Chosen by Jenny, a Museum volunteer

About the object

This seemingly humble natural token may have been the only item the mother had which she could spare or it may have been chosen as a protective charm for the child with whom it was left. In folk tradition hazelnuts were associated with wisdom, and hazel trees were also believed to offer protection from evil. Later they took on a religious association with the Christian idea of the Trinity.

Left at the Foundling Hospital with a child at admission, eighteenth century. Purchased for the Foundling Museum by William and Helena Korner, 2005.

Token: Hazelnut, pierced for a string or cord, eighteenth century