Kingston Brooch


About this object

The Kingston Brooch is one of the most elaborate pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery ever found in England. It was discovered amongst the burial belongings of a wealthy woman on the 5 August 1771 by the Reverend Byran Faussett at Kingston near Canterbury in Kent. In his field notes, Faussett described it as “…one of the most curious and, for its size, costly pieces of antiquity ever discovered in England.”

During the war, St Martin’s Bank on Water Street, Liverpool became an important place for storing the UK’s wealth. It was hoped the bank would be safer than London during the air raids. The bank’s vaults took in the Bank of England’s gold reserves and it also became the temporary home for some of World Museum’s most important objects.

As the museum’s curators were frantically packing objects for evacuation it fell to museum attendant, George Youlton to transfer these treasures (packed in a cardboard box!) to the bank. He would later recall:
"I remember taking some to St Martin’s Bank near the Town Hall. Among them were the Mexican Codex or Calendar, the Kingston Brooch – a rare Anglo Saxon find – and the linen girdle that belonged to Ramases theThird. They remained there until we collected them after the war."
The brooch returned to the museum after the war and remains one of the most important objects in the Anglo-Saxon collections.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Ornament
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England
  • Date made
    7th Century AD early
  • Materials
    Gold; Gold Foil; Pearl; Glass; Shell; Garnet
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Weston Discovery Centre
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Joseph Mayer
  • Collector
    Bryan Rev Faussett
  • Place collected
    Europe: Northern Europe: UK: England: Kent: Kingston
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    85 mm x 177.1845 g
  • Note
    Avent 1975 composite class 3.2; 7th Century found with glass palm cup; suggested date last quarter of 6th Century to very early 7th Century. Inv. Sep., pp. 77-78, pl. 1, fig. 1. Jessup Anglo-Saxon Jewellery, p. 72ff., pl. 20, pls. A, XXIV. Birmingham Museum Exhibition Catalogue, p. 56 and from Isprece 1960. Med. Arch. xxi (1977) pp. 16-26. Was used on BBC programme 'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral' on 4 March 1959, along with 7 other artefacts. For more information on the programme see the Loan File.
  • Related people
    Bryan Rev Faussett ( Collector, previous owner); Godfrey Faussett ( Previous owner); Joseph Mayer ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Joseph Mayer

    Owned from: 1854
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1867
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Godfrey Faussett

    Owned from: 1776
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1854
    Disposal method: Sold
  • Bryan Rev Faussett

    Owned from: 1771-08-05
    How acquired: Collected
    Owned until: 1776-10-10
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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