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Bronze censer-cover


Height: 9.700 cm

M&ME 1960,7-1,1

Britain, Europe and Prehistory

    Bronze censer-cover

    Anglo-Saxon, late 10th-early 11th century AD
    From Pershore, Worcestershire, England

    Signed by Godric, its maker

    This object was discovered among a mass of gravel while digging a cellar in the eighteenth century. It is a piece of church equipment, a censer-cover, which was placed over a bowl of burning incense and hung from chains at each corner. The openwork roof allowed the fragrant smoke of the incense to escape into the church.

    The cover is a miniature church tower with rectangular pillars standing on a plinth and crowned by an ornate gabled roof of a Rhenish style, one that was copied on other censer-covers. The plinth is decorated with simple punched ornament, while the triangular gables have rows of scallops, like roof tiles. A crude animal head projects from each corner like a gargoyle. The upper roof is made up of four panels of openwork birds and foliage. They meet below a knob and another animal head.

    On one side is inscribed in Anglo-Saxon '+GODRIC ME WORHT', 'Godric made me'. Although we are not sure who Godric was, he could have been a metalworker associated with Pershore Abbey, close to where the censer-cover was found.

    D.M. Wilson, Anglo-Saxon art (London, Thames and Hudson, 1984)

    J. Backhouse, D.H. Turner and L. Webster (eds.), The golden age of Anglo-Saxon, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)


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