Humberside

Cleethorpes teacher Gordon Taylor's Anglo-Saxon treasures to be sold

Anglo-Saxon skull Image copyright Hansons
Image caption The collection includes this skull, unearthed in North East Lincolnshire

Anglo-Saxon treasure first discovered by a history teacher in a field in 1962 is to be sold for up to £80,000.

Gordon Taylor initially unearthed a piece of bone in Irby-on-Humber, North East Lincolnshire.

It prompted him to lead a 17-year excavation of the burial site and items dating back to AD450 were found.

The 250-strong collection - now being sold by the late Mr Taylor's widow - includes a 1,000 year old skull, jewellery, scissors and a spear head.

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Mr Taylor, from Cleethorpes, died two years ago aged 88 and his collection will be sold through Derbyshire's Hansons Auctioneers - with a guide price of between £50,000 and £80,000.

Interested parties are invited to bid for the collection, by 1 June.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption Muriel Taylor is selling the items which her late husband uncovered

"Gordon used to enjoy field walking and, one day in 1962, came across a piece of femur bone and a fragment of Anglo-Saxon pottery on the surface," Mrs Taylor said.

"He consulted the farmer who owned the land to gain permission to dig. That was the start of a 17-year excavation."

She explained that the site at Welbeck Hill became "Gordon's life".

Mrs Taylor said the family hoped the artefacts would be viewed at auction by representatives from museums.

"It's so important to me that this collection stays together," she said. "I would like it to be preserved in a museum. It's my late husband's life work and a crucial part of England's Anglo-Saxon history."

The site is believed to have housed 72 mainly female graves and the lot includes hundreds of objects including a gilt brooch, pots, knives and pendants incorporating runic characters from the early Teutonic alphabet.

A free, private viewing of the collection will be held on 18 February between 17:30 and 19:00 GMT at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall.

Image copyright Hansons
Image caption The items include spear heads, brooches, beads and even a skeleton
Image copyright Hansons
Image caption They date back to between 450 and 625 AD

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