Feniton History Group 23rd meeting

On Thursday 15th Sept. 14 members, plus 2 visitors from Talaton met in the Nog Inn to hear Graeme tell us about his metal detector finds in East Devon. Apologies from Geoff, who is not so well, get well soon m’dear.

Graeme, aided by Ruth, set up a display of his collection on the pool table for us to handle and ask him about.

The talk started with the earliest finds, flint tools, Neolithic, some 4,500 years old. This gives you a picture of folk going about their daily tasks and working hides and taking meat from a kill.

Bronze age finds from around the hut circles found by the A30 when the new road was put through, 3,500 years old.

A gouge or chisel, it would have had a wooden handle.

Fenny Bridges, where the Battle took place in 1549 a sword scabbard chape.

Lead shot. Lead oil ampulas sold at fairs to take as an offering to a sacred site or relic.

This is fascinating and something to research further, the possibility of a site of a trading fair at Fairmile. Graeme has unearthed trading weights and coins covering the period c.1200 to 1500. The name of the hamlet may be a clue? But the local thought of the origin of the name is “A fair mile to Ottery”

Love tokens, bent coins that match, under a tree, where the owner took rest, lost his purse, which had rotted and left the coins, shillings, Charles II, William III, and Queen Anne 1711.

Beautiful Victorian silver thimbles, some damaged, perhaps thrown onto the midden. Buttons, buckles, and many brass fittings from horse harness. A stem from a clay pipe. Pottery shards. Coins.

To bring it up to date, a tray of bangles and rings found on the site at Escot after the “Beautiful Days” music event. Difficult site to work on, lots of can pull rings!!

Graeme explained that it is a back breaking hobby, cold in winter!! You need to know your detector well and learn it’s responses, you don’t want to spend all day digging up nails and horse shoes. As you walk the fields, with the land owner’s permission please, you can attune your eye to the flint tools and pottery. After rain you will find the soil washed off bringing the items to light.  The soil conditions and modern farming, ploughing and fertilizers will all affect old metals laying in the soil, some may rot away, others are preserved.   Like the bearded axe found the other side of Honiton.

Some of the items found are often eight or more inches down, this being due to the build up of soil through decay, erosion and build up through the centuries.

If you would like to see photos please look on YouTube   http://www.youtube.com/user/1973itsme

Items over 300 years old made of precious metals are recognised as Treasure Trove and need to be passed to a Museum who will direct the find to the Coroner. There is a Portable Antiquities Scheme.  http://finds.org.uk/

The Group would like to take this opportunity to thank Graeme and Ruth most sincerely for  giving this insight in to the soil under our feet.