CALTROP

 Godalming Museum, ref: B980.1021

 

This caltrop was found in 1903 during the digging of foundations for an extension to convent buildings in Roehampton.

The size of this, one of Godalming Museum's smaller obects (with an overall span of 30mm), gives no clue to the deadliness of its purpose. The use of this type of four-pronged weapon is recorded as far back as Roman times, but the one in Godalming Museum's collection is likely to date from the time of the English Civil War. They were used to slow down an advancing or pursuing force. When thrown down, whichever way they landed, one spike would always point upwards. When scattered in the path of horses or foot-soldiers, they could inflict serious injuries and were sometimes immersed in barrels of foul water in order to deliberately introduce infection into wounds.  

 

 

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