Welcome to the third way marker of ‘The Peculiar Pot’ – a story trail for Thame.
This trail was funding through Public Art Funding, and installed in 2023. Find out more about the project through this link.
If you would like to follow the trail from it’s start, the first way marker can be found on the corner of Roman Way and Saxon Square (OX9 2FS) – located in the centre of the green space.
Listen to the part of the story, relevant to this way marker, below:
The pig … and other market animals in Thame
Thame has a history of markets that dates back to the 12th Century. Did you know that our iconic boat-shaped high street stands as testimony to the historic market place for which it was originally designed? Animals would have been brought to the town centre for trading on a weekly basis and it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was moved to the site on North Street where it still meets regularly today. Read more about the market history on Thame Historical Society’s website and on ThameHistory.net
The official history of the market is accompanied by much social history. There are many a story shared about pigs escaping from their pens on market day and being chased down the high street – so what you heard in the story is not that far from some truth.
Lords in Thame?
As in the story, Thame had a Lord – Lord Williams – who was without doubt one of the most influential men in the history of Thame, and at times a man of great influence on the national stage. Read more about him here. His biggest legacy is of course Lord Williams’ school.
The Thame Hoard
In this way marker, under the pot, there is a pouch – perhaps it contained 10 silver groats, or maybe 5 gold rings – before they ended up in the river. The inspiration for these objects being included in the story was a find made in April 1940 of a ‘hoard’ of coins and rings. It wasn’t here, on the banks of Cuttle Brook where they were found, but rather on the banks of the river Thame, a short distance upstream of the Long Crendon Bridge. The hoard may have been in the river for four hundred years and contained 10 groats, dating from around the year 1457. One of the rings had a distinctive cross with two horizontal sections – which now forms a part of the Thame Cross, the emblem or logo of Thame Town Council. Read more about the hoard here, see some pictures of the rings here and visit Thame Museum where you can see a large version of the ring. The actual Thame Hoard is on display in the Ashmolean Museum – but you may have to go on your own ‘treasure hunt’ to find them. We hope the instructions below help you on your quest. These were provided to us in March 2023, and may be subject to change. If you visit and notice a change please do let us know.
Some of the rings from the Thame Hoard are on display in G41 on the 2nd floor.
They are not all displayed together and not very obviously marked as “Thame Hoard” although it is mentioned in the object labels.
The most notable “reliquary” ring is displayed in one of the central cases “Pilgrimage and private devotion” (as number 26).
In that same case you can find three finger rings (displayed together as number 27).
Finally, a small posy ring is found in a horizontal case, opposite the Bacon Cup, in “Chivalry and Romance” (as number 11).
From this location
This way marker is on the edge of the Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve. You can take a break from the story trail to explore by turning right into the Nature Reserve. A quick, circular walk can take just twenty minutes.
While standing next to this totem, turn to face the path up the hill in front of you. Look into the field on the left at the hill that sits underneath the ground of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. You will hopefully be able to make out a small stone structure. This is what is left of Thame’s Court Well. Although it doesn’t run any more, it use to be a pure spring of high repute known for its many virtues and particular ability to cure eye complaints. The name ‘Court Well’, was later corrupted from this into ‘Cuttle’- giving the Brook its name today.
The Peculiar Pot?
This story trail was partially inspired by the discovery of an Iron Age pot near this location, that was unearthed by a badger. It lead to an archaeological survey which revealed that Thame has a rich prehistoric past, going back around six thousand years. Find out more about Thame’s history through our summary page here, visit Thame Museum, or for a more in-depth look at Thame’s history, you may want to consider joining Thame Historical Society.
Listen to the story:
- What does the child get sent to the market to buy?
Look at the Way marker
- How many silver groats are there in the base of this way marker?
CONTINUE THE TRAIL:
- To find the next way marker, continue straight ahead up the hill and follow the path round to the bollards at the top of the hill.
- Turn right to walk through these bollards heading along Spring Path towards Southern Road.
- Follow the road round, past the play park and along the side of Southern Road Recreation Ground. The fourth way marker is located by the roundabout at the corner of Southern Road and Moreton Lane.