England’s oldest lace bobbin discovered in Budleigh Salterton

A world-renowned lace historian has confirmed a lace bobbin discovered in Budleigh Salterton is the oldest in England. It was crafted four years before the Great Fire of London.

Expert Brian Lemin, of New South Wales, Australia, delivered his verdict to Fairlynch Museum.

The 11-and-a-half centimetre long wooden bobbin has been in the museum’s collection for more than two decades. Carved with the initials MR, it is dated 1662.

Sue Morgan, curator of lace at Fairlynch Museum, said the bobbin came into the museum’s collection in the 1900s. However, its origin is unknown.

She told East Devon News.co.uk: “Style and decoration confirm it is an East Devon trolly-lace bobbin, made for a lace-maker with the initials MR in 1662.”

Museum chairman Trevor Waddington added: “It was made just two years after the Restoration of King Charles II and four years before the Great Fire of London. If only these objects could talk!”

Mr Lemin is the author of ‘An Amateur Collector’s Dictionary of Antique English Lace Bobbins and Tools’. Part two of the work examines the history of bobbins in East Devon, particularly in relation to Honiton bobbins.

He has written reports featured on university and educational websites.

Want to see England’s oldest lace bobbin? Fairlynch Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 2pm to 4.30pm, until the end of October.


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