See the weird and wonderful at county’s National Trust properties

Is this item from Canons Ashby a bed mattress spring curler or potato masher?
Is this item from Canons Ashby a bed mattress spring curler or potato masher?

The National Trust is opening up many of its stores and hidden spaces across Northamptonshire, inviting visitors to take a look and try to identify some of the weird and wonderful items from its collection.

The conservation charity cares for more than 151,000 objects in the Midlands alone, many of which have surprising origins and unusual uses.

In Northamptonshire, visitors can discover a host of intriguing items at Canons Ashby.

Many of these will be on view for the first time over the coming months as the trust reveals previously hidden treasures.

Some of the more unusual items will also be featured on Facebook throughout March and April for online visitors to guess their uses.

One of the 10,000 objects at Canons Ashby will be up for identification - and this curious 18th century object has caused much speculation.

Could it be a bed mattress spring curler or perhaps a potato masher?

Anyone wishing to try to identify this and other objects is invited to visit

Beccy Speight, regional director of the National Trust in the Midlands, said: “Our places across Northamptonshire are a treasure trove of beautiful, precious and sometimes downright odd objects.

“It’s these quirky things, and how we look after them, that add to the intrigue of our special places, bringing their stories to life in the most vivid and unusual ways.”

Lyveden New Bield is a curious object in its own right.

Set in east Northamptonshire, Lyveden is a remarkable survivor of the Elizabethan age with one of the only surviving gardens of that era in the country.

Here visitors can discover an incomplete Elizabethan vision, virtually unaltered since work stopped in 1605.

For details of all that’s new in 2013, including events and opening times, visit or go to to join in the trust’s curious collections challenge.