A Most Unusual Bell

An Unusual Bell

My good friend Steve unearthed this rather unusual bell the other day. The field he found it in was full of flints and so, naturally, the artifact had suffered a little, along with being slightly crushed. When you’re metal detecting you tend to come across a wide variety of bells. From tiny Roman temple ones, open cut out late Roman ones, Rumblers, Crotals, Clappers and sometimes large fragments of local bell casting alloys – there’s a huge range of potential finds.

However, this one was a tad unusual as due to its excessive open work style it probably wouldn’t have tinkled that well but sort of made a dull clattering sound. Its style – copper alloy and traces of a rich, thick golden gilding – appeared to make it Mediaeval, with a hint of late Norman. Other finds made locally would also indicate that it might have a Norman leaning. It had what looked to be a simple Fleur de Lis marking on one side of the loop lug at the top and a cross on the other side.

We would like to hear from any other detectorists who may have found similar bells. If a bell is what it is (we suspect so, as there was a rusty desiccating lump of iron in the middle, which has since migrated out). It is interesting to think about where it came from – perhaps it once dully clattered whilst being suspended from a horse harness. One curious thing we noticed about it is that if someone found just the suspension loop at the top it would be very easy to think it was a small Medieval buckle minus its pin.

About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

3 Responses to A Most Unusual Bell

  1. Philip elliott. says:

    Very good blog and an interesting piont about missing the bell part you would have thought it was a buckle without a pin,how many of us may have made that mistake jules.

  2. Julian Evan-Hart says:

    Thankyou Phil for your kind words re the blog I do enjoy writing these. Now the artefact in question has recently been identified as part of a large Mediaeval lead swivel. Smaller examples have been found that relate to hound leads etc. Quite what the corroded iron “pea” was inside it Im not sure. It does seem that after it had been broken it was in fact re-used as a bell or clapper just another one of those mysteries lol that our great hobby keeps posing…all the very best Jules.

  3. kev williams says:

    I reckon its a swivel jules ! I found a complete one very similar last year, I’ll show you some pics when i see ya next

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