October 26, 2009

Treasures cast into river by Archbishop of Canterbury

Many of the best Celtic artifacts have been found in water.  For ancient Celts,  water was a powerful manifestation of the supernatural, the boundary between worlds. 

They made sacred offerings and "deposits" in lakes, pools and rivers across Britain and Ireland.  When the dying King Arthur was taken across the lake to Avalon, his sword, Excalibur, was cast into the water.

Maybe that ancient idea was behind the number of treasures cast into the River Wear in Dunham by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey  who died in 1988.

 Bronze Archbishop Of Canterbury

The objects, some solid gold, have been discovered by amateur divers Trevor Bankhead, 40, and his brother Gary, 44, a fire service watch officer, over the past two and a half years.

Their first find was an ornate silver trowel presented to the Archbishop for laying the foundation stone of an Indian church in 1961.

The brothers have since retrieved over 30 other items linked to Ramsey, along with hundreds of medieval and Saxon artefacts.

Among them are gold, silver and bronze medals struck to commemorate the second Vatican council, which must have been presented to Ramsey, who was the most senior cleric in the Church of England from 1961 to 1974, when he met Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1966.

Posted by Jill Fallon at October 26, 2009 9:37 AM | Permalink