The archaeology collection comprises over 23,000 objects from the prehistoric to the medieval periods. We are fortunate in housing regionally significant collections of Stone Age and Bronze Age remains from the old counties of Lancashire and Cheshire as well as Roman remains from Wilderspool and Medieval finds from Warrington’s 13th century friary.
One of our most important objects is the ‘Persona Tragica’ otherwise known as the actor’s mask. This is on permanent display in our Warrington Story gallery alongside a selection of antiquities from other local sites.
Warrington Museum and Art Gallery is a designated depository for Archaeological Archives from Warrington and the surrounding area.
The Winwick Brooch is a late medieval gold annular brooch found at Winwick near Warrington. The clasped hands on the front along with the raised inscription which reads “Pensez de moy” (‘Think of me’) indicate that it may have been a lover’s token. You can read more about the Winwick Brooch on the Portable Antiquities website here.
At first glace the Roman actor’s mask looks like a piece of sculpture, but the holes at the side imply it may have been worn over the face, perhaps attached to a wig or hood. It was found at the Wilderspool Roman Site in Stockton Heath near Warrington and archaeologists believe it was made locally. It was donated to Warrington Museum in the 1870s by the Kendrick family.
This rare mask is one of only a handful of similar examples in Europe. It may have been worn by an actor in a play, but other suggestions are that it was a funeral mask, a potter’s practice piece or a mould used to shape leather or fabric masks.
This Roman woodworking plane is only the second example to be found in Britain. It was unearthed during an excavation of the Wilderspool Roman site in the spring of 1993.