Rare ancient thimble found in Ribble Valley

Lancashire Telegraph: A thimble similar to the one found on the farm A thimble similar to the one found on the farm

A RARE ancient silver thimble has been discovered in the Ribble Valley.

The piece of treasure was unearthed in June by 33-year-old Dan Wrathall, and is thought to date back to around 1577.

Yesterday at a Treasure Trove inquest Mr Wrathall, who works as a quality controller at Hanson Cement, told how he was metal-detecting on his father John Wrathall’s farm in West Bradford when he found the thimble.

It is described as a ‘post-medieval elongated silver thimble’ and is thought to date back to between 1520 and 1620, but a very similar item in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is thought to have been made in 1577.

The silver thimble, which measures 30mm long by 18mm wide and weighs 4.46g, is indentented with square hand-punched marks, and is decorated with a flower motif - possibly a rose.

It also has a band around the outside, is stamped with a maker’s mark, and is thought to have been made in Nuremberg in Germany.

The inquest at Ribble Valley coroner’s court heard that because the thimble was more than 300-years-old and more than 10 per cent of it was made up of precious metals it was being declared treasure, and would be retained by the Crown if it was significant.

The thimble was described as a ‘potentially important find’, because there are only four in existence that are known to the British Museum, and as such it would most likely be kept by the Crown.

Mr Wrathall was told that he would be compensated for his find if the thimble was kept by the museum, as would his father who owned the land.

Speaking after the inquest he said: “I didn’t know what it was until I found out a bit more about it. I don’t think it will have much value, but it was nice to find it and for it to go into a museum.”

Comments (3)

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11:45am Thu 19 Dec 13

woolywords says...

So the finder can't keep it, neither the owner of the land. It's not to be returned to Germany but instead to be kept by the Crown. It's so obviously a lost item and not buried treasure, since it was not found as part an hoard.
It's truly nice to know that the Medieval traditions of the Robber Barons are still alive and well in this land!
So the finder can't keep it, neither the owner of the land. It's not to be returned to Germany but instead to be kept by the Crown. It's so obviously a lost item and not buried treasure, since it was not found as part an hoard. It's truly nice to know that the Medieval traditions of the Robber Barons are still alive and well in this land! woolywords

1:05pm Thu 19 Dec 13

rudis_dad says...

woolywords wrote:
So the finder can't keep it, neither the owner of the land. It's not to be returned to Germany but instead to be kept by the Crown. It's so obviously a lost item and not buried treasure, since it was not found as part an hoard.
It's truly nice to know that the Medieval traditions of the Robber Barons are still alive and well in this land!
Good to know that you're so well up in the law regarding the discovery of items like this - under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996, any item which is not a coin, which is 300 years old or more and contains 10% precious metals or more becomes Crown property by default, regardless of whether it was concealed deliberately or was lost. It is an offence not to notify the coroner of any such find within 14 days. The coroner will hold an inquest into the discovery, but does not have the legal ability to determine ownership. This has to be decided by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who also decides upon the value of the find and whether or not a reward or compensation is to be paid to the discoverer. The old "treasure trove" laws are no longer valid.
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: So the finder can't keep it, neither the owner of the land. It's not to be returned to Germany but instead to be kept by the Crown. It's so obviously a lost item and not buried treasure, since it was not found as part an hoard. It's truly nice to know that the Medieval traditions of the Robber Barons are still alive and well in this land![/p][/quote]Good to know that you're so well up in the law regarding the discovery of items like this - under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996, any item which is not a coin, which is 300 years old or more and contains 10% precious metals or more becomes Crown property by default, regardless of whether it was concealed deliberately or was lost. It is an offence not to notify the coroner of any such find within 14 days. The coroner will hold an inquest into the discovery, but does not have the legal ability to determine ownership. This has to be decided by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who also decides upon the value of the find and whether or not a reward or compensation is to be paid to the discoverer. The old "treasure trove" laws are no longer valid. rudis_dad

4:50pm Thu 19 Dec 13

woolywords says...

I defer to your knowledge of the law but my comment about the Robber Barons still stands. Although I did want to write, what about 'finders keepers, loser weepers' but thought better of it, as I was sure that was only the playground rules and not law of the land.
I defer to your knowledge of the law but my comment about the Robber Barons still stands. Although I did want to write, what about 'finders keepers, loser weepers' but thought better of it, as I was sure that was only the playground rules and not law of the land. woolywords

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