Saturday, 25 February 2017

A new history of Chorlton in just 20 objects number 7, the king William IV clay pipe

The King William IV clay pipe

It was found during the archaeological dig of the church in the 1980s.  It can be dated to between 1830 and 1832, and may have been bought to commemorate the coronation of William IV.  It bears the inscription “William IV and Church” around the rim and is highly decorated with the royal coat of arms flanked by a lion on one side and a unicorn on the other.  It is also unusual because it was found in one of the graves inside the church.  The final burial in the grave was that of Thomas Watson aged 54 in 1832.  There are those who might well imagine the pipe being placed alongside the coffin of Thomas Watson in imitation of the ancient practice of placing grave goods alongside the departed.  The less romantic will counter with the obvious observation that it was the casual act of one of the grave diggers.  Either way it is unusual for the bowl to survive.   More commonly it is the stem which is turned up and even these are found as fragments.*

Picture; detail from the report on the Archaeological dig conducted by Dr Angus Bateman during 1980-81


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