Yearbook 2005

Ashwell yearbook 2005 museum report

By Peter Greener

From the Ashwell Village Museum for inclusion in the 2005 Yearbook.

 

The museum is the repository of all things related to Ashwell which we preserve for future generations and make available to enjoy now. We have large collections of photographs and documents, which we are unable to display but can be called upon to answer the most unusual questions.  If you have any queries or would just like to see what’s going on do drop in. As well as the usual opening times we are often open on Monday evenings and Thursday afternoons when you are most welcome.   

 

 

We have had two unexpected discoveries this year, one by a metal detectorist and the other something that has been in the museum since it was founded.

 

A 15th century silver-gilt finger-ring was found in the locality by metal detectorists, who reported it to the authorities. The bezel is formed by two clasped hands and the hoop is engraved with I H : U + N A  Z A R  which means Jesus of Nazareth. It was declared as Treasure Trove and became the property of the crown who offered it to us as the nearest museum. A generous grant from the Hertfordshire Heritage Fund made it possible for us to purchase it for the museum. It is important to our collection as we have very few items from the 15th century.

 

A visitor to the museum spotted our sundial, which was given to the museum by Dr Woodforde in the 1920’s. He realised that it was made by Elias Allen, who is known as the father of scientific instrument makers in England. It dates from about 1630 and there are very few examples of his work surviving. So now it has been removed from the nail it has hung on for the last 70 years and has been placed in a glass cabinet.

 

This has prompted us to bring out all the timepieces in the collection for the next special exhibition – Marking Time in Ashwell – And they do make an impressive display.

 

Many thanks must go to the Ashwell Mummers for suggesting and erecting an exhibition of their costumes along with quizzes and photographs. Although it started in the summer we had Father Christmas, a dragon, knights, doctors and devils disturbing the peace of the museum. Here is an Ashwell tradition in the making – long may it carry on. This is exactly the thing we want for our temporary exhibitions so if there are any other organisations out there with something interesting to celebrate we may be able to offer some space.

 

 

The museum is run entirely by volunteers and thanks must go to all who have helped run it throughout the year especially to the Friends, to the WI ladies for keeping it clean, to the curatorial helpers and of course to the Tearooms for tea and cakes.

 

 

Peter Greener    Hon Curator    742956

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