Sunday, 17 May 2015

Dirt fishing and screamers are discussed in the local!

I do love a good pub! So, I'm very lucky that I have a really excellent local in the village where I live (Cheriton in Hampshire) – the Flower Pots. They brew their own award winning beer in a barn on the other side of the car park, play no music and much prefer dogs to children!

All of this is very conducive to actually holding a conversation with whoever happens to be propping up the bar, resulting in an absurdly wide range of topics covered over the years! The other night was no exception as the banter turned to “dirt fishing” and “Screamers”!! Let me explain!

I got chatting to Paul McTaggart, someone I have known for many years, and the discussion turned to his hobby of metal detecting. He told me about many of the fascinating things he has found on his local patch - basically hunting across just three fields which immediately surround the village.

While we chatted about the history of these objects, I became acutely aware of how little time any of us spend on this earth, and that we come into it with nothing and we leave it with nothing – even treasured possessions discarded for someone to find centuries later and natter about over a pint or two. We all need to remind ourselves of this fact on a regular basis as it might, just might influence how we behave. 
Paul has since lent me some of these artefacts as I said I would love to blog about them – see below:
But before you take a look, you might be interested to know that the metal detecting fraternity have a language all of their own! “Dirt fishing” means metal detecting on soil – not beaches. A screamer is a super high quality signal that is loud in the headphones and often results in a high quality find, such as a large silver coin or artefact.

They also sign off with the letters HH, meaning “happy hunting” – which just by chance was also once the name of another pub in the village – the HH pub, now unfortunately closed, which took its name from the Hampshire Hunt – which thankfully is still in good health!

Some of the artefacts found from just 3 fields around the village of Cheriton in Hampshire 

C.1070 - 1140, copper alloy stirrup-strap mount, depicting a lion, standing on three legs with one foreleg raised and the head thrown back

C. 1400 - 1500 copper alloy strap fitting, possibly relating to a sword-belt hook or for suspending a purse  

C 1600 - 1700 incomplete copper alloy hooked tag and attachment link, probably from a sword belt or baldrick 

A worn, 17th century halfpenny trade token of James Withers, tallow chandler from nearby Alresford

C. 1250 - 1300 copper alloy pointed-oval seal matrix on the right. When used, on the left, you can see it depicts a four-legged creature, probably a dog. It is possible that the letters spell out the word "S Ricardi de Wivelsdene". A Wilvelsden farm is located close to the village of Wivelsfield near Haywards Heath in East Sussex.  

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