Margaret Williams is a volunteer with Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and also with Shropshire Archives. Here Margaret relates a good example of the way the different collections complement each other.
I am lucky to be a volunteer taking care of Shropshire Museum Service’s costume collection. Among the many interesting items in our care is a piece of red woollen cloth with blood stains which is on loan from the Walcott family. The museum records state that William Walcot was a 16 year old page in attendance on Charles I at his execution, the cloth was part of a cloak worn by Charles. After the execution the cloth was cut in half and one half was given to each of the two pages who attended Charles. The other page was a member of the Herbert family; they later gave or sold their half to Queen Caroline, Consort of George II. In the museum records there is a suggestion that the cloth may have been laid on the block, under the black cloth which was known to have covered it, therefore there is some uncertainty as to what purpose the cloth served.
Imagine my excitement as a new volunteer at Shropshire Archives, when I was presented with a box of documents to be catalogued, which contained family histories relating to the Walcot family. After reading through these, I was delighted to find a reference to the cloth, confirming that it was part of a cloak worn by Charles I at his execution.