Do you know the Norfolk grave digger who found the Pentney Treasure?

Carl Hutchings looking at the Pentney Brooches that are on display in the Lynn Museum. Picture: Ian

Carl Hutchings looking at the Pentney Brooches that are on display in the Lynn Museum. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Will a small exhibition a few miles from where it was found help shed light on one of Norfolk's most intriguing archaeological finds?

The Pentney Brooches are on display in the Lynn Museum. Picture: Ian Burt

The Pentney Brooches are on display in the Lynn Museum. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

When a grave digger found six silver brooches as he worked away in the churchyard at Pentney, near King's Lynn, he didn't think much of it. So they ended up in the vestry chest for safekeeping.

Three years after the find, in 1980, a new vicar took over. When he saw the relics, he realised their significance. So he sent them to the British Museum, where experts said they were fashioned by Anglo-Saxon silversmiths, in the 9th Century.

The gravedigger who found them was awarded £135,000 - more than £600,000 in today's money - after an inquest declared them treasure trove.

Since then, the brooches have been on display at the British Museum. Now two have been loaned to the Lynn Museum, which will have them on show until the end of next month.

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Pentney. Picture: Ian Burt

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Pentney. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Curator Oliver Bone said: 'We hope that people will come to the Museum to see the brooches, and we would also be fascinated to hear if anyone remembers news of their discovery nearly forty years ago.'

The two brooches on display include the smallest and earliest of of the six. It was believed to have been fashioned betweem 780 and 800AD and features intricate silverwork on a bronze backplate. Its foliage may represent a tree of life.

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The larger of the pair - which is also the largest of the six - was made around 830AD. It features motifs similar to a brooch which was found in Suffolk, suggesting it may have been made in our region.

It also features a large pin. Anglo Saxons of both sexes wore brooches not only for decoration, but also to fasten their clothing.

The exhibition is open until February 25. Admission to the Museum, which also includes Seahenge and displays featuring life in West Norfolk through the centuries, is free.

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