Anglo-Saxon treasure goes on display at Leeds City Museum

West Yorkshire Hoard, on display at Leeds City Museum
West Yorkshire Hoard, on display at Leeds City Museum

A HOARD of historic golden treasure which dates back to the seventh century goes on public display at Leeds City Museum this week.

The West Yorkshire Hoard, made up of seven objects representing the most significant find of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever discovered in the Leeds area, will be on show at the museum off Millennium Square from today until Tuesday, November 15.

Six of the objects are gold jewellery dating from the seventh to 11th centuries, with the most spectacular being a stunning gold ring with a lozenge-shaped bezel set with a garnet gem which is in near-perfect condition.

The objects were discovered in the same location, which cannot be identified in order to protect the site, in two stages with the first five items of jewellery found in 2008 before an additional gold ring and spindle whorl were discovered the following year.

No information is known as to the original owner or how the objects came to be in the spot where they were found.

The collection is on loan in Leeds from The British Museum in London, where it is officially classed as treasure under the Treasure Act (1996). The hoard has been offered to Leeds Museums and Galleries on a first-refusal basis in order to secure the items for the area where they were found.

The Friends of Leeds City Museums and The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society have now launched a campaign to try and raise the £170,000 needed to secure the hoard before the November 15 deadline passes and it goes to a public auction.

The hoard is highly significant on a local and national scale, indicating the presence of high status inhabitants and the gold rings sit alongside the Leeds Parish Church cross as signs of an Anglo-Scandinavian identity in the Leeds area. Along with other finds like The Staffordshire Hoard, the collection also helps redraw the map of power in early Medieval England.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Coun Adam Ogilvie said: “The West Yorkshire Hoard is a fantastic story and we hope lots of people take the chance to come and see them while they are on display at Leeds City Museum. It is a really spectacular collection and it would be fantastic for the campaign to be successful to keep them in Leeds.”