A DECORATIVE brooch found near to Oswestry has been declared treasure at an inquest.

John Ellery, HM Senior Coroner for Shropshire, held two treasure inquests on August 7 investigating the circumstances of two recently reported finds from north Shropshire.

One find was a decorative medieval silver brooch that was discovered on ploughed land in Whittington, near Oswestry, while the other was 37 Roman coins, known as the 'Hollyhurst Haul', owning to its discovery location in Hollyhurst.

This small but very decorative medieval silver brooch was discovered by an amateur metal detector user.

Simple undecorated and decorated annular brooches such as this example have been found in archaeological contexts dating from the later 12th to 14th centuries (1150-1400). This indicates their long use as an item of everyday dress.

Images of the brooch have been viewed by Dr Malcolm Jones, a medieval specialist in inscriptions, who has indicated that the design of the symbols could be considered to be pseudo-inscription or a pleasing pattern.

During the period there were high levels of illiteracy and the fact that the pattern is letter like might be good enough for the wearer

Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said: "Although this brooch is small, it is perfectly formed with neat and detailed design.

"The patterns may have been deliberate to echo letters or suggest archaic or magical symbols.

"The fact that it has survived so well in the Shropshire soil for the past 700 years or so is amazing.

"Although we may never know who owned it, they probably would have missed it and because it has so little wear is most likely to have been lost soon after it had been made.

"Such small pretty brooches were worn by ladies of every social rank. Other examples reported from the county have either been plain or have included religious inscriptions, so this example is a little different from the norm."

Shropshire Museums have expressed an interest in acquiring the find under the Treasure Act to be displayed in their medieval galleries of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.