An old Viking sword dating back to as early as the year 850 found by an Oxfordshire magnet fisherman has been authenticated this week.

Trevor Penny stumbled upon the sword last November near Enslow, pulling it from the River Cherwell.

Upon discovery, he reached out to friends and contacts to procure more information on the object.

Mr Penny said: “I wasn’t entirely sure what it was at first. Others confirmed it was certainly very old. Once I got home I immediately contacted the liaison officer.

“I subsequently took it to them in Standlake, and it was provisionally dated. It’s currently still in Witney. It really did feel quite amazing – it’s the oldest thing found in this county magnet fishing.

"The officer said it was archeologically rare to find whole swords and treasure of historical importance still intact. It was a proud moment to find it.”

The sword has since been authenticated as Viking and dated back to between 850 and 975 AD.

Mr Penny confirmed that it will be retained by Oxford museum services and will either stay in Witney or be put on display in a museum.

Oxford Mail: It remains in Witney for the present time

He added: “There was a little dispute with the landowner and the rivers trust who don’t permit magnet fishing. The latter sent a legal document saying they wouldn’t take action on the condition the sword was passed to a museum, which I had done.”

Mr Penny is a member of Thame Magnet Fishing group, who always welcome people to join them.