Old Stratford - "The Hoard" 1798

Silver votive plaques from Old Stratford
on show at the British Muesum
1608 map showing Windmill Field, which lies between
Old Stratford and Passenham

The Hoard was discovered in Windmill Field, in 1798. The urn contained silver leaves or plates and other articles in silver and bronze that might have formed part of the votive offerings to a Roman temple. In addition there was a remarkable headdress that may have been a priestly ornament. But other objects of Celtic origin were found in the urn.

The presence of a temple was first suggested after the discovery in 1789 of the hoard of religious objects, including two bronze and silver plaques dedicated to Mars, Mercury and various other gods.

A plaque from the temple recalls that Vassinus promised six denarii to Jupiter and Vulcan to bring him home. As a result of the fulfilment of this, the money was presumably paid into the temple treasury. The plaque cannot have been worth six denarii, so presumably it either represents part of the sum or more probably an extra gift to ensure the future favour of the gods.

The votive leaves probably represented palms of victory. Although very thin and flimsy they would have been striking ornaments decorating the shrine.

People would pray and make offerings at temples, shrines and churches to ask for divine favours or give thanks afterwards. Their offerings came in all shapes and sizes from coins and brooches left by the poor to silver statues donated by the wealthy. People also offered food and drink, and burnt incense on altars. Animal sacrifices were common, often a bird or goat.