Saffron Walden Museum treasure appeal gaining momentum

Anglo-Saxon Gold Ring, 580-650 AD: The bezel with an engraved figure is holding a cross-headed staff

Anglo-Saxon Gold Ring, 580-650 AD: The bezel with an engraved figure is holding a cross-headed staff and a small bird of prey, and a larger bird of prey in typical early Anglo-Saxon style above the figure. - Credit: Archant

The urgent public appeal launched by Saffron Walden Museum Society in September has already raised more than £2,500 of its £7,500 target, thanks to the generosity of local donors and organisations.

With several national organisations already offering generous grants, the Society is hoping to raise enough matching funding from local sources by mid-December to purchase the unique Anglo-Saxon gold ring and other treasures for the district.

Tony Watson, chairman of the Saffron Walden Museum Society, said: “Thanks to the excellent support we’ve received in grants and local donations, the society is well on the way to reaching its target. Now we need one final push to secure these treasures for Uttlesford, for everyone to enjoy.”

The outstanding find is a large gold ring engraved with pagan and Christian symbols which date it to the ‘age of Sutton Hoo’ (around 580-650 AD).

The other treasure finds are an unusual silver mount decorated with animal heads, a silver hooked tag, also decorated with animals, for fastening clothing, a Tudor or Jacobean ring with symbols of Christ’s passion and a small hoard of ancient British gold coins dating around a hundred years before the Roman invasion of 43AD. To secure all these treasures, the Museum Society needs to raise a total of about £60,000 by December.

Most of this will come from grants but at least £7,500 of local funding is needed. Plans are already under way for a new showcase in the archaeology gallery to display a number of small treasure finds acquired over the past few years, as well as anticipated additions.

Donations to Saffron Walden Museum Society Ltd and offers of sponsorship or assistance with fundraising are welcomed. Please contact Saffron Walden Museum, Museum Street, Saffron Walden on 01799 510333 for further information.

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All the finds have been made by metal-detectorists in Uttlesford district since 2011 and have been declared treasure under the Treasure Act (1996). Treasure is Crown property but local museums have the opportunity to purchase treasure from their collecting area and the Crown pays the finder and landowner a reward.