Unique silver find leads Oswestry man to set up metal detecting holiday firm

A medieval silver bodkin found in a field in Shropshire - one of only two of its kind found in the UK - has been declared treasure trove by the British Museum.

The double-ended silver bodkin
The double-ended silver bodkin

Chris Langston, from Oswestry, made the discovery while metal detecting on agricultural land.

It is his latest find and has spurred him into launching a new business, specialising in metal detecting holidays in the area.

The silver bodkin needle, also worn as a hair pin, is believed to date back to the 16th-17th century.

It is unhallmarked, with maker's mark IB and engraved initials by the owner S.V.

"It is an unusual bodkin as it is double ended," he said.

The Shropshire coroner is waiting to hear if the British Museum is keen enough to have the bodkin to insist on an inquest to see who it should go to.

Mr Langston added: "If the museum does not want it, it is still treasure trove but will be disclaimed and returned to myself. If that happens I will be returning it to the owners as they have a costume maker in the family and I think that would be appropriate."

A bodkin, also known as a lacing or threading needle, was used for used for lacing corsets, threading ribbon through lace beading or cord through casings. Bodkin-needles were also used as decorative hairpieces.

The name was first used in English in the 14th century, and comes from the Middle English boydekin, for a dagger.

Mr Langston has been metal detecting himself for many years and has made numerous finds including coins and rings.

Now he is hoping to pass his enthusiasm onto others with the launch of Metal Detecting Holidays in conjuction with local businesswoman, Louise Idoux.

He said: "We are based on the doorstep of the legendary Whittington Castle and, while ancient monuments, such as the castle and Old Oswestry, can not be touched, this area on the border of England and Wales has with hundreds of acres of land to be detected.

"The areas we detect, with landowners' permission, are steeped in history going back thousand of years. Our visitors will be metal detecting in areas where Bronze Age man marked out their settlements, where Roman legions marched and where the Welsh Princes' battled against the English sovereignty to reclaim the border."

"History can be unearthed in one of the most fought over and heavily fortified areas of the UK and I believe this will appeal to people not only in this country but particularly in America."

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