Medieval Catalogue Completed

Salisbury Museum is proud to announce the completion of its catalogue of medieval treasures.
Part 4 of its Medieval Catalogue series has been published. By far the largest in the series, this marks the conclusion of a project originally conceived in the 1970s and which saw volumes appearing in 1990, 1991 and 2001. At last the full extent of the collection is known and through publication takes its rightful place in the world of scholarship. 1400 objects are described and over half are illustrated in this new book, bringing the total in the four volumes to well over 4000. This book will appeal to collectors, archaeologists, curators, teachers, metal detectorists and all those interested in Salisbury's history.

Edited by Peter Saunders, former director of the Museum, the book covers topics as diverse as alabasters, architectural and sculptural stonework, church bells and cast copper alloy vessels, leather and window glass, wood and porphyry as well as hundreds of objects of copper alloy and iron. It provides a fascinating insight into the everyday objects used by people living in medieval times in and around Salisbury. Amongst a number of highlights in the work has been the illustration of so many pieces of sculptured architectural fragments from Old Sarum and Clarendon Palace and a record of the findings associated with bell-founding and metal-casting in the eastern chequers of the city. A particular surprise is the recording of so many keys, buckles, knives and other items, which would be taken for granted today but which were found to be equally common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A rare tiny gold and enamelled pendant from the River Avon poses a mystery: what is it and why did it come to be there? There is so much to discover about Salisbury and life in southern England from the extraordinary range of finds in this book.

Peter Saunders said: "I believe that Salisbury Museum is the first museum in the country to complete the publication of its entire collection of medieval artefacts, at least a collection of the size and national importance of this one, and Salisbury may be justly proud that the Museum is leading the way in promoting its heritage in this way.

"We have been particularly fortunate to have had some of the best scholars in the country contributing their specialist knowledge, without which this venture would have been impossible. I am grateful to them and to Nick Griffiths and Dave Cousins for their exquisite drawings and photographs of the objects and also to the Marc Fitch Fund for a grant enabling publication.

"Completion of this work has been something of a labour of love. Certainly it's been a privilege to have been able to handle every object. Hopefully this tome provides a fitting tribute both to the craftsmen and women who fashioned these objects in medieval times and to the experts who have given their time to bring them to a wider public".

Background information for editors:

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum is an independent charitable trust. Since its foundation in 1860 it has had a strong tradition of publishing academic catalogues.

Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue Part 4 is the final volume in this series. Its full contents are:

Alabasters, Nigel Ramsay
Architectural and Sculptured Stonework, Allan Brodie and David Algar
Church Bells and Cast Copper Alloy Vessels, David Algar and Peter Saunders
Copper alloy, Alison Goodall
Ironwork, Jörn Schuster, Peter Saunders and David Algar
Leather Shoes, Diana Friendship-Taylor
Porphyry, Tim Tatton-Brown
Window Glass, Anna Eavis
Wood, John McNeill, with Peter Saunders and David Algar
and also an extensive addenda and corrigenda to Parts 1-3:

Arms and armour, Nicholas Griffiths; Bone and Antler, David Algar; Cloth Seal, Geoff Egan; Coins, Paul Robinson and David Algar; Domestic Stonework, David Algar; Enamel, Peter Saunders; Floor Tiles, Beverley Nenk; Jettons, David Algar; Lead/Tin Alloy Metalwork, Geoff Egan, with David Algar; Pilgrim Souvenirs, Livery and Secular Badges, Brian Spencer, with David Algar; Pottery and Tile, Lorraine Mepham, with David Algar; Rings, John Cherry; Seal Matrices and Impressions, John Cherry; and Textiles, Peter Saunders

Publication details:

Published 2012, 352 pages, 84 figures, 34 plates

ISBN 978-0-947535-26-1

Price £25 (plus £5 if posted)

Available from Oxbow books

Previous volumes:

Part 1 – Harness pendants, seal matrices, rings, steelyard weights, textiles, spurs, arms and armour, tiles, coins and domestic stonework (1991, 192 pages, 450 illustrations, ISBN 0 947 535 13 6, £10)

Part 2 – Pilgrim souvenirs and secular badges (1990, 144 pages, 325 illustrations, ISBN 0 947 535 12 8, £10)

Part 3 – Bone, enamels, glass vessels, pottery, jettons, cloth seals, bullae and lead/tin (2001, 272 pages, 650 illustrations, ISBN 0 947535 217, £10)

Peter Saunders is curator emeritus of the Museum, formerly its director. He is general editor of the series.

Part 1 was published in tribute to Hugh Shortt, who as former curator inspired the series, and Part 3 in tribute to Eleanor Saunders, who co-edited Part 2.

Further information:

Adrian Green, Director, Tel: 01722 332151, email:
Peter Saunders, Tel: 01722 328499, email: