The Finding of the Pentney Hoard

When Mr William King got up one morning in 1977 and set out to dig a grave in the Churchyard at Pentney, he had no idea that the events of that day  would have such an impact on his life.

He had been digging down for about four feet when he stopped to have a rest and a cup of tea.  Then he noticed something metallic in the side of the trench. As he lifted it out of the soil another five similar pieces fell out as well.

Thinking that they must be some sort of horse brasses, Mr King put them in his pocket and cycled home with them, leaving them in his hearth overnight.

The next morning he took them along to the Rector at Pentney, and they decided to find out more.  However, as usual in small parishes,  there were always other things to be doing, and the disks sat patiently in a box in the vestry for another three years.

Then a new Rector, The Rev. John Wilson, came to Pentney and in the process of organising himself, he came across the box. 

They decided that advice should be sought from the Castle Museum in Norwich.  As soon as they saw them, the staff there became very excited.  The disks were quickly sent off to the British Museum to be examined by other experts.

The six dirty metal disks, thought by William King to be about 50 years old,  turned out to be six silver brooches, dating back to the late 8th or early 9th Century!  They were very rare and valuable, only seven others having been found before in England and two in Scandinavia.

The next thing was to decide who owned them! As is usual when something valuable is found, there had to be an Inquest.  This was held in Kings Lynn, where it was decided that the find could be classed as "Treasure Trove". 

This meant that Mr King was given the value of the brooches, which was set at 135,000.00! The first thing he did after hearing the news, was to donate 25,000.00 to Pentney Church.

The brooches made a short visit back to Norfolk three years later, when they were put on exhibition at Kings Lynn Museum.  They then returned to London, where you may see them in the Department of Medieval and Modern Europe, at the British Museum.

This picture is of a modern silver brooch   It was marketed by
Past Times,
and its design was inspired by the Anglo Saxon Brooches found by William King at Pentney.

Note--This Brooch is from a range of historically inspired jewellery available from Past Times, though this particular product is no longer available.

Rita Sheridan,

Read more about the brooches

Email: rasheridan@lineone.net