Treasure uncovered in Norfolk

Matthew SparkesHistorical items discovered around the county by amateur metal detectors were declared to be treasure at an inquest in Norwich yesterday.Matthew Sparkes

Historical items discovered around the county by amateur metal detector enthusiasts were declared to be treasure at an inquest in Norwich yesterday.

The inquest heard that a medieval silver buckle was found in Postwick, a silver hawking vervel in Great Fransham and an Anglo-Saxon pyramidal mount on Happisburgh beach, all by separate detectors.

By far the oldest piece was the pyramidal mount, which Dr Sonja Marzinzik of the British Museum said would have been used to secure a sword strap around the waist.

The piece was made of silver, although it was heavily corroded, and set with a solitary square garnet.

It was found by Terry Searle, of Canvey Island in Essex, while he was using his metal detector on Happisburgh Beach.

Mr Searle said he regularly travelled to Norfolk to look for artefacts, and had also found a medieval ring two years before this find at nearby Cart Gap.

Most Read

When he first unearthed it he did not know what the object was or what it was made of. After giving it a wash he realised it was made of silver.

He then took it to the Norwich Castle Museum and handed it in as treasure, the legal term for objects more than 300 years old which contain more than 10pc silver or gold.

Mr Searle has said that if the decision ends up in his hands, then he will donate the piece to the museum, which has expressed interest in adding it to its collection.

Also declared treasure yesterday was a medieval silver buckle which dates back to the 14th or 15th century, found in Postwick by David Soanes and a post-medieval silver hawking vervel, which was attached to the legs of hawks to identify their owners.

The piece is unique because it bears the name and village of the owner: "W SPRYNG" is engraved on one side and "OF PAKENHAM" on the other.

But despite its origins, the piece was found more than 30 miles north in Great Fransham.