Anglo-Saxon hoard declared "treasure"

A find to rival Sutton Hoo in importance

'This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England… as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries. Absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells'
– Leslie Webster, Former Keeper, Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Museum

In July 2009 Terry Herbert, an amateur metal detector enthusiast, discovered a breath-taking find of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver in a field in Staffordshire. This has just officially been declared "treasure" by the coroner, which means that the horde will be offered for sale to museums and the finder and landowner will divide the full market value as a reward.

In total 5kg of gold and 1.3kg of silver were found (as compared to the 1.6kg found at Sutton Hoo). Mainly arms and male jewellery, the find showcases astonishingly fine metal work set with garnets and other precious stones. The earliest research suggests that the workmanship is 7th century, although no one can say yet exactly when the horde was buried.

Michelle Brown, Professor of Medieval Manuscript Studies, who has written commentaries to Folio Society limited editions, has suggested the style of lettering dates from the 7th or early 8th centuries, which might show the growing importance of Christianity to a pagan society. Staffordshire was once the heartland of the Kingdom of Mercia, often at war with nearby Northumbria and East Anglia, and ruled by kings whose names are still known to us today: Penda, Wulfhere and Aethered.

No one describes that society better - both the patchwork of warring kingdoms and the growth in importance of Christianity – than Bede in his History of the English Church and People, now available in a new Folio edition. Or you could read our superb collection of Anglo-Saxon history and literature in our set Chronicles of the Dark Ages.

You can learn more about the hoard by linking here.

Image courtesy of the Staffordshire hoard website

last modified: Mon, Sep 12th 2011Bookmark and Share
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