A rare addition to the very few known 17th century lead cisterns having a provenance to the Wren Family of Northam near Bideford in Devon.
The front curvature consisting of ten square panels delineated by a raised bull nose moulding, inset with nine raised square panels having a stylized flower and leaf motif. The central top panel bearing the date 1653 and the initials “T S W” is set within a simple architectural arch. The top banding, being of grape and vine flowing in repetition across the demi-lune, is topped by a simple moulding.
Lead Cisterns are known to have been made in the Exeter area, however, this example corresponds closer to the full circular cistern at St Fagan’s, Cardiff. The Cistern is dated 1620, although this date is disputed by Lawrence Weaver as the central panel was ‘inserted after the main part of the cistern was made, a pleasant taste of doubt remains’. Ours also has a possible date change, this time being earlier than 1653, as signs of after working on the moulding could indicate that the cistern was re-dedicated and re-dated. Similar Cisterns have also been recorded at Poundisford Park and Bovey Tracey.
Of interest, there are many marks of possible other family members’ initials that can be discerned scattered over the top panels, the main one visible being S. W.