Details of the Fishpool hoard taken from the AMDC newsletter number 2, Summer, 2000.
On the 22nd., of March, 1966 the largest hoard of medieval gold coins to be found in England was unearthed by builders at Fishpool. The hoard included several hitherto unknown coins of Edward IV and some high quality jewellery. The jewellery comprised of a heart shaped blue and white enamelled brooch (the colours of the House of Lancaster), an amethyst pendant, a sapphire roundel, a quantity of gold chain, a gold padlock (which is the only known example of its kind) and four finger rings.
The coins, 1,237 in all, were all gold. The English coins were nobles, half-nobles and quarter nobles of Edward 111 (27), Richard 11 (12), Henry IV (38), Henry V (266), Henry VI (606) and Edward IV (63 all in mint condition). There were also 33 Anglo- Gallic salutes of Henry VI, one demi and 12 lions of James 11 of Scotland (1436-60), 11 ecus of Charles VI 1 of France (1422-61) and 166 coins of the Duke of Burgundy, mainly riders of Philip the Good (1419-67), also two forgeries of Henry VI English nobles with cracks in the gold outer plating exposing the base core.
On the 15th.-16th. of December, 1966, at Mansfield, the Nottingham District Coroner Mr. C.A.Mack held an inquest into the Fishpool gold hoard and the jury returned a finding of 'Treasure Trove'. Mr. Mack also ordered that the papers concerning the inquest be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions with a view to possible proceedings to be taken against four of the five men who had found the hoard. He also advised the British Museum not to consider them, for one moment, entitled to receive one penny reward for their find. However the fifth man, Bernard Beeton received £1,485 and had 85 coins returned to him, and a ‘lucky little boy', Master D. Welham who had wandered on to the site received the four of the coins he had picked up.
Marion Archibald, assistant keeper of coins at the British Museum, said that she believed the hoard was deposited in the ground in early 1465. Other opinions give the date as between early 1464 and early 1465. Either just before or just after the battle of Hexham 15th. of May 1464 when the Lancastrians were defeated by the Yorkists (Wars of the Roses).
When it was interred the hoard would have been worth £400. Miss., Archibald said in her opinion that the gold had been hidden with the intention of retrieval, it had been hidden in some sort of a container as indicated by the coins being stacked in neat piles when found.
In the final event the four men received ex-gratis awards of £5,228, £4,172. 10s., £2,501. 10s. and £244 - substantially less than the value of their finds. The jewellery and the bulk of the coins were retained by the British Museum.
THE ELUSIVE MR. THOMPSON
Fifty four of the coins were recovered from a firm of antique dealers who had paid £23,610 for them from a man giving the name Hewlitt Cosgrove Thompson, from Northampton, who told them that the coins were from his grand-fathers collection. Mr. Thompson was never traced. Two coins were recovered from a London dealer and one coin was brought back from Denver U.S.A. having been recovered from the brother of one of the workmen on the building site where the hoard was found. It makes one wonder how much more of the hoard went missing, and what its full content was. JMBG
JEWELLERY FROM THE FISHPOOL HOARD
Copyright Trustees of the British Museum
It's better out of the ground and in your hand for the history or monetary value, rather than left in the ground to rot doing no good for anyone.