Spectacle Frame Fragment, Hailes Abbey

English Heritage

English Heritage
United Kingdom

Medieval spectacles were used for close-up work, such as reading or writing, common tasks in monasteries. This is a bone fragment from the frame of a pair of scissor spectacles found in the reredorter drainage system. The fragment has a groove on the inner curve, to hold a lens. Originally, two hooked tabs would have secured the lens in place, with the aid of a wire binding – one tab still remains. Finds relating to the spectacles of this period are extremely rare, but English Heritage has another fragment at Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire which appears to have been from an identical pair.

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