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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Crosby Garrett Roman helmet ‘one of great treasures of world’ - Cumbrian MP

A Cumbrian MP has thrown his weight behind a campaign to keep ‘a unique historical artefact – one of the great treasures of the world’ in the county.

Roman helmet photo
The Crosby Garrett helmet

Tullie House Museum in Carlisle is currently running a campaign to raise enough money to buy the Crosby Garrett Roman helmet when it goes up for auction next month.

More than £30,000 has already been raised thanks to donations from the public, while one private backer has promised £50,000 if the rest of the campaign can match his generosity.

Now Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart has pledged his support, launching his own website and newsletter campaign to encourage people from around the world to donate to the cause.

Having personally inspected the helmet in London, he said: “This haunting Roman mask and helmet is one of the great treasures of the world. We must keep it in Cumbria.

“Penrith and the Border made millions from tourism last year – it’s our major source of income. But visitors are still largely centred on the Lakes.

“An international treasure of this beauty and significance will have immense long-term benefits to our economy and our reputation, and will transform the Tullie House collection and form the centrepiece of its new Roman Frontier galleries, opening next July,” added Mr Stewart.

“The timing of this find is perfect, and this has the potential to be a unique draw for the region.”

The museum, which has so far raised around £32,000, hopes to display the helmet in a new Roman Frontier Gallery opening next June.

The auction has generated huge interest from private collectors because the Roman cavalry parade helmet, found by a metal detector enthusiast in a field near Crosby Garrett, is one of just three found in the UK and is the finest example of its type.

The British Museum in London describe it as “unparalleled” and say it is vital that Tullie House secures it.

Mr Stewart added: “This is not simply another ‘Old Master’ painting being saved from export.

“It is a central part of the history of Cumbria – a reminder of our extraordinary Roman military past. It is also uniquely appealing. No-one can look into the face of that young Roman cavalryman without feeling a powerful and mysterious link to the past.

“Tullie House Museum has mounted an appeal to keep the antiquity in Cumbria, with over £20,000 already pledged. I have already made my pledge, and urge everybody to consider giving £5 or £10 to this important appeal.”

Mr Stewart has followed Carlisle MP John Stevenson in appealing for help in securing the artefact.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Tullie-House-Crosby-Garrett-Roman-Helmet-Appeal.

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