King Alfred the Great’s Jewel

Alfred's Jewel

Alfred’s Jewel

The Ashmolean is a great museum to visit in the centre of Oxford and one of the treasures you will find is the ninth-century ‘Alfred Jewel’, discovered in 1693 and has been dated has been dated to be made in the late 9th century.

An unusual example of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.[1]A beautiful piece, believed to be either the centrepiece of a royal headdress, a pendant to be worn round the neck or an aestel or pointer, used to follow the text in a gospel book in much the same way that the Yad continues to be used in the Jewish synagogue for reading the Torah.

Whatever its ‘use’ it is stunningly beautiful and finely crafted with an inscription:

AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN

‘Alfred ordered me to be made’.

No one has ever doubted that the sponsor of the piece was King Alfred the Great – the only monarch to be called ‘Great’. He died in 899 after turning the tide of battle against the Scandinavian warriors, especially the Danes, who threatened the continuing existence of Anglo-Saxon control over much of England. He was born in the market town of Wantage, where there is a statue of him in the town center. Another place to visit as it is a typical English Market Town.

The Ashmolean is well worth a visit just too see this outstandingly beautiful King Alfred’s the Great’s Jewel besides all the other artefacts and exhibitions that are housed in the Ashmolean Museum. Many of my guests have loved going there.  But by far my favourite item there is the Alfred Jewel so I would recommend you go to see it!

Our museums are free but you might think about giving a donation as we want to keep preserving our heritage for future visitors.

Best wishes,

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