Wonderful medieval crozier and ring found at Furness Abbey

English Heritage has announced that rare medieval treasures will be on  display at Furness Abbey, Cumbria, over the May bank holiday weekend.

During emergency repairs at the Abbey, a grave was found believed to be that of an Abbot, and in it were a medieval silver gilt crozier of the kind which an Abbot would have had, and a jewelled ring.   The head of the crozier is particularly beautiful and is decorated with gilded silver medallions showing the Archangel Michael defeating a dragon.   The end of the crook is decorated with a serpent’s head, and a small section of the painted wooden staff survives.   The ring is gilded silver set with a gemstone of white rock crystal or white sapphire.

Furness was one of the richest and most powerful Cistercian Abbeys, being founded in the 1120s.   By 2010, the walls had started to crack as their rotting medieval wooden foundations gave way.   Oxford Archaeology North carried out excavations to determine the seriousness of the problem, and uncovered the undisturbed grave.   The skeleton showed that the man was between 40 and 50, and the crozier and ring suggested that it was the burial place of an Abbot. 

The grave could be as early as the 1150s, and was in the presbytery, the most prestigious position in the church.

The full story is on the English Heritage website here

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