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Where are the other missing town treasures?

The search is on to try to unearth Morpeth’s lost treasures.

Last week, the Herald reported that one of the original Morpeth Gadgies from the Clock Tower was in safe keeping.

But the Morpeth Antiquarian Society, which is looking after the character along with numerous other heritage items, says there are some artefacts that it has been unable to trace.

Chief among them is the original Market Charter, which was granted to Morpeth by King John in 1199.

The wording of the Charter is known, but the Latin document itself has not been seen in living memory.

Antiquarian Kim Bibby-Wilson said: “We don’t think the Market Charter has survived. It is not in the treasures that the town council inherited from the former borough council and it hasn’t turned up in the archives at Woodhorn. The town has the old coats of arms charters, but not the Market Charter.

“We wonder whether the Earl of Carlisle may have it. We know some of the documents from Newminster Abbey were kept by the Howard family so we think some of the earlier documents in the town’s history may still be in the baronial family archives.”

Another missing feature is the town’s old Market Cross, which was demolished in 1871.

The finial adornment from the top of the building has been retained and set into an original voussoir, corner arch stone, but nothing else remains, including a stone coat of arms.

“We know there was a stone coat of arms because it was recorded as being in somebody’s garden about 100 years ago. We did try to track it down, but it hasn’t come to anything,” said Mrs Bibby-Wilson.

“The only surviving bits we know about are the finial and the voussoir.”

One item that has disappeared relatively recently is a statue of the Tudor Princess Margaret.

Mrs Bibby-Wilson said: “I think it was just a waist-up statue. It was displayed in 1949/51, but we don’t know where it is now. It was said to be in somebody’s house who lived near the Chantry, but in recent years the trail has gone cold and we don’t know whether it is still in the town or not.”

Another lost artefact is a prototype of the Bolland Cross that stands in St Mary’s Churchyard.

“This was in the old Rectory garden. When the Rectory was demolished to make way for the Rectory Park housing development, the borough council workforce stored the cross at Coopies Lane. We don’t know if it is still being stored safely,” said Mrs Bibby-Wilson.

Anyone who can shed any light on the lost treasures can call the Herald on 01670 517171.

 

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