Inscribed silver teapot worth £1,000 part of Wych Cross haul

The stolen silver teapot
The stolen silver teapot

Detectives investigating a country house burglary near Wych Cross are asking antique dealers if they have been offered a distinctive Irish silver teapot.

Sometime between Wednesday December 18 and the late evening of Friday December 20, the four-bedroom detached period house, in the heart of Ashdown Forest to the east of Wych Cross, was entered and silverware and many other items were stolen from the kitchen and a bedroom, with a total estimated value of some £10,000.

Items included silver cutlery, special silver such as a cake stand, ladle, teapot, earrings and rings, chocolates and wine.

Among the stolen property was the very distinctive teapot, which is believed to be worth more than £1,000. The key identifying feature is an inscription on the side as follows:

“To John Boxwell of Sarshill - This prize is presented for the best tier of drilled wheat August 1808 - By James Harvey, Esq.”

The word ‘tier’ is slightly obscure due to polishing and may be something else. It weighs 26 oz.

It has five assay marks on it: from the top these show George II, a crown over harp (therefore Irish made), the Hibernia emblem (as on all Irish silver), an M (meaning the date of assay, 1806), and what looks like S . 1 (possibly the silversmith’s sign).

Detectives are also still appealing to a mystery woman to come forward. The woman answered the door to a delivery firm driver, and signed in the name of the owners for a parcel - but the owners were away and do not know who she is.

At about 12.30pm on the Wednesday, the woman, described as white, in her 40’s, about 5’2”, of slim build, with dark swept back hair, answered the door and signed for the parcel from the delivery driver. She spoke with what is described as an English accent.

Detective Constable Gary Baker of the East Sussex Priority Crime Team said; “We want to trace this woman and anyone who has been offered items of this type recently, in particular the silver teapot and anyone who saw anything suspicious around Wych Cross, east of the A22 in the Colemans Hatch Road area, between 18 and 20 December.

“If you can help, please contact us via 101 or email quoting Serial 0806 of 21/12. You can also the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”