LANCUM-18F154: Post-medieval elongated silver thimble dating to the 17th century AD.

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Unique ID: LANCUM-18F154

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Post-medieval elongated silver thimble dating to the 17th century AD. The thimble is complete constructed from a sheet of silver soldered along the edges with the side seam clearly visible attached to a separate domed top soldered to the almost straight sides. A plain band runs around the top of the body of the thimble separating the dome. Ten evenly spaced circular motifs are stamped immediately above this upper band. The body and most of the dome is punched with square indentations, giving a 'waffle' effect and decorated with oval shaped bands possibly representing strap work conjoined with smaller round bands decorated with what appears to be a flower motif possibly a rose. Below one of the round bands is a motif possibly a makers mark comprised of fronds that could be representing a stylised tree. This mark is located immediately above two raised circumferential lines demarking the base of the thimble. The lower part of the thimble between the circumferential lines is undecorated and the upper bands delineate an abstract design of what appears to be commas and rectangles. This abstract design and possible makers mark of a stylised tree are reminiscent of Nuremburg styled thimbles and it could originate from there. The length is 30mm, the width is 18mm thickness 18mm and the weight is 4.46g.

Silver thimbles were used increasingly by the European nobility and gentry during the 17th Century but surviving examples are rare given that thimbles were much used and, when worn, were likely to have been melted down for their bullion value. In England, silver thimbles are documented as having been donated by women on the Parliamentary side to be melted down during the Civil War. Even later 17th Century English silver thimbles are rare, with few pieces in the national collections in The British Museum and the Museum of London. They are distinctive for their strapwork designs.

The thimble shares similarities with NMS-257D33 treasure case 2012T794, NARC-A80562 treasure case 2011T473 and with LON-396407 which has been dated to between AD1520-1620, probably from Nuremberg, which is similar to another example of a silver thimble with a similar hunting scene which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art accession no 10.135.3 it is dated 1577 and is also probably from Nuremberg, Germany. The style of the two thimbles is very similar although the precise detail of the decoration is different. Holmes (1988: 3) writes that thimbles with hand-punched indentations often have a maker's mark which is struck where the spiral of indentations begins near the base. These would appear to have been imported mostly from Nuremberg, under the ordinances of the Guild of Thimble makers, all thimbles and sewing rings were required to carry the mark of the master who made them. Thimbles with makers' marks normally date from 1520-1620.


Darch,E (2012) NMS-257D33. A POST MEDIEVAL THIMBLE Webpage available at:

Cassidy, J. (2011) NARC-A80562. A POST MEDIEVAL THIMBLE Webpage available at:

Holmes, E. 1988. Sewing Thimbles. Datasheet 9. Finds Research Group 700-1700 Datasbeets 1-24. 1985-1998. Reprographic Unit, University of Oxford

Summnal. K. (2012) LON-396407. A POST MEDIEVAL THIMBLE Webpage available at:


Metal Content:
The precious metal content (silver) of the thimble fulfils the requirements of the Treasure Act in that it is greater than 10%.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Museum of Lancashire
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2013T384


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Middle
Date from: Circa AD 1600
Date to: Circa AD 1700

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 30 mm
Width: 18 mm
Thickness: 18 mm
Weight: 4.46 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 17th June 2013 - Monday 17th June 2013

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2013T384
Museum accession number: LANMS.2018.1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lancashire (County)
District: Ribble Valley (District)
To be known as: Ribble Valley

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Museum of Lancashire
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Minimal cultivation

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Holmes, E.F. 1988 Sewing Thimbles Finds Research Group 700-1700 Datasheet 9 1-24

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: 9 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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