Obituary: Kevin Fryer
Kevin was a good medium pace bowler. He had been an orchestral double bass player before he became a member of the museum’s archaeological unit and came to be recognised as a specialist in the Surrey- Hampshire pottery industry. In particular, he came to national prominence when his work on the finds in the Tunsgate ceramics horde changed the accepted dating of lead-crystal glassware (and found the earliest known English-made teapot!). It contained a large amount of material dated to 1690-1720, including many more or less complete vessels and a great number of high class goblets. The second feature was a well which contained a large group of medieval pottery provisionally dated 1175-1250. (258). There were also some traces of Saxo-Norman features. The group dated 1690-1720 is considered to be an exceptionally important discovery for its period. Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is Britain’s only surviving medieval synagogue – hidden underneath a shop in Guildford, Surrey. In north-west Europe it would only be the third synagogue known to have survived from medieval times, and had lain forgotten and buried for more than 700 years. The site consisting of just one small yet beautifully decorated room, was a semi-private though purpose-built place of worship within a merchant’s house. It was constructed in around 1180 and is believed to have been closed down in 1275 when Edward I’s mother, Queen Eleanor, expelled the Jews from several English towns, including Guildford.
Medieval ‘synagogue’ found in Surrey shop Tuesday 16 January 1996 00:02
The site was discovered by three archaeologists, John Boas, Mary Alexander and Kevin Fryer, of Guildford Museum archaeological unit, while investigating a shop basement. “We cleared a mass of rubble and soon found ourselves inside a room that nobody had seen for 700 years” said Mr Boas.
He died after I had retired from the museum in 2009, perhaps about 2015.