Posts Tagged ‘key’

The key to the casket

September 3, 2015

Good old Norman! With over 1000 metal detector finds from the old recreation ground he could keep me in blog ideas for three years. Don’t worry. That isn’t going to happen.

If you want to see more of the finds, heaps of them, then come along to the Museum Miscellany on 3rd October at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall. One section will be about the finds Norman has made on the field.

But here is one of them and as the title of this post tells you it is the key to a casket.

The key to the casket

The key to the casket

This is an object which Norman wasn’t sure about so he took it to the finds officer at the museum in Devizes who gave him the following information.

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So we have the idea of a casket key from this and also know this is medieval. This is actually a very broad time period from about 500AD to about 1500AD. That’s 1000 years so not hugely meaningful. It covers a period from not long after the Romans left our shores, through those dark ages of Vikings Saxons and the country divided into different kingdoms, through the Norman Conquest and right up to the Tudor period.

But even with a broad date it is still a nice little item and we can picture the irritation of a person who lost it and was left with no option but to break into the casket to gain access to the contents.

And now it has a home at Market Lavington Museum as an interesting and older curio found on our former recreation ground.

A barrel lock

September 28, 2014

A short while ago we featured a barrel tap found by local metal detectorist, Norman (click here). This item set Philip’s mind working. He recalled finding a similar item when clearing his in-laws’ barn at Vicarage Farm in Easterton. It looked interesting and so he stashed it away. And now he has decided it is time this item came to the museum. It is significantly different to Norman’s find. First of all it is a bigger, chunkier item.

Barrel tap from Vicarage Farm in Easterton

Barrel tap from Vicarage Farm in Easterton

We don’t, as yet, have a date for this tap (maybe you can help us with that) but we feel it is much more modern than the tap Norman found.

The other significant difference is that the tap handle is actually a key and is not permanently attached.

The tap handle is a separate key

The tap handle is a separate key

This enabled a boss to be in charge of the distribution of drink. If we imagine harvesters out in a field, wielding their scythes then we can imagine they’d have emptied a barrel in no time. With a barrel lock the flow of drink could be controlled by the person who had the key.

He who holds the key controls the drink!

He who holds the key controls the drink!

The key is a simple, yet elegant piece of metalwork. It was designed to fit through the metal collar on top of the actual tap.

The collar is made to suit an individual key

The collar is made to suit an individual key

The collar is held in place with a simple grub screw. Perhaps an owner had more than one collar and key and could change it to defeat anybody who might make a replica key.

Thanks to Philip for another lovely item which helps to paint a picture of past rural life.

 

 

A Burial and a Key

March 12, 2013

This could almost class as archaeology. Those who have watched the TV programme Time Team will know the form. You open a trench and see what you find. Of course on Time Team a lot of preliminary work has been done and mostly they know what to expect. We are not sure what James Winchcombe, undertaker, expected when he was digging a grave in 2002 at St Mary’s, Market Lavington. This was in what gets called the old part of the graveyard and it was being re-used, so there presumably was a chance of finds.

Nothing ghoulish was found. In fact what appeared was a key – a pleasing, quite large key believed to be for a lockable chest and dating from the 19th century. After 100 plus years in the ground it was rusty.

19th century key found whilst grave digging in Market Lavington church yard

19th century key found whilst grave digging in Market Lavington church yard

If you happen to know anyone who might have lost this key – then tell them, ‘hard luck’. It is part of the Market Lavington Museum collection.

Incidentally, the person the grave was being prepared for, in 2002 was Mrs Margaret Marston, known as Betty. Margaret had been born as Margaret Beatrice Burt in 1922.