A 14th century corbel in the shape of a lion has been discovered by ARK (Action for River Kennet) volunteers in the River Kennet in Marlborough. The lion, which is made of Bath stone, is thought to have come from White Friar’s Priory church which once stood on the present Priory Gardens site.
David Dawson, Director at Wiltshire Museum, said “It is a very fine 14th century corbel which is an important part of the history of Marlborough. Given the location where it was found, I would imagine that it may have come from the White Friar’s Priory church – more information from the Historic Environment record can be found here.
It is an unusual corbel in that it has two wall faces at right-angles. This suggests that it was from the junction of the nave or chancel and a transept – see image.”
Anna Forbes, Project Officer and Volunteer Co-ordinator at ARK told Marlborough.news, “We’re always being asked if we have ever found anything interesting in the Kennet. This is the most interesting object we have found and the volunteers who discovered it are very excited. Although it has spent several hundreds of years in the river it is surprisingly well preserved. It is very heavy and it took 4 strong volunteers to lift it out of the river.”
The corbel was cleaned by local historian, David Sherratt, before Wiltshire Museum services were contacted. In the next few weeks the corbel will be moved to The Merchant’s House garden. Anna said, “This will give the people of Marlborough and visitors the chance to see a really important part of the town’s history. We will work with The Merchant’s House to provide an information plaque for the corbel.”
The Merchant’s House and garden is private property, and anyone wishing to see the lion will either need to book a tour or make an appointment with the Trust Office on 01672 511491.
ARK are always looking for more volunteers. If you would like to volunteer email Anna on email@example.com