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Cross-writing and Valentia Boxes

In January 1830, Mary and William Lincolne wrote to their son, also called William, who was apprenticed at the time in Witham.

The letter is a fine example of ‘cross-writing’, in which the parents wrote at different angles on the page. This was common practice, as it saved paper, which was very expensive.

The letter refers to a Valentia Box, which was obviously a box for sending treats; this one contained, amongst other things, gingerbread cake, wine—and two half crowns.

As we near the end of this programme, it seems entirely fitting that we should all create our own Valentia Boxes and so, with the help of artist Shelly O’Brien, we’ve started … and a glorious, gluey, messy business it is, too. It’s definitely a work in progress – and we’ll report on the outcomes next week.