Ahhh well the quest continues….the very helpful people at the UK Finds Database confirmed that my proposed Saxon Harness mount turns out to be a circa 1200 – 1350 Casket Mounting. A very similar example can be seen here:
UKFD post a very good summary of what the object is and what it was used for:
A two-part combined strap-end mount and fastener. It consists of a decorative front plate and a functional back plate, fastened together by two diametrically opposed copper-alloy rivets. The cast front plate has an umbonate centre around which there is a circle of ten holes and ten peripheral knops, the overall effect being that of a stylised flower. The back plate is probably of sheet metal, and is plain except that the profile is shaped to match the front plate, and there is a keyhole-shaped cut-out at the centre.
There has been much discussion about the purpose of these objects, but the present writer’s opinion is that they are casket/chest fasteners. The two examples cited below are of different shape and decoration, but they are constructionally and functionally identical. The second of them was found with a fragment of leather sandwiched between the plates, so there is no doubt that they were attached to leather. The connection with use on a casket/chest is strongly suggested by an object illustrated in the MoL publication, The Medieval Household (Fig.50, No.150). It is a roundel of almost identical design to the front plate of the present mount, but it forms part of a larger casket fitting and is not fitted with a back plate. The two types of object could well be used as en-suite fittings. The keyhole cut-out would be stretched over a fixed stud on the casket to hold the lid closed. The MoL fitting was recovered from ceramic phase 7-9 (c.1200-1350).
Whilst it is disappointing not to get confirmation of my Anglo Saxon forebears in the village, this find does reinforce the gathering evidence for early medieval occupation to the immediate NW and W of the village church, which until I started prodding around was not understood or recorded….upwards and onwards!