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10. The Instow Communion Cup In the museum we look after a number of church communion cups dating from the late 16th century.  Many of them are rather similar:  a “decent” Protestant communion cup in a conical shape with a foot and a band of simple ornament.   But they vary quite a lot in size.  … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 10

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15. The Barnstaple Balloting Pots These two pots were once used to elect the Mayor and Aldermen of Barnstaple Borough. Although they look ceramic, they are actually made of wood (see the woodworm holes!) and were first recorded in use in 1556. Elizabethan Barnstaple was a prosperous and fast-growing town and borough with a thriving … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 15

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20. The Landkey Parish Table For 400 years representatives of Landkey parish would have sat and deliberated (uncomfortably) at this long table.  It is one of only two parish room tables from the 16th or 17th century known in Devon and is an exceptional example of the workmanship of West Country craftsmen. The earliest long … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 20

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25. Barnstaple's Silver Spoons The first Barnstaple-made silver spoons appeared in the 16th Century. At that time      Barnstaple was a market town, wool centre and port, whose merchants were sending ships to Europe and the New World.  For example, Richard Dodderidge owned a 100-ton prize-ship named Prudence, a privateer effectively engaged in licenced piracy. She had … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 25

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31. The Abbott Overmantel This plaster overmantel was created around 1620, by John Abbott the Elder, of Frithelstock, a member of the celebrated North Devon family of plasterers. It shows the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the son of God.   Although the scene is biblical … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 31

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36. The Barnstaple Pottery Kiln The largest artefact in the Museum, and the most evocative of life in seventeenth century Barnstaple, is the pottery kiln excavated in 1987 on the site of the future library. The remains found on the library site were intact enough to be lifted and rebuilt in the Museum, where a … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 36

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41. John Webber's Token This tiny copper alloy token has many stories to tell, of economics, manufacturing and local history 17th Century tokens were the first genuine trade tokens to appear in this country. The failure of parliament to provide sufficient small denomination coinage drove desperate traders to issue their own. Anyone with a reputation and … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 41

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46. The Buckland Brewer Tiles You can still see tiles like this built into the floors of some North Devon churches.  This one was removed from Buckland Brewer Church.  The potters in the Barnstaple-Bideford area of North Devon had started making tiles like this by the 17th century, with designs raised in relief above a … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 46

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51. A Civil War Bandolier Bandoliers are a type of pocketed belt designed to hold ammunition. These 17th-century examples may have been used by North Devon soldiers fighting in the English Civil War. In Barnstaple, the majority supported the Parliamentarian cause. In August 1642, when Charles I officially declared war on the ‘rebel’ Roundheads, Barnstaple … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 51

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56. A Dissenter's Portrait During the Civil War the town of Barnstaple supported Parliament rather than the king, in contrast to more rural areas. In 1662, after his restoration to the throne, King Charles II passed the Act of Uniformity, which made it illegal to worship outside of the Church of England. Many people objected … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 56