AN appeal to ensure a medieval relic goes on display in the area where it was discovered has reached a milestone.

The Richmondshire Museum, in Richmond, North Yorkshire, has raised £1,000 of the £3,800 it needs to buy a 14th Century silver seal matrix, which was discovered two years ago by treasure hunters in nearby Bromptonon- Swale.

Committee members at the museum say the remaining funding needed to buy the artefect from the British Museum, in London, will be met by a series of grants.

It is expected that the tiny oval medallion, which shows the murder, in 1170, of St Thomas Becket, in Canterbury Cathedral, will go on display in Richmond next year.

The silver seal, which bears a Latin inscription and the figures of three knights, was designed to be worn around the neck, and would have been used to form a wax seal to authenticate documents.

It dates from the early 1300s, when a chantry dedicated to Becket was founded in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, in Richmond Market Place.

Angus Goodfellow, a committee member at the museum, said: “Our appeal for funds to buy the Brompton seal matrix has been successful.

“We were asked by the British Museum if we wished to buy it for £3,800, so saving it for Richmond.

“An appeal was launched to raise £1,000, with the rest to be found from grants.

“Our target has been reached, with the necessary grants to come from the Art Fund and the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London.

“We close for the winter at the end of this month.

“The seal will be put on display when the museum reopens, next year.

“Seal matrices showing Becket’s killing are rare and it is possible this matrix was associated with the chantry in Richmond, so it is of great local importance.”

Mr Goodfellow said the medallion would be subject to tight security when it goes on display, in the museum’s medieval history gallery.

It was found by metal detecting enthusiast Carl Richardson, of Coxhoe, County Durham, in October 2006.

An ownership dispute ensued, involving Mr Richardson, fellow treasure seeker Richard Hunter, from Peterlee, east Durham, and landowner John Wray, which will be resolved by the British Museum.

Those deemed to have a genuine interest in the item will share the proceeds of its sale.

At an inquest, in Harrogate, in January, coroner Geoff Fell classified the seal matrix as treasure.

■ The Richmondshire Museum’s winter lecture season begins on Thursday, October 30, at 7.30pm, in Richmond town hall.

Curator Gordon Alexander will give a talk, entitled Gilling, Easby and Skeeby and a Sicilian martyr?

Admission costs £2, including refreshments.