Two Little Crackers!

It's not everyday you are able to find two pieces of antique treen named and dated with the same person.

Firstly the knitting sheath carved on all four sides 'Mary Fitchjew Lawson Atkinson, Born in February 13 in the year of our lord 1782 and then the alphabet A-S', must have run out of room for the rest of the alphabet!

Note it's unusual to have the day, month and year carved on the knitting sheath. Maybe this sheath was carved for Mary's mother to commemorate her daughters birth.

In Dr Mc Feeters Book on knitting sheaths it states that 'Very few knitting sheaths have a definite provenance in Northumberland', as you will read further down this is one that we are able to say is Northumberland in origin.

The stay busk is beautifully carved the front with hearts, flowers and possibly St Paul's Cathedral. On the back there is a P Mary Fizjew Lawson Atkinson 1785. Again as Mary was only three at the time it may have been a gift for her mother

With such an unusual name I decided to do some research to try and find out more about the family and eventually found a marriage record for a Sarah Fitjew Lawson Cockburn to a John Atkinson on 27th December 1779 in Ovingham, Northumberland. They had two children a Sarah Fitsjew Lawson Atkinson in December 1780 and Mary Fitsjew Lawson Atkinson baptised on 25th February 1782 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Ovingham .

Unfortunately records show that John Atkinson was buried on 13 December 1785 at the same church and Mary's mother, Sarah appears to have remarried a William Morlan in 1788 again at St Mary's Church Ovingham. The records show that Sarah at some stage moved to Leamington and lived until she was 55 years old.

The records for Mary only show a Mary Atkinson buried in either 1803 or 1804 presumably one of these entries is her and her sister Sarah Atkinson buried in 1815 at Ovingham.

Both the two pieces of antique treen and the records spell the Fitchjew in a variety of ways ......

Two pieces of carved treen owned by the same family having stayed together since they were made over 230 years ago, quite remarkable.

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We first became involved in Antique Treen and furniture some twenty five years ago and since then a passion for Treen, small wooden snuff boxes and decorative wooden items has developed into Opus Antiques.

This web site shows only a  small selection of our current stock for sale, if you are looking for something you don't see, please contact us.


We are also interested in buying Antique Treen items. As well as using our Contact page, you can also email or telephone us on 07941 285532


The word Treen is derived from the word tree and is a term used to describe wooden household objects, all turned from one piece of wood e.g. a bowl, plate, gingerbread mould, and spoons, always having a function.

Nowadays when we talk about Antique Treen it tends to cover all small wooden items including antique snuff boxes, candle stands, spice towers, etc. often made from several pieces of turned wood.


When a piece of wood has been painstakingly turned or carved, handled, polished and loved over a few hundred years old, it can develop a wonderful colour and patina and becomes an irresistible piece of Antique Treen.

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Address: Bath, Somerset       Contact Telephone: 07941 285532       Email: