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KENT-321A1B: KENT-321A1B

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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HARNESS HOOK

Unique ID: KENT-321A1B

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A Medieval cast copper alloy enamelled heraldic harness fitting / harness hook of medieval date (1250-1400).

The fitting is complete and cast in one piece; it is irregular in plan and cross section having an upper shield (or heater) shaped plate which is rectangular in cross section. This plate expands on its lower edge into a square sectioned skirt, below this a sub-hexagonal (faceted rectangle) sectioned cast and wrought hook extends. The hook retains much of its original shape being almost a closed loop. The plate section of the hook is decorated on both faces with extraordinarily fine inlaid enamel. The design created is of a large white owl with red feet sitting in an oak tree which is picked out in green coloured enamel.

The same design is seen on the opposite side of the hook though more abraded. The tree is stylised and more like a large leaf with three or four stylised branches. The hook and all non-enamelled surfaces are decorated with an applied gilt surface - which is mostly worn away.

The harness fitting measures: 56.6mm length 33.8mm width (across the pendant tab), 23.1m thick (across the pendant tab) 14.5mm across the collar, 7.2m across the hook. It weighs 28.2 grams

Similar mounts can be seen in Griffith Shield shaped mounts, Finds Research Group datasheet 12, specifically example 14. Griffiths notes that (as in this example) the heraldic device is designed to be viewed vertically so the hook could not have been used to suspend the device from harness. Instead Griffith suggests that the fitting must have been slotted through a surface to provide a standing design. Steve Ashley illustrates two similar designs in his armorial catalogue of horse harness examples 152-153 (page 16-17). These are described as a three branched tree surmounted by a lion Couchant guardant argent (p51-52). There are a number of PAS examples off hooked harness fittings see: HESH-4B1357 and SWYOR-66F0E1

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1250
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 56.6 mm
Width: 33.8 mm
Thickness: 14.5 mm
Weight: 28.2 g

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Maidstone (District)
To be known as: Near Lenham

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Griffiths, N. 1986 Horse Harness Pendants Finds Research Group 700-1700 Datasheet 5

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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