HESH-C63901: Medieval: Brooch

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Unique ID: HESH-C63901

Object type certainty: Possibly
Workflow status: Published Find published

Treasure Case 2011-T396: Specialist Report
Sanbach Area, Cheshire: Gold Brooch
Date: Medieval (1300-1500)
Finder: Mr XXXXXXX
Date of discovery: 11th June 2011
Circumstances of discovery: While searching with a metal detector

A gold 'annular' style brooch. In plan the brooch is an irregular oval (being heart shaped), in cross section the hoop of the brooch varies from circular to lentoid (a flattened oval). The outer frame is deliberately heart shaped with a recessed narrowed bar to which a gold pin (present) is attached. The hinge is flush with the frame and easily rotates on the bar. The pin is complete; it is aligned vertically and rests in a recessed groove at the base of the internal hoop. The pin is rectangular in plan and cross section; it is triangular in profile. The lower part of the brooch is decorated in an intricate and well crafted design, consisting of two joined hands. The lower part of the frame of the brooch is designed to represent the lower arms. The pin of the brooch rests within the palm of one of the hands. The two hands are different in design, and realised in detail. The hands are grasped with the thumbs overlapping the externally depicted fingers. The lower arms are sleeved, each hand differently, the 'male' hand has a short sleeve cut at the wrist, whilst the 'female' sleeve extends over the upper hand and is flared (trumpet shaped). The external edge of the frame is decorated with a series of projecting studs, presumably representing square shaped buttons. On both sleeves these are graduated starting with larger studs on the forearm gutting smaller toward the wrist.

Diameter 26.6mm, width 22.6mm, thickness 4.2mm weight 9.94 grams: internal diameter: 14.1mm x 15.2mm.

Discussion and Dating:
A number of heart shaped brooch are known from the later medieval period; these are produced in precious and base medals. This example is unusual in that it combines two common medieval features; the clasped hands and the heart shape. A similar designed annular or ring brooches with clasped hands was reported as treasure from Winwick, Cheshire (2005-T549) and a more oval brooch with projecting hands clasped in prayer were also classed as treasure from Breadshall, Derbyshire (2006-T119). An inscribed heart shaped brooch of similar shape was also declared treasure from Isle-Cum-Langley, Leicestershire (2009-T550). All three of these brooches date to the period 1300-1500, most probably 1350-1450 AD. The iconography of this brooch indicates it being associated as a betrothal or lovers gift. The workmanship and metal is also of the highest calibre. A direct comparison with all three diagnostic elements (the heart shape, detailed sleeves, and clasped hands) has not been found; however all the features present indicate a later medieval brooch.

Metal Content:
I believe that the precious metal content (gold) of the brooch fulfils the requirements of the Treasure Act in that it is greater than 10%.

Herepath, N and Robinson J. 2008: Medieval Gold Brooch 2005-T549 in Treasure Annular Report 2005-2006 DCMS, London
Robinson J: 2008 Medieval Gold Brooch 2006-T119 in Treasure Annular Report 2005-2006 DCMS, London
Robinson J and Scott W: 2010: Treasure report on PAS database for 2009-T550
see internet link below (http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/270521)

Peter Reavill
Finds Liaison Officer, Portable Antiquities Scheme
July 2011

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to landowner after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T396


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1300
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Width: 22.4 mm
Thickness: 4.2 mm
Weight: 9.94 g
Diameter: 26.6 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2011T396

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Sandbach

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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