Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull
Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull
Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull
Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull
Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull
Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull

Chillingham Roman Oil Lamp, Bull

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Lamp Details
From around 150 AD this beautifully designed Roman oil lamp has a very interesting history.  Bulls clearly held a significance to the Romans who used them as sacrifices during religious ceremonies, as well as including them in numerous myths and legends. 

But this lamp was not only seen as a precious object to the Romans, because the original of this lamp was found in the arrow slit of a Medieval castle where is lay undiscovered for around 500 year.  The arrow slit was once part of an old stairwell, but was hidden along with the lamp, under a pile of rubble that was left there when the castle was rebuilt around the 15th century.  The rebuild was due to the newly invented canon which meant that the old walls were too thin to withstand an attack from these new and fearsome weapons. 

Clearly the new build was a success as the beautiful Chillingham Castle has since withstood the test of time, as has the family bloodline.  Today you can visit the stunning grounds and garden were you will catch a glimpse of the original bull lamp.  You may even spy a ghost, as the castle is renowned for its spectral guests and paranormal activity. 

Believed by some to be a depiction of the wild Chillingham cattle that still roam the hills around Chillingham castle, Northumberland, the design shows the distinctive horns that jut out sideways and the crop of curly hair that are features synonymous with this ancient breed.

Probably left as a good luck offering by the Medieval builders when the new walls of the Medieval Castle were built, the lamp remained in near perfect conditions until its discovery.  I’d say that was pretty luck!


Each lamp is made using a process that replicas that of the original Roman potters. Every lamp is careful hand pressed into a specially made lamp mould, where it is left to dry until it is solid enough to remove. The handle is made separately in a different mould. Both lamp and handle are then trimmed of excess clay and hand finished before the two are firmly joined together.  The the wick and filling holes are then cut before the lamp gets dipped in a red slip finish. 


Terracotta earthenware with a red slip finish


Approx 215 mm long, 70 mm high, 110 mm wide


Health and Safety

Before attempting to use your lamp you must read the operating and safety instructions. 

Burn ONLY OLIVE OIL in your lamp.

DO NOT use modern lamp oil or other flammable liquids.

Place the lamp on a stable, non-absorbent and non-flammable surface, far from any sources of heat. 

Always snuff out the flame, never blow it out. Never use water to extinguish the flame.

DO NOT attempt to move or pick up you lamp whilst it is lit.

Ensure that there are no flammable materials above or near the lamp. 

DO NOT leave your lamp unattended whilst it is lit.

Keep the wick trimmed very short to ensure a clean, bright flame and to reduce the risk of fire.

This lamp is not a toy KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

Use of this lamp is at your own risk, we can not take responsibility for accidents or injury caused by use of this lamp.

Extinguish the lamp by snuffing it out with a metal spoon. 


Before filling your lamp adjust the wick so that it does not protrude above the edge of the wick    aperture.

Fill the lamp with olive oil through the filler hole in the centre (allow the wick to soak for 1 hour before lighting for the first time).

Light the lamp.  If the flame produces smoke, shorten the wick.  This can be done by gripping the wick with tweezers through the filler hole and gently turning them round, winding the wick back into the wick aperture.  This should not be done whilst the lamp is lit or the wick is still hot. 

All items are sent using a second class postal service, if you wish to have an item sent first class please contact my for a quote. Many Thanks