Celebrating Volunteers’ Week 2020 – Meet our team


Why did I start volunteering for the PAS?

When I was volunteering at Aston Hall, I needed a volunteering role that had more flexible hours, so when an opportunity to join the PAS team came up, I went to BMAG for an interview. During the interview I failed to identify an Elizabeth I silver sixpence, despite a very obvious date and the monarch’s name on the obverse inscription. At that moment, I knew that the team would not be able to manage without me.

What period of the past most interests me?

Despite the actual horrors and turmoil of The English Civil War, the romantic image of dashing cavaliers and brutish, warty roundheads appealed to me, much like cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, and so on. Also, I think Charles I is one of the most fascinating monarchs, and the more I find out about him and his devoted queen, the more I want to learn.

Which objects most interest me?

I know very little about Archeology as a science. I suppose I enjoy objects where I recognise the historical period. The older the objects get, the harder I am able to identify with them.

Which of the finds I have recorded is my favourite?

WMID-40AF69 An almost complete magistral bulla of the Grand Master of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (also called the Knights Hospitallers), of Late Medieval to Early Post Medieval dating (AD 1462 to AD 1540). 

My favourite object is a lead magistral bulla of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller. Its history is deep and fascinating. Made from a humble and lacklustre material, it is such a powerful object in terms of its potential as an official seal. The imagery on the obverse and reverse is based on traditional beliefs and has a real elegance.

What is my favourite historical site or monument?

One place I keep returning to is the National Trust property at Baddesley Clinton, just outside Solihull. There is something about the hotchpotch building, with its enclosed courtyard, and its mixture of surface decoration. It appears to float on water rather than be surrounded by a moat. 

What are my other interests outside archaeology?

I have enjoyed arts and crafts for as long as I can remember, and have probably had a go at just about everything there is to have a go at.

My other love is music. My wife is a pianist and cellist, and my daughter is a violinist, so I am surrounded by wonderful sounds. As the non-musician in the family, I play electric guitar. I am a big fan of the blues, but, more generally, I just love the sound of an electric guitar.