Five silver spoons

Medieval, 14th century AD
Found at Abberley, Worcestershire, England

In 1964 part of the nave of St Michael's Church, Abberley was demolished. These five silver spoons were found concealed in the north wall. They all have diamond-point finials, though not identical, and three retain traces of their original gilding.

Who hid the spoons in the wall and why? When found, the nature of the hoard - the first to consist solely of medieval spoons -and the hiding place were both unusual. They had not been concealed in a hurry. Sealing an object within a wall is a much more time-consuming task than burying it in the ground. The main reasons for concealing treasure in the Middle Ages were civil unrest or invasion, dangers which generally required hasty action. An opportunity for the spoons to be placed in the wall occurred in the fifteenth century when a window was inserted. However, there is still no obvious reason for the concealment. It has been suggested that the spoons may have been a votive offering at a time of structural change in the church.

Crude ownership marks on the back and front suggest that the spoons may have belonged to different people at different times. On the front of four of the spoons a rough shield appears at the junction of the bowl with the stem. This device might denote ownership by John Normanton, Rector of Abberley from 1437 to 1447. Given his late dates and the earlier date of the spoons, it is likely that they had more than one owner.

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More information

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Dimensions

Length: 14.800 cm
Length: 14.800 cm
Length: 14.800 cm
Length: 14.800 cm
Length: 14.800 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1965,7-5,1-5

MCM3593;MCM2585;MCM2594;MCM2588;MCM2606

Treasure Trove

Location

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