Canterbury Pendant


Canterbury Pendant




CANCM:1982.14.23 - Circular gold pendant inlaid with cloisonné garnets
decorated with filigree wires, surmounted with
barrel shaped suspension
Found Cranmer House, Canterbury, Kent, by Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 1982.

Pendants of various kinds emerged in the 7th century as a native adaption of Byzantine fashion. They quickly took over from brooches as the main form of female jewellery. This version is one of the very best types and has an expressly Christian motif of the cross. It can be dated to the first third of the 7th century, probably around the 620s, as it is similar to brooches made at that time.

It is made from gold sheet worked into cells set with polished garnets backed with a gold foil. Decorated with filigree wires. The shape of a cross in the centre, now missing its white inlay, was probably intended as a Christian symbol. The pendant is topped by a barrel shaped suspension loop.

Such finely crafted jewellery would have been made for a wealthy or noble lady. It was probably buried decades after being made as there is evidence of wear and alteration to the pendant. This shows that it was a cherished piece, much used before being buried with its owner perhaps about AD 650.

When dug up the central boss was detached from the backplate. It was found about half a kilometre West of Canterbury City Walls at Cranmer House, formerly Westgate Court farm in 1982. It was found in what may have been a grave that was robbed in antiquity, but there were no traces of a body. This possibly shows a Saxon re-use of an old Roman cemetery on the site. A coin found near the graves dates the site to c700AD.

All images © Canterbury City Museums.


Canterbury City Museums




Canterbury Pendant


Canterbury City Museums, “Canterbury Pendant,” Woruldhord, accessed December 6, 2023,