Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Jack of Hilton


Let me introduce you to Jack of Hilton. This rather elderly brass fellow dates from 1300 and was still with the Vernon family at Hilton Hall, Staffs until 2013. He now resides at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and erm rather caught my eye when I was waiting for Lovely Grey!

I now find that this is called an aeolipile [from the Greek God of air and wind Aeolus]. What be one of those I hear you cry! He would be filled with 4 pints of water and then left near the fire to heat up. The steam this created then forced air out through holes in his mouth and back which would fan the flames whilst all the time emitting a wheezing sound.

According to "The Natural History of Staffordshire" by Robert Plot [1686] every year the Manor of Essingham had to give a goose to the nearby Manor of Hilton [they were the tenant]. The bird had to be driven round the Hilton fire three times with Jack of Hilton doing his thing in the background. The poor fowl was then taken to the cook in the kitchen to be dispatched and brought back on a plate by the tenant for this lord's delectation. Strangely then the custom was for Hilton to repay this by giving him one of his own geese in return. More info here https://traditionalcustomsandceremonies.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/custom-demised-jack-of-hilton-and-his-curious-tenure/

And that folks is why I love blogging....I never know what I am going to turn up next. Taking into account his prominent protuberance my fevered imagination came up with many theories, but hearth blower was not one of them!

Arilx

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a posh kettle to me!

    Julie xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's certainly a conversation piece!
      Arilx

      Delete
  2. Hilton Hall! That's where our summer mid week car boot sale is! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's hilarious! Adds another dimension to the story doesn't it. Think the current Hilton Hall is an 18th century rebuild on the site of the original one.
      Arilx

      Delete

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