This blog was originally posted in February 2014. I have managed to retrieve the bulk of what was lost and added new content.
England and Scotland were uneasy neighbours in the Middle Ages, but I believe the situation has improved since those turbulent times.
Scottish detectorist Rob Fallen certainly thinks so because he made the perilous journey down to Yorkshire in January 2014 looking for new land on which to swing his coil. He described the visit as ‘pillaging’, a word echoing those Medieval wars and associations with robbing and raiding.
The memory of what happened next shall remain with Rob for a long, long time. Over one week later he was still buzzing with excitement and was eager to share his find with other forum members. What he had discovered was a magnificent silver annular brooch of flat and rectangular cross section, reduced at line point for the pin to fit.
The front is decoratively engraved with the inscription + IHESVS N (i.e. Jesus of Nazareth) in Lombardic lettering. Rob recorded his find with the UKDFD and they went on to say …
Between the letters there are panels of cross-hatching. The reverse is decorated with ten engraved radial motifs, each with the appearance of a letter ‘I’ with transverse hatching on its stem.
The pin, which is intact, is plain except for a collar at the looped end. Circa 13th -14th century and measuring 20mm x 20mm x 1mm thick. Rob says that he was using a Minelab CTX 3030 with the 11 inch coil.
This example of an annular brooch fragment is from the UKDFD. It consists of part of the frame and an applied ornament, which is soldered to it. One half of the frame had a barley-twist effect, while the other was plain. A short length of each survives on the fragment, and the applied ornament is attached at the junction of the two. The ornament is in the form of a quatrefoil with four cusps or a four-petalled flower with sepals. A closely similar detached ornament is recorded as UKDFD 36114, and a complete brooch of generally similar type is recorded as UKDFD 35030.
During the Medieval period it became fashionable to use a brooch pinned at the neck as a type of fastener. The brooch pin was pushed through the edge of the garment, where a gap in the hem would have been left to allow a pin to be inserted. The Medieval Brooch was of the form shown with a constriction at one point on the diameter where a separate movable pin would have been hinged.
It’s interesting to note that Medieval brooches were worn by both men and women from the 12th century and were also extremely popular during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Acquired in 2010
Another annular brooch that I greatly admire was found by a detectorist near Stratford-on-Avon and now housed in the Market Hall Museum, in Warwick. The gold, sapphire and garnet brooch was acquired in 2010 for £2800 and was the first brooch of its type to be recorded in the county.
Picture courtesy of Market Hall Museum – closed until September 2016.