Our history is bigger than you think…

The Tivvy Bumper, our biggest and most iconic object, is well known, but there is much more to see in our galleries!

Our visitors say the museum is like a tardis with so much more than they expected hidden inside our walls. There are so many fascinating stories of Mid Devon life behind our many objects for you to discover, so head on in!

Here are just 10 of our favourite things:

  • Gold posy ring found near Uffculme. This ring dates from the 1500s or 1600s and has the inscription ‘I live in hope’ engraved on the inside.
  • Clay pipe with anti-slavery motif. The figure is an enslaved African man kneeling with chains binding his hands. He is imploring the female figure of Liberty on the other side of the bowl. This image derives from the Wedgewood medallions of the late Eighteenth century with the motto ‘Am I not a brother and a man?’ It was adopted by the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, established in 1787. It is interesting that the tobacco smoked in this pipe was presumably produced by slaves in America.
  • Part of a cider press from Calverleigh Court, made in c. 1670. The press is huge but often walked past unnoticed.
  • The Oliver Tractor which came from the United States during World War Two. It made the dangerous journey across the Atlantic on a cargo deck and arrived at Netherexe Barton Farm caked in sea salt. It wouldn’t start so Twose’s foreman took the magneto home and dried it in his oven.
  • The Bolham bowl; a fantastic Samian ware bowl from the Roman fort at Bolham. Samian ware was high status table ware imported from France. Pottery made by the same maker has been found in Chester, York, Holland and Pompeii
  • The tin that saved the life of Tiverton policeman William Land in May 1915 when he fought in the trenches on the Western Front (he had it in his left breast pocket). Fragments of his uniform are still trapped in the bent metal caused by the shrapnel holes.
  • Tiverton’s market charter from 1655 issued to change the market day from Monday to Tuesday, featuring Oliver Cromwell’s portrait.
  • This cabinet belonged to Mr and Mrs Penney who were Master and Mistress of Tiverton’s Workhouse between 1887-1922, and was used in their family sitting room.
  • Mini car dating from 1981 owned by a lady at Bickleigh.
  • Bobbinet Lace machine from the Heathcoat Factory (the oldest in existence). Known as a ’10-point machine’ it makes a piece of net 5.49 metres (216 inches) wide and 95 metres long. It contains 8,640 ‘Carriages’ and 8,640 ‘Wheels’ each containing 300 yards of silk thread.