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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in
Anglo-Saxon England

The Hexham Plaque

Height: 9.900 cm
Width: 7.400 cm
Weight: 105.000 g

M&ME 1858,8-14,1

The Hexham Plaque

From: Hexham, Nothumberland
Date: 7th-8th century AD

In AD 597 the Pope sent St Augustine to England on a mission to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxons to the Christian faith. He was very successful and Christianity spread gradually across the country over many years.

This engraving onto silver is in a very simple style. It was probably the cover of a church book or from the front of a reliquary. Reliquaries were containers which held the relics of saints, such as their teeth, finger-bones or hair. They were very popular with the Anglo-Saxons. The picture is of a man wearing the robes of a bishop. Can you see his halo? He seems to be reading from a book marked with a cross, which is probably the Bible.