CORN-0E97F3: harness hook (plan)

Rights Holder: Royal Institution of Cornwall
CC License:

Rights Holder: Royal Institution of Cornwall
CC License:

Rights Holder: Royal Institution of Cornwall
CC License:

Rights Holder: Royal Institution of Cornwall
CC License:

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Unique ID: CORN-0E97F3

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

A Medieval cast copper alloy enamelled heraldic harness hook dating from c.1250-1400. The harness fitting is complete and cast in one piece with a shield-shaped plate above an expanded biconical collar which tapers to a distorted hook. The hook as been bent open slightly and to one side which would have detached it from what it was suspending. The plate is decorated on both sides with a fine, enamelled representation of a unicorn rampant, facing left, with white (argent) body and red (gules) horn surrounded by green (vert) foliage, with part of the now detached tail of the unicorn visible at right edge of the shield. One side has survived better than the other. Unicorns were a symbol of feminine chastity but were also associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and appear in depictions of her (Kevin Leahy pers comm).

A lozenge-shaped cast copper alloy enamelled harness pendant with a unicorn design was found near Mawgan-in-Pydar, Cornwall and is recorded in CORN-2D0344. A harness hook of very similar design, but with an enamelled design of an owl is recorded in KENT-321A1B. This record refers to Finds Research Group Datasheet 12 (1989), p.4, no.14, in which Griffiths notes that the heraldic device is designed to be viewed vertically so the hook could not have been used to suspend the device from harness. He suggests instead that the fitting must have been slotted through a surface to provide a standing shield with its design. Another example of hooked harness fitting with a white enamelled leopard is recorded in HESH-4B1357, and dated from c.1250-1400.

Williams (1999) illustrates a similar enamelled prancing unicorn on a shield-shaped harness pendant on page 180, fig.6, no.49, which was found in Leatherhead, Surrey in 1952, and is dated from the Medieval period.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 64.5 mm
Width: 19 mm
Thickness: 8.5 mm
Weight: 17.7 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 1st June 2018 - Saturday 30th June 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Anna Tyacke
Identified by: Ms Anna Tyacke

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Enamel
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: St. Erth (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SW5732
Four figure Latitude: 50.13817856
Four figure longitude: -5.40203551
1:25K map: SW5732
1:10K map: SW52SE
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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A Medeival cast copper alloy enamelled heraldic harness fitting / harness hook of medieval date (1250-1400 AD). The fitting is complete an…
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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: CORN
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: 5 months ago

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