North West England Viking Finds
by John & Christine Harrison.


Inspired by Ben Edwards’ recent talk to the Society, Christine and I were recently in London and already had planned to look at the Sutton Hoo exhibition at the British Museum. As this was across the room from the Viking exhibits it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Amongst the exhibits that we saw was the Penrith Hoard. This dates from the early 10th century and contained, as can be seen in the following photograph, Irish Viking brooches similar to the copies that Ben Edwards and his wife demonstrated at our meeting.

One of the brooches is inscribed with the Viking runic alphabet, perhaps to bring good luck to the wearer.
Next to this display was the Cuerdale Hoard dating from around 905AD. It’s not all on display and this is hardly surprising given that it consists of 7500 coins and 1100 items of silver bullion! However the display which Christine has captured in the following photograph might have been better ordered! This hoard was found near the south bank of the Ribble in 1840, having been buried in a lead chest. It is the largest Viking hoard found in Western Europe.

Bone pins have been used to fasten cloth bags. The date of the hoard is provided by the coins, most of which came from the Viking Danelaw. However there are other English, European and even Arabic coins. The bullion is equally diverse with many Scandanavian pieces as would be expected, but also fragments of brooches and arm rings of Irish-Viking origin, along with Anglo-Saxon, Pictish, and Carolingian personal equipment as well as Slavic and Baltic material.
Another Lancashire find on display was a Gilt-Silver Cup and Neck Ring. This was found on Halton Moor and the 860 silver pennies found with them dates the hoard to about 1027. The neck ring is Scandanavian, but the cup is Carolingian in origin and decorated with animals and foliage.

It was fascinating to see these exhibits so soon after Ben Edwards’ talk.
(The Sutton Hoo display was great as well!!)

Christine and John Harrison