Papal seal uncovered near Oswestry

Reporter:

Emily Davies

A papal seal has been discovered near Oswestry – one of just nine to be recorded in Shropshire.

The unique find dates back to Medieval Rome during the time of Pope Pius the Second and was made during a visit hosted by the town’s Chris Langston, featuring American celebrity metal detectors.

Chris said the discovery – made by Tim Saylor of National Geographic – was a complete shock.

He told the Advertizer: “This is the ninth found in Shropshire and only the second to be found in the UK dating from Pope Pius the Second, so it’s a significant find.

“As you can imagine Tim was quite shocked. He wasn’t sure what it was to begin with, but we couldn’t believe it when we Googled it. “He said it’s his best find ever.”

The papal bulla seal would have come from the Vatican and would have been used on a document being sent to a Catholic church.

However, Chris explained they were also a ‘get out jail free’ card for the carrier should they be arrested.

The one side features the name Pope Pius the Second, while the second has the images of St Peter and St Paul.

The American visit also uncovered a pierced rare French 1553 silver teston.

Discovered by the Relic Recoverist, Jocelyn Elizabeth, the coin features the portrait of Henry II and was minted in Paris using an experimental style.

Chris explained single precious metal coins that have been modified into objects can, if older than 300 years old, qualify as treasure.

He added: “Unfortunately, we’ve had confirmation that it won’t go through as treasure but it is still an important find because it is well travelled, so both the coin and the seal will be recorded.”

Chris said the visits were so successful they have led to Jocelyn promising to return with a group of her own next year, while Brandon ‘Dr Tones’ Neice will be doing the same in the coming months.

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

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