Michael Aspel and the team visit Rochester Cathedral and make surprising finds, including a rare Scottish sword found behind a chimney and delivery bicycles still in regular use.
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To those who welcome the takeover of Britain's high streets by identical chains of coffee shops
and quick food joints, this week's Roadshow destination will come as something of a disappointment.
This is the Medway town of Rochester,
the favourite haunt of a literary giant.
After all that I have to tell you that Charles Dickens never actually lived in Rochester,
although as a boy he spent five years in the area and came back for the last thirteen years of his life.
When young, the author of "Great Expectations" and father of ten,
used to take long walks with his own father in the vicinity, doing mental notes for his future blockbusters.
Any building here that features in a Dickens novel, proudly carries its own plaque.
Right in the centre of town is a mansion we know better as the home of the eccentric Miss Haversham.
And the Guildhall was the place the writer had in mind when young Pip
sealed his apprenticeship with Jo Gargery.
You can almost hear the stage coach pulling up outside the Bull Hotel
and spilling out Pickwick and his cronies...
they liked The Bull... good place, nice beds...
according to Mr Jingle.
After Canterbury, Rochester has the oldest cathedral in the land.
It so appealed to Dickens that it became a central character in
his final unfinished novel "The Mystery of Edwin Drew".
It told of intrigue involving cathedral staff in the fictional town of Cloisterham.
Mystery, intrigue, larger than life characters, Dickens would have loved The Antiques Roadshow.
Our story opens in the cathedral nave.
On the face of it, it's an ordinary dish, an oblong piece
of Staffordshire pottery, very plain. Do you use it?
-Not at the moment, I have used it, in my childhood it's been used.
Christmas, when there were seven of us.
Yes. And did you do the washing up?
Oh, no, mother would never let me touch it.
-I washed one piece recently and thought "Oooh".
-You're frightened of it because...
-I'm still frightened of it.
-It is actually quite special.
Um, of all the 1920s and '30s designers you would ask somebody
in the street to mention in pottery, this is the designer who everybody has on their lips, Clarice Cliff,
and the fact is that she is designing for a pretty ordinary industry but she brings to it
a pretty extraordinary imagination, and I think an incredible bravery, because there you have that standard
-oval and then just in the corner, just placed in the corner, you've got this dinky little landscape.
If we were to focus really close on that landscape, you're looking at something that is almost surreal.
-So you've got the surreal striking off against the ordinary and I think that's what makes her special.
Now you've got a whole service.
A dinner service, three, four cereal bowls and four breakfast cups and saucers.
Hang on, we, we actually, well you've got it listed here.
That's very helpful.
-So just quickly totting it up
it looks as though you've got getting on for what, 40 pieces?
-Yes, almost, yes.
-And I can't see a single chip or fracture or breakage anywhere,
maybe those went in the bin?
No, no, no, there are two tiny chips in two of the dinner plates at home.
If we, if we look at the pottery in close up,
let's have a look here and on the back we've got everything we need to know, it says "Made in England"
we have the facsimile signature of Clarice Cliff and there, the name, the famous name "Bizarre".
-Which is not this specific pattern name, but the range...
-...which this particular pattern belongs to, and there you have the actual pattern number, 6153
and incidentally if you ever forget what the date of it is, over there, pressed into the clay.
I don't need to write anything down for you, it's all written on the back.
And I've never noticed that before.
Now you have absolutely no idea what this service is worth?
No I haven't, I haven't. I know it was a treasure to my mother, she had it as a wedding present in 1934.
OK, so we have what's called a "tabula rasa".
I am going to tell you that if you put this up for auction...
and assuming all of the rest of it which we see listed, is in good condition...
-Yes, it is.
-You would certainly be looking for an auction room price of somewhere between £4,000 and £6,000.
Well, I'm not exactly a religious man, but I remember from my days...
when I was a little boy at Sunday School that bit in...
I think it's Isaiah, the Book of Isaiah, when they said they should beat their swords into plough shares,
This sword quite obviously hasn't been beaten into a plough share, has it?
-No, no, certainly not.
-And where did it come from?
Well, my niece, who's got a house in Sevenoaks, she had a leak in her roof a few... well, last week...
and of course called in Dad.
Dad goes up to the roof, goes to find the leak, goes to
the chimney breast and he found that hidden behind the chimney breast.
-What on earth was it doing there?
-We don't know but it's at least
-must be 200 years old because I went into the internet with the name...
-Now that's this name here?
-That name, there.
-The name of the swordsmith.
-Yes, and the internet took me into the Maritime Museum.
And the Maritime Museum had 174 swords but only two of this make.
Right, well, he's actually quite an unusual sword cutler, I have to say.
-Um, it says here on the label, "S Brunn,
"sword cutler to HRH the Prince of Wales".
-Now the Prince of Wales refers to the Prince Regent.
Exactly, exactly, so we can date that, probably right at the beginning of the 19th century.
-It's a Scottish Officer's broad sword.
Now if we take it from the top, looking at the hilt,
this basket hilt would have been completely gilded and it would have been beautiful to see originally.
-The original shagreen, or fish skin grip is still there, the problem is the condition.
Now you can see that the scabbard itself is split.
I... Will it come out?
We tried but we didn't pull it out, because we were afraid that we might damage it.
-No, that won't come out.
-So we left it as it is, and we thought
if the Antique Roadshow want to get it out, they can get it out.
I can't get it out, but I guess you will be able to get it out.
I think looking at it, you've got a double-edged sword, so it is a broad sword.
Been used a bit, hasn't it?
-Looks a bit like it has.
-Someone's chopped a tree down with it.
-It's a good sword, or it was a good sword.
I think in that condition, well, what's it going to be worth?
Once it's restored it's going to be worth something in the region of £600...
-As much as that? Oh!
We was thinking of £20 or £30 and we'd go out for a meal with it.
You could buy a bloomin' good meal for that sort of price today.
Yes, well...they'll be absolute... they'll be absolutely amazed.
-And so will I...
-and I've got me fifteen minutes on television, fantastic.
This is a gorgeous pot isn't it? Made by the Grainger factory at Worcester,
I suppose for pot pourri... do you use it for pot pourri?
-I don't, not really, no.
No, I just put it out as it is, actually I've got the plug-in for the different smells.
Oh, you must use this, yes. It's gorgeous, we call it pierced ivory.
-It's meant to look like a piece of ivory, made in
the Parian body.
-And it's pierced by a man called Alfred Barry.
-I knew his daughter very well and she told me all about him.
-Oh, you did?
-He did this superb work and it's a beautiful little thing isn't it?
Lovely, absolutely gorgeous, so how long have you had it?
Well, I'm not quite sure, I suppose I've had it about 30-35 years.
-My husband bought it for me.
-Oh, did he?
-So it's a romantic thing.
A nice memory of him and a beautiful pot.
Yes, yes, so it is.
But the date coding is given by...
-that's the normal Grainger mark there.
-With the shield.
-Oh, I see, yes, yes, yes.
-And the letter "I"
is the date code for eighteen...
-Is that really?
-So it's over a hundred years old.
-Is it really? I didn't realise that.
-Oh, it is, so it's jolly nice indeed.
-Oh, I didn't think it was as old as that.
And the reticulation is very beautiful, it's somewhat dirty inside.
-Well, yeah, I don't very often wash it.
-No, no, no, it should be...
High days and holidays.
It shouldn't be washed too often but it could do
with a nice one in a soft soap.
Something gentle, warm soft soap.
That's right, to be honest with you, I'm always a little bit nervous when I wash it.
-Yes, I'm sure, I'm sure.
at the moment... it's been packed away for a couple of months.
-But it should come out now, filled with pot pourri.
-Get rid of that mechanical stuff.
-Yes, yes, will do, yes.
-Used to be a beautiful smell.
-Oh, OK, then I'll take your advice.
Lovely, and the value now is about £1,000 or even a bit more.
-Is it really?
-Yes, so look after it.
-Oh, I will do, don't worry about that.
And more particularly, enjoy it.
Oh, now you've started an argument, my children will all want it now.
Oh, will they? Oh, well, oh, well don't tell them it's worth that.
-These are really nice. What do you know about them?
-Well, not really very much.
I understand though that they were made by the Vimini factory in Italy, a small factory, but that's about
all I know, apart from the fact that there's a lot of movement about them and they're rather beautiful.
They're very elegant, aren't they?
And how long have you owned these?
Well, this one I bought 40 years ago in an auction in Maidstone,
and when I bought that I fell in love with it, and decided I'd like to collect more of them
and in 40 years I've managed to collect one more, so not been very
successful, that was 20 years ago in Greenwich market I bought that.
Well, I've got some news for you there's a remarkable coincidence, I...
about a year ago I bought two of these, I found them
at a boot fair and I have bought the two of them for £100...
I thought they were Vimini...
-as you say.
-Which is an Austrian lamp glass works, these are made by blowing gas through a pipe and
melting rods of glass together, this is how these are made, so I had these out and somebody walked into the shop
and he said, "Oh, you have some glass by Istvan Andras Karamoni"
and I go "What?"
"Istvan Andras Karamoni" and I said, "What are you talking about?"
he said, "These, these". I said, "No, they're Vimini".
He said, "They are not, when I was a child living in Shirley, near Croydon,..."
-"..my next door neighbour was Istvan Andras Karamoni and I used to go round for sixpence a week
"after school, I would help him and watch him make these figures
-"in a bedroom at the back of his house in a suburban Croydon".
He's a Hungarian, arrived from Budapest in about 1954 in England and his most famous group is
a group of stags, one of which was given to Princess Margaret at...
as a wedding present, so whilst they certainly look like Vimini,
they are this guy with the very easy name.
-Forgotten it already.
-We'll write it down.
-Yes, thank you.
So when it comes to value, I can't help but feel
that that's got to be worth £250.
I think it's really elegant, sexy, spontaneous and rare.
-This one, I have this figure.
-Set on one of these boards.
-So I think this is actually damaged and there is a replacement foot, so I would put £50 to £75.
-But that's the least.
Here we are, "Rochester, I owe everything to this place"...
Dame Sibyl Thorndyke, doyenne of the English stage and worldwide
traveller, there is one place whose memories she treasures most in all...
-She was a fabulous actress, wasn't she?
-She was, wonderful.
Really very very good, and here she is "After a few words with Mrs Pugh, wife of
"Dr David Pugh, who live at 2 Minor Canon Row, Rochester"...
the Thorndykes' first home in Rochester.
So tell me, what is the connection between you and Sibyl Thorndyke?
-I went up to see her on her 90th birthday in 1972.
On behalf of the Children of the Medway Towns with...
-What are the Children of Medway?
-Well, they have produced over a hundred birthday cards for her.
Right, and this is, this is her opening her cards.
This is her opening her cards with my own small daughter who was then
-Oh, well I think that's absolutely splendid.
-But the real prize was seeing her.
-Seeing her face to face.
Seeing her and spending half an hour in her company.
Oh, I think that's splendid. What else have you got here?
You've got a couple of signed photographs.
-You've got quite a few letters, you've got the Order of Thanksgiving
Service for the life of Sibyl Thorndyke Casson in Westminster Abbey. Did you go to that?
Yes, I did, yes, and it was a wonderful occasion.
Yes, absolutely wonderful, and then you've got here the biography.
-Tell me about that.
-Well, when I went up
with the cards and the children, she said to me, "You know my son John has written a book about me"
and I said "Yes, I know, Dame Sibyl, my husband is going to give it to me for Christmas"
and she said "No, he isn't, my dear, because I'm going to give it to you now"
and she sent me into the kitchen with the little old Irish lady
who was her companion
to the cooker,
and I was amazed to see this cooker, this spotless gas cooker
which she never used, because she didn't like cooking,
and it was full of these books that she was going to give away.
-That's a marvellous place to put books.
-In the cooker.
Absolutely tremendous. I love this bit
"Dear Mrs Walker, I'm so very glad you like the book, I think John has made a very
"good job of it, I enjoyed it too, thank you for writing me such an interesting letter, full of memories.
"I don't know whether you mean the school that was in King Street, or the one in St Margaret's.
"I have wonderful memories of the one in St Margaret's...
"because I taught in Sunday School there from time to time; I was ten years old.
"If you mean the one in King Street, the old Board School...
"we used to spit at it when we passed"
which is wonderful "because it wasn't a church school
and then she signs it elaborately, "Good luck, sincerely Sibyl Thorndyke Casson"
and a wonderful signature there too.
-Now tell me, what about values? Have you any idea of values?
Well, I wouldn't part with any of it, but I have no idea at all.
Well, as you can imagine, she lived until a great old age.
-And so she signed quite a lot of stuff.
-Yes, she did.
But I think you've got... and with your memories and all the other bits and pieces that you've got here...
I think you've got the best part of £500 or £600.
-Now be careful as you go home.
-Yes, I will, thank you.
-All right, thanks for bringing it in.
It was my great grandfather's, he was in the navy in both
world wars and he survived both and we don't know how he came across it, but it comes apart.
Ah, look at that.
OK, well... have you ever seen anything like this before?
-Not at all, no.
-Right, well, I have.
In the early part of the 20th century when this was made, there was no television,
-there was no radio, people had to find their own amusement.
And so handicrafts were the thing of the day, people
wrote poetry, they played music, they, they drew, they painted, they played with metalwork, and that's
exactly what this is, it's a little novelty, and somebody who had a tremendous talent with his hands.
-Perhaps with the lathe, has taken two pennies, and they had to use two.
-And they've cut the tails off of one and the heads off of the other.
And they've turned away the centre of the head and they've made a little tiny box.
-What's it worth? Well, frankly, I think it's quite rare.
I'd pay £50 for that, just for a novelty.
-I think it's fantastic.
-And my mum says...
It's a penny then, so it's got to be about half a penny nowadays.
The half penny today converts to about £50 so I think you've got a lovely object there.
Yeah, I really like it.
In its three decades, the Antiques Roadshow has been introduced by no less than five presenters...
Bruce Parker was the first, there was Angela Rippon,
Hugh Scully was the longest serving presenter and then came me...
that was in the year 200o. But the experts started very young...
When did the name Hilary Kay first go up in lights?
It was early on, it was '79/'80 I mean back in those early days.
Did you ever think very hard about what you wore?
Well, I suppose I should have done. No, I didn't...
was the answer, which means that I made all the classic telly mistakes...
huge patterns, bra-less, uncomfortable shoes and you just
had to learn by your own mistakes and you know, thankfully here we are now with all those mistakes learned.
Well, go back now please to a really outstanding early memory.
Well, the one fantastic object from those really early days was the automaton that was found at Bognor.
And that was special for so many reasons, I mean firstly it was
the time that I was working with Arthur Negus and you can imagine, I'd grown up with "Going For A Song"
and that was just such a sort of hero worship thing for me
then, to be working with Arthur, so that was number one, and then you had this wonderful object which really...
how it ever escaped from a museum I've no idea, I mean it was just a great thing,
and then thirdly, I mean... bit naughty...
but I just loved the client, the owner, with her wonderful hat and you know, long skinny boots.
She was, she was just wonderful, so I mean the three made it into a real priceless memory for me.
Are you interested in music yourself, because the songs are really very pretty, aren't they?
Well, I was a professional singer myself and then a lecturer of music.
-Well, I never, but it's a beautiful object.
-It is lovely.
Er, to actually put a value on an item like
this is difficult, because as I said, it's a really museum piece.
But I would have thought at an auction,
he should realise between £6,000 and £8,000.
Oh, that's a lot, isn't it?
It is a lot, but he's worth every penny, I think.
And the automaton itself went on to great glory.
It did, I mean much later on, I don't know, 15 or 16 years later the owner phoned me up at
the auction house where I was working and said she'd decided to sell it
and when it came up for sale it actually went for £84,000
which was a huge sum, I mean it was then, it still is a huge sum now.
-Well, your campaign medal's in the post.
And there are other contenders for that title and we them the Young Ones.
MUSIC: "The Young Ones" by Cliff Richard
At first sight there seems to be no immediate connection
between this piece of slightly crudely formed oak
and a beautifully made boat, tell us what it is.
Well, my great grandfather
was a boat builder but he was acquainted with Charles Dickens
and either watched, or played, cricket with him at Gads Hill House
and a tree was in the way, Dickens wanted rid of it, and my great grandfather bought it.
-Right, and that is what this piece of paper is all about.
-It is indeed.
And this is a what, a typescript from...
It's written on the top there.
God, it even gets better,
So it says "This piece of oak was grown at Gads Hill, the tree of which it is a part, interfered with
"the prospect at a cricket match at which I was one of the players"
-ie your great grandfather.
"And Dickens expressed a wish for its removal.
-"I offered to buy it". Well, that was very opportune.
-I mean a boat builder needs oak, doesn't he?
-He does indeed.
And there is the actual cheque that he gave to Charles Dickens to purchase this oak tree.
-For ten pounds.
-And he paid £10 for an entire tree, but...
..well, of course I'll pay lip service to being interested in Dickens while
I'm here in Rochester, my main interest is actually in the boat and I love boat models.
-This is absolutely meat and drink to me.
-I live on the Thames.
On the upper Thames and so I'm very used to seeing nice clinker built dinghies, although this, to my eye,
is not a Thames proportion, is it, is it a Medway boat?
I think it is, um, he built boats for the local fishermen.
-Because Medway at the time was famous for sprats, oysters and shrimps.
Interesting that I see that these, certainly the seats in the thwarts are made of oak
and I think the planking is as well and wouldn't it be wonderful to think that it was from the tree?
That would be terrific.
-That would be special.
-What other evidence of the family is there?
We do have a photograph of Edward Lemon which is here.
What is that he's standing next to?
He's standing next to a pulpit which he carved for "The Arethusa"
which was then a training ship for The Shaftesbury Homes.
So there I was, very very rudely at the beginning saying this is
slightly crudely formed oak plaque and I think you'd agree, it is.
-But that... actually he improved, didn't he, over the years?
-Yes, he got better.
-He got pretty good.
Yes, he did, yes, he did.
Um, no, they're great things and what wonderful things of local interest.
-What are they worth?
As a piece of...essentially a piece of treen, carved wood,
I would say it's £200 or £300.
-But of course we've got the Dickens connection to, to cope with.
-And the Dickens market is quite strong.
-And I think that it is worth many hundreds, certainly the best part of £1,000.
That's... that's better than we expected, that's really good.
-It actually compares directly with the value of this.
Because I saw a very similar hull, for sale recently, and that was also priced at just under £1,000.
So with all the extra interest, with the photograph and...
I suppose, you know, you're well on top of £2,000.
When did you last ride a bike in a cathedral?
-Oh, let me think.
-Do it all the time, do you?
Yeah, pretty much.
So where did you find bikes like this?
Well, they were delivered to my great grandfather who had a dairy, a very small dairy at
the bottom of a very small lane, and the tanker couldn't get down the lane to the dairy so as far as
we know, the dairy supplied him with the tricycles to get the milk from the dairy to the tanker.
So when was that do you think?
Um, as far as I know my grandfather got them in 1947.
-Oh, quite late.
-Oh, yeah, quite late.
So what did they have on here? Milk churns?
Yeah, it would have probably had bottled milk on it, or milk churns, and the same with this one.
So were they given to you as good bikes? Were they in good condition?
Um, when I got them they were, yes, but they weren't when my father found them.
My father found them on my granddad's farm
and he restored them when he was 16, which must have been 30 years ago.
So let's get down to basics. Why do you want to ride bicycles like this?
They're heavy, they're old-fashioned.
-Because they're absolutely great fun, I mean I do my groceries on that one.
-There's plenty of room for your supermarket bags.
-I don't have a driving licence, I've got no other way of doing them.
My mum and dad rode on their first date on this tricycle.
She on the front, he on the back?
Yeah, he cycled her to the pub and they had lunch together, and that was their first date...
they've now been married 22 years.
Well, what a start! She had to say yes, didn't she?
Oh, definitely and then came along me and my brother,
she strapped our carry cots to the front of that and took us down the shops, then took us cycling.
Um and then of course... family history...
we had to repeat it, my boyfriend cycled me to the Prom on that one.
Fantastic, what riding or carrying?
-My boyfriend cycled and I was sat on the front.
It was absolutely wonderful.
Now, in Roadshow terms... value.
-What are they worth to you?
-I think if I sold them, my uncle would actually kill me.
-Well, that's fair enough, in that case.
They're so precious to me, I'm the fourth generation to have them.
-I don't care what they're worth.
-No, well, in that case, I'm not going to tell you.
-No, let's keep it as a wonderful bit of...
-bit of family history and mystery.
-Yes, they are, they are brilliant.
I think they're great, and in fact I've always wanted to ride a delivery bike so off I go.
-Well, there you go, bye-bye.
It's a fabulous service, that's what I like about this so much,
-it's a very, very tactile piece, it feels like fur.
-Feels like fur?
It's a gorgeous thing, gorgeous, gorgeous, and it's a fabulous form as well. Do you know what it is?
No, you tell me.
-Well, you must have looked.
-Yes, it's Ruskin but I don't know anything about it.
It's Ruskin Ware yes, it says so on the base here "Ruskin Pottery 1909"
it's a factory near Birmingham set up just before the end of the 19th century
by a chap called William Houghton Taylor, he set it up with his father
and they made these wonderful high fired, high-temperature flambe-glazed vases inspired by Chinese pieces
principally, for around about 30 years or so, but they are terrific quality.
In this vase it's using a high-temperature, copper-edged
flambe glaze, it's a very difficult glaze to control in the kiln.
In some areas, if you don't get the oxygen levels exactly right, you get
these slightly grey areas and the very best examples have a very even glaze, but it's a really pretty vase,
it's a really pretty shape, it feels lovely.
At auction, I'd expect it to fetch £800 to £1,200.
Really? Oh, my God. Oh, thank you very much.
I think it's lovely.
On this table you have almost encapsulated my entire childhood, do you realise that?
-I didn't realise that.
-It's a worry isn't it?
But we had a toy shop in our village and I'd save up my 2/6 every week
and buy something, because Corgi...
I hate to say it, all those Dinky toy fans out there...
-Corgi were the ones to buy.
And to prove it, we have the fact
-that you are a registered member of the Corgi Model Club.
I was always a Corgi fanatic.
Exactly, well, I mean Corgi set up in 1956 which was quite
a long time after Dinky, but they had this big selling point, didn't they?
Their slogan was...
-"the one with windows".
-Yes, "the one with windows".
-And then they had suspension and then they had dual headlamps.
And they got really early into sort of film merchandise and TV world.
-Yes, they did, yes, yes.
-So they had, um obviously James Bond.
-Here we have James Bond.
-They had The Avengers.
-Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
-Man From Uncle.
-Yes, I remember those.
OK, so when did you start collecting?
Well, I'm not a collector as such, these are just my childhood toys.
They all date from the late '50s to probably the mid '60s.
-So were you a pocket money hoarder as well?
-Er, yes, certainly, for the... for this one.
I saved up two shillings a week which was my pocket money for
eight weeks, sixteen shillings, and my mum added the one and six, and I went to Dartford and purchased it
from the toy shop but the majority come from one of my sisters, so three older sisters, very spoiled
and my sister Elaine used to come home from work every Friday, most Fridays with a toy.
Invariably it was a Corgi toy.
So good for her, so this is, this is the spoilt spoils from, from a little brother.
-Brilliant, so amongst all these with me, I think my favourite was probably the caravan.
-Oh, OK, OK.
I don't what that says about me but closely followed, I have to say...
-by... oh, you haven't got it here.
Which was a wonderful Corvette.
Oh, it's there, oh, you've got it!
And I am in seventh heaven now, you're not going to see this again,
that's going to slip nicely into my handbag.
So my favourites. Your favourites?
-My favourites was the James Bond Aston Martin, the Ecurie Ecosse car transporter.
-And funnily enough the circus set.
-Well, I think the circus has got so much going for it.
-Lots and lots of accessories.
-But the great thing here is the condition.
Now, sad boy, or boy that played with his toys?
I had two lots of toys, toys I played
outside with, and toys I played indoors, these were the indoor toys.
-Very good, very good.
OK, so value.
Which is the most valuable, do you think?
Well, I thought, I thought it was the James Bond Aston Martin
but I believe it could be the circus set, in that case I don't know.
I think it's this. I think it's the gift set number 1.
I mean I know you've got a dink in the lid here, but gift set number 1
-can fetch about £500.
So I think that's your cracker...
-the circus models come next at around £350-£400.
This comes third, this is going to be around £300 and the rest are going to
add up, I mean when you go through and add them all up in your head...
I reckon we're getting to £2,000 without any problem at all.
-So, well done for saving your money and buying them.
Thank you to Elaine
for giving them to you every Friday
and well done for keeping them in such great shape because now
you've got something that really is just as exciting as it was.
I'll have to take more care of them, because they're stored in the loft.
-And subject to extremes of temperature.
-Which leads to metal fatigue.
So get them down from the loft, have them out on display, they look fantastic.
This is a most strange and unique form of glass decorating that is applied to this jug.
It was made by Davenport who are a porcelain company in Staffordshire,
and this is their contribution to glass making history and it is called "the Davenport patent"
and it's supported by the application of the word "patent"
to the base of this jug which is a real cracker.
Now the Davenport patent concerned the application of sugar water
and black ink to the body of the glass,
fine-tuned with a stiletto to leave an image that was created by firing it.
It was patented in 1806 and they abandoned the making of it in 1811
and they made examples for the Tsar, and the Prince Regent.
This is the market it was aimed at, so tell us your part of the story.
Well, it was handed down to me by my mother who was
a very astute lady, actually, and did know her antiques.
You're not surprising me with that nugget.
-No, and, um...
-She was French.
-And, um, yes, she was French.
-Right. Well, not that I think that has any bearing, because this is as English as roast beef.
The scene is one of the famous scenes - the scene is The Huntsman.
There are other ones that are geometric patterns,
acanthus decoration up here, this is classic Davenport, I knew it the second I saw it, you know.
Yeah, I knew.
Well, we have a couple of problems with it and that is that
it is, has got a right bash here and it's got a chip here, none the less I can tell you, with confidence
that these are restorable, you can get this stuff out.
Now a group, a collection went up under the hammer last year of
Rummer wine glasses, now the Rummers went for £2,000 each
so I've got no hesitation at all...
albeit that it's quite damaged...
-on putting a valuation of between £4,000 and £5,000 on this jug.
Taken my breath away.
I love doing that.
Fascinating group of silver, where did they come from?
They are in fact the silver ware of our local church which is part of the Rochester Diocese.
Right, right, so what are they all about?
So first of all, this one.
Wonderful piece of silver.
You've got an inscription here which reads "the gift of Robert Mann Esquire, Anno 1750"
but that's not the date of the piece.
-OK, the piece itself...
you've got the date letter there for 1698.
Oh, right. Was it in its previous life, a paten for a chalice?
-It was just a plate.
-No, really a dish.
Simply a dish, domestic use, not for church use at all.
-Oh, right, ah.
-So I think with this one we're looking probably around £1,500 to £2,000 mark.
OK. What have we got here?
Ex dono Francis Withams,
Militus, I think that means he is a military man, I might be wrong,
my Latin is absolutely hopeless.
And here we've got this rather curious...
it reads 1691-2, so this
this must have coincided with that change
in the year, but again the date actually is deceptive.
-In this case, we've got the date letter for 1683.
-And this is actually a dinner plate, really.
Of the reign of Charles II but of course you have to remember
with the Reformation, domestic silver like this was perfectly acceptable.
So what about value on this one?
Well, we had an idea from... no, the overall value of these,
I think it was something like two and a half K or something.
£2,500 you reckon overall.
-Well, this on its own is somewhere between £5,000 and £6,000.
-Are you noting this down?
So when you inherited this, why on earth did you keep it?
Well, I just think it's the most beautiful object in its own right,
I love the colour, I love the shape, I love the intricacy, and it's got
so many clues all over it, I just think it's a fantastically beautiful piece of art...artwork, really.
Well, it's a cow horn beaker made in the 18th century and it just makes you smile.
I'm smiling all the time, every time I hold it.
-Well, it's a funny, there's a lot of sort of little funny pieces in it, in the carving.
Well, it is full of humour.
Well, curiously, I think we need to start at the bottom because it says here
"this is for his Royal M...
"KG"... or GK... so His Royal Majesty King George and this chap here is wearing a garter star, or a star.
-So perhaps this is King George, and conveniently it says "KG"
there and also, what on earth is this rather strange...
This is a compass of some sort and it has north, south, east, west
but the east and west are in the wrong position.
So I assume it wasn't a very educated person that made it.
Well, he's certainly very skilful, but who is he, I wonder, and here, over this rather bizarre
royal arms with the supporters, the lion and the unicorn, I mean look at this unicorn, what a mad unicorn that
is, it's terrific, isn't it? The inscription - where you would expect a sort of garter inscription -
-says "God knows this horn is mine".
-It's a very personal piece, isn't it?
Absolutely, it's mine.
The whole thing has been cut back in relief, it's quite extraordinary, rather than incised.
A lot that I've seen are incised and why I love this is the low relief on it.
-I think that's just beautiful, and it feels nice, everything about it's right.
It does feel right. It's just the most lovely thing.
This very silly dog about to lick or bite King George's hand,
so now we've got to try and work out what date, and which King George.
The coat of arms is definitely Georgian, it has the lions,
the harp, the fleur de lys, I'm not sure what this fellow is, but it's not quite right.
Well, I think there's another final clue in here in terms of its date in that
-the outfits that they're both wearing appear to be mid-18th century.
-So this is George II, you think?
I think it's George II, yes, I don't see why not, and everything about it has got...
it's just the most lovely primitive object and I don't mean by "primitive"
rudely, I think it's a fabulous primitive object.
When you inherited it... how long ago did you get it?
30 years ago Mum gave it to me.
Well, it was probably worth a fiver then,
but I think now that it's one of the most charming things I've seen for a long time and
at auction I think it should make somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.
Well, it's too beautiful to sell.
Well, absolutely, I would never sell it if it was mine, I think it's a lovely object.
So we're up now to sort of £7,500 or so...
that sort of level, what about this one?
We know nothing about it at all.
No, it's a total mystery to us.
Let's just slide those over there.
This is actually what's known as a steeple cup,
from this obelisk or steeple on the lid, this was a tremendous feature
at one particular period and time, it absolutely screams when it was made.
-And that period was the reign of King James I.
The actual date in fact...
just fits rather tightly on there.
Did you find the hallmark because we...
We've got a full set of marks there.
Right. And we've actually got the London date letter there for 1619.
What are you using it for?
For high days and holidays, for Communion.
Right, again interesting because it's actually not a Communion cup.
Ah, that was going to be another question because all the people
who use it say it's dreadfully uncomfortable to drink from.
-Bearing in mind the Communion practice of helping someone to drink from it.
-Indeed, it is a secular drinking cup.
And again it's the secularisation with the Reformation and it was perfectly acceptable for somebody to
present to a church what was actually their domestic drinking cup.
You have to be somebody quite important to have a standing cup and cover of this sort of size and scale.
What about these brackets in the stem?
Eating you see when this was made, was to a large extent a hands-on operation,
-just think of your hand covered with mutton fat.
-Oh, yeah, yeah.
Got a jolly good grip there.
Works beautifully. Sort of value today...
I would be thinking in terms of about
£50,000, maybe £60,000.
We can pay the Rector's salary now.
50 to 60K?
-Plus the price of...
It had previously been hinted at, possibly about 2K. Well, that's unbelievable.
-A bit of an improvement on two thousand.
-Isn't it just?
Yes, I mean you couldn't buy that for two thousand, you might just
about be able to buy that one for two thousand, so please do make sure that you put them somewhere safe.
Yes, they'll be going straight back to the bank as we leave here.
-A very good idea.
With all my talk about Dickens setting one of his novels here in Rochester Cathedral,
so much restoration has gone on, that if he came back here, he wouldn't recognise the place.
Although one or two of the pillars still have a distinct
outward lean, but then if you were a thousand years old, wouldn't you?
Thanks again to the Dean and Chapter for having us, and from Rochester in Kent, for now, goodbye.
Michael Aspel and the team visit Rochester Cathedral and make some surprising finds, including a rare Scottish sword found behind a chimney and delivery bicycles still in regular use.