The Alfred Jewel

Wednesday 4th February 2015

Alfred Jewel

The Alfred Jewel is back in Somerset after 297 years, but only for a month!

It’s on display at the Museum of Somerset, and there are various events associated with the exhibition


“The Alfred Jewel is an Anglo-Saxon artefact made of enamel and quartz enclosed in gold that was discovered near North Petherton in 1693, and is now one of the most popular exhibits at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It has been dated from the late 9th century. It was made in the reign of Alfred the Great and is inscribed “AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN”, meaning ‘Alfred ordered me made’. The jewel was once attached to a rod, probably of wood, at its base. After decades of scholarly discussion, it is now “generally accepted” that the jewel’s function was to be the handle for a pointer stick for following words when reading a book. It is an exceptional and unusual example of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.”