British Museum Lends 2,100-Year-Old Gold Torc to Weston Museum

Visitors to Weston Museum can now see The Clevedon Torc, an Iron Age gold neck-ring, as part of their visit.

This beautiful object was made by a highly-skilled goldsmith between about 150 to 50 BC and would have been worn by an important and powerful person.

The torc was discovered near Walton Castle in Clevedon sometime in the 1800s. Originally, about 20 ounces (567 grammes) of gold were found but some of it was melted down by a Bristol goldsmith leaving just one twisted strand of the neck-ring and a single terminal. It was bequeathed to the British Museum by a former curator, Augustus Wollaston Franks, in 1897.

Weston-super-Mare Town Council worked in partnership with the British Museum to bring this nationally significant item to Somerset. The display has been arranged by the South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity that protects and celebrates Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. It has been made possible with a grant from Arts Council England’s Ready to Borrow scheme, administered by the South West Museum Development Programme.

The arrival of the torc will be celebrated at the museum with a talk by Julia Farley (Curator of the British and European Iron Age collections at the British Museum). The talk, entitled ‘The Clevedon Torc in Context: Gold in Iron Age Britain’, is at 7.00 pm on Thursday 31 January. Tickets are £9.50 (£7.50 concessions), including a drink on arrival, and are available from Weston Museum reception (01934 621028, museum@wsm-tc.gov.uk).

Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said: ‘We’re delighted that the Clevedon Torc is now on display in north Somerset and that so many people will have the opportunity to see this nationally significant treasure. We’re most grateful to the British Museum for making it all possible.’

Malcolm Nicholson, Town Clerk for Weston-super-Mare Town Council, said: ’This is the first time that Weston Museum has borrowed an item from the British Museum. This has been made possible because of significant investment in the building during the recent Heritage Lottery Funded redevelopment.’

The Clevedon Torc is displayed in the Living Landscape gallery at Weston Museum. Entry to both the museum and the display is free. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.

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