Medieval roof finial discovered in London

A rare find has been uncovered from the shores of the Thames by the Museum of London. A clay medieval roof finial was discovered a week ago by a mudlark, who was helping survey the foreshore of the river by the Tower of London, and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This fascinating object offers a glimpse of what the city could have looked like over 600 years ago.

The roof finial is worn and in shape of an animal, dating from the late 12th Century or 13th Century. An object like this would have been used to embellish the ridges of tiled roof buildings in London and other large towns. This particular example was probably made around Woolwich and brought to the city with other pots and roof tiles.

Roy Stephenson, Head of Archaeological Collections and Archive, said: “This find is relatively rare in the collections of the Museum of London. It gives a fascinating insight into the lost roofscape of medieval London, which we know relatively little about. Some of the more common place roofs would have been thatched. But here we have evidence of a decorated tiled roof, possibly from a prestigious private building.”

The finial will now undergo cleaning and research to further the Museum’s knowledge about the way London looked over six centuries ago. Further updates about the discovery will be posted at

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