Aireborough Historical Society

1771 Historic Find In Rawdon

Historic Find In Rawdon
Date April 1771
Location Rawdon
Photo ID

"A few days ago a poor labouring man at Rawden near this town found a gold chain, weighing near five ounces and worth about seventeen guineas, as he was getting stone in a field near that place :- it is a very antique piece and must have been buried in the earth a long time altho' it was only a few inches from the surface of the ground.

    It is supposed to be what the ancient Britons wore, is what Antiquarians call a torque and perfectly answers the description in the following lines taken from Virgil, AEn Book 5 Line 558"

Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling


Additional text by Christine Lovedale

The finding of this artefact and speculation about it's fate have long been discussed by historians. In 1816, !Leodis in Elmete" by Rev. T D Whittaker states "On the lofty ridge f Billing, which yet retains it's British name, was found about the year 1780 a valuable relic of British Antiquity; this was a torque of pure and flexible gold, perfectly plain and consisting of two rods not quite cylindrical but growing thinner towards the extremities and twisted together. It's intrinsic value was £18.00 sterling. It was claimed by the Lord of the Manor"

The then Lord of the Manor was Richard Emmott, but he would not have been entitled to claim the torque, it would have belonged to the Crown as Treasure Trove.

    Philomen Slater in his book "History of the Ancient Parish of Guiseley" published in 1880 believes that it was found at Intake by a hand loom weaver named Joseph Cooper, who, being unaware of either the torques age or monetary value used it as a weight for his loom!

     Later still in 1914 James Palliser wrote in his "History of Rawdon" that the torque was claimed as Treasure Trove for the Crown, the finder would be given a proportionate reward. It was assumed by many that the torque was given to the British Museum, but the Museum has no record of it.

      The final destiny of this fabulous find still remains a mystery.


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