Dating from between the mid 1500's to the late 1700's, crotal bells were made of either pewter or a copper alloy. Many makers are known, though the identity of the maker of some of the most commonly found bell varieities is still, oddly enough, a mystery. They were used on horse harnesses etc. as decorative elements, and range in size from roughly 2.5 cms to well over 10 cms. The larger they are, the less likely it is to find them intact.
While some detectorists remain unimpressed by crotal bells, I love finding them. I think it's great to hear a crotal bell ring again, knowing you are the first person to hear it for hundreds of years.
Bells such as these can be dated from their decoration and also from the shape of the handles. Early bells were decorated on both upper and lower halves, whereas later on the decoration tended to be on just the lower half. Larger, square handles tend to be later examples. Some of them carry the initials of the maker either side of the slot in the lower half.
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