Local History Unearthed

Graham Gislam, 18 September 2018

Graham does metal detecting. He brought in a dozen of his finds from Martham and around. Set them out on tables and set us a test. What were they and which was the oldest? All this to be done whilst we were concentrating on tea and biscuits.

My favourite – a pastry cutter from the 18th C. I called it a mini pizza cutter as that was what it looked like – and the little slightly serrated wheel still went round. Many thought it was a spur. Included was a bouncing cannon ball from the Civil War, a Roman apothecary spoon (the oldest). Also a James II “gun money” token coin with which he paid his soldiers. If he won, he replaced them with silver. He lost! And also a sheep’s bell from any time between the late medieval period and the 19th century.  Crotal bells were worn around farm animals' necks to aid the whereabouts of the livestock in poor visibility.  They were common here and manufactured by hand perhaps locally.  It still rang.  Richard Hems scored 10, and won.

Noel Mitchell

Crotal bell

[Above: Crotal bell from 15th-17thC (ebay)]
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