The Society of Antiquaries of London’s Online Newsletter (Salon) is a fortnightly digest of news from the heritage sector, focusing especially on the Society and its Fellows and the contribution that they make to public life through their many and varied activities. 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 and feedback should be addressed to the Editor, Christopher Catling.

Forthcoming meetings

3 May 2012: ‘The fourteenth-century painting of The Dream of the Virgin, by Simone dei Crocefissi, in the Society’s collection: an iconographic exploration’, by Jill Franklin FSA
This small panel, on loan to the National Gallery since 2006, was given to the Society shortly before his death by Gordon McNeil Rushforth, FSA (1862—1938), first Director of the British School at Rome and Council member of the Society of Antiquaries in 1919. It was identified by Bernard Berenson (1865—1959) as the work of Simone di Filippo Benvenuti (known as Simone dei Crocefissi after his four large painted crucifixes), the leading figure in Bolognese painting from 1359 to 1410.

The panel, thought to have been adapted from a detached cimasa, the topmost portion of a polyptych, was discovered during conservation at the Courtauld Institute between 1994 and 1998 to have undergone a number of changes at some point after the early 1800s, including the dramatic simplification of its composition. When these alterations were reversed, the extremely unusual subject of the original panel was revealed. The only other contemporary example of this interpretation of a theme known as The Dream of the Virgin, showing the Crucifixion ascending from the Virgin’s prostrate body, is also by Simone dei Crocefissi, and the creation of this image appears to be uniquely associated with him.

The paper examines the dense layers of meaning incorporated in this extraordinary picture, which emerges as a highly innovative pictorial meditation on several conventional strands of Christian iconography, characteristic of the visionary spirituality of its age.

10 May 2012: ‘Gathering time and time gathered: dating the causewayed enclosures of southern Britain and Ireland’, by Alasdair Whittle, FSA, Frances Healy, FSA and Alex Bayliss, FSA

17 May 2012: ‘The archaeology of English royal burial: a neglected subject?’, by Tim Tatton-Brown
After a brief illustrated review of the archaeology of royal burial in England over the last 1,000 or so years, Tim Tatton-Brown will look in more detail at some of the royal burials in Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and try to suggest how burial practice evolved in the later Middle Ages and Tudor period, using the limited evidence available.

24 May 2012: ‘How Scots Renaissance architecture turned French: Huntly Castle in 1553’, by Charles McKean
When Mary, Queen of Scots went to France in 1547, it was anticipated that she would marry the Dauphin, whereupon Scotland would become an appendage of France. With her marriage in 1558, it did so. Six years earlier, the country’s language, dress, food and architecture had begun to shift accordingly. Its first expression was in Huntly Castle, Aberdeenshire. This paper will consider what changes were made to Huntly, and how its innovations spread to other country seats over the following decade. It will then consider how that process went into reverse during the de-Frenchification period of the 1570s and 1580s, only to re-emerge in the 1590s as the catalyst for ‘Scotland’s most national architecture’, as Robert Hurd put it, of the 1600s.

31 May 2012: A Miscellany of Papers
The Society’s 2011—12 programme of lectures will conclude with two short papers, both connected with the Society’s collections. Jennifer Young will talk about her creative writing project, ‘The Story of Thursdays: narratives of antiquity’, based on her reading of the minute books of the Society’s Ordinary Meetings. Pamela Fisher’s title will be ‘William Burton’s notebook and its place in Leicestershire history’. The antiquary William Burton (1575—1645) was the author of The Description of Leicestershire, first published in 1622. The Society owns an important panel portrait of Burton, which is currently undergoing conservation. The May Miscellany will give Fellows an opportunity to see the newly conserved painting re-hung in the Meeting Room on its return to Burlington House.

Reasons to be grateful for Mary Beard

Did you see Mary Beard’s ‘Meet the Romans’? If so, were you enthralled? Anyone visiting Rome without a knowledge of Latin soon realises that they are disenfranchised. Amongst its many charms, Rome is a very literate city: there are words everywhere, voices speaking to you from the ancient past. Mary brought those voices to life; you wanted her to go on and on: ‘tell us what the next inscription says, Mary … and the next’. Those voices turn out to be very witty: who knew that Romans had such a sense of humour and such a wonderful way with words?

Not the Sunday Times TV critic A A Gill, and nor does he care: he wasn’t interested in the programme’s originality and freshness ― a programme that for once didn’t consist of one cliché piled on another. In fact he ignored the programme’s content altogether and seemed unable to get over Mary’s appearance, about which he made the sort of insulting remark you might (despite political correctness) just still hear in the school playground. As a result, you cannot now open a newspaper without reading some columnist taking sides in ‘the great debate’ about whether it is OK to be normal on TV or whether you have to ‘sex up’ as part of the job.

Far too many of them thought that Gill was right and that’s the problem with A A Gill. It is not that his definition of what a critic does (‘starts a fight and leaves the room … it’s not a dialogue’) is so self-serving; neither is it the fact that his views on woman are normative; it is not even that his style of writing, fresh and iconoclastic a decade ago, has become strident and formulaic: it is that he has spawned a progeny of third-rate imitators who think it modish to fill their columns with solipsistic twaddle masquerading as serious and informed criticism. Would that they had taken as their model the masterful Clive James, whose TV reviews (written these days as often as not in between hospital visits, sad to say) are masterpieces of sly but warm humour mixed with lightly worn erudition and not a little poetry.

As a whole, the Sunday Times is a curate’s egg: the same paper employs some very brave and committed journalists (such as the late lamented Maria Colvin) and there is much that is excellent in the paper that Gill writes for, including the book reviews, but some of us might conclude that we have better things to do in life than read A A Gill in future: like reading A Don’s Life perhaps ― one more reason to be thankful for Mary Beard.

The Olympic Festival

Talking of curates and eggs, take a look at the recently published Olympic Festival programme (or rather don’t, as it is a whopping 12.8Mb in size and takes ages to download: someone needs to learn how to compress PDF files). The front cover design consists of a series of overlapping rings in a random pattern looking like a dirty table top covered in tea- and coffee-cup stains. It suggests the designer was stuck for inspiration, looked at the stains on his or her desk and thought ‘eureka’. Once you have waded through the pages of self-congratulatory introduction, you get to the lists of events, many of which seem to have no connection with the Olympics at all other than they happen to be on at the same time: the Proms season, for example.

Then you reach the Museums and Heritage section. Back when the Olympic Festival was known as the Cultural Olympiad (the name was changed because it was said that people didn’t understand it) there was much excitement in the heritage sector about the opportunities offered by the Olympics for showcasing the best that the UK has to offer, and much talk of English Heritage leading a nation-wide heritage festival, in part to demonstrate that people primarily come to the UK for culture. The festival brochure itself acknowledges this when it says that: ‘Museums and heritage organisations signed up enthusiastically to the Cultural Olympiad.’

So what is the result of this outpouring of enthusiasm? The 139-page brochure has one page of heritage and museum events ― thirteen events altogether ― of which three are Shakespeare-related exhibitions at the British Museum and at Shakespeare’s birthplace, two are exhibitions of Chinese ceramics and four are events that would have happened anyway or have only a tangential connection to the Olympics or heritage (anyone for flags at the Giant’s Causeway or pretending to conduct Holst’s The Planets by means of an ‘interactive digital installation’?).

The two events unambiguously connected to the Olympics are the British Museum’s exhibition of historic medals from past Olympic and Paralympic Games (see Salon 272) and a free exhibition at the Royal Opera House called The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games, telling ‘inspirational stories of the Olympic Games’, based on material from Lausanne’s Olympic Museum.

That leaves just two events, both of which are ‘installations’: one is called ‘Connecting Light’ and will involve New York artists YesYesNo creating ‘a line of lights for sending messages along Britain’s most dramatic Roman frontier, Hadrian’s Wall’. The other is called ‘Fire Garden at Stonehenge’ and it involves ‘the French outdoor wizards, Compagnie Carabosse, transforming Stonehenge into a fiery fairytale landscape’ (again, this is not strictly an Olympic Festival event ― it is part of the annual Salisbury International Arts Festival).

Is that it? Not quite: we mustn’t forget the bouncy castle. Oh yes: the star of the UK’s heritage portfolio, the unique Neolithic monument that is as famous around the world as our dear Queen, will be represented in the 2012 Olympic Festival by a bouncy castle to be erected at various outdoor locations across the UK between now and 9 September. But this will be no ordinary bouncy castle: this ‘full-scale version of Stonehenge’ has been ‘designed’ by a Turner-prize-winning artist by the name of Jeremy Deller (remember him? no, me neither). In what is no doubt intended as a piece of post-modern irony, this ‘new interactive artwork’ is to be called ‘Sacrilege’, and perhaps that is all that needs to be said.

The meaning of Stonehenge

We can’t leave the topic of Stonehenge without first sharing a great little piece of humour that beats even Spinal Tap’s homage to the Neolithic monument. Spotted by our Fellow Fritz Lüth, this comes in the unlikely form of a song sung by a young Norwegian rock star called Ylvis (get it?), who has everything a man could ever desire: a $1,000 haircut, a gorgeous wife, two adorable children and his own talk show on TV, but cannot rest or sleep at night because ‘there’s a question I can’t get out of my head: what’s the meaning of Stonehenge?’.

The song that Ylvis sings on YouTube is hilarious; it really should be entered for the Eurovision Song Contest, though with suitable Parental Guidance: be warned that it does contain ‘mild swearing and sexual references’. It would have been funnier still if the makers had included a shot of our Fellows Geoff Wainwright, Tim Darvill and Mike Parker-Pearson lecturing in different parts of the circle or gathered around the altar stone dressed in Druidic robes and engaged in Socratic debate, but you can’t have everything.

Would English Heritage dare to include this video as an exhibit in the new visitor centre? The latest news from that quarter is that the barriers to the Stonehenge Environmental Improvement Project are falling one by one, and construction work is expected to start ‘in the next few months’. Road orders have been secured that allow the A344 to be closed, and English Heritage says that it is within sight of having the necessary funds, with only £2m left to raise. Stonehenge Project Director Loraine Knowles says that work is well advanced on the content of the indoor and outdoor exhibition galleries and that the visitor centre is on track to open by autumn 2013; the existing facilities will then be removed and the environs of the stones restored to grass by spring 2014.

By then, of course, the puzzle of Stonehenge might have been solved. Fellow Mike Parker Pearson’s book, Stonehenge: exploring the greatest stone age mystery, is due for publication on 7 June 2012; let’s hope that Mike doesn’t give the game away: who would visit Stonehenge any more if it wasn’t such an enigma?

The VAT campaign

The last issue of Salon reported on the efforts of the musically talented Pamela Greener to highlight the effects of imposing VAT on historic building repairs with her splendid ‘VAT ditty’. Pamela’s song is a cri de coeur on behalf of volunteers who have already raised £1m for the restoration of Wakefield Cathedral and who now have to find an extra £200,000 because of the Chancellor’s budget declaration that he wants to fix ‘anomalies’ in the VAT regime.

Pamela has recorded a sequel to the VAT ditty worthy of comparison with Gilbert and Sullivan as she finds humorous rhymes to explain the technical complexities of VAT and the Listed Places of Worship Scheme. In her performance of the song, she is backed by the choral harmonies of six singers who all look uncannily like a certain George Osborne:

The Listed Places of Worship Scheme
Just isn’t at all what it might seem
Whitehall cut the work and capped the pot
No it won’t pay out a lot …

It’s not like me to be so blunt
But we have to pay the tax up front
Then send a claim to Jeremy Hunt
To apply for our rebate

Of this year’s claim to Jeremy
For every £1 of VAT
All he could send back was 45p
And that’s why we’re irate …

We’ve all been told there’s this pot of gold
But it’s not of an adequate size … surprise, surprise

So Treasury and HMRC
We’ve seen through your ‘anomaly’
It’s a blatant raid of VAT
On the nation’s heritage

Great buildings help make Britain great
So please rethink before it’s too late
And a Britain that’s great becomes second rate
As our heritage goes down the pan

Certain listed buildings are the key
To ‘a Big Society’
So those listed and run for charity
Shouldn’t suffer VAT … do you agree?

Pamela has written to Salon to urge everyone to sign the e-petition: ‘Save our Heritage: say no to VAT on work on listed buildings’ (). She explains the logic of this in terms that even the Treasury might understand: ‘we are aiming to get a “Big Society Buildings” exclusion from the proposal to charge VAT on alterations to listed buildings. A “Big Society” listed building would be owned by a charity, or charity-exempt body, and used for charitable purposes. The logic is that where listed buildings are used for business purposes, the ability to recover VAT charged on the alterations would follow on from the natural VAT recovery of the business. Where buildings are listed and used for residential properties there is usually some element of lifestyle choice associated with the building’s use. So, for example, if you were inheriting a crumbling wreck of a home and wish to bring it back to life, you could do that as a business, just sealing off a small part for purely residential purposes, and you’d hopefully then get most of the VAT back.

‘But a distinction is made when there is not an “owner” as such, but rather a custodian, as with churches, listed community buildings, halls, etc, where no one person has the possibility of benefiting from ownership. So the logic is that tax relief should be confined to that last section of listed buildings, so as to encourage the good stewardship of such buildings by our generations so that they are in decent condition when passed onto future generations. We have a long way to go because the government only gives help at present to “listed places of worship”, which is a good start but would not, in my view, be a good end, because we need the right result for the heritage of the nation, not just for churches.’

Elsewhere in the sector, the Heritage Alliance is co-ordinating the response of its members to the budget proposals: more on the Heritage Alliance campaign can be found in Heritage Update 230. The Alliance is urging members to sign the Wakefield Cathedral petition and to write to MPs; it also suggests responding to the HMRC consultation on the VAT change (which is open until 18 May 2012), whilst noting that ‘the formal questions refer only to implementation, whereas we are calling into question the very principle in order to challenge the rationale for this change’.

Great Western Railway Main Line Electrification Project: designation consultation

Left: Gatehampton Viaduct, South Oxon © Alan Baxter Associates

On the subject of consultations, English Heritage is seeking the views of railway enthusiasts and the general public on plans for designating certain railway heritage assets connected to the Great Western Railway. Network Rail has announced plans for the electrification of the Great Western Main Line, which runs from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads, by 2017. Working with Network Rail and their consultants, Alan Baxter and Associates, English Heritage has identified some fifty structures, such as bridges and viaducts, that it thinks should be designated, and it now wants to know whether they have got it right in terms of the structures chosen for listing and the proposed grades, all of which is based on identifying their historical and architectural significance. The consultation closes on 9 May 2012.

Help needed with the Norfolk Graffiti Survey

You may have read in SPAB’s Cornerstone magazine or in Current Archaeology or in British Archaeology about the excellent work of the Norfolk Graffiti Survey. Richard Neville is now co-ordinating a similar survey of medieval graffiti in Surrey’s churches, and is wondering if he can tap into Fellows’ expertise at the Society. ‘The survey is revealing far more graffiti than expected,’ Richard writes, ‘and is throwing up some interesting interpretation challenges. One of my most pressing needs is to obtain help in deciphering the textual graffiti. This is far from common (only found in three of the twenty churches surveyed so far), but some survives in good condition, and sadly none of us has any palaeography training. The non-textual graffiti comes in many forms ― animals, body parts, heraldry, musical instruments ― but there are also many perplexing patterns that are harder to interpret, and we would welcome help with interpreting these. Examples of the text graffiti at St James Church, Shere, can be seen on our Flickr website and if anyone is able to help or would like to see examples of other types of graffiti, I’d be happy to supply them.’

News of Fellows

Fellow Helen Clarke, who served as the Director of our Society in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has been honoured by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities for her services to Swedish archaeology. At its annual founders’ day ceremony, held on Tuesday 20 March 2012, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden presented Helen Clarke with the Academy’s antikvariska medaljen i silver (silver medal), in recognition of her contribution since 1975 as editor and translator of the Academy’s publication series Excavations at Helgö (an early medieval site in central Sweden) and other Swedish publications. Helen is currently collaborating with Swedish colleagues on a further volume in the series. In 1992 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Lund. Before retirement Helen was a member of the Department of Medieval Archaeology, University College London, and she is now Honorary Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

Founded by Queen Lovisa Ulrika on 20 March 1753, the Academy is Sweden’s primary learned society in the domain of the humanities and social sciences; it uses its endowments primarily to support conference and symposium activities, publications and long-term projects of academic value that are not eligible for public funding.

Fellow David Gill, who received the Archaeological Institute of America’s award for Outstanding Public Service earlier this year, featured in the Independent’s ‘happy list’ this year, the newspaper’s counterblast to the Sunday Times’ ‘rich list’, hailing the people who have made the world a better place. David was cited as a ‘crime buster’, whose ‘research has enabled the return of stolen artworks to their rightful owners. His successes over the past 20 years include discovering that a marble Aphrodite, bought for £11m by the J Paul Getty Museum, was originally stolen, and returning it to Italy.’

A special presentation was made to Fellow George Cunningham on 14 April 2012 to mark the occasion of the fiftieth consecutive bi-annual Roscrea conference. George has been organising the historical/archaeological conference, which takes place at the Cistercian Abbey at Mount St Joseph, outside Roscrea, since it began in 1987. The conference alternates between a spring meeting which takes place the weekend after Easter and concentrates on Early Christian Ireland, and an autumn one, held around the Feast of All Souls in November, which looks at the later Middle Ages in Ireland. Scholars attend in large numbers from around the world, attracted by the high standard of the lectures, the hospitality of the monks and George Cunningham’s warm welcome, energy and character.

To honour that, George was presented with a specially bound collection of essays ― A Carnival of Learning ― edited by our Fellows Peter Harbison and Valerie Hall, with contributions from Fellows Terry Barry, Edel Bhreathnach, Conleth Manning, Elizabeth O’Brien, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Raghnall Ó Floinn, Michael F Ryan, Etienne Rynne, Roger Stalley and Níamh Whitfield. The case of the book was made of local oak, covered with parchment (both by John Gillis), with calligraphy by Dr Tim O’Neill. The presentation was made by the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald.

In reporting on the presentation, the local newspaper, the Tipperary Star, mentioned that George had been a governor of the University of Limerick for seventeen years, had played a major role in the establishment of the Glucksman Library, was founding editor of the Roscrea People community magazine and was a ‘renowned scholar, historian, educationalist, writer, community activist and visionary’.


Mentioned in the last issue of Salon, the BBC 4 programme on ‘The Golden Age of Silver’, made with the support of the Victoria and Albert Museum and featuring a number of Fellows, has been rescheduled, and will now be broadcast on 2 May 2012 at 9pm.

Nick Chapple, erstwhile Places of Worship Adviser with English Heritage, says that Salon did not get it quite right in suggesting that ‘English Heritage thinks total removal of a church seating scheme is harder to justify now than it was in the past; in fact, the comparison made in the text of New Work in Historic Places of Worship is between the justification required for “some rearrangement” and the higher level of justification needed for total removal.’ Nick adds that ‘while highlighting the virtues of portable benches in the guidance, I should add that we are looking forward to the results of the Church of England’s Church Chair competition, which we hope will succeed in finding good new ideas for church seating.’ And so say all of us.

Support for our Fellow Paul Latcham’s ‘Rant’ on the subject of maintaining high artistic and intellectual standards on BBC Radio 3 has come from our Fellow Richard Rastall, who writes to say that his work was the subject of the ‘Early Music Show’ broadcast on Radio 3 on 15 April 2012 (sadly, the programme is no longer available on BBC iPlayer) when the show’s presenter, Catherine Bott, interviewed Richard on his work reconstructing the music of John Milton senior (1563―1647) and Martin Peerson (c 1572―1651). Richard says he hopes this augurs well for future programmes devoted to musical history, and he was pleased that ‘friends and family who are not musically inclined were kind enough to say that they found the program enjoyable and enlightening’, but that he was warned during the recording that the interview would ‘keep away from technical discussion (not easy, when you’re talking about how to reconstruct incomplete music!)’ and that some very minor technical material that he did slip in was edited out of the program.

Salon’s editor wonders whether this really is the right way to go. It is commonplace now at Festival Hall concerts for conductors to introduce the pieces they are about to perform, and to ask members of the orchestra to demonstrate key themes and motifs. Stephen Johnson’s ‘Discovering Music’ talks on Radio 3 are a revelation in their analysis of the works that he unpicks just before they are performed. Richard Rastall suggests that the solution lies in our own hands: ‘people like us must learn to present music without being too technical about it,’ he says, ‘so that we can educate while we entertain’.

Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer

The gloves Charles I wore on the scaffold. Photograph: Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library

Lambeth Palace Library is marking the Diamond Jubilee of our Royal Fellow and the 350th anniversary of the revised Book of Common Prayer with a special exhibition, from 1 May to 14 July 2012, called Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer. Curated by our Fellow Giles Mandelbrote, Lambeth Palace Librarian and Archivist, the exhibition illustrates the story of the Book of Common Prayer and its importance in national life with books, manuscripts and objects, many of which have royal or other important provenances.

Reviewing the exhibition in the Guardian, our Fellow Maev Kennedy describes some of the rare glimpses that the exhibition provides into the more personal side of monarchy. There is, for example, Queen Elizabeth I’s personal prayer book and a copy of the book of private devotions compiled for Queen Elizabeth II in preparation for her coronation, along with Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher’s notes to himself concerning the Coronation Service of 1953 (perhaps one of the least used parts of the Book of Common Prayer): ‘I put the crown on a piece up above the eyebrows‚’ he notes, making sure to get it the right way round, then pressing down firmly from the back. And if the queen gave him an eye signal that it still felt unsteady, he should apply ‘a slight pressure at the front’.

There is no prayer for the ending of a reign ― at least not for an ending that was as brutal as that experienced by Charles I on the scaffold: the exhibition includes the opulently embroidered gloves he wore on that fateful day. Here too is the little prayer book, in a battered brown leather binding, said to have been recovered from the tent of Richard III, after his death in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth.

Happier times are evoked by the Book of Common Prayer used at the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, a handwritten note from the future King George VI written to thank the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, for conducting his grand wedding at Westminster Abbey to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, saying ‘I hope you did not think we were too nervous’, and Archbishop Rowan Williams’s copy of the order of service, carefully marked with instructions in green ink, from last year’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Four public lectures accompany the exhibition. On 10 May, our Fellow Professor Eamon Duffy will speak on ‘Latin for Lay People: medieval prayer books’; on 31 May, the Revd Dr Judith Maltby will speak on ‘The Prayer Book Under Duress: public worship in England in the Civil War and Interregnum’; on 6 June Professor Brian Cummings will speak on ‘The Genesis of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer’; and on 5 July Professor Stephen Taylor and Professor Philip Williamson will speak on ‘Coronation, Prayer Book and People 1660―1953’. For further information, see the Lambeth Palace Library website.

Westmorland Archive Appeal: an invitation to visit Apethorpe Hall on 12 May 2012

In December 2011, Salon 267 reported on the Westmorland Archive Appeal, which is striving to raise £760,000 by July 2012 to keep this major archive entire and in public ownership (see the appeal’s petition and donation page). The Westmorland family owned Apethorpe Hall, in Northants, now in the care of English Heritage, as well as extensive lands around Apethorpe and in Huntingdonshire, Buckinghamshire and Kent; the archive relating to this estate dates from the twelfth century and includes court rolls, seals, maps and surveys of all the estate lands.

Fellow Geoffrey Dannell writes with an update on progress, saying that ‘there has been a very encouraging response (albeit still some way from the target figure) from the people of Oundle and the other villages that formed the core of the Apethorpe estate, with local exhibitions of archive documents taking place all over the region with the active support of the Northampton Record Office’.

‘At short notice English Heritage has offered to allow a fundraising event at Apethorpe Hall itself, on 12 May 2012, from 3pm to 6pm. The event provides a unique opportunity to visit Apethorpe and to see some of the documents in the setting from which many of them originated. Fellow David Starkey will be attending in support and will give a talk, and English Heritage staff have agreed to provide tours of the hall for those who would like to see the rest of the property which has some of the finest Jacobean fireplaces, panelling and decorative plaster work in the country.

‘For tickets (£20) or to make a donation, please contact Jane Baile. Cheques and donations should be made out to the: Westmorland Appeal Community Organisation a/c.’

Two key events in London’s archaeological calendar

The prestigious biennial London Archaeological Prize 2012 is open for nominations up to 18 May 2012. Any type of publication, for any audience, whether published commercially or not in 2010 or 2011can be nominated. The aim is to encourage the best possible writing on archaeology in London, and it brings the winner £250 and a certificate. More details and application form are available to download on the home page of the London Archaeologist.

The annual London Archaeologist lecture is on 22 May 2012 at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. This year it features our Fellow Warwick Rodwell, leading authority on church archaeology and Consultant Archaeologist to Westminster Abbey since 2004. He will cover significant findings from the abbey’s extensive programme of excavation, non-invasive investigations, restoration and conservation work in ‘The Archaeology of a Royal Peculiar: new light on Westminster Abbey and its furnishings’. The wine reception is at 6.30pm, followed by a short AGM and the Annual Lecture at 7pm. Becky Wallower, Secretary, London Archaeologist, would like to know if you are coming, just to ensure that there is enough wine.


1, 2, 8 and 9 May 2012: ‘Worlds on the Wall: the experience of place in Roman art’, the Blackwell Bristol Lectures 2012, to be given by Dr Bettina Bergmann (Mount Holyoke University) in Lecture Theatre 1, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 IUU, at 5.15pm. The four lectures plot a voyage through ancient Roman images of place, from intimate domestic interiors to monumental public porticoes and from sacred grove to bustling harbours and elevated panoramas of land and sea. This imagery comprised a new visual language of the environment, an ideal, composite realm that embraced archaic nature worship together with sophisticated, contemporary artifice. The landscape images take their place alongside official and scientific evidence for the Roman organisation of space. In art, as in maps and on the land itself, the geometric grid was a means to discipline nature, and with it, people’s movements and perceptions.

19 May 2012: Death, Memory and the Historic Landscape, a one-day research conference at the Cambridge McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, with speakers to include our Fellows Harold Mytum on ‘Remembering and forgetting the dead through monuments and movements in the landscape’ and Howard Williams on ‘Death and the antiquarian’s landscape’. Further details from the Academia website.

29 May 2012: ‘Curating: custom and communication’, a lecture by Jonathan King, the inaugural Von Hügel Fellow, 5pm, at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (following the museum’s much-anticipated reopening on 25 May), exploring the ways in which curators have explained their collections over the last 200 years, from the British Museum in the nineteenth century to current curatorial practice. See the museum’s website for further details.

19 June 2012: Twenty-first-century archaeologists: teaching, training and professional development, a one-day conference to be held at the University of Winchester’s Centre for Applied Archaeology and Heritage Management. Four years ago, the Archaeology Training Forum expressed its concern at ‘an ongoing level of disconnect between the expectations of archaeological employers, employees, training providers and students of archaeology in terms of the objectives of training and its outcomes’. This conference will look at how training can be used effectively to deliver what individuals and organisations need to develop new skills and knowledge, to keep capabilities up to date and to bridge that disconnect between training demand and supply. Fellows Kenny Aitchison, Niall Finneran and Paul Everill can supply further information.

29 September 2012: The 100 Years’ War: a century of conflict re-evaluated, a conference to be held at the Tower of London featuring recognised international experts and fresh insights into traditional interpretations of the conflict. For more information see the Royal Armouries website.

6 to 8 October 2012: The Hamilton Collections: Mary, Queen of Scots, Napoleon and William Beckford, a study course at Ardgowan House with speakers including our Fellows Bet Macleod, Caroline Knight and Christopher Hartop, full details of which may be found on the Ardgowan website.

Books by Fellows: The American Museum in Britain

This beautifully illustrated guide to The American Museum in Britain (ISBN 9781857597721), written by our Fellow Richard Wendorf, is the latest in the innovative ‘Director’s Choice’ series from Scala Publishers, in which the director of a major museum or gallery gives a personal commentary on their favourite items from the collection. Interpreting the concept widely, Richard selects the building that houses the American Museum as one of his ‘items’, and the garden, the first being the elegant Wyatt-designed Claverton Manor, rescued from neglect by the museum’s founders in the late 1950s, and the second being a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon garden, translated from the banks of the Potomoc River to the heights above the lovely Wiltshire Avon as it winds through the Limpley Stoke valley below the manor.

The American Museum in Britain is renowned for its collections of quilts and folk art, and Richard is lyrical on the subject of both, quoting, for example, the African-American painter, Clementine Hunter, whose naive works capture life in the rural South and who took up art after a lifetime of back-breaking manual work. Even so, she says, ‘paintin is a lot harder than picking cotton. Cotton’s right there for you to pull off the stalk, but to paint you got to sweat yo’ mind’.

Books by Fellows: Felling the Ancient Oaks

Claverton Manor was lucky to be discovered and restored by the founders of the American Museum in Bath, for the second half of the twentieth century is seen by many architectural historians as a time of terrible losses, as Fellow John Martin Robinson recounts in his new book, Felling the Ancient Oaks: how England lost its great country estates (ISBN: 9781845136703; Aurum Press). The book is packed with pictures of now-demolished stately homes, replaced by motorways, coal mines, power stations or caravan parks, such as Deepdene, in Surrey, now better known as the Dorking bypass, or Normanton, drowned by Rutland Water.

Evocative photographs remind us what these lost houses, their gardens, designed landscapes and their estates were like in their heyday, while John Martin Robinson almost relishes the stories of their decline, especially when the demise of the estate can be laid at the door of the gambling black sheep of the family, such as Lathom House, in Lancashire, sold in 1925 by the ‘theatrically obsessed chum of Noël Coward’, the young 3rd Earl of Lathom, to pay debts arising from his ‘personal extravagance’. Better go down in style, perhaps, than succumb to something as mundane as death duties or the suburban sprawl of Watford, which saw sixteenth-century Cassiobury House demolished and sold for materials (the grand staircase went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; as for the rest, posters advertised: ‘To lovers of the antique, architects, builders, etc., 300 tons of old oak, 100 very fine old oak beams and 10,000 Tudor period bricks’), leaving only the stable block (now a retirement home) and a municipal park.

Books by Fellows: Mints and Money in Medieval England

In Mints and Money in Medieval England (ISBN: 9781107014947; Cambridge University Press), our Fellow Martin Allen answers comprehensively every question you might have about medieval coinage: who made it, how, under what authority; how did it get into circulation and how was its value, weight, metal content and quality maintained; who used money and for what purposes, how were forgeries kept at bay and who decided its value against competing European currencies.

The book covers the period from late Anglo-Saxon plurality, when the monarch, ecclesiastical authorities, civil boroughs and independent moneyers all had minting rights (more than 500 individuals in the early years of the reign of Cnut) to the much more tightly controlled bureaucracy of the later Middle Ages, when minting becomes a royal monopoly, with strict rules, written records, and a hierarchy of officials, assayers, die-keepers, exchangers, comptrollers and clerks. For some reason, it doesn’t seem entirely surprising to learn that Henry VIII broke with the tradition of maintaining a strong currency which, writes Martin, ‘was an article of faith that was never seriously challenged in government circles until the seismic shift in policy under Henry VIII’, who was the first monarch to debase the coinage to increase his own revenue. If that sounds a little like modern banking practice, there are further contemporary resonances in Martin Allen’s point that ‘the great resistance to the use of debasement, or any undue reduction in the eight of coins to raise revenue, gave England one of the most stable currencies in Europe … England was not immune, however, from the European fluctuations in bullion supplies … massive increases in England’s money supply was part of a general European trend’.

Books by Fellows: The Archaeology of Colonialism

The Archaeology of Colonialism (ISBN: 9781107008632; Cambridge University Press) is a very big theme: the subtitle ― ‘intimate encounters and sexual effects’ ― indicates, however, that this is a study of one small but very personal part of the colonial experience, explored by means of the nineteen papers that the editors, Barbara Voss and Fellow Eleanor Conlin Casella, bring together in this volume.

Where, one wonders, can you find the evidence in archaeological data or material remains for something as private as sexuality? To develop an ‘archaeology of sexuality’, some authors work back from twentieth- and nineteenth-century oral and documentary history to analogous situations in the past (for example, the study of Australia’s penal system in the nineteenth century provides the means for investigating gender control and the sexual exploitation of captives more generally); others take a fresh look at explicitly sexual artefacts, like the ‘sex pots’ of the Moche people of Peru, with their exaggerated genitalia, long sought by American collectors (including Alfred Kinsey) for their risqué character but re-examined here for their cultural significance with results that are applied to similar figurines from the ancient past.

Books by Fellows: Infernal Traffic

A book that can be read alongside the Archaeology of Colonialism is the excavation report on a ‘liberated African graveyard’ on the island of St Helena, called Infernal Traffic (ISBN: 9781902771892; CBA Research Report 169), by Andrew Pearson, Ben Jeffs, Annsofie Witkin and Helen MacQuarrie, to which a number of Fellows, including Penelope Walton Rogers and Quita Mould, have contributed specialist reports. The title comes from Henry Brougham’s speech made in the House of Lords in 1838 in describing the African slave trade as ‘this infernal traffic … the worst of all crimes ever perpetrated by man’.

The report concerns the graveyard discovered in Rupert’s Valley prior to the construction of a new airport for the island, the last resting place of ‘liberated Africans’ who were brought to the island as part of the Royal Navy’s work to capture slave ships and stamp out the transatlantic slave trade. The mortality rate among liberated slaves brought to St Helena for hospital treatment was very high; the excavation of an area measuring 100m by 30m recovered 325 skeletons, but the authors estimate that more than 8,000 remain. This is a very sobering report that brings the sufferings of the deceased into vivid focus; it ought to be on the reading list for all those who study this shameful episode in human history.

Library gifts

The Society is very grateful to the donors of the following books, given to the Library in the period from January to March 2012. Full records for all can be found on the online catalogue and all books are available in the Library.

 From R W Ambler, FSA, New Directions in Local History since Hoskins, by Christopher Dyer, FSA, Andrew Hopper, Evelyn Lord and Nigel Tringham (2011)
 From the author, Geoffrey Bond, FSA, ‘Byron at Burgage Manor, 1803―08’ (from The Transactions of the Thoroton Society, CXIV) (2010)
 From Geoffrey Bond, FSA, ‘Burgage Manor: new perspectives on Georgian Southwell’, by Stanley Chapman (from The Transactions of the Thoroton Society CXIV) (2010)
 From the author, David J Breeze, FSA, The Frontiers of Imperial Rome (2011) and Roman Scotland: frontier country (revised edition) (2006)
 From Patrick Clay, FSA, Hoards, Hounds and Helmets: a conquest-period ritual site at Hallaton, Leicestershire (Leicester Archaeology Monograph 21) (2011)
 From Peter Clayton, FSA, Samothracian Connections: essays in honor of James R McCredie, edited by Olga Palagia, FSA, and Bonna D Wescoat (2010), and Domestic Space in Classical Antiquity, by Lisa C Nevett (2010)
 From the author, Mark Downing, FSA, Military Effigies of England and Wales. Vol 2: Devon to Essex (2011), and Military Effigies of England and Wales. Vol 3: Gloucestershire to Lancashire (2011)
 From the author, David Dykes, FSA, Coinage and Currency in Eighteenth-Century Britain: the provincial coinage (2011)
 From the co-author, R M Friendship-Taylor, FSA, Iron Age and Roman Piddington: 9th interim report and phase descriptions of the late Iron Age settlement, military phase, Roman villas and Saxon phases at Piddington, Northants, by R M Friendship-Taylor and D E Friendship-Taylor (2011), and Iron Age and Roman Piddington: the Piddington painted wallplaster: an art historical viewpoint. Vol 1 (fascicule 6) , by Marion Wells (2011)
 From Norman Hammond, FSA, New World Archaeology and Culture History: collected essays and articles of Gordon Randolph Willey (1990), and Gordon Randolph Willey 1913―2002: a biographical memoir, by Evon Z Vogt Jr (2004)
 From the co-author, Timothy Insoll, FSA, An Archaeological Guide to Bahrain, by Rachel MacLean and Timothy Insoll (2011)
 From Aideen Ireland, FSA, Celebrating Pugin: an exhibition of drawings by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin from the Irish Architectural Archive marking the bicentenary of his birth, edited by Colum O’Riordan, essay by Dr Roderick O’Donnell, exhibition curated by Simon Lincoln (2012)
 From the author, John Kenworthy-Browne, FSA, A Temple of British Worthies: the historic portrait busts at The Athenaeum (2011)
 From the author, W Mark Ormrod, FSA, Edward III (2011)
 From the co-author, Paul Pettitt, FSA, The British Palaeolithic: hominin societies at the edge of the Pleistocene world, by Paul Pettitt and Mark White (2012)
 From the author, Julian Pooley, FSA, ‘“Conciliating his esteem”: John Nichols’s contribution to Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, to biographies of Johnson and to later Johnsonian scholarship (reprinted from The Age of Johnson: a scholarly annual, Vol 21) (2011), and ‘A pioneer of Renaissance scholarship: John Nichols and “The progresses and public processions of Queen Elizabeth”’ (an essay from The Progresses, Pageants and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I, edited by Jayne Elisabeth Archer et al) (2007)
 From the author, Marijke van der Veen, Consumption, Trade and Innovation: exploring the botanical remains from the Roman and Islamic ports at Quseir al-Qadim, Egypt (Journal of African Archaeology Monograph Vol 6) (2011)
 From the editor, Randolph Vigne, FSA, The South African Letters of Thomas Pringle (2011)


The British Museum: Keeper, Department of Prehistory and Europe
Closing date: 18 May 2012

The British Museum is seeking a specialist of academic distinction to lead and manage the Department of Prehistory and Europe, overseeing the curation of the department’s extensive collections, covering artefacts from the earliest human activity to materials from the present day. The role will involve directing and overseeing the department’s curatorial and academic work, including research and overseas fieldwork and excavations, ensuring the maintenance of a high level of service to the public. The post holder will be responsible for the management and motivation of the department’s staff and play a leading role in maintaining and developing links with appropriate institutions nationally and internationally.

The ideal candidate will be someone of recognised authority in a relevant field, have experience at a senior level in a museum, university or similar organisation and be familiar with the material culture in an area relevant to the department’s collections. You will also have the ability to manage and inspire the department, to participate widely in the museum’s affairs and to undertake a representational role both in the UK and abroad.

For further information, see the British Museum’s website.

Church of England: Cathedrals and Grants Officer
Salary £32,450, rising to £35,510 upon completion of probation

Working in the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council, the Cathedrals Officer supports the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England in delivering its statutory functions and wider work. This includes casework, site visits, guidance and advice to applicants, training and events, publications, policy and grants. The Cathedrals Officer also works alongside colleagues to contribute to the Division’s wider work in support of the Church’s built heritage.

To apply, please contact search consultants Prospectus (tel: 0844 880 5154), quoting reference number C2216-279-1.

The National Trust: Archaeology Panel Members
The National Trust is seeking new members for its Archaeology Panel, which provides the Trust with a valuable source of critical support and advice on matters regarding archaeology and the historic environment and the conservation and management of the Trust’s estate. The Panel meets as a group, with senior staff, four times a year and individual members are also invited to provide input to major projects as they are developed. The appointments require a commitment of up to ten days a year, and are for an initial term of three years, with the potential for the term to be renewed. The positions are voluntary, but expenses are paid.

To apply potential panel members should submit a short CV and a covering letter saying why they feel motivated to join the panel. Our Fellow Jason Wood, tel: 01524 63741, can supply further information about the panel’s work, or contact Simone Clark, tel: 01793 817672 at the Trust.