Watch talks about Holywell Priory and Bermondsey Abbey, given to the 2021 LAMAS conference, by Matt Edmonds and Alistair Douglas, here!
This year the 57th Annual Conference of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society was held for the first time as a live Zoom meeting on 20th March.
The day was very successful and well attended with 10 lectures delivered both in person or as recorded talks, all with interactive ‘chat’ and questions running all day.
The first business of the day was Harvey Sheldon’s Opening Remarks and the presentation of the Ralph Merrifield Award to two key figures in London Archaeology; Nick Bateman and, of course, the founder of Pre-Construct Archaeology Gary Brown (see feature below). Congratulations to both!
In the now traditional morning roundup of recent excavations Mike Curnow (MOLA) spoke on Iron Age features identified at the Barn Elms site in Hammersmith and Alison Telfer (MOLA) on the multi-period site to the east of the City at Blossom Street. Helen Chittock (AOC) returned to Fulham and Hammersmith with evidence of Saxon occupation on the bank of the River Thames at Queens Manor Primary school; evidence for lead discs/weights possibly associated with fishing nets build on similar recent evidence. Antonietta Lerz (MOLA) presented findings from a cesspit which survived as part of the medieval Chester Inn into the 16th-century Somerset House complex. Kate Sumnall concluded with a consideration of practical or ritual reasons for the deposition of a Bronze Age hoard of artefacts, ‘the Havering Hoard’, which forms an exhibition currently at the Museum of London Docklands which will hopefully reopen in May 2021.
The afternoon session on Monastic Archaeology (postponed from the cancelled 2020 Conference) featured two keynote sites presented by Pre-Construct Archaeology’s Matt Edmonds and Alistair Douglas. Matt’s talk on recent work at the Augustinian foundation of Holywell Priory in Shoreditch brought together previous excavation results with our recent work on the gatehouse, nave and aisles of the church, north cloister, chapels built against the south transept and burials to the east of the church. An impressive area of Westminster floor tiles survived within the nave and the osteology will be an important part of ongoing research into the community in the cemetery and the significance of burials within the church and chapels within this Nunnery.
Alistair Douglas summarised previous evidence from excavations at Bermondsey Abbey presenting ongoing research into its Saxon foundation as a Minster and development as a Cluniac church following a European model. This complex of buildings, wide range of artefacts and strategic position are all the subject of discussion within a forthcoming PCA monograph.
Sue Wright (MOLA) synthesised previous research into monastic houses of London and Don Walker (MOLA) examined the osteological evidence for London’s female monastic houses. The conference closed with Nick Holder’s reflection on ‘where do we go from here?’ considering sites yet to be studied, future opportunities and a plea for some continuity in the use of chronological Periods applied to archaeological data so that the mass of information already recorded could be easily compared for periods of English history.