A METAL brooch dating back more than 1,000 years discovered on farmland has been declared treasure at an inquest in Taunton.

Detectorist Iain Sansome, discovered the jewellery from the early medieval period of 800 to 900AD in Cheddar, where he lives.

Mr Sansome reported the find in October to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), but no further significant discoveries were made at the site.

Somerset County Gazette:

The disc brooch is 91mm in diameter, 1.93mm thick and weighs 76.12g.

It features extremely detailed interlace decoration with animal forms, some of which are thought to be peacocks.

Dr Lucy Shipley from the PAS, said: “Although it is relatively common to find Roman brooches in Somerset, Early Medieval examples are rare.

"Such items were important symbols of wealth and high status and may have been given as gifts to cement relationships between powerful individuals, including those with religious roles.

"The fact that no further significant objects were found suggests that the brooch was lost or discarded into water, rather than deliberately buried."

Mr Sansome said: “I’ve found a lot of important historical items in the few years I’ve been detecting, and have covered a lot of ground, but this find is in a different league.

"When I first saw the brooch I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but I knew it was something special and stopped detecting immediately.

"It’s a very rare find and the fact that the last person to handle it was probably someone of extreme importance and high status over 1,000 years ago is just incredible."

The value of the brooch will now be determined by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee.

The relevant Collecting Museum then has a chance to raise funds for its acquisition, the money being paid as a reward to the finder and the landowner.