Medieval Purse Bars

I am getting out and about a bit more now and my study is starting to look a bit like Steptoe and Son’s front room! There are pieces of “crunge” as we call it here, all over the place, so before I start collecting even more of the stuff I thought I had better do a bit of a tidy up, photograph and publish the odds and sods that I have found recently.

First up then, are two Medieval Purse Bar fragments, both made of a copper alloy and probably dating from anywhere between late 14th to the mid 16th century. It is unfortunate then the two fragments are so small as it makes dating them precisely very difficult, however, my research suggests this date range wouldn’t be too far wrong.

Medieval Purse Bar Fragments
Medieval Purse Bar Fragments

The top one was found to the south of the Church in Great Eversden, whilst the lower one was found on DR’s farm to the NW of Wimpole Way.

Purses were generally suspended from belts during the medieval period, and essentially were simple leather or cloth bags gathered at the neck. “Purse Snatchers” must have had a simple time of it, as a sharp knife would simply have cut the suspension cords and dropped the purse in to a waiting hand….As the illustration below shows purses of this style were worn by men and clearly everybody who was anybody had a purse! I might try and bring the fashion back….maybe not šŸ˜‰

Everybody should have a purse!
Everybody should have a purse!

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