The Newport History Society have recently opened a new heritage centre in the heart of historic town of Newport, Shropshire. It is located next to the Medieval Guildhall at 3a The High Street.
To celebrate the opening of this new centre I will be running a finds identification session on Saturday (10/12/11) between 11am – 1pm at the Heritage Centre. If you have found an artefact, pottery, flint, or coins that you would like to know more about please come and see me. Those more than 300 years old I would like to borrow for a short time and record.
The heritage centre houses some of the society’s collections of archaeology and local history as well as many recent finds made by people from Newport. These include a small early Roman base metal coin hoard from Sherrifhales found by Terry Hayward of the Shropshire Search Society
There will also be chance to see more recent discoveries from the Newport area. One of the most interesting recent finds (recorded by the PAS) is that of a silver half penny of Richard III struck between 1483 and 1485. This was found by Tony Baker whilst metal detecting in the Newport Area. Coins of Richard III are relatively rare, especially these half penny issues, but this is not why this coin is an exciting find. What really interests me is that it links us to other events locally at the time. Towards the end of the War of the Roses Newport supported Henry Tudor against Richard III. Supporters of Henry Tudor mustered troops near Newport, at a site now known as Muster Hill, before joining the massed armies marching towards the battle we know as ‘Bosworth Field’. The coin itself is pierced by a hole probably to allow it to be sown onto (or into) an item of clothing. The reasons for this are many; it may have been as a token of allegiance, a little like a badge. The fact that it is a coin that was readily available and not too expensive could suggest this; however due to the small size it is not that visible and spotting it is Richard III rather than Henry VI for example takes good eyesight. It may more likely have been pierced to conceal it or keep it safe in case of emergency. Low denomination pierced coins are most common from the English Civil wars of the mid 17th century. We can’t say whether this coin was owned or used by those who went to fight at Bosworth Field, but it acts as a reminder to a blood thirsty period in our history and the links that a small Shropshire market town has to these nation defining events.
I hope that this will be the first of many visits and finds days to Newport.
For more information about Newport History Society see:
Finally, a good website that explains the key events of the War of the Roses can be seen here: