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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A vervel (also spelled 'varvel'), or hawking ring, is a small metal ring, often of silver, which was part of the equipment used by hunters who hunted with birds. A bird had a leather jess, or thong, tied to each leg, at the end of which was a vervel. The vervels had two functions, the most important of which was to identify the bird with its owner, as hunting birds were expensive to train and maintain. Many vervels are engraved with the owner's name and place of residence. The inscription on this one, and on its pair which is also in the V&A (M.143D-1984), states the bird belonged to Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, near Oxford. The other function of the vervel was to attach the jesses on the bird's legs to a leash, which in turn tied the bird to its perch or block.

Physical description

Varvel, silver

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)





Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed round the outside of the ring, in English: ‘neare Ox[for]d of Ditchley'.


Diameter: 7 mm

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lewis, M. and I. Richardson. 'Inscribed vervels'. In: Post-Medieval Archaeology, vol. 51, no. 1 (2017), pp. 194-200.


Metalwork Collection

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