Lamp Hangers

Introduction

A group of similar copper-alloy holders with a three-branched base are thought to be likely medieval lamp suspenders.  The three lower arms are equally spaced and each is perforated at the end to hold a chain (see Egan 2010 (1998), 131; fig. 99).  They are attached to a central arm which travels upwards; this is also perforated at its end, presumably for suspension.  The role of a fifth loop, central on the underside, is unclear.  Such an object could also have been used for the suspension of ecclesiastical censers: examples have been found at St Peter’s church, Guestwick, Norfolk (Williams in Rogerson et al. 1987, 73; fig. 50, no. 2) and the Norwich Greyfriars (Huddle in Emery 2007, 153; fig. 5.47, no. SF28).  At present, we are grouping these objects as lamp hangers for ease of retrieval.

A slightly different form can be found illustrated by Read (2016, 129, 132; no. 902).  This has an openwork circular base and four suspension loops (see Examples).

PAS object type to be used

Use LAMP HANGER

Date

One of these branched holders was found in a London context dated to c. 1350-1400 (Egan 2010 (1998), 131; no. 356).  The excavated examples mentioned in the introduction lack firm dating evidence; such objects tend to be dated to the 14th century, though there is nothing diagnostic about their form that would place them solely in this century.

Examples

Medieval lamp hangers (GLO-6B21B4, left; KENT-53768C, right). Copyright: Bristol City Council; Kent County Council; CC-BY licence)
Medieval lamp hangers (GLO-6B21B4, left; KENT-53768C, right). Copyright: Bristol City Council; Kent County Council; CC-BY licence)

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Key references

Egan 2010 (1998)

Read 2016