Surrey in Objects
There have been many objects in our history which have shaped our county. 'A History of Surrey in 50 Objects', tells the story of Surrey, and to give you a taster and to whet your appetite here’s 5 objects from around the county that have played a role in shaping Surrey’s fascinating history, all of which you can see for yourself in person at each museum! The full list of ‘A History of Surrey 50 Objects’ can be found here.
Chertsey Museum Viking sword
Discovered in 1981, this magnificent 10th century Viking sword with its double-edged steel blade was designed as a slashing weapon to be held in one hand.
The sword is a rare and graphic reminder of the story of invasion and bloodshed throughout the time of the Dark Ages. The Sword can be seen at Chertsey Museum.
Guildford Museum Roman head dress
The discovery of artefacts at Wanborough Roman Temple led to major changes in national law. Included in the finds was this priests head-dress, one of the most important Roman objects in Britain. The priest would have been a local leader, and would have carried a wooden sceptre with bronze handles at either end. Surrey did not exist then: it was part of the area of the Atrebates tribe. The Roman head dress can be seen at Guildford Museum.
East Surrey Museum - Giant Flint Axe
Sometimes known as the Thames Pick, this giant Late Mesolithic/Early Neolithic axe is just over a foot long. It was found in St Marys Churchyard in Oxted and is believed to be Mesolithic or early Neolithic and is something in the region of 5,000 to 8,000 years old. Amazingly, it is in absolute mint condition. The Giant Flint Axe can be seen at the East Surrey Museum.
The Lightbox - Woking Palace Valencian tile
The remains of Woking Palace can be found near Old Woking, on the banks of the River Wey.
The original manor house of Woking became a favourite residence of Henry VII and Henry VIII who had considerable works carried out during their reigns, effectively turning the house into a palace.
These tiles have now been identified as having come from Valencia, Spain. The Woking collection of Valencian tiles contains the largest number of such tiles found anywhere in Britain, although similar tiles have been found in Guildford, Dartford and Billericay. The Valencian tile can be seen at The Lightbox in Woking.
The Spike - Stone Breaking Goggles
The Spike’ Vagrants and Casuals Ward offers an uncomfortable insight into life for Edwardian vagrants and tramps. Built alongside the Guildford Workhouse, it is one of the only remaining examples of a building from the Poor Law era.
Dating to the 1870s, these goggles were an early form of eye protection given to inmates of the Workhouse and the Spike. The Stone Breaking Goggles can be seen at The Guildford Union Workhouse: The Spike.