WMID-E2F5A2: Medieval harness pendant (front, profile, reverse)

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Unique ID: WMID-E2F5A2

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete copper alloy medieval harness pendant. The pendant is shield shaped – with a broadly flat top and curved sides which converge to a pointed base. The pendant has a suspension loop at its apex, at 90 degrees to the plane of the pendant. The front of the pendant depicts an owl facing, with its body side on (cf. London Museum Catalogue, 1940, Plate XVIII, pendant 4). The owl is formed from cream coloured enamel. Grooves highlight the eyes, beak and wing; it is unclear if these were enamelled. Blue enamel remains on the legs, and to a lesser degree, also on the feet. The pendant otherwise has a brown green surface. The pendant measures 46.1mm from the suspension loop to the pointed base, and is 28.0mm wide. It weighs 15.10 grams. In “the Medieval Horse and its Equipment” (2004, Clarke (ed.)), Griffiths (p62) states that pendants would have been suspended from horse harnesses by means of small mounts riveted to the straps (e.g. see record WMID-91E942, and for a complete mount and pendant, see record SWYOR-17FA58). He also points out that although pendants and mounts were copper alloy, the pin that held the two together was usually iron, and with movement, the loop of the pendant frequently wore through. Griffiths concludes: “It is no surprise, therefore, that most pendants occur as isolated finds.” (p62) Based on the large number of pendants more recently available for study, Griffiths (1986, cited in Clarke, 2004, p62) states that horse harnesses appear to have been decorated with copper alloy pendants from the 12th century onwards, becoming more numerous in the 13th century. From perhaps the second half of the 13th century heraldric designs appear on pendants, with coats of arms depicted with coloured enamels, silvering, and gilding, and increasingly in the form of small shields. By the end of the 14th century, pendants were in decline with fashions changing to decorative leather or fabric trappings. Based on this work by Griffith’s (1986), it is likely that the pendant described in this record can be dated to circa 1250 – 1400.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Date from: AD 1250
Date to: AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 46.1 mm
Width: 28 mm
Weight: 15.1 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 4th September 2007

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Duncan Slarke
Identified by: Mr Duncan Slarke

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Staffordshire (County)
District: South Staffordshire (District)
Parish or ward: Lapley, Stretton and Wheaton Aston (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SJ8409
Four figure Latitude: 52.67846
Four figure longitude: -2.238088
1:25K map: SJ8409
1:10K map: SJ80NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WMID
Created: Wednesday 16th January 2008
Updated: Thursday 24th February 2011

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