Unique ID: LVPL-C015E2

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find waiting to be validated

Cast lead ampulla dating to the Medieval period, (1100-1500). The bowl is semi-circular and the neck is rectangular in cross-section. The mouth of the object is closed but has been damaged. The handles which would have connected the neck of the object to the body have broken away with just a small protrusion remaining on one side. One surface of the ampulla is decorated with a cross-hatch design above which is a worn crown. Some possible cross hatching is visible on the opposite face however the design is too worn to identify. Above the worn cross-hatching on one side is a large oval hole where some of the neck is missing. It has a light white patina.

Brian Spencer, formerly Senior Keeper at the Museum of London, who made a life-time study of ampullae, has written: 'Ampullae or miniature phials were an important kind of souvenir. Generally flask-shaped, but with a narrow, flattish section, they were designed to contain a dose of the thaumaturgic water that was dispensed to pilgrims at many shrines and holy wells. Ampullae were made of tin or lead or tin-lead alloy and were provided with a pair of handles or loops so that they could be suspended from a cord or chain around the wearer's neck. Coming into use in the last quarter of the twelfth century, they were, in England, almost the only kind of pilgrim souvenir to be had during the thirteenth century. They were nevertheless available at a number of shrines, and thanks to returning pilgrims or to local entrepreneurs, probably featured as secondary relics in virtually every thirteenth-century English parish church.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1150
Date to: Circa AD 1250

Dimensions and weight

Length: 48.82 mm
Width: 30.48 mm
Thickness: 7.66 mm
Weight: 30.3 g
Quantity: 1

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 1st November 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Vanessa Oakden - [ view all attributed records]
Identified by: Ms Vanessa Oakden - [view all attributed records]

Other reference numbers

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Manufacture method: Cast [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Completeness: Incomplete [scope notes | view all attributed records]

A resized image of Medieval ampulla

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY-SA licence (unless stated otherwise).

Spatial metadata

Region: North West
County: Cheshire East
District: Cheshire East
To be known as: Gawsworth

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector [scope notes]
General landuse: Cultivated land[scope notes]
Specific landuse: Character undetermined[scope notes]

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Created: Friday 3rd February 2012
Updated: Monday 6th February 2012

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