“ The secret at the bottom of Jean’s garden”
I was gardening for Mrs Jean Tuson , an old friend , who lives close to Myddelton House in Bulls Cross I on Saturday 25th May in what was formerly a “Bowles property” ….when I noticed what I first took to be a coin, encrusted with soil ..I immediately thought it would be a ha"penny from its size ,....I rubbed the soil off and noticed no "Britannia"? and no monarch? but I discerned a motif of a beast .........by now I'm thinking from the proximity of Watling Street, it could be Roman? I washed it in the waterbutt... I recognised a boar with an arrow through its breast instantly as the crest of the nearby Bowles Family , the grounds of which I have been gardener and historian for the past 33 years ...turning it over ,the reverse revealed it to be a button made by the famous company of Firmin andSons of The Strand and Conduit Street London . At that point I knew I was holding the livery button (and probably the only one so far discovered ?)of a servant from Myddelton House ..it is well known that Mr EA Bowles butler Mr William Morley lived at that 1, Model Villas till his death in1938, investigation of the census returns for the area reveal that Thomas Ealey aged 70, Coachman to the Bowles family , lived there in 1891 . He certainly would have worn livery buttons , but before him was Mr Davis butler to Henry Carrington Bowles Bowles in 1881 also aged 70. I think my money is on "Old Davis"....Livery buttons as part of the accoutrements of every big house in the country were then derigerre. Indeed the website for Firmin and Sons informed me that Livery buttons were created by them from1852 till the early twentieth century . This button must be before 1875because buttons were impressed with "Firmin and Sons Ltd"after that year .I would imagine one day old Davis's washed tunic and trousers were drying in the garden in a strong breeze and that loose button he mean't to ask his wife Esther to re-sew finally broke off and lay in the soil for over a century waiting to be dis covered by one of the few people with the qualities to recognise its importance locally . Mrs Tuson has kindly donated it to The Bowles Society of Myddelton House.