Martin Schøyen donates 125 artefacts to Oslo Cathedral School


All together 125 items of outstanding significance to Irish and Norwegian Viking history have been donated by Martin Schøyen to the Oslo Cathedral School library, the oldest library in Norway.

The donation comprises Viking swords, spears, lances, arrows, axes, sickles, a shield boss and equestrian equipment, as well as household items including a frying pan. The iron frying pan is the only other example of a flat, rotating frying pan other than the one found in the hoard of the famous Oseberg Viking ship.

Highlights of the donation are 6th-9th century Irish bronze gilt artefacts, wrenched-off book covers and boxes, and saints’ shrines at the high altars of Irish monasteries obtained during Viking raids. These items were to be given to Viking women home in Norway and subsequently used as jewellery with iron pins attached. Among these are the book bosses MS 5579/1-4.

The bulk of the donated items were found in 1885 to 1902 in three great hoards in Norway, the most famous of these Vang in Trøndelag, the burial ground for 40 Viking farms and seats of local Viking kings. Three further items were found in Sweden, and a sword and gold ring were found in England, acquired at Sotheby’s in 1987 and 1988 respectively.

Martin Schoyen said: "I am very pleased that these 125 items that are significant to Irish and Norwedian history are now on permanent exhibit. It also is fitting that they are now housed in a school library founded by Pope Adrian IV, who was English and the only pontiff from the British Isles."


Note to Editors:

The Schøyen Collection crosses borders and unites cultures, religions and unique materials found nowhere else. The Collection, based in London and Oslo, contains over 20,000 significant manuscripts of major cultural importance and is an important part of the world’s heritage.

There is no public collection that has the Schøyen Collection’s unique array of manuscripts from all the greatest manuscript hoards, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Cairo Genizah of Hebrew MSS, The Oxyrhynchus hoard of classical papyri, The Dishna Biblical papyri, The Nag Hammadi Gnostic papyri, the Dunhuang hoard of Buddhist MSS, and many others. Nor is there one with such a variety, geographically, linguistically and textually, and of scripts and writing materials, covering so a great span of time — 5,000 years of history.