Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

St Modwen and Burton on Trent Abbey

The town of Burton on Trent is well known for brewing, but once was better known as a place of prayer and pilgrimage, as it housed the shrine of St Modwen, whose feast day falls today. This post can also be seen as carrying on a theme I considered in the series I posted on English iconoclasm.

There are a series of detailed online accounts from a really excellent website about the history of the town. That about St Modwen and her cult can be viewed here, and the history of the Benedictine abbey founded in 1002 by Wulfric Spot which housed her relics can be seen here. The series of links it gives are well worth following up.

In the middle ages Burton did not have a seperate parish church, and the townspeople used the nave for worship. This was one reason why the abbey church survived the dissolution. Firstly this was as Burton College - I think this was an unfulfilled Henrician plan to make the abbey church a cathedral for a potential Derbyshire diocese - but the college was dissolved in 1545, and no new diocese created, and then it survived as the parish church.  

Burton Abbey 

Burton on Trent Abbey

The most famous image of the abbey is this 1661 engraving from the river by Wenceslas Hollar. The writer of the website point sout that it does not entirely agree with known records, and suggests it uses ‘artistic license’ and is therefore, a partly speculative reconstruction drawing upon other Benedictine abbeys. However it does appear to agree with much of what is known about the abbey, and is a valuable source.


The webite explains how St. Modwen’s Old Church, predecessor of the current parish church, was part of the former monastic church which was reserved to the parish when the Crown granted the possessions of the dissolved Burton college, which had been temporarily establishedin the former abbey, to Sir William Paget in 1546. It comprised the aisled nave of seven bays, west tower, west porch, crossing with tower and spire, and the transepts. By 1603 the eastern arm, which had been granted to Paget, was in ruins and the arch separating it from the crossing was walled up. 

However the building became dilapidated and in 1719-28 was rebuilt as the present handsome Georgian church. There is a section about this, including a plan indicating the size of the abbey church on the same website and it can be viewed here

The abbey buildings now lie under the adjacent market hall in the town centre.

Fine as the present church is I cannot but lament the loss of what looks to have been a very interesting monastic church.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Discussing a Restoration in Romania

The Mad Monarchist had an informative and reflective post recently about discussions of a possible restoration of King Michael and his family to their legitimate throne in Romania.

This arises from the topic, either in principle or as a matter to be put to a referendum, of restoring the Romanian monarchy having been taken up by quite a few politicians in the current electoral process to elect a President of the republic.

King Michael I of Romania and Crown Princess Margarita of Romania.

 Image: erhj.blogspot
The Mad Monarchist is, I think, wise to be cautious and to wonder as to the political integrity of some of those speaking up for the Royalist cause or at least for a referendum on the issue. Talk can be cheap, especially at election times,a nd actions speak louder than words. However, like him, I would naturally  hope and wish for such a restoration and recognition of King Michael's rights. Something to renew in one's prayers.

The post can be read at Royalist Restoration in Romania?

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The arms of the Kingdom of Romania since 1922

Image: Wikipedia

Monday 27 October 2014

Bl.Emperor Karl commemorated by Juventutum in Washington

On The New Liturgical Movement website there is a post about the recent celebration on October 21st of an EF Mass at St. Mary, Mother of God Catholic Church in honour of Bl.Karl of Austria in Washington D.C.

The text is that of a talk given after the  Mass by Juventutem DC leader Daniela Petchik. This was delivered at a reception which followed the Mass, with speeches from H.I.R.H. Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza, the Prince Imperial of Brazil (Vassouras Line), Raymond de Souza and by Daniela Petchik. Miss Petchik was kind enough to provide NLM with her own remarks, which serve as a thoughtful meditation not only on the life and witness of the Emperor but also about the traditional spirituality that Juventutum encourages amongst the young faithful.

The blog post with the speech can be read at Blessed Karl of Austria — Sanctity and Perfection in his Footsteps

Celebrating the Feast of Christ the King

Yesterday was the feast of Christ the King in the Extraordinary Form, but in the Ordinary Form we have to wait for another month to celebrate the same feast. 

On The New Liturgical Movement blog and on Rorate Caeli Peter Kwasniewski has posted an interesting and carefully considered piece about the significance of moving this feast, itself instituted in 1925, in the 1970 Missal to the Sunday preceding Advent. 

His argument is that this is not just a matter of tidying up the Church year but that it fundamentally alters the significance of the feast, moving its essence from the temporal to the eschatological. He makes an impressive argument, and one that, as he points out, is topical in the life of the Church. His linked articles can be accessed at Why is the Feast of Christ the King Celebrated on Different Sundays in the OF & EF Calendars?

Leaves from a Book of Hours

Last Friday evening I was invited to a private view of an exhibition of watercolours by Rebecca Hind at St John's College Barn Gallery here in Oxford. Rebecca Hind is an Exhibiting Artist and Tutor in Painting and Drawing at the Ruskin School in Oxford and at Arts in Provence.

My invitation and contact with her comes from a long-standing friendship with her parents from my days in Yorkshire, where her late father was an Anglican priest, and her mother a resourceful vicar's wife and local historian, and it was a great pleasure to actually meet up with her again after more than twenty years of contact only by e-mail.

I have seen a previous exhibition of Rececca's paintings in 2008 at the Museum of the History of Science, which were watercolours of the moon, and they can be seen at MHS | Moonscope Lunar watercolours by Rebecca Hind

She is the author of Sacred Places, Sacred Journeys and The 1000 Faces of God, books which link spiritualiity, art and architecture.

Her latest exhibition at St John's she has entitled Leaves from a Book of Hours.

Her watercolours can be seen as being at the interface of representational and non representational forms, executed in large format and depicting cosmic forces and features in a striking combination of precise detail and broad swathes of subtle colour.

the word. watercolour by Rebecca Hind 152 x 102 cmd

The Word


When I was bidding my farewells to Rebecca I said that I assumed everybody was pointing to the reference to the final line of T.S.Eliot's Little Gidding, "And the fire and the rose are one", in respect of her painting "The Word", but she told me I was the first to make that connection. To me it seemed an obvious image of what Eliot was writing about, and I am surprised no-one lese was struck by the parallel.

The exhibition is open on weekends from 25th October until 9th November 2014 and by appointment. Please visit http://bit.ly/1DEnc9Q for further information.

Oxford LMS Pilgrimage

Last Saturday the Latin Mass Society held its annual Oxford Pilgrimage. This year it commemorated Bl.George Napier, or Napper, a local man, born in the city in 1550, who suffered martyrdom at Oxford Castle for being a priest on November 9th 1610. He was beatified in 1929. The account of his life from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia can be read at Ven. George Napper

We had a Solemn Mass in the traditional Dominican Rite celebrated in the church at Blackfriars. It was rather a pity that the numbers were not, I think, as good as in previous years for this rare occasion to see the Dominican liturgy being celebrated. This is a form of Mass with close similarities to the Use of Sarum, and certainly would have been celebrated in medieval English Dominican houses. I know some regular attenders had other commitments, but such an event should draw in new recruits if the ideals of the LMS are to be diffused more widely.

The Chairman of the LMS was not only organising and singing as part of the schola but was also busy photographing the Mass and the other events of the day.



Images: Joseph Shaw on Flickr

His complete set of pictures are available on Flickr at:

Oxford LMS Pilgrimage 2014

After a break for lunch we reassembled at Carfax with a processional cross, a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Banner of the LMS to go to the remains of the castle and the site of Bl. George's imprisonment and martyrdom. As we went along through the Saturday afternoon shoppers we sang the Great Litany. At the plaque, itself unveiled on a previous Pilgrimage in 2010 by Archbishop Longley, marking the site of the martyrdom, we sang the Te Deum.

On the way back from the castle along Worcester Street (negotiating the roadworks as we went along) we sang Faith of Our Fathers and the Song of the English Zouaves ("Aniraa mia, anima mia, Ama Dio e tira via.") from the 1860s. As this is less well known I have retrieved the text from the Internet and will reproduce it:

Saint George and old England for ever!
Once more her sons arm for the fight,
With the cross on their breasts, to do battle
For God, Holy Church, and the right.
Twine your swords with the palm branch, brave comrades,
For as Pilgrims we march forth to-day ; —
Love God, O my soul, love Him only,
And then with light heart go thy way.

We come from the blue shores of England,
From the mountains of Scotia we come.
From the green, faithful island of Erin, —
Far, far, from our wild northern home.
Place Saint Andrew's red cross in your bonnets.
Saint Patrick's green shamrock display ; —
Love God, O my soul, love Him only.
And then with light heart go thy way.

Dishonour our swords shall not tarnish.
We draw them for Rome and the Pope ;
Victors still, whether living or dying.
For the Martyr's bright crown is our hope ;
If 'tis sweet for our country to perish.
Sweeter far for the cause of to-day ; —
Love God, my soul, love Him only.
And then with light heart go thy way.

Though the odds be against us, what matter ?
While God and Our Lady look down.
And the Saints of our country are near us.
And Angels are holding the crown.
March, march to the combat and fear not,
A light round our weapons will play ; —
Love God, O my soul, love Him only,
And then with light heart go thy way.

From Joseph Powell Two Years in the Pontifical Zouaves 1871

Note: I do not know why this speaks of St Andrew's cross as red - red for martyrdom of course, but the saltire is normally depicted white.

We sang the Litany of Loretto as we processed along Beaumont Street past the Ashmolean and so back to Blackfriars for Benediction.


Image: Joseph Shaw on Flickr

Sunday 26 October 2014

King Alfred

Today is the 1115th anniversary of the death in 899 of King Alfred the Great. The only English King to be consistently so described he was born at Wantage in 849 and ruled Wessex from 871, and began the effective unification of England under the house of Cerdic.

Not only a capable military leader and administrator the King was also, famously, a patron of letters and learning, not least in his translation of St Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, which can be accessed at Alfred. Preface to His Translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care. That is in itself a powerful indicator of what this ninth century King thought important for the lives and welfare of his people

Bishop Asser of Sherborne's biography of the King, dated to circa 888, can be read online by following the links given in the site at Asser's The Life Of King Alfred

There is an online modern account of his life and reign here, and the the most recent academic, and excellent, survey of his life by the late Patrick Wormold from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography can be read at Alfred [Ælfred] .

Penny issued by King Alfred
Minted 875-885
Found at Cathedral Green Winchester


Here in Oxford there are not only the links to King Alfred of his birth nearby at Wantage and the layout of the plan of the city streets by his immediate descendants but, of course, what is probably both the best known link to the King and the best known object in the Ashmolean Museum, the Alfred Jewel. This was discovered in 1693 at North Petherton near Athelney in Somerset, and given to the University in the early eighteenth century.

This is now considered to be the remains of an aestel - indeed the most impressive one of several to survive - which was a pointer used in public and liturgical readings. This links to the translation of the Pastoral Care, copies of which were sent out with aestels by the King.

Alfred Jewel (Click to enlarge)

The Alfred Jewel


The Ashmolean has an illustrated and informative online piece about the Alfred Jewel and its context here, and there is another online account of this remarkable treasure and its function here. This has useful links to material and illustration relatings to other aestels from the period.

Saturday 25 October 2014


Today is the 599th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, King Henry V's spectacular defeat of the French army in 1415.

I recently read Professor Anne Curry's excellent and authoritative book Agincourt: A New History - available in paperback from Tempus - and I would heartily recommend it to anyone interested in the campaign and the battle.

Image: Amazon

Anne Curry brings out a whole range of details which have, I think, rather escaped earlier historians of the battle, and she writes with these in mind as well as considering the larger picture - not least the route taken by the English from Harfleur to the fateful confrontation at Agincourt.

The only criticism I would make is not of the author but of the publishers who provide many interesting  illustrations, but not of the best quality. This really is disappointing, given, for example, the care to show in photographs the landscape through which the army moved, yet for the images to be of low resolution, or relating to other themes, other stock images lacking the quality of other photo-agencies.

I shall no doubt have more to write about the battele and its context in the light of own interest in the period as we approach the 600th anniversary next year, but in the meantime Prof. Curry's book is a detailed and well researched read ideal for historians and armchair warriors alike.

Thursday 23 October 2014

King Luis I of Portugal

The Mad Monarchist blog often has postings which are biographies of monarchs,including some who are less well known. A recent one which can be read at King Luis I of Portugal, and it brings out the difficulties facing the monarchy by the later nineteenth century. King Luis emerges as awell intentioned ruler, but perhaps lacking the flair of his elder brother. 

The article draws upon illustrative materail in the Portuguese edition of Wikipedia, and is a better account of the King and his reign than the English Wikipedia article.


King Luis I

King of Portugal and the Algarves 1861-1889


I posted about his elder brother and predecessor in King Pedro V, the Beloved

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria

Today is the appointed feast day of the Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria. The day was selected as it is the date of his wedding to the future Empress Zita in 1911, and their exemplary married life was recognised as part of his claim to beatification. This is covered on the official website for his cause at The Emperor Karl League of Prayers, and which has a biography, photographs and prayers for his canonization.

The Mad Monarchist blog has an illustrated profile of him at Blessed Emperor Charles I, and Roman Christendom has a blog post from 2008 which concentrates on the piety of the Emperor which can be read at The holy Peace Emperor: Feast Day of the Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria on 21 October. The blog Nobility and other Analogous Elites had a good post last year about him which can be read at Karl of Austria

The Coronation procession of Blessed Karl as King of Hungary in Budapest on December 30th 1916

Image: iwm.org.uk

The psalmody at several points in both Lauds and Vespers today, in the ordinary course of the psalter, appeared very apposite on a day I was observing for a beatified monarch, the successor of both Charlemagne, recognised as a beatus at least by the Catholic Church ( even if his canonisation was by an anti-Pope) and St Stephen of Hungary as founders of the Empire and of the Apostolic Kingdom.

Quite apart from his genuine attempts to end the war in 1917, if the Austro-Hungarian Empire had survived ,WAvoid tragic loss of life if empire had survived it would have by its very existence have been a means of preventing so much more dreadful bloodshed and misery for the peoples of Europe.

The Emperor in the uniform of a Field Marshal
The uniform mayhave been field-grey, but the plumes of the hat would be green. I assume the black arm-band is for the Emperor Francis Joseph.

Image: Mad Monarchist blogspot

Quinta do Monte in Madeira
The Emperor died here on April 1st 1922


An evening with The Furies

Last Saturday evening I went with two friends to the Oxford Playhouse to see the Oxford Greek Play, a triennial event in which a classical Greek play is presented in the original language, but with modern staging and costuming, and with surtitles for those of us deficient in Classical Greek.

This year the production was of The Furies (The Eumenides), the concluding part of Aeschylus' Oresteia, first performed in 458 BC. I had not seen the play before, although I knew its basic structure and plot - it is, I suppose, incidentally, the first court room drama. There is much more about the play at Eumenides Study Guide, Book Notes, Summary, & Full Length Text . There is more about the legend of Orestes here.Three years ago I saw the previous such production, The Libation Bearers, the play which precedes it in the trilogy, and which is perhaps better known. I posted about that production in All Greek to me.

The house of Aetrius is one of the more, well, problematic dynasties one might encounter - you sense they were a family not at ease with themselves. Indeed as the Victorian lady commented after seeing Sarah Bernhardt as Cleopatra, "So unlike, so very unlike, the home life of our own dear Queen."

The Furies themselves made me wonder if I was witnessing some of the young female personages one sees heading off to the various night-clubs of Oxford on a weekend evening (one tries to practise custody of the eyes on such occasions) or a meeting of OUSU* Womens Committee.

In respect of the latter they would no doubt fault Aeschylus for not being feminist in that Apollo's defence of Orestes rested partly on the argument that his father had a greater claim on his loyalty than his mother. Apollo argued that it was Orestes' father, Agamemnon, who had borne him, not his mother, Clytemnestra, who was merely the carrier of the child. A biological view that is, even I would concede, a little outdated in terms of our knowledge of human reproductive sciences. 

The real argument of the play is about taming forces of unremitting, unceasing vengeance and creating civil society by mobilising those elemental forces to underpin it, and the risk of anarchy if they are unleashed. To prevent this there has to be such a thing as society, and that has to have law as a means of control and as a means of giving true freedom to humans.

This was a good production of a text which is both simple and elemental and yet also complex and reflective. There is an online newspaper review of the production from the Oxford Student at “Frenzying, Maddening”: The Oxford Greek Play

File:Orestes Apollo Louvre Cp710.jpg

Orestes being purified by Apollo
Clytemnestra tries to awake the sleeping Erinyes/Furies to the left.
Side A from an Apulian red-figure bell-krater, 380–370 BC. From Armento?
Louvre Paris

* Oxford University Students Union - not to be confused with The Oxford Union.

Monday 20 October 2014

Restoration work

Regular readers will have noticed that in recent days the masthead and side panels that accompany this blog have disappeared. This was due to some technical or other sinister skulduggery beyond the Clever Boy's skill or competence to remedy. 

However his friend the Eminence grise offered assistance, and the mast head, taken from Andrea di Firenze's Triumph of the Church, has been reinstated. The side panels may take longer. I am very grateful, as always, to the Eminence grise for this restoration work.

Restoration is, readers will not be surprised to learn, an important concept for the Clever Boy, who has been helped in this instance to put his ideas into practice.

Conclusion of the Forty Hours at the Oxford Oratory

The Oxford Oratory website now has a splendid series of photographs of the conclusion of the Forty Hours yesterday. I think it worthwhile reproducing the series, with congratulations to the photographers for taking such excellent pictures unobtrusively, and with a few additional comments of my own.

"So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
                  To see your strength and your glory"  (Ps 62)

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The Forty Hours' prayer before the Blessed Sacrament concluded yesterday evening with Solemn Vespers, sung antiphonally by the clergy and the choir as well as the congregation, a procession around the church and Benediction.

The congregation was sizeable, but I do feel sorry that more people do not come along to join in such a wonderful series of acts of devotion and to celebrate their Faith.

Solemn Vespers of the Blessed Sacrament:

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The Officiant was the Provost Fr Daniel, the Cantors Fr Dominic and Br Oliver.

The Procession took the Blessed Sacrament, the clergy and congregation round the interior of the church - which tends to feel too small on these occasions:

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Br. Gregory Davies O.Praem., a Canon Regular of Prémontré, from St Philip's Priory in Chelmsford, who is studying in Oxford and Br Adam  Fairbairn C.O., from the Oratory at St Wilfrid's in York, established by the Oxford Oratory


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Images: Oxford Oratory

This was a beautiful and moving conclusion to the Forty Hours, the effect of the whole weekend being a reinvigoration of one's sense of devotion to Our Lord in His Sacramental Presence.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Forty Hours at the Oxford Oratory

I have adapted this post from one on the Oxford Oratory website about the Forty Hours Devotion, adding some personal reflections and some additional photographs provided by a friend. This year, we are praying especially for Peace, in union with persecuted Christians throughout the world.

I spent part of yesterday afternoon helping the Fathers and Brothers and Sacristan to set up - so time used profitably, I hope, dusting the throne canopy for the monstrance, squeezing candles into sconces that were too large with the help of paper collars, covering benches with tinfoil to catch wax, and then deciding that the whole process was unnecessary, and helping position candelabra. A satisfying afternoon, becuase one could see at the end what one had helped achieve.

This year we have a new machina to support the monstranc enad its throne as well as the candles and flowers. Painted to resemble marble or alabaster with lapis lazuli inset panels, it is very effective and provides more surface area than the previous arrangement. It was made by the father of Br Oliver.


The altar and machina before adding the gold frontal and the candles

Image: Irim Sarwar


The conclusion of Mass

Image: Irim Sarwar

Our Forty Hours' Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament began with the Solemn Mass of Exposition at 6 pm. Unfortunately this beautiful Mass did not draw as many people as I would have hoped or expected, but it was a fine opening to the Devotion.


The Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance

Image: Irim Sarwar


A view across the Sanctuary

Image: Irim Sarwar 


The altar from the nave 

Image: Irim Sarwar

I counted 93 candles on the altar plus another 18 in the two free-standing candelabra.


A distant view along the nave

Image: Oxford Oratory

The effect of the candles around the enthroned monstrance made me think of the congregation as suitors to the Court of Heaven, which we are of course, and, as is the intention of the Forty Hours, to give us a glimpse of Heaven on Earth. Not light inaccessible hid from our eyes, but rather Light made visible.

Our own Holy Father St Philip used to attend Compline with the Dominicans of the Minerva so often that the Dominican friars gave him his own key to their church. We are very glad to continue this long-standing friendship by welcoming once the more the Dominicans of Blackfriars in Oxford to sing Compline before the Blessed Sacrament at 11pm. This drew a large congregation.


The Dominicans in choir
Image: Oxford Oratory


The prayers at Benediction
Image: Oxford Oratory

Benediction followed Compline, and so the all-night vigil began. As in previous years I stayed right through - with breaks for refreshments in the parish centre next door - on the basis that it is easier for me to help sustain the vigil than for those with families, and also because one can find deeper silence in the small hours.

The keen eyed amongst my readers can see  the back of my head and my light jacket in this photograph:


The congregation keeps vigil

Image: Oxford Oratory

We prayed the Rosary and at 5am had sung Matins and Lauds of the Blessed Sacrament in the presence of the Exposed Body of Our Lord. Singing - well, saying in my case - the psalmody in the Divine Presence brought home to me afresh Whom it is we are addressing when we say the Divine Office.

At 6 am we had a Mass in the Extrordinary Form for the feast of St Luke.

At breakfasttime I left to freshen up and indeed have breakfast with afriend at a nearby restaurant

The Blessed Sacrament will continue to be exposed until midnight today. There will be a Mass for Peace with hymns at 6:30pm.

Masses on Sunday are at the usual times. The Solemn Mass will be a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart, at the end of which exposition will resume until Solemn Vespers, Procession and Benediction at 5pm.

Thursday 16 October 2014

Cardinal William Allen

Reading Fr Hunwicke's blog has reminded me that today is the 420th anniversary of the death in 1594 of the other Oriel Cardinal, and sometime head of its dependent academic Hall, St Mary's, Cardinal William Allen. He was to become the founder of the English College at Douai and later at Rheims, and a key figure in ensuring the survival of Catholicism in Elizabethan England through the missiopnary priest trained there. He was also a not very successful political intriguer in the English Catholic cause in his long years of exile on the continent. Fr Hunwicke's thoughts can be read at Two Williams, one cardinal's hat, one primatial cross

I should add to what Fr Hunwicke says that the scaffolding and polythene have now gone from the front of Oriel and the statue of Cardinal Allen can once more be seen looking out across the High towards St Mary's.


Cardinal William Allen

Image: community.dur.ac.uk

There is an online introduction to his career here, and the life of him by Eamon Duffy in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography can be read at William Allen

The old Dictionary of National Biography account of his life can be accessed at William Allen,(1532-1594),  and the Catholic Encyclopaedia entry on him is at William Allen.

He is commemorated in the name of Allen Hall, the Westminster Seminary, and their website introduction to him can be read at Cardinal William Allen

  View Image

The arms of Cardinal Allen as depicted in the glass in Oriel Hall

Image: Lawrence Lew on Flickr

Viking hoard found in Dumfries and Galloway

Last weekend there was the announcement of a major archaeological discovery on land belonging to the Church of Scotland in Galloway and Dumfries. The find, last September, was of a Viking hoard of very considerable importance.

Treasure hunter - Viking Hoards in Scotland

The largest silver alloy Carolingian pot ever found, and which still retains its lid, and a 9th - 10th century silver cross with unusual enamels from the Dumfriesshire hoard


Many newspapers and other media have picked up the story - the facts are the same, but some give fuller coverage or better illustrations:

It is already written up on Wikipedia at Dumfriesshire Hoard, and another report of the discovery, Treasure hunter uncovers one of the most significant Viking hoards  gives more historical background to Scandinavian raids on Scotland in the ninth century

All of which points to our continuing fascination with the past, and to the fact that discoveries such as this continue to both add to our knowledge and to re-shape our understanding of the appropriate period of history.