Bryan Faussett, F.S.A. (1720-1776) of Heppington House, Nackington, near Canterbury, was a vicar, antiquary, genealogist and revolutionary archaeologist.
In a decade of excavating some 700 Anglo-Saxon barrows around east Kent, using methods of excavation and recording two hundred years ahead of his time, he accumulated what would be at the time of his death the world’s most stupendous collection of seventh-century jewellery and artefacts, crowned by the magnificent Kingston brooch.
He also researched and wrote up his many years of work into Kentish pedigrees, and also of monumental inscriptions in about 150 churches around the Diocese of Canterbury.
His life is the model of a Georgian antiquary and scholar, enormously enhanced and coloured by his personal correspondence and household accounts which he maintained throughout his married life.
Dr. Wright's lecture, on Bryan Faussett and his excavations in Kent, opened a window to a hitherto unknown 18th archaeologist and his equally unknown Anglo-Saxon finds of extraordinary quality. It appears that an excursion to Liverpool to view these artefacts would be well advised. Our members were delighted to learn about this almost-local pioneering antiquary, and Dr. Wright is to be applauded in bringing Bryan Faussett to the attention of a wider audience. - Crayford Manor House Historical Society
One Year On - 2017
The book has been published for over a year now and sales have been gratifying for what is a semi-specialised volume relating, as I have put it, an academic story with a very human element to it. Many people have been interested in Faussett's local connections all around east Kent, and the large numbers of his ancestors and descendants scattered around this county and further afield. The scholarly world of academic archaeology now has a fully referenced biography to an eighteenth-century pioneer.
The Faussett Collection - What Next?
After just over a year since publication of my biography, the world (we hope!) is a little better informed about Bryan Faussett and his extraordinary archaeological legacy. The major unpalatable fact about his tremendous collection is that it still resides in its entirety at the Liverpool World Museum by the terms of the bequest of the philanthropist Joseph Mayer who saved the Faussett material intact for the nation. There have been several small exhibitions of selected objects over the decades in Kent, as well as for the Society of Antiquaries' tercentenary exhibition at Burlington House in 2007, but the time is probably now right for something more substantial, given that Kent is the principal ancient Anglo-Saxon English county and the one in which many of the great finds have been made. Tentative discussion has already taken place with the Beaney Museum in Canterbury about the possibility of a major Anglo-Saxon exhibition, based at least partly on the Faussett collection, although of course there are many other famous pieces from both Kent and elsewhere. It is hoped that the Kent Archaeological Society may also play a major part in this venture, perhaps to be realised in two or three years' time.