Butter mould

Contributed by BBC Guernsey Candie Museum Outside Broadcast

Eric Grimsley brought a butter mould to BBC Guernsey's A History of the World event, as he felt it was an example of one of the earliest forms of trade-mark used in the island.

Butter moulds or stamps were known in the island as early as Tudor times. In the nineteenth century, Guernsey butter moulds were used by the farms to identify their own produce.

The moulds were mostly made from a hardwood like lime, holly, or - as in this case - sycamore. But the main requirement of the timber was for it to be close-grained. After being turned on a wood lathe, the design was drawn on the end grain with the name of the farmer reversed, so that when it was printed on the butter, it came out the right way around. The butter was placed on the mould, patted to take up the design and turned out onto a cabbage leaf, which served as a form of biodegradeable packaging.

This example shows a thistle with the name E Robert, the farm name Pomare and the letter F, which is thought to represent the Parish of St Pierre du Bois.

Dairy farming has a long history in Guernsey. The island's breed has been highly prized around the world since the nineteenth century for its high yield of creamy milk.

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