A ROYAL visitor unveiled a new exhibition which has been created around religious relics gifted to a north museum.

Last year, representatives from Jarrow Hall travelled to Abbadia San Salvatore, in Italy, to twin its Museum of the Abbey with the South Tyneside museum which celebrates the life of the venerable Bede.

A gift of a reliquary containing religious relics is the focus of Jarrow Hall's new exhibition, which was opened by The Duke of Gloucester.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick, presented a 13th century amber seal from the Bede Museum collection to the Abbadia for display as a symbol of the two towns’ shared heritage.

Cllr Dick said: “While the two communities of Jarrow and Abbadia are separated by distance, we are joined by a shared, rich history and a sense of pride in the accomplishments of our towns and their people.

“It was my absolute pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness to officially open this exhibition and formally seal the twinning of Jarrow and Abbadia, consolidating our friendship across the miles.”

The Duke was taken on a tour of Jarrow Hall and shown a display of the replica Codex Amiatinus; the earliest surviving complete manuscript of the Christian Bible which was produced at the Wearmouth–Jarrow monastery around 700 AD before being taken to Italy as a gift for Pope Gregory II in 716.

One of only two full-sized facsimiles in the world, the other replica is displayed at the Museum of the Abbey in Abbadia San Salvatore. This stunning book is now on display at Jarrow Hall in a new world-class exhibition case donated by the British Library, transported to the museum with the support of the Friends of the World of Bede.

The Mayor of San Salvatore, Fabrizio Tondi, who was also in attendance, said: “It was beautiful to see the Codex which is the foundation of our culture and brings our two communities closer together.

“With a shared culture and heritage, our two towns have much in common. This gift of a seal strengthens still further the connections between our two towns.”

Andrew Watts, CEO Groundwork South and North Tyneside, said: “It was an honour to welcome The Duke of Gloucester and representatives from San Salvatore to Jarrow Hall to formally open the new twinning exhibition, meet our volunteers, partners and stakeholders who have supported us over the past three years, to enable us to further demonstrate the co-operative work between Groundwork and the Council, and provide an overview of our 15 year master plan for Jarrow Hall.”

The Northern Echo:

His Royal Highness also planted a European elm tree in Jubilee Wood, Jarrow.

The tree was dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project, which aims to raise awareness within the Commonwealth of the value of indigenous forests and save them for future generations.