Trefoil brooch (LCNCC : 2011.99)

A copper alloy trefoil brooch found in Sloothby, Lincolnshire

A trefoil brooch with Borre/Jellinge-style cast ornament belonging to Peterson’s type 109. The brooch is most probably cast of copper alloy with traces of gilding on its upper surface and white metal plating on the reverse. Trefoil brooches were characteristically Scandinavian women’s wear. However, many examples found in the East Midlands were probably made in the Danelaw, and may have been copies of Scandinavian styles, instead of being imported from Scandinavia.

Scandinavian brooches came in a variety of sizes and shapes which included disc, trefoil, lozenge, equal-armed, and oval shapes. The different brooch types served a variety of functions in Scandinavian female dress with oval brooches typically being used as shoulder clasps for apron-type dresses and the rest being used to secure an outer garment to an inner shift. Anglo-Saxon brooches do not match this diversity of form with large disc brooches being typical of ninth century dress styles with smaller ones becoming more popular in the later ninth and tenth centuries. However, since disc brooches were used by both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian women they are distinguished by their morphology. Scandinavian brooches were typically domed with a hollow back while Anglo-Saxon brooches were usually flat. Moreover, Anglo-Saxon brooches were worn singly without accompanying accessories.

Object Type



circa 800 — 900


Ascribed Culture





Viking Objects

Current Location

The Collection, Lincoln, Lincolnshire


Borre, brooch, copper_alloy, Danelaw Saga, Jellinge, jewellery, Lincolnshire, Scandinavian, Sloothby, The_Collection, women

Further information

You can see the original at The Collection, Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

This object is related to Sloothby, Lincolnshire.
Find out about Sloothby, Lincolnshire.


(c) Lincolnshire County Council


The Collection, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

Kershaw, Jane F. Viking identities: Scandinavian jewellery in England. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 20-25.