The find and Paul King pictured above
A metal detectorist has found a piece of medieval art in the Ribble Valley is set to take its place among the relics of saints and martyrs.
The artistic bit of twisted silver was found by detectorist Paul King, a budding archaeologist.
Not only that the exciting and unique object has rightfully so earned its place in the Medieval Life case at the Lancashire Museum.
The badge, only one of its kind ever found in Britain to date, is currently being valued by experts from British Museum.
It appears to show one of the companions of St Ursula, one of the most popular mystical legends of medieval Europe.
The object said to be at least 500 years old provides a link between rural Lancashire and the great pilgrimage sites of mainland Europe.
St Ursula is said to have been a British princess who sailed with 11,000 virgin companions set to marry a pagan prince in Brittany, but diverted to go on a pilgrimage to Rome and in some other versions of the story, Jerusalem.
After many said adventures they arrived in Cologne, where they all were slaughtered by Hun tribesmen.
When a very large cemetery of Roman era bones was found in the city in the 11th century, they were declared the remains of the saint and her virgin companions, and her cult spread rapidly across Europe.
Mr King, aged 53, who is a logistics expert and member of the South Ribble metal detecting club, found the silver plaque at the end of April in a field some miles from his home in Walton le Dale, where he had already managed to find several hundred old Victorian coins.
When he returned to the site, which is historically believed to be the home of a rich landowner, with his new high end metal detector purchase he discovered his most precious find.
He said: “I soon as I dug it out with the trowl I knew it was special. And when I cleaned off the soil this amazing face appeared.” I knew it was special
“It is extraordinary and very moving to think how much history is locked up in this little silver piece of metal.”
Experts have concluded that the badge would have been bought probably as a souvenir by a Lancashire pilgrim who had travelled to the shrine of St Ursula in Cologne church.
Michael Lewis, at the British Museum, said: “It is an incredibly exciting find.”
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