National Planning Framework launched for consultation

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the document that will guide future local authority planning decisions and that aims to ‘make the planning system less complex and more accessible’.

The NPPF condenses more than 1,000 pages of current planning policy to a 58-page document, and the DCLG claims that it preserves all the heritage protection principles that are found in the existing Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment.

The reaction to the NPPF draft from environmental charities suggests otherwise. Leading the criticism is the National Trust’s Director-General, Dame Fiona Reynolds, who said, on the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme, that the new draft reverses the principle that has informed planning law since its post-war inception. Until now the planning system has existed ‘to protect what is most special in the landscape’, she said, whereas the purpose of the new framework is ‘to promote economic growth … based on the core presumption that the default answer to any proposed development will be “yes”.’ Believing that this will ‘focus developers’ and local authorities’ attention on the narrow grounds of short-term financial gain, rather than delivering the wider public benefit that good planning can deliver’, she called on the Government to understand that ‘planning is for people, not for profit’.

So strong was the Trust’s condemnation of the framework that the DCLG issued a statement ‘responding to incorrect claims by the National Trust that reforms of the planning system will lead to unchecked and damaging development’. That statement called such claims ‘plain wrong. The draft policy framework fulfils the commitment in the coalition agreement to protect the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are similarly strong protections for the historic environment, which have been welcomed by heritage bodies. These protections are crystal clear in the document.’

The National Trust pointed out in turn that it was not concerned about measures for protecting designated places (Green Belt, National Parks and AONBs); ‘rather, our point was about the overall effect of the draft Framework, which puts considerations of profit and driving the economy forward above those of people and places’.

The draft National Planning Policy Framework can be downloaded from the DCLG website, where you can also find details of consultation workshops. The consultation will close on 17 October 2011.

The National Trust has launched its own consultation with the aim of encouraging the Government to think again by demonstrating that people want strong planning principles that protect the environment, not ones based on financial considerations. It has also launched a petition calling on the government to ‘rethink its planning reforms’.

Sir Simon Jenkins warns of planning anarchy

Ahead of the launch of the draft National Planning Policy Framework, our Fellow Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, prefigured many of the issues when he delivered this year’s Boydell Lecture, an annual lecture established in memory of Peter Boydell QC to address topics of current interest to do with planning, environmental or local government law.

Sir Simon’s core message was that the Government’s plans for simplifying the planning system and encouraging localism will lead to an anarchic situation that will be ‘hijacked by development lobbyists for their own gain’. He attacked ‘the development lobbyists, now all powerful within government’ for trying to present themselves as dispassionate philanthropists, concerned only with economic prosperity and growth and branding those who stand in their way as ‘nimbyists’. He accused them of being ‘pimpyists’, greedy for ‘profit in my pocket’. Even so, they seem to have persuaded the Government, ‘on the basis of nothing but assertions’, that planning controls are a bar to growth, he said.

Sir Simon quoted paragraph 19 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which states that ‘the Government’s clear expectation is that we move to a system where the default answer to development is “yes”’. In the case of a designated heritage asset (paragraph 184), for example, development may still be permitted that results in ‘substantial harm to or total loss of significance’ if ‘the harm or loss is outweighed by the benefit of bringing the site back into use’.

Predicting a lawyers’ field day, Sir Simon says that ‘sloppy language and sloppy legislating’ pervade the National Planning Policy Framework and the Localism Bill, leaving too much ‘open to interpretation’. ‘Combine this with the presumption in favour of building, and you have a document clearly written at the direction of building and development lobbies and the Treasury. It constitutes a clear presumption for any development, even if the green belts are protected. It is the sort of planning you get in a banana republic, where local corruption and pressure is all. There is ample scope for local neighbourhood plans to reflect the will of the developer with the deepest pockets.’

Sir Simon argues that planning decisions ‘need to embrace social and environmental as well as economic ambitions. This is especially the case when the economic future of much of the English countryside is now bound up not just in food production, important though that is, but in its environmental appeal, to visitors and the retired as well as to working families. I note how the plan for the future of Durham recognises this: the quality of its rural life and tourism magnets is now regarded as critical to inward investment and prosperity.’

He also argues that there is more than enough sustainable ‘brown land’ lying unused in this country but that this is ‘less attractive to private developers who prefer greenfield sites’. Therein lies a ‘pernicious bias’ at the core of the new planning framework, that will result in ‘the same blizzard of uncontrolled building as [England] saw in the 1930s and 1950s’.

He concludes that ‘I and the National Trust are seriously worried at what is being proposed by the coalition government. It is a repeat of our experience with forests and the attempted dismantling of the heritage quangos. A commendable attempt to clear decks and get down to basics is hijacked by lobbyists for their own gain. As so often under the present government, ministers inexperienced in the ways of power fail to see the consequences of what they propose. We intend to make them see.’

A full transcript of Sir Simon’s speech can be found on the National Trust’s website.

They do things differently in Wales

It is early days yet, but when the Welsh First Minister recently announced his legislative programme for the next five years, he stated that one of his priorities was a Heritage Protection Bill for Wales that would strengthen the protection afforded to the Welsh historic environment, at the same time as seeking to simplify procedures. In the past, Welsh policy in this area would have been tied to that of England, but the National Assembly for Wales now has its own law-making powers over historic buildings and planning, as an outcome of the Welsh Devolution referendum of March 2011 which voted to extend the Assembly’s law-making powers.

And in Scotland

The Scottish Government has just issued Planning Advice Note 2/2011: Planning and Archaeology, updating and replacing its 1994 predecessor (Planning Advice Note 42). In less than 4,000 words, it sets out clearly the measures that should be taken to provide an adequate level of protection for archaeological remains without unnecessarily impeding development. It even includes a simple but foolproof decision tree summarising the process. A sincere act of flattering imitation would not go amiss on the part of English civil servants responsible for drafting the new Planning Framework south of the border.

A conservation officer’s view

Salon’s editor thinks that the last word on this issue should go to Crispin Edwards, Conservation Officer with Stockport Council. Responding to Clive Aslet’s comments published in the Telegraph calling for the owners of listed buildings to be liberated from the ‘tyranny’ of ‘low-grade planning officers’, Crispin Edwards wrote that: ‘Mr Aslet’s suggestion that “the Coalition should revive the old principle that he who pays the piper calls the tune” (in other words, developers should be allowed to dictate design and stuff the rest of us) shows the importance of planning authorities having access to experienced specialist heritage advice when assessing applications … many owners of listed buildings are sympathetic to the idea of heritage, but often don’t know the relative significance of different parts of a building. Some only value something until it gets in the way of their latest plans.’

He went on to say: ‘I agree with Mr Aslet that “people and institutions who are well disposed to the heritage should be encouraged to invest in it”. However, if “investment” compromises the significance, it is not “well disposed” to heritage, which is a finite asset. A planning system that rejects proposals unsympathetic to the significance of a building is doing its job and discourages those ill disposed to heritage from owning it.’

Record fine for demolishing listed house

One owner who showed that he was not at all well disposed towards the heritage by knocking down a Regency house in Trafalgar Road, Twickenham (pictured left prior to demolition), was fined £80,000 last week. This is higher by £24,000 than any previous fine for demolishing a building in a conservation area without consent. The owner was also ordered to pay £42,500 towards Richmond Council’s costs in bringing the case to court. Though he had been given planning permission and conservation area consent to extend and refurbish the existing property, the owner believed he could save money by building a new property on the site.

Astor’s mansion to open with Morris exhibition

Two Temple Place (left), built by John Loughborough Pearson for Viscount Astor, will open to the public on 27 October 2011 with a temporary exhibition of works from Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery, including five embroidered friezes that have been conserved by the Royal School of Needlework. Standing close to Temple underground station on the Embankment, in London, the remarkable Grade II* late nineteenth-century house is now the headquarters of the Bulldog Trust, set up by Richard Hoare, the philanthropic banker, which uses it to host networking events at the house for senior figures in the private and public sector willing to contribute money and skills to suitable charities, projects and social enterprises. The trust has now announced that it will host free annual exhibitions every winter to ‘showcase the best of art from smaller and regional museums across the country’.

Cambridge Masters degree in Building Studies

Speaking at Apsley House recently, Fellows Loyd Grossman, Simon Thurley, Frank Salmon and Adam Menuge made a joint appeal to the heritage sector to support the newly established Master of Studies (MSt) postgraduate degree in Building History being offered from this October by the Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education. The degree has been designed by the Cambridge Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in association with English Heritage to equip new generations of architectural historians with the skills to undertake historic building research, analysis and recording. Research carried out two years ago established the need for the degree in the light of the age profile of existing buildings historians and conservationists, and concerns about the lack of younger people in the profession.

Loyd Grossman said the knowledge base was very vulnerable, and that new generations of buildings historians were required to ensure that the public can continue to get the best from the built environment in the future. He and the other speakers at the launch called on employers to give their staff the time off to attend the course, to offer work placements to students on the course, to sponsor students, to offer them access to sites for research purposes and to offer their own time and expertise as tutors and mentors. Applications for this year’s course have to be submitted by 31 August 2011: further information can be found on the website of the Institute for Continuing Education.

Wreath laying in memory of Sir George Gilbert Scott, FSA (1811—78)

Evensong at Westminster Abbey was followed on 13 July 2011 by a special wreath-laying ceremony, attended by a large number of Fellows, at the grave of Sir George Gilbert Scott. This marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the architect who did so much for the abbey as Surveyor of the Fabric from 1849 to 1878, even paying for some of the cost of the restoration himself when the Dean and Chapter of the day refused to meet the costs of the overspend. Our Fellow Gavin Stamp gave the address, comparing Scott’s work at Westminster to that of Wren at St Paul’s. Richard Gilbert Scott, great-grandson of Sir George and a renowned architect in his own right (as was his father, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and his father, George Gilbert Scott Jr), laid the wreath.

Much pleasure was given to fans of Scott’s work by the fact that the search engine, Google, also chose to mark the anniversary: the ‘Google Doodle’ for that day, the logo that appears on the search-engine’s home page, consisted of a Ruskinesque watercolour painting of Scott’s St Pancras Midland Grand Hotel, with the O-shaped oculi of two adjacent neo-Gothic windows forming the double O in ‘Google’ and a statue-topped chimney forming the letter ‘l’.

Help to prevent Classics at Royal Holloway from becoming history

An online petition has been launched to try and save the Department of Classics and Philosophy at Royal Holloway University of London. The petition calls on the Principal of Royal Holloway and the College Council to reconsider proposals to close the Department, cut seven posts and disperse the remaining staff to the other faculties. The petition has attracted 2,500 signatures to date, including that of Private Eye editor Ian Hislop (left), who says ‘This is a classic error: humanity needs the humanities!’.

Classics teaching at the Royal Holloway College for the Education of Women and its sister institution, the Bedford College for Women (the two finally merged in 1985), began in 1887, alongside (to quote The Times of 16 June 1887): ‘divinity, medieval and modern languages, mathematics and natural science, history and political economy, mental and moral science, the theory of music … hygiene, ambulance work, cookery, and needlework’. One of the first to take advantage of the opportunity was Sarah Parker Remond (1826—94), the prominent anti-slavery campaigner, who studied Latin and French as a mature student. Those who followed in her footsteps included Frances Stevenson (1888—1972), suffragette and political secretary and mistress of David Lloyd George, Richmal Crompton (1890—1969), suffragette and author of the ‘Just William’ stories, and author and gay rights activist Rosemary Manning (1911—88).

A symposium is planned to celebrate the history of Classics teaching at Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges on 16 September 2011, from 1.30pm to 9.30pm, at the Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1. All are welcome; further information from Margaret Scrivner, Department of Classics and Philosophy.

The shock announcement of the planned closure coincided with an appeal from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, for more people to train as Classics teachers. Writing in the Times Literary Supplement, he pointed to the fact that the number of schools offering Classics has doubled in recent years, that more comprehensive schools now offer Latin and Ancient Greek than private schools, that Latin is now taught in forty London primary schools, thanks to the development of online learning resources and to the campaigning work of such groups as Classics for All, the Iris Project, which offers extracurricular tuition, and The Cambridge School Classics Project. ‘This is not a bad record for supporters of a subject that is meant to be dying, and with scarcely a penny of taxpayers’ money’, Boris writes, though he adds: ‘we must step up the fight because we have not won … we still have seventy classics teachers retiring every year and just thirty being trained to replace them. The Training and Development Agency for Schools has once again cut places for potential Classics teachers, meaning more schools in the maintained sector must use non-specialist teachers to try to satisfy demand.’

Boris also called on those willing to teach Latin and Ancient Greek to young people across the capital to volunteer as part of the Team London project, which aims to reach 2,500 children in the first year, ‘opening them up not just to the ancient world, but to a way of approaching problems and ideas that will serve them well for the future’.

‘I believe fervently’, he concludes, ‘that a training in Classics is one of the best, if not the best, that a young mind can have. It is a universal spanner for so many other languages, and it also gives young people access not just to London’s Roman history, but to an understanding of world history, from our ideas about democracy to the Arab Spring. It can equip a young mind to run the greatest city on earth, thanks to a knowledge of a civilisation that was in so many ways like our own and yet so very different. It is not right that a great degree course, great careers and the untold riches of the classical world should be effectively restricted to a small minority of kids from fee-paying schools.’

Classics ‘Question Time’ at Cambridge

Further proof, if such is necessary, of the contemporary relevance of the Classics was provided by the lively ‘Classics Question Time’ events held last week in Cambridge, modelled on BBC One’s ‘Question Time’ (itself, of course, a TV version of the long-running ‘Any Questions’ on Radio 4), in which members of the public put questions on the classical world to panellists who included our Fellows Mary Beard, Simon Jenkins, David Cannadine, Paul Cartledge and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill as well as philosopher Roger Scruton, Liberty Director, Shami Chakrabarti, columnist Simon Heffer and children’s author Caroline Lawrence.

Subjects discussed included how to manage tourism in the fragile remains of Pompeii and whether or not Socrates got a fair trial in 399 BC. Both raised much broader issues: how to manage public access to heritage sites in a sustainable way, including the pyramids or Stonehenge; and what are the limits on human rights and freedom of speech if that allows people to act and behave in ways that are offensive.

Our Fellow Mary Beard, who organised the debates as part of the Classics Triennial, a major classics conference hosted by the University’s Faculty of Classics, said: ‘The aim was to use controversial problems relating to the ancient world as a means of confronting important issues in the present.’

Yale announces new conservation institute

Yale University has announced that it is to set up a new Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, thanks to a US$25m gift from Lisbet Rausing, heiress to the Tetra Pak food processing and packaging company, and her husband Peter Baldwin. The aim is to bring together the personnel and resources of the University Library, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art and the Office of Digital Assets along with the expertise of the university’s academic departments to create an institute that will ‘advance conservation science and its practice around the world’.

Building on existing research programmes, the institute will explore the use of nanotechnology to slow the degradation of works of art, and continue to digitise artefacts and works of art from Yale’s collections and make the images available free online under the universities ‘open access’ policy. Peter Baldwin said that Yale ‘shares our deep conviction that new technology will not only help us protect our most valuable cultural assets, but also expand access to those assets for people around the world’.

Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin have given some US$192m in grants in the last ten years through their Arcadia fund, whose mission is ‘to protect endangered culture and nature … near-extinct languages, rare historical archives and museum quality artefacts … ecosystems and environments threatened with extinction’.

Royal Collection’s record revenues

Sales of bone china and tea towels commemorating the Royal Wedding have helped to bring in a record income for the Royal Collection Trust, the organisation that curates and conserves the huge collection of works of art and historic furnishings that decorate Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Revenues, which are essential to the Trust’s curatorial work, were up by £7.3 million to £41.7 million in the year to April 2011. Our Fellow Jonathan Marsden, Director of the Royal Collection, said: ‘By any measure, 2010/11 was one of the most successful years since the Trust was founded in 1993, and it was the most successful in purely financial terms’. Our Royal Fellow HRH The Prince of Wales, Chairman of the Royal Collection Trust, said: ‘While the economic climate continues to place enormous pressure on many cultural organisations, I am pleased to report that the Royal Collection Trust has been able to sustain and, indeed, expand its activities over the past twelve months.’

Details of the Royal Collection’s activities are given in the 2010/11 Annual Report, just published, and staff at the Royal Collection are keen to receive feedback on the report, by means of a brief questionnaire.

Recent HLF grants

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has confirmed that it is giving £10.2m to four major heritage projects. SS Nomadic, the tender ship that ferried passengers from Cherbourg to the Titanic on her fateful voyage is to be restored with £3.2m of HLF funds, along with the Hamilton Graving Dock. The project forms part of the wider regeneration of the ‘Titanic Quarter’ in Belfast, reflecting the city’s strong industrial heritage.

Timed to celebrate the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth in 2013, an HLF grant of £1.4m will be used to enhance ‘Red House’, in Aldeburgh, where Britten lived and worked with his partner Peter Pears from 1957 until his death in 1976. His composing studio will be recreated, and his extensive archive, containing 99 per cent of Britten’s manuscripts and 80,000 items of correspondence and photographs, will be presented for the first time in a permanent exhibition.

Colchester Castle Museum is to receive £3.2m towards the cost of re-displaying its internationally renowned collections of Iron Age and Roman artefacts, and to provide a gateway to Colchester’s rich Roman and Norman heritage, including the Roman Circus and town walls.

Initial HLF funding and support has also been awarded to the Battle of Bannockburn site, in Stirling, to create new visitor facilities in time for the 700th anniversary in 2014; to the Tank Museum, Dorset, to create a Vehicle Conservation Centre and to stage two major exhibitions for the centenary of World War I in 2014; to the Cherishing Churchyards England and Wales project, which aims to equip volunteers with the skills to undertake dry stone walling, biological recording and grassland scything; to Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Hounslow, London, for completing the restoration of the Grade I and II listed buildings and re-displaying the collection of steam pumping engines; and to two archive projects — York: Gateway to History, which will unite and conserve York’s city archives on the top floor of York Central Library, and to the Archives+ project, which aims to bring together the largest and most important archives from different parts of Manchester into one Manchester Central Library repository.

News of Fellows

Our Fellow Professor Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester, was one of thirty-eight academics whose election to the British Academy was announced at the Academy’s Annual General Meeting on 21 July 2011.

The Gorsedd y Beirdd (Gorsedd of the Bards), made up of poets, writers, musicians, artists and others who have made a distinguished contribution to the Welsh nation, language and culture, is to invest our Fellow Frank Olding as an Honorary Ovate at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham in August. The green-robed Ovate order is one of three Bardic orders of merit and is awarded in recognition of services to Wales. Frank Olding’s citation states that he has ‘worked for the development and growth of the Welsh language in the old county of Gwent. A great supporter of the Eisteddfod, he worked tirelessly for the festival, and his help and support was a welcome boost to the work in Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys.’

Lining up along with 4,100 graduands at this year’s University of East Anglia degree ceremony was our former President, Eric Fernie, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the university where he once served as Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Music, before moving to Edinburgh University twenty-five years ago and then becoming Director of the Courtauld Institute in 1995. Among those also being awarded honorary degrees from the University of East Anglia this year were actors Juliet Stevenson and Sir Patrick Stewart and writer Richard Mabey.

Following on from the announcement that Fellow David Gill is to receive the Archaeological Institute of America’s Outstanding Public Service Award, Salon learns that David is not to be the only Fellow lining up for a medal at the opening night reception at the AIA’s Annual Meeting, to be held in January 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: our Fellow David Peacock will also be there as the 2012 recipient of the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology. Only twice before, in its thirty-year history, has the award (one of the two highest honours that the Institute confers, along with the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement) been awarded to a Fellow: in 2004, the recipient was Ian Freestone and in 2003 Peter Ian Kuniholm.

SAL Australasian Secretary Matthew Spriggs writes to say that ‘the recent 7th Lapita and Pacific Archaeology Conference, held in Apia, Samoa, was treated to a SAL-sponsored keynote address by Fellow Marshall Weisler of the University of Queensland. His topic was “A quarried landscape in the Hawaiian Islands: implications for Polynesian stone adze studies”. Fellow Glenn Summerhayes, of Otago University, was Chair of the Conference Committee, and several other Fellows made the long journey out to Samoa. It is good to see that our Society’s name is known in such exotic locales!’

Matthew himself is a member of the organising committee of the 8th Lapita Conference, which will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in 2015, organised by the Vanuatu National Museum and the Australian National University.


First apologies to John Blatchly for spelling his name with an intrusive ‘e’ in the report on his triumphant campaign to see Cardinal Wolsey commemorated in Ipswich, the town of his birth, by a public monument. Secondly, Salon said that Wolsey was the founder of Ipswich School, whereas the truth is slightly more complex. ‘The school was a fourteenth-century foundation, where Wolsey was prepared for Oxford’, John says. ‘His short-lived Cardinal College School of 1528—30 was his re-foundation of the school on a far grander scale, but when he fell and died, it had to return to its roots and to its 1483 building, and it was Thomas Cromwell who ensured the school’s future by persuading Henry VIII to re-endow the stipends of master and usher; hence the school enjoys the status of a royal foundation, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II being the School’s Visitor.’

There was also an error in Salon’s brief tribute to our former President John Evans in the last issue. That was written before any other tributes had appeared and was based on memory — not always a reliable source — which is why Salon said that Professor Evans retired from his post as Director of the Institute of Archaeology in 1984, whereas (see The Times obituary below) he actually retired in 1989.

Our Director John Creighton also points out that there is a video interview with John Evans on the Institute of Archaeology’s website, recorded in 2009 as part of an oral history project designed to capture memories of the Institute and its history.

In a postscript to the question of what type of material the Langdale Pike axes are made from, our geologist Fellow Rob Ixer says that ‘jadeite is a mineral; a rock just made of jadeite should be called jadeitite, but is called jade; and the Langdale Pike Group VI tuff is a rock’. And for those who were not paying attention in geology lessons, or for whom geology was not an option at school, the difference is that a rock is an aggregate of minerals whereas a mineral has a homogeneous crystalline structure and specific physical properties.

Lives remembered

The Society has been informed that our Fellow David Henry Hill died on 19 July 2011, less than a year after his marriage to his colleague and co-author, Margaret Worthington. Before his retirement, David was a member of the Extra-Mural Studies Department and the English Department at the University of Manchester, where, through his Anglo-Saxon Diploma and MA classes, he did much to popularise Anglo-Saxon studies.

He was elected a Fellow on 4 March 1982 shortly after publishing his Atlas of Anglo-Saxon England (1981), which has gone into many subsequent editions. His other works include The Defence of Wessex: the Burghal Hidage and Anglo-Saxon fortifications (1996), jointly edited with Alexander Rumble; Æthelbald and Offa, Two Eighth-Century Kings of Mercia (2005), jointly edited with Margaret Worthington, and Offa’s Dyke: history and guide (2003), written with Margaret Worthington and short-listed for the British Archaeological Awards Archaeological Book Award in 2004.

Our Fellow Gale Owen-Crocker said of her former colleague: ‘He was one of the great figures of our time in medieval archaeology, and a great personality too. Since retirement from the University he has remained very research active, and despite his appalling health problems — which he bore cheerfully for many years — his death was unexpected, though peaceful.’

Fellow Paul Buckland writes to say that our Fellow Marek Zvelebil (pictured left) died on 7 July (‘Another brilliant brain lost’, Paul observes). Pending a fuller obituary, there is a brief note on the Sheffield University Archaeology Department website, saying that ‘Marek was a world-class prehistorian and a great archaeological thinker — world archaeology is diminished by his absence.’

Fellow Stephen Cosh writes to expand on the brief note that appeared in the last issue of Salon on the death of our Fellow David Edward Johnston on 3 July, having succumbed to cancer. ‘After graduating from the University of Cambridge, David directed various archaeological excavations, notably Sparsholt Roman villa, Hampshire, and taught archaeology at the University of Southampton from 1968 to 1995. He is the author of a number of books, mainly on Roman Britain. These include contributions to the Shire Archaeology series (Roman Villas, Discovering Roman Britain and An Illustrated History of Roman Roads in Britain), The Saxon Shore (CBA Research Report 18, 1977), The Channel Islands: an archaeological guide (Chichester, 1981) and, as editor with Janet Delaine, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Roman Baths held at Bath, England March 30th—April 4th, 1992 (Journal of Roman Archaeology, 1999).

‘A founder member of ASPRoM (the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics), he was for many years the editor of its journal Mosaic, to which he contributed several research papers. He suffered a serious stroke following his retirement, but he recovered remarkably well, and, although this hampered some of his work, he became a practising mosaicist, working at his home in Kings Worthy near Winchester. He is survived by his wife, Pamela, and two daughters.’

Obituary: John Evans

On 27 July 2011, The Times published the following obituary for our former President, Professor John Evans OBE (born on 22 January 1925; died on 4 July 2011, aged eighty-six; picture courtesy of Stuart Laidlaw)

‘John Evans was one of Britain’s leading prehistorians and the scholar who first made sense of prehistoric Malta and its megalithic temples. He was for many years the Director of the Institute of Archaeology, now part of University College London, and had a key role in developing its central position as a place of teaching and research.

‘John Davies Evans was born in 1925 in Liverpool of Welsh parents. He was the first in his family to go on to university, winning an open scholarship to Pembroke College, Cambridge, at seventeen. After a first year reading English he began his war service, working at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, on the task of breaking each day’s new Enigma code as it was changed by the German Army and the Luftwaffe. On returning to Cambridge in 1947 he qualified for the BA degree in English and then turned to archaeology, taking Part II of the archaeology and anthropology tripos in one year. Then, with a state studentship for doctoral research, he spent a year in Spain and then a year as Fellow of the British Institute in Ankara.

‘In 1952 he was appointed by the Archaeological Survey of Malta to prepare a corpus of Malta’s prehistoric antiquities. Decades of excavations in the great stone monuments of early Malta had produced much material but little enlightenment. Evans began with a careful study of the pottery and this allowed him to unravel the developmental sequence of the temples (aided by some small, well-judged stratigraphic excavations of his own) and to show how they had developed locally out of the earlier Maltese prehistoric culture without the aid of some hypothetical “invasion” from the supposedly more civilised Orient. His book Malta, published in 1959 in the “Ancient People and Places” series, edited by Glyn Daniel, established his reputation as a researcher, and was followed by his definitive The Prehistoric Antiquities of the Maltese Islands in 1971.

‘The soundness of his approach was confirmed by later work at the newly discovered temple at Skorba by Dr David Trump and then by the application of radiocarbon dating. This showed the Maltese temples to be earlier than the pyramids of Egypt, and vindicated Evans’s anti-diffusionist approach.

‘He was appointed Professor of European Prehistory at the Institute of Archaeology in London at thirty-one, and went on to excavate the deep Neolithic levels underlying the Palace of Minos, at Knossos, in Crete, first investigated by Sir Arthur Evans (not a relative) at the beginning of the century. Radiocarbon dating confirmed the status of the early Neolithic remains there as one of the earliest farming settlements of Europe. His meticulous quantitative study of the pottery, greatly aided by his wife Evelyn, has again been upheld by later work. He also excavated with Colin Renfrew, then a research student, in 1964 and 1965 at the first early farming site in the Cycladic Islands of Greece, in Saliagos near Antiparos.

‘When he joined the Institute in 1956 there were no undergraduate courses, only a postgraduate diploma in archaeology. It was, as he put it, “all chiefs and no Indians”, with four professors, practically no lecturers, and few students. Starting its degree course in archaeology only in 1969, London was slower off the mark than newer universities such as Southampton or Sheffield. He became director of the Institute in 1973, and, despite the financial constraints then operating after the university expansions of the 1960s, he consolidated its position, regretfully (but wisely) sacrificing its independent status and accepting a more secure place within the larger organisation of University College. It now has a staff of more than seventy, the largest department of archaeology in the country.

‘Recognising the growing importance of rescue archaeology, he was one of the founders of the Sussex Field Archaeology Unit, now incorporated within the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the Institute. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1973 and was President, successively, of the Prehistoric Society, the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the International Union of Pre- and Proto-historic Sciences (IUPPS). He also became President of the National Committee of the 1986 World Archaeology Conference at Southampton, but, with great regret, felt obliged to resign that position when the International Executive Committee of the IUPPS declined to endorse the National Committee’s anti-apartheid policy of excluding South African representatives from the conference, an issue with provoked considerable controversy.

‘He served as Chair of the Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee of the Department of National Heritage from 1988 to 1996 when he was appointed OBE. He retired in 1989 to Shaftesbury, Dorset, with his wife. He will be remembered as a distinguished scholar, as a central figure in British archaeology in the 1970s and 1980s and as a kind and helpful man.’

Obituary: Rodney Legg

The fighting spirit that the National Trust is currently showing (at last!) over the National Planning Framework was something that marked out the life of the tireless campaigner Rodney Legg, whose life came to a premature end at the age of sixty-four when he died of cancer on 22 July 2011. Rodney (pictured left with wirecutters in hand for dealing with illegally blocked paths) was the combative Chairman of the Open Spaces Society — Britain’s oldest national conservation body, founded in 1865 to protect common land (and, later, public rights of way), from 1989 until 2009, battling with those who blocked public paths or traduced the rights of the public over common land. These are causes that can easily die through a sense of helplessness in the face of the sheer volume of such cases and the lethargic response of local authorities, but Rodney fought every instance of wrong doing with crusading zeal and forensic attention to detail.

He was a thorn in the flesh of the Ministry of Defence, founding the Tyneham Action Group in 1967 to campaign for access to the village of Tyneham, taken over by the War Office in 1943 for use as a firing range and he played a major role in lobbying for what became the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, along with the concept of the ‘right to roam’. Likewise he bothered the National Trust until they agreed to open Max Gate, Thomas Hardy’s home. Subsequently, as a National Trust council member and member of the Trust’s Access Review Working Party, he is remembered for frequent and forceful interventions, often born of frustration, critical of the charity’s secrecy and hostility to public access to Trust land. Yet, by the time he retired as a council member, he had won the respect, admiration and affection of fellow council members for his commitment to public rights and freedoms.

With John Fowles, the novelist and museum curator, Legg set up a trust that purchased Steep Holm, the 50-acre island in the Bristol Channel, as a memorial to the naturalist and broadcaster Kenneth Allsop, who died in 1973. Surely a man who was once described as the ‘arch-scourge of politicians, governments, the military and the Establishment in general’, and to whom the nation owes so much, deserves a similar memorial. For more on Rodney Legg, see his obituary in the Daily Telegraph.


1 to 31 August 2011: Standing Stones in Wales , an exhibition of Jill Young’s paintings at Picton Castle, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire (). Fellow Alan Powers commends this exhibition which he describes as follows: ‘Moving to live permanently in West Wales in the 1980s, the artist Jill Young (mother of the well-known sculptor and craft builder Rory Young) carried out a project comparable to the work of an earlier generation of Romantic artists. She tracked down fifty-three sites where standing stones of unknown age brought a special quality to the remote landscapes, and did a series of small, powerful naturalistic paintings of each, comparable to the work that might have been done by a picturesque traveller in the 1800s. The work is testimony to willpower, skill and a rare sense of place.’

There are pictures and further information on the website of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, where we learn that the paintings are due to be sold, but that digital copies have been donated to the Royal Commission’s public archive and it is hoped that the paintings will be sold as an entire collection and kept together.

10 September 2011: In the footsteps of Sir Mortimer Wheeler . Our Fellow Joe Flatman is organising this walk of roughly three hours’ duration, starting at 1pm on the steps of the ‘Portico’ building in the main UCL quad on Gower Street, London, walking via the Institute of Archaeology and the British Museum (with an optional rest stop at the Museum Tavern) to Wheeler’s old flat (with its blue plaque) on Whitcomb Street, then past the Athenaeum and the British Academy to St James’s Square (with another optional rest stop at the Red Lion pub) to St James’s Church (with a reading from Sir Max Mallowan’s memorial address) before ending at Burlington House. Joe says: ‘We will not be going inside any of the buildings, but I am arranging a series of people to talk en route about various aspects of Wheeler’s life and legacy; anyone else who would like to contribute would be most welcome, especially if they knew Wheeler and have any anecdotes. This is the first of what I hope will be an annual walk. All interested are very welcome to attend (they just need to turn up at 1pm (I’ll be wearing a SAL tie to identify myself) and should feel free to contact me for more information.’

10 September 2011: ‘Following finds from site to store’ , a meeting on aspects of archaeological finds, to be held in the Weston Theatre, Museum of London, from 10am to 5.30pm. Museum of London Archaeology and the Museum of London invite colleagues and friends to join in this one-day meeting in honour of the great contribution made to London’s archaeology by Penny MacConnoran, who died in July 2010. The varied programme will address Penny’s main interests and areas of expertise: processing, conservation and archiving, and finds research, and will appeal to finds specialists, archaeologists, students, volunteers and anyone interested in archaeology. Particular emphasis will be on new research in the study of artefacts in and beyond London. Speakers will include Fellows Jon Cotton, Marit Gaimster, Francis Grew, Lynne Keys, Gus Milne, Jacqui Pearce, Ian Riddler, Roberta Tomber and Angela Wardle. To register, visit the Museum of London website.

11 and 12 September 2011: Defence of the Realm , the Europa Nostra UK conference, will be held in Portsmouth, starting on 11 September at 5pm with the Duncan-Sandys Memorial Lecture, to be given by our Fellow Duncan Wilson OBE, Director of the Greenwich Foundation, and followed on the Monday by papers on coastal defences and inland fortifications in western Europe from the Tudor period to the current era. Full details on the Europa Nostra website.

27 and 28 October 2011: Universities and Museums: new rules of engagement? The University Museums in Scotland Conference 2011 will take place in the Kelvin Gallery, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, and the aim is to explore the current and potentially changing relationship between universities and museum and gallery services and to clarify emerging challenges and future strategic directions.

In the brave new world of REF (Research Excellence Framework), university objectives are beginning to shift from what were once diverse agendas towards a greater focus on research excellence and the impact of public engagement activities. University museum and gallery services may need to align themselves with this changing strategy and demonstrate their impact more explicitly in terms of research and teaching engagement, through enhancing the student learning experience and by creating a distinctive cultural strand to the university’s global identity. However, whilst our institutions are expected to be dynamic and innovative in their programmes, they are also being asked to make deep cuts in their infrastructure. How do they balance this contradiction and continue to develop their role as a core university service?

For further information, see the University Museums in Scotland website.

Books by Fellows: Gathering Time

In years to come, we may well look back on the publication of Gathering Time (ISBN 9781842174258; Oxbow Books), by Fellows Alasdair Whittle, Frances Healy and Alex Bayliss, but with contributions from a galaxy of other prehistorians, as a watershed event in archaeological methodology. Certainly the authors think so: they announce, in a Fukuyama-like phrase towards the end of this 1,100-page, two-volume work, that ‘prehistory is a term we can now abolish’, such is the precision with which events such as the construction of the Hambledon Hill causewayed enclosure can be pinned down (3685—3640 BC); we can now write the annals of prehistory, rather than talking in terms of centuries and millennia.

The title alludes both to the methodology adopted to refine an impressive total of 2,350 carbon dates from early Neolithic sites in Ireland and southern Britain (south of the Great Glen) and to the main type of monument to which the method has been applied: causewayed enclosures, which are traditionally interpreted as places of assembly, though the jury is still out on whether these were egalitarian social gatherings or places where authoritarian rulers practised rituals designed to reinforce their power and status. The book is about much more than enclosures, however, since it sets out to use Bayesian modelling, mathematical procedures for calculating probability, to look at the wider questions that intrigue anyone interested in the transition from Mesolithic to Neolithic lifestyles in this part of the world.

Drawing out simple conclusions does no justice to this work, which examines many data sets and many possible interpretations, but what emerges is a scenario roughly along these lines. Small pioneer groups of migrants crossed from the near Continent during the late fourth millennium; some failed to establish a foothold but at least one group settled successfully in the area of the Greater Thames estuary in the 41st century. Whether by acculturation, or by further migration, or a combination of both, the Neolithic practices and artefacts they brought with them had spread to reach the Welsh Marches by 3700 BC. One Neolithic innovation was the construction of monuments: long barrows and long cairns first (from around 3800 BC) and then causewayed enclosures — so-called because the ditches and banks that define the sub-circular enclosures are not continuous, but are interrupted by causeways leading towards the centre of the enclosure.

The first such enclosures date from the late 38th century BC and after a few experiments with different shapes, areas and numbers of concentric ditches and banks, a standard form begins to emerge and many are built during the next eight generations or so, to the point that it almost seems that no self-respecting Neolithic community in southern Britain lacks one. By the late 36th century BC, the cursus monument begins to take over; perhaps, the authors speculate, because of a desire for something new after some 200 years or more of constructing what was already an ancient architectural form when it was originally introduced to Britain and Ireland from the near Continent.

There is much more, including the dating of such core Neolithic artefacts as bowl pottery (carinated, decorated and plain), polished axes and leaf arrowheads, correlating the beginning and end of artefact types and monument types to identify periods of innovation, and much analysis of the rather different scenarios in Ireland and Scotland, as well as the much earlier Neolithic transition on the other side of the Channel.

Books by Fellows: Landscapes of Neolithic Brittany

That is also one of the themes of a new book by Fellow Chris Scarre on the Landscapes of Neolithic Brittany (ISBN 9780199281626; Oxford University Press), which, while it does indeed focus on the rather special monuments of Brittany — the megalithic chambered tombs, the decorated standing stones and the stone rows for which the region is famous — does so by setting Brittany in the context of western Europe as a whole, presenting to an English-speaking readership for the first time the results of recent studies published mainly in French. As such, the book serves as an excellent summary of our current state of knowledge about the character and spread of Neolithic material and practices in the 2,000 years before they finally made the short hop across the Channel. Core to Chris Scarre’s work is an examination of the question whether Brittany’s remarkable modified and manipulated landscapes are a manifestation of new beliefs associated with newly established farming communities, or whether they represent far older Mesolithic beliefs about the landscape, albeit expressed in new ways — and in either case, whether we can recover any of those beliefs so as to be able to see this stony landscape with the same eyes and thoughts as those who built these monuments.

Books by Fellows: Stone Axe Studies III

To do so requires a considerable leap of imagination, if only because we live in an age where few of us possess any kind of craft or manual skill, so that the simple matter of how food is grown is a mystery to many people, let alone the complexities and sheer dogged persistence involved in manipulating stone, whether at the scale of Stonehenge or Carnac or in the winning of precious minerals from inaccessible mountain peaks and turning the result into axes of perfect form and beauty. Despite its prosaic title, Stone Axe Studies III, edited by our Fellow Mark Edmonds and Vin Davis, and with numerous Fellows amongst the contributors (ISBN 9781842174210; Oxbow Books), opens a window into the many different manifestations of this obsession with stone at different times and in different parts of the world, from Norway to India and Papua New Guinea, and from the Neolithic to the twenty-first century. The twenty-seven papers look at every aspect of the quarrying of the raw materials, the making of the axes, their uses as tools and as gifts and as objects of trade, their distribution, symbolism and social significance. What emerges is a sense not of stone as inert and intractable, but as something alive and potent: think not of Stonehenge as an arrangement of stones in a Wiltshire field, but as something pulsating with an innate energy capable of being harvested and used.

Books by Fellows: Thames through Time: early prehistory to 1500 BC

Staying with prehistory, Oxford Archaeology has continued its ambitious survey of the archaeology of the gravel terraces of the upper and middle Thames with the publication of the third in its Thames Through Time monographs, this one dealing with the period from the Ice Ages to the early Bronze Age (ISBN 9780954962784; Oxford Archaeology). Previous volumes in the series, which is edited by our Fellow Anne Dodd, have covered the same region in late prehistory (1500 BC to AD 50) and in the early historical period (AD 1 to 1000), and a fourth volume is in preparation on the period from AD 1000 to the present.

The first part of this volume concerns the formation of the Thames gravels and the evidence for Palaeolithic occupation up to around 9500 BC, and is the work of Anthony Morigi and Fellows Danielle Schreve and Mark White. Danielle will be giving the Burlington House lecture on these very earliest phases in the geology and archaeology of the Thames on 20 September 2011 in the Geological Society’s Lecture Theatre (tea at 5.30pm, lecture at 6pm, reception at 7pm; admission by free ticket available from the Events Department at the Geological Society).

The second part is the work of Fellows Gill Hey, Mark Robinson, Alistair Barclay and Philippa Bradley, plus Paul Garwood, and concerns the human occupation and use of this landscape from 9500 to 1500 BC. A distinctive feature of both parts is the attempt to integrate the evidence from geological and palaeontological studies with archaeological data so as to paint a more rounded picture of the natural resources, the vegetation, the wetland and the dry land and the environmental opportunities and constraints on the people who occupied this landscape from the end of the last Ice Age; and, as time goes on, the way that people responded to the change from a virgin environment to an inherited one, a landscape with many meanings, monuments, sacred places and settlements. The result is a major work of synthesis — not just of local interest, for the authors constantly weave local examples of, say, causewayed enclosures into the national picture, contributing to such wider debates as whether, for example, earlier monuments tend to attract later monuments, resulting in monument clusters, or whether causewayed enclosures were built in frontier territory on newly cleared land, or whether they are associated with the sites of earlier ritual activity.

Books by Fellows: The New Antiquarians

Look away now all those Fellows who regard the use of the adjectival ‘antiquarian’ for the noun ‘antiquary’ as a solecism; this isn’t a book for you, as it will irritate on nearly every page; read on if you are happy to accept that ‘antiquary’ and ‘antiquarian’ have been used interchangeably as nouns almost since the term was first coined. The New Antiquarians (ISBN 9781902771854; CBA Research Report 166), edited by our Fellow Rowan Whimster, takes its title from the fact that the contributions have been gathered under the aegis of CBA Wessex, a largely avocational group, doing archaeology for the love of it, in the tradition of the antiquaries of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Wessex, among whom were many of the pioneers of modern archaeology.

Celebrating fifty years of the Wessex regional group, founded in 1958, the book reviews the changes that have taken place in archaeology over that period as demonstrated by Wessex exemplars. The sheer richness of Wessex as an archaeological laboratory is exemplified by papers on the pioneering discoveries of very recent months and years: including the Mesolithic landscapes of Bouldnor Cliff, the graves of the Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen, the recent excavations in and around Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, the ongoing work at Silchester and Winchester, on the Mary Rose and at numerous offshore sites, such as the Swash Channel wreck. The book interleaves accounts of these and other pioneering fieldwork projects with personal recollections of what it was like to work on these projects, and it concludes with a rallying cry from Barry Cunliffe, who says that the strength of archaeology in the next fifty years depends on a return to a balanced and inclusive partnership between universities, commercial units and amateurs, the threads of which have become separated over the last fifty years and must now be woven together again.

Books by Fellows: Great Excavations

What does it say about the current state of archaeology that we have seen so many retrospective books and articles in the last decade? This is partially due, of course, to the number of significant anniversaries that have occurred within the last ten years — our own Society’s 300th, the 150th anniversary of John Evans’s lecture that gave birth to prehistory, the fiftieth anniversaries of industrial archaeology, medieval archaeology and post-medieval archaeology — but it may also be to do, one suspects, with a slight feeling that the good times are over, and the desire to capture what was so special about those decades before they are forgotten. In this context, Great Excavations (ISBN 9781842174098; Oxbow Books), edited by our Fellow John Schofield (then of English Heritage, now of Director of the Cultural Heritage Management MA programme, and Director of the Centre for Applied Heritage Studies at York University), is the most systematic and wide-ranging attempt so far to write a social history of archaeology as we have known it over the last fifty years.

Eighteen authors (all of them Fellows) address the question ‘what makes a great excavation’, and their answers collectively chart the experiments, the grand dreams and schemes, the methodological advances, the weather, the dig rituals, the food and the drink, the parties, the passions and the personalities of the now semi-mythical excavations that served as a rite of passage for so many young people, especially during the late 1960s to the early 1980s, such as Hambledon Hill, the Somerset Levels, Oswlebury, Winchester, Sutton Hoo, Maiden Castle, Danebury, Wroxeter, Coppergate, Mucking and Wharram Percy, South Cadbury, Birdoswold, Howe, Haddenham, Grove Priory and many more.

The book also has some great photographs recording the younger forms of many a Fellow, and portraits of some great dig directors, some of whom are sadly with us no more. In an envoi, summing up the book, our former President, Geoff Wainwright, decides that ultimately what makes a great excavation is the character and personality of the director, and the quality of his or her engagement with the members of the digging team: eccentricities and extremes of style are all part of the package, and as long as we have such people in our midst, there will still be great excavations.

Books by Fellows: Weapons of Warre

The ongoing Mary Rose research mentioned above has brought to fruition the final volume in the five-volume series on different aspects of the archaeology of the ship and its contents. Weapons of Warre: the armaments of the Mary Rose (ISBN 9780954402938; Mary Rose Trust), edited by our Fellow Alexzandra Hildred, is the result of twenty-five years of analysis and interpretation involving hundreds of specialists on the collection of weaponry excavated from the ship — not forgetting that the Mary Rose was no ordinary ship, but the most sophisticated naval war machine that Tudor military technology could devise, and hence an insight into the state of the art in 1545.

The armaments on board the Mary Rose on the day she sank included such novelties as muzzle-loading long-range guns as well as weapons from an earlier era, such as longbows of yew and wrought-iron breech loaders. The ship was a weapons platform carrying a variety of armaments ‘designed to complement each other and present a multi-layered weapons system’. All of these are copiously illustrated with photographs, technical drawings and instructions for their use, and anyone buying the two-volume work also receives a DVD with many more line drawings and photographs, plus documentary film on the building and firing of wrought-iron and bronze replica guns at the Royal Armouries.

A postscript to the book adds a further piece of evidence to support the idea that the Mary Rose was fatally weakened by the constant modifications that were made to her over the thirty-five years of her active life, as her hull was remodelled and upgraded to keep pace with changing practices in naval warfare. This consists of a newly discovered document showing that Henry VIII had ordered new guns to be installed in the prows of the Mary Rose and two other vessels, so that they could fire at French galleys whilst presenting the narrowest possible targets. The document warns the king that accommodating those guns would involve removing key structural timbers: such was the desire for any advantage possible over the French that the shipwrights were nevertheless commanded to go ahead.

Books by Fellows: A Shetland Antiquarian

It is still not safe for ‘antiquarian’ phobes to look yet … A Shetland Antiquarian: James Thomas Irvine of Yell (ISBN 9780956569844; Shetland Heritage Publications), by Fellow Anna Ritchie, introduces us to one of Sir George Gilbert Scott’s most trusted assistants, probably best-known for his work at Bradford on Avon and, latterly, for his long association with Peterborough Cathedral, where he died in harness in 1897. But he was also a keen antiquary and a long-standing Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, contributing papers and donating artefacts for the museum in Edinburgh. He came from the Irvine family of Midbrake in the island of Yell and, like many Shetland sons, left the islands to seek a living in the south, at the tender age of fourteen. Returning home as often as possible, he retained a keen interest in Shetland antiquities to the end of his life.

Anna’s appreciation of Irvine’s archaeological work is based on manuscripts and drawings in the collections of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in Edinburgh, on archives in Lerwick and on letters in the Sir Henry Dryden collection in Northampton Central Library, from which, Anna says, ‘emerges an engaging man who deserves to be better known’.

Books by Fellows: Glendalough: City of God

Glendalough is one of the early medieval monastic sites on Ireland’s World Heritage Site Tentative List (along with Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Inis Cealtra, Kells and Monasterboice), and this comprehensive and well-illustrated account of the site will surely boost the standing of the site even further. Our Fellow and Council member Aideen Ireland explains in the foreword to Glendalough: City of God (ISBN 9781846821707; Four Courts Press), edited by Charles Doherty, our Fellow Linda Doran and Mary Kelly, that the book gathers together papers given at a Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland seminar held in 2008, along with further papers given at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and at the Lectures for the Curious series at Glendalough itself. The book was also partly funded in a novel way by Fellow Peter Harbison (who contributes a paper to the book on ‘Little known drawings of Glendalough c 1777—1850’) who donated a painting of Glendalough to the Society for auction. The resulting book gives a rounded picture of the site’s archaeology, history, architecture and sculpture, and of the symbolism inherent in the ethos of this early monastic settlement, which, though agricultural in nature, was nevertheless conceived as being an ecclesiastical civitas, a city of God, a new Jerusalem and a mirror of the celestial city, to which the faithful could come for cultural, moral and spiritual guidance.

Books by Fellows: Landscapes of Cult and Kingship

The landscape of a monastic community like Glendalough formed part of a wider series of interlocking and symbolic landscapes in medieval Ireland, many of which were associated with kingship and lordship: processional avenues and ceremonial enclosures, standing stones, burial mounds, dwellings and shrines, sites that witnessed historical and mythological events, heroes and epic deeds. Many such places, modified and natural, have very long histories, stretching deep into Neolithic prehistory, and have acquired many layers of meaning. Landscapes of Cult and Kingship (ISBN 9781846822193; Four Courts Press), edited by Roseanne Schot and our Fellows Conor Newman and Edel Bhreathnach, seeks to chart and unravel some of these using a variety of approaches, including topographical, place-name, literary and historical studies, and looking out beyond Ireland to comparable landscapes of royalty in the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal.

Books by Fellows: The Arthur of Medieval Latin Literature

The Arthur of Medieval Latin Literature: the development and dissemination of the Arthurian legend in medieval Latin (ISBN 9780708322017; University of Wales Press), edited by Siân Echard, joins two earlier titles looking at sources and origins for the Arthurian myths (The Arthur of the French and The Arthur of the Welsh). Fellow Andrew Breeze (who contributes the paper on ‘Arthur in early saints’ lives’) says the book ‘brings up to date a very old subject by applying to it some very new knowledge’. Fellow Nick Higham contributes a paper on ‘The chroniclers of early Britain’ and a substantial part of the book is devoted to the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth; there is a concluding chapter on ‘Arthur and the antiquaries’, by Fellow James Carley.

Books by Fellows: The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux 1712—13

In the introduction to The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux 1712—13 (ISBN 9780902087590; London Topographical Society Monograph 171), our Fellow Paul Holden tells of his excitement at reading these letters for the first time, and of ‘being transported back into early Enlightenment England. As an architectural historian, I was particularly drawn to the description of St Paul’s cathedral, but when the name of “Mr Wren” was indicated, my pulse quickened’. The reference is to Molyneux’s account of his visit to St Paul’s where he encounters ‘Mr Wren’ wrestling with the finishing touches to the cathedral, and though he does not directly attribute the remarks to Christopher Wren, he perhaps reflected the architect’s own views in his comments on the undecorated dome (Wren had wanted Louis Lagerre to paint scenes from the life of St Paul) and on the cost and massiveness of the cast-iron exterior railings, which Wren thought ‘ugly’ and ‘quite unsuitable’, having had his own designs for a wrought-iron churchyard fence rejected.

Molyneux’s observations tell us much about the reception of Wren’s work in its own time, and there are many more first-hand observations from the same author, whose seven letters reproduced in this book, edited by our Fellow Ann Saunders, were written by Samuel Molyneux (1689—1728) to his uncle in Dublin between October 1712 and April 1713.

A true child of the Enlightenment, the twenty-three-year-old Molyneux writes at length about his visits to the opera and theatre, private London homes and gardens, bookshops and astronomical observatories, his attendance at meetings of the Royal Society and his visits to notable libraries and collections in the capital, some of which were shortly to form the nuclei of such institutions as the National Gallery, British Museum and the Ashmolean. He visits Westminster Palace, the Tower of London, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace and its gardens, Greenwich, Cambridge, Windsor, Oxford and the incomplete Blenheim Palace, describing them all, recounting gossip and sharing his thoughts liberally on every subject. Quite apart from their immense historical value, these are letters that, once you start reading, you really will find difficult to put down.

The British Institute for Persian Studies grants for 2011/12

Applications are invited for grants designed to assist scholars wishing to pursue research in Persian/Iranian and wider Persian world studies at postgraduate level, including anthropology, archaeology, art, history, linguistics, literature, philosophy, religion, political science and cognate subjects. The deadline is 30 September 2011, and further information can be downloaded from the Institute’s website.

Help English Heritage to improve its website

Over the next few months, English Heritage will be carrying out some research to help it to improve and develop its website. EH is looking for volunteers to take part in this research, some of which will be carried out by means of a survey and some on a one-to-one basis. EH is particularly keen to talk to academics and researchers, in addition to more general visitors to the website. If you are willing to take part, please send and email to Rebecca Milton.


Wallace Collection, Curator of French Decorative Arts
Salary £31,000 to £37,000; closing date 12 August 2011

The post holder will be required to be a champion for eighteenth-century France and for the decorative arts of this period, both within the Wallace Collection and beyond, caring for these collections, undertaking high-quality research into them and strengthening the Wallace Collection’s reputation as a centre of excellence for the study of eighteenth-century French art, through this helping to promote understanding and enjoyment of the subject and of this Collection.

For full details of the post and an application form, see the Wallace Collection’s website.

Wallace Collection, Curator of Old Masters Pictures
Salary £31,000 to £37,000; closing date 12 August 2011

The post holder will be required to undertake research into their area of the collection and to develop the Wallace Collection’s reputation as a centre for excellence and scholarship, helping to promote understanding and enjoyment of this Collection and fostering and encouraging the study of Old Master paintings and French eighteenth-century collecting, arts and culture. The post holder will also be expected to help the Director and the Collections and Academic Director to promote the Wallace Collection’s international status as a great museum and centre for the study of eighteenth-century paintings and decorative arts.

For full details of the post and an application form, see the Wallace Collection’s website.

The Australian National University, Canberra: Lecturer in European Archaeology, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
Salary: Australian $80,166 to $108,000 per annum, plus 17 per cent superannuation; closing date: 14 August 2011

For further details see the ANU website.

Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund: Trustee for Wales, closing date: 15 August 2011
The Trustee for Wales is an important member of the UK-wide Board, representing NHMF/HLF in Wales and representing the interests of Wales in Board discussions. The successful appointee will actively engage with stakeholders in the heritage and cultural sectors in Wales and with the Welsh Government. The Trustee for Wales also chairs the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales and, along with the Trustees for Scotland and for Northern Ireland, is a deputy Chair of the UK Board. The successful candidate will have a broad appreciation of Wales’s heritage and a commitment to promoting public understanding and enjoyment of it to the widest possible audience, together with a strong record of leadership and achievement in Wales, and skills in strategic and analytical thinking, influencing and communication.

Further details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Gifts to the Library, April to June 2011

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from April to June 2011. Full records for all can be found in the online catalogue and all the books are now available in the Library.

 From the editor, Lindsay Allason-Jones FSA, Artefacts in Roman Britain: their purpose and use (2011)
 From the author, Manuel Castiñeiras,Compostela and Europe: the Story of Diego Gelmírez (2010) and a CD of the book; and La cultura europea del siglo X (2007)
 From the author, Julia Elton FSA, All Saints’ Church, East Clevedon, Somerset: a guide to its history, architecture and fittings (2010)
 From Norman Hammond FSA, Viajeros por el Conocimiento (2010); and, in honour of Patrick Cormack FSA, former MP for South Staffordshire, now elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Cormack, An Historical Atlas of Staffordshire, edited by A D M Phillips and C B Phillips (2011)
 From Karen Hearn FSA, Fatal Colours: the Battle of Towton 1461, by George Goodwin (2011)
 From the joint author, Paul Holden FSA, The Lanhydrock Atlas: a complete reproduction of the seventeenth-century Cornish estate maps, by Paul Holden, Peter Herring and Oliver J Padel (2010)
 From the author, Robert Hutchinson FSA, Young Henry: the rise to power of Henry VIII (2011)
 From the author, Christopher Lever, Goldsmiths and Silversmiths of England (1975)
 From Vincent Megaw FSA, Les Celtes: des mobiliers aux cultes, by Gérard Bataille (2008)
 From Derek Renn FSA, Romanesque: architecture, sculpture, painting, edited by Rolf Toman (1997)
 From Jordi Camps I Sòria, La Princesa Sàvia: les pintures de santa Caterina de la Seu d’Urgell (2009) and Jordi Camps I Sòria as co-author, Romanesque art in the MNAC collections, by Manuel Castiñeiras and Jordi Camps (2008); Catalogne romane: sculptures du Val de Boí, by Jordi Camps I Sòria and Xavier Dectot (2004); and Els comacini l’arquitectura romànica a Catalunya: 25 I 26 novembre de 2005 simposi internacional, by Pere Freixas and Jordi Camps (2010)
 From Alison Taylor FSA, Heritage Management of Farmed and Forested Landscapes in Europe, edited by Stephen Trow FSA, Vincent Holyoak and Emmet Byrnes (2010)
 From the author, Philip Whitbourn FSA, Decimus Burton Esq: architect and gentleman 1800—1881 (2006; 2nd edition)
 From the co-author, James Wilkinson FSA, Crown and Cloister: the royal story of Westminster Abbey, by James Wilkinson and C S Knighton (2010)
 From Jean Wilson FSA, A History of Haslingfield Church: a compilation of writings from various authors, assembled by Harold Evan Hopkins (2011)