WILT-C4C051: Medieval: Steelyard weight

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Unique ID: WILT-C4C051

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

A complete medieval, lead filled, copper alloy medieval steelyard weight dating to the period AD 1250-1350.

The weight is globular in shape and has an irregular circular loop handle, which is connected to the top of weight by two wedge type shapes. Encircling the loop are two circumferential grooved bands. Below, is a series of three coats of arms; two are indiscernible, the third depicts a double headed eagle. On the base of the weight is a filled perforation, showing evidence of the lead filling. There is also evidence of iron corrosion as well as modern damages of scratches and cracks.

The loop has an irregular perforation which shows signs of significant wear. The perforation is 11.15mm in length and 7.45mm wide. The significant wear on the loop suggests the this weight was used for a prolonged period of time.

Overall, the height (including the loop handle) is 60.29mm, the diameter is 53.29mm and the weight is 826g.

Similar steelyard weights have been recorded on the database and the shields often depict: a lion rampant, the arms of Poitou and also for Edmund, Earl of Cornwall; the double-headed eagle, arms of the Hansa merchants and Imperial arms indicating that the user was symbolically 'King of the Romans'; and, the arms of England (three lions) or the arms of de Clare (three chevrons).

Steelyard weights would have been made by Edmund on behalf of the king, and it may be that Edmund had a monopoly on their production, given the prevalence of his heraldry on those known. Edmund married Margaret de Clare in 1272 and he died in 1300. The use of steelyards were banned in 1350, so this weight is likely to date between 1272 and 1300/ 1350.

Copies of steelyard weights were also made and the crudeness of the circumferential bands and shield designs suggest that this may be a copy. Copies are also indicated by incised decoration instead of relief, and often had unrecognisable or fictional arms.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1250
Date to: Circa AD 1350

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 60.29 mm
Weight: 826 g
Diameter: 53.67 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Grace Clark
Identified by: Miss Grace Clark

Other reference numbers

Other reference: WHM 2017-05

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Lead
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Southwick (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: ST8254
Four figure Latitude: 51.2848498
Four figure longitude: -2.25948187
1:25K map: ST8254
1:10K map: ST85SW
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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