Cheers! Eight-century-old ale jug found in attic is predicted to fetch £50,000 at auction
- The horseshoe was the crest of the Ferrers who lived in Duffield castle
- The jug may have carried cider or ale for workers during harvest time
- It recently spent 150 years in an attic before being put on sale
Left behind, perhaps by a farm hand who had drunk one too many, the jug lay undiscovered in the grounds of Kedleston Estate until it was rediscovered in 1862.
Now, after another 150 years spent gathering dust in an attic, the jug is going to auction and is expected to fetch between £30,000 and £50,000.
Ancient history: the Magna Carta was signed by King John just five years before this jug was made
The large glazed jug, described 'as one of the most important and early Medieval relics of the potters art ever discovered', was originally made for use at Duffield Castle in Derbyshire between 1220 and 1250.
Found: the glazed pottery was rediscovered in 1862 by a worker draining a field
Auctioneers speculate that it could have been used to carry cider or ale into the countryside to quench the thirst of workers who were gathering in the harvest.
After being lost it was rediscovered in 1862 by a worker draining a field.
At the time the vessel was kindly lent by the Right Honourable Lord Scarsdale for exhibition in Derby and eventually inherited by a gentleman in Derbyshire
The exterior decoration shows horseshoe and buckle mouldings, the distinctive crests of the Ferrers family who used to live at the castle.
It will go on sale at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire on Saturday 28 September.
Mr Hanson, manager of the auction house, said: 'The early English Medieval jug is from the late Norman period and would date to circa 1220. It really is a magical item.'
'When I initially assessed the jug I was informed the pet dog had on a couple of occasions come close to wagging its tail a little too close and knocking it over.'
'The family said it had then been stored in an attic before being discovered and put up for auction.'
'We hope collectors and museums will celebrate such a wonderful item. I really hope it is purchased by a museum and the public can enjoy it like we have at our auction centre.'