IN LATE November 2014, a metal detectorist from Malpas, Richard Lewis brought into the museum a metal, 19th century dog collar that he had found whilst detecting near Chainbridge.

The six-inch diameter alloy collar, with hasp and welded ring for a lead attachment, is engraved with the words ‘William Bunning, Pontypool’.

It is thus known that the dog, from the size of the collar assumed to be a terrier, small lurcher or whippet, was probably a hunting dog.

The 1871 Trade Directory for Monmouthshire (until 1974 Pontypool and all of the Eastern Valley was in the County of Monmouthshire) shows William Bunning and Company having a shop in Commercial Street, next to the old corn market, that sold metalwork and ironmongery – including ranges, plates, locks and even iron bedsteads.

By 1875 William Bunning also has an ale and portering business in Albion Road, run from his home address of Upper Trosnant House. It is believed that William Bunning later opened a carpet ware shop in Usk in addition to his Pontypool businesses.

His son Charles, in the 1920s, lived in Lower Park Terrace and was a partner in Bunning and Russell auctioneers, valuers and estate agents with offices in National Provincial Bank Chambers, Pontypool.

The dog-collar is a solid design – it is only later designs that incorporated links between metal strips to allow the dog more freedom of movement.

The dog must have been quite small due to the size of the collar and is presumed to have been used for some type of hunting as fashionably small pet dogs either did not use a collar as they were not expected to be out of sight of their owners or their servants, so leather or textiles were used.

The museum Trust has several paintings in its collection that depict hunting dogs including one late eighteenth century oil by local Japanware painter Benjamin Barker which shows similar collars being used with a chain attached to tie two hunting hounds together.

Nostalgia is provided by Torfaen Museum.