This was the scene in the library last week when the impressionist Jon Culshaw visited with a TV crew to talk to Dr Rory Naismith of the ASNC department and to look at some of our Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. Jon is filming a series called Britain’s Secret Treasures for ITV about various hoards and other archaeological finds that have been discovered over the past few years and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The filming in the Parker Library was part of an exploration of the context of the Silverdale Hoard, discovered by a metal-detectorist in North Lancashire in 2011.
Among the 201 objects in the hoard is a silver coin inscribed on one side REX and on the other side AIRDECONUT which is evidence for the existence of a previously unknown Viking ruler, Harthacnut, in Northern England, probably around the year 900. Rory showed Jon the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (MS 173), one of the very few contemporary written records from Britain in this period and also MS 383, a collection of Anglo-Saxon law codes. Although this manuscript dates from the late 11th century, it contains a copy of a treaty made c.890 between Alfred the Great and the Viking ruler Guthrum which established a boundary between their two kingdoms and regulated relations between the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes in both legal matters and trade.
The programme will air on ITV1 in mid-July.