NCL-B02245: Post-Medieval coin hoard

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Unique ID: NCL-B02245

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A hoard of 17 coins, 10 of which are gold and 7 of which are silver, of various denominations, issue, and date. Details are in the attached catalogue.

The vessel is a Bartmann jug of the Frechen ceramic industry (Rhineland, Germany), of a form dating to 1551-1700. The vessel is 134mm in height and bears the distinctive mottled brown glaze of the kilns of Frechen. Notably, the jug bears evidence for a missing oval boss fixed to the body opposite the handle.

The hoard was probably deposited soon after 1562, based on the date of the latest coin and the degree of wear visible. This date also agrees with the date range of the jug that the coins were placed in. A second hoard of 50 silver coins (the latest an issue of Elizabeth I from 1562) was found in another Bartmann jug on the same property in 1962, probably very close to the discovery of this hoard. The 1962 hoard was discovered when a drain pipe was inserted, and it is now in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. The current hoard was discovered just beneath the drain pipe.

Most of the coins correspond to what we know of the mid 16th century English currency in the aftermath of the Great Debasement. Good silver of Mary I and Elizabeth I was joined by older coins, mostly gold, brought back into use. All the silver and most of the gold coins in the find will be over 90% fine metal; the three gold coins of Henry VIII and Edward VI are from the Debasement period, but are still over 80% fine. The mid-Tudor period also saw extensive, authorised use of foreign gold coins, although this policy was terminated by Elizabeth I in the early 1560s and their use prohibited. The presence of a silver thaler of Saxony is an unusual feature of the group for England. Nevertheless, it fits in date with the other contents of the find. The value of the coins at the time would have been around £6, a substantial sum when a working man might earn £10 a year and a gentleman could live on £40 a year.

The precious metal content, date and circumstances of the find would appear to qualify it as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996.

Initial listing: Dr Rob Collins
17 January 2012
Revised report: Dr Barrie Cook, Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum
7 July 2012

Henry VI (1422-60)
1. Silver groat, Pinecone Mascle issue (late 1420s-early 1430s), Calais mint, wt: 3.8g
Henry VII (1485-1509)
2. Gold angel, new type, initial mark anchor (1490-1504), London mint, wt: 5.09g
3. Gold angel, new type, initial mark pheon (1490-1504), London mint, wt: 5.2g
Henry VIII (1509-47)
4. Silver groat, Second Coinage, initial mark lis (1) (1529-32), London mint, wt: 2.69g
5. Gold half-sovereign, Third Coinage (1544-7), initial mark S, Southwark mint, wt: 6.25g
6. Gold crown, Third Coinage (1544-7), initial mark S, Southwark mint, wt: 3.18g
Edward VI (1547-53)
7. Gold half-sovereign, coinage in name of Henry VIII (1547-51), initial mark arrow (1547-9), Tower mint, wt: 6.42g
Mary I (1553-8)
8. Silver groat, Mary alone (1553-1554), initial mark pomegranate, London mint, wt: 1.89g
Elizabeth I (1551603)
9. Silver groat, initial mark martlet (1560-1561), London mint, wt: 2.07g
10. Silver sixpence, initial mark pheon (1561-5), dated 1561, London mint, wt: 3.0g
11. Silver sixpence, milled coinage, initial mark star, dated 1562, London mint, wt: 2.82g

Francis I (1515-1547)
12. Gold écu au soleil, 4th type, mint of Tours, 1519-, wt: 3.29g
13. Gold écu au soleil, 6th type, mint of Bayonne, 1535-40, wt: 3.41g

Papal States
Clement VII (1523-34)
14. Gold scudo, mint of Ancona, wt: 2.84g

Burgundian Netherlands
Emperor Charles V (1506-55)
15. Gold Burgundian crown (couronne au soleil), 1544, mint of Antwerp, duchy of Brabant, wt: 3.39g
16. Gold Burgundian crown (couronne au soleil), 1544, mint of Antwerp, duchy of Brabant, wt: 3.38g

Electorate of Saxony
Maurice (Duke from 1541; elector 1547-53)
17. Silver Thaler, 1548, minted in Annaberg, wt: 28.48g


To be known as the Mason Hoard.

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T19


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Early
Date from: Circa AD 1562

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 18

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 1st June 2003 - Monday 26th December 2011

Personal details

This information is restricted for your access level.

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2012T19

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Holy Island (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: NU1241
Four figure Latitude: 55.66237
Four figure longitude: -1.81082
1:25K map: NU1241
1:10K map: NU14SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Building work
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: In use as a building

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NCL
Created: 10 years ago
Updated: 8 years ago

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