Artefacts unearthed in Cornwall were officially classified as ‘treasure’ by Cornwall Coroner Emma Carlyon last week.
Two hauls found in 2009 and 2010 in the Penwith area of Cornwall include a silver gilt pendent from the 15th or early 16th centuries found in a field in the parish of Paul and a huge Bronze Age find which included a gold arm or neck band, daggers, axes and buckles on St Michael’s Mount. Both finds were discovered accidently by local people, but under the Treasurers Act 1996 anyone who finds a precious object must report it to the Coroner, who must hold an inquest to determine whether it should be officially defined as ‘treasure’. If an item is defined as treasure then it must be offered for sale to a a museum.
To the relief of the person who found the pendent, David Edwards, no museum wanted to buy the item, so it was returned to him. The Bronze Age haul however was retained for display at the castle of St Michael’s Mount, which is owned by James St Aubyn, but managed by the National Trust. Following a full archaeological investigation of the land where the haul was found, no further items were discovered. Darren Little, the discoverer of the Bronze Age haul who was working on the land when he found the treasure said:
“I was gobsmacked to find something so old and so unique.”
The Celtic League is a long term campaigner of historical and cultural relics to the Celtic nations where they were found and earlier this year set up a website listing some of these treasures. Following a League news item on the temporary return and display of treasures in a museum in Rhayader in the area where they were originally found from where they are held by the British Museum, Kernow Branch Secretary Michael Chappell reported that he had been contacted by two people who requested more items be added to the Kernow/Cornwall list on the website. The first message stated:
“The Bronze Age gold Rillaton Cup, and Morvah and Towednack gold hoards have been squirreled away in London for far too long. They belong in Cornwall.”
The second message was from a Cornwall Councillor, who wished to remain anonymous:
“… the Bodmin Gospels and other early manuscripts and almost all the major Cornish Language manuscripts [need to be returned] but bringing them back to Cornwall only makes sense if there is a properly resourced place in Cornwall to keep them and display them.”
The Kernow Branch of the Celtic League will be writing to Kresen Kernow (Cornwall Centre) in Redruth to enquire if they have the necessary resources to display manuscripts.
The website listing the different treasures and artefacts that the League are calling for the return of, can be found at the link below. People are asked to write to the League to request other items to be put on these lists.
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.
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