KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 5  1863  page 311

  ACCOUNT OF THE SOCIETY'S RESEARCHES IN THE SAXON CEMETERY AT SARR (SARRE)
By JOHN BRENT, JUN., F.S.A.  continued

hand of the skeleton. Near it was a small silver ring (Plate II., fig. 4); six circular pendants of thin gold plate, (Plate I., figs. 1—6), with gold loops for suspension, lay between the shoulders. A large number of beads were found about the centre of the grave, and amongst them lay two small circular bronze fibulae (Plate I., figs. 8, 9), of the shape and pattern so common in Kent, which had probably been suspended from the same wire,—a bead being found attached to a small portion of wire which had passed through the loop of one of the fibulae.1

of their manufacture between Frithestan’s consecration to the See of Winchester, 905, and the death of Elfeda, second Queen of Edward the Elder, which occurred before 916 (the date of Edward’s third marriage). All the five ornaments—stole, maniple, girdle, and bracelets—appear by strong evidence to have been placed on the Saint’s body in 934, two years after Frithestan’s death, by Athelestan, Edward’s son and successor. (See Raine’s ‘St. Cuthbert,’ pp. 202—209.)
   Mr. Raine also quotes from the manuscript account, by Reginald the Monk, of the removal of the Saint’s body to Durham Cathedral, in 1104, a description of some similar gold embroidery, which formed the border and cuffs to a dalmatic then discovered and 

removed. (P. 89, and App. p. 4.)  The gold thread found in the grave at Sarr answers most exactly to this description of St. Cuthbert’s stole, etc. It is flat, and woven; the thread of silk or other substance which was interwoven with it has perished, but in the less frayed parts, the spaces where such threads have passed through are most evident. The art of wire-drawing is believed is to have been unknown till the fourteenth century, and this flat thread, delicate as it is, must have been formed on the anvil. Its evident process of manufacture, and its use for weaving or embroidery, are most curiously illustrated by a passage in the Mosaic description of the ephod made for Aaron :—" And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work." (Exod. xxxix. 3.)
   The breadth of our woven fragment appears to have been rather less than a quarter of an inch,—it is too frayed for ascertaining its length ; but from the position in which it was found, we may conclude that it formed either the border of the sleeve, as in the earlier discovery of St. Cuthbert, or (more probably, there being no corresponding fragment) a bracelet, as in the later. It is a slight help towards fixing the date of this grave to know that exactly similar ornaments were made for and worn by Anglo- Saxons of high rank at the beginning of the tenth century.- T. G. F.]
   1. It may well have been a habit to include within the acus of a fibula the wire which strung a necklace of beads, for greater security to necklace and fibula.

Page 311  (This page prepared for the Website by Christine Pantrey)             

Previous page    Back to Page and Plate listings   Next page

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back the Contents page   Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line    Back to Research Page     Back to Homepage

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society 2002

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too research@kentarchaeology.org.uk