CORN-0977E6: Donnithorne bottle seal

Rights Holder: Royal Institution of Cornwall
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Unique ID: CORN-0977E6

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

Glass bottle seal, circular in plan and plano-convex in profile, with a raised border and recessed face, embossed with the letters 'TREVELLES 1729' around the coat of arms of the Donnithorne family, depicting a martlet on a rock. Nicholas Donnithorne (1669-1737) was living at the manor of Trevellas near St Agnes from the 1720s and would have been granted the coat of arms before becoming High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1731. He owned the tin mine at Polberro which is west of St Agnes and rented smelting houses at Treyew near Truro from the Enys Estate (Philip Mitchell pers comm). The mine was very successful and Thomas Tonkin (1678-1742) refers to him in his parochial manuscript on the parish of St Agnes, saying that he had 'by his industry and trade has risen a fair fortune' (Tonkin, edited by H.L Douch in JRIC Vol.VII, Part 3, 1975/6, 203). Nicholas was the father of the Reverend Isaac Donnithorne (1709-1782) who inherited Polberro Mine, which by the 1750s produced 500 tons of tin annually, at a profit of £100 per day, and employed 250 workers. The Reverend Isaac Donnithorne's success made him nationally prominent so that his portrait was painted by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), which is now in the Falmouth Art Gallery. The seal is made of dark green glass and would have been produced by pressing a metal seal into a molten blob of glass applied to the completed bottle (Hedges, 1994, 8). The bottle was likely a cylindrical bottle containing wine. At this time wine and port bottles were starting to be stored on their sides and the squat bottle was not suitable for binning so that they gradually became less dumpy and their sides more vertical so that, by 1750, they were all cylindrical (Hedges, 1994, 8).

Pascoe (1979) describes the Donnithorn coat of arms, in A Cornish Armoury, as: 'Gu. a chevron Or between three martlets Arg.' on page 36.

Hedges (1994) illustrates a similar crested-seal cyclindrical bottle on page 9, top right.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Exactly AD 1729

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 10 mm
Weight: 11.99 g
Diameter: 38 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 17th January 2013 - Thursday 17th January 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Anna Tyacke
Identified by: Ms Anna Tyacke
Secondary identifier: Mr Philip Mitchell

Materials and construction

Primary material: Glass
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: St. Agnes (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SW7351
Four figure Latitude: 50.31513
Four figure longitude: -5.189873
1:25K map: SW7351
1:10K map: SW71NW
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Agricultural or drainage work
Discovery circumstances: Found in a wheel rut about 3 inches deep in a cultivated field.
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: CORN
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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