Speaking at this weekï¿½s meeting on the subject of ï¿½Artistic
Propaganda in the Wars of the Rosesï¿½, Elizabeth Danbury told Fellows
that the use of symbols and mottoes by the Tudor monarchs was
ubiquitous, as illustrated by some of the splendid items on display at
the Victoria and Albert Museumï¿½s current Gothic exhibition. Very few
badges, caps, tapestries, bedclothes, hearse cloths and robes of the era
have survived, but we can find rich evidence for their ubiquity in the
illuminated manuscripts and charters of the era. Various themes and
symbols can be traced from their earliest use as a way of demonstrating
political allegiance, culminating in the forceful use of symbols under
Henry VII, who was a propagandist to match any modern master of spin.
A full report of the meeting held on 6 November is now available on the Fellowsï¿½ side of the Societyï¿½s website.
14 November: Meeting to be held in the Houghton Library,
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, when a paper entitled
ï¿½1776: meanwhile, back in Chancery Laneï¿½ will be given by the General
20 November: Sculptural Traditions in Roman Britain, by Dr Martin Henig, FSA
27 November: The Berkeley Castle Muniments, by David Smith, FSA
Fellows living in America are reminded that next weekï¿½s meeting is to
be held in Boston, when both the General Secretary and the President
will speak. The meeting is to be held on Friday 14 November, and not on
the usual Thursday.
Back in London, the Societyï¿½s Administrator, Jayne Phenton, has suffered an accident in which her Achilles tendon was damaged. Although she has now been discharged from hospital, Jayne is on crutches and will not be able to spend much time in the office over the next few weeks, which will put a strain on the Societyï¿½s administration at a busy time of year. Fellows are asked to bear with the situation until normal service is resumed.
The achievements of two late Fellows were celebrated in obituaries that appeared during the week. Harold Yexley, FSA, was described in The Independent
as an ï¿½incorruptible ancient monuments architectï¿½, that epithet
relating to an occasion when he was charged with ï¿½clearing up after a
serious case of bribery at Audley End, which resulted in dismissal and
imprisonment for some staffï¿½. Happily this was an atypical incident in a
life devoted to looking after a number of royal palaces: for example,
at Hampton Court, he was responsible for converting former
grace-and-favour apartments into premises for organisations connected
with conservation work, such as the Royal School of Needlework. Harold
Yexley died on 29 October 2003, at the age of 83.
In The Times, Canon Derek Ingram Hill, FSA, was described as having had a lifelong love affair with Canterbury Cathedral that would shape the course of his life. ï¿½His enthusiasm and energyï¿½ said the obituary, ï¿½was coupled with a passionate devotion to Canterbury and its cathedral, and made him a popular figure not only in the city and the parishes he served, but also with the thousands of visitors who were lucky enough to be taken by him on a tour of what he was later, in a book on the subject, to call ï¿½Christï¿½s Glorious Churchï¿½.ï¿½
ï¿½His enthusiasm for the cathedral issued in a popular cathedral history Christï¿½s Glorious Church (1976), the New Bellï¿½s Guide to Canterbury Cathedral (1986), and The Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral (1982), an account of the diocesan order of priests founded by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1541. But his Canterbury interests were not confined to the cathedral, and he wrote copiously about the parish churches of Kent, the Kingï¿½s School, and the ancient hospitals and almshouses of the city. He was in constant demand for lectures, broadcasts, addresses and reviews ï¿½ some of which appeared in Archaeologia Cantiana and the Cathedral Chronicle which he edited from 1974 to 1992. He was president of the Kent Archaeological Society, and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1974.ï¿½
Canon Derek Ingram Hill died on 20 October, 2003, aged 91.
As the deadline for responses to the DCMS consultation on the future
of the listing and scheduling regime passed last Friday, 31 October,
English Heritage announced that it was setting up 30 pilot schemes to
flesh out the detailed implications of putting certain of the proposals
into practice ï¿½ for example, the use of management agreements in place
of listed building consent. EH also said that ï¿½Ministers have now agreed
our proposals to refocus our designation resources over the next two
years to pilot the new ideas of a single national List, unified
designation and more flexible managementï¿½. The implication of EHï¿½s
statement is that there is still a long way to go before any major
changes are made to the existing regime ï¿½ a two-year pilot period will,
for example, take us to the other side of a general election.
In making this announcement, English Heritage, which has worked very closely with DCMS throughout the year-long review, published its own response to the consultation, saying that ï¿½The foundation of our response is the commitment, shared by the Secretary of State in announcing this review, that we need to maintain the present levels of statutory protection for the historic environment.ï¿½
Naturally enough, EH welcomed the proposal that it should take over statutory responsibility for compiling the national List, saying that it would ï¿½remove some of the misconceptions about the distinction between Government as policy maker and English Heritage as case-by-case decision makerï¿½. EH is also very much in favour of ï¿½owners being better informed about why their property or ancient monument has been protected, what is considered important about it and how they can best look after it; local authorities having clearer guidance about how to enable change and apply controls; developers enjoying greater certainty; and amenity societies and others concerned locally or nationally with conserving the historic environment being better able to obtain information and participateï¿½.
EH does, however, share the concern of the sector as a whole with the proposals to move existing Grade II buildings to local lists or of delegating Grade II listing to local authorities, saying that ï¿½these buildings are listed according to strict national criteria and we believe a plethora of local interpretations would have the potential to create the sort of confusion that owners and developers fearï¿½.
Finally EH raised the thorny issue of resources, saying that ï¿½the time is right for a wide-ranging debate around the issue of resources and how the management of the historic environment should work. Ensuring the new system can be implemented successfully requires a considerable increase in capacity building and education in local authorities and across the sector and a commitment to improving the quality of decision making at all levels. It should be made a priority in the Governmentï¿½s 2004 spending review because it would be an investment for the nation."
For a full copy of the English Heritage response to the DCMS consultation paper Protecting the Historic Environment ï¿½ Making the System Work Better, see the English Heritage website under ï¿½Newsï¿½.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will shortly publish a
report by the working group on human remains ï¿½ established in 2001 to
investigate the holding of museum collections of human remains. The
report is expected to recommend the establishment of an independent
licensing authority, charged with licensing collections of remains, and
the establishment of an independent tribunal to ensure ï¿½fair and
transparent proceduresï¿½ when considering requests for repatriation from
traditional owners or tribal leaders who can prove a link to remains
removed without consent. Australian Aborigines and native Americans are
among those groups who have long campaigned for the return of human
remains held in historic collections in the UK.
The report is likely to prove controversial. Sir Neil Chalmers, director of the Natural History Museum, which has 19,500 human remains dating back to prehistoric times, said last week that: ï¿½The museum is concerned that some of the detailed recommendations of the report, including an elaborate regulatory system, are unnecessarily bureaucratic and in practice unworkableï¿½.
He added that ï¿½these are very complex and difficult questions. A change to the law, together with a clear ethical framework for decision-making, would enable us to conduct more open discussions with claimants, which we welcome. We recognise the concerns of indigenous communities around the world, and need to weigh this up against the great value to humanity of holding our collections and the important research they support. The museum is concerned that the report does not fully recognise the undoubted public benefits deriving from medical, scientific and other research.ï¿½
DCMS is expected to respond to the working groupï¿½s recommendations early next year.
The National Council on Archives (NCA) has been awarded an additional
ï¿½25,000 by Resource to support the third phase of the Access to
Archives (A2A) online programme, which enables people to search and
browse for information about archives across England.
This funding will be channelled through the Regional Archive Councils. It will be used by institutions holding archives to develop funding bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable their catalogues to go online, thus ensuring the widest possible access to England's archive resources.
Sarah Tyacke, FSA, Chief Executive of The National Archives, which hosts and funds the A2A central team commented: ï¿½This grant will add further impetus to the development of The National Archives Network. It will help A2A to increase the number of archival catalogues that can be searched online by helping to lever out more funding, which will make using A2A more rewarding and research easier.ï¿½
Nicholas Kingsley, FSA, Chairman of the NCA, said: ï¿½The NCA is most grateful to Resource for supporting the A2A project in this way. A2A is already one of the major building blocks of the long-planned National Archives Network, and this grant will allow archive services across the country to come a major step nearer to having all their finding aids available online.ï¿½
Last weekï¿½s Times Law Report published an article by Paul
Clayden, of the Open Spaces Society, setting out the position on law of
the village green. ï¿½By traditionï¿½, he wrote, ï¿½the village green is a
small area, often historically part of the uncultivated land of a manor,
where local people have a customary right to indulge in ï¿½lawful sports
and pastimesï¿½. Originally, this phrase was interpreted as something
definite and organised, such as cricket or maypole dancing. But today,
as the House of Lords recently confirmed, informal activities such as
walking the dog or kite-flying can qualify land for registration as a
ï¿½Registrationï¿½, he points out, ï¿½is now the only way to protect greens. All traditional greens should have been registered between 1967 and 1970 under the Commons Registration Act 1965, and any that were not then ceased to be greens. New greens are added to the register when a successful application is made to the appropriate registration authority ï¿½ the county, unitary or London Borough council in England and the county or county borough council in Wales.ï¿½
Making such an application is not onerous. In 1999, law lords ruled that, under the Commons Registration Act 1965 (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000), land could be registered as a green where there had been open, unchallenged use for at least 20 years for recreational purposes by a significant number of local inhabitants.
Many greens have since been registered, sometimes for heritage reasons, but more often to prevent development. Once registered, the land cannot be removed unless it ceases to qualify as a green. This can happen only if the green is acquired by compulsory purchase for some other purpose or is exchanged for other land. A green cannot lose its status merely by a decline in use for recreation. So registration is a very effective way of protecting open spaces for public benefit.
Further details are to be found in Our Common Land by Paul Clayden (ï¿½25; Open Spaces Society, 25a Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BA; 01491 573535).
A group of Great Bustard enthusiasts has joined forces with the
University of Stirling to win approval for the release up to forty Great
Bustard chicks per year for up to ten years on to Salisbury Plain, in
Wiltshire. The chicks will be raised from eggs that would be otherwise
be destroyed or abandoned on cultivated farmland in Saratov in Russia.
Europe's heaviest bird has been extinct as a breeding bird in Britain since the early nineteenth century and although there have been some attempts to re-establish the species none have been successful. Only 15,000 individuals survive in Europe and central Asia, mainly in Spain, eastern Germany and Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, south Romania, Turkey, Moldova, the Ukraine and in parts of southern Russia and Kazakstan. Conservationsists are hopeful that Salisbury Plain will prove a sympathetic habitat: Great Bustards like treeless plains with a predominance of cereal crops, preferably far away from settlements and roads.
A planning inquiry to decide if the South Downs should become a
national park opens today, 10 November, in Worthing, West Sussex, and is
expected to last for twelve to eighteen months. This could be the last
such planning inquiry, as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has
announced plans for a fast-track system of decision-making for future
The proposal to create a new National Park stretching for 100 miles ï¿½ from St Catherineï¿½s Hill, near Winchester, to Eastbourne in East Sussex ï¿½ is being put by the Countryside Agency, with support from English Nature, the National Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and other leading environmental groups. They are also supported by nine of the fifteen local councils concerned. They will argue that the South Downs needs a single authority to co-ordinate land management across the whole area, and that the Downs need protecting from inappropriate developments and insensitive farming.
Those opposed to National Park status for the South Downs are being led by the Country Land and Business Association, and include prominent landowners, such as Viscount Hampden, owner of the Glynde Estate, Lord Gage, who owns the Firle Estate, and Viscount Cowdray, who owns 16,000 acres at Midhurst. They are supported by the National Farmersï¿½ Union (NFU) and six Conservative-controlled councils. They say that the scheme would create an expensive and unwieldy bureaucracy when cash could be spent instead on greener farming schemes. They claim that planning decisions will be removed from local councils and that park authority officials will interfere in land management and impose constraints on farms and rural businesses.
Supporters of the South Downs Campaign (a network of some eighty organisations) say that most local people want to live in a national park and that every survey has shown at least 60 to 80 per cent in favour. Chris Todd, the campaign officer, said: ï¿½The present arrangements just donï¿½t work. Each council does its own thing and they are not doing the job properlyï¿½.
The South Downs was first proposed as an area worthy of national park status in 1947 by Sir Arthur Hobson, chairman of the National Parks Committee. Some sixty years on, the decision to create a South Downs park was announced by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, in 1999, saying that it (along with the proposed New Forest National Park) was ï¿½Labourï¿½s hundredth birthday present to the nationï¿½. Six thousand representations have since been made to the Government, of which 72 per cent are in favour of the national park.
Last Sundayï¿½s Observer contained an article on the dilemmas
facing the National Trust as it tries to decide how far to go with the
restoration of Red House. Should they try to return Red House to its
original state, or should it ï¿½embrace and conserve its interior's
current charming hybrid of two styles: on the one hand, Morris's
homespun arts and crafts aesthetic; on the other, the stark
twentieth-century modernist taste of architect Ted Hollamby and his
wife, Doris, who bought Red House in 1952 and lived here until they died
Red House opened to the public in July, even though the National Trust is still trying to reach a final decision on how to present it. According to the article, ï¿½The last thing [the Trust] wants to do is create a twee Morris theme park. ï¿½We don't want to create a shrine to Morrisï¿½ , says Julia Simpson, who is overseeing a research programme on Red House, involving studying photos of its interiors over the years and syringeing walls to ï¿½unpeelï¿½ different layers of colour. ï¿½Once that's completed, we'll decide on the appropriate decorï¿½.ï¿½ To give an idea of some of the decisions facing the Trust, the article points to the ï¿½predominantly white walls ï¿½ which run counter to the arts and crafts tradition of walls in sage green or ochreï¿½. Are they original, or a Hollamby touch? And what should be done about another layer of history: ï¿½in the Second World War, the Ministry of Works used the house as a ration-book depot and unceremoniously sloshed murky brown paint all over furniture designed by Webb and decorated by Morris and his coterie, including the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jonesï¿½.
Red House is open to the public (by pre-booked guided tour) from Wednesday to Sunday all year round (tel: 01494 755 588). The Trust has said that it is interested in hearing views on the restoration project (these can be expressed on the Trustï¿½s website; go to
Places to visit, then do a search for
Another of Philip Webbï¿½s designs ï¿½ St Martin's Church, in Brampton,
Cumbria ï¿½ is celebrating its 125th anniversary next weekend with an
exhibition about the design and history of the church, including some of
Webb's original plans. This was Webbï¿½s only church, and Pevsner
describes it as the work of ï¿½a man inventive in the extreme, sometimes
on the verge of what we now call gimmicky, a man of character and
imagination, and one who, in order to free himself from the fetters of
historicism, fiercely mixed his stylesï¿½. The result, Pevsner judged, was
ï¿½a very remarkable buildingï¿½, but one that lacks the ï¿½blissful beauties
of a church of the same date by Pearson or Bodleyï¿½. Little altered
since it opened in November 1878, the church has a set of fourteen
Morris and Company windows, mostly designed by Burne-Jones, which
Pevsner describes as ï¿½glowing with gemstone coloursï¿½. The exhibition
will be open on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November from 10am to 4pm, and
on Sunday 16 November from 12pm to 4pm. Admission is free.
Despite evidence from the National Trust, SPAB and other campaigning
bodies suggesting that new airports would not be necessary if aviation
fuel was to be properly taxed and VAT imposed on flights, the Government
appears determined to go ahead with plans to expand Londonï¿½s airport
capacity. If this weekï¿½s newspapers are to be believed, Heathrow has
been ruled out as the site because the British Airports Authority is
unlikely to get planning permission until it has dealt with the high
level of pollutants around the airport, a problem that can be solved
only with the introduction of cleaner aircraft engines. Heathrow could
still be in contention for a new runway that is predicted to be needed
in the South East by 2018. By then, BAA believes that it will have
solved the problem of excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which
causes lung diseases and breathing problems. The EU has set mandatory
limits on NO2 which come into force in 2010.
By contrast, the much lower population around Stansted airport means that fewer people would be exposed to nitrogen dioxide, and this makes it more likely that new airport facilities will be built there. The news is likely to worry heritage campaigners who believe the infrastructure needed to support the expansion of Stansted will destroy large parts of unspoiled north Essex around Great Dunmow, Thaxted and Saffron Walden. Carol Barbone, director of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: ï¿½We donï¿½t have the density of population at Heathrow, but thirty listed buildings would be destroyed by a new runway at Stanstedï¿½.
The Government is expected to issue a White Paper on airport expansion in December.
The British Library will host a study day and commemoration of the
life and work of Sir Hans Sloane on 24 November 2003. The study day will
focus on aspects of Sloaneï¿½s vast and encyclopaedic library of some
4,000 manuscripts and 45,000 printed books, (now mostly in the British
Library). Speakers include Janet Backhouse, FSA, on European illuminated
manuscripts in the Sloane collection; Antony Griffiths, FSA, on the
prints and drawings in Hans Sloaneï¿½s library; Arthur MacGregor, FSA, on
Sloane and the Republic of Letters: correspondence networks at the turn
of the seventeenth century; and Giles Mandelbrote, FSA, on Sloaneï¿½s
printed ephemera. Attendance is free, but participants are requested to
register their name and address in advance with Teresa Harrington at the British Library.
A three-day conference on the great house will take place in the
Beveridge Hall, Senate House, London on 26 to 28 January 2004, with a
line-up of speakers that includes a stellar cast of Fellows, including
Susan Walker, Barry Cunliffe, David Rudkin and David Tomalin talking
about Roman villas, Giles Waterfield on education and the country house,
Maurice Howard on the transition from monastery to country house,
Anthony Emery on social status and medieval houses, Alan Thacker,
Elizabeth Williamson and John Newman on various aspects of the meaning
and interpretation of great houses, Edward Impey and Clive Aslet on
transatlantic perspectives and Michael Thompson and Julius Bryant on
Linking all these, and many other contributions, is a desire to explore opportunities for the re-thinking and re-presentation of the great house in a twenty-first-century world, which no longer shares the unspoken assumptions of earlier eras. How should great houses be interpreted and displayed in a multi-cultural nation where access and outreach are the imperatives of our time? Why and by whom should they be studied and for whom should they be preserved? In what senses are these extraordinary elite creations part of a genuinely national heritage and how do they relate to current ideas about the historic environment?
Further details from the Conference Secretary at the Institute of Historical Research.
The National Archives, Kew, is hosting this conference on Saturday 27
March, 2004, to mark the 800th anniversary of the loss of Normandy to
the Capetian King of France, Philip II, by King John in 1204. Speakers
include Dr Elizabeth Hallam-Smith, FSA, Professor David Bates, FSA, and
Professor Nicolas Vincent, FSA. They will consider the political
framework provided by the rulers who were both kings of England and
dukes of Normandy, beginning with William the Conqueror himself; the
administrators who carried out the will of the Anglo-Norman rulers; and,
in particular, the records which resulted from their work.
Booking forms and further details are on the National Archives website.
The AHRBï¿½s next postgraduate research day will be held on 9 February
2004 at the Royal College of Art, London, and will be concerned with the
theme of Domestic Designs: 1400 to the present. The event aims to
facilitate encouraging a dialogue between designers, anthropologists and
historians. Researchers and students are invited to submit proposals
for papers that might address one or more of the following themes:
designing and organising the home; using and experiencing the domestic
interior; regulating behaviour in the home; limitations and
possibilities in the design and study of the interior. Proposals (200
words) should be sent by 1 December 2003 to Hannah Greig. For further information see the RCA website.
Scottish Museums Council, Director
Salary ï¿½47,000 to ï¿½49,000, closing date 28 November
The Scottish Museums Council is looking for someone to give strong and knowledgeable leadership at a time of strategic change within the Scottish museums sector and in the context of the current review of governance and funding in the Scottish cultural sector as a whole. Further details from Ali Renfrew quoting ref G239 or from the SMC website.
National Army Museum, Director
Closing date 25 November
The post requires a combination of managerial, scholarly and presentational skills and an ability to identify with the history, traditions and ethos of the British Army. For further information, see the Saxton Bampfylde Hever website using job reference AAOA.