Object of the Month – August 2023

In April, university students Eleanor, Elizabeth and Katie joined us to help inventory the ceramic and glassware store behind the scenes at the museum. Eleanor is continuing with the project until September.

They picked out their favourite items from the stores. This condiment stand and bottles was selected by Eleanor.

It was donated to the museum in 1895 by Dr Henry Stear. A considerable portion of the ceramics collection was bequeathed and donated to the Museum by Stear, who died in 1917.

The three bottles are labelled “Oli”, “Azyn” and “Peper”. “Azyn” means vinegar in the Frisian dialect, which is an area north of the Netherlands. “Oli” means oil in Dutch and “Peper” is pepper. This item is particularly exciting, as it provides some further insight into the Dr, with an obituary written on its base and a small accompanying image.

Henry Stear was a surgeon and worked as one of four initial doctors in the Saffron Walden General Hospital which was founded in 1866. The writing gives a positive and comedic account of Stear’s influence on the town, family, character, occupation and a physical description, and is signed Guy Maynard 1920. Maynard took over as curator of the museum from his father in 1904 and had grown up in the building.

Quote from the base:

“Short sli..t built. Kept(?) very active until extreme old age arrived. always cheerful fond of a joke until the last. He never married and supported his aged mother and 3 spinster sisters for many years. They whispered that he had loved in his youth but that the family opposition was too strong.

He was a fine example of the old school of riding doctors and known and beloved for miles around.

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… the Rose & Crown … the Market … with the … he left … which he loved. May he rest in peace and long may his memory be preserved by the many treasures which he left to the collection. Guy Maynard 1920.”


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