Sir John Evans Centenary Project - image background is marbled paper from one of John Evans's books John Evans Numismatic Society Medal 1899

Sir John Evans's collections of artefacts - British

The Tostock buckle, one of the Ashmolean Museum's Anglo-Saxon treasures

the Tostock buckle
Gold and garnet buckle from Tostock, Suffolk (AN1909.455)

With its simple and elegant design the Tostock buckle is one of the finest in the Ashmolean's collection of antiquities. It forms an impressive testament to the goldsmith's craft and the enormous table-cut garnet is the largest known from England.

The setting is built up on a sheet-metal plate and the gem is enclosed on four sides by plain mouldings with pointed teeth on the inner edge, the teeth bent over to clasp the bevelled edge of the gem.

The buckle dates to the seventh century and was found in 1843 near the gateway to Tostock House, Tostock, Suffolk, a village about 10 miles east of Bury St. Edmunds. It was purchased in 1851 by Joseph Warren and eventually acquired by Sir John Evans, along with other objects from Warren's collection. It was presented to the Ashmolean by Sir Arthur Evans in 1909.

This is the entry in Warren's catalogue, with a note and image of the buckle stuck onto the page from Ackerman. Warren's catalogue was handwritten by him on blue paper.

This letter of 5 December 1893 from W.H. Tuck of Tostock House reads 'Dear Sir, On reading your interesting article in Longman's I am reminded that I was told by Mr. G. Franks that he believed you possessed an interesting Anglo-Saxon buckle from the Warren collection, found in 1843 on 'the Leys' here, just astride my gate and figured in Ackerman. Have you still this by you? And, if in London, may I be allowed to see it? I presumed that this must be quite genuine! Believe me, yours very truly W.H. Tuck'.

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Further References / Links:

J. Y. Akerman, Remains of Pagan Saxondom (London, 1855) p.3, pl. i, 9.

R. Bruce-Mitford, Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Sutton Hoo and other Discoveries (London, 1974) p.291, pl. 96a.

E.T. Leeds, Early Anglo-Saxon Art and Archaeology (Oxford, 1936) p.108, pl. xxx, g.

A. MacGregor and E. Bolick, Ashmolean Museum: Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non- Ferrous Metals), BAR British Series 230 (Oxford 1993) no.34, 27