Anglo-Saxon reliquary, Littondale

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Anglo-Saxon reliquary, Littondale MYD36677 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Anglo-Saxon reliquary, Littondale MYD36677 (c) YDNPA, 2023

This early Medieval reliquary was a chance find from Littondale. Such reliquaries were usually boxes made from precious metals and sometimes elaborately decorated. They held an item of Christian religious significance, such a piece of bone from a saint or wood supposedly from the True Cross. Many such items were faked and sold for profit but this did not decrease the reverence with which they were held. This item would have been a treasured possession for whoever owned it. The body of the item is formed from a folded cylinder of sheet copper alloy decorated with repoussé dots of three bands of double rows around the body. The separate base has an internal flange and is held by rivets to the body. The base is decorated with repoussé dot cross motif which is repeated on the lid. The cross is composed of triple rows of dots within a cordon of a double row of dots. The lid is hinged. The base and the lid are slightly domed. The diameter of the lid is 51 mm. Item now on display at the Dales Countryside Museum.


MacGregor, A & Bolick, E (eds) (1983) A summary catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon collections (non-ferrous metal), Ashmolean Museum Oxford: BAR 230 – Portable Antiquities Scheme website which includes this object in its database. Find ID is LVPL1644


Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes (usually on permanent display). Open daily. Contact for details of charges and opening times.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Hawes. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.


Fully accessible. Contact for further details.