News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Jar onebanner.jpeg
Neil Hanna
Jar one.jpeg
Neil Hanna
World News

Crystal jar dating back over 1,000 years reveals evidence of a mystery bishop

by Glyn Jones

Archaeologists at National Museums Scotland have discovered the first evidence of a previously unknown bishop. The name of Bishop Hyguald was revealed during the cleaning and restoration of a small rock crystal jar which resembles a small perfume bottle.

The object, which is 5cm tall, was found by a metal detectorist on land owned by the Church of Scotland near in 2014. But it took years of conservation work for the bishop’s name to be revealed.  

Professor Alex Woolf of St Andrew’s University told Premier that when it was first found the crystal jar was wrapped in cloth, hidden inside a pot and caked in mud. “It’s been very slowly and painstakingly taken apart” by an expert team.

It was only when the crystal jar could be closely examined that the Latin inscription was revealed.

It can be translated as “Bishop Hyguald had me made.”

Professor Woolf explains, “the name is actually quite clear on the top of the lid. In among the gold filigree is this name that’s written out in a circular form.”

Details of Hyguald’s life and work will probably never be known as very little written evidence has survived from that period of British history.

Professor Woolf explains “our complete lists of bishops break down in the early to mid-ninth century, due to the chaos of Viking invasion.”

“We don't know of a Bishop Hyguald, specifically. It is accordingly – and frustratingly – difficult to be more precise but it may well be that what we’re looking at is an otherwise undocumented mid-ninth century bishop of either Whithorn or Hexham.” 

The historian regards the object as one of the most remarkable ever found in Britain from the period he studies. “It is amazing to see close up.”

“It definitely has religious significance. It was probably originally the fitting for some reliquary or some furnishing around an altar or shrine.”

“It really is an extraordinary find. This is something that was put in the ground in what we now think of as a rather remote part of south-west Scotland in the Viking Age.”

The rock crystal jar inscribed with Bishop Hyguard’s name is currently on display at Kirkcudbright Galleries until July 2022 in a National Museum Scotland touring exhibition.

 

 

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate