Wells & Mendip Museum has a busy calendar of events. From talks and workshops to art exhibitions and garden days, keep an eye on this page to see what's coming up.
The museum publishes a free newsletter every two months with information on events and developments in the museum. Please visit Our Newsletter page to subscribe or download copies.
Roman lead ingot from Westbury-sub-Mendip
On Display Now
The museum is excited to exhibit a Roman lead ingot or ‘pig’ that was found at Westbury-sub-Mendip in 2016.
This ingot is special for several reasons. It is precisely datable, it is further evidence of Roman lead mining at Charterhouse-on-Mendip, and it indicates previously unrecognised significant Roman activity at Westbury.
It carries the inscription ‘IMP DVOR AVG ANTONINI ET VERI ARMENIACORVM’ which translates as the ‘property of the two August Emperors Antoninus and Verus, conquerors of Armenia’. We know that the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius (Antoninus) and Lucius Verus ruled jointly between 164 and 169 AD.
The ‘pig’ is made from lead mined at Charterhouse. As well as the mines there was a Roman town here, which included a small amphitheatre. The mines supplied lead and silver that was exported from Mendip to other parts of the empire. The lead was used to make water pipes and coffins, and as a component of pewter.
Also found nearby was a hoard of 89 Roman Radiate coins, some of which are also on display. The ingot and the coins point to a significant Roman presence in the area and work continues by the Westbury Society Archaeology Group to understand this better.
The ingot is on loan from the South West Heritage Trust. Its acquisition is dedicated to the memory of Barry Lane (1944-2017), former Curator of the museum who was passionate about uncovering the rich history of his home village, Westbury.
Gold "Posy Ring"
An Exciting Acquisition
"The Curator's Choice" is a changing display which features an item specially chosen by the curator.
This "Posy Ring" is a locally found post-Medieval gold ring, dating from 1550 to 1650.
A posy ring is a finger ring inscribed with a short message. It gets its name from “Poesy”, an old word for a verse of poetry or a motto.
This ring is inscribed “FERE + GOD + EVER”, where “FERE” is an old word for a marriage partner - a husband or wife. During the Middle Ages when religion was so much part of everyday life it was not unusual to combine religious, friendly or amorous words.
Medieval rings had the inscription on the outside, but later ones, like this post-Medieval example which dates from between 1550 and 1650, have the inscription on the inside.
Curator David Walker said “the craftsmanship of the goldsmith is amazing and the ring will make a wonderful addition to the museum’s displays.”
"The Curator's Choice" cabinet is outside The Exhibition Room (upstairs).
Above and Beyond
An Exhibition by the Avalon Stitchers
9 Oct 2021
16 Oct 2021
The Avalon Stitchers (formerly a branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild) will be holding their first exhibition to showcase individual pieces and group projects that kept them connected during lockdown.
This enthusiastic group enjoys all aspects of stitch and textile art, and learn from each other and well-respected guest tutors.
New members are always welcome. You can call Sue (01278 723644) for a chat. Meetings are held at Ashcott Village Hall on the 4th Saturday of the month (10am - 4pm).
For more information, please visit their website: www.avalonstitchers.org
Free entry to exhibition only.
An Art Exhibition
20 Oct 2021
30 Oct 2021
Robin Gray is known nationally for a type of painting termed ‘organic abstract’. Usually in unusually bright and strange colour schemes the work, although totally abstract, collects references from natural history, things viewed with a high-powered lens or discovered after close examination of a subject. Together with the abstracts, Gray will be showing his highly popular pictures of cave exploration. The pictures are collected by cavers, divers and climbers in many countries and show aspects of the interest which brought him and his wife to this area in the first place. His love of caving has provided plenty of subject matter.
In addition to paintings and drawings, for the first time in many years he will be exhibiting photographs. He has taught photography for over 50 years and managed to combine work as a professional artist with that of a successful teacher. His last full-time teaching job was as Director of Art and Drama at Shapwick School. Along with this he was the main demonstrator of Caran d’Ache art materials which are made in Switzerland. He was able to successfully combine a full-time teaching position with that of a professional artist.
This month, for the first time in 18 months of lockdown, Robin Gray will be staging an exhibition of his work at the museum. He describes the show as ‘Me Wearing Three Hats’, as for the first time he will be showing not only his abstracts and caving pictures, but also his photography. Robin says “This is very exciting as I will be showing silver prints from my film camera and digital photographs”.
In addition to showing his work, Robin will be in the museum most of the time to talk to visitors.
Free entry to exhibition only.