Fundraising campaign launched to help museum acquire ‘rare and unusual’ treasure
PUBLISHED: 14:30 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:25 18 April 2019
Saffron Walden Museum is appealing for funds to help bring some unusual archaeological treasures home, for present and future generations to enjoy.
The objects include a rare medieval gold 'reliquary' pendant in the shape of a cross, made to contain a tiny relic associated with a saint, and found in Farnham parish. The museum also hopes to acquire a silver Saxon penny dated 1066, a 300 year-old posy ring, and a Bronze Age gold-plated ring which is 3,000 years old.
Saffron Walden Museum Society Ltd, which is a charity, needs to raise at least £1,000 urgently as matching funding for grants, with which it hopes to purchase these precious objects for the museum's collections.
Tony Watson, Saffron Walden Museum Society chairman, said: “We have only a short amount of time to raise more than £10,000 in total needed to secure all four objects. We hope to raise much of this from grants but need local matching funding. Every £1 which is raised locally can generate up to £5 in grants, so every little counts.”
Carolyn Wingfield, the museum's curator, added: “It is a really exciting chance to acquire rare objects like the reliquary pendant and Harold II penny. All the objects are significant pieces for the district which we would love to display for local communities, visitors and researchers.”
All four objects were found and reported by local detectorists, and the reliquary pendant and rings were declared to be treasure under the Treasure Act. The medieval reliquary pendant dates from around 1300–1500, and would have had real religious significance to its wealthy medieval owner.
The museum also hopes to acquire a fine silver penny of Harold II, who was defeated by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Coins of Harold II are rare because he ruled for less than a year. The coin was found in the Ugley area.
The gold Posy Ring, from Lindsell, dates from around 1650-1700 and has a secret message engraved inside the hoop 'Remember me in hope AT'. It is thought to be either a mourning ring, to commemorate a family member who had died, or a betrothal ring, a token of a loved one. The Bronze Age ring also has its secrets: although gold on the outside, its core is in fact bronze, an early example of gold-plating. It was too was found in the Lindsell area.
The Museum Society has launched a crowdfunding page: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saffron-walden-museum.
You can also contact Saffron Walden Museum on 01799 510333 for more information on how you can help.