Cat’s Grave Marker Saved for the Nation

With help from the Friends, The Museum of Somerset has become the proud owner of a 10th Century statue of St Peter. This was originally found by a man who took it home and used it to mark the grave of his cat. Later it was spotted in his garden at Dowlish Wake, near Ilminster, and recognised as being an important piece of sculpture. Experts have identified it as a piece of national significance and the British Museum was interested in acquiring it.

The statue was eventually purchased by a dealer and the gentleman then agreed to sell it to The Museum of Somerset. The Friends were able to initiate the purchase with a contribution of £500 and in turn this led to a successful application to three major charitable donors when the balance to £150,000 was raised.1954L14313_6SYR9The sculpture was probably part of an architectural frieze around an important religious building. Identification of the figure is confirmed by the Latin inscription SC[S PE]TRUS, which represents SANCTUS PETRUS. It is carved from oolitic limestone, which occurs widely in the area of south Somerset.

The statue is now on display in The Museum of Somerset, where it is an enormously important addition to the collection.

Dave Drury

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First World War research guide

logo singleAre you researching an ancestor who served in the First World War? Do you want to know more about the contribution your community made to the war effort?

If you want to find out more about the role your relatives played in the war, or about the effect the war had on your community, there are a number of resources available to help you.

Somerset Remembers is a county-wide project exploring the impact that the war had on the county and the many ways in which Somerset people, their families and communities have remembered the war. The Friends contributed £2000 to this project. 

Download the research guide here or visit their resources page for further information.

If you have already done research, share your own memories, records or artefacts with others on the Somerset Remembers community archive. Here you can discover the personal experiences of Somerset people in photographs, letters and stories passed down through the generations.

Do you have pictures, letters, diaries, or war records from a family member who was involved? Did a relative serve with the Somerset Light Infantry? Is there a Red Cross nurse in the family? Or have you been researching your village to mark the centenary?

You can contribute to the project or read the fascinating accounts of the lives and experiences of Somerset people at: www.somersetremembers.com