2,100-year-old ‘national treasure’ loaned to Weston Museum

The Clevedon Torc. Picture: British Museum

The Clevedon Torc. Picture: British Museum - Credit: British Museum

A ‘national treasure’ dating back 2,100 years ago has been loaned to Weston Museum.

Visitors to the Burlington Street museum are able to see The Clevedon Torc, an Iron Age gold neck-ring, as part of their visit.

The ‘beautiful’ object was made by a goldsmith around 150-50BC and would have been worn by an important and powerful person.

It was discovered near Walton Castle, in Clevedon, in the 19th century.

Around 20oz of gold was found but some was melted down by a Bristol goldsmith, leaving behind a twisted strand of neck-ring and a single terminal.

It was given to the British Museum by Augustus Wollaston Franks, a former curator, in 1897.

John Crockford-Hawley, chairman of the museum and heritage sub-committee on Weston Town Council, said: “The loan of such a national treasure to a local museum is a real coup for Weston and follows months of negotiation with the British Museum.

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“This acquisition follows on the heels of the Imperial War Museum’s loan of the original First World War Kitchener poster by Weston artist Alfred Leete.

“It shows how Weston Museum is becoming an important regional venue.

“To look at this work of beauty and exquisite craftsmanship and to realise it was made during a period when our forebears were living in the hillfort on Worlebury helps us realise that was not an uncultured age.

“I doubt any modern goldsmith could produce better work.”

Weston Town Council worked with the British Museum to bring the nationally significant item to Weston – it will be on loan to the museum for three years.

The display has been arranged by the South West Heritage Trust and was made possible by a grant from the Arts Council England’s Ready To Borrow scheme.

The Clevedon Torc is displayed in the Living Landscape gallery at Weston Museum.

Entry to both the museum and display is free from 10am-5pm every Tuesday to Sunday.

Curator of the British and European Iron Age collection at the British Museum, Julia Farley, will lead a talk entitled The Clevedon Torc In Context: Gold In Iron Age Britain at 7pm on January 31.

Tickets, priced £7.50-9.50, are available from the museum on 01934 621028 or at museum@wsm-tc.gov.uk