North Devon in 100 Objects 61

61. Wooden Water Pipes These unprepossessing lengths of wood are remnants of Barnstaple’s first piped water supply from the late 17th century. They were dug up around 1900 in Joy Street. As with most towns, poor sanitation in Barnstaple combined with a growing population to make the town increasingly smelly and unhealthy.  In 1698 an … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 61

North Devon in 100 Objects 66

66. Tom Faggus's Gun This 18th century gun is reputed to have belonged to Tom Faggus, North Devon’s local highwayman. The gun, which is 167 cm (about 5 ft 6) long, is a flintlock which would have been muzzle loaded with black powder and a single ball. The powder was ignited by a spark struck … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 66

North Devon in 100 Objects 71

71. John Gay's Chair This leather chair with hinged writing-ledge and inkwell is a 19th century copy of a chair believed to have been used by John Gay (the original is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London).  John Gay is Barnstaple’s most famous literary figure, now remembered for The Beggar’s Opera, written in … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 71

North Devon in 100 Objects 76

76. Barnstaple from Sticklepath A favourite item from the Athenaeum collections and one that rewards close examination is this 18th Century oil painting of Barnstaple, Pilton and surrounding area. The view is by an unknown artist, and probably dates from the 1730s. Two spires are to be seen within the town belonging to the Church … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 76

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80. The West Down Inscribed Stone This stone was found in 2104 by a teenager, Jack Lawrence, lying in a cottage garden in West Down.  It bears a single inscription GUERNGENI, identifying it as a memorial to a Celtic Briton named Gwerngen.       Found throughout Cornwall and Devon, these memorial stones from the fifth to eighth … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 80

North Devon in 100 Objects 81

81. The Huguenot Table Carpet This table carpet was created in 1761 and is attributed to Jean Ulrich Passavant, a Huguenot from Strasbourg.  It depicts the Barnstaple coat of arms and the name of the Mayor, Monier Roch, himself a Huguenot.  The Huguenots were noted for their skill in textile manufacture, especially in establishing the … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 81

North Devon in 100 Objects 89

89. A Barnstaple Penny This 11th century silver penny was produced by the Barnstaple mint during the reign of Cnut (AD 1017-1035) – otherwise known as King Canute. In the Saxon period there were authorised mints throughout the country; in Devon there were mints at Exeter, Totnes, Lydford and Barnstaple. The earliest known coin from … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 89

North Devon in 100 Objects 90

90. The Harvest Jug This spectacular jug celebrates the peak of traditional North Devon pottery making.  It was mended with metal staples at some time in the past, so was clearly a precious possession. Fragments of decorated North Devon pottery are a common find throughout South-West England and are found as far away as the … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 90

North Devon in 100 Objects 95

95. A Pilgrim's Ampulla Pilgrim’s ampullae are small leaden flasks which were bought by early medieval pilgrims visiting a saint’s shrine. In the ampulla they carried away a drop of water from the shrine or a drop of oil, in the hope that some degree of sanctity would be imparted to them. Pilgrims would sew … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 95

North Devon in 100 Objects 96

96. Mr and Mrs Rendle These rather primitive paintings are a bit of a mystery. 18th century in style, they are not the work of the kind of professional painter who was making portraits of Barnstaple’s mayors at that time.  They are catalogued as “Mr and Mrs Rendle, who founded Barnstaple’s first bank”. Mrs. Rendle … Continue reading North Devon in 100 Objects 96