HESH-28FFB5: Post Medieval: Coin Hoard from Bitterley

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Unique ID: HESH-28FFB5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Bitterley, Shropshire (2011 T89)

Hoard of Post-Medieval coins and their container

This hoard was found at Bitterley, Shropshire on 17 February 2011 by a metal-detector user. The finder did not remove the hoard from the ground himself, but notified the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) of his discovery.

With the help of the finder and the farmer the hoard was excavated by Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) Peter Reavill and Tom Brindle on 23 February 2011. The vessel containing the coins was brought to the British Museum for excavation by the British Museum's Department of Conservation and Scientific Research.

Report on the Coins

The coins were catalogued by Henry Flynn of the Department of Coins and Medals and checked by Dr Barrie Cook.

The contents, in summary, are as follows and a more detailed catalogue accompanies this report.

Summary list

Edward VI, silver: 1 shilling

Elizabeth I, silver: 46 shillings

James I, gold: 1 Britain crown; silver: 4 half-crowns and 20 shillings

Charles I, Tower mint, silver: 31 half-crowns and 33 shillings

Charles I, provincial mints, silver: 1 half-crown

Charles I, Scottish coinage, silver: 1 30-shillings and 1 12-shillings

In total there are 1 gold and 137 silver coins. The gold was of the crown gold standard, 22 carat fine, and the silver of the traditional sterling standard over 90% fine metal. The face value of the silver coins was £9 6s., including the Scottish coins in English value terms; the single gold coin was originally worth 5s. but was later re-valued to 5s.6d., giving a total for the hoard of £9 11s.6d.

The latest coin is the Bristol half-crown dated 1643, produced between July 1643, when Bristol fell to Prince Rupert for the king, and March 1644. This places this group among the large number of hoards that were deposited in the early years of the English Civil War, never to be recovered until modern times. The range of coins present is entirely consistent with such a date, with the appropriate representation of Tudor and early Stuart material. Apart from the gold coin, there are only two denominations present, the half-crown and shilling, making this a batch of quite highly selected material, without even sixpences, usually the third denomination present in large numbers in mid-17th century coin hoards.

Bitterley, Shropshire (2011 T89)



Edward VI

Third Period (1550-1553)


1. Shilling Y (1549-51) 5.54

Elizabeth I (1558-1603)


2. Shilling Lis (1558-60) 5.07

3-9. Cross crosslet (1560-1) 5.72, 5.67, 5.52, 5.43, 5.31, 5.28,


10-17. Martlet (1560-1) 5.82, 5.75, 5.72, 5.7, 5.48, 5.41,

5.39, 5.31

18-20. Bell (1582/3-83) 6.09, 5.95, 5.91

21-3. A (1583-84/5) 5.85, 5.85, 5.65

24-8. Escallop (1584/5-87) 5.86, 5.85, 5.84, 5.6, 5.51

29-30. Hand (1589/90-91/2) 5.84, 4.57

31-8. Tun (1591/2-94) 5.99, 5.99, 5.97, 5.96, 5.95, 5.92,

5.83, 5.6

39-40. Woolpack (1594-95/6) 5.93, 5.71

41-4. Key (1595/6-97/8) 6.29, 5.92, 5.83, 5.68

45-7. 2 (1602-3) 5.83, 5.74, 5.68

James I (1603-25)

First Coinage (1603-4)


48-9. Shilling Thistle (1603-4) Bust 2 5.92, 5.78

50-2. Lis (1604) Bust 2 5.67, 5.57, 5.54

Second Coinage (1604-19)


53. Britain crown Lis (1604-5) Bust 1 2.54


54-7. Shilling Lis (1604-5) Bust 3 5.93, 5.75, 5.71, 5.25

58-9. Rose (1605-6) Bust 3 5.77, 5.55

60-1. Bust 4 6.01, 5.86

62. Escallop (1606-7) Bust 4 5.86

Third Coinage (1619-25)


63-5. Half-crown Lis (1623-4) 14.75, 14.71, 12.97

66-9. Shilling Lis Bust 6 5.9, 5.82, 5.81, 5.55

70-1. Trefoil (1624) Bust 6 5.82, 5.66

Charles I (1625-49)


72-3. Half-crown Harp (1632-3) N2207 14.9, 14.89

74-8. Portcullis (1633-4) 15.28, 15.01, 14.96, 14.72,


79-80. Bell (1634-5) N2209 14.87, 14.87

81-5. Crown (1635-6) N2209 15.16, 15.09, 14.93, 14.77,


86-89. Tun (1636-8) N2209 15.32, 15.12, 14.89, 14.84

90. Uncertain N2209 14.71

91. Crown N2210 14.96

92-5. Anchor (1638-9) N2211 15.33, 15.29, 15.19, 14.71

96. Triangle (1639-40) N2211 14.77

97-8. Star (1640-1) N2214 14.98, 14.92

99-102. Triangle-in-circle N2214 15.05, 15.02, 14.97, 14.56

103. Shilling Harp (1632-3) N2223 5.99

104-9. Portcullis N2223 5.99, 5.94, 5.93, 5.86, 5.85,


110. Bell N2225 5.88

111-15. Crown N2225 5.98, 5.94, 5.87, 5.87, 5.86

4.99, 4.86

116-21. Tun N2225 6.06, 5.94, 5.88, 5.86, 5.84,


122. Anchor N2228 5.94

123. Tun N2229 6.02

124-25. N2229 6.06, 5.83

126. Triangle N2229 5.74

127-31 Star N2231 6.14, 6.07, 5.97, 5.95, 5.86

132-35. Triangle in circle (1641-3) N2231 6.09, 5.9, 5.86, 5.83

Bristol mint

136. Half-crown Pellet 1643 N2484 15.95


Charles I

First Coinage (1625-34)

137. 30-shillings thistle S5541 14.77

Third Coinage (1637-42)

138. 12-shillings S5563/4 4.98

Report on the ceramic pot and leather vessel, prior to cleaning and conservation (Beverley Nenk and Barbara Wills)

The coins and a leather pouch were found contained within a ceramic vessel, provisionally identified as a Blackware cup or mug. The vessel is a fine-walled red earthenware, covered inside and out with a black or dark brown lead glaze, with a flaring rim, and with four equally-spaced vertical loop handles. Two opposed handles are single loops, the other two opposed handles are double loops. The vessel is missing the top of the rim, although rim sherds may be present in fragments preserved with the assemblage, which would enable a complete profile to be reconstructed. The cup does not appear to be decorated, but his will become clear once it has been cleaned. This type of cup would originally have been intended as a drinking-vessel for use at the table.

Blackwares are a common type of post-medieval English pottery, with a wide distribution, ranging in date from the early 17th century to the 18th century.

Blackwares are known in Staffordshire from deposits dating to the mid-17th century onwards. A deposition date in the 1640s would place it among the earlier examples known from Staffordshire. Further analysis of the form and fabric might identify the source of this example.

Maximum rim diameter of the pot: 88mm.

The pot is lined with a leather bag, which appears to be of good quality and may be fashioned from the skin of a young animal. The leather is extremely fragile and in danger of drying out - at the moment it is in a stabilised condition by being periodically sprayed with water and kept refrigerated.


The coins from Bitterley are of good metal and represent the currency of the early 1640s. They also represent a selection of material, not the range of the currency. Even without the evidence of their container, I would certainly recommend that the find fulfils the criteria of Treasure according to the terms of the Act.

Dr Barrie J. Cook

Curator of Medieval and Early Modern Coinage

Department of Coins and Medals

British Museum

With contributions from:

Henry Flynn

Department of Coins and Medals

Beverley Nenk

Curator of Late Medieval Europe

Department of Prehistory and Europe

Barbara Wills

Conservator of Organic Artefacts

Department of Conservation & Scientific Research


Edward Besly, Assistant Keeper (Numismatics) at National Museum Wales and leading authority on Coin Hoards of the English Civil War:

The hoard ends otherwise very convincingly with Triangle-in-Circle, which ceased production in March 1643. Bristol started up in July, so the hoard's definitely later than that, but the lack of (P), I would argue, makes the hoard unlikely to be as late as 1644. The Bristol coin is one of the earliest from the mint, using Oxford-made dies. So I would guess some time late-summer/autumn-1643 as the likely date for the deposition of the hoard.

Thanks are extended to Mr Besly for his opinion and expertise

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Shropshire County Museums
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T89


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1643
Date to: Circa AD 1644

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 138

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill
Secondary identifier: Dr Barrie Cook

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2011T89

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Bitterley

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Shropshire County Museums
General landuse: Grassland, Heathland
Specific landuse: Disturbed

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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