Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Welcome To Some Old Friends

The only real negative to our retirement move to Framlingham is the distance from our friends - friends who we've known for thirty, forty and even fifty years as well as my mum and brother. But on the positive side we're almost two hundred miles closer to our wonderful son and family which is an enormous plus. And another enormous plus manifested itself  this week when we welcomed friends from the short period that we lived in Kent in 1987/8. We were very close to Wyndham and Lesley Westaway when I worked in London and we relocated to Edenbridge and our children and their children got on together like a house on fire. 

They joined us here in Framlingham yesterday and we had a wonderful day with them catching up on over twenty-five years of each others' lives. We did the usual tourist visits to our town and had a good look around the castle and the church.

The sun shone brightly and showed our new home town in the very best light. Wyndham and Lesley stayed at The Crown and we joined them in the evening for another lovely meal which flew by so quickly that we had barely scraped the surface of our catch up. We are really looking forward to another get together soon.

Wyndham and Lesley headed home to Kent early today so we decided to get on our bikes and head out into the Suffolk countryside. Today was our most ambitious cycle trip to date as we headed to Aldeburgh for a light lunch by the sea.

We chose the new seafood grill at The Brudenell. We've eaten here several times and have always been very happy but today was a bit of a disaster. After waiting over fifteen minutes for our order to be taken, my meal, which was supposed to be chargrilled squid stuffed with chorizo, arrived as a squid salad with chorizo (another choice on the menu). As Marion's choice was correct I didn't want to send mine back and wait so I told the young waitress that I would have it. We ordered drinks to accompany the meal but they arrived after we had finished eating. It was a real disappointment and I can only really blame the perfectly nice but hopelessly inefficient waitress. Don't let me put you off The Brudenell - it is a very good hotel and restaurant but the service today was very poor.

We headed home via Thorpeness. We went through some beautiful countryside and cycled through some wonderful Suffolk villages and passed lots of our county's famous churches like this one, St Mary's in Benhall.

In other news I'm still making the most of the weather and the unplanted fields to get out with the metal detector and am still making a lot of nice finds. Here are some of the latest.

A wonderful local find- a 1669 half penny from a Framlingham trader. "Daniel Barnes His Half Peny"

The Other Side

A Silver Penny Edward III

More Musket Balls

Some Medieval Buttons

A Medieval Buckle

A Battered Silver Hammered Coin - Probably Tudor

A Fragment Of  A Queen Mary Coin

A Cut Half Penny From Henry III

Not Sure What This Is. Any Ideas?
We're here for another four or five weeks so there's plenty of time for more finds before we head up to Scotland.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Almost Too Many Finds

When we lived up North the local archaeologist and Finds Liaison Officer or FLO allowed me to record my metal detecting finds on the Government's Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) database. However, down here in Suffolk they have a different policy and the archaeologists like to make all the recordings themselves. I can understand their reasoning - amateurs like me have a tendency to get things wrong sometimes - but at the same time, after getting out in the fields for a few more hours this week they are going to have their work cut out to record this lot when I take it into Bury St Edmunds.

These were the one hundred and seventy bits of metal I tipped out of  the bag after the last two outings. Most of it was rubbish but there were also some really interesting finds. Photos follow.

An Edward III penny of the "Florin" type from around 1343

A Henry VI annulet issue groat minted in Calais c 1422- 1427 Sadly badly cracked by the plough.

A Henry III silver penny minted in Newcastle c1248-1250

A Medieval cut quarter penny. Virtually impossible to identify. I also found two Elizabethan pennies.

Coins were just a few of the finds. Here are some of the artefacts that turned up.

This button from around 1800 doesn't look much but the inscription is for Framlingham Loyal Volunteers. Here's what I found out about them.

And here are some more interesting bits and pieces.
A Tudor/Stuart Period Clothes Fastener
A Medieval Buckle

A Medieval Buckle Plate

A Late Medieval/ Post Medieval Thimble

A Medieval Buckle Fragment 
18/19th C Clog Clasp

A Lead Loom Or Spindle Weight
Small Lead Pieces Possibly Gaming Counters Or Coin Weights

Copper Alloy Fragment. Hand carved with Gothic script letters on both sides - possible Medieval annular brooch fragment.
I could go on but will finish today with these - I think that Andrew, the local FLO is going to be busy.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Good Life

You know life is good when the only thing to complain about is the fishmonger on Framlingham Market selling out of lobster and Leo's Deli doing the same with gazpacho. I know that we are lucky and I don't take it for granted. At the moment we've good health, we don't work and we have enough pension to enjoy ourselves so why not make the most of it. 

This week has been one of those good weeks when the sun has shone almost constantly and we've taken advantage of that sunshine with our favourite pastimes, gardening, cycling and metal detecting (not Marion). I'm going to blog about the (very successful) detecting week in another post to avoid boring those who are not interested but on the cycling front we've managed two wonderful outings.

After hearing some fellow cyclists' horror stories on holiday we invested in some mirrors last week so now we always know what is behind us without cricking our necks and we can keep an eye out for each other. The mirrors have already paid for themselves - I saw Marion hit a nasty pothole and end up on the grass verge so I could go and help her rather than ride on oblivious and wonder where she was. Fortunately the damage was just a couple of scrapes and minor bruises - pretty painful though.

We were on our way back from a wonderful ride to Orford where we enjoyed some fabulous ice cream near the castle after a coffee and sausage roll at our favourite Riverside Tearoom. It's not as upmarket as Pump St and Penny's but the views beat both and the cakes and homemade sausage rolls are delicious.

Before leaving we went to the famous Richardson's Smoke house and bought a smoked chicken. This meant that we had to cycle back at top speed to ensure it didn't get too hot on the bike.

Today we had another ride. After the thirty plus mile round trip to Orford we made it a bit shorter today and rode to English Heritage's Saxstead Mill which is just down the road.

It only opens in the summer and then just twice a week but it's a great bit of country history and beautifully maintained.

The white of the mill and blue of the sky made it very photogenic.

From the mill, we headed to Earl Soham for well earned pints of bitter and cider at the Victoria. It was our first visit to this country pub. Great beer, great place.

Tonight we've enjoyed a salad in the garden and washed it down with some of the Chablis we bought in France. 

Life is good.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Another Few Hours In The Fields

They say "Make Hay When The Sun Shines" and metal detector enthusiasts like me need to  get detecting while the crops are out. Modern farming methods are now so efficient that it can sometimes be only a day between harvesting a crop and sowing a new one. But I had some good news when one of the farmers who allows me to search told me that he would not be planting several fields again until September. So off I headed to try out the new coil I just bought for my detector. The XP Deus detector has been a wonderful machine so I doubted that buying a 2" larger diameter coil would make too much difference. Other users reviews had, however, been sufficiently encouraging for me to buy.

This was what I turned out  of my bag when I got home three hours after setting off. I had dug over ninety signals - a far higher number than I would usually expect and more than I had dug on the same field in the same time last weekend (see earlier blog)

After getting rid of the rubbish and modern scrap, this remained.

I was very pleased with the results. Here are some close ups of the more interesting finds.

This is a silver groat (fourpence) from the reign of Richard II (1377-1399). It's a rare coin and even in poor condition worth over £200 so I need to ask the landowner if he wants me to sell it or pay him half its value. I'm going to see him when I have a valuation.

The reverse is in much better condition.

This penny is dated 1571 (or 1572). The monarch is Elizabeth but it's a very worn and probably worthless coin.

This is a fragment of a cooking vessel and is probably Post Medieval (post 1485).

The lead item on the left is a spindle or loom weight which is difficult to date but can range from Roman to Post Medieval. The other item is twisted lead - perhaps a makeshift loom weight.

I can't identify this copper alloy item and will need the archaeologist's help.

This is a good little Post Medieval strap fitting.

Another mystery piece of copper alloy. A vessel handle perhaps?

A large calibre musket ball.

A Medieval buckle.

I am fairly sure that this is a fragment of a Post Medieval spur rowel.

A fragment of a Medieval jetton (sometimes used as gaming counters) and a possible silver hammered coin fragment.

A Post Medieval lead window came used for holding glass in place.

Some casket or drawer fittings. The top one is fairly modern but the bottom appears very old.

A fine Post Medieval mount with plenty of original gilding remaining.

A Medieval stud.

This button is modern (19th century) but very decorative.

A brooch or buckle fragment. Possibly Medieval.

I was so encouraged by these finds in such a short time that I gave the same field another try today.I wasn't disappointed. I haven't had time to photograph the finds yet but with another three hammered silver coins I have now found eight in the last three trips (compared to five in the whole of 2012). I'll put details on a blog soon.