Donor: Presented by
Associated with: per
Joseph Bramley Fordham
Date Made/Found: before 1879
, 1830 - 1904
Material and Medium: bronze, iron
Dimensions: Overall: 100 x 13mm (3 15/16 x 1/2in.)
Place Object Found:
Accession Number: J184.108.40.206
Group of heavy bronze and iron ornaments comprising of toe ring, bangles and possibly horse harness attachment. It was taken from the stomach of a crocodile killed on River Baitarani (north east India) whilst it was trying to eat Frederick Webster of Sheffield, a local man who was working as an official in India. It was reported in the Sheffield & Rotherham Independent Newspaper (dated 22nd January 1880) that Mr Webster was said "... to have literally been in the jaws of death when a bullet saved him by giving the coup de grace to his enemy. Mr Webster preserved the head as an appropriate memento of his narrow escape, and thought it might find a fitting place in the museum of his native town....".
Mr Webster kept and preserved the skull as a memento of his near death experience. At some point in the mid 1900s, the skull came to Webster's home town and passed to an iron monger called Joseph Fordham. In 1879, Fordham instructed Captain Laycock to give the skull and its associated accessories to the museum. Today, salt water crocodiles are considered quite rare in India, but can still be found near to where this one was found in Bhitarkanika National Park. This population includes the largest crocodile ever recorded.
Weston Park Museum