Wirral type Roman brooch

Photo: Birmingham Museums Trust CC By SA2.0
Object type: Aestel
Period: Anglo-Saxon
Primary material: Bronze
Date found: 25/09/2023
Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire


About half of a copper alloy brooch of the Wirral type dating to c. AD 75-200. A variant of the Roman bow brooch, they are mainly found on the Wirral peninsular and are thought to have been manufactured there. Thanks to the large number of Roman brooches found by detectorists it has been possible to categorise the various types in some detail. British brooches differ to Continental ones and within Britain there are regional variations.

Wirral Brooch

Due to its distinctive style and limited distribution, the Wirral brooch can be considered to be a regional brooch type. Its key characteristics include a head loop, a stepper head and a rectangular panel with three strips infilled with enamel of alternate colours; no enamel remains in the cells of this example. Another key characteristic, which this example has, is a stud boss at the waist.

Distribution of finds

They are not normally found with a military setting and it is suggested that they were produced for the local rural population. Most are found as stray finds in the Wirral area and south-east to about Stoke. This find site in Tamworth is therefore unusually far from the Wirral. It has been designated a Find of Note of County Importance.