Cheddar Brooch is “Treasure”

A court in Taunton has declared that a brooch found in Cheddar is “treasure trove”.  Its value has yet to be determined by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee. Ultimately ownership and any reward will need to be determined elsewhere. Coroners do not have that power. So the value of the brooch will now be determined by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee. The relevant Collecting Museum then has a chance to raise funds for its acquisition. The funds will be paid as a reward to the finder and the landowner.

Detectorist Iain Sansome, from Cheddar, discovered the brooch while detecting on farmland at Cheddar. In accordance with the law, Mr Sansome immediately stopped detecting. He contacted the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Thye in turn reported it to H.M. Coroner. Mr Sansome was commended for his actions. It is a criminal offence to fail to report a find.

And this looks as if it may be a very important find. A follow-up investigation took place at the find site led by the South West Heritage Trust. However no further significant discoveries were made. The brooch is from the early medieval (AD 800-900), it is in the form of a silver disc and is heavily decorated. The disc brooch, is in what is known as Trewhiddle* style. It is 91mm in diameter, 1.93 mm thick and weighs 76.12 g. It features extremely detailed interlace decoration with animal forms, some of which are thought to be peacocks. Peacocks are found on other early-medieval metal work and have religious and high-status overtones. A significant group of six Trewhiddle brooches from Pentney in Norfolk was discovered in the late 1970s and is now in the British Museum. Finding such a brooch in Somerset is both exciting and exceptional.

Dr Lucy Shipley from the PAS explains its rarity. “Although it is relatively common to find Roman brooches in Somerset, Early Medieval examples are rare.  Such items were important symbols of wealth and high status and may have been given as gifts to cement relationships between powerful individuals, including those with religious roles. The fact that no further significant objects were found suggests that the brooch was lost or discarded into water, rather than deliberately buried.”

Leave a Reply