Mantrap

mantrap

Back in the day, you could take the law into your own hands and catch unwanted visitors with none other than a mantrap. Intended largely for surprising poachers and trespassers, mantraps were mechanical devices that would close around the villain’s feet, sometimes setting off an accompanying spring gun.

In 1827 mantraps were declared illegal, though allowances for their use were made between sunset and sunrise. A copy of a Daventry poster, owned by the museum and dated 1852 tells of an unknown fruit thief who “feloniously STOLE [apples and damsons] and willfully damaged trees and walls.”

As a reassurance, and more to the point as a warning, the poster states at the bottom: “A mantrap and spring gun will in future be placed on these premises.” That will teach you to go scrumping!