Explore highlights
Triple pin set

 

Length: 12.100 cm (centre pin)
Diameter: 4.800 cm (centre pin head)

Gift of the Royal Archaeological Institute, London

M&ME 1858,11-16,4

    Triple pin set

    Anglo-Saxon, late 8th century AD
    River Witham at Fiskerton, Lincolnshire, England

    The only surviving triple set of linked dress pins

    This unusual and richly decorated set of three linked pins was discovered in the River Witham in 1826. Pin sets and single pins, often elaborately decorated, came into fashion as clothing styles changed in the middle Saxon period and brooches seem to have become less common. It is not easy to see how these three pins were worn, pairs of linked pins would be simply fixed one each side of an opening.

    The designs on the three pin heads show that one is a replacement: two have matching layouts with circular holes and plain bars dividing the panels of ornament, while the third has an openwork cross and a rope pattern round the border. All three are finely worked with delicate panels of interlace framing a variety of lively little beasts and birds in profile. The design of every panel is different.

    These discs were cast with this low relief ornament and then gilded; the linking plates were made in the same way. Pin shanks and linking rings were added to make the suite.

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

    L. Webster and J. Backhouse, The making of England: Anglo-S, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

    Highlights

    Browse or search over 4,000 highlights from the Museum collection

    Shop Online

    Fun-filled Viking activity book, £2.99

    Fun-filled Viking activity book, £2.99