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.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Coins from seventh century Kent

Kent online reports the discovery of four seventh century gold coins and what appear to be lead weights for weighing them in the county and that they have been declared Treasure Trove under the Portable Antiquites scheme. 

The Merovingian origins of at least three of the coins clearly points to cross-Channel contact, either through trading or raiding. The presence of the weights suggests a concern with the absolute value of the gold and its use either in trade or in jewellery or decorative work. 

In these years the See of Canterbury was still a recent creation from the year 597 and Christian Anglo-Saxon culture was developing its own forms and expression.

The illustrated article can be seen at Ancient find declared 'treasure' at inquest

1 comment:

John R Ramsden said...

It's fun squinting at Saxon coins like these and trying to imagine what the sovereign shown on them might have looked like in real life, assuming the coin manufacturer had attempted, as best they could, an accurate depiction.

Faces on some of the coins are hopelessly jumbled, looking literally like a Picasso with detached eyebrows and this and that all over the place. But others seem to show a reasonably consistent and sometimes characteristic looking face.

On that basis, I suspect Alfred the Great looked somewhat like the First Duke of Wellington, with a straighter nose. I also think it likely that Edward the Confessor had notably high and prominent cheekbones. There's a wooden carving of him on a screen in Exeter Cathedral, although I haven't seen it and I doubt it is contemporary.

John R Ramsden