Two historically important artefacts gifted to museum

The tankard
The tankard

Belford Museum has been donated two items of historical value to the village.

The first is an oak and silver tankard, with a rifleman forming the handle of its lid.

A shield on the front is inscribed: ‘Presented by WRJ Piper to the Belford Section of the 4th NRV (Northumberland Rifle Volunteers), 1870’.

The tankard was given to the museum by Emily Vivas.

At the end of the 1850s, the Government launched Rifle Volunteer Brigades. The Belford Section was formed in January 1860, with the Earl of Tankerville taking the lead. Initially it was based at Wooler, but moved to Belford.

WRJ Piper, who married the daughter of the innkeeper of Belford’s Blue Bell, is recorded as joining the Section in 1868, and was a fine shooter.

Mr Piper gave the Section The Broom House Cup for a shooting competition. It is believed the tankard is this cup.

It will be on display in the museum during the Heritage Open Weekends on September 8 and 9 and 15 and 16.

The second item, gifted by Ian Main, is a framed First World War Comforts Fund Certificate. The Belford Comforts Fund gave these to returning soldiers. This particular one was for John Nixon, son of the late landlord of the Black Swan.

John enlisted at the start of the war and saw much service on the Western Front. He was badly wounded in 1917 and in March 1918 was declared no longer fit for military service.

The certificate has been added to the museum’s First World War display.