house in medieval and early modern Bristol’ at 6pm in Clifton Hill House, University of Bristol (directions here).

Generous grants for our plans to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta

The Society of Antiquaries has been awarded generous grants from a number of organisations to help us mount an exhibition ― Magna Carta Through the Ages ― to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. The exhibtion will run from 26 May to 31 July, and it will, for the first time, allow the public to view all three of the Society's charter copies..

The Heritage Lottery Fund has made an award of £72,000 towards the exhibition and its associated educational programme. A grant from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Art Conservation Project has enabled two of the manuscripts to be conserved so that they are fit for display. Additional funding has come from the Headley Trust and the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts.

Our President, Gill Andrews, said that: ‘the Society is very grateful to our sponsors for giving us the opportunity to mount this important exhibition. One of our current priorities is to make the Society’s collections more accessible to a wider public. We plan for this exhibition to be the first of a series which will allow a greater appreciation of the remarkable items which are in our care’.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a programme of activities, including a six-week series of free public lectures, workshops for schools, a short introductory film and an online resource to help researchers study and interpret the documents. For further details, see the Magna Carta page of the Society’s website.

The three copies

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: ‘Magna Carta is one of the world’s most important documents and is still hugely relevant to our lives today. The Society's project brings to light three copies that illustrate how it was used as the cornerstone of lawmaking in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.’

One of the three copies (SAL MS 60; shown above) is bound into the thirteenth-century Peterborough Abbey cartulary, known as the Black Book of Peterborough. Once thought to be one of several copies made for circulation to English cathedrals after the final wording of the charter had been agreed, it has recently been identified as an earlier draft. It contains distinct differences from the final authorised version and thus provides an important insight into the processes by which the terms of Magna Carta were negotiated in the weeks between late May and mid-June 1215.

This charter, issued by King John in June 1215, was annulled in August, just a few weeks later, by Pope Innocent III, on the grounds that it was sealed under duress and was therefore illegal. The Society’s second Magna Carta manuscript (SAL MS 544) is a copy of the third revision, issued by Henry III in 1225. It was this version, with forty-seven clauses in place of the original sixty-three, that was eventually confirmed and enshrined in English law and that is now regarded as our chief constitutional defence against arbitrary rule. The Society’s copy was among papers and records from Halesowen Abbey that were donated to the Society in 1771 from the estate of Bishop Charles Lyttleton, our President from 1765 to 1768.

Our third copy (SAL MS 701), also of the 1225 reissue, is contained in an early fourteenth-century illuminated manuscript that was probably made as a reference book for a practising lawyer. As well as Magna Carta, it contains a number of Statutes of the Realm, including a transcription of the 1225 Carta de Foresta (the 'Charter of the Forest'), Magna Carta’s companion document, setting out the rights of free men in relation to land designated as royal forest.

Our Fellow Stephen Church, Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia and author of King John: England, Magna Carta and the making of a tyrant, says that: ‘these three copies of Magna Carta are extraordinary finds, allowing us to see into the ways that the text was received and used by thirteenth-century people. The fact that they are copies (rather than official communications from the king) shows just how important it was for those at the sharp end of the reforms to possess their own copies of Magna Carta.’

Once the Society’s exhibition closes, all three copies will be on display in the New York Public Library as part of the celebrations planned in the US for the 800th anniversary.

Magna Carta on BBC Radio 4

Last week Melvyn Bragg presented a series of four 30-minute programmes on BBC Radio 4 to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, featuring interviews with several Fellows, including David Carpenter, who pointed out that the 1215 charter was never known as Magna Carta ― instead, contemporaries referred to it as the Charter of Runnymede or the Provisions of Runnymede. For them, Magna Carta was Henry III’s charter of 1225, and it had a status that John’s charter lacked because it had not been coerced from the king: it was the product of a freely arranged deal in which the charter was granted in return for taxation rights.

Even so, David said that we are right to celebrate in 1215 rather than waiting until 2025, because ‘the essence of the 1215 charter is there in the charter of 1225. There are differences, but much of the phraseology is there, its overall principles are the same and the most famous provision of all is there ― the twenty-ninth clause beginning Nullus liber homo (“No man shall be ... imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions ... except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land”) ― so we are quite right to celebrate the moment of great significance that occurred in 1215.’

Bat Habitats Regulation Bill

Fellows of our Society have been active in promoting a private members’ bill in the UK parliament designed ‘to limit the protection for bat habitats in the built environment where the presence of bats has a significant adverse impact upon the users of buildings’.

Clause 2 of the bill says: ‘Notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972, the provisions of the Habitats Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 shall not apply to bats or bat roosts located inside a building used for public worship unless it has been established that the presence of such bats or bat roosts has no significant adverse impact upon the users of the building.’

The purpose of the bill was set out in a letter published in The Times on 14 January 2015, as follows:

Sir, Christopher Chope is to move the second reading of his Bat Habitats Regulation Bill in the House of Commons on Friday [16 February 2015]. Over the last thirty years bat urine and faeces have damaged many church fittings including brasses, sculptures, wall-paintings and painted screens. Other problems presented by the presence of bats in a place of worship include the danger of transmission of disease, and cleanliness. This should not have happened. Sir Tony Baldry, second church estates commissioner, stated in the House of Commons last month: ‘As I think EU commissioners have acknowledged, no one expected the EU habitats directive to cover places of worship’. Mr Chope’s Bill will remedy this situation and provide protection for our national heritage.

Dr J L Wilson, President, Church Monuments Society
Gill Andrews, President, Society of Antiquaries of London
Professor Helena Hamerow, President, Society for Medieval Archaeology
Sally Badham, Vice-president, Church Monuments Society
Professor John Blair, Queen’s College, Oxford
Professor Martin Biddle, Hertford College, Oxford; Director, Winchester Research Unit
Professor Nancy Edwards, Vice-president, Society for Medieval Archaeology
Professor David Hinton, President, Royal Archaeological Institute
Dr Julian Litten, Chairman, the Ledgerstone Survey of England and Wales
Professor Nigel Saul, Professor of Medieval History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tim Tatton-Brown, architectural historian

The Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 16 January 2015 and now goes forward to the committee stage. You can track the bill’s progress on the UK Parliament website.

Campaign news

Many Fellows have also signed up to a petition calling on West Dorset District Council to ‘ensure that a full archaeological investigation is carried out at the Charles Street redevelopment site in Dorchester] before [redevelopment] work commences’.

According to the petition’s sponsors, West Dorset District Council ‘has shocked and appalled archaeologists by insisting that the controversial Charles Street development be allowed to go ahead without an adequate archaeological investigation prior to the bulldozers moving in. The site lies within the walls of the Roman town, and its archaeology is likely to include vital clues to our town’s history, from prehistoric times to the present. Flying in the face of English Heritage’s advice, and acting against the spirit of the law where archaeology and development are concerned, the Council has decided to squander a major opportunity to explore and enhance the understanding of Dorchester’s past. Instead of a thorough investigation of what remains below ground level, the site is to be destroyed and removed for landfill, after a mere cursory examination.’

Further information can be seen here.

Meanwhile SAVE Britain’s Heritage is supporting the ‘Winchester Deserves Better’ campaign, headed by City Councillor Kim Gottlieb, which wants a public inquiry into ‘a vastly oversized development just across the high street from the town hall and the cathedral’. SAVE’s campaign publicity says that: ‘despite huge opposition from local people ― including a 2,000 strong demonstration ― Winchester city council has approved the scheme, in which it has an interest as part owner of the land’. Further information can be found on the campaign website, and details of how to object can be seen here.

Let us hope that SAVE is as successful with this campaign as it has been recently with its long-fought battle to prevent the wholesale destruction of Liverpool’s Welsh Streets, best known for including the house in which Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) was born. Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has decided to reject the outcome of last summer's three-week public inquiry, which recommended that permission be granted for demolition of 400 of the 440 terraced houses on the site. Instead, the Secretary of State calls for market testing and other options for refurbishment to be tried first, stating that demolition ‘should be a last resort’. He also said that ‘the surviving built and cultural heritage in the Welsh Streets is of considerable significance ... and the [demolition] proposal would have a harmful effect on the significance of the Welsh Streets as a non-designated heritage asset.’

The Welsh Streets consist of a grid of streets built in the 1870s close to Grade II* Princes Park. The estate layout and the terraced houses were designed by the Welsh-born architect Richard Owens and constructed by Welsh builders. They were intended to house Welsh families, among others, seeking work in the growing economy of Liverpool. Most of the streets were given the names of Welsh towns.

Until 2007 the majority of the houses were inhabited, with high levels of resident satisfaction and the properties in good condition. Since then most of the site has been emptied of its inhabitants as part of a plan to redevelop the area. In 2011, SAVE purchased No. 21 Madryn Street, a few doors from Ringo Starr’s birthplace at No. 9, to show just how easily and cheaply these homes can be reoccupied; they helped a local couple bring it back into occupation for an expenditure of £3,000.

Fellow Marcus Binney said of Eric Pickles' decision: ‘this is a triple triumph. First for saving the Streets where Ringo grew up. Second for recognising that these empty homes can be just as spacious and far outnumber the proposed replacements, and third for recognising the Welsh Streets have value as a model neighbourhood laid out by one of Liverpool’s most significant builders. Our appeal to Liverpool Council is simple: let people live in these houses again. We have bought one house and made it a pleasant home. Now the others must follow.’

Baron von Pfetten to restore Apethorpe Hall

The Daily Telegraph reported last week that Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten ― a French professor and diplomat who is known as the ‘Red Baron’ because of his close links to the Chinese government ― has acquired Apethorpe Hall, near Oundle, Northamptonshire, for £2.5 million. The Hall, transformed in the seventeenth century into a place of ‘princely recreation’ for James I, was acquired by English Heritage in 2004 for £3.5m at the point where the roofs were on the brink of collapse. Having spent £8m on a major programme of essential repairs, English Heritage has been seeking an owner to finish the restoration work.

Baron von Pfetten said: ‘my wife and I learnt a lot from the ten years we have spent renovating our seventeenth-century château in France. Probably the most important lesson we learnt was to give it all time. Our vision for Apethorpe is to help this house regain the place in British history that it deserves. Luckily we are young and we have many friends with similar interests keen to support us.’ The couple have agreed to allow public access to Apethrope for fifty days a year for the next eighty years.

Our Fellow Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: ‘We have consistently said that the best solution for Apethorpe is for it to be taken on by a single owner, who wants to continue to restore the house and to live in it; especially one who has experience of restoring historic buildings and is prepared to share its joys with a wide public, as Baron von Pfetten will do. He will also need to fund the comprehensive refurbishment and fitting-out works himself. He has a great deal of work to do. He doesn’t get a bathroom, or a kitchen. He hasn’t got any heating or electricity. There are millions of pounds to be spent but we are very confident he will turn it into a fantastic family home.’


Battersea cattery listed at Grade II

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, founded in 1860 and famed for rescuing lost and abandoned dogs and cats, now has a listed building to its credit. Whittington Lodge, built in 1907 and named after Dick Whittington, has been given a Grade II listing as the world's first purpose-built cats’ home. All makes sense when you realise that this was an early work by Clough Williams-Ellis in the style that he went on to develop at Portmeirion.

Whittington contagion: to mark the listing of Whittington Lodge (in the background), Culture Minister Ed Vaizey gave the name 'Whittington'  to a seven-week-old kitten at Battersea.



In the last issue of Salon we reported that our Fellow Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection, had been made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO). In fact, Martin has been an MVO since 2000: in the New Year Honours list he was promoted to Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO). He humbly points out, too, that though the official list had him down as Dr Clayton, he is in fact Mr Clayton.

Fellow Frances Lynch writes with a ‘minor footnote to your item on Garstang’s head of Augustus [currently on show in the British Museum. When I was a student at Liverpool (c 1960) there was a great stack of prints of the famous photo of that head in the Department, where Garstang was Professor. I, and no doubt others, found this a convenient source of scrap paper for taking notes. I still have some of them. I don’t know how this rates in the scale of insults to the Emperor!’

Lives remembered: Richard K Morris, FSA, 1943–2015

We are very grateful to Fellow Linda Monckton for the following obituary for our Fellow Richard K Morris ('Richard of Warwick' or ‘Mouldings Morris'), architectural historian and a leading authority in the interpretation of medieval architecture through the analysis of architectural detail (shown left with a megaphone, leading a field trip), who died on 7 January 2015 having lived on and off with cancer for several years.

'Richard was born in Berkeley, Glos, educated at Wycliffe School in Stroud, Glos, and at Selwyn College, Cambridge, from which he graduated in 1966 with a BA Hons in History and Fine Arts. In the same year he became one of Fellow Peter Kidson’s first PhD students at the Courtauld Institute of Art, along with Fellows Nicola Coldstream and Paul Crossley, completing his doctoral thesis on "Decorated architecture in Herefordshire: sources, workshops and Influence" in 1972. 

'It was Kidson who inspired his interest in medieval churches and who instilled in him the belief that much could still be learnt about the process of history from a detailed study of architectural fabric – a "dusty road" that led him to national and international acclaim. He quickly gained a reputation for being a single-minded student of ballflower ornament and then moulding profiles. His clear and instructive thesis provided a model for others, the result of the conscientiousness that was a hallmark of his scholarship.  
'In May 1968 Richard married Jenny Gibbs and moved to Canada, taking up a teaching post at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and completing his thesis. He was selected to become a lecturer in the newly formed History of Art Department at the University of Warwick in 1974, at which time he returned to England with his wife and three small children and bought a house in Kenilworth, decorating it with his favourite Canadian wallpaper. The History of Art department established by Julian Gardner had a strong medieval focus and Richard rapidly established a core component of this on English ecclesiastical and secular architecture c 1150–1600 set within the context of European architecture.  

'Richard became a Senior Lecturer at Warwick in 1979 and a Reader in 1995. During this period he established an international reputation as a specialist in medieval ecclesiastical architecture and especially in architectural details (largely, but not exclusively, mouldings), and the study of masons. This reputation was established through his large range of publications, including a series of seminal articles on mouldings analysis published in Architectural History (in 1978, 1979 and 1992).

'During this time and up until his early retirement in 2001 hundreds of students passed through the department at Warwick. Richard was an inspiring teacher, famed for his field trips. Every week Richard would drive his students to a church, ruined abbey, castle or small collection of stones in a field where, armed with (often rain-soaked) handouts he would clamber over every inch, interpreting the building development with the students. Annually he would arrange longer trips to such far-flung sites as Lindisfarne, making meticulous preparations and leaping around buildings like a mountain goat with boundless energy and exhausting his students by continuing his analysis long after sundown (a process commonly referred to as "torch-light archaeology").

'Building on the roots established during his doctorate, Richard started methodically recording architectural mouldings on a 1:1 scale across England, and to a lesser extent Wales and Scotland, and in 1978 he established the Warwick Mouldings Archive, with particular emphasis on dated examples and on excavated architectural fragments whose form might be the only piece of evidence upon which to build a picture of a lost building.  Examples of such work include the analysis of worked stones from Croxden Abbey and Hulton Abbey (Staffs), Sherborne Abbey (Dorset), Eynsham Abbey, Oxon, and the cathedral church of St Mary, Coventry, where his analysis of the vast number of excavated stones and his pulling together of recent and new work on the city’s medieval buildings formed the core of the conference he organised for the British Archaeological Association in 2007.

'The formal stylistic analysis that Richard excelled in slipped out of fashion in some art historical circles in the late 1980s and 1990s. Richard himself acknowledged this, but he rightly believed that this bias misrepresented the important place of such a methodology. When he started in the 1960s it was generally assumed that establishing the re-use of templates would provide the necessary proof to identify an individual craftsman. His work showed that this was in fact very rarely the case, but that that meaningful contextual analysis could still be gained through an empirical approach to medieval buildings. Richard, more than others, understood that measuring was the means to an end, and that accuracy enabled comparisons otherwise lost to us. Buildings in his hands, and through this method, took on a new identity. He did not crudely equate a profile with a mason but used the data to plot more subtle and historically convincing patterns of influence.

'In the end there are precious few people to turn to when formal analysis is needed. The continuing need for the database he built up and his skill in applying it is shown not least by his work on the English Heritage Windsor Castle Project, the St Albans Abbey Research Committee, the Nonsuch Palace Project and the Coventry Phoenix Initiative. Richard once described himself as the "agony aunt" of the mouldings world and although he contributed towards the Council for British Archaeology’s practical handbook on Recording Worked Stone, his generosity with his time in responding to enquiries and the number of projects to which he committed himself prevented him from producing his magnum opus on Masons and Architectural Design in Medieval England.
'Richard was an active member of the British Archaeological Association, contributing to conferences and serving as Conference Director and Council Member of the BAA during the early 1990s. Having been elected a Fellow of our Society in 1982, he served as a member of Council from 1992 to 1997. More recently, in 2011, he took on the role of editor of the journal of the Ancient Monuments Society, having been a trustee for thirty-three years.  He produced three volumes, that for 2014 being one of the longest and best that the AMS has ever published.

'His commitment to both Kenilworth as his home and the home to a series of nationally important medieval remains was long-standing and passionate. In practice this is shown by his involvement with the Castle and the Barn and Gatehouse projects.  For English Heritage he wrote the new guidebook to Kenilworth Castle in 2006 (revised 2010) and he was proud to be involved in the opening of the Abbey Barn Museum in Abbey Fields in 2001.

'There will be a memorial service for Richard at St Nicholas’ church, Kenilworth CV8 1LZ, on Wednesday 28 January 2015 at 2pm and a reception afterwards at St Nicholas’ Hall.

'Richard was a keen supporter of, and adviser to, the Harry Sunley Memorial Project to open Kenilworth's medieval Gatehouse in Abbey Fields, being the most significant remains of the lost Augustinian priory. In the final two weeks of his life, he was also very well looked after by the staff at Myton Hospice in Warwick. For these reasons, any donations should be made to The Harry Sunley Memorial Project or the Myton Hospice, c/o John Taylor Funeral Service, 178 Warwick Road, Kenilworth CV8 1HU.'

Monuments to antiquaries

Fellow Norman Hammond (whose idea it was to invite Salon readers to share their knowledge of memorials to Fellows and antiquaries) has submitted one of his own favourites: the monument to Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817―94), who, in 1845, discovered and excavated Nineveh.

The monument is, says Norman, ‘a modest late-Victorian standard tombstone of red granite, beside the path to the church at Canford Magna, Dorset. One-hundred-and-fifty years ago Layard was one of the most famous men in Europe. Oxford gave him an honorary degree when he was only thirty-one, and his book, Nineveh and its Remains (1849), sold tens of thousands of copies, being published in a popular railway-reader’s edition within a year of publication. Neither Pevsner nor (much more surprisingly) Arthur Mee mention that he is buried there.’

Norman adds: ‘another Mesopotamianist, Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810―95), part-decipherer of cuneiform (building on the work of the Irish vicar Edward Hincks, though without adequate acknowledgement) lies in Brookwood Cemetery, but this fact has not made it into his ODNB biography’.

Lowering the Great Winged Bull, an illustration from the best-selling
Nineveh and its Remains, by Austen Henry Layard (1849)

Kevin Wooldridge wonders ‘how many memorials to former Fellows have become archaeological artefacts in their own right. In 2002 during excavations at Old Saint Pancras cemetery, London (ahead of construction works for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminal), we uncovered the upper fragment of the gravestone of Alexander Hendras Sutherland, FSA (left). A record of the stone is included in the catalogue accompanying the site monograph: St Pancras Burial Ground (2011), by Phillip A Emery and Kevin Wooldridge.’

The inscription says:
Alexander Hen[dras]
Sutherland Esq
Many years a highly respect[ed]
inhabitant of Gower Street
Bedford Square
Died May 21st 1820
(being Whit Sunday)
in the 68th year of his age
He was twice married
but left no issue


News of Fellows

True fame, without doubt, is to be immortalised as a Lego mini-figure: such is the tribute paid to our Fellows Mary Beard and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill in Lego Pompeii, which went on display in the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney in early January and that is already attracted enormous crowds. It took the team headed by Lego Professional Builder Ryan McNaught (one of only thirteen such Professionals in the world) more than 500 hours to convert 200,000 bricks into a scale model of the ancient city.

Mary and Andrew are depicted as if they are making TV documentaries: Mary with her trademark bicycle and Andrew apparently in a spot of bother as Johann Winckelmann is seen fast approaching across the Forum to argue a finer point of connoisseurial detail.

Fellow Michael Turner, Senior Curator at the Nicholson Museum, says: ‘this is the third model of an ancient building or site commissioned by the museum in recent years. Lego Pompeii follows on from Lego Colosseum (2012) and Lego Acropolis (2013). Lego Acropolis, much to my delight, is now on display in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The British Museum may have no plans to return the Parthenon Marbles but the Nicholson Museum can proudly claim to have donated the entire Acropolis!’

Fellow David Williams (Finds Liaison Officer for Surrey and east Berkshire) is captain of the team from the Portable Antiquities Scheme that will take on the BBC’s ‘Eggheads’ in a programme to be broadcast today (Monday 19 January) at 6pm on BBC2. The other team members are Katie Hinds (FLO for Hampshire), Teresa Gilmore (FLO for Staffordshire and West Midlands), Anni Byard (FLO for Oxfordshire and west Berkshire) and Ian Richardson (Treasure Registrar). We wish them all success.

Writing in the Evening Standard on 14 January, Fellow Marcus Binney, of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, called for the appointment of a London-wide ‘Directorate of Conservation Opportunities’, with ‘power and resources to break the stodge of officialdom’. He was responding to an article by our Fellow Simon Jenkins published in the same newspaper earlier in the week condemning plans to redevelop parts of bohemian Soho, arguing that London’s appeal lies not in high-rise towers, but in lively streets and attractive residential quarters.

Marcus Binney went on to say that boarded-up shops and empty civic buildings should be handed over to community groups, that no more developer-owned housing estates should be built without community facilities and that landscaping, with new parks and gardens, should be a much higher priority in new developments, ‘so that the new London is as attractive as the old’.

Finally congratulations to our Fellow Professor Mirjam Foot, who was recently presented with the Bibliographical Society’s gold medal for services to historical bibliography.

A ‘lost’ Tyndale translation?

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on a newly discovered sixteenth-century manuscript ― possibly a ‘lost’ translation by the religious reformer William Tyndale of Erasmus’s Enchiridion militis Christiani (‘Handbook of the Christian knight’). Thought to be the earliest surviving English translation of any work by Erasmus, the manuscript, written on paper in 1523, comprises 145 leaves. It has been in the Duke of Northumberland’s collection at Alnwick Castle since at least 1872, but its true significance only became clear when it was put up for sale.

Our Fellow Christopher Wright says: ‘this newly discovered translation of one of Erasmus’s most popular works would be of great interest in its own right. The tantalising possibility that it is the hitherto lost translation by William Tyndale confers on it international importance. Tyndale, whose English translation of the Bible came to form the basis of the Authorised Version, was executed by the Inquisition at Vilvoorde in Brabant in 1536. Earlier in his career, when he was a tutor in Gloucestershire to the children of Sir John Walsh, he is known to have completed an English translation of Erasmus’s ‘Handbook of the Christian knight’. This must have been finished by spring 1523 but was thought to have been lost. Its relationship to the text of the English translation, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1533 has long been a matter of scholarly debate. The date of this manuscript may help resolve the issue.’

The decision on the export licence application for the manuscript will be deferred for a period ending at midnight on 13 April 2015. This period may be extended until 13 July 2015 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the piece is made at the recommended price of £242,500. Further information can be found on the Arts Council website.

Can you identify this church?

Fellow Roger Leech is currently producing a catalogue of paintings and drawings executed by Helen Proctor, an artist working in Newcastle upon Tyne in the mid-nineteenth century. He has not succeeded in identifying the ruined church depicted on the watercolour drawing shown here (with apologies for its quality; it is in private possession and not easily photographed) and he hopes that someone from the Salon readership can help.

Call for papers: Norwich and its Churches

Following the success of their first conference, the Norwich Historic Churches Trust (NHCT) and the Friends of NHCT will be holding their second annual conference on 24 October 2015. Papers are welcome on any aspect of church buildings, including the afterlife of redundant churches, with a particular focus on the churches of Norwich. Proposals (maximum 300 words) for 30-minute papers should be sent by 31 March 2015 to the conference organiser, Dr Nicholas Groves, who is happy to answer enquiries about possible topics.

Call for papers: Seals and Status 800―1700

The aim of this conference, to be held at the British Museum on 4―6 December 2015, is to foster discussions about seals and social status, seals and institutional status and the status of seals as objects. Possible topics for papers include: seals and heraldry; seals and inequality; seals and villeinage; seals of institutional office; seals and gender; non-heraldic personal seals; seals and status as represented in medieval and early modern texts; corporate seals and the status of institutions; the historiography of seals; the organisation of chanceries; the development of sealing practices within and across social groups; the relationships of seals to other works of art.

Proposals are welcomed from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives and submissions (300 words maximum) will be accepted in English, French and German; please send them to Lloyd de Beer by 30 January 2015.


Until 8 February 2015: Thomas Allen: Contemporary Cave Painting, an exhibition of art inspired by cave art (in particular that of Lascaux, Pech Merle and Font de Gaume) at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, 28 Charlotte Street, London, with two evening lectures to accompany the exhibition: on 22 January 2015 at 6pm for 6.30pm our Fellow Jill Cook, Head of Prehistory at the British Museum, will give a 45-minute lecture on ‘Ice-Age Art’, and on 29 January, at the same time, Neil Matheson, of Westminster University, will give a lecture on Surrealism. Further information can be found on the Gallery’s website.

26 January 2015: ‘Cast of thousands: British nineteenth-century collecting of fictile ivories’, by Helen Rufus-Ward, University of Sussex, 5.30pm, Lecture Theatre, The Wallace Collection. The casting of plaster models of sculptural art works was undertaken on a massive scale in the nineteenth century, encouraged by the popularity of the cast courts at the London Great Exhibition of 1851. Amongst the objects reproduced in plaster were small, carved ivories which were known as fictile ivories (the term ‘fictile’ comes from the Latin adjective fictilis, meaning made of earthenware or clay by a potter). This paper traces British nineteenth-century institutional collecting of fictile ivories by national and regional museums, illustrated by examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s cast collection.

Admission free; booking is not required. More information and details of future History of Collecting seminars can be found on the Wallace Collection website.

20―24 April 2015: Archaeological Landscape Survey Field School 2015, based at the University of Warwick. This course, delivered by English Heritage landscape archaeologists, is for professional and independent archaeologists actively involved in field survey and those who use the results of such work. It will introduce a range of techniques for observing, surveying and interpreting earthworks and other elements of the historic landscape, and includes three days of fieldwork. Early bird discounts and student bursaries are available. For more information, contact Alice Sirrelle, tel: 01793 414056.

The Syon Abbey Herbal AD 1517

Transcribed and edited by Fellow John Adams and Stuart Forbes, this newly published Syon Abbey Herbal (Cambridge, St John’s College, MS 109) starts with a series of health warnings: Betson, say the authors, was an ‘elderly church lawyer’ and not a physician nor yet a herbalist. The herbal was ‘written, not from observation, but at his librarian’s desk ... working in haste between other duties, in fading light, using at times badly written, derivative and corrupt manuscripts, perhaps (given the number of mis-readings) without the benefit of spectacles’.

Oh dear. Not, one would have thought, the best recommendation, But fear not: it gets much better once we have been warned about the poisonous nature of many of the plants listed in the herbal and the difficulty, in a pre-Linnaean age, of positively identifying the specific plant that is being discussed. And this is so much more than a book about plants and their medicinal uses: it contains star maps and notes on canon law and English history. The editors tell us that they have omitted ‘long sections on codes, secret writing, inks and methods for burning coloured lettering into steel knives, not to mention such practical jokes as convincing people that an apple is possessed by hollowing it out and secreting a large stag beetle inside (if the omission of this material sounds disappointing, the editors tell us that it was pretty much all copied verbatim from the anonymous Secretum Philosophorum of AD 1300).

What we do get, though, is a very clear idea of what diseases and conditions were most troublesome to a late medieval community (toothache, for example, but also ‘kancur’, or breast cancer), and what people at the time considered to be useful remedies. They include what would today be described as a ‘detox’ diet of lettuce and watercress but also the potentially dangerous use of henbane as an analgesic and soporific, and the downright weird recipe for gout that could have come from the pen of Lewis Carroll or Monty Python, involving as it does the conversion of an owl into an ointment, by baking the bird first until it can be ground to powder.

As you tell from this short report, the book has a scholarly but also very entertaining introduction, setting the scene for the plant lists and herbal recipes and remedies that follow; the paper that the editors will give to the Society on 26 February promises to be very enjoyable.

The Syon Abbey Herbal AD 1517, edited by John Adams and Stuart Forbes; ISBN 9781897762691; AMCD Publishers (6 Church Hill, Purley CR8 3QN; tel: 0208 645 0405; email:, 2014

The Dublin King

Fellow John Ashdown-Hill, whose genealogical research played such an important role in the identification of Richard III’s remains by matching the king’s mitochondrial DNA to that of direct descendants down the female line, has written another book in which genetics could be used to solve a long-standing mystery. In this case, it concerns the boy who, in 1486, a year after Richard III’s death, claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, son and heir of George, Duke of Clarence, the last surviving male of the house of York. This claimant to the throne was championed by Yorkists in the first serious challenge to the authority of Henry VII, the mystery concerning the fate of the ‘Princes in the Tower’, the sons of Edward IV, simply adding fuel to the fire.

Henry VII’s supporters declared the boy to be an imposter by the name of Lambert Simnel, and most historians (and the author of the ODNB entry for Simnel) have tended to follow the official Tudor line. Even so, as John Ashdown-Hill demonstrates, the evidence is not quite so conclusive. As he unravels the story of the boy’s coronation in Dublin on 24 May 1487 and his attempt to invade England eleven days later, on 4 June, with an army of German mercenaries and Irish infantry, doubts begin to emerge. The story is made more complex by the mixed motives of many of the aristocrats involved, all anxious to scramble to power. What is clear is just how many challenges Henry VII faced to his legitimacy as monarch and with what skill he and his supporters met these potentially serious rebellions.

The author concludes that there are two versions of Simnel’s story: the authorised one, publicised by successive English governments, and the unofficial one, which can be reconstructed from various sources, and that cannot easily be dismissed as fraudulent. As none of the evidence is cut and dried, John suggests that the best way to make the picture clearer is to seek the remains of some of the key protagonists and use DNA analysis to try to work out who they really were.

The Dublin King: the true story of Edward, Earl of Warwick, Lambert Simnel and the ‘Princes in the Tower', by John Ashdown-Hill; ISBN 9780750960342; The History Press, 2015

Waterloo: four days that changed Europe’s destiny

Any author writing an account of the Battle of Waterloo faces the opposite problem: too much information. So important was the battle that no less than seven ‘histories’ had been published within six months of Napoleon's defeat.  Waterloo war memoirs were a saleable literary genre, and those who wrote them were encouraged to spice up their accounts. This kind of ‘oral history’ or ‘history from the bottom up’ was not at all to Wellington’s taste; he dismissed them as ‘stories picked up by curious travellers from peasants, private soldiers and individual officers and published to the world as the truth’.

Wellington was sufficient of a historian to know that there is no such a thing as one ‘true’ account of the battle: to those who wrote to him asking for his recollections of the events of the four-day campaign, he replied that ‘no individual can recollect the order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred’. His battle, his thoughts, decisions and motives, his observations, are not likely to be the same, say, as those of Napoleon; and the experiences of the peasant and private soldier will be very different from those of the Duke.

All credit then to Fellow Tim Clayton for sifting through so much in order to bring us his rich and lucid hour-by-hour account of the events of 16 to 19 June 1815 ― in truth not one 'battle of Waterloo', but a whole series of exceptionally hard-fought battles that decided the future of Europe for the next 100 years. He does this by tempering the official records in various European government archives with first-hand accounts gathered from letters, journals, memoirs, newspaper reports, speeches, regimental records and intelligence reports, adding the sort of detail that official accounts lack. That is a difficult balancing act to carry off, but it is handled with skill: mud, fog, smoke and confusion may have characterised the battle, but this book manages to convey with clarity what, from a number of different perspectives, it was really like to be there.

Waterloo: four days that changed Europe’s destiny, by Tim Clayton; ISBN 9781408702482; Little Brown, 2014

Between Tomb and Cist

Fellow Beverley Ballin Smith’s book concerns three burial sites discovered accidentally on Mainland Orkney between 1998 and 2002. The Neolithic chambered tomb at Crantit farm was found when a tractor disturbed the capstone while ploughing in April 1998, prompting excavation of a previously unknown and undisturbed tomb with well-constructed walling, passages, chambers and lintels made of newly quarried and finely finished blocks of stone.

Though hidden from view, the location of the tomb must have been remembered as two Bronze Age cists were later added to the site, containing cremated bone and fragments of woven baskets when excavated. Another Bronze-Age cist with cremated bone was found in 2001 during landscaping work at a garden in Kewing, again with the remains of a basket or a mat that might have been used to line the cist. Finally, in 2002, a combine harvester disturbed another cist at Nether Onston, Orkney; no human remains had survived, but soil stains are interpreted as evidence for the use of the cist for an inhumation.

Commenting on the finds, Beverley says she thinks they represent a change in burial architecture away from grand statements about the dead and a desire for visual prominence and display and in favour of structures under the ground and hidden in the earth. ‘I think the architecture of the tomb tells us of discord or disharmony between old belief systems and changes to those beliefs that were beginning to affect the way people were buried. The Crantit tomb crosses the boundaries between monumental tombs (old beliefs) and the much smaller and later cists (new beliefs). It broke rules and created new ones.’

The finds from the sites also reveal a gradual movement away from interment in a grave to a society where cremation became the dominant practice. The evidence shows that these changes were not straightforward: old and new practices existed together and the changes were gradual.

Between Tomb and Cist: the funerary monuments of Crantit, Kewing and Nether Onston, Orkney, by Beverley Ballin Smith; ISBN 9781902957661; The Orcadian, 2014

The Town House in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol

We tend to think of Bristol as a city that was bombed and largely redeveloped in the twentieth century, but Fellow Roger Leech, who has been studying the city’s medieval and early modern houses for the best part of forty years, shows us in this book that far more survives than one might imagine. Supplemented by an astonishingly rich archive of engravings, watercolours and photographs (Bristol was a city that attracted many artists), plus historic deeds, inventories, maps and plans, there is evidence enough here to enable the author to re-create convincingly the form of the evolving city, from Saxon origins to the seventeenth century when trade with the Americas brought new wealth and new styles of architecture to Bristol.

One strength of this book is the author’s determination to get into the minds of the people who built the houses described in the book: he sees every building as a response to a particular set of circumstances: the constraints of the site, the need for light, the adaptation of rural architectural styles to an urban environment, the ways in which successive owners and occupiers used different parts of the building, the desire for privacy, or for space for hospitality, and above all the desire to impress with expensive and lavish decoration on the front and within.

Roger also looks at furnishings, and he notes that most of the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century halls he has examined contained arms or armour: he argues that these were ‘directly linked to the role of the citizenry within the militia, and to positions held by citizens in the militia’. We associate militia companies with the portraits of Frans Hals and Rembrandt, symbols of a proudly free and democratic citizenry in the United Provinces, freed from the yoke of Habsburg domination after the Union of Utrecht, but here we learn that Bristol (and several other English towns and cities) also had well-armed citizen militias, and that large sums were spent by the city on uniforms and equipment. Bristol was one of the most lavish cities in terms of such expenditure and royal visits (by Henry VIII in 1510 and Elizabeth I in 1574) were occasions for great pomp and display.

The architectural consequence was, Roger argues, that the open hall survived well into the late seventeenth century as an essential accompaniment to this desire to display militia status and to assert the superiority of town and city dwellers over their rural cousins. ‘The walls of the hall lined with arms and armour were signifiers of the Crown’s need for the militia and of the importance of the attached to this by civic government’, he says.

By 1670, there was a professional standing army; arms and armour not only disappeared from the halls of prominent citizens, the hall itself ceased to have any real significance in the life of the city, and so an architectural form dating from before the fifteenth century made way for new styles of residence.

The Town House in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol, by Roger Leech; ISBN 9781848020535; English Heritage, 2014


Arts Council England: Chair to the Designation Panel
Closing date: 3 February 2015

Arts Council England is looking to appoint an experienced Chair to the Designation Panel, which meets twice a year to consider applications for Designated Collection status. For further information, see the Arts Council website.

The Heritage Lottery Fund's Committee for Scotland: three new committee members
Closing date: 9 February 2015

These present wonderful opportunities for individuals who are enthusiastic about Scotland’s heritage.  For further information, see the HLF website.

The Burlington Magazine: Editor
Salary: negotiable; closing date: 16 February 2015

Founded in 1903 by a group of art historians and connoisseurs that included Roger Fry, Bernard Berenson and Herbert Horne, The Burlington Magazine has appeared monthly without interruption ever since and is the world’s leading English-language monthly publication devoted to the fine and decorative arts. It publishes concise, well-written articles based on original research, presenting art-historical discoveries and fresh interpretations.

On the retirement of the current Editor, Richard Shone, Editor, The Burlington Magazine is looking for a new Editor to lead the publication forwards in both print and digital formats. The successful candidate will be responsible for maintaining the integrity and academic standards of the content, including selecting, commissioning and editing articles with the assistance of an experienced editorial team.

The ideal candidate will have a broad knowledge of art and publishing, a high professional standing in a scholarly press, museum, university or equivalent environment, proven leadership skills and the ability to create a positive and productive team environment. For a full description of the Editor’s role and responsibilities and the application requirements, please go to the magazine’s website.

English Heritage: London Advisory Committee (LAC)
Closing date: 27 February 2015

English Heritage is seeking a new member of the LAC with expertise in London’s urban archaeology. The LAC advises English Heritage, on request, on historic environment issues in London which are novel, contentious, exceptionally sensitive, technically or intellectually complex or which raise broader policy issues (see details and Terms of Reference here)

If you are interested, please send an email to Kathryn Lanning, the Committee Administrator, by Friday 27 February 2015, explaining, on no more than two sides of A4, why you are interested and enclosing a CV. Please say how you heard of the vacancy. These positions are not remunerated although meeting expenses will be paid.

Propose a lecture or seminar

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.

Fellows are also encouraged to propose topics or themes for conferences or seminars that bring scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines together to explain, discuss and debate our material culture. Please email Renée LaDue, the Society's Communications Officer, if you are interested in helping us organise such an event.


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