YORYM-F0C9C7: Early-Medieval : Great Square-Headed Brooch

Rights Holder: York Museums Trust
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: YORYM-F0C9C7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

An incomplete gilded copper alloy great square-headed brooch of Early-Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) date. The brooch is decorated in relief Style I and fits into Hines Group XXII. A small area of textile is present adhered to the headplate.

The headplate, which is now in two parts, is flat and rectangular though now incomplete with roughly one quarter having been lost to an old break. It is decorated with an undecorated strip which runs across the lower edge and is interrupted in the middle by the bow above which an undecorated rectangular panel extends. This panel is framed by concentric rectangular borders consisting of three ridges which are 1.6mm, 2.5mm and 1.6mm wide respectively, increasing in size on three sides - the base of each remains open to the undecorated strip. These ridges, in turn, are framed by a wider three sided panel with a central shield shaped device and parallel incised grooves creating a ribbed effect. The grooves on the longest side are vertical while those to either end are horizontal. Three further concentric rectangular borders consisting of three ridges, 1.5mm, 4.1mm and 1.4mm wide respectively surround the decorated panels again on three sides. A pair of long rectangular panels of Style I decoration are present in the upper part of the headplate frame, with an undecorated strip along the very top of the headplate above these panels. Only one panel (on the left as you look at the brooch) survives, with relief decoration of a pointed-oval element at either end and a double longitudinal ridge between. The rest of the headplate frame is undecorated. The edges of the surviving plate fragments have been lost to old breaks and the corrosion on the decoration makes its exact nature difficult to determine though are likely to represent an animal head in profile, at the end of a curving neck that forms the corner. No trace of white-metal coating can be seen on the surviving headplate fragments. A small patch of textile (16.4mm x 8.1mm) is adhered to the headplate to the lower left corner as you look at the brooch. To the reverse of the headplate the remains of a double pin bar lug can be seen bearing iron corrosion product which suggests that some element of the pin mechanism was constructed of iron.

The bow projects centrally from the lower edge of the headplate and is arched in profile. It has a central raised flat-topped longitudinal ridge, which begins in the smallest of the rectangular panels on the headplate and tapers in width into the footplate where its terminal is lost to an old break. This type of ridge is commonly found on Group XXII brooches. Recessed rectangular panels flank the ridge and a separately cast circular disc is present at the apex of the bow. The disc is 24.6mm in diameter and is decorated with an undecorated central circular panel, 9.3mm in diameter, which is in turn enclosed by four closely spaced concentric grooves extending to 16.7mm diameter. To the reverse of the bow the copper alloy rivet by which the button is attached can be seen. The centre of the disc, and a strip around its edge, have a white-metal (tin or silver) coating which has decayed to a grey colour.

From the lower edge of the bow the integral footplate extends. Much of the original edge of the footplate has been lost to old breaks though it will have been sub-triangular in shape with rounded upper corners and roundels projecting mid-way along either side. Complex Style I decoration adorns the upper surface of the footplate featuring a central raised ring and dot pellet placed on the ridge which extends from the bow. This is set within a lozenge panel of zoomorphic elements, again likely to represent disjointed limbs, framed by three flowing ridges which curve from points to either side of the central pellet into each surviving corner at the top and towards a worn break at the bottom. To the left of the central pellet an integral footplate side lobe or roundel, roughly 14.7mm in diameter, with two internal concentric grooves is present and the remains of a second can be seen to the right, though this has been lost to worn breaks. No trace of white-metal coating can be seen on the surviving side lobe. The terminal of the footplate has also been lost though panels of relief ornamentation in ring and dot style are present to either side of the base of the footplate which appear to be incomplete due to a worn break along the lower edge. To the reverse of the footplate, roughly two-thirds up, a catchplate (13.3mm long) which curls over to the left (when looking at the reverse) remains. It is set upon a longitudinal ridge of which 42.5mm length survives.

Traces of gilding remain on the head and footplates and a small area (16.4mm x 8.1mm) of fabric is present adhered to the headplate. The size, condition, elaborate nature and possible association with the fabric suggests this brooch may have been part of a burial.

The brooch is 111.2mm long, 51.6mm wide, 2.8mm thick (9.2mm with catchplate) and weighs 76g.

As stated above, this brooch is of Hines Group XXII and is similar to an example from Sewerby grave 19 (Hines 1997, pl. 82b). Group XXII is northerly in distribution, particularly around the Humberside region and were generally thought by Hines to be among the latest great square-headed brooches dating to Hines's Phase 3 (c. AD 530 - c. AD 570).

Numerous similar great square-headed brooches, though not of the same group, have also been recorded on the PAS database, for examples see: SF-D77DB4, IOW-D986F6, NARC-F91726, NCL-73A081, BERK-E0FC63 and FAHG-7B3D73. The only parallel of Hines Group XXII recorded on the PAS databse however is NCL-A16C02 which is a closer parallel than any of the five brooches in Hines's corpus.

This object was found close to YORYM-F1BE89 and YORYM-F1CF56.

Class: Great Square-Headed

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Date from: Circa AD 530
Date to: Circa AD 570

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 111.2 mm
Width: 51.6 mm
Thickness: 2.8 mm
Weight: 76 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Rebecca Griffiths
Identified by: Mrs Rebecca Griffiths
Secondary identifier: Dr Helen Geake

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Textile
Decoration style: Zoomorphic
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: North Yorkshire (County)
District: Hambleton (District)
Parish or ward: Eldmire with Crakehill (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE4374
Four figure Latitude: 54.16001623
Four figure longitude: -1.34299102
1:25K map: SE4374
1:10K map: SE47SW
Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

Similar objects

Find number: YORYM-7F1A27
Object type: BROOCH
An incomplete copper-alloy great square-headed brooch of Early-Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) date, c.AD 530 - 570. The brooch is decorated in relief…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: NCL-73A081
Object type: BROOCH
A cast, copper-alloy and gilded square-headed brooch of the Anglo-Saxon period. The headplate consists of an inner panel made with…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: NCL-82EDE3
Object type: BROOCH
A cast bronze great square-headed brooch of the 6th century, Hines group XIV. The brooch is largely complete, but the footplate terminal lo…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: YORYM
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.