A unique piece of history has come to light at Epworth’s Old Rectory, where renovation work at the museum is underway.
A shoe has been discovered in a void in the kitchen wall – bricked up behind the oldest beams which suggest that it could go back to the time when the house was built more than 300 years ago.
The Old Rectory was the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley, who founded a movement that went on to become the world-wide Methodist Church, and it is thought the shoe comes from the time the Wesleys lived here.
“There was a tradition of putting shoes under the floors of new buildings as a form of lucky charm so it looks as if that is what happened when this house was built in 1709,” said Rev Claire Potter, curator at the museum.
“We found it when we were excavating the kitchen fireplace in a void at the top of the fireplace,” she added.
Northampton Museum, which has a renowned collection of shoes, is helping the Old Rectory to identify and date the shoe and will also be giving advice on how to care for it and clean it.
It could be a man’s or a lady’s shoe and it shows evidence of repair suggesting it was not new when it was put there. The house will be 304 years old this December, so this shoe could be older than that.
“We think it may even have belonged to either Samuel or Susanna Wesley – John and Charles’ parents, who live there when Samuel was Rector at Epworth’s St Andrew’s Church,” said Rev Potter.