Historic tapestry is Warwickshire's favourite - The Leamington Observer

Historic tapestry is Warwickshire's favourite

AN HISTORIC tapestry has topped the charts of as Warwickshire’s favourite cultural curiosity.

The Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire bagged first place in a top ten collection of the county’s ancient and cultural relics.

The piece is around 430 years old and was the only one of four, commissioned by William Sheldon, to survive. It depicts the county at the time of William Shakespeare.

It was followed by the Bubbenhall handaxes which date from 500,000 BC and are some of the oldest stone tools ever found in Britain. They were excavated in the village alongside bones of straight-toothed elephants.

The Spicer Taxidermy otter waded in at number three. Peter Spicer and his sons were an important and pioneering family of taxidermists in Victorian Warwick and Leamington, who made the trade into an art and their work is known throughout the world.

The rest of the items charted as follows –

4 – Suffragette sash – This shoulder sash was worn by local activist Cicely Lucas as a member of the suffragettes, who fought and suffered for the rights of women to vote from 1903 to 1917

5 – Wilmcote plesiosaur skeleton – This unique and near-complete Jurassic skeleton, of the marine lizard-like creature, was unearthed near Stratford in the 19th century. Studied by experts across the world, it tells us about one of the key predators of Warwickshire’s ancient seas 200 million years ago.

6 – Second South Warwickshire hoard – This rare hoard of 440 silver Roman danarii is one of the few in the world to contain coins minted by all four rulers during the tumultuous civil war of AD 69. The hoard was found in Edge Hill in Stratford in 2015 during excavations of a Roman settlement. It was buried in a ceramic pot under the floor of a building more than 1,900 years ago and contains coins that date back as far as 147BC.

7 – Museum bees – This is one of the country’s very few indoor observation beehives and has brought interest and enjoyment to generations of museum visitors, while promoting the importance of these vital pollinators.

8 – Coal miners’ lamps – These early 20th century lamps were known as Davy lamp. The design provided safe light and a warning of harmful atmospheres for miners in North Warwickshire.

9 – Sweet machine – This sweet press was used in a local sweet shop or chemist’s in Warwickshire in the early 20th century. Warm sugar mixture would be rolled through the press to cut individual sweets, such as pear drops and cough sweets.

10 – Giant Irish deer skeleton – Approximately 11,000 years old, this example of an extinct giant Irish deer was excavated from a peat bog in the 1800s and, despite coming in last, has been one of Market Hall Museum’s most popular features. Named Oisin, he is also the Twitter mascot for the museum.

The Sheldon tapestry created in 1590 was voted Warwickshire residents’ favourite heritage item.

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Leamington Observer.


Find a career you'll love with our free career finder website.


We can provide all of your printing needs at competitive rates.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.