pusey horn (2)The Pusey Horn

Legend has it that the local inhabitants of Uffington Castle travelled the intervening 6 miles to raid Cherbury Camp, where King Canute and his invading army were encamped. However, a young shepherd boy spotted them and blew his horn as a warning to the Danes. They are said to have consequently prevailed in the subsequent battle, which took place at the crossroads half-way between Charney Bassett and Buckland. The area became known as Gainfield as a result. The shepherd boy was granted all the land within the sound of his horn, around Pusey, as a reward for his vigilance.

However true or otherwise this local legend may be, the horn, known as the Pusey Horn, is now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. There was also once an inn in Charney Bassett, called the Horn Inn. It was closed during the Second World War.

‘The Pusey horn’, is a ox horn with silver-gilt mounts. Only a few silver-mounted horns survive. They were intended for ceremonial drinking, or display.

This one is inscribed, ‘I kynge knowde (Cnut) gave Wyllyam Pecote (Pusey, mistranscribed) thys horne to holde by thy land’.

By tradition, the manor of Pusey was given to William by King Cnut (more commonly known as Canute c. 995– 12 November 1035) as a reward for a warning of an impending Danish attack. The horn was delivered with the letter of tenure. `Cornage’, or transfer of land by service of a horn, was customary in Anglo-Saxon England. It remained in the Pusey family until it was presented to the Museum in 1938 by Lucy Violet Bouverie-Pusey, widow of Philip Bouverie-Pusey in memory of her husband.

Pusey Horn



V&A Museum no. M220&A-1938. Gallery location:Silver, room 65, case 8, shelf 3

The Pusey Horn in the Victoria and Albert Museum