A town museum in Pocklington to house priceless local iron age and dark age finds has moved a step closer.

The Pocklington District Heritage Trust has been awarded a £40,800 grant from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The money will be used to fund a year-long project entitled ‘Pocklington's Ancient Heritage - Towards a Permanent Museum’.

This will include a ‘travelling museum’ - a roadshow of information, artefacts and illustrations which will tour around the district and to heritage events showcasing archaeological finds from Pocklington and the surrounding area.

The money will also pay for replicas to be made of some of the most notable finds – including the Iron Age ‘Pocklington Shield’ which was unearthed by archaeologists on The Mile in 2019.

York Press: The Pocklington ShieldThe Pocklington Shield (Image: Supplied)

The shield was part of an impressive ‘warrior grave’ discovery: it was found found lying face down in the cart of an upright chariot. The skeleton of what is thought to have been the shield's owner was laid out on top of it.

The shield has been described by Iron Age expert Professor Melanie Giles as ‘The most important Celtic art object of the millennium’.

A full replica of the shield will be made – and it will mean that for the first time visitors will be able to see it as it was originally.

All that survives now is the magnificent bronze boss which formed the centre of the shield: the wooden shield frame itself has long decayed.


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Among other items to feature in the ‘travelling museum’ will be a sword, dozens of brooches and other jewellery and hundreds of glass beads, most dating from between the Iron Age and the coming of the Normans.

All were discovered by archaeologists in and around the Pocklington district – many of them during a dig at Burnby Lane from 2014-2016.

They are currently held in Malton. But Phil Gilbank of the Pocklington District Heritage Trust said ultimately the aim as to create a permanent museum in Pocklington where they could be housed.

It is likely to be at Burnby Hall, which is to be taken over by Pocklington Town Council from East Riding Council for a peppercorn 125-year lease from September.

Sue Lang, vice chair of the Pocklington District Heritage Trust who steered through the trust's Shared Prosperity Fund grant application, said the town council planned to turn the hall into a community and enterprise hub, but that ‘renting the trust museum space is at the heart of the vision for the building’.

York Press: Burnby Hall, which is likely to become the permanent home of a Pocklington museumBurnby Hall, which is likely to become the permanent home of a Pocklington museum (Image: Newsquest)

She said in the meantime she was delighted to have secured the £40k of UK Shared Prosperity Funding to support the creation of a travelling museum.

“The substantial award will not only enable us to have a stand-alone display system that we can use in a range of local venues, but will also be vital in testing out how best to fit out a permanent Pocklington museum," she said.

She said the travelling museum would use ‘cutting edge digital visualisations’ as well as real objects to inspire community learning.

“We have been able to line up leading exhibition designers and replica makers to help us deliver the project; and we are very excited about their ideas and how these will be developed by involving local people and our wider audiences,” she said.

The bronze replica of the Pocklington Shield will be made by Cheltenham-based craftsman, Roland Williamson, who fabricates authentic replicas using traditional materials.