Many of you, or your children, may have read Westcountry author, Michael Morpurgo’s book “War Horse” or seen the National Theatre’s adaptation with its wonderful horse puppets or indeed Steven Spielberg’s film.
“War Horse” tells the story of a working horse sold to the British army and then shipped to France during the First World War.
What you may not know is that Lawrence House Museum has its own evidence of just such a story. In 2009, a bridle with a brass plate engraved “Gillbard – Launceston” on the blinkers, was given to the museum by Roger Taylor who found it on some waste ground over 200 miles away, near Newhaven Harbour, Sussex. Newhaven was the port from which many horses were shipped to France for service in the First World War. Horses requisitioned by the army were sent by railway to Newhaven where their original bridles were replaced with army issue.
One can only speculate how the bridle ended up in the mud which preserved it for visitors to the museum to see, but it is a poignant reminder of a past era.