700-year-old silver brooch discovered in Bowes

A MEDIEVAL decoration unearthed by appropriately named metal detector Richard Hunter could end up in a North museum.

medieval brooch

A MEDIEVAL decoration unearthed by appropriately named metal detector Richard Hunter could end up in a North museum.

Retired printer Mr Hunter, 61, from Manor Way, Peterlee, County Durham, was out prospecting with his son, also Richard, in a farmer’s field in Bowes, near Barnard Castle, County Durham, in January this year when he discovered the 700-year- old Silver Mount.

Because the tiny object – which was used as a decorative brooch or garment in the 14th Century – is more than 75% silver he was duty bound to inform the British Museum.

And yesterday an inquest presided over by Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle decided that it was indeed officially Treasure.

Mr Tweddle, who joked that he might “ask Santa for a metal detector this Christmas,” told the hearing that Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, just four miles from where the item was found in a field off the A66, were interested in acquiring it.

After the hearing, Mr Hunter said he had found a host of interesting items, since he took up metal detecting six years ago.

He said: “This silver mount isn’t probably worth a great deal, but it is of historical interest. From what I understand it was used as a decorative item on leather clothes from that period. It is very small but I suppose Bowes Museum would be the most appropriate place for it to be stored.”

Bowes Museum will have to make Mr Hunter, and the farmer on whose land he found the Mount, an acceptable offer before acquiring it, but he does not expect to get rich quick.

He said: “You don’t really make money out of metal detecting unless you are very lucky, but I don’t drink or smoke, so it is my hobby.”

Mr Hunter said his dream was to discover a treasure similar to a Viking hoard of silver revealed last year at the British Museum. The exhibit had been looted across Europe, Asia and North Africa and lost for over 1,000 years.

The 600 coins, some unique, come from as far as central Asian city Samarkand, Afghanistan and Russia and were found by David and Andrew Whelan in a bare winter field near Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Mr Hunter said: “A similar find to that, worth an estimated £1m, would be an answer to my prayers.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer