BUC-1A3216: Medieval stirrup

Rights Holder: Buckinghamshire County Museum
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Unique ID: BUC-1A3216

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A cast copper-alloy medieval stirrup, damaged, but intact, of c. 14th century date. The object has been squashed to one side at the attachment end, out of its original alignment. At the attachment end is a trapezoidal cover-plate, expanded at its base. On its front face it is divided in half by a median ridge, on either side of which is a further narrow low ridge. Towards the attachment end, either side of the median ridges, is a trefoil cut-out, neither finished neatly. The field below is decorated by a pair of lines formed of rocker arm incised in saltire. In turn, this is framed with a rectangular border, similarly formed of incised rocker arm. This latter forms part of a border to the whole field either side of the median ridges created using the same technique. The plate is recessed along the length of the median ridge on the reverse.

From the lower two thirds of the sides of the plates an arm emerges set an right angles largely from the reverse of the plate, though also projecting forwards slightly at the front of the plate. Where they emerge a rectangular strip connects the reverse of each arm. It was around this strip that the stirrup strap would have been looped. The arms are D shaped in cross-section, rounded externally. They widen gradually along their length; their lower portions are faceted externally before curving into the integral foot-rest. The upper parts of the arms are decorated externally with engraved consecutive diagonal grooves, which gives a rope work or cabled effect. At the base of this decoration are two engraved diagonal lines which converge. As noted, the stirrup has been damaged, with the arms squashed inwards on one side and outwards on the other. The plate has been twisted out of its original alignment, parallel to the foot-rest, as a consequence.

The foot-rest is formed of a plate set at right angles to each arm, integral with them, and connecting them. It is expanded in width and is depressed slightly at its centre. In plan it takes the form of an elongated oval. At the front edge is a long perpendicular decorative lip. At its centre is a triangular protrusion with a median ridge flanked by smaller ridges to each side in emulation of the decoration at the centre of the plate at the attachment end. At each end of the lip is a smaller protrusion with decorative double ridge.

The artefact is now an even dark-green colour with patches of lighter corrosion product. The median ridge on the cover-plate is characteristic of some medieval stirrup cover-plates (cf. Read 1988, 90-91; ref. 547). The trefoilate openwork decoration can be seen on some stirrup fragments recorded on this database, for example, LEIC-892CC1, HAMP-46A675, and the more complete LVPL-316327. The foot-rest can be compared with a foot-rest fragment from London (Clark 2004, 73-74; no. 84) dated to the 14th century, and also one recorded on this database: NMS-E126F3. Many fragments of this type of stirrup have been recorded on this database, though, evidently, very few more complete examples are known.

The object measures 122.2mm in length, 92.2mm in width, is 3.8mm thick, and weighs 112.35g.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Include in MedArch

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1300
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 122.19 mm
Width: 92.2 mm
Thickness: 3.8 mm
Weight: 112.35 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 9th February 2015

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Buckinghamshire (County)
District: Aylesbury Vale (District)
To be known as: Quainton

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Clark, J. 1995 The Medieval Horse and its Equipment c.1150 - c.1450 London HMSO 73-74 84
Read, B. 1995 History Beneath our Feet (1995) Ipswich Anglia Publishing 90-91 547

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BUC
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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