Furness Abbey crozier. Photo credit PA

ITV News Granada reports today that a –

Rare treasure found by chance in a mystery grave at a ruined medieval abbey will go on display after lying undiscovered for more than half a millennium. The silver-gilt and copper crozier, the staff of office shaped like a shepherd’s crook held by high-ranking members of the church, was found along with a jewelled ring during emergency repairs carried out in 2010 at Furness Abbey in Cumbria.

The head of the crozier is made of gilded copper and decorated with gilded silver medallions showing the Archangel Michael defeating a dragon, and the crozier’s crook or end is decorated with a serpent’s head. A small section of the painted wooden staff survives, as do remains of the cloth designed to prevent the abbot touching the crozier with his bare hands. The ring is gilded silver and set with a white rock crystal or white sapphire. It is possible that a hollow behind the gemstone contains a relic, part of the body of a saint or a venerated person.

In its heyday, Furness knew prosperity on a huge scale, and, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, was the second-richest Cistercian monastery in England. The importance and wealth of the abbey is reflected in the quality of the still-standing red sandstone remains, which inspired both Wordsworth and Turner. See previous feature.

Furness Abbey by A F Lydon

The crozier and ring will be available for public viewing at Furness Abbey from Friday, 4 May to Monday, 7 May.

Full article here. See also The Guardian feature here.