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Conch shell

Date made: early 19th century

Description: This shell originally belonged to Mrs Ann Mylchreest (later Bell) née Quayle of Ronague (c.1825-1921) when she lived at Ballaharra, German. Mrs Mylchreest used the shell as a horn to call the farm workers in for their meals when they were working in the fields at Ballaharra farm. The conch shell was later used as a garden ornament.

A conch shell brought home to the Isle of Man by a sailor 150 to 200 years ago. Conch is a common term used for the shells of medium to large sea snails found around the world. The snails are often eaten and their shells used as currency. When a hole is made in the shell, it is possible to blow into it and use it like a trumpet. It is a Manx tradition that conch shells are blown at weddings.

The conch also has a special place in Hindu culture. Conch trumpets are blown by priests during religious ceremonies and in Indian legend warriors sounded conches before battle. It may be that the Manx traditions are the result of the island’s strong seafaring past, and were brought back to the island along with the shells by Manx sailors.

Measurements: overall: 20 x 26 x 23 cm

Object name: conch

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1990-0009

Subject tags : #MM100COLLECTIONS


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