CEREMONIAL weapons from a Bronze Age settlement in the Lake District are returning to Ambleside.

The treasure, thought to be around 5,000-years-old, will be loaned to the town’s Armitt Museum from the Royal Collection, where it has been exhibited in London’s British Museum.

The weapons – a sword, sword blade, dagger and spear head – were found two feet down in a peat bog in the Ambleside area in 1741.

The discovery was recorded at the time, and the items sketched by a man called Peregrine Bertie, whose nephew found them. Bertie’s account was published in a journal, the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society, and then the hoard disappeared.

More than 200 years later, the pieces were identified by historian Stuart Needham, who found photographs of them in the Department of Prehistoric and Romano-British Antiquities, and compared them with Bertie’s sketch.

Needham’s research then proved that the hoard had been kept as part of the Royal Collection at Carlton House, and subsequently on display at Windsor Castle. With the Queen’s permission, the weapons were transferred to the British Museum in 1977 where they have been displayed prominently in the Bronze Age exhibition.

Deborah Walsh, Armitt Museum curator, said: “The mystery of how they came in to the Royal Collection is part of the excitement of this find.

“There is evidence that the weapons were around the town for a while after they were found, people trying them out to see how sharp they were, but then there are no further records.

“It should be possible to find the site [where they were found], by working out where people were cutting peat at that time in the 18th Century.”

The weapons are thought to be ceremonial and were probably buried in standing water as an offering to the gods, as was the custom.

The treasure trove will arrive in time for the museum’s centenary celebrations next March.