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Archaeological finds at Well Cottage

(all picures by David Martin)


We don't know how old the old barn was where our house now sits and because it was just an old cattle barn there are no real records to help us date it either. We suspect that it dates from about the 18th or early 19th centry because it had been built or perhaps even re-built with re-used materials such as the old oak timbers. There are even two very large old railway sleepers used to form the main door frame in the gable end of the barn, these look like they are made of redwood because they are much bigger that the other old sleepers that we have seen. All we do know is that the barn and its surrounding land has probably only ever been used for agricultural purposes and was still being used as a farm right up until the late 1970's so anything lost and buried in the ground would be directly linked to its use as a farm. 

During the course of building our house and restoring the cobbled courtyard we have found a number of artifacts along the way, nothing of any real value but of historical interest to us nonetheless. We kept a cardboard box for any of these archaeological finds and with the best of intentions we would put the items in the box always intending at some point to clean them up a bit and photgraph them.....but our good intentions were never acted upon until Alison's dad David came to the rescue.


Group shots with some of the various finds

David very kindly offered to take away our cardboard box of rusty mud encrusted treasures and clean them up a bit so that we could see what the items were and photograph them for us so that we could put them on the web site, and thanks to David
here they are for all to see!



  A hand-made iron nail, this would have been made by the local blacksmith in a forge and hammerd out on his anvil.  


A 1903 half penny


The LNWR railwaymans brass tunic button

It is fair to say that the two most interesting finds were the old 1903 half penny and the LNWR brass tunic button, both of which were found litteraly sitting on the surface of the soil after we had been digging. The half penny is reasonably worn so may have been in circulation for some years before it was dropped.

We can only wonder how the brass button came to be lost, there is the small Wrenbury station just down the road which also has a manned signalbox so perhaps it was dropped by the signalman or stationmaster or it could have been a farm worker using an old railwaymans jacket that was a cast-off after they had gone out of fashion.

As well as taking all of the photographs on this page David also did a little bit of research for us into the button:
The button was made by Firmin and Sons, London {backmark], the oldest and most famous company of its kind in the world going back to Charles II.  The backmark is the only clue to it's age and I reckon it was made late 19th century in London before it moved production to Birmingham and before it became a Limited company in 1875.

The LNWR was formed in 1846 by merger of three older companies [back to the Rocket!!] The Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. This made it the largest railway company in the country. In 1923 it merged and became a part of the LMS.  So today it is actually an ancestor of The West Coast Line of Richard Branson !!



 An old squashed cow bell and tiny horse shoe
(we have found two these tiny horses shoes now, both the same size)


Two axe heads, the one on the left is older


An old imperial guage spanner, a nut with a sheared bolt poking out of it and a large washer. When we found the spanner it still had the nut sat in position its jaw as it had been left.



An assortment of items from the left, an old pivot hinge, a blade, corners of a metal drain, a long spike and a thick nail.