www.wrington.net Melanie Greenwood and her husband, Tom Henry, and daughter Rowan, aged 7, moved into Cross Cottage in 2010, and were intrigued about the history of one of the oldest dwellings in Wrington. There are advantages and disadvantages in owning such properties, and the state of repair of one of the latter - the roof - soon made itself apparent. So it was that during the latter months of 2011 and January, 2012, the traffic negotiating that awkward junction of High Street and Silver Street and Broad Street, had to contend with a road space now shared by scaffolding. The work was further complicated by the fact that there’s no way to the back of the cottage except through the front door ... or over the roof ! There’s always the possibility with a dwelling of this age that it will contain some surprises. In this case it was in the roof - and it was a miniature pair of clogs, in remarkably good condition. Some correspondence followed ..... From: Melanie Greenwood Sent: 08 December 2011 12:37 To: Museums; Rebecca Shawcross Subject: concealed shoe in Cross Cottage, Wrington, North Somerset Hi Rebecca, We have just moved into one of the oldest cottages in the village of Wrington. It’s reputed to be late 16th to early 17th Century. The roof was in a very bad state and we have had it re-done. One of our roofers found the attached miniature shoe close to the top of the chimney stacks. We have done a bit of research and are very intrigued. We wonder if you could throw any light on this? Especially the markings?                                                                                                       ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ From: Rebecca Shawcross, Shoe Resources Officer Northampton Museum & Art Gallery Guildhall Road Northampton NN1 1DP Dear Melanie, What a very exciting and interesting find. We do keep a concealed shoe index here at the museum, which was set up by Miss June Swann (author of one of the attached articles) who was the shoe curator here at the museum from 1950 until she retired in 1988. At the moment the index stands at approximately 1,900 entries from all over the U.K and also records concealed shoe finds in North America, Canada, and a number of countries in Europe including France, Spain and Poland. It is most unusual to find a miniature shoe, but I would certainly like to add your find to the Index. You've provided me with a certain amount of information already, but would it be possible to add anything else? Your miniature shoe is a clog and appears to be a miniature version of clogs that come from the Netherlands, Belgium and France in particular. I can make out the word Anvers which is the French for Antwerp. So possibly it could have been made in Holland for the French market as a souvenir. Many wearable clogs have such markings on the toes or all over the clog. It is just a form of decoration. I would think that the clog was a souvenir from someone's travels or perhaps was brought over and ended up with the person who ultimately concealed it. The practise of concealing shoes is very mysterious and many aspects of it are still unknown and cannot be explained. It is a fascinating subject though and in our top three most popular subjects for research. Your clog raises the question of whether it was hidden in lieu of a 'real' boot or shoe. Those that are hidden tend to be incredibly well worn and usually patched / repaired or modified in some way. Children's footwear is often concealed so the small nature of your clog could have been an alternative to a child's shoe. It is a wonderful thing to find and many people who find such things either return them to where they were found or at least keep them in the house. They are thought to contain good spirits that when placed at a weak point in the house - above windows, in chimneys etc - those good spirits help to protect the house and its occupants from harm. I hope this is of interest. Please do send me the details of the find and I will add it to our Index. Just to mention I would say that the clog dates to the 19th century probably the latter half. Most concealed items were not concealed at the time of the construction of the property, but at a later date when alterations or building work were being carried out. Perhaps this was a time when the building was thought to be very vulnerable or perhaps it was the workmen who left such items. As you can see it raises many interesting and difficult to answer questions.