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
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
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
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
From: Rebecca Shawcross, Shoe Resources Officer
Northampton Museum & Art Gallery
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
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.