Object Title

Lead ingot

Lead ingot

Date

1200-1299

Object Number

XVIII.673

Provenance

Excavated in the Tower of London in the early 1990's, from the area in front of the Postern Gate immediately east of the Wakefield Tower. See also XVIII.674.

Physical Description

Medieval lead ingot excavated in the Tower of London. The ingot is oval in shape, 12 inches wide at the widest point and about 36 inches long. Probably to fit panniers when transported by horse. The lead would have been melted on site and used for roofing and for protecting masonry joints from erosion by water. This ingot (and XVIII.674) must have been abandoned in the water or the foundations of the Postern Gate east of the Wakefield Tower, perhaps irretrievable owing to the depth of water and mud.

Inscriptions and Marks

Two stars ** and four slashes ////, probably makers' and inventory/audit marks.

Associations

Places England

Bibliographic References

See D. Gadd, Excavation of a Trench East of the Wakefield Tower, 1992

Notes

A lead ingot of smaller size was discovered during drainage work immediately west of the Middle Tower in 1905, embedded in the mud at a depth of over 20 feet below the surface.This ingot measured 5.25in to 8.5in at the top, 5in at the bottom, and was 7.5in high. It weighed 126lbs. Similar lead found in masonry joints was assayed by Dr Rose of the Royal Mint, who reported that it was remarkably free of impurities and was probably derived from pure Derbyshire ores. This ingot was on display in the Beauchamp Tower before the First World War. Its subsequent whereabouts are unknown. See PRO Works 14/220 for a report by Mr May, Clerk of Works at the Tower.