Medieval gold cross found by Norwich detectorist sells for £12K
A roofing contractor who found a medieval gold cross in a muddy field said he was “over the moon” after it sold at auction for £12,400. Jason Willis, 38, from Norwich, found the 11th or 12th Century cross while metal detecting at Sutton St Edmund, Lincolnshire, in April 2019.
He said he “knew it was something special by the shining yellow colour”.
Now known as the Throckenholt Cross, it fetched more than its estimated upper limit of £8,000 at auction earlier.
Mr Willis, who took up metal detecting as a hobby with some of his friends, said: “When I came upon the cross and washed it off, I knew it was something special, and by the shining yellow colour – I knew it was gold.
“I handed it to our local finds liaison officer and after two years, of going through the treasure process, the cross was returned to me and I was told that I could now sell it.”
Frances Noble, head of the jewellery department and associate director of auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said the pendant was of a “form associated with medieval Greek Orthodoxy in the eastern Baltic region” and said that a “very similar example was discovered in Denmark”.
“King’s Lynn, on the north Norfolk coast, just 20 miles from Sutton St Edmund, was a significant trading partner for the Hanseatic League [a commercial and defensive alliance of merchant guilds and market towns in central and northern Europe], and this trade link may provide a possible explanation for these two very similar cross pendants,” he said.
The auction house’s artefacts and antiquities consultant, Nigel Mills, suggested the cross could have been connected with the medieval hermitage and chapel at Throckenholt, which is within the Sutton St Edmund parish and existed until at least 1540.
The cross was estimated to sell for between £6,000 and £8,000, but including the buyer’s premium, the final price was £12,400.
Following the sale, detectorist Mr Willis said: “I am a roofer and I was working today, so I watched the sale over my phone while sitting on a roof.
“I am over the moon, and as I have just moved house, the money will go towards new items for the house.”