Historic treasure has finally arrived back home to Banbury Museum

It's been a long wait - but the “Hornton Hoard”, a collection of Anglo-Saxon jewellery, has finally arrived back home to the Banbury Museum.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 22nd November 2019, 11:13 am
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 11:13 am
Members of the Hornton History Group with the jewellery
Members of the Hornton History Group with the jewellery

It had been held in the vaults of the British Museum since 1886.

Members of Hornton History Group and family of the late Barbara Greenhalgh celebrated the arrival of the collection, on loan from the British Museum for an initial 5-year period, with a unveiling party at Banbury Museum recently.

Mrs Greenhalgh was researching the Anglo-Saxon history of Hornton when she discovered details of the hoard which were initially found by the Rev Charles Heaven, the vicar, who sold the artefacts to a French dealer who subsequently sold them on to the British Museum.

The items in Banbury Museum

Simon Townsend, director of Banbury Museum said: “it has been a long journey of over a year to get these wonderful pieces of Anglo-Saxon jewellery back close to the place where they were found. I hope people will enjoy the opportunity of coming to see this small but important collection.”

Kevin Wain, chairman of the Hornton History group, said: “We are delighted that the hard work of the History Group and Banbury Museum has been rewarded at last and this is a fitting tribute to Barbara for making the discovery.

"It is such a shame that she is not here to share this moment with us, but her family, including her husband Geoffrey were here to see it arrive.”

The pieces date from 500 to 550 AD and were retrieved from the “tunnel” grave of a high-status Anglo-Saxon Woman. It includes a large gilded bronze square-headed brooch, which would have been pinned to a cloak.

Members of the Greenhalgh family: left to right, Karen, Cathy, Geoffrey and Richard.

The other items are two identically decorated, round brooches for fixing to shoulders of a tunic and a number of amber and glass beads which would have been strung between the brooches. It appears the woman was buried in the cape and tunic.

The site of the grave was on an acre of Glebe lands that was owned by the church and is an extension of the village graveyard. Hornton was an Anglo-Saxon village but this appears to have been one grave on its own as it was dug into the side of a slope.

Banbury Museum is open daily, seven days a week and the collection can be viewed free of charge in the first-floor gallery.