~~A ceremonial staff that was found 28 years ago on a rubbish tip has been donated to Fordingbridge Museum. Managers at the museum are appealing to the public to see if anyone knows what it is and how it was used.
The staff is made of wood and is just under six feet tall and has a round ball shape on the top. The ball appears to have been covered in gold leaf and has a red band round the middle on which is written in black lettering, “HUNDRED of FORDINGBRIDGE”. Below the ball is a corroded metal collar which may be made of copper and which is decorated with an ornate organic design. There is some indication that the body of the staff was once painted red. The base of the staff has evidence of a protective ferrule.
The staff was found in 1991 by Poole resident Hugh Molver. He says, “I was at the local rubbish tip and noticed that someone had thrown out what looked like an interesting historical object so I took it home. For the past 28 years it has been sitting in my garage so I thought it would be better to be somewhere where people could see it. Fordingbridge Museum was the obvious place for it.”
Museum manager Jane Ireland said, “We are most grateful to Mr Molver for donating this interesting staff to the museum. At first we thought it may have been some sort of theatrical prop but when we examined it more closely the quality of the craftsmanship indicated that it could be more significant. We would like to know what it is, who it was who threw it away all those years ago and where it had been prior to that.”
Anyone who thinks they may have some answers to these questions can contact the museum on 01425 657850.