Recent discoveries of medieval items and coins were declared Treasures by a coroner in Wales this month. The items will now be going to local museums.
The objects were discovered in north east Wales by members of the public between 2014 and 2017, and were among items declared treasure that range from Roman coins to an 17th century seal matrix. The medieval items are:
A silver gilt devotional crucifix pendant, discovered in August 2016 by George Borrill at Cwm Community, Denbighshire. It has a figure of Christ in a loincloth on one side and a figure of Mary with Christ Child on the other, and has been dated to the 15th century. Such objects were intended to be worn as items of personal adornment for devotional purposes, and would have aided the owner in the contemplation of Christ’s life and suffering.
A silver finger ring from Rossett Commuity, Wrexham, discovered by Ray Mitchell in June 2014, which has been dated to the late 14th or early 15th century. It is of a type known as a ‘fede’, or fidelity, ring, and shows two clasped hands, indicating friendship or love. Fede rings were sometimes given as betrothal gifts.
A small silver annular brooch, discovered in November 2016 by Bob Davies in Holt Community, Wrexham. It is of a four-lobed, or quatrefoil, shape and has the inscription AVE MARIA (meaning ‘Hail Mary’) on the front face in a Lombardic script. The brooch can be dated by its style and from other similar finds elsewhere to the 14th century.
A small silver annular brooch, dating to the 13th or 14th century, discovered by James Cain in November 2016, in Cilcain Community, Flintshire. One face is decorated with an incised zig-zag pattern, while the other face has a crudely incised, garbled inscription in Lombardic lettering, which may be an attempt to recreate a religious inscription.
A hoard of medieval coins that were found by Cliff Massey and Peter Walpole in June and September 2017, near Bronington, Wrexham. The find comprises one gold and ten silver coins, of the reigns of Edward I-II (1272-1307, 1307-1327), Edward III (1327-1377), Henry V (1413-22) and Henry VI (1422-61). According to Edward Besly, Honorary Research Fellow at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, the coins were probably all deposited together in the later 1460s at around the time of the Wars of the Roses. This group of coins forms an addition to a larger coin hoard and finger ring, reported as treasure by the same finders between 2012 and 2014, and now within Wrexham County Borough Museum’s collections.
Mark Redknap of National Museum Wales commented, “some of the items declared treasure today, such as the decorative medieval brooches, reflect personal style, while fede rings had deep personal significance, with legends reflecting fidelity and love. The silver gilt pendant crucifix from Cwm, Denbighshire, reflects the late medieval increase in demand for small devotional items associated with the veneration of Christ. All provide new information on their use and popularity in early Wales.”
These items will be going to local museums in north east Wales, including several that will be added to the collections at Wrexham County Borough Museum.