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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Brooch treasure ‘owned by aristocratic child’

A medieval silver brooch declared as treasure this week is likely to have belonged to a young Cumbrian aristocrat.

The 13th century silver gilt ring unearthed at Bridekirk near Cockermouth may have been used by a child to pin on a light cloak or mantle, according to experts.

Stuart Noon, a Portable Antiquities Scheme finds liaison officer for Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “It’s made of silver which suggests it’s a high status piece from the medieval period.

“In the medieval period commoners were not allowed to wear precious metals which is why we find a lot of gilded copper alloys. You had to be of a certain status to able to wear things like this.”

He said that it was probably made for a “minor aristocrat” as a fastener for a light cloak or mantle, adding: “It is more likely to have belonged to a child because it’s quite a small piece and is not going to fasten anything substantial together.”

The brooch was found in 2008 and was declared treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 due to its age and its make up of over 10 per cent precious metal.

It was found by Dean Jennings, of Whitehaven, on land owned by William Nixon.

The brooch will now pass on to the British Museum’s treasure valuation committee. When the value of the object is agreed, the money is usually split between the landowner and the finder.

The find was submitted to the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport, which passed it on to the British Museum to compile a report for the inquest. The brooch was declared as treasure by North and West coroner David Roberts on Monday.

Meanwhile, a Cumbrian museum has confirmed that it wants to acquire the piece for its collection.

But the News & Star has been asked not to print the museum’s name at this stage of the process.

Although treasure includes any item found which is over 300 years old and has a content of more than 10 per cent gold or silver other, older items which do not comprise precious metal can also be regarded as treasure.

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