Dear Editor, I am most concerned about the current proposals to house the Staffordshire Hoard (something which could more accurately be described as the Brownhills Hoard) at Stoke-on-Trent.
The context of the find is the ancient (originally Roman) Anglo-Saxon Watling Street (now the A5). This has been a vital artery at the heart of our nation’s history for 2,000 years and is part of the treasure’s story. To allow it to be housed in Stoke is unacceptable.
I note that the “official” Hoard website claims the treasure to date from c650. Given that the key piece of evidence unveiled up to this point seems to be the written inscription on one item, dated as late as the C9th century by a leading world expert on this subject isn’t the Hoard more likely to have an even stronger connection with the West Midlands?
In fact, given its high status, might it not relate to the Battle of Tettenhall (910 AD), sometimes referred to as the Battle of Wednesfield (Woden’s Field). Woden, the Anglo-Saxon God, has left his mark in other parts of the Black Country, including at Wednesbury (Woden’s Burgh). The battle in 910 secured the English nation’s future in slaughtering the Danish Vikings and sending them, much weakened, north of the boundary, back into the “Danelaw”.
I can’t help thinking that a great disservice to the Black Country, its Royal Anglo-Saxon past and its vital part in our nation’s history, would be done should Stoke house this treasure forevermore. Not only that, but the diversity of this treasure (with garnet stones from India and gold from Byzantium) is surely more appropriately reflected in the diversity of the West Midlands. I wonder, am I alone in thinking that the Black Country, rather than Stoke, is the right place for this local find, if it can’t be housed in Brownhills itself?