Volunteer Mary Crane – Box Maker Extraordinaire…
has had enough (so she says – I bet she’ll be back!)
Salisbury Museum’s exhibition (in partnership with the British Museum) ‘Hoards: A Hidden History of Ancient Britain’ has opened and continues until 5 January. Please bring your family and friends to this one. The artefacts are stunning. These photos do not do the objects the justice they deserve but may, nevertheless, tempt you. Come and see for yourself!
And, associated talks include Thursday 18 October 6pm (exhibition), 7pm talk
Thursday 29 November 6.30pm
Visiting The White Horse inn at Downton recently, I was intrigued to see on the wall a photograph commemorating the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (Fig 1). I was intrigued on two counts. Firstly, the date of the coronation was given as 1952 whereas, as we all know, King George VI died in 1952, but the Queen was not crowned until the following year. I am sure that the legend to the photograph was just a careless mistake.
Fig. 1. Photograph in the bar of The White Horse, Downton
The second cause for intrigue was the statement that the mace is kept in Salisbury Museum, as I had never noticed it. A cursory poll of my colleagues indicated that neither had they, although eventually Tony Harris said he thought it was in storage.
Eventually, Alan Clarke tracked it down. It is in storage in the Museum, and Alan was able to provide me with some photographs (Figs 2-8).
Fig 2. The Downton Borough Mace
By way of definition, a ceremonial mace is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high official in civic ceremonies, by a mace-bearer. It is intended to represent the official’s authority. The mace, as used today, derives from the original use of the mace as a weapon, intended to protect the King’s person. It was borne by a royal bodyguard known as the Sergeant-at-Arms.
The use of the mace as a civic device, still carried by a Sergeant-at-Arms, began around the middle of the 13th Century.
As described in Fig.1, the Downton Borough mace was made by a London silversmith in 1713 and carries the Duncombe Coat of Arms (Fig. 3). It was given by the borough MPs.
Fig. 3. The Duncombe Coat of Arms on the flange of the mace head.
The Duncombes were one of four great famiies who came to dominate the Downton area, the others being the Eyres, the Pleydell-Bouveries and later, the Nelsons. Several members of the Nelson family are buried in the graveyard of nearby Standlynch Chapel.
Sir Charles Duncombe (1648-1711) was an English banker and politician who served as a Conservative Member of Parliament and Lord Mayor of London. He was Receiver of the Customs for both Charles II and James II, and made a fortune in banking. Even as a young man he was lending money, even to the King. These were often for large amounts; one loan was for£31,600 and another, £50,000, the equivalent of several million pounds at the start of the millennium! However, when James II fled to France in 1688, Duncombe refused him a loan of £1500 to aid his escape.
Later in life Duncombe was said to be worth £400,000 and died the richest commoner in England. He is thought to have owned three-quarters of the burgages* in Downton at the time of his death in 1711.
Charles Duncombe was elected MP in 1685 and represented Hedon and Yarmouth (Isle of Wight as well as Downton, being MP for Downton several times between 1695 and his death in 1711. He was knighted in 1699.
Sir Charles Duncombe was unmarried so his nephew Anthony inherited his Downton estates, at the age of 16. Anthony Duncombe was later ennobled as Lord Feversham, Baron of Downton.
Another Coat of Arms on the flange of the mace is that of the Eyre family (Fig. 4)
Fig 4. Eyre Coat of Arms
The Eyre Coat of Arms can also be seen on a funeral hatchment in St Thomas’ Church, Salisbury.
Other details from the mace head flange are shown in Figures 5 and 6.
Figures 5 and 6. Details from the mace flange
A further detail on the mace, which looks like a Royal Coat of Arms, bears the motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense, (‘May he be shamed who thinks badly of it’) (Fig. 7).
Fig 7. Detail from the mace
I have not seen the mace personally to notice where this detail is situated but an entry in Wikipedia says that “Early in the 15th Century the flanged end of the mace (the head of the war mace) was carried uppermost, with the small button bearing the royal arms in the base”.
Figure 8 shows the Downton Mace in procession down Minster Street, Salisbury
Fig. 8 Downton Mace in procession
*A burgage (in England and Scotland) is a tenure by which land or property in a town was held in return for service or annual rent.
About fifty Volunteers recently enjoyed Alan Clarke’s ‘Salisbury Miscellany’ – a look at some of the museum’s photographic collection, one of our regular Collections in Focus talks.
Here are some of the photos he showed us, and a few which we didn’t see:
Thank you Alan!
These pages last included a piece on jettons and trade tokens two years ago (16 August 2016*) when a group of Volunteers visited the Somerset Heritage Centre for training on these.
More training took place this week and further interesting material came to light.
In Medieval times monasteries issued tokens to pay for services from outsiders. These tokens circulated in nearby villages where they were called “Abbot’s money.”
From the 17th to the early 19th century tokens were commonly issued by merchants in times of shortage of coins of the state (for example, during the Civil War of the 1640s when production stalled) to allow day-to-day trading to continue. The token was in effect a pledge redeemable in goods but not necessarily for currency. These tokens never received official sanction from government but were accepted and circulated quite widely. Interesting research is taking place at the moment to establish just how widely…
In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, factory owners sometimes paid their workers with tokens which could only be redeemed in the factory shop where there might be limited choice and substandard goods, thus ensuring profit all round for the boss! These tokens would churn about only amongst the workers in a particular town, perhaps limited to just a few streets, but could pass as coinage between the families involved.
At a time when ‘proper’ coins were still made of silver or gold, these tokens were of copper alloy, sometimes lead, presaging a time when our small change would be made of the same sort of metal. As time went by, tokens were usually the same size as farthings, halfpennies or pennies, and used as such when it suited people.
There were further shortages in the eighteenth century when production of coins almost ceased. New, machine-made tokens began to appear, and were used for advertising, for ‘spreading the word’ (religious and political versions are known) and, even then, for collectors.
Seventeenth century tokens (the ‘golden age’) often bore the arms of the merchant guilds associated with the issuer.
The obverse (‘head’) of this token shows a central shield with the Mercer’s Maiden, the coat of arms and symbol of the Mercer’s Company City of London, with HENRY LAMBERT around the edge.
The reverse (‘tails’) shows L above HS with three rosettes surrounding, all within a border and probably CHIPPENHAM MERCER around the edge. The L will be Henry’s surname initial, the H his first name and S probably his wife’s initial. This was the usual layout for trade tokens at this time, though they often had dates which this one does not. Archaeologists are pleased to find tokens when excavating because they help date other materials in the same way as a coin does. It is interesting that it was usual for the wife’s initials to be included. The lady of the house did not always get due recognition in those days!
A copper alloy post-medieval 17th century farthing token of the City of Bath. Obverse depicts a shield with the Arms of Bath, the reverse A BATHE FARTHINGE, with the initials C B and the date 1670. Once local authorities began issuing tokens they really did take on the mantle of coinage as they could be used almost anywhere in the town and its environs. This one was found near Bradford on Avon.
Not all of these tokens were circular… This is a copper alloy 17th Century octagonal trade token depicting a castle (potentially Castle Combe) and the obverse with initials W A. dating to c. AD 1660 – 1670.
It is an area which is endlessly fascinating – for archaeologists, numismatists, local and family historians, and collectors. If we have any enthusiasts out there who can tell us more, please do!
As one of the leaders of the training session remarked – this is one way we know who was in the High Street of any small town in the 17th century.
*You can search for earlier items of interest by using the ‘search’ box at the top of the Volunteer Blog page and entering a key word.
This is one of an occasional series inspired by the work of the ladies (and they are all ladies!) from The Arts Society (previously known as NADFAS) who work every week in our costume store and who have the most amazing love for and knowledge of every aspect of our costume collection.
To go into the costume store when they are working is to enter another world…
It is certainly a foreign language that is spoken in there. Some of you will recognise these words but they must be on that list of words which are falling out of use*
What about:’calash’ (a woman’s silk bonnet), ‘guipure’ (heavy lace), ‘lawn’ (plain weave cotton or linen), ‘cambric’ (fine but dense cloth), ‘nainsook’ (fine, soft cloth), ‘madapollam’ (plain weave cotton, originally from a particular part of India), ‘lappet’ (a decorative flap on a garment)….? All of these words appear in descriptions of items in the collection.
Of course, one reason that the collection inspires such excitement is the possible history of the items. The jacket above is thought to be from the 1760s. Cream linen. That boy, if he survived for any length of time, may have read about Cook’s expeditions to New Zealand and Australia (his jacket suggests a family that would have had a tutor for its sons). He would have been aware of the early industrial revolution, unrest in the American colonies, campaigned against, or for, slavery. He might have worried about what was happening in France, perhaps involved in the battles with that close neighbour, including Trafalgar. In his forties he might have appeared in the first census of 1801, and subsequent censuses until his death. If he lived in Salisbury or around about he would have been aware of the Swing riots (agricultural unrest), and in his old age raised an eyebrow at the Tolpuddle Martyrs. A treat as a very old man might have been a train ride in 1847 from the new Milford station to Southampton….
And we think we live in interesting times!
*Have fun with this by going on-line and googling “Words that have fallen out of use”. All sorts of authorities keep lists of these.
During the summer, Lin Mills was in contact with the museum. She is helping to arrange honorary degrees for past students of the College of Sarum St Michael which was, as many Volunteers know, based in what are now the museum buildings. She asked if her email address could be passed to any former students so that they could contact her and register an interest. Lin was a student from 1969 – 1972 email@example.com
Planning is in the hands of Winchester University and is at a very early stage. Former students are being directed to the college website which will be updated as soon as there are more details.
In the meantime if Volunteers have any contact with S. St. M. students, or are, indeed, ex-students themselves, please be aware of the plan. It is hoped the ceremony will be late next year or early 2020 in Salisbury Cathedral.
Winchester University are making most of the arrangements and it will be their decision.
In the gloom of the early morning today, a few hardy souls gathered with wheelbarrows, rakes and spades in the forecourt of the museum.
Their task – to spread several tonnes of fresh gravel onto the forecourt! Thank you Volunteers Malcolm Burrows, Jane Hanbidge, Simon Overton, Keith and Chris Rodger, Derek Ellis, Chris Tunnard and David White, and staff members Bridget, Katy, Wil, Megan, Hannah, Val.
Please admire the new, luxurious, deep pile when you next come in…..
Wednesday 10 October 10.30 – noon
An old friend to these pages – Volunteer Alan Clarke – will be using some of our archive photographs to tell us stories of old Salisbury. No need to book. Tea, coffee and cake included.
Here is a reminder of some of the gems he has offered us in recent times:
My name is Wil Partridge, and having done my time as the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) for Devon & Somerset I have recently taken over from Richard Henry as the FLO for Wiltshire, based at the Salisbury Museum.
In my previous role I learnt many things – but mainly became very familiar with the M5 motorway, as you might imagine.
Archaeology has been my passion ever since I helped carry a dead German Shepherd out to the freezer on my work experience at a vet’s, and I have been exceedingly lucky to have stumbled into a role which lets me indulge this hobby horse; it being my job to identify and record archaeological artefacts found by members of the public. I grew up in Bristol, where I stayed to study for my Undergraduate Degree in Archaeology, focusing on the Early Medieval period, and have since spent much of my free time studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies. Richard’s fantastic team of volunteers was the envy of all FLOs, and I am very much looking forward to working with them for the foreseeable future!