Day 9 of the NWAG Advent Calendar!

We’re coming out all guns blazing for Day 9 of the NWAG Advent Calendar!

Copper-alloy trigger guard from Lower Collier’s Hill Farm, Bayton (© North Worcestershire Archaeology Group)

This unusual piece of metal is a trigger guard, and is one of a number of metal-detector finds from Lower Collier’s Hill Farm, Bayton, that were given to NWAG in 2013. As the name suggests, it was originally intended to sit on the underside of a firearm, preventing accidental discharge from unintended trigger contact. The size, shape, and material suggest that it came from an 18th- to 19th-century flintlock pistol, which was one of the more popular types of defensive (or offensive) firearm in Georgian and Regency England.

Dick Turpin raises a flintlock against a startled constable (public domain via British Library)

Exactly how this pistol fragment ended up in a north Worcestershire field is uncertain. However, its discovery near a wooded stream could suggest a link to wildfowl hunting or, more probably, poaching, a rural crime that is well-attested in contemporary written sources. In 1821, for example, the Bayton farmer Thomas Horton Jr was hauled up before the Court of Quarter Sessions and fined £5 for poaching game, while in 1840 another Bayton man, John Ashcroft, was thrown in the county gaol for ‘entering by night on land with a gun in pursuit of game’.

Our report on the trigger guard, as well as the other finds from the site, is available on our website, so why not give it a read?