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Today is   Last update 07-11-2011
 











The things you find in cupboards!

Friendship bonds can be forged by this kind of thing, you know! When CWAAS Fellow Ben Edwards, by then a retired professional archaeologist, published his book on Viking artefacts of North West England, he was contacted by CWAAS member the late Rev'd Canon Gervase Markham of Morland. Gervase and Ben exchanged letters and chat; and in due course Gervase told Ben he was wondering why Ben had made no reference to the Viking sword in his, Gervase's, possession. Ben explained that the problem was that the sword had no archaeological provenance. You see, it had been found.....in a drawer at Morland House, when a new owner took possession of the house!

Gervase readily took the point and, knowing that Ben would be delighted to see the sword, promptly invited Ben and the writer (his wife) to lunch. That was the beginning of a much-valued friendship. Later, Gervase agreed to arrange to obtain the sword from its safe-keeping and bring it to a CWAAS day conference, held jointly with the Centre for North West Studies of Lancaster University, at Newton Rigg Agricultural College. There he kindly put it on display for all to see.

The Morland Viking Sword on display in it
The Morland Viking Sword on display in its opened case.


This episode was like history repeating itself.

A silver penannular brooch was exhibited at a meeting of CWAAS at the Town Hall, Kendal, on July 11th, 1889. It had been found by Rev'd Canon Ware, Vicar of Kirkby Lonsdale, in a cupboard at Casterton Hall, and taken to the President, Chancellor Ferguson, in 1886.

Penannular Brooch found at Casterton.
Penannular Brooch found at Casterton.


Ferguson recognised it as of a type ascribed to 'Scandinavian colonies planted on Celtic soil'. He also discovered that it had been exhibited at the meeting of the Royal Archaeological Institute in Carlisle in January, 1849, and subsequently published in the Archaeological Journal.

It had actually been found near Casterton in 1846.

Ferguson observed: 'That this brooch had been so forgotten is another proof of the necessity of placing such objects in one or other of the national museums.'.

At that stage, i.e. 1846 and 1889, Cumbria had no obvious repository for such finds. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Cumbria's present hub museum, did not come into existence until 1893, when the City Council converted the Jacobean Tullie House.

Tullie House Museum Carlisle - Original House.
Tullie House Museum Carlisle - Original House.


Carlisle was at that time in the county of Cumberland. The large extension completing the present institution and incorporating the original house was erected in C20.

Tullie House Museum - Modern Extension.
Tullie House Museum - Modern Extension.


On the other hand, Westmorland (Morland was in Westmorland) had the Kendal Museum, its collections founded in 1796 by William Todhunter, and taken over by the Kendal Literary and Scientific Society in 1835. The present building

Kendal Museum
Kendal Museum


formerly a wool warehouse, was offered to the Town Council in 1913 and was occupied by the Museum after WWI.
































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