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Tudor Treasure found on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge

16/05/22
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'Tudor Treasure' has been found right here on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge.

Bolesworth Estate, one our our principal partners, had given permission to a detectorist to hone his skills on land owned by the Estate.

And what did our detectorist unearth — nothing less than 'a post-medieval dress hook' which likely dates from around the Tudor period.

Such finds require a Curator's Report together with an Inquest (at which the Coroner makes a conclusion), and all of which are accompanied with written statements and submissions from our detectorist and from Nina Barbour (Managing Director and Landowner) at Bolesworth Estate.

The record of the Treasurer's Inquest, concluded that the find was 'a complete silver dress hook dated to the post-medieval period (c.AD 1450-1500)'.

Documentary evidence suggests that dress hooks such as this example were:

  • often owned in pairs
  • used to draw up skirts, either to keep them out of the muck of the street or to display the rich fabric of the garment beneath
  • used to fasten garments, or
  • simply used as decoration

This particular artefact, which takes the form of a complete cast silver and gold dress hook, measures approximately 2.5 cms x 1.5 cms. The object comprises '... openwork, moulded relief circular plate that is in the form of a love-heart in the centre which is surrounded by a floral wreath made up of five flowers, probably roses, spaced equidistantly apart with foliage between. A rectangular attachment loop extends from the upper edge of the wreath. Extending from the lower edge of the wreath is a circular sectioned hook with a pointed terminal curve ...'

An example of such a hook is shown in the drawing of a young Englishwoman, probably a merchant's wife, by Hans Holbein the Younger (the drawing shown is dated to the late 1520s-30s so represents a reasonable fit in terms of this find).

If hooks could talk!!

A wonderful local history find right here on the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. Importantly, the dress hook has now been donated by the Bolesworth Estate to the Grosvenor Museum but is being included in an Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery this summer and will be in a large display case in the entrance atrium. The display is free to see and will be in the large case in the entrance atrium. For the full exhibition on the Tudors CLICK HERE and which will highlight archaeology of the Tudor period in Merseyside and Cheshire.

Please note:

Anyone wishing to search for archaeological objects on someone else's land must have sought the landowner's permission first. This should come from the landowner directly, but where the tenant is approached he/she will need to seek authority from the landowner.

Click on each image to enlarge.