A ‘MYSTERIOUS’ bell found near Stratford is believed to be 1,500 years old and from a monastery.
The bell dates back to the 8th century AD and is being sold by a man from the district who wishes to remain anonymous.
The bell was dug up by his father when working on his parent’s farm in the early 1920s on the border of Stratford district and neighbouring Gloucestershire.
The ancient item ended up on his grandma’s dressing table , who he said used to clean it with Brasso polish and believed it was a cow bell.
But that theory was discredited by an antique expert in 1924 who described the iron plate and copper alloy bell as being of Celtic origin and ‘not at all’ like a cow bell. He believed it resembles the bell of St Patrick which has been exhibited at museums in Ireland.
The bell’s current owner said: “My father, who was born in 1904, dug up the bell in the early 1920s. He was not too far from the farmhouse, digging a hole to find drain pipes.
“When he found it he gave it to his mother who washed all the mud off and displayed it on the dresser as an ornament.
“My parents inherited it and when I was a small child, I always remember it being on the dresser.
“I then inherited the bell and it’s been in the loft and in the garage. No one in my family wanted it so I thought it would be nice to give a keen collector the opportunity to buy it. Perhaps a museum would like it.”
The bell failed to reach its £2,000 reserve at Hansons auctioneers in Derbyshire but negotiations are currently underway about a sale.
Head of Ancient Art, Antiquities and Classical Coins at Hansons, James Brenchley, said: “It’s thought the bell was in a large building, possibly a monastery of the time. It’s wonderfully detailed work for the period.
“At a time when metal detectors didn’t exist, this is an amazing find. It has been treasured for many years within the family.”
Hansons experts including tv regular Kate Bliss will be at a free valuation day at The Malt House, The Rookery in Alveston on Friday (November 30) between 12.30pm to 5.30pm.
Call Carol Jones on 07802 839915 for more information.