The Iron Age Querns found in 2012
The Iron Age querns found during the excavation at St Joseph’s School are on display.
The stones are so heavy that two people can only just lift them together, so the strength and skill involved in creating this flour-milling tool can only be imagined.
The archaeologist thinks that one stone was broken during manufacture, at the time of the Iron Age, and was discarded on the site. However, another is an undamaged example of a Quern stone. Two such rounded stones were worked together using a pole in the middle that was pushed backwards and forwards to create the grinding action.
Athelstan Museum is grateful to St Joseph’s School and the Avon Archaeological Unit for this recent gift.
Until recently, this was on loan to Wiltshire Fire Museum. It has now been returned, has undergone conservation treatment and is on display in the Tourist Information Centre. The 4 man manual fire engine, more strictly pump, was probably made by Samuel Phillips of New Surrey Street, Blackfriars, London in the second half of the 18th century; Richard Newsham, a pearl button maker from London made similar engines.
Samuel Phillips started making fire engines in 1760; in 1797 the firm became Phillips and Hopwood.
Josiah Wedgwood of pottery fame ordered in 1781 a one third size engine for his factory. It cost £40 but with extras; buckets, hoses, nozzles and special box the total was £58-17s-3d. Not good enough – Josiah had his name painted on each side; it cost him another 2 shillings.
The fire pump would have been conveyed to the fire by horse and cart, and then dragged as close to the fire as possible. Water would be fetched in buckets from the nearest source by a stream of helpers. The water was poured into the reservoir and 4 men pumping as hard as they could, would force the water up the hose so it could be played on the fire.
Not all houses were protected. If you were insured a plaque was displayed on the front. Subscribers had their fire put out free but had to pay for oiling and greasing the hose afterwards.
In 1974 a series of four commemorative stamps featuring fire engines was issued. The 10p stamp featured a Samuel Phillips fire engine.