I spotted this fragment of clay pipe when I went out at sunset to see if I could catch the slug that’s been eating our French bean seedlings. In thirty years of digging I find it surprising that this is the first time I’ve spotted it. I’ve found pipe fragments before but never anything as elegantly decorated as this.
I’m assuming that it was dropped here as we haven’t ever imported topsoil. The style of the lettering makes me think 18th rather than 19th century so I’m surprised that it looks so fresh after having been in the topsoil for a couple of centuries.
Perhaps the brown rats have brought it to the surface. They’ve been active under our compost bins and we recently spread compost on this bed.
Who the ‘JG’? This was farm land so could it have been one of the Gemmels, a local farming family?
As we’re only 40 yards from a ford that ran along Coxley beck it could have been dropped by any drover, wagon driver, traveller or labourer who happened to be passing by.
A Google search reveals that one of the biggest pipe manufacturers was J Gambier of Paris, a firm which offered its customers over 2,000 different kinds of pipe.