Medieval thimble found in Bridgnorth declared as treasure

By Jonny Drury | News | Published:

A rare post medieval silver thimble discovered on land in south Bridgnorth has been declared treasure by a coroner.

On June 8, 2017, metal detectorists discovered the thimble, which dates back to the 17th century, and the item was declared as treasure by Shropshire Coroner John Ellery at an inquest at Shirehall on Thursday, January 31.

Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire Peter Reavill explained that the the decorated thimble dates to the mid-17th century and is formed from rolled silver sheet.

It includes a zig zag pattern and had a short inscription that stated: "FEARE GOD" in block capital letters.

Mr Reavill said: "The thimble can be dated to the 17th century on the basis of style, spelling and the form of the seriffed capital letters, a form popular in the 1650s.

"The motto can be paralleled against other later 17th century silver artefacts including thimbles and posy rings.

"Thimbles with waffle-shaped indentations and religious mottoes are typical of the Commonwealth period (AD 1649-1660). Small objects such as rings and thimbles often bore improving mottoes such as 'Feare God', 'Labour is profitable' or Worcke is profitable."

In his report, Mr Reavill said Dora Thornton, a former curator at the British Museum had noted the items were used to nobility and gentry and were often donated by women on the parliamentary side to be melted down during the English civil war.

She also stated thimbles of this date are now rare discoveries, and were important from Holland to England in large numbers at one stage.

Mr Ellery declared it was more than 10 per cent silver and was 300 years old, which meant it qualified as treasure.

The pieces will now be valued, and the Shropshire Museum Service and Bridgnorth's Northgate Museum will be given the option to acquire them.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.


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