• June 26, 2011


Two hoards of treasure that were discovered in Wales in 1899 and 1954 have been returned to the town near where it was found, to be exhibited for the first time.

On 26th May 1899 a hoard of Roman and late Celtic treasure was accidentally found on Gwastedyn Hill near the Rhayader area of Powys by a local man from Cwmdeuddwr called James Marston. Over fifty years later in 1954 a local 17 year old farm hand called John Smith found what he thought were brass bed springs as he ploughed a field, but later discovered they were extremely rare Bronze Agegold torcs.

Both discoveries are being returned to Rhayader to be exhibited together at CARAD Rhayader Museum and Gallery for the first time. The cost of the exhibition has been met by a grant from Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan – the sharing treasures scheme, which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and administered by CyMAL and the museum has said that the development of the
exhibition has been a community effort. John Smith and relatives of James Marston have been invited to the exhibition, which runs from Saturday June 4th to Sunday September 4th 2011 to give their accounts of the stories of the treasure.

Even though the 1954 discovery is now held at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, the earlier find is still housed in the British Museum in London, where James Marston’s grand-daughter says “It was whipped away with undue haste” in
1899. In a letter to the Welsh Culture Secretary below, the general secretary of the League asks if he is prepared to call on the British Museum for the permanent return of the Rhayader treasure to Wales after the exhibition.

“Huw Lewis AM
Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage



Dear Huw Lewis AM
Return of Rhayader Treasure As you are probably aware the CARAD Rhayader Museum and Gallery in Rhayader is
currently exhibiting for the first time two discoveries of treasure that were found in the area in 1899 and 1954 by local people.

The treasure found in 1954 that comprised of four Bronze-Age torcs is currently housed at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, but the earlier find of a ring, bracelet and necklet, is kept at the British Museum in London following its discovery in 1899. We are aware that it was possible to exhibit the treasure at Rhayader only as a consequence of a grant provided by Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan and funded by the Welsh Government, but we would like to know if you are prepared to ask the British Museum if they would consider returning the Rhayader Treasure to Wales on a permanent basis.

In the past discovered treasure that has clearly been of a national significance to Wales has been sent to museums and galleries in England for permanent exhibition. The Celtic League believes that treasures such the Rhyader Treasure should be returned to Wales and that the Welsh Assembly Government should be campaigning for its repatriation as the Scottish Government has been doing in
recent years with the Lewis Chessmen. I would therefore also like to ask if the return of cultural and historical artefacts to Wales from Museums and galleries in England is part of your new Government’s agenda and if not why is this not being considered.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League”

News item compiled by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot for Celtic News.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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