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Salon: Issue 295
18 March 2013

Next issue: 8 April 2013

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

Easter closure

The Society's library and apartments at Burlington House will be closed for the Easter holiday on Friday 29 March, Monday 1 April and Tuesday 2 April. The library and apartments will re-open on Wednesday 3 April.

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Forthcoming meetings

Tea is served from 4.15pm, and meetings start at 5pm

21 March 2013: ‘Castle Rushen as an Expression of the Kingdom and Lordship of Man’, by Paul Drury, FSA
Castle Rushen is one of the best preserved but least documented medieval castles in the British Isles. From its origin c 1200 as the principal seat of the later Norse Kings of Man and the Isles, it reflected, and so can be read as illuminating, the singular status and cultural affinities of the Kings and Lords of Man, until the revestment of its ‘regalities and customs’ in the English Crown in 1765. Using the results of a recent survey commissioned by Manx National Heritage as part of a conservation plan for the castle, the talk will develop O’Neil’s 1951 study (in Archaeologia, 94, 1—26). It will explore how the evolving structures expressed the roles of, and conveyed messages about, the castle as royal / lordly residence, seat of government and principal fortress of the Island. Its role in the emergence of Man’s earliest town, Castletown, will also be considered.

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26 April 2013: Piety in Peril seminar

This one-day seminar, sponsored by the Society of Antiquaries and organised by Fellow Robert Hutchinson, aims to
  • establish the scale of repairs and conservation work required on medieval parish churches in England
  • determine the current financial problems confronting parishes and the Churches Conservation Trust in their efforts to maintain the fabric of their churches and examine the operation of the new Heritage Lottery Funding scheme of grant aid
  • predict the rate of closure of medieval parish churches over the next five years
  • explore safeguards for monuments and other fixtures and fittings when a closed church is used for other purposes
  • examine the issues being raised in the faculty system of granting approval for changes within a church and the impact on archaeological deposits
  • and publicise the challenges raised by the preservation of this important sector of England’s heritage estate.

Registration costs £20 per person and includes lunch and refreshments. To book, please email the Society’s Executive Assistant Jola Zdunek. There is further information on the Society’s website.

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Ballot results 14 March 2013

As a result of the ballot held on 14 March 2013, we welcome the following newly elected Fellows of our Society:
  • Elizabeth Ann Roads, LVO, Lyon Clerk, Keeper of the Records and Snawdoun Herald
  • Ian Baxter, Head of Tourism and Heritage in the University Campus Suffolk Business School, specialising in heritage policy and resource management
  • Simon Roffey, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Winchester, specialising in the archaeology of medieval buildings
  • Christine Yvonne Ferdinand, Librarian, Magdalen College, Oxford, specialising in the works of William Congreve, and the eighteenth-century book trade
  • Valerie Erica Turner, Shetland Archaeologist, responsible for the care and development of Shetland’s archaeology since 1986
  • Simon Gabriel Hector Taylor, Senior Investigator (Architecture), English Heritage, specialising in Victorian industrial and commercial buildings
  • David James Beard, self-employed archaeologist, director of major excavations at Bermondsey Abbey and Pont de l’Arche, Normandy
  • Keith Challis, Research Fellow in Remote Sensing at Birmingham University’s Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, specialising in remote sensing and geographical information science
  • Pete Crane, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Archaeologist.

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Fellows’ tours of Burlington House

Tours of Burlington House designed primarily for new Fellows will take place on Thursday 18 April and Thursday 20 June 2013. Each tour includes a welcome from the General Secretary, with an overview of the Society and its current activities, followed by an introduction to the Society’s library and museum collections and a tour of the building, concluding with a display of significant items from the Library. Tours start at 11am and last about 90 minutes, followed by an optional light sandwich lunch, for which a charge of £5 is made. Numbers are limited to twenty-five Fellows per tour. To book a place, please contact Jola Zdunek, the Society’s Executive Assistant (tel: 0207 479 7080).

Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars

Fellows who were present at last Thursday’s lecture by Fellow Julian Munby were treated to such a close and detailed view of the Kremlin’s English coach that it felt at times as if we were inside, taking a rattling ride through the streets of seventeenth-century Moscow while admiring the rich carvings, landscape paintings and textiles that cover the body of the coach (a video of the lecture can be seen on the Society’s website.

The photographs that accompanied Julian’s lecture were taken for the video that forms part of the newly opened V&A exhibition, Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars, the closest we will come to seeing the coach in London, as it is now thought to be too fragile to retrace the journey that it made in 1604 when it was taken by ship to Archangel and transported by barge up the Northern Dvina River, then overland to Moscow as a gift for Tsar Boris Godunov (1551—1605). A fine scale model features in the exhibition, but what Julian’s lecture brought home was the quality of some of the carving on the coach of hunting and battle scenes, no doubt the work of Flemish ‘strangers’, as they were known, working in sixteenth-century London.
The coach (named after the Hungarian town of Kocs) was an innovative form of transport in sixteenth-century Europe, but, as Julian explained, the gloriously decorated body sat on an undercarriage whose essential design had not changed since the Bronze Age. That is not the only link between prehistory and the theme of this exhibition: just as from the Neolithic onwards many of the finest objects ever made were exchanged as part of trade and diplomacy, so the same remained true in early modern Europe and Asia: as well as the Moscow coach, another English coach was given as a diplomatic gift to the rulers of Mughal India (who were unimpressed, said Julian, until they had reupholstered it in Indian textiles), while the wife of one of the Ottoman rulers of Istanbul specifically asked for a coach as a gift, and wrote a very polite letter of thanks to Elizabeth I (that has survived in the British Library), thanking her when one duly arrived.

One of the many splendid exhibits in this must-see V&A exhibition is a painting that depicts ambassadors presenting gifts to the Tsar in what is clearly a well-formulated process, with scribes seated at desks to record the gifts, as part of the means by which lucrative trading privileges were acquired. Remarkably, the ledgers have all survived, as have many of the gifts themselves, so the exhibition shows Tudor and Stuart silver vessels given to successive Tsars and held in the Kremlin Armouries ever since that would have been melted down during the Civil War, had they remained in Britain.

Hampden portraitThe Hampden portrait of Elizabeth I, attributed to Steven van Herwijk or Steven van der Meulen, England, about 1560. © Philip Mould Ltd

And it was not just material that was traded: one of the most gorgeous exhibits (used as the exhibition poster) is the Hampden portrait of Elizabeth I, painted around 1560, showing the young queen in a gorgeous crimson spangled dress into which diamond-shaped mirror glass has been sewn to twinkle in the candle light (every bit as flamboyant as anything that David Bowie, subject of the exhibition in adjacent rooms at the V&A, wore during his Ziggy Stardust period). The painting was intended to attract suitors; indeed, it is thought that Ivan ‘the Terrible’ (more accurately, Ivan the Awesome, or Ivan the Formidable) was the intended target of this particular portrait.
The exhibition as a whole is a showcase of outstanding English craftsmanship (albeit with a generous helping of ‘stranger’ talent) in the Tudor and Stuart era, from the astonishingly pretty armour (a paradox, but true) to jewellery and portrait miniatures, fine clothing and textiles that manage to make today’s luxury goods look just a little tawdry.

The exhibition has been curated by our Fellow Tessa Murdoch, Acting Keeper of the Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass at the V&A as part of the V&A’s programme of exhibition exchanges with the Kremlin. The book of the exhibition (ISBN 9781851777310) was edited by Olga Dmitrieva, Professor of Tudor History at Moscow State University and Deputy Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and Tessa Murdoch; our President, Maurice Howard, wrote the introduction and the contents include essays by several Fellows (merchant-class portraiture by Karen Hearn, portrait miniatures by Katherine Coombs, heraldry by Maurice Howard and Tessa Murdoch, jewellery by Richard Edgcumbe and the Moscow coach by Julian Munby).

A two-day conference on ‘Emerging Empires: England and Muscovy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’ will be held at the V&A on 14 and 15 June 2013, including a reception at the Whitehall Banqueting House with a musical interlude featuring young Russian soloists (see the V&A website for details), and there will be a special lecture on 13 June 2013 at 4pm given by Natalia Abramova, Curator of Silver, Moscow Kremlin, on ‘English ambassadorial silver from the Moscow Kremlin Museums’, at the Society of Antiquaries, followed by a drinks reception to which all are welcome.

St Paul’s Cathedral Wren Office Drawings

Those Dutch / Flemish ‘strangers’ were also responsible for a marked change in Nicholas Hawksmoor’s drawing style, according to our Fellow Gordon Higgott, who gave a lecture on 5 March 2013 in the crypt of St Paul’s to mark the completion of the online catalogue of the Cathedral’s Wren Office Drawings. Hawksmoor’s drawings become noticeably bolder and more expressive of shadow and depth as a result of working side by side with Grinling Gibbons on designs for the cathedral’s organ case, under the influence of a carver whose work has a three-dimensional quality quite different from the flat relief carving of lesser artists.

A major task, said Dr Higgott, was to distinguish the different handwriting and drawing styles of the several architects, artists and masons who worked with Wren. A typical drawing in the archive might have contributions by Wren himself (typically in graphite or quill pen and ink) or by the master-masons Edward Pearce and Edward Strong, the surveyors Edward Woodroofe and William Dickinson, the engraver Simon Gribelin, the sculptors Grinling Gibbons and Caius Gabriel Cibber and the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. The resulting drawings show how prepared Wren was to change his mind and rethink some aspect of the design even as it was being constructed, including the constriction of a more richly modelled dome, wider and higher than the one he had designed at the start of work, partly inspired by what Wren then knew, from drawings and engravings, of Jules Hardouin-Mansart’s domed church of Les Invalides in Paris, begun in 1677.

The redesign was not without its problems, because of differential settlement between the inner and outer domes: falling masonry caused the City authorities to serve the equivalent of a dangerous works notice on the building, while Wren’s colleagues explored alternative ways of stabilising the dome’s superstructure. Wren’s intervention — introducing a brick cone bound by iron hoops to support the stone lantern above the timber and lead-clad outer dome — is firmly marked on the drawing in red ink: it was, said Gordon, ‘Wren’s brilliant resolution of the problem’.

A section through the dome of St Paul’s drawn by William Dickinson, c 1701—2, with changes in various hands; the cone in red was probably drawn by Wren, c 1702—3 (WRE/5/3/9[D158])


The Falmouth Bronze Age boat

It was no doubt with an immense sense of relief that our Fellow Robert Van de Noort witnessed the launch on 6 March 2013 of the replica of a Bronze Age boat built at Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum under his expert guidance. The experimental construction of the sewn-plank boat, based on one excavated in 1963 at Ferriby, on the Humber estuary, was part of an AHRC-funded project to understand more about the handling characteristics of the type of boat on which Bronze Age trade between Britain and Ireland and the near Continent was based 4,000 or so years ago.

The 50ft-long, 5-tonne vessel was constructed by volunteers, led by shipwright Brian Cumby, from two oak logs using replica tools, such as bronze axes. Professor Van de Noort admitted that the project had its doubters (especially as a reconstruction of the Dover boat, built a year previously, had sunk on being launched) and that there were archaeologists who questioned whether such a vessel could cross the open sea. Trial trips with a crew of eighteen ‘strongly suggests that it was capable of doing so’, Robert said. ‘When I was steering the boat and it got up to speed, I could turn her easily and it was more seaworthy than I expected. We have learnt so much through the whole process and today’s launch has revolutionised everything we knew.’ A video of the boat being made and launched can be seen on the ‘Falmouth Photos’ website.

British Museum and Leicester University announce major Roman hoard study

The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded the British Museum, working in collaboration with the University of Leicester, a £645,000 grant for a three-year project on ‘Crisis or continuity? The deposition of metalwork in the Roman world: what do coin hoards tell us about Roman Britain in the third century AD?’.

Fellow Roger Bland explains the thinking behind the research: ‘over 660 hoards are known from Britain containing coins of the period AD 253—96, an unprecedented concentration, and they provide an under-used dataset that can shed light on a poorly known period of British archaeology and history. Traditionally these hoards have been interpreted as having been buried with the intention of recovery but recent discoveries such as the Frome hoard have suggested the possibility that these hoards may have been ritual (or “votive”) deposits. Ritual deposition is a common explanation for prehistoric metalwork, and many, if not all, Iron Age coin hoards. We want to see whether any of the third-century hoards are likely to have been ritual deposits and, if so, how many? If so, what are the implications for the use of their contents in studying monetary history or political history?

‘Another line of enquiry concerns the fact that the British pattern of later third-century hoards differs markedly from the rest of the western Roman empire, despite the political problems that affected Britain at this time being felt equally or more severely in many other European provinces. This anomaly merits detailed investigation, and the results will have implications not only for interpretation of this specific hoarding phenomenon, but will contribute significantly to more general debates about hoarding behaviour in antiquity.’

The project brings together the expertise of the British Museum in the study of Roman coins and hoards and the academic strengths of the University of Leicester in Roman archaeology and their experience of investigating coin hoards in a landscape setting. Roger Bland, Keeper of Prehistory and Europe and Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum, will lead the project, with the collaboration of Fellow Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser, who is studying the Frome hoard, with Fellows Colin Haselgrove and David Mattingly as Co-Investigators.

The team will be advertising shortly for three post-doctoral Research Assistants to work on (1) hoards from Britain and the wider Empire; (2) a landscape study of hoard find spots and archaeological evidence for Roman Britain in the third century AD; (3) reasons for the deposition of metalwork in the Iron Age and Roman periods. The Portable Antiquities Scheme’s website (<>) will be used to report on the project’s progress, and the research team is planning a series of conferences, exhibitions and articles, news of which will be given in Salon in due course.

News of Fellows

During the reception after the Society’s meeting on 7 March 2013, the President, Professor Maurice Howard, called for a toast in memory of the Society’s late Honorary Vice-President, Professor Gordon R Willey, that day being the centenary of his birth on 7 March 1913. Arguably the greatest American archaeologist of the twentieth century, he was appointed the Society’s first, and so far only, Honorary Vice-President in 1996, a position he held until his death in April 2002. He was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal in 2000.

Gordon Willey spent his career at the Smithsonian Institution and then Harvard, where he was Bowdich Professor of Mexican and Central American Archaeology and Ethnology from 1950 (William L Fash, Jr, appointed his successor in 1993, is also a Fellow). He convened the annual meeting of the North American Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries for a number of years, being succeeded by the first formally designated Local Secretary for the Americas, Professor Norman Hammond, in 1996. Willey’s fieldwork across North, Central and South America from the late 1930s until the late 1970s, and particularly his development of the study of settlement patterns in Peru and the Maya Area, transformed many aspects of New World archaeology.

A letter from our Fellow Sally Badham, writing in her capacity as President of the Church Monuments Society, was published in The Times on 12 March 2013, on a subject that exercises many Fellows, that of bats in churches. The letter said: ‘Much of our finest sculpture is in our churches. Sadly, much of this heritage is being damaged by bat droppings and urine. The harm is irreversible: affected monumental brasses give the impression that the people they commemorate had suffered from smallpox. There is also a health risk. St Hilda’s church in Ellerburn, North Yorkshire, was closed for several months after the congregation lost its battle with an infestation of Natterer’s bats, whose urine and droppings caused some people to fall ill. Yet permission from English Nature to block up access holes was given only after a long campaign. Stanford-on-Avon church in Northamptonshire, with its fine collection of monuments, is also at risk of closure. These are not isolated cases. Of course it is important that our native species should be protected, but a more realistic balance must be struck between their needs and the protection of our national heritage and the health of people visiting and attending churches.’

Our Fellow Nicholas Kingsley has recently launched a new blog in which he presents the results of his research into the connections between the landed families of Britain and Ireland and their country houses. Nick says: ‘I want in particular to show how the history of the houses reflects the history of the families who owned them, and to enable those interested in particular houses to trace the kinship networks of their owners, which so often shaped the patronage choices which owners made. I am well aware that a topic as large as the ‘Landed Families of Britain and Ireland’ can really only be tackled collaboratively (I have a list of over 12,000 families for potential inclusion!), and so I hope that the regular publication of information on the blog will encourage others who share my interests to send me images or information which can be included in future posts. To this end I will issue from time to time on the blog an indication of which families and houses the next few posts will cover, and I would very much welcome help from any Fellows who may have relevant information about the families and houses concerned which is not readily available in the published sources. I have already received one wonderful offer of an extensive collection of postcards that the owner is happy for me to use on the website, and I would be delighted to hear from anyone with similar collections of slides, photographs or postcards they would be happy to see used in the blog.’

Another blog looking for contributions looks at all aspects of humour in archaeology and has just been launched by Fellow Joe Flatman and a group of like-minded colleagues, including post-doctoral researcher Hilary Orange and UCL Museum Curator Subhadra Das. The launch of the website follows a session at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference at Birmingham in 2011 and a subsequent day-long conference held at the UCL Institute when it became clear that this elusive aspect of archaeology had been neglected and yet was core to the subject’s history: what back-breaking excavation in the searing sun, torrential rain or biting cold is not made bearable by humour?

Sometimes this is formalised (the new website has extracts from the York Archaeological Trust’s Yatter magazine, for example, to which a number of our Fellows contributed in their young and carefree years); sometimes it is just a faint memory (exactly who was it that scratched that spoof Roman graffiti onto a tile at Cirencester in 1972 that ended up in the Observer newspaper?); sometimes it lies buried in site notebooks, or in diaries, slides and photographs, waiting to be rediscovered by some researcher years hence. Then there are the related issues of humour from the past and whether or not it is possible to detect humour in the archaeological record, and whether we can ever work out what made people laugh in the past (if they came back now would they find it funny that we stuff our museums with objects revered as art that they thought of as graffiti, pornography or caricature?).

Joe and his colleagues would very much like to hear from any Fellows who have relevant material that can be scanned, photographed or copied as contributions to the website, which, it is hoped, will be built over a period of three years or so into a valuable research resource.

Humour can, of course, be used to make a point where a more polemical tone would be inappropriate. A very good example can be found in Local History News, no. 106, Winter 2013, in which our Fellow Alan Crosby writes a round up of recent archaeological discoveries that he feels would be of interest to historians ‘in view of recent discoveries in the East Midlands’. They include the remains of a large chair, apparently facing out to sea, revealed by tidal scour on the foreshore at Clacton on Sea in Essex, a series of spherical objects found during redevelopment work on Plymouth Hoe, the well-preserved remains of a large piece of silk fabric, elaborately decorated with gold-thread embroidery and pearls forming the letters ‘WR’, marked with the imprint of a shoe, found deposited in a muddy pothole in Maiden’s Lane, Southwark, and described by archaeologists from the Metropolitan University of North Southwark as a ‘ritual assemblage’, and a find that has had archaeologists baffled — a Middle Saxon grubenhauser discovered during flood defence works near Athelney, Somerset, inside of which were found the broken remains of a dish and a number of heavily blackened and carbonised farinaceous objects radiocarbon dated to the ninth century, along with an exquisite jewelled pendant, inscribed in enamel ‘Aelfred mec gebarn’. Can the month of April be very far away?


Continuing the humour in archaeology theme, Fellow John Clark thought that a suitable follow up to the Private Eye cartoon ‘I wonder which FSA is more useless’ reproduced in Salon 294 might be a competition. He asks ‘who wrote: “The letters FSA after a name have always ... caused me to shudder”?’ John suspects that many Fellows will recognise the author and the context in which he wrote these words, but we will not give away the answer until the next issue.

Meanwhile, apologies to Julian Litten, whose name was spelled incorrectly in the list of Fellows who had made generous financial contributions to the purchase of the Hartshorne manuscripts, and to Mark Bowden, who pointed out the correct relationship between Pitt Rivers and Lubbock in the last issue of Salon, which also got wrong the date of William Morris’s SPAB manifesto, written in 1877, not 1879.

Fellow Vincent Megaw writes to expand on the tribute that Peter Rowley-Conwy paid to Tony Legge in the last issue of Salon: ‘I was sorry to learn of the recent death of Tony Legge whom I first met in the 1960s not in London but in Sydney’, Vincent says: ‘In fact, Peter Rowley-Conwy somewhat truncates Tony's worldwide itinerary, visiting eastern Australian as he did to expand his field work for his PhD — a typically far-ranging thesis inspired by Eric Higgs on shell middens. A decade later Tony gave much support to my broadening of the Leicester archaeology curriculum.’ (There is a much fuller tribute to Tony by Peter Rowley-Conwy on the Antiquity website.)

Fellow Paul Bahn adds a further personal tribute to Tony Legge: ‘He taught me the single most important lesson that I ever learned at university. At school I had studied languages, both ancient and modern. I wrote down what my teachers told me, I took copious notes from books that analysed the set texts, and I regurgitated all this information in exams. On arrival at Cambridge, I expected to do exactly the same for my archaeology degree, and, indeed, started out that way. But I was fortunate enough to have Eric Higgs as my Director of Studies, and one day during my first year he sent me to Tony for a supervision. Tony asked me to write an essay on some topic (long forgotten), and gave me a list of books and articles to consult in preparation. But he then said “and don’t believe a word of what you read!” This was an epiphany for me, my road to Damascus. Being a trusting and naive kind of lad, it had never occurred to me that academic publications might not always be rigorously accurate and well informed. Armed with this new attitude, I never looked back. Eric Higgs was equally iconoclastic in his own way, and likewise encouraged his students to think for themselves and be sceptical of all claims, but it was Tony who first opened my eyes to this liberation from received ideas, and I will always be grateful to him: Caveat lector!’

Fellow Sally Badham says that the news of the death of Hector Catling (given in Salon 294) ‘brought back heart-warming memories. I knew him in the closing years of his life and until a couple of years ago we used periodically to lunch together, alternately at his home in Langford and mine in Leafield, a village in which he had lived for a time as an adolescent. We were drawn together by our mutual interest in monumental brasses and incised slabs. He was proud to be the Monumental Brass Society’s longest serving member, having joined in 1946. As a youth, he cycled round the Somerset countryside rubbing brasses, encouraged in his study by our Fellow, the late A B Connor, former President of the MBS. He later developed an interest in incised slabs, aiding the seminal work on that subject by our late Fellow, F A Greenhill, especially in recording the large number of splendid examples in Cyprus. Indeed, it was his rubbing dated 1963 (now in the Society’s collection of incised slab rubbings) of a fragment of an incised slab at St Dogmael’s, Pembrokeshire, that led me to first contact Hector.

‘He was never actively involved in the MBS, but he retained an interest in the subject and read its publications eagerly. He was a great admirer of the County Series publications, which list and illustrate all brasses and indents county by county. With his sharp mind and wide experience, he was an excellent host and conversationalist. One topic we often debated was whether the private collecting of brasses was ever justified. I initially argued that discriminating buying of brasses from respectable dealers by responsible members of the Society was acceptable (although it was not something I had ever indulged in), but Hector would not have it. With the parallel problem of ancient antiquities in mind, he was adamant that any collecting of brasses served only to encourage theft from churches. He was, of course, right and I came to agree with him. Sadly I never had the opportunity to tell him so.’

Information sought on Cape Passaro cannon

Fellow Charles Trollope is seeking information on five English cannon, said to have been recovered by nautical archaeologists off Cape Passaro, near Syracuse, in excellent condition and described in a BBC report as having come from an English ship sunk during the battle fought there in 1718, despite the fact that no English ship was lost or even seriously damaged: it was the Spanish who suffered all the losses. Charles writes ‘I would like to assist with the guns’ history but I cannot find any photographs or data on these guns or even a web site on the internet covering the dig. Is anyone able to supply contact details so that I could add detail to their researches? All that is needed is photographs, lengths, inscriptions on the guns and trunnion marks.’

Lives remembered: Desmond George Neill, FSA (1924—2012)

The Society has belatedly learned of the death of Desmond George Neill, elected a Fellow on 30 April 1970, who died on 13 June 2012, at the age of eighty-seven. Professor Neill worked at the Bodleian Library until 1975 when he moved to the University of Toronto as Librarian and Senior Fellow at Massey College and as Professor in the Department of English. He had recently returned to Oxford and his funeral was held in Balliol College Chapel.

Lives Remembered: Ralph Warren Victor Elliott, AM, FSA (1921—2012)

The ANU’s Elliott Library is named after our late Fellow Professor Ralph Elliott, shown here in a portrait by Heide Smith

Belatedly too Salon learns from Fellow Matthew Spriggs of the death in June 2012 of Ralph Elliott, elected a Fellow on 14 January 1988. The local newspaper in Canberra, where Ralph Elliott lived, described him as ‘one of the world's leading rune experts and medieval English language scholars. Born Rudolf Ehrenberg in Berlin in 1921, he was, in his own words, ‘a kilted Kraut’, a Jewish refugee, whose family fled to Scotland to escape persecution in Nazi Germany. He arrived in Edinburgh as teenager to live with his uncle, the Nobel Laureate physicist Max Born, knowing only two English words, but he went on to enrol at Sandhurst Military Academy and, as a lieutenant in the British army, was critically wounded during combat in Germany during the final stages of the war.

After the war he studied and taught at the University of St Andrews, then at the newly created University College of North Staffordshire, where he wrote an influential book on the origins of runic writing that was published in 1959 and that has never been out of print. Emigrating to Australia, he taught Old and Middle English at the University of Adelaide and then was appointed Professor of English at the ANU. In 1990 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the humanities, literature and language.

Lives remembered: John Thomas Driver (1925—2013)

John Driver, formerly of Chester University, died on 3 March 2013, at the age of eighty-eight. Dr Driver made a distinguished contribution to local history studies over many years, and we hope to publish a tribute to his life and work in a future issue of Salon.

Lives remembered: Peter Smith, FSA (1926—2013)

Peter Smith, architectural historian, and Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) from 1973 until 1991, died on 12 March 2013. The following tribute is based on the obituary on the RCAHMW’s website.

Born in 1926 at Winlaton-on-Tyne, Co. Durham, Peter read Modern History at Oxford, and worked briefly as an Assistant Principal in Whitehall in the Ministry of Transport. His enthusiasm for historic buildings led him to study successfully for the RIBA intermediate exam and in 1949 he was appointed to the RCAHMW, beginning his long professional study of Welsh antiquities. Encouraged by Cyril Fox, Peter Smith developed an enthusiasm for the interpretation of historic farmhouses, and his contribution to the Caernarfonshire Inventory shows him as a pioneer in the new subject of vernacular architecture. Peter became one of the early members of the Vernacular Architecture Group, later served as its President and was an Honorary Member at the time of his death.

After Caernarfonshire, Peter investigated the stone houses of Glamorgan, with forays into central and north-east Wales. The opportunity for a broad study of Welsh architecture was presented by the transfer of the National Buildings Record in 1963, when Peter was moved from inventory work to the emergency recording of threatened buildings throughout Wales, including timber-built houses.

Peter’s provisional views on the development of vernacular architecture in Wales were published in 1967 as a chapter on ‘Rural housing in Wales’ in The Agrarian History of England and Wales, 1500—1640, and then developed into a remarkable full-length study arranged around original distribution maps and reconstruction drawings. The result — Houses of the Welsh Countryside — was published by the Royal Commission in 1975 as its first thematic volume, received many glowing reviews and was awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Peter Smith was appointed Secretary of the Royal Commission in 1973 (he delighted in the title Secretary, though this was confusing to some) and a steady output of Inventory volumes followed as well as several thematic volumes, all distinguished by their scholarship but also by explanatory illustrations of very high quality, including much admired cutaway drawings.

In retirement Peter Smith continued to research and write, reflecting on the European context of the vernacular architecture of England and Wales. In 2010 a Welsh-language television series commissioned by S4C introduced a new generation to the themes of ‘Houses of the Welsh Countryside’. The bilingual book of the series, Discovering Houses of the Welsh Countryside: Cyflwyno Cartrefi Cefn Gwlad Cymru (2010), contains Peter’s reflections on some of the houses he had helped save. This was an appropriate coda to his life-long engagement with historic buildings in Wales, which has greatly influenced the contemporary appreciation of vernacular architecture.

Lives remembered: Hector Catling, OBE, CBE, FSA (1924—2013)

Obituaries for our late Fellow Hector Catling, who has died at the age of eighty-eight, were published in the Daily Telegraph on 6 March 2013 and in The Times on 4 March 2013. The following tribute is based on both.

Hector William Catling was born in London and grew up in the West Country, where he was educated at Bristol Grammar School. As a result of his four years’ service in the Royal Navy (1942—6) he acquired a repertoire of salty songs that, to the huge delight of his student volunteers, he would, later in life, sing during convivial excavation evenings at the Menelaion. He read Literae Humaniores in Oxford between 1946 and 1951 and began a doctorate on the Cypriot Bronze Age. The award of a Goldsmiths’ travelling scholarship enabled him to spend the next two years in Cyprus, with his wife and small daughter, assisting Joan du Plat Taylor in her excavations of a Bronze Age shrine at Myrton-Pigadhes while also criss-crossing the island to gather material for what would eventually be his magisterial Cypriot Bronzework in the Mycenaean World (1964), at the same time filing reports on the new sites he found to ‘Peter’ Megaw, the first director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, which was then under British administration. ‘I began to develop an eye,’ Hector recalled, ‘and found a lot of new sites here and there.’

Returning to Oxford, Hector had the idea of carrying out a comprehensive field survey of the island. Peter Megaw supported the project, found a source of funding, and the Catlings moved from Oxford to Nicosia, with a stop in Athens to learn about Roman pottery from the finds at the Athenian Agora. Under Hector’s leadership, the newly created Archaeological Survey of Cyprus began its first pioneering first season of systematic fieldwork in June 1955. A second team was put into the field in 1957. The Survey, and Hector’s other work on the island, which included the publication of an early Byzantine pottery factory at Dhiorios, revealed a rich medieval landscape almost unparalleled in the eastern Mediterranean, helping to place Cyprus at the centre of debates about the mechanisms of cultural exchange and island archaeology.

Hector’s four-year contract with the colonial government of Cyprus came to an end in 1959, and the island’s move to independence, and the later Turkish invasion, led to something of a hiatus, though the Cyprus survey provided a model for similar projects elsewhere. Hector returned to Oxford, becoming an Assistant Keeper and later Senior Assistant Keeper in the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum, where he remained until his appointment in 1971 as Director of the British School at Athens.

In the 1960s, with Anne Millet, Hector had carried out pioneering optical emission spectography analysis of stirrup jars excavated at Thebes in 1921, which showed them to be Cretan in origin. His research into the provenance of ceramics led to the foundation of the Athens School’s Marc and Ismene Fitch Laboratory for Science-based Archaeology, the first of its kind in Greece equipped with an atomic absorption spectrometer and a multitude of other hi-tech gadgets.

Another novelty was the introduction of taught courses into what had previously been essentially a research facility in Greece for UK postgraduates and full-time academics. Hector fully supported the efforts of the Assistant Director, Dr Robin Barber, in establishing a three-week summer course for British undergraduates. He himself set up and directed a biennial Easter course aimed at refreshing sixth-form classics teachers in UK schools — ‘the greatest pleasure,’ he would say, of his time in Athens, and revealing his own great gifts as a teacher.

Hector was unstinting in his pastoral care of the young postgraduates who ended up on his doorstep far from their supervisors and often unsure how to tackle the practicalities of research in Greece. With his wife Elizabeth he also incurred great goodwill for the School by dispensing legendary hospitality in the Director’s neo-Classical house and garden.

During his time in Athens, he undertook a major dig at Knossos, leading a massive excavation of its main early Iron Age cemetery, which led to the publication of a lucid joint study with our late Fellow Nicolas Coldstream, Knossos North Cemetery, in 1996. He also led digs at the Menelaion, an important Mycenaean site in Sparta, where he discovered inscriptions proving that Helen of Troy was worshipped there alongside her husband Menelaus, and at the sanctuary of Zeus Messapeus at Tsakona.

After his retirement in 1989 Hector founded the Friends of the British School at Athens, serving as its honorary secretary until 2011. Among his other honours, national and international, he was particularly pleased to have been made an honorary fellow of his old Oxford college, St John’s, in 1986, and a vice-president of the Greek Archaeological Society in 1998. In March 2012 Hector was prevailed upon to attend a day of talks in his honour at Oxford. This left him deeply moved by the profound admiration and affection of the many who attended. At the time of his death, he was working on the publication of material from the British excavations at Kouklia/Palaepaphos on Cyprus. Hector’s wife, Elizabeth, predeceased him in 2000; their daughter and two sons (including our Fellow Richard Catling) survive him.

Lives remembered: Gertrude Seidmann, FSA (1919—2013)

The following obituary for our late Fellow Gertrude Seidmann (16 September 1919 to 15 February 2013), who has died at the age of ninety-three, was first published in The Times on 11 March 2013.

‘Gertrud Seidmann was born in 1919 in Vienna, where she was educated until fleeing to England as an eighteen-year-old refugee as a result of the Anschluss of August 1938. Although her father, Ludwig, was later able to join her, the rest of the family, including her mother, died in the Holocaust. She had a distinguished first career as teacher of German, published several books and gained the coveted Goethe medal in 1968. Her firm but kindly teaching is recalled not only by her students but by those who attended her classes of German for archaeologists, which she conducted at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford long after her formal retirement in 1979.

‘By then she had commenced a second career as a jewellery historian. An inveterate browser at antique stalls, she acquired a small but distinguished collection of ancient and modern gems and rings (“for pennies, my dear” she would always say as she showed off her latest acquisition). Her first academic project in the field, in the early 1980s was, in tribute to the Jewish heritage of which she was so proud, Jewish marriage rings. These had often been thought to have originated in the Venice Ghetto, but she was able to demonstrate that these intricate rings (dating from the fourteenth century and later) were used by Ashkenazi Jews in eastern France and the Rhineland.

‘Her interests then switched to English eighteenth-century gem engraving, especially the work of Nathaniel Marchant, RA (c 1739—1816), on whom she produced the standard work for the Walpole Society in 1987. She studied his English contemporaries Edward Burch and William and Charles Brown, and also the phenomenon of gem collecting in the neo-Classical age. The fruits of these researches can be seen in the Dictionary of Art (1996) and the updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) and in a valuable overview on personal seals of the time in 7,000 Years of Seals (edited by Dominique Collon, 1997). She worked on the gems in the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath on which she wrote an overview in 1996 and she published the varied gem collection in the Museo Civico Padua (1997), both of which contained not only modern gems but also ancient intaglios and cameos, upon which by some sort of osmosis she became an authority. Her re-cataloguing of the post-Classical gems in the Soane Collection awaits publication.

‘She was a founder member of the Society of Jewellery Historians, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1985, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1986. In the light of her achievements and her friendship with so many scholars, a Festschrift was dedicated in her honour on her eightieth birthday. Nobody should have been surprised when, in 2004, at the age of eighty-five, she registered to become a student again, working at Wolfson College on the great collector and benefactor to the Ashmolean and the British Museum, the Revd Greville Chester. Although age prevented her completing this task, she made considerable headway in her research and was awarded a certificate of graduate attainment at a ceremony in the Divinity School at Oxford in March 2011.’

Lives remembered: Thurstan Shaw, CBE, FSA (1914—2013)

The following obituary for our late Fellow Professor Thurstan Shaw (27 June 1914 to 8 March 2013), who has died at the age of ninety-eight, was first published in The Times on 12 March 2013. There will be a Memorial Event for Thurstan at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, later in the year, coupled with a celebration of West African archaeology, news of which will be given in Salon when the details are known.

‘Thurstan Shaw was probably the only man to have occupied an African university chair in archaeology and the ceremonial throne of a Nigerian tribal chief. He was the first trained archaeologist to work in what was then British West Africa, and he devoted his long career and equally long retirement to teaching and research on the region’s prehistory. West African archaeology is, to a large extent, Thurstan Shaw’s creation, and it is certainly his legacy.

‘Born in Devon in 1914 and educated at Blundell’s School, Tiverton, and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Charles Thurstan Shaw read classics before taking a first in Archaeology and Anthropology. In 1937 he went out to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) to teach at Achimota College in Accra. In those days, when there were no universities anywhere between north and south Africa, Achimota was the most important centre for higher education in black Africa. Shaw rapidly set up a museum and carried out a number of excavations using new methods then being developed in Britain: these, long before the development of radiocarbon dating, began to show the deep timescale and pronounced local characteristics of West Africa’s ancient societies, and the fallacy of the strongly held migrationist views of his contemporaries. Those theories, which argued that West African agriculture, metallurgy and civilisation derived from Mediterranean North Africa, had dominated discussion of African prehistory in the absence of evidence from local research. Another result of Shaw’s early work was the eventual establishment in 1957 of a department of archaeology in the new University of Ghana, the first in a black African university, and the establishment of a Ghanaian national commission to safeguard antiquities.

‘When Shaw returned to England in 1945, his wife having been invalided home, he taught at the Cambridge Institute of Education. He continued to work on his Ghanaian material, publishing an important monograph on Dawu, a site with more than 8m (25ft) of stratified deposits that had yielded more than half a million sherds. A memorandum for the International African Institute on “the Study of Africa’s past” stressed the need for increasing awareness of the archaeological heritage in the continent and was widely influential.

‘In 1958 Shaw was invited to direct excavations at the important site of Igbo-Ukwu in the forests of south-eastern Nigeria. The site featured a royal burial with cast bronzes of great technical skill and artistic beauty dated to the tenth century AD, long antedating the better-known bronzes of Ife and Benin. These works of art and other evidence from Igbo-Ukwu demonstrated that highly sophisticated indigenous craft traditions had developed in the tropical forests during the first millennium AD, long before any Arab or European influence. Shaw’s two-volume monograph on the site, followed by the more popular Unearthing Igbo-Ukwu (1977) and his magisterial synopsis of Nigerian archaeology for Thames & Hudson’s ‘Ancient Peoples and Places’ series (1978), laid the foundations for knowledge of the country’s prehistory, with the parallel efforts of Bernard Fagg in the north of Nigeria around Jos.

‘With the establishment of a university in Nigeria at Ibadan, Shaw joined its institute of African studies in 1960 as the first teacher of archaeology, and went on to establish a department of archaeology in the faculty of science, where he found a sympathetic understanding of the aims of the discipline. He was professor of archaeology from 1963 until his retirement at the age of sixty in 1974, and the department’s laboratory, photographic and draughting facilities, teaching collections and well-utilised field equipment made him especially proud: it was one of the best centres for archaeology in Africa. His former students joined the staff of the Federal Department of Antiquities, the National Museum, and the new archaeology departments in universities at Ife, Zaria, Nsukka and Port Harcourt, providing Nigeria with the best-trained cadre of archaeologists of any of the new African states.

‘Nigeria’s recognition of Shaw’s role was marked by an international conference held on his seventy-fifth birthday at Ibadan in 1989, when he was also made a tribal chief as Onuna Ekwulu Nri and as Onyafuonka of Igboland. The range of research being carried out by Nigerian archaeologists showed how deeply the concept of studying the African past through survey and excavation had been planted, and how the autochthonous beginnings of West African agriculture and metallurgy were being unearthed. Much of this research was reported in the West African Archaeological Newsletter, which Shaw had founded in 1964, and which he continued to edit as the West African Journal of Archaeology until 1975, when it continued in other hands.

‘After his retirement to Cambridge (where he became director of studies at Magdalene and continued teaching), Shaw took up a project that had fascinated him since his school days, the reopening of the Icknield Way, the great prehistoric route from Norfolk to Wiltshire, as a long-distance path. Two stretches, the Peddars Way in Norfolk and the Ridgeway path, had long been open, but the central section, notably in Cambridgeshire, lacked an easy route and permissions. Shaw founded the Icknield Way Association, produced the first walkers’ guide to the route and saw the scheme increasingly supported by the public, the county councils and eventually the Countryside Commission.

‘Shaw worked hard for, as well as in, archaeology: he was president of the Prehistoric Society from 1986 to 1990, and held both honorific and substantive office in numerous international bodies, including the Pan African Congress for Prehistory and the Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences. He became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries at the early age of thirty-three, and was awarded its gold medal in 1990. The following year he was elected a senior Fellow of the British Academy and also made Olokun-Ayala of Ife. At his ninety-sixth birthday party in 2010 he held court on a scarlet throne in the chiefly robes of an Onuna-ekwulu Ora or “the man through whom the history of the Igbo people speak”. His last professional public appearance, at the age of ninety-eight, was at a conference on African archaeology of recent millennia and the historic period in September 2012. Confined to a wheelchair, he held court at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, with delegates from Africa and other parts of the world queuing to greet him and kneeling beside him to have their photographs taken.’

His first wife, Ione, died in 1992: they had five children. In 2004 he married our Fellow Dr Pamela Jane Smith. She, his two sons and three daughters survive him.

Call for papers: Conserving East Asian Works of Art and Heritage

The twenty-fifth biennial Congress of the International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works will be held in Hong Kong from 22 to 26 September 2014, with the theme ‘Conserving East Asian Works of Art and Heritage’. Proposals for papers are now being invited relevant to the Congress theme by 17 May 2013. Further details are available on the IIC website.


18 March 2013: ‘Cultural Property Protection — Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq’, a lecture by our Fellow Peter Stone, at 7pm in the Society’s meeting room at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE, followed by drinks and light refreshments. This free event is open to all but reservations are required as space is limited. To reserve a place see the Society’s website.

23 March 2013: ‘Cultural Property Protection — Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq’, a day school from 10am to 4pm in the Society’s meeting room at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE. Advanced registration is required as space is limited; tickets are £10 per person and include lunch and refreshments. To see the speaker list and programme and to reserve a place, see the Society’s website.

25 April 2013: ‘William Stukeley in Stamford: his houses and gardens’, a talk by our Fellow John Smith at 7.30pm in Stamford Arts Centre. William Stukeley, Vicar of All Saints, Stamford, 1730—47, was a keen student of architecture and an enthusiastic gardener. While in Stamford he published his archaeological discoveries at Avebury and Stonehenge and these much influenced the impressive garden he designed for his Barn Hill house, in Stamford. John’s talk is based on the extensive research he has undertaken into Stukeley’s Stamford garden; his paper on this subject will be published in Vol 93 of the Antiquaries Journal in September 2013.

Books by Fellows: The Sevso Treasure and Pannonia

Our Fellow Zsolt Visy, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Pécs, in Hungary, gave a lecture to the Society on the Sevso Treasure almost five years ago precisely, and those who packed the meeting room to hear it on that occasion have been eagerly awaiting this detailed report, edited by Professor Visy, on the fourteen silver vessels that make up the known contents of this outstanding hoard and the copper cauldron into which the vessels were packed.

It is known as the Sevso hoard because of the inscription that runs around the perimeter of a large silver plate decorated with hunting and fishing scenes and a depiction of a villa on the edge of a lake. This couplet names Sevso as the owner and the body of water is named Pelso, the ancient name of Lake Balaton, suggesting that Sevso’s villa was located on the edge of the lake in the ancient Roman province of Pannonia, today in western Hungary. The hoard consists of plates, ewers, buckets and caskets whose decorative styles suggest that they were made in different workshops from the mid-fourth to the early fifth centuries AD. They appear to have been in use for several decades, judging by the amount of wear and repair, before being hidden in the ground some time in the early fifth century.

Soil samples removed from the treasure suggest that it came from the Roman settlement at Szabadbattyán, 3.5km from the town of Polgárdi, which is where another item thought to be part of the same hoard was found in 1878, the remainder probably being found some time in the 1970s. On the basis of this provenance, the book examines in detail what is known of this part of Pannonia in the fourth century, and describes other finds from the region, including that 1878 find, an extraordinary ‘quadruped’, a folding silver stand decorated with winged griffons and sculpted scenes from classical mythology, possibly designed to support a large silver platter, heaped with food.

This is a hoard that has attracted much media attention, and the book’s contributors make clear their personal anger at the fact that the hoard is not available for more detailed study, but is stored in a bank vault. Éva Hajdú contributes a summary of the legal issues surrounding the treasure and sets out the Hungarian government’s case for wanting this significant cultural property to be repatriated. One cannot help sympathising: what is it about late Roman silver plate that it always seems to end up surrounded in more mystery than the average detective novel?

The Sevso Treasure and Pannonia, edited by Zsolt Visy; ISBN 9789638939449; GeniaNet Kiadó

Books by Fellows: Miracles in Lady Lane

This is a book that can be read in one sitting with both pleasure and profit; alternatively you can hear the authors, our Fellows John Blatchly and Diarmaid MacCulloch, give a free illustrated lecture on 16 April 2013, at 7pm, in The Waterfront Auditorium, Waterfront Building University Campus Suffolk, when copies of the book will be available at the launch price of £10 (normal price £12). It tells the story of one of England’s most celebrated pilgrimage shrines, that of Gracechurch, which housed a miraculous wooden image of the Virgin, known all over Europe as Our Lady of Grace (after the words with which the Archangel Gabriel greets Mary at the Annunciation). So well known was this Ipswich shrine that it was named (along with Walsingham, Worcester and Willesden) in Thomas Cromwell’s report on notable shrines ‘espeyed out and destroyed’ as a result of Henry VIII’s 1538 campaign against miraculous images (those ‘having engines to make their eyes to open and roll about and other parts of their body to stir and many other false jugglings, as the blood of Hailes and such like, wherewith the simple people a long time have been deceived’).

So thoroughly was Gracechurch destroyed that no trace remains today: or does it? The authors take us on a quest to find the site where the image was dug up around 1325, to understand the impact that such a shrine had on the parish in which the shrine was located and the part that the cult of Gracechurch was to play in the religious politics of the early years of Henry VIII’s reign (a clue: Cardinal Wolsey planned to divert the shrine’s income into the coffers of his newly founded Cardinal College, in Ipswich). The story of the 1538 iconoclasm is vividly told, but the story does not end with the burning of the image: the authors find several easily overlooked traces of the medieval shrine in the modern town. They include some striking Romanesque sculptures now in St Nicholas’s church that probably came from All Saints, the church that became Gracechurch (it is also very likely that the miraculous image was a Romanesque carving from the same church). The authors note, too, that the nearby pub is called ‘The Salutation’ and wonder how any of its customers realise the full import of its name.

Miracles in Lady Lane: the Ipswich shrine at Westgate, by John Blatchly and Diarmaid MacCulloch, ISBN 9780956458421; £12 post free, cheques made out to ‘John Blatchly’ and addressed to John at 11 Burlington Road, Ipswich IP1 2HS.

Books by Fellows: Harvey Pridham’s Survey of Somerset Church Fonts

Edited by our Fellow Adrian Webb, and published by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (SANHS), this volume contains the 374 measured line drawings and 49 perspective drawings of Somerset’s pre-Victorian church fonts made by Harvey Pridham between 1886 and 1890, with his descriptions. The 220-page volume is being offered prior to publication at £14 (until 1 June 2013; £20 thereafter), plus £4 for postage. Cheques, made out to SANHS, should be sent to SANHS, c/o Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Norton Fitzwarren TA2 6SF. PayPal users can order the book online via the SANHS website.

Books by Fellows: Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950—1200

The first of two recently published books by Fellows on the subject of the eremitical life, this one by Tom Licence looks at the rise of the anchorite in Anglo-Saxon England. Arguably, the existence of such solitary individuals should not have been tolerated by the Church: to be a hermit smacks of wilfulness and pride, an unwillingness to bow to the yoke of monastic obedience. Surely the proper place for someone wishing to renounce the world and embrace the spiritual life was a monastic community, but perhaps Anglo-Saxon monasticism was too sociable and comfortable for those truly determined to spurn the world and all its works.

In any event the Church seems not to have discouraged hermits at this stage in its history, with the result that they were everywhere in the medieval landscape. Therein lies another paradox: as the author makes clear, hermits often failed to escape: many had admiring and supportive patrons, landowners who welcomed them on to their estates and allowed them to build chapels and cells, and even delivered meals to them. Hermits were frequently sought out by people (including royalty) in need of advice or spiritual instruction. Neither were all hermits solitary: some were pioneers, carving out farmsteads in the wasteland, like the twelfth-century hermit Robert Parage who, with his brother hermits, lived as part of a small crofting community, employing servants as well as keeping cows, pigs, geese, sheep and a horse.

Hermits, it appears, thus engaged in a wide variety of religious practices: a few were wedded to the life of spiritual development, to penance and purgation, denying themselves warmth and food, torturing their flesh in continual penance; many more pursued a middle path between the extremes of worldliness and asceticism, simply taking themselves off into the wild as a strategy for avoiding temptation and the opportunities that the world constantly offers for sin.

Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950—1200, by Tom Licence; ISBN 9780199674091; Oxford University Press

Books by Fellows: The Hermit in the Garden

If medieval lords wanted a hermit on their land as a spiritual resource, Georgian aristocrats thought of them as more like park cattle, an ornamental accessory for the landscape garden, to go with the ruined temple and fern-clad grotto. In tracing the history of the ornamental hermit, Fellow Gordon Campbell acknowledges the Christian origins, but argues that the secular hermits of Georgian England belong to a much more complex cultural mix, influenced by the world of medieval romance, and tales of dragons, quests, giants and infidels, to Rousseau-esque ideas about the noble savage and to the antiquarian druidism of William Stukeley, who constructed a hermitage in his Stamford garden in the 1730s (for more on this see ‘Events’).

Hermits also had an extensive literature, in medieval saints’ lives, Elizabethan stage plays and in the poetical work of Spenser and Milton, in Pope’s works (he styled himself the hermit of Twickenham) and on into Gothic and romantic literature (faint echoes of which are surely found in Paul McCartney’s 1967 song, ‘The Fool on the Hill’). In fact, the more you read of this book, the more you begin to see hermits everywhere, from Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, the central character in Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem, performed to such acclaim by Mark Rylance, to the Markgraf of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, who liked to pretend to be a hermit from time to time, from the hermit who was such an attraction at Vauxhall Gardens to the hippies of Glastonbury.

After tracing the history and idea of the hermit, the author turns to the physical evidence, with a useful appendix listing surviving English and Continental hermitages, an account of their very varied architectural forms and accounts of the appearance, manners and lifestyles of historic hermits taken from newspapers, diaries and travelogues. At 257 pages, this is a relatively small book that packs in a huge amount: it really does deserve to be expanded into a bigger work, with illustrations that do full justice to such a rich topic.

The Hermit in the Garden: from Imperial Rome to ornamental gnome, by Gordon Campbell; ISBN 9780199696994; Oxford University Press

Books by Fellows: John Nash: architect of the Picturesque

John Nash (1752—1835) was the master of so many different architectural styles (from the onion domes of Brighton Pavilion to the classical terraces of Regent’s Park) that it seems odd at first to characterise his work with the one word ‘picturesque’. But as Fellow Geoffrey Tyack, editor of this series of ten essays on aspects of Nash’s career argues in his introduction, his great talent was ‘in relating buildings to their surroundings and grouping them for scenic effect ... his visual surprises, such as the unexpected vision of the Italianate Cronkhill in the Shropshire countryside, the Royal Pavilion in the heart of Brighton or the triumphal arches at either end of Regent’s Park ... draw a sharp and pleasurable intake of breath from the viewer.’

Some of his early buildings were not only theoretically picturesque, they were explicitly so, and perhaps could not be otherwise, given that an early client was Uvedale Price, the Herefordshire landowner who was at the heart of the Picturesque movement of the 1790s, author of the Essay on the Picturesque, As Compared With The Sublime and The Beautiful (1794), for whom Nash designed three buildings in 1791—4. One of these was Castle House, on the Aberystwyth seafront, described by Price himself as ‘a Fantastic house in the castellated form’, demolished in 1897 but its external appearance known from the unlikely source of a china seaside souvenir. Sadly, the villa called ‘Temple Druid’ that Nash designed in 1791 for Price’s brother, Barrington Price, at Maenclochog, Pembrokeshire, was demolished in 1820 and has not even survived as a drawing. Fellow Richard Suggett considers these and other picturesque villas that Nash built before he found fame and fortune in the capital, and argues that they gave Nash a lifelong love of surprise and innovation in architecture.

The truth of that is borne out in subsequent essays and in the pictures chosen to illustrate various themes in Nash’s career — modern photographs that make you look afresh at familiar London buildings and realise how extraordinary they are, and archive pictures that show these buildings in their original setting, in streets free of traffic and uncluttered by modern street furniture, again bringing home how innovative and uplifting they are. Geoffrey Tyack encourages us to appreciate this in an essay on ‘Reshaping the West End’ in which he takes us on an architectural promenade on a route designed by Nash to be experienced as a constantly changing spectacle, enhanced by carefully planned visual incidents, which Tyack compares to a journey along the Venetian Grand Canal.

John Nash: architect of the Picturesque, edited by Geoffrey Tyack; ISBN 9781848021020; English Heritage

Books by Fellows: Remembrance and Community: war memorials and local history

Written by our Fellow Kate Tiller, this booklet is well timed to help community groups up and down the country who are engaged in studying their local war memorials. The approaching centenary of the First World War has seen a revival of respect for those memorials that have for too long been regarded as part of the background to our lives: now people want to know a great deal more about the history of the memorial and about the people behind those long and sobering lists of names.

As Kate writes in the introduction, war memorials are a prime subject for local historical research whilst also being part of wider national and international histories; they reflect the local place and its people and the wider patterns of commemoration and remembrance.

The book is primarily concerned with the many kinds of monument that were set up to the dead of the Great War, but it has sections on pre-1914 memorials and on the continuing role of war memorials through to the present day. The core of the book concerns the types of record that can be consulted in order to learn more about specific monuments and people, plus four case studies, illustrating the kinds of history that can be written for any monument, including those fortunate fifty-two villages in England and Wales that suffered no losses and erected memorials to the local men who enlisted and returned; remarkably, fourteen such places were double blessed, suffering no losses even during the Second World War.

Remembrance and Community: war memorials and local history, by Kate Tiller; ISBN 9780948140013; British Association for Local History

Books by Fellows: Tudor Mont Orgueil and its Guns

Like Professor Zsolt Visy’s book on the Sevso Treasure, this book is also born out of controversy, a fact that is acknowledged in the Foreword, where Doug Ford, Head of Community Learning with Jersey Heritage, frankly admits that our Fellows Colin Platt and Neil Rushton, the authors of this book, ‘disagreed with some parts of the interpretation we adopted’ in telling the story of Jersey’s Mont Orgueil castle (in fact, not just ‘interpretation’: parts of the castle were also reconstructed). This book is thus presented as an alternative view of the way that a medieval ‘spear and shield castle’ was adapted for the new artillery age from 1543, at a time when Britain and France were at war and the Channel Islands were the front line.

In reconstructing their version of the castle’s history, the authors made extensive use of the building accounts of three of the island’s governors — Hugh, Amyas and Anthony Paulet. Assumed to have been lost, these were rediscovered by Neil Rushton among the Cecil Papers at Hatfield House and at the National Archives in Kew. Their conclusions were made whilst our Fellow Warwick Rodwell was carrying out his study of the castle’s structural archaeology, and, in the authors’ words, ‘there remain significant differences between Dr Rodwell’s interpretation of the Tudor building sequence and our own’.

Nothing is more likely to make you want to read on than a hint of scholarly controversy, so one turns the pages looking for blazing guns; this is not a polemical work, however, and the only bristling guns are the ones in the final chapter, where the surviving cannon, culverins, falcons, sakers and fowlers (such delightful names for weapons so destructive) are matched to the inventory made in 1549, giving us a good idea of the types of guns protecting the castle at the time. The remainder of the book gives a lively account of Elizabeth I’s foreign policy, the constant threat from France and Spain and the central role of this rocky fastness in defending England’s shores — all interwoven with an analysis of the very complex building history that resulted from the lavish amounts of money spent on its sixteenth-century ‘modernisation’.

Tudor Mont Orgueil and its Guns, by Colin Platt and Neil Rushton; ISBN 9780956207913; Jersey Heritage

Books by Fellows: Godalming Church

Can there be a more comprehensive guide to a single church? Fellow Alan Bott’s packed Guide to the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in the Town of Godalming is, he says, his ninth guide to churches in west Surrey, and it uses the church as a springboard for a much wider history of the Godalming community. Typical of the comprehensive coverage of the guide is the description, written by Humfrey Wanley (one of our Society’s founding Fellows), describing the breakfast eaten by Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, and his entourage on his visit to the town in 1698: ‘half a sheep, 1 quarter of lamb, 10 pullets, 1 dozen of chickens, 3 quarts of brandy, 6 quarts of mulled wine, 7 doz of eggs, with salads in proportion’. A fascinating middle section of the guide concerns the two restorations of the nineteenth century, the first in 1839—40 and the second, under Sir George Gilbert Scott, from 1877; attitudes to restoration changed markedly over that period and the author makes good use of the surviving correspondence (which includes some of the last letters that Scott ever wrote, as he died in March 1878) to tell the story of what was done and why.

A Guide to the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in the Town of Godalming, by Alan Bott; ISBN 9780953093915

Books by Fellows: Bronze Age Carian Iasos

Our Fellow Nicoletta Momigliano explains in the Preface to this report that it ‘aims to rescue from oblivion’ the results of excavations carried out from 1960 at Iasos, in south-west Turkey, a long-lived coastal settlement with a wealth of evidence for trade patterns and human mobility in the Bronze Age and for understanding what she calls the ‘Minoanisation’ of the region — as such it concerns not just the Mediterranean Bronze Age but the use of material culture in the creation of different kinds of identity. The volume is also of interest for what the author calls metaphorical excavation: digging into the minds of the original excavators and trying to understand their thought processes while reading their site notebooks and reports, trying to make sense of the contents of rotting boxes of finds and illegible labels, revisiting the site to clean up the surviving sections and architectural remains. Given all these difficulties, the report is a triumph — a good example of the archaeology of archaeology, and the benefits that all that effort can be made to yield.

Bronze Age Carian Iasos: structures and finds from the area of the Roman agora (c 3000—1500 BC), by Nicoletta Momigliano; ISBN 9788876892677; Georgio Bretschneider

Books by Fellows: Lives of the Two Offas

Now available in paperback for the first time, this is Fellow Michael Swanton’s translation of the late twelfth-century Vitae duorum Offarum, the life of King Offa II of Mercia (757—96) and of his fourth- or fifth-century ‘ancestor’ of the same name. While Offa’s name is best known for his association with the Dyke, this work is concerned with the story of his discovery of the relics of St Alban and his founding of St Albans Abbey. The work includes a parallel Latin text and translation, and an in-depth introduction to the text.

The Lives of the Two Offas, by Michael Swanton; ISBN 9780956611918; The Medieval Press

Books by Fellows: Piranesi, Paestum and Soane

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Paestum, Italy: exterior of the Temple of Neptune from the north east, Sir John Soane’s Museum (SM P72)

This fully revised and updated version of the classic work on Piranesi by our Fellow John Wilton-Ely has been published to coincide with the exhibition currently showing at Sir John Soane’s Museum, Piranesi’s Paestum: Master Drawings Uncovered (<> until 18 May 2103). The exhibition brings together the seventeen sketches made as preparatory works for Piranesi’s last great project, the posthumously published Différentes Vues de Pesto (1778). The book examines Soane’s extensive collection of work by Piranesi, connecting Piranesi’s dramatic visions of Paestum with Soane’s revivalist architectural practice.

Piranesi, Paestum and Soane, by John Wilton-Ely; ISBN 9783791348063; Prestel

Books by Fellows: Studies in the Art and Imagery of the Middle Ages

This book by our Fellow (and former Vice President) Richard Marks draws on a lifetime of research at the British Museum and the Burrell Collection, and more recently as Professor in the History of Art departments at York and Cambridge University, which has led to classic books on historiography, stained glass, manuscript illumination, screen and wall painting, sculpture and funerary monuments and to the 2003—4 V&A exhibition Gothic: Art for England 1400—1547. Of all the visual arts of medieval Europe, stained glass and the function and reception of devotional images are abiding themes in Professor Marks’s work, as reflected in the essays in this volume, which brings together essays written over the last forty years and published in journals and publications in Europe, Canada and the USA as well as the UK, now republished with new illustrations, a comprehensive index and an introduction that glosses and updates some of the essays.

Studies in the Art and Imagery of the Middle Ages, by Richard Marks; ISBN 9781904597384; Pindar Press


National Museum of Ireland, Director; closing date 4 April 2013
The new Director of the National Museum of Ireland will be required to implement a very challenging Change Management Agenda over the course of the five-year appointment in addition to the general public sector reform programme. The person appointed will have a proven track record as a leader and senior manager in a large or complex organisation in either the public or private sector. S/he will have the capacity, qualities and experience to lead the NMI in a time of change and will demonstrate an appreciation of the particular custodial responsibility that attaches to the post of Director of such a major cultural institution. The Director will have a good grasp of the financial requirements and will be willing to drive strategic fundraising and commercial initiatives.

Further details are on the Public Jobs website.

University of Reading: Lecturer in Later Prehistory, ref. no. LE13009
Salary £37,382 to £45,941; closing date 7 April 2013

The Archaeology Department wishes to appoint a Lecturer in Later Prehistory, with the potential to provide future leadership for research and teaching in this area. Interests should include the Neolithic to Iron Age within a geographical frame including Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean and the capability to contribute to the teaching of archaeological theory. For further information, see the Reading University website.

Heritage Lottery Fund: Trustees
The Heritage Lottery Fund will shortly be advertising for new trustees; the advertisement is likely to appear before the next issue of Salon, with a closing date of 22 April 2013. If you are interested, look out for further details on 22 March on the HLF’s website, where you can also find details of the current trustees, who include our Fellow Richard Morris.

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