Devon maund making
The making of Devon ‘maunds’, an assembled basket made of wooden splints fixed to a wooden base.
|Historic area of significance||Devon|
|Area currently practised|
|Origin in the UK|
|Minimum no. of craftspeople required|
|Current no. of trainees||0|
|Current no. of skilled craftspeople||0|
|Current total no. of craftspeople||0|
The Devon ‘maund’ is an assembled basket made of wooden splints attached to a wooden base. The base was traditionally made of elm, but following the arrival of Dutch elm disease has been made from other woods. The basket is held together by nails and ash bands, and the two end staves form the handles. This type of basket was traditionally used in the fields, to take feed to cattle and to collect potatoes and apples after harvesting.
Maunds were made on a jig to five standard sizes.
Jack Rowsell was one of the last people to make Devon maunds, having learnt the craft from his father. He died in 1997. Rowsell made the baskets in his spare time (rather than as a primary profession) for over 40 years and made about 25-50 a year which he sold.
The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading holds detailed information on how to make the baskets, and has a set of slides showing the construction process. Much of this information is available to the public via the online catalogue (MERL 96/118).
Devon stave baskets. Photo: Hilary Burns
Issues affecting the viability of the craft
Craftspeople currently known
Mark Snellgrove – knows how to make the baskets, but doesn’t make on a regular basis, and has original jigs
Hilary Burns – knows how to make the baskets, but doesn’t make on a regular basis, and occasionally runs courses