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Silver thimble

Stuart, mid to late 17th century AD.

Found with a metal detector in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, in 2001.

This thimble bears the maker's mark, the letter B in the shield, and the owner's marks, MW, are engraved. Unfortunately, it is not possible to identify these individuals at this time. There is a hole on the rim of the thimble for hanging, possibly for cotton thread. The loss of this personal item was undoubtedly regretted by its owner.

Since the thimble is designed to prevent discomfort while sewing by creating a barrier between the fingertips and the blunt end of the needle, it is likely that the earliest thimbles were created shortly after sewing was invented.

According to the United Kingdom's database of discovered detectors, thimbles dating back to the 10th century were found in England, and thimbles were in widespread use there by the 14th century.

Although there are isolated examples of thimbles made of precious metals - Elizabeth I is said to have given one of her ladies-in-waiting a thimble with precious stones - the vast majority of metal thimbles were made of brass. Medieval thimbles were either cast or wrought iron. The early centers of thimble making were those places famous for brass work, from Nuremberg in the 15th century to Holland in the 17th century.