WILT-D87451: Medieval steelyard weight

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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Unique ID: WILT-D87451

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

A fragment of Medieval (c.1272-1350) copper alloy shell from a globular steelyard weight, consisting of just less than half the surface area and missing its lead core. It measures 60.02mm in diameter and stands 47.72mm high, and weighs 90.3g. Its thickness at the top is 4.16mm and at the (old) breaks 1.70mm.

Part of the flat top is present with the end of the loop, now flattened. The top would have originally been c.35mm in diameter. The loop is 7.20mm thick.

Below, the surface is plain with the remains of two shields in relief (there would have originally been three). The top halves only of these shields remain. They are triangular in shape with a slight curve to the long edges. One shield depicts a lion rampant, the arms of Poitou and also for Edmund, Earl of Cornwall. The second is worn and with areas of ?iron concretion, but probably depicts the double-headed eagle, arms of the Hansa merchants and Imperial arms indicating that the user was symbolically 'King of the Romans'.

The missing third shield may have depicted the arms of England (three lions) or the arms of de Clare (three chevrons). Edmund married Margaret de Clare in 1272.

Steelyard weights would have been made by Edmund on behalf of the king, and it may be that Edmund had a monopoly on their production, given the prevalence of his heraldry on those known. Edmund died in 1300 and the use of steelyards banned in 1350, so this weight is likely to date between 1272 and 1300/ 1350. Copies of steelyard weights were also made. The plain surface (with lack of a frieze below the flat top) suggests this may be a copy. Copies are also indicated by incised decoration instead of relief, and often had unrecognisable or fictional arms.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1272
Date to: Circa AD 1350

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 47.72 mm
Thickness: 4.16 mm
Weight: 90.3 g
Diameter: 60.02 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 25th August 2010 - Wednesday 29th September 2010

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Mr David Algar

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Chippenham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 8 years ago

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