Rare sword to go on display in town

A RARE 7th Century gold sword mount is to go on display in the town where it was unearthed by a treasure hunter.The £20,000 gold and garnet mount, which measures barely 14mm square and is a mere 11mm high, was found in the Bury St Edmunds area by a metal detector enthusiast sweeping the earth for precious artefacts.

A RARE 7th Century gold sword mount is to go on display in the town where it was unearthed by a treasure hunter.

The £20,000 gold and garnet mount, which measures barely 14mm square and is a mere 11mm high, was found in the Bury St Edmunds area by a metal detector enthusiast sweeping the earth for precious artefacts.

The mount, shaped like a hollow truncated pyramid with intricate applied filigree decoration in the shape of knots, was unearthed almost exactly three years ago and was later declared treasure under the 1996 Treasure Act.

Experts say the mount, which will go on show at Bury's historic Moyse's Hall Museum next Friday (29/8), would have adorned a strap that held a scabbarded sword to a belt. It would have been worn by a mighty Anglo-Saxon chieftain.


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Only around 100 of these mounts are known of and most of them are in copper allow or silver. The experts say the fact that this one is gold suggests it belonged to a person of "great importance".

Grants to help buy the mount have been made by the National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). A generous local benefactor topped up the figure to allow the museum to buy the piece.

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But the mount will only be on display at Moyse's Hall until November, when the British Museum in London will be having it on loan for a major touring exhibition that will last for two years.

Andrew Varley, St Edmundsbury Borough Council portfolio holder for culture, said the sword mount would be a valuable asset to the council-run museum.

"It is wonderful to have this very fine artefact here in our museum. It is the kind of object which brings history alive and enriches our knowledge of our own past.

"We are grateful to the Art Fund, the HLF and our local benefactor for making this purchase possible. It is a great privilege for a local museum to be able to acquire an item of such quality and interest. We can all now see it in the area where it was found and where so many centuries ago it was used and treasured," he said.

To celebrate its return to Suffolk, Angela Care Evans, an Anglo-Saxon expert at the British Museum, will give a lecture at the Athenaeum in Bury on Saturday, September 6 at 2.30pm.

Well known for her work at Suffolk's Sutton Hoo, Ms Care Evans will concentrate on the art of the early Anglo-Saxon metal worker and put the mount into its historical and local context.

To book tickets for the lecture call Moyse's Hall on 01284 706183.

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