Buried Treasure of
- Before the discovery of the ship
burial at Sutton Hoo, the most spectacular
Saxon burial found in
Britain was from Taplow in Buckinghamshire. It is near Maidenhead.
- In the old churchyard in Taplow
was a very large mound. It was commonly called 'Tappa's Tump'.
A yew tree grew on the top.
- In 1883, some local people
decided to tunnel into the mound to look for 'antiquities' (artefacts
or finds). There were no archaeologists in those days, only
collectors of old objects called 'antiquaries'.
- In the mound, they found a very
rich grave, probably of a king.
- The King had died in the 7th
century and was buried on a feather mattress in a wooden room,
built under the mound.
- His body lay facing the east,
like a Christian grave.
- He wore a tunic decorated with
gold and a massive gold and garnet (red gemstone) buckle. He
also had a sword.
- The King had lots of items with
him to take to the afterlife:
- Gold decorated drinking
horns, cups and green glasses,
(click for pictures) for feasting in his great hall.
- Big cooking pots and storage
- Several weapons.
- A lyre (like a harp) for his
minstrel to play.
- A board-game to play in his spare-time.
- An expensive bowl and stand
imported from Byzantium (Greece).
- The antiquaries did not record
their finds properly. So we don't know much about how the King's
burial was laid out.
- The yew tree collapsed into the
mound and destroyed it! So it cannot be looked at again.
- Taplow is named after the mound.
It means 'Tappa's Mound'. Tappa may have been the name of the
King, or he may just have been someone who later owned the
mound and the land around it.
- Tappa may have ruled a lost
kingdom called 'Norrey' (meaning North Kingdom). This would
have covered Buckinghamshire and possibly Middlesex. It had a
sister-kingdom across the River Thames called 'Surrey'
(meaning South Kingdom). Or he may have ruled Sunningum