WHAT'S ON

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.

 
Unfortunately, many exhibitors had to cancel due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Instead, their work is on display in our virtual exhibition rooms, available to view here.
What's On - Summary
Scroll down the page for full event details
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.

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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.

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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.

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The Curator's Choice

The Curator's Choice is a changing display which features items specially chosen by the curator.

It can be viewed on the mezzanine floor of the museum.

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Local Bank Notes

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries privately owned banks were free to

issue their own bank notes as long as they held equivalent reserves, usually in gold.

 

In those days a bank cashier had to personally make a note payable to someone,

and sign it on behalf of the bank.

Gold shortages could limit the issuing of notes. To overcome this the Bank Charter

Act of 1844 gave the Bank of England exclusive right to issue notes in England and

Wales.

 

Image: B&W and WB bank notes

 

The Bath & Wells Bank was a provincial bank that operated between 1776 and 1793

and closed due to bankruptcy. A guinea was one pound one shilling in old money, or

£1.05p in new. 

 

The Wells Bank was a partnership between the bankers Jones, Loyd & Co. of London, and the local Payne, Hope & Co. It operated between 1809 and 1831.