Here you can discover medieval artefacts in the Grosvenor Museum collection, and learn about their stories. You can also find each of these objects via the Map, associated with locations in medieval Chester.

13th century jug

The jug was made at Ashton Hayes to the east of Chester where a medieval kiln was discovered in the 1930s. Records show tolls were paid at Eastgate on pottery entering the city, 'one halfpenny' for every cart of 'crokes' and 'one pot' for every cart with earthenware pots, and a dish and a bowl 'worth halfpenny' from every horseload of these types of pots. (CHEGM1998.100015).

14-15th century pottery from North Wales

Pottery made in Ewloe near Buckley, Flintshire provided Chester with a wide variety of household objects in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  The pots may have arrived in Chester by boat or possibly overland, entering the city over the bridge.  These small jugs may have been used as measures or for storing small quantities of liquids. (CHE/OMH 66-7 SFs76,42 & 41).

3 Hares Tile

A floor tile found during excavations in the nave of Chester Cathedral in 1996.  This pattern depicts three hares or rabbits but only three ears have been drawn because each animal shares an ear.  The motif is thought to have been originally inspired by designs on silks imported to northern Europe along the Silk Road from the Far East. (CHE/CAT96 XVII (695) SF1070).

Civic Seal

A mayor's seal of 1467/8; attached to the document 'Sealed articles and rules drawn up by masters and brethren of the crafts of Fletchers and Bowyers in the presence of John Sotheworth, Mayor'.   The pentice was the civic hub of Chester, and the guilds, of which the Fletchers and Bowyers were part, protected the interests of the city traders and craftsmen. (ZG 7/19).

Coin Hoard, Huntington

The hoard spans about 150 years from the reign of Edward I to Henry VI, from 1300 to 1434.  Hammered coins like these were produced by placing a blank piece of metal between two dies and striking the top die with a hammer.  They were produced in royally controlled mints in all the major cities, including Chester. (CHEGM1997.6).

Cologne stoneware jug, 1500-1550

This mug was found not far from the Cross in Bridge Street where merchants and tradesmen lived and worked.  Stonewares were exported all over Europe from Cologne and other towns in the Rhineland.  They were landed at ports in eastern and southern England.  This mug may have arrived in Chester overland from London or perhaps by sea via a southern port. (CHE/25BS01 (798) SF9919).

Cooking pot

This cooking pot was unearthed within Chester by archaeologists and is representative of the importance of such vessels in consuming food and drink by medieval townsfolk.

Counterpart of indenture of agreement for building New Tower

This is a counterpart of an indenture of agreement between the mayor and citizens of Chester and John de Helpeston for the building of the New Tower, commonly called the Water Tower for £100.  Helpeston built the New Tower in 1322 and also worked on the castles at Chester, Shotwick and Flint. (ZCX/6).

Fragment from a metal workers hearth

Fragment from a possible smithing hearth which shows part of  the hearth's clay lining and the blowing hole.  

Jellinge Brooch

This copper alloy disc brooch, is decorated with a single interlacing animal.  This pattern is characteristic of the Jellinge style of Viking art which was fashionable for much of the 10th century.  It was possibly imported from Scandinavia and is almost identical to one found in Dublin. (CHE/HSS81 VI(363) SF1210).


A jetton is a coin-like token used in the calculation of accounts.  Accounts at the castle were produced in the exchequer.  By the 15th century the chamberlain of the castle was the chief financial officer, answerable to the king or earl for issues in Cheshire and Flintshire. (CHEGM1997.101.40, CHEGM1997.101.39.2)

Lead seal of Peter, Bishop of Chester 1075-85

Bishop Peter raised St John’s to cathedral status in 1075 when he moved his seat from Lichfield to Chester and started to re-build the church.  Bishops’ seals were usually made of silver and broken on their death, this one made of lead is thought to be a copy of the original. (CHE/OMH67-9 SF1090)

Leather Shoe, Hunter Street

This hand-stitched leather shoe could have been worn by a medieval man or woman. In medieval times wooden pattens would be worn out of doors and sometimes even indoors. The pattens raised your good leather shoes beyond the puddles and keep your feet warm and dry. The shoemakers in medieval Chester, who had to be a member of the Cordwainers and Shoemakers Company to operate, were situated mainly in the Bridge Street area and in Shoemaker’s Row off Northgate Street. (CHEGM2004.10010).

Meols Arrows

Dating from the 13th and 14th century these arrows found at Meols on the north Wirral shoreline are perhaps associated with increased activity during Edward I’s campaigns to conquer Wales.

Papal Bulla

A lead bulla found during excavations at Chester Amphitheatre, near St John’s Church.  The front depicts the heads of St Peter and St Paul.  The bulla would have been attached to a manuscript, a Papal bull, which was issued by the French Pope Gregory XI in the late 14th century. (CHEGM1976.282).

Sculptured Male Figure holding a tankard

The Welsh poet is very dismissive of the flavour of ‘beer’ brewed in Chester, but people living in the March of Wales are said to have come to Chester to purchase their ale, and when trade was disrupted during the Welsh rebellions of Glyn Dwr, many Welsh people paid for permission to come and buy ale in Chester as usual.

Silver Gilt Ring

A late 13th or early 14th century silver-gilt posy ring inscribed in Lombardic characters with the words ‘‘AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA’ which means ‘Hail Mary full of grace’.  Found in the Lache area of Chester. Silver Gilt Ring (CHEGM2007.70.

Spectacle Frame, 15th century

The rim of a bone spectacle frame found on the site of the Dominican Friary in Chester.  It is one of only a few examples excavated in this country and was perhaps imported from the Low Countries either directly or via London, alternatively a spectacle maker was recorded working in London in the mid-fifteenth century.  Age related long sightedness would have presented a serious problem for literate clerics at a time when spectacles were not widely available. (CHE/GFC76-8 III(506) SF508).