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Rare Edmund Jewel to go on display at Moyses Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 15:54 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:54 27 September 2017

The St Edmund Jewel is extremely rare - there are only 10 in Europe. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The St Edmund Jewel is extremely rare - there are only 10 in Europe. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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An extremely rare piece of jewellery with possible links to the martyred King of East Anglia is to go on display at Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds.

Saint Edmund image provided by Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Saint Edmund image provided by Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Edmund Jewel will form part of a gradual reinterpretation of the Saints story at the museum and may have been used by the King of East Anglia, Saint Edmund himself.

The ornate gold jewel was discovered in 2014, in a field in Drinkstone when someone was metal detecting.

The jewel is believed to be an aestal which are extremely rare - there are thought to be less than 10 in Europe.

Alex McWhirter, heritage officer at Moyses Hall Museum said: “We know that the Edmund Jewel dates back to the ninth century, Edmund was martyred in 869AD and whether this was made before or after his death, that afterwards Bury St Edmunds became one of the largest Benedictine abbeys in the world, and a main site for pilgrimage in England.

It is believed to be an aestal, a 9th century pointer used by people in high status for reading at a time when the majority of people were illiterate It is believed to be an aestal, a 9th century pointer used by people in high status for reading at a time when the majority of people were illiterate

“The site where the Edmund Jewel was found would have been part of the landholdings of the Abbey.

Land that some academics have suggested originally had connections to the King himself, while the rarity of the Jewel, coupled with its purpose means it is likely that, if it did not belong to Edmund himself, it would have been made and used by someone in high status in the Church.

“Now, nearly 1150 years on, the Saints connection to the town remains strong with calls for his reinstatement as Patron Saint of England. The announcement of The Edmund Jewel comes at a time when the town is preparing to celebrate St Edmunds Day on November 20, with A St.Edmunds weekend of activities being organised”

The Edmund Jewel will go on display this weekend to coincide with the final weekend of the Lost Property exhibition.

Cllr Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council with the Jewel. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Cllr Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council with the Jewel. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

It will then move into the permanent displays.

Cllr Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury borough council, said: “We know that, like us, our local residents are fiercely proud of our heritage in Bury St Edmunds and it is another reason for us to all love where you live.

“The Edmund Jewel is another part in this rich tapestry in our collective history that will help provide an even greater focus on the Saints story, here at Moyses Hall Museum.”

Cllr Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council with the Jewel. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Cllr Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council with the Jewel. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Four facts about the Jewel

1. The Jewel is believed to be an aestal, which was used in the 9th century as a pointer which people of high status used for reading.

2. The most famous aestal is The Alfred Jewel which is inscribed with Alfred and belonged to King Alfred, it is displayed at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

3. The discovery of The Edmund Jewel offers a great chance to study and investigate its purpose and production.

4. St Edmunds day is on November, 20 - you can celebrate the day at the St. Edmunds weekend which will be full of activities throughout the town.

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