Vikings in Wiltshire

Metal detectorist Sidney Boyce had a lucky find near Longbridge Deverill, Wiltshire. Having only recently taken up the hobby he by chance found a bronze trefoil (three armed) brooch that was probably made in Scandinavia in Viking times.

The find was reported to Katie Hinds, the Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire, based at Salisbury Museum, who immediately recognised its significance. Viking items are incredibly rare in this part of England, and although Danish armies attacked Wilton and Salisbury in 1003, the area is outside that ruled by the Danes (the Danelaw) in the 9th and 10th centuries. In the 11th century all of England was ruled by Danish Kings, the most famous being King Canute.

The brooch dates to between 850 and 1050 AD and is decorated in the Viking Borre style. Each arm of the brooch is decorated with a cat like animal head – with prominent snouts, circular eyes and large triangular ears. The reverse would have had a pin that could have been attached on ether one of the other arms. Sidney Boyce has kindly agreed to lend the brooch to Salisbury Museum where it can now be seen on display.

Adrian Green, Director of Salisbury Museum said: ‘This is in an amazing find, this is the first time that a Viking brooch, made in Scandinavia over one thousand years ago has been recorded in Wiltshire. How it got here is a mystery, one is tempted to make a link with an attacking Viking army passing through the area, but the truth is probably a little more mundane. There is no reason why this brooch could not have been an unusual souvenir owned by somebody living in the local area – even hundreds of years ago.’