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A good condition rattle, most likely from the late 18th and early 19th century. They were carried as part of the equipment of a parish constable, a town or city night 'watchman'. They were employed at a very poor salary, to patrol the streets at night and deter criminal activity.

The earliest 'watchmen' are first recorded in the reign of King Charles I. They became known as 'Charlies' as it was the King who first introduced them onto the crime ridden streets of London. Their use spread throughout the United Kingdom.

As part of their equipment, they carried a rattle, a stave / truncheon, a lantern and a bell. They are also known to have carried a cutlass.

Upon the introduction of paid professional policemen in the 19th century, the rattles gradually became obsolete, and by the mid 19th century, had been replaced by whistles.

Tests had proved that in good weather conditions, a rattle could be heard up to one quarter of a mile away. However, the whistle could be heard at a much greater distance of one mile.

This rattle was located at Aberdare in about 1980. Since then, it has remained as a part of the extensive Ross Mather Police Memorabilia of Wales Collection.

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