The area in the above photograph, at Hawton, near Newark, has been taped off by the
Nottinghamshire Constabulary SOCO ( Scenes of Crime Officer) as a possible crime scene.
Enquiries are being made to determine the identity of the hole diggers.
About twenty of these deep, square or oblong shaped unsightly holes have been dug in
the field. At the moment the finger of suspicion falls on a mysterious band of
unkempt desperadoes who roam the countryside at will, with spades, causing
havoc and destruction. Could they be Nighthawkers?
Investigations are continuing and you will be updated as and when
sufficient evidence is found to identify the perpetrators.
This unusual artefact was found by Dave Rhodes on a recent club search.
It is an arrow head cut from a ship halfpenny with the head of George
the VI on it and was minted between 1937 and 1952. The point is
nearly needle sharp and would be capable of inflicting a serious wound.
Bellarmine Jug or Witch Bottle
A Shard Tale
A recent club search was held in in south Nottinghamshire on a field
that had, in the past, produced coins and artefacts from Celtic to
modern times. During the search Mick Peel found by ‘eyes only’ a
large shard of a stoneware bottle. The fragment had part of a
man’s face showing, mainly, his eyes. Mick, a bottle dump
digger and a collector of bottles for many years, immediately
identified it as part of a ‘Bellarmine’ bottle or jug.
Bellarmine bottles and jugs were also known as Bartmann’s, meaning bearded
man, Greybeard’s and sometimes Witch bottles, they had a glaze of
blue, grey or golden brown on the outside. Usually containing wine or
beer and made from about 1500 onwards in Germany, Belgium and Holland,
they were exported to England in large quantities. In the early 17th.
Century an immigrant, Syman Wooltus, made the first English stoneware.
In the late 1500s Dutch stoneware bottles and jugs had a stamped impression
of a bearded man on them, this was Cardinal Robert Bellarmine 1542—1621.
He was a bitter opponent of the Dutch Reformed Church and it was usual for
Protestants to insult him by smashing the bottle but only after
the contents had been drunk!
Cardinal Robert Bellarmine
From the 1500s similar bottles were also known as Witch bottles,
they were rounder and about 9 inches high, also with an embossed
bearded face. The Witch bottle was used to trap evil and protect
against evil spirits and magical spells. It would be prepared by a
Witch for anyone who feared they were subject of spells or other
magical attacks. Urine, hair and nail clippings of the person
threatened together with thorns, sharp pieces of glass, wood or
bone were sealed in the bottle and buried in the farthest corner
of the property, beneath the fire place hearth or plastered into
the walls. It is thought that the buried or hidden bottles captured
the evil that threatened and impaled it on the sharp objects, finally
drowning it in the urine. It was only effective as long as the bottle
Medieval Pendant Crucifix
Late 13th. to 15th. Century
Whilst on a club search near Southwell, Nottinghamshire, Ron Tansley
found this cast copper alloy pendant crucifix, shown here at full size.
There are signs that the crucifix would have been gilded at some time.
The suspension loop on the top arm is broken, possibly the reason for
its loss. There is an in depth figure of Christ wearing a loincloth on
both sides of the cross. It measures, height 55mm., width 50.5mm.,
thickness 12.2mm., and weighs 29g
During the English civil war both warring factions had great need for
money to pay for the conflict. The King’s treasury soon became depleted
after he was besieged in castle after castle. His followers gave up
their gold and silver plate to make up the shortfall when the regular
supply of officially minted coin dried up. The plate was cut into small
pieces and crudely stamped, some of these clippings still have the
remnants of the plate’s original design on them. |
Most issues bore the inscription OBS (obsessum, Latin for besieged)
the name of the castle, or town, and a value on them. They were cut
into various shapes and sizes some, like the ones issued in Scarborough,
were irregular in shape. Others:- Carlisle round or octagonal,
Pontefract octagonal, Colchester silver round and a gold ten shilling
piece the latter is thought to be false. The ones we are likely to be
in were issued at Newark and are lozenge or diamond in shape.
The Newark coins were struck in the following values, sixpence, nine pence,
shilling and halfcrown, whilst the town was besieged three times finally
surrendering in May, 1646.
I was detecting in the early 1980’s with Jack Archer, sadly no longer
with us, at Linby near to the boundary with Papplewick when he found
a nine penny Newark siege piece similar to the one illustrated here
but in far better condition.
Over the years and certainly since I took up metal detecting as my
main hobby I have acquired a fairly large library of coin, artefact
and history books. These books cover a wide range of subjects that
relate to the hobby of metal detecting, some have been Christmas
and birthday presents, however the majority have come from charity shops.|
That was in the days when a charity shop was a charity shop and charged
reasonable prices for their donated books. Not like today where, if you
come across an interesting non-fiction book amongst the ever present
Mills and Boon’s, it can be priced in the teens of pounds. That is if
you can find one in the shop, most charity shops have their books picked
over by experts at a central point and all the books that should be
bargains for the general public are spirited away and auctioned to
dealers. You may say ‘fair do’s’ and the charity must maximise on
its donations, fair enough, but why are the dates and venues of the
auctions not made public and posted up in the shops to give everyone
a fair bite of the cherry. Anyway that’s my moan for this issue of the newsletter.
I intend to tell you about some of my books in this and future newsletters,
if this is not to your liking you can prevent it by sending in your
contributions, photographs and articles to fill each issue, I will gladly
give way and print them in preference.
My first book is:-
LIVERY BUTTONS. The Pitt Collection
This is a book I was given as a birthday present in 1979, soon after
I started metal detecting, it contains nearly 3,000 photographs of
livery buttons in the Pitt collection. The earliest button in the
book was made by Robert Bushby in about 1800 and the latest in 1861.
The livery is a suit of clothes provided for a manservant by his master,
also it was usual for a powdered wig to be worn. The colours of the
livery are of the field and main charge of the armorial shield. Most
of the buttons in the book have the crest mounted on a torse, also
known as a force or a crest wreath, it is a twisted band of silk
with six segments visible. This ribbon or scarf was used in the days of
Chivalry to hide the ugly joint where the crest was bolted to the
helm and made by a lady for her knight. |
It is interesting to know how many buttons were worn on a livery
uniform, here is an account dated 1780 of the Duke of Norfolk
‘For the making William Woods a Livery Coat and vest. 5 yards of
Scarlet Shilloon, 2½doz of coat buttons and 2doz. of mixed
vest buttons.’ That adds up to 30 large coat and 24 small vest
buttons for one servant’s livery coat and vest, 54 in all, no
wonder so many are there to be found.
Unfortunately the book is now out of print. The only copy I could
find for sale on the internet was priced at £135 plus postage!
Ashfield Metal Detecting Club
Annual General Meeting 2007
Election of Officers
Chairman : Richard Northey
Treasurer : Mary Severn
Site Secretary 2 : Dave Hallam
Secretary : John Radford|
Site Secretary 1 : John Oscroft
Subscriptions : Dave Rhodes
Lottery Organiser : Pat Walker
Library : John Wardle|
Roger Bacon Duncan Walters
All proposed officials were unopposed|
The outgoing Chairman, Ron Tansley, made his Chairman’s Award
to Jeff Oscroft as the person who had done the most for
the club in the past year.
The photograph was taken on a recent search near the
end of a long farm track. The combination of a powerful gust of
wind, a slippery muddy patch of track and a moments inattention
resulted in****** ’s car landing in the ditch. Luckily John
Wardle came to the rescue and provided a tow out with his 4x4.
How not to park !
Orders For Household Servants 1566
Orders for Household Servantes; first deuised by John Haryngton,
in the yeare 1566, and renewed by John Haryngton, sonne of the
saide John, in the yeare 1592: The saide John, the sonne,
being then high shrieve of the county of Somerset.|
Imprimis, That no servant bee absent from praier, at morning or
euening, without a lawfull excuse, to be alleged within one
day after, vppon paine to forfeit for eury tyme 2d.
II. Item, That none swear any othe, vppon paine for every othe 1d.
III. Item, That no man leaue any doore open that he findeth shut, without theare bee cause, vppon paine for euery time 1d.
IV. Item, That none of the men be in bed, from our Lady-day to Michaelmas, after 6 of the clock in the morning; nor out of his bed after 10 of the clock at night; nor, from Michaemas till our Lady-day, in bed after 7 in the morning, nor out after 9 at night, without reasonable cause, on paine of 2d.
V. That no man's bed bee vnmade, nor fire or candle-box vnclean, after 8 of the clock in the morning, on paine of 1d.
VI. Item, That no one commit any nuisance within either of the courts, vppon paine of 1d.
VII. Item, That no man teach any of the children any vnhonest speeche, or evil word, or othe, on paine of 4d.
VIII. Item, That no man waite at the table without a trencher in his hand, except it be vppon some good cause, on paine of Id.
IX. Item, That no man appointed to waite at my table be absent that meale, without reasonable cause, on paine of 1d.
X. Item, If any man breake a glasse, hee shall aunswer the price thereof out of his wages; and, if it be not known who breake it, the buttler shall pay for it on paine of 12d.
XI. Item, The table must bee couered halfe an houer before 11 at dinner, and 6 at supper, or before, on paine of 2d.
XII. Item, That meate be readie at 11, or before, at dinner; and 6, or before, supper, on paine of 6d.
XIII. Item, That none be absent, without leaue or good cause, the whole day, or any part of it, on paine of 4d.
XIV. Item, That no man strike his fellow, on paine of loss of seruice; nor reuile or threaten, or prouoke another to strike, on paine of 12d.
XV. Item, That no man come to the kitchen without reasonable cause, on paine of 1d. and the cook likewyse to forfeit 1d.
XVI. Item, That none toy with the maids, on paine of 4d.
XVII. That no man weare foule shirt on Sunday, nor broken hose or shooes, or dublett without buttons, on paine of 1d.
XVIII. Item, That, when any strainger goeth hence, the chamber be drest vp againe within 4 howrs after, on paine of 1d.
XIX. Item, That the hall bee made cleane euery day, by eight in the winter, and seauen in the sommer, on paine of him that should do it to forfeit 1d.
XX. That the cowrt-gate bee shutt each meale, and not opened during dinner and supper, without just cause, on paine the porter to forfet for euery time, 1d.
XXI. Item, That all stayrs in the house, and other rooms that neede shall require, bee made cleane on Fryday after dinner, on paine of forfeyture of euery on whome it shall belong vnto, 3d.
All which sommes shall be duly paide each quarter-day out of their wages, and bestowed on the poore, or other godly vse.
Considering the low wages, and value of a silver penny, in 1566 these fines must have been very harsh.
Have You Checked Through Your “Scrap” Finds Lately ?
By John Radford
Here’s a bit of cautionary advice, given from my own experience just recently.
Many months ago I found what looked like “just a fancy button” and that
was the opinion of many, so in the button box it went with the many others.
At the end of November I was ill and unable to detect so I had to resort
to reading through a few of my “Finds Identified” books and admire the
many fantastic finds that had been recovered by others.
It was while flicking through the pages of one book that I noticed
something familiar listed as a bowl mount with a silvery surface
under Saxon items.
Thinking that I had probably seen it in some other book, I put it
to the back of my mind until later that day when I suddenly
realised it was very similar to something I had found.
Sorting through the button box I found the item and cleaned it up,
there was no trace of a button fastening on the back and although
the item was not exactly the same it was very similar, even
down to the “silvery surface” description and size.
So now it awaits positive (or negative!) identification by our
Finds Liaison Officer and fingers crossed I may have found my first
Fortunately I keep a record of what has been found and where
(including fancy buttons!) so I could find the details for this
find, in fact I can remember finding it because it was unusual.
Needless to say it’s not going back in the button box!
So never throw anything away, you may later find that you have something special.
When it is positively identified I will update this article with the result.
Shield Shaped Trade Weight - 14th / 15th Centuary
On the left is the weight found by David
On the right is a clearer illustration showing the lion rampant
Found by David Hallam
John Radford had a heart stopping moment when he unearthed this
ring on a club search. In response to his excited shouts the rest of
the club members gathered round to admire his sovereign ring. On
examination the sovereign puzzled us, no one had ever seen a
sovereign with the words ‘ St George Medal’ on it.
John spent many hours searching learned books to date and
identify the ring before finally he dated it as ‘Early Argos’
from their catalogue.
Gold Quarter Noble
This beautiful coin was found
by John Wardle
on one of his own sites
by Mick Peel
Casket key found by
This 15 carat gold betrothal ring was found on a club search by John Gough.
It is hall marked 1895 and part of the inscription gives the date April
18th. 1895, the monogram appears to be A.C. & J.F.
A betrothal ring, given by the man to his intended bride, was the forerunner
of the modern engagement ring and signified a mutual and serious intention
to marry. It also served as a warning to possible suitors to keep off.
In some western cultures betrothal sometimes allowed couples to engage
in sexual activities beyond those of couples who were merely dating or
courting but far short of sexual intercourse. For instance in parts of
Scotland betrothed, or engaged, couples were allowed to sleep in the same bed.
However a measure of caution was exercised because both parties were sewn up
in separate sleeping bags and actual physical contact was not supposed to
happen. This custom was known as ‘bundling.’
Articles, or suggestions for articles are needed for the next issue of this
newsletter. If you have any ideas or illustrations please let John Gough know.
Even if your suggestion is not of a
find made on a club search, if it is interesting, we need it!
This is either Braveheart encouraging the Clans before a battle
or John Wardle celebrating his winning of the club’s annual
Knobbly Knees Contest.
Photographed by Susan Toone in Summer 2006.
||They Munch At Lunch
It is hard to believe that this photograph was taken in early
January this year, it was more like a warm spring day. Is this a
sign of things to come?
The usual suspects in this case are :-
John Radford, David Hallam, Dennis Brown and John Wardle taking a
break before the afternoon detecting session begins.
(Notice the designer chairs, a Lidl Monday special)
C. W. Tooley Nottingham Market Tally
This alloy Nottingham Market tally was found by Jeff Oscroft on a club search.
It is 27.5mm. in diameter and 1.4g. in weight, the surface has some pitting
caused by corrosion which is unfortunately all too common to find in this
type of metal when it is recovered from the soil.
The tally was shown to Grenville Chamberlain, Secretary of the Numismatic
Society of Nottinghamshire and author of the book ‘Nottingham Market Tallies’.
He said the tally had not been recorded in his book and to the best of
his knowledge was of a previously unknown type. He asked if he could
record it and use it when he updated the book. Jeff agreed to this and
went even further by saying that Grenville could keep the token to add
to his collection.
A few days later Jeff received a copy of Grenville’s book, Nottingham Market Tallies,
with an inscription inside the front cover thanking him for the gift of the
market tally. This is another example of a metal detectorist acting responsibly
and a practical demonstration of the value of metal detectors in the recording
and preserving of our history.
Well done Jeff.
The purpose of the market tallies was to ensure that the containers,
used by market wholesalers, were returned to the supplying wholesaler
so either 1s. or 6d. was added to the bill for each container.
To reclaim this deposit both the container and the tally had to be
returned at the same time. This prevented the return of containers
by unauthorised persons. It is believed that this security system
was introduced in the 1860s and ended in the 1920s being replaced
with an ’Empties Credit Note’.
Most metal detectorists have, at times, looked at the landscape whilst
in the fields and wondered how much activity had it seen over the years.
Of course a knowledge of local history and the research most detectorists
do before searching a site helps enormously. However there is one, not too
well known, but simple way to compliment this, it is by hedge dating.
Although hedges have been ruthlessly uprooted in recent times there appears
to be a more enlightened outlook now and new hedges are being planted in
some parts of the country. Often in the past hedges were used as boundaries
for counties, parishes, manors and parks, sometimes following the lines of
even older boundaries, possibly of Anglo Saxon and medieval origin.
Footpaths in fields are of more than a passing interest to the detectorist.
It is common sense that the places to look for chance losses are where people
have walked in the past. Footpaths are ideal for this because they restricted
the user to a fairly narrow usually well defined strip of ground. The width
of this strip was dictated, as a rule, by a hedge and the edge of the
crop growing in the field.
Field hedges being man made are normally in fairly straight lines, this artificial
addition to the landscape was commonly a one species planting and for other
native species to colonise the same hedgerow conditions had to be right.
A Doctor Hooper made a study of English hedgerows some years ago and concluded
that a hedgerow over a thirty yard row would naturally gain different shrubs at
the rate of one species each century. Using Doctor Hooper’s system a thirty yard
stretch of hedge is examined and the number of different species of trees
and shrubs counted, this number is then multiplied by one hundred and the
answer is a rough guide to the age of the hedge. Therefore our thirty yard
length of hedge with say ten different species growing in it is about one
thousand years old. If you are fortunate enough to detect in a field with a
hedge containing either Field Maple or Common Spindle the chances are that
it was planted in Elizabethan times or earlier. Field Maple will only colonise
a hedge when four other species are established and the Common Spindle when
there are six other species present. That would indicate that for Field Maple
to be present the hedge would have to be at least four hundred years old
and for the Common Spindle 600 years old.
This ‘rule of thumb’ dating can sometimes be wildly out if owing to the
whims of the landowner or in the terms of a lease, a mixed species hedge was originally planted.
||Come Harvest !||
Stop Press Stop Press Stop Press Stop Press
Ground Breaking News
Our intrepid undercover reporter, at great personal
risk has managed to uncover the identity of the desperados now known as the Hawton Gang. (See the
top of this page for the initial report). He
actually photographed them committing acts of wanton destruction to the
stratified layers of this field, at Hawton, Newark, Nottinghamshire,
by delving far under the plough level. It is thought they may have plans to
have the site scheduled to prevent any further investigations into their
dubious activities and so avoid responsibility for their actions. Who are they?
Why Archaeologists of course! Who else could get away with it?
Not metal detectorists, that is for sure.
Just a thought, in 500 years when a future ‘Waste of Time Team’ run out
of our bodies to dig up and excavate this site, will they interpret the
disturbed strata as post holes and record it as an early Anglo Saxon
palace or similar building of great status?
Written by John Gough