Wiltshire Museum launches £8K appeal to buy Anglo Saxon gold coin from 'dawn of English Christianity'

By Richard Moss | 11 November 2015

Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is fundraising to buy an Anglo-Saxon gold coin found in nearby East Grafton

a photo of a gold coin with a man's face in profile on one side and a pair of hands on the other
The East Grafton Anglo Saxon Coin
Wiltshire Museum is launching a fund-raising campaign to buy a rare gold coin dating to the beginnings of Christianity in Wiltshire.

The Anglo Saxon Gold coin was found in April 2015 at East Grafton, a Wiltshire village between Burbage and Great Bedwyn, and experts believe it was in circulation just after the burial of King Raedwald at Sutton Hoo around AD 625

Featuring a vivid head motif with a Christian cross, the coin also dates to the time of many of the objects found in the Staffordshire hoard, but it was struck in modern-day France between about AD655 and AD 675 before making its way to the Vale of Pewsey.

With an auction estimate of £8,000, Director David Dawson says the museum will be seeking grant aid to try and capture the locally important  object, “but we still need your help” he added. 

“We are hoping we will be able to secure this important find, which brings new light to the vale of Pewsey in the Saxon period. East Grafton was part of the parish of Bedwyn until medieval times.

"There are a number of pagan Saxon cemeteries nearby and evidence of an early Saxon Royal manor at the Iron Age hill fort at Chisbury, just to the north of Great Bedwyn."

Later in the Saxon period, the focus moved to Great Bedwyn where there was a Royal Manor and an important Minster church. Bedwyn was held by King Alfred and it also had a Saxon mint in the time of King Edward the Confessor soon after 1,000 AD.

“Bedwyn was very important and it was only with the building of its Norman castle that the focus moved to Marlborough” added Mr Dawson.

If the bid is successful the coin will join a collection of locally found but nationally important treasures that trace the history of people living in Wiltshire via a series of galleries covering the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, and Medieval periods.

The coin is being sold by Spink & Son in Bloomsbury, London, on December 2 2105 as part of an auction of ancient British and foreign coins and commemorative medals.

To help Wiltshire Museum obtain the important coin visit the Wiltshire Museum website donation page

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