Deer leg bone found in 17th century cabinet at Welshpool's Powis Castle

By Culture24 Reporter | 21 August 2012
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A photo of a section of bone within a thin wooden holder held in front of a cabinet
A bone found in a cabinet at Powis Castle is thought to have belonged to a deer© Ben Walker
Curators investigating a bone found in a secret drawer of a 17th century cupboard by a visitor at Powis Castle say the mysterious discovery may have belonged to a deer.

The bone was found in the Charles II cabinet by a guest researching its Jamaican ebony wood in a bid to help restore one of his own pieces of furniture.

A photo of a woman holding a section of case with a bone in it inside a museum
Emma Marshall, the Assistant House Steward, takes a look at the latest find at the castle
© Ben Walker
“He took us through all the secret drawers we didn’t know existed,” says Emma Marshall, the Assistant House Steward at the historic grounds in Welshpool.

“This one was the most secret, hidden behind two others.

“When we opened it, there was a dusty bone that had obviously not seen the light of day for years.

“It really is a gorgeous cabinet, of high value, and the sort of piece that royalty would have had at that time.

“The secret drawer containing the bone was so well hidden.

We thought it was the divider between two other drawers, but it turned out to be a drawer itself with the bone hidden inside.”

The bone, which may be part of a leg, is not the first animal remnant to have been discovered at the castle.

“Bones of a cat were found behind Elizabethan panelling in the Long Gallery,” says Marshall.

“These bones could have been put there to ward off evil spirits.

“In the 1900s an Elizabethan shoe was discovered under the floorboards of the Oak Drawing Room.

“That would probably have been put there for luck and the family left instructions for it never to leave the castle.

“It is still in its own little display case in the Butler's safe.”

A marble sculpture of a cat, poised over a snake, is one of the star exhibits inside the Castle’s Long Gallery.
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