ESS-728703: Post Medieval vervel

Rights Holder: Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service
CC License:

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Unique ID: ESS-728703

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Silver vervel or 'hawking ring', dating to the Post Medieval period. The ring is circular in plan and broadly 'D' shaped in section with a flat outer face and bevelled inner surface, creating a curved face. The outer face is inscribed '*Layer de la haye . in . Essex'.

Dimensions (main section): 9.3mm diameter, 0.67g weight

Discussion: Hawking rings were attached to the leather jesses or thongs on hawks' legs and provided a point of attachment by which the bird could be fixed to a block or given room to fly on a leash. The rings often bear an inscription identifying the owner and their place of residence. It is assumed that the bird which lost this vervel would have been carrying another featuring the owner's name.

The form and style of writing on the vervel indicate a late 16th to mid-17th century date. The inscription here obviously indicates that the owner of the bird which lost this vervel resided in Layer de la Haye and according to the information provided by the finder, the vervel was found in close proximity to Layer Hall Farm. Layer Hall is on the site of the former Manor of Layer-de-la-Haye. In the 16th century it was occupied by the Tey family, who had owned the manor for almost 200 years. In 1594, Thomas Tey sold the manor to Peter Bettenson, and the Bettenson family maintained residence until 1734.

It would seem likely that the vervel belonged to a bird owned by the Teys or the Bettensons, but without more evidence, one cannot be sure.

Vervels of similar form, declared Treasure and found on the PAS database: SUR-02A7B4 (2012 T347) and ESS-BE1B12 (2011 T309).


The object contains a minimum of 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old. Consequently it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2014T174


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 0.67 g
Diameter: 9.3 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st March 2014

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Katie Marsden
Identified by: Mr Ian Richardson
Secondary identifier: Miss Katie Marsden

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2014T174

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Colchester (District)
To be known as: South Colchester Area

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: ESS
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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