Salon Archive

Issue: 98

Memorial service for the late Professor Stell, FSA

A memorial service for the late Professor Philip Stell, FSA, and for his wife Shirley, who died four weeks before Philip, is to take place at York Minster on Friday 1 October, at 1.15pm, with a reception afterwards at St William’s College. Any Fellow who wishes to attend will be made very welcome. Further information from Professor Stell’s son, Ian.

News of Fellows

Several Fellows wrote to say how much they enjoyed the profile of Beatrice de Cardi in Salon 97, and nearly all said how strange it was to see her referred to as Beatrice, as she is known to her friends as ‘Bea’ (or the rhyming ‘Dear Bea’ to her closest friend). Noting her immaculate dress and coiffure, one correspondent wondered whether Bea looks just as smart amongst the oil-fields and sand dunes of the Gulf. Various people said that neither Salon nor the original British Archaeology interview brought out just how much Bea was the CBA in the decades immediately following the Second World War. Vincent Megaw, FSA, wrote to say that he was just one of the many young people that Bea encouraged to take up that curious subject, archaeology. ‘Not really knowing what to do after school and veering between drama and archaeology, my uncle Basil suggested going to see Bea. Climbing the stairs up to the Kensington garret that was then the CBA office, I was greeted by Bea and a cup of tea; amongst the handful of universities then teaching archaeology she recommended Stuart Piggott and Richard Atkinson at Edinburgh. The rest is prehistory.’

Belated congratulations to our Fellow Andrea Smith, who has taken over as Director of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland after another of our Fellows, Fionna Ashmore, retired from the post in May. Like our own General Secretary, Andrea is a Durham graduate.

Salon gleaned this information from the Scottish Society’s September 2004 Newsletter, an excellent and informative printed bulletin that has scooped Salon by revealing the news that our former President, Professor Rosemary Cramp, was recently awarded an honorary degree by the University of Leicester to honour her outstanding contribution to the fields of Anglo-Saxon art and archaeology.

The same newsletter reveals that Rosemary gave a ‘memorable’ lecture to the Scottish Society in March 2003 on ‘Forty years with Anglo-Saxon stone sculpture’ to commemorate the centenary of the publication of Early Christian Monuments in Scotland. It looks as if the London Society let Rosemary escape too easily at the end of her Presidency: we should not have let her go without the promise of an early return so that we too can hear her four decades’ worth of reminiscences — both personal and scholarly.

For he’s a heroic Fellow

Last week’s shenanigans in the House of Commons threw up an unlikely hero in the form of our Fellow Sir Patrick Cormack. When hunt protestors ran into the chamber shouting ‘It's totally unjust!’ at Alun Michael and Elliot Morley, the ministers responsible for the Bill banning hunting with dogs, most MPs simply sat and looked stunned whilst a few darted ‘cross looks’ towards the young men. Only one was brave enough to do anything about the intrusion. As eyewitness Simon Hogart reported in The Guardian the next day, ‘Sir Patrick Cormack decided to become a have-a-go hero, and tried to grab one youth in an armlock’, shouting as he did so: ‘Get out! I am furious! This is disgraceful!’

Surely Sir Patrick, who retires from the Commons at the next election, deserves some sort of a medal for his heroism — or perhaps a seat in the House of Lords from where he can continue to act as a stout defender of Parliament against moronic acts of hooliganism.

The right to roam

The threat of being targeted by violent pro-hunt protestors has prevented Alun Michael, Rural Affairs Minister, from joining in celebrations in Sussex and the western Pennines to mark the first areas of England to be opened up to the public under the right to roam legislation. Aided and advised by the Country Land and Business Association and similar bodies, farmers and landowners are fighting the CROW (Countryside Rights of Way) legislation inch by inch across England’s soil, hoping to frustrate the process by the sheer volume and cost of objections and legal appeals; even as the first ramblers set foot on previously private land, the opponents of the legalisation are seeking to bring the process into disrepute by accusing the Government of incompetence and bureaucracy in the registration of open access land. In response, the Ramblers’ Association has told landowners to wake up to the fact that rural tourism is worth £6 billion a year and that they ought to welcome visitors instead of sending them packing, especially in areas that have yet to recover economically from foot and mouth disease.

Slowly, however, England is returning to a state of affairs that existed before the aggressive enclosure acts of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when large parts of the countryside were ‘privatised’. The full story of the effect that this had on individual human freedom has yet to be told, but you can glean something of the impact from Jonathan Bates’s recently published and very readable biography of John Clare, the Northamptonshire poet.

Clare was passionately interested in what we now call the historic and natural environment and acquired his intimate knowledge of the area around his native village of Helpston, in Northamptonshire, through walking. This was easy enough when Clare was young, but so much previously open land had been enclosed by the time Clare was in his twenties that all the old familiar paths were closed and barred. His diary records how often he hid in ditches and trees in fear of bailiffs with guns and dogs while out walking. An interest in nature and antiquities was acceptable for the leisured classes but for a working man was regarded as an impossibility. As Clare remarks in his diaries, ‘for a labourer to be about in the countryside but obviously not working was to be guilty of only one thing: poaching’. Thank goodness we are no longer at risk from being shot, maimed, imprisoned, deported or hanged for engaging in archaeological fieldwork.

Metal detecting and the Cumwhitton Viking graves

On the other hand there are those who feel that modern freedoms have gone too far and that metal detectorists need to have their ‘right’ to pillage our common heritage for private gain curtailed. Last week’s press release about the discovery of the burial site of six Viking men and women near Cumwhitton, Cumbria, had Arts Minister Estelle Morris, Mark Wood, Chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council (MLA), and Sir Neil Cossons, FSA, Chairman of English Heritage, all making statements about the find that appeared to endorse metal detecting. The release, put out by DCMS and MLA, praised local metal detectorist Peter Adams for reporting the find via the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), which was described as being ‘the UK's largest community archaeology project, which identifies, records and advises on archaeological objects found by the public’.

Over on BritArch, the on-line bulletin board run by the CBA, a lively discussion ensued concerning the propaganda (look everybody — exemplary co-operation between archaeologist and detectorist) and the facts (the finds had clearly come from undisturbed graves and not from plough spoil as claimed, and they were damaged and broken in exactly the way that occurs when delicate finds are excavated from small holes dug by metal detectorists only interested in artefacts).

Of course, there is no easy answer to the issues: even if we could ban metal detecting, it would still go on — but underground, where finds would never be reported and much information would be lost to archaeology; while the scale of theft in England is tiny compared to what goes on routinely in other parts of the world. Even so, archaeologists participating in the BritArch debate were unanimous in believing that too rosy a picture is being presented of the hobby, that facts are being distorted and that important issues are being blurred.

The press release and subsequent newspaper reports all reported — inaccurately — that the early tenth-century burial site was ‘England's first Viking inhumation burial ground’. Once the find of two Viking Age copper brooches was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the Oxford Archaeology Unit was called in to investigate. They found the grave of a Viking woman buried with a wooden chest at her feet. Further excavation led to the discovery of the graves of another woman and four men 10 metres away from the first grave. The four men were buried with weaponry, two had fire-making materials, and one was buried with spurs, a possible bridle and what is thought to be the remains of a drinking horn. The female Viking was buried wearing a jet bracelet on her left wrist and with a copper-alloy belt fitting, amongst other goods. Further details and pictures can be found on the Oxford Archaeology Unit website.

What am I bid for this rare antiquity?

‘Good’ metal detectorists seek permission to work on land they do not own, limit their activities to plough soil, record find sites accurately and report significant finds. Bad ones loot known archaeological sites, dig through by night, and use the internet to offload items that have been illicitly excavated, according to an article that appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on 12 September.

The same newspaper that a year ago recommended buying a metal detector as an investment likely to yield a better return than the stock market has since carried out an investigation to see just how easy it is to buy antiquities on the internet. Journalists from the newspaper bought a seventeenth-century silver bead, a silver cufflink made to commemorate the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza in 1662, and a silver brooch which our Fellow, Steven Plunkett, identified as a very rare fifth-century imported bird brooch with few close parallels in England. ‘It is exactly the kind of thing [that the Portable Antiquities Scheme] is trying to make sure is recorded’ said Dr Plunkett.

All three pieces were sold at a fraction of their true value by sellers using the eBay online auction site, which enables sellers to remain anonymous by giving them identity codes that conceal their names. Nevertheless the Sunday Telegraph was able to make contact with the sellers and confirmed that all three items were found in England using metal detectors. That being the case, all three items should have been reported under the 1996 Treasure Act.

The fact that they were not reported led our Fellow Roger Bland, Director of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, to suspect that they had been illegally dug up. Roger said: ‘Britain is faced with the very real problem of the clandestine theft of archaeological treasures by a minority of metal detectorists … our fear is that eBay is providing a conduit for thieves, allowing them to offload antiquities that should at the very least be recorded if not housed by our national museums. The items bought by the Telegraph are exactly the kind of things we are worried about. I see between two and five items a week on eBay that arouse my suspicions.’

The British Museum and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council say that the anonymity of the seller makes eBay the perfect tool for someone wanting to make money by selling items that any reputable dealer would turn down. The fact that finds are being sold for a fraction of their value through the legitimate antiquities trade suggests that the sellers are trading in illegally acquired artefacts.

An eBay spokesman was quoted as saying that the company was aware of the British Museum's concerns: ‘We have said that we would welcome their expertise. One option is to have the museum monitor the site and inform us if they find problematic items.’ BM staff say in response that it is ‘not within our remit as an institute funded by public money to spend hours policing the site’. Instead they want eBay to take more responsibility for the items sold on the site and to include a notice outlining the moral and legal obligations to those dealing in antiquities.

Britain AD

Back at the BritArch discussion group, the majority of contributions this month refer not to metal detecting but to Francis Pryor’s three-part Channel 4 series, Britain AD. Most correspondents are strongly in favour of Francis’s thesis that the Romans were not really very important in our history, and the proof of that lies in the continuity of culture from prehistory into the post-Roman world. Scores of archaeologists have been throwing into the debating pool evidence from their own excavations that they think supports or undermines this proposition. Many correspondents want a campaign to stop historians referring to the first four centuries of the common era in Britain as the ‘Roman Period’ and instead call it the ‘Roman Occupation’. Whatever else Francis has achieved, he has certainly managed to spark off a very lively debate.

Another conclusion from the first two programmes is just how splendid the Society’s Library looks: the first programme had Francis rooting among the stacks for eighteenth-century folios illustrating Romano-British mosaics, and the second programme began with a wide-angle view of the whole Library looking as splendid a room as any in London, and not a cobweb or mote of dust in site.

GCSE Archaeology: one more nail in the coffin

Hopes that GCSE Archaeology might be saved through the medium of Government intervention were given short shrift last week by Education and Skills Secretary, Charles Clarke. In a written question, Alan Hurst (Labour, Braintree) asked the Secretary of State ‘whether he plans to retain archaeology as a GCSE examination subject’.

Charles Clarke’s reply was as follows: ‘The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is regulator of the public examinations system. It oversees the work of the examinations awarding bodies, to ensure that their administration, marking and awarding procedures run smoothly. Awarding bodies are independent organisations and, as such, Ministers have no powers to intervene in their actions.

‘The QCA does expect awarding bodies to offer a broad portfolio of qualifications, but cannot insist on them offering specific subjects. QCA can, however, insist that the awarding bodies give sufficient notice to centres and give support to centres in finding suitable alternative qualifications. In this instance the QCA felt that appropriate notice had been given by AQA to drop its GCSE Archaeology specification and, considering the fact that most candidates were post-16 (there were only 92 pre-16 candidates for GCSE archaeology in 2003), the AS qualification seemed a suitable alternative.

‘When Ministers consider the final report of the Working Group on 14 to 19 Reform we will ensure that any proposals for reform will allow a wide range of qualification areas and subjects to be available to ensure choice and breadth of knowledge for learners.’

Fellow Don Henson, who is leading the campaign to save GCSE Archaeology on behalf of the CBA, says that this is not the last word, and that he will be writing directly to Mr Clarke in protest.

ODPM inquiry into the role and effectiveness of CABE

The Select Committee of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced that it is to carry out an inquiry into the role and effectiveness of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). The same committee published a report on The Role of Historic Buildings in Urban Regeneration on 29 July 2004 (see Salon 96) in which it chided CABE for not working closely enough with English Heritage. Indeed, such is the state of rivalry between the two organisations that John Rouse, CABE’s former chief executive who moved on in July to be chief executive of the Housing Corporation, was once suspected of harbouring ambitions to take over English Heritage so as to merge it with CABE and neutralise its role in the planning process as the watchdog of the built heritage.

The particular terms of reference of this inquiry are to look at CABE’s overall priorities for investment and development, the work of its design review panel, CABE’s relationships with other national and local agencies and the future role of the organisation. The Committee is inviting written evidence on these points and other relevant topics by 11 October 2004. Decisions about who will be called to give oral evidence are likely to be taken on the basis of evidence received by this date.

For further information, see the ODPM website.

£67m centre to 'tidy up' Stonehenge
English Heritage has just submitted its planning application to Salisbury District Council to build a £67.5 million visitors' centre and car park for Stonehenge as part of a scheme to remove what it calls an ‘appalling assembly of modern day clutter’ from the vicinity of the monument and ‘rescue the lost landscape so that visitors can again enjoy the stones … as a special place’.

Describing this as ‘one of the biggest creative conservation projects in the world’, the proposals include building a single-storey building two miles from the stones designed to disappear into the landscape. The centre will contain exhibitions, educational facilities and a café, with a car park hidden in a dip. Visitors who choose not to walk from there to the stones will be taken on a 25-minute journey to the monument on a quiet, gas-powered land train. The closest drop-off point will still be a ten-minute walk from the stones, with special arrangements for the less able-bodied.

The overall aim of the scheme is to remove the visual impact and noise of roads and traffic from the vicinity of the stones, reunite Stonehenge to its surrounding monuments in its natural chalk downland landscape setting, create conditions for improved biodiversity, create a ground-breaking education and interpretation centre and improve access.

Most of the funding is expected to come from funds already allocated in English Heritage’s budget and from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Even so, English Heritage, along with its partner the National Trust, must still raise a multi-million pound sum through a major fundraising campaign. A decision on the scheme is expected some time in 2005.

A public inquiry was held earlier this year into a separate £193m scheme to re-route the A303 away from the Stonehenge site through a tunnel. The report from the inspector will be used by the Government to decide whether the long or short bored tunnel option gets the go-ahead.

Further information, with reconstruction drawings, can be found on the English Heritage website or at www.thestonehengeproject.org.

£1.6m appeal to save the Macclesfield Psalter

The National Art Collections Fund has pledged £500,000 towards the £1.6 million needed to buy the Macclesfield Psalter and prevent it from being sold to the Getty Museum in America. In launching an appeal for the balance of the funds, David Barrie, the Director of the Art Fund, challenged the Heritage Lottery Fund to reverse its early refusal to help, saying that it was hard to understand how the trustees could have turned down ‘an object of the highest possible quality, rarity, importance, heritage significance and beauty’. He described the grant-giving policies of the Heritage Lottery Fund as highly politicised, increasingly dictated by government demands such as access and social inclusion, which, though admirable in themselves, had nothing to do with the intrinsic qualities of works of art.

Our Fellow, John Blair, wrote to The Guardian to make a similar point, saying that while ‘Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks is secure and visible, [it is] unclear why it has to be in London. The Macclesfield Psalter, by contrast, is the quintessentially English product of one of the few periods and milieus in which English art led the way. Its export to California would be a curious symptom of muddled priorities.’

Like the Madonna of the Pinks, the manuscript was overlooked for centuries — this time in the Earl of Macclesfield’s collection at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire — only for its importance to be recognised by experts earlier this year, following which it was snapped up at auction by the Getty Museum in California. The book was made in East Anglia, probably at Gorleston, which at the time was outstanding in Europe for manuscript illumination. As Maev Kennedy wrote in The Guardian: ‘It is the rollicking imagination of the scribe that makes the manuscript unique: the margins include innumerable rabbits, puns on the Earl of Warenne who commissioned the devout text — before being excommunicated for multiple adultery — and jokes, including a bare-bottomed man pulling a dragon's tail, a dog dressed as a bishop and a man reeling back in shock from a giant skate swimming across the page towards him.’

The Government has imposed a temporary export bar to allow UK buyers to match the price.
The Heritage Lottery Fund responded to David Barrie’s comments by saying: ‘We welcome the [Art Fund’s] commitment towards saving the Macclesfield Psalter. We have always recognised the value of this wonderful manuscript but were unable to support an application … as it failed to meet two of our key requirements for access and education. If we receive another application for funding … we will do what we can to reach a decision within the tight deadlines imposed by the export deferral.’

Heritage Minister plans to list Huddersfield Library and Market

Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh has announced plans to list the inter-war Library and Art Gallery in Huddersfield and the city’s innovative 1970s market building.

Begun in 1937 and opened in 1940, the Library and Art Gallery is a first-rate example of classical architecture interpreted in a modernist style, incorporating classical elements stripped down to their most basic form and enlivened with bold detail, such as the two statues at the front of the building and the coffered ceiling in the entrance hall, with its original Art Deco-style light-fittings.

The Queensgate Market Hall was opened in 1970 and features a striking roof structure based on twenty-one deliberately asymmetric hyperbolic paraboloid shells, each supported by a single free-standing column of differing height. From the outside, roof sections of differing heights appear to fly above the structure. The exterior makes pleasing use of natural stone with exposed concrete and has nine relief panels sculpted by the German émigré artist, Fritz Steller.

New agency to protect British Jewish heritage

Jewish Heritage UK, an agency dedicated to caring for the cultural heritage of British Jewry, was launched on Monday 13 September, at the historic New West End Synagogue, London, with Dr Sharman Kadish as its first Director. Supported by English Heritage and funded by the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation, the agency will provide independent professional support to organisations within the Jewish community and work with conservation bodies and local planning authorities to conserve Jewish cultural heritage such as significant synagogues, cemeteries, archives and collections of artefacts or ritual silver.

Underpinning the whole project is the Survey of the Jewish Built Heritage, a database of information and images of more than 350 Jewish buildings and sites, including historic synagogues and cemeteries in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and the Channel Islands. The survey was begun in 1997 to record and research the vanishing architectural heritage of the Jewish communities of Britain and Ireland, which today number fewer than 270,000 people. The survey has recently been awarded a grant of £315,876 for further development by the Arts and Humanities Research Board through the University of Manchester. Full information on the survey is available on Jewish Heritage UK’s website.

Dr Sharman Kadish, who was responsible for researching and compiling the Survey, has been active in Jewish heritage conservation since the mid-1980s. Her several books on Anglo-Jewish history and heritage include Bolsheviks and British Jews (1992), Building Jerusalem: Jewish Architecture in Britain (1996) and Bevis Marks Synagogue 1701—2001.

Warwickshire landscapes saved

Salon’s editor is acutely aware that many of the stories that he reports are to do with threats to the heritage, so it is good to be able to report that the National Trust, Warwick Castle and hundreds of local people have won a Victoria by persuading Warwickshire County Council to drop its plans to widen and deepen the River Avon between Stratford and Warwick so as to allow motorised boats to use the river. The proposal would have severely impacted on the river where it runs through Charlecote Park, and Warwick Castle, both of which are Capability Brown landscapes.

As last year’s Heritage Counts audit of the historic environment reported, designed landscapes are one of our most threatened heritage assets, with 12 per cent of sites on the English Heritage register suffering significant loss of land compared to their original design and 18 per cent of all parks and gardens on the register having been converted to other uses — so one can only be pleased at a small victory for the ‘leave it well alone’ tendency.

Peer bids to save historic building

The Daily Telegraph and The Times both reported last week that Lord and Lady Apsley, of Cirencester Park, had staged a six-hour vigil outside a 150-year-old cattle market office on the western edge of the town where they were threatening to chain themselves to the building to prevent council contractors demolishing them to make way for a leisure centre. ‘Shame on you for wiping out another part of the town's history. It is sheer vandalism to flatten this building without at least some re-assessment of its worth’, Lady Apsley is reported to have told them.

But these staunch defenders of Cirencester’s heritage also happen to be the owners of Alfred’s Hall, the Grade-II* folly which the first Earl Bathurst designed and built with Alexander Pope in 1721—32. This has been in such a poor state of repair for so many years that two successive editions of the Buildings of England volume for the Gloucestershire Cotswolds have commented on the building’s sad state of neglect.

Sir Richard Blackmore’s contemporary epic poem, Alfred, published in the 1720s, persuaded the first Earl Bathurst that King Alfred had his base at Cirencester. This inspired the Earl to build Alfred’s Hall — which is one of England’s first mock-medieval follies — on the spot where the King is supposed to have crept up on the Danish army to overhear their battle plans.

Alfred’s Hall has been on the Buildings at Risk register for many years, and English Heritage staff would be thrilled to see such an important structure returned to its intended state of picturesque ruination — but minus the scaffolding that currently stops the building from falling down. The door is open to discuss grant aid and but Lord Apsley has so far chosen to resist their offers of help. Perhaps Lord Apsley will now turn his new-found Swampy-like zeal for rescuing historic buildings to his own estate.

Meanwhile the office of the Cirencester Cattle Market that he was trying to save has been carefully dismantled and Lord Apsley has agreed to store the salvaged materials in the hope of reconstructing the building one day. The building dates from 1867, when Lord Apsley’s great-great-great-grandfather, the sixth Earl of Bathurst, donated land alongside the railway sidings at Cirencester for the creation of a cattle market. The small two-storey gabled building of ashlar under Cotswold stone tile, was clearly influenced by the ‘Jacobethan’ style that Brunel devised for the Swindon railway village and many of the stations along the Great Western Railway, including the one a short distance away from the Cattle Market at the end of the Cirencester branch line.

More on St George’s Hall, Liverpool

Following the item in Salon 97 on the imminent reopening of St George’s Hall, in Liverpool, Frank Salmon, FSA, wrote with additional thoughts. ‘C R Cockerell (who was known by his second name, Robert, rather than as Charles) was largely responsible for the completion of St George's Hall in Liverpool from 1847 to 1855, following the premature death of its precocious original architect from 1839, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes. So it was Elmes who was principally responsible for “the finest neo-classical building in the world”, including the spectacular Great Hall, which accommodates some 3,000 persons.

‘Cockerell's greatest contribution was the interior design of the Small Concert Room at the north end of the building, and this is the “intimate space” seating 500 to which Salon referred as a “domed circular shrine to high art”. The Concert Room, which is certainly an outstanding work, has been closed to the public for even longer than the rest of the building and its restoration will indeed give good cause for rejoicing.

‘The £18 million conservation plan, however, has covered the restoration of the entire building; so the re-opening will also be a celebration for Elmes, 150 years after his sad demise at the age of thirty-three.’

Vandalism in Jerusalem

Anthony Bryer, FSA, has forwarded details of a distressing case of vandalism that occurred at the end of June 2004, when a fresco portrait of the twelfth-century Georgian poet Shota Rusrtaveli was deliberately scraped off the walls in the Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem. This portrait, painted in late twelfth-century, was the only preserved image of the poet, who is a symbol of Georgian culture and national identity. The Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem was itself founded by Georgians in the fifth century and occupies a special place among the more than forty churches and monasteries associated with the activities of Georgians in the Holy Land dating from the fourth century.

As if the destruction of the portrait were not bad enough, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which now maintains the church, has refused permission to allow scholars to study the remains of the fresco and has compounded the original vandalism by overpainting the remains with a crude and far from accurate ‘reconstruction’ of the original using modern materials and in defiance of all good conservation practice.

The Centre for the Preservation of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad (based in the Georgian capital, Tiblisi) says that the treatment of the fresco is all too typical of the damage that has been caused to Georgian cultural heritage in the Holy Land where, as recently as 1987, frescos were looted and sold at auction in Europe. The Centre is calling on the international conservation community to support a comprehensive study of what remains of Georgia’s cultural heritage in the Holy Land. The Centre is also calling for international organisations, such as UNESCO, ICOMOS and ICCROM, to mediate with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to allow Georgian and other international scholars access to the Holy Cross monastery and an end to further destruction of Georgian heritage. For further information on the campaign, contact Dr. Mariam Didebulidze of the Centre for the Preservation of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad.

‘CEMRA’ revisited — new sources wanted

The following appeal for help with research into medieval records has come from John A Goodall, FSA, who writes: ‘Sir Anthony Wagner’s Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms (CEMRA) was last revised in 1967 in Aspilogia II and I propose to include a revised list incorporating more recent discoveries in Aspilogia IV (in preparation). There are, however, indications that in two areas at least much remains to be discovered and it is in the hope of getting leads to the present whereabouts of this that this appeal is being made.

‘It is clear from recent research on the four medieval ordinaries c 1340—1440, by their nature secondary compilations, that the known rolls only account for around half the entries. Regrettably, it seems unlikely that any major medieval rolls of arms remain to be found, although two important manuscripts are known to have survived into the eighteenth century: the Erpingham roll of deceased bannerets, 1419, and William Worcester’s ‘Ancient Norfolk families’, c 1460—3, exhibited to the Society by Sir Peter le Neve (Minutes 1.16), and a Norfolk and Suffolk roll said to have been c 1422—61 (Minutes 1.194).

‘Two categories of records were probably under-represented in CEMRA: cartularies with illustrated copies of records, and family chronicles or pedigrees. Among the former are the Marcham roll in the Norfolk Record Office, the Ridware cartulary, the Peterborough roll and the Pedwardyne cartulary in the British Library, the recently edited Lanercost cartulary and the coucher books of the Duchy of Lancaster and Furness Abbey. Unfortunately, Davis’s list of cartularies seldom mentions any decoration.

‘The second group is, perhaps, even more difficult to track down as, apart from the Welsh pedigree rolls, little attention has been paid to them. Ones which have been identified are: the Wigmore chronicle of the Mortimers at Chicago; the Talbot Banners; the narrative of the Chalons family in Bodley; a lost Hoo roll known from copies in various rolls; the FitzHugh pedigree chronicle in the British Library; the Tewkesbury founders roll (and book) in Bodley; Friar Brackley’s book at Norwich; Edward IV’s pedigree c 1461—4 at Philadelphia; and Rous’s Warwick rolls.

‘Any suggestions for additions will be gratefully received, either in writing or electronically, c/o the Society of Antiquaries.’

Seminars and conferences

Tickets are still available for the SAVE Autumn Lecture, when our Fellow, Sir Simon Jenkins, will be giving a talk in aid of SAVE Britain's Heritage entitled: ‘A future from their past: the lessons to be learned from our built heritage’, at the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London, at 7pm on Thursday 30 September. Tickets cost £16 and are available from SAVE, tel: 020 7253 3500.

The Stained Glass Museum’s Autumn Study Weekend takes place in Norwich on 22 to 24 October 2004, and includes visits to a number of parish churches in Norfolk, guided by David King, Corpus Vitrearum author for Norfolk and Suffolk, and Sarah Brown of English Heritage. Further details from the museum.

Christopher Dresser: Designer of Genius is the title of a joint Decorative Arts Society/V&A Symposium to be held on 16 October 2004. The symposium celebrates the first major UK exhibition of Dresser’s work, encompassing all his activities, including his writings on design as well as the objects themselves — from wallpaper and textiles, to ceramics, glass, metalwork and furniture. Each of the seven speakers will look beyond the essays in the exhibition catalogue to place Dresser in the context of wider issues surrounding Victorian design innovation and marketing. They will discuss his precursors, in particular Owen Jones, alongside the great nineteenth-century figures in his circle, and will reveal his lasting legacy. Further information from Judy Rudoe.

Books, websites, guidebooks and exhibitions by Fellows

Autumn has brought a bumper crop of new publications, exhibitions, websites and guidebooks in which Fellows have had a hand, illustrating the extraordinary range and diversity of Fellows’ scholarly interests.

Peter Boughton, Keeper of Art and Architecture at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, has curated a new exhibition at the museum exploring the key features of the city’s medieval townscape, (from the foundation of the castle by William the Conqueror in 1070 to the dissolution of St Werburgh’s Abbey by Henry VIII in 1540) through watercolours, drawings and prints of the city. Medieval Chester runs until Sunday 7 November 2004.

With the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar just over a year away, that most famous of sea battles is the subject of a major new book by Roy Adkins called Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle (Little, Brown, ISBN 0 316 72511 0, £20). The book not only describes the events leading up to the battle and the battle itself, it also examines the lives of the men, women and boys who were on board the ships during the battle, the terrible hurricane that struck almost immediately afterwards, and the post-battle events, such as the way the news reached London and Nelson's funeral. Roy's website (which he shares with his wife, Fellow Lesley Adkins) has recently been revised and has full details of the new book.

From David Kennedy and Robert (Bob) Bewley comes the profusely illustrated Ancient Jordan from the Air (Council for British Research in the Levant, ISBN 0-9539102-2-9, £30), which results from eight seasons of flying in Jordan (available from Oxbow Books). For a taste of the book’s visual and archaeological riches, take a look at David’s University of Western Australia website. A copy of the book has also been donated to the Society’s Library. If these pictures and commentaries inspire you to want to visit Jordan, David is running a 21-day field trip to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in April 2005: further details from his field trip website.

Also new out is the second edition of David Kennedy’s The Roman Army in Jordan (Council for British Research in the Levant, ISBN 0-9539102-1-0, also available from Oxbow).

Fellows’ expertise in the history and culture of the Arabic world is further reflected in Barnaby Rogerson’s new book, The Prophet Muhammad: a biography (Abacus paperback, £7.99). In awarding five stars (out of five) to this book, the Independent on Sunday said that: ‘Rogerson diligently outlines the various religious, economic and socio-political protocols of 6th- and 7th-century Arabia and skilfully evokes day-to-day existence within its harsh majestic environs. In this way he contextualises the astonishing achievements of a man born in Mecca in AD 570 but orphaned early and raised in a Bedouin caravan who grew to be a thoughtful, well-liked and successful merchant and family man. A man who … was entirely unprepared for the night of the 17th day of Ramadan in AD 610 when he woke in a cave on Mount Hira gripped by a terrifying embrace and commanded for the first time to recite the word of God.’

Fellows visiting Egypt in the future might want to arm themselves with a copy of The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, by Aidan Dodson, FSA, and his wife, Dyan Hilton, just published by Thames & Hudson (ISBN 0500 051283, £29.95). Aidan says that the book ‘aims to provide a complete listing of all known queens, princes and princesses of ancient Egypt (over 1,300 individuals) between 3000 and 30 BC, with biographical notes and genealogical trees’. Further details from the Thames & Hudson website.

Cadw has just published new guidebooks covering two of North Wales' finest castles, Caernarfon and Beaumaris. Both are based on text originally written by our late Fellow Arnold Taylor and the Caernarfon guidebook includes a new section on the castle kitchens written by our Fellow Peter Brears. Begun in 1283 as the definitive chapter of Edward I's conquest of Wales, Caernarfon’s design was intended to evoke the walls of Rome and Constantinople, as well as the dream castles of Welsh legend. Beaumaris, 'the great unfinished masterpiece', was built with four rings of formidable defences, including a dock that enabled the castle to be supplied from the sea. Even in its incomplete state it is regarded by many as the finest of the great Edwardian castles in Wales.

Paul Arthur extends an invitation to Fellows to visit the website of the medieval museum that he opened at Muro Leccese in southern Apulia to explain his excavations to the public. He adds that Fellows might also be interested to hear of a new project to cover the famous late-Roman villa of Piazza Armerina with a gigantic dome, so as to protect the site from atmospheric deterioration. Local archaeologists and amateurs are far from happy and are hoping to get UNESCO support in their opposition to the plan. All the details can be found on the website.

Finally, Robert Merrillees writes from Australia with news of two new booklets that he has recently produced. The first, entitled Professor A D Trendall and his Band of Classical Cryptographers (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Working Paper No. 355, 2001), deals with the war-time activities of Professor Trendall, who was Professor of Greek and Archaeology at the University of Sydney from 1939 (replacing the late Enoch Powell) and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University and master of University House. He spent from 1940 to 1944 in Melbourne with a team of Australian and British academics, including some of his own students, decrypting Japanese messages for the Allied war effort in the Pacific basin.

The second is entitled The Tano Family & Gifts from the Nile to Cyprus (Moufflon Publications Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2003). It concerns the Tano family, of Greek origin, who ran a well-known (and reliable) antiquities business in Cairo from 1870 to 1972, and the history of the only ancient Egyptian mummy in the Cyprus Museum, which has been in the collections since 1884 but only twice been put on temporary show. There are few major museums in Europe and North America with ancient Egyptian collections which do not have antiquities acquired from the Tano shop in Cairo, and amongst their other customers were Sir Flinders Petrie and Lord Carnarvon.

Vacancies

National Museums Liverpool, Curator of Transatlantic Slavery
Salary £26,476, closing date 30 September 2004

To join the team that is creating the new National Museum and Centre for the Understanding of Transatlantic Slavery, a high-profile project that is set to take on a wider national significance with the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade in 2007. An appropriate degree is required and substantial experience of managing and interpreting collections. For further details see the Liverpool Museums website.

Heritage Lottery Fund, National Directory of Expert Advisers
Daily fee of £350 a day (plus VAT and expenses), closing date 8 October 2004

HLF is seeking to appoint two expert advisers to help in the assessment of funding applications and to assist in monitoring the quality of the projects that it funds. One covers Land and Biodiversity (including public parks, gardens, countryside, landscapes, wildlife habitats and species); the other covers Access and Learning (formal learning, training, volunteering, social inclusion, cultural diversity and all aspects of access to the heritage). For further details see the HLF website.

The National Archives, Head of National Advisory Services and Secretary of the Historical Manuscripts Commission
Salary c £53,000, closing date 8 October 2004

The post-holder serves as the leading advocate of the UK’s archives and documentary heritage and is responsible for policy on archives, records and preservation, working with partners in the MLA sector, including Government, the public sector, and expert bodies within the wider informational and cultural fields. An application pack can be downloaded from the recruitment agent’s website quoting reference NAO/6738ST.

ALM London (Archives, Libraries and Museums), Chair of the Board of Trustees
Two days per month, expenses only, closing date 8 October 2004

ALM London is a new organisation and one of nine strategic regional development agencies funded by MLA with a remit to provide leadership, advice and advocacy on behalf of London’s archives, libraries and museums. An information pack is available at www.almlondon.org.uk.

Sir John Soane’s Museum, Curator and Chief Executive
Closing date 22 October 2004

To succeed the present Curator, Margaret Richardson, FSA, who retires in April 2005. The principal duty is to exercise curatorial responsibility for the museum and its contents. Priorities for the future include the development of No. 14 Lincoln’s Inn Fields as a centre for education and for the study of the museum’s huge collection of Adam drawings. An application pack can be downloaded from the recruitment agent’s website quoting reference B7713.