British Numismatic Society

Promoting the study of coins, medals, tokens and banknotes

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ABOUT THE PROJECT

 
  THIS IS A PRELIMINARY DRAFT - IN THE PROCESS OF BEING WRITTEN   
 

 

Coin hoards are of paramount importance for work on coinage in the British Isles and Ireland during the Middle Ages. The British Numismatic Society has had a leading role in the publication of hoards since its foundation more than a century ago, and there is great potential in extending this role with the development of this new online resource. Murray Andrews, writing in 2019[1], noted that “….previous reviews of medieval coin hoard evidence by Thompson (1956) and Allen (2002; 2015a) are brief and of limited scope, the former being primarily concerned with the relationship between coin hoards and documented political events, and the latter with specific aspects of their numismatic contents and spatial distributions. Without a basic knowledge of the pattern of coin hoards, we cannot hope to achieve a rounded understanding of hoarding as a socio-economic phenomenon, and without this, it is difficult to see how anything but the most banal historical conclusions can be drawn from hoard evidence”.

This website presents a comprehensive hoard data set which can be interrogated in both time and space to reveal distribution patterns. The mapping module allows the location of hoards of varying deposition dates to be seen, and thus contributes to a better understanding of the distribution of known hoards.  Included are hoards deposited up to the beginning of the silver debasement of 1544; thus hoards ending in the 1st or 2nd coinage of Henry VIII are included, and those hoards ending in his 3rd coinage are excluded.

Not only are the coins summarised for each hoard but we also note any other items included in the hoard, as well as any evidence of a container,  the use of which may indicate that the hoard was intended for later recovery.  Hoards without coins are excluded, as are hoards of unknown location. To be included, a hoard only needs a minimum of two coins which are believed to have been deposited or lost together at the same time. Thus the database contains a spectrum of hoard types ranging from say just two coins dropped by a labourer working in the fields, to a lead casket containing thousands of coins and deliberately secreted into the wall of a mediveal building.

It has not been the intent that full hoard descriptions are given, but rather that summary comments are accompanied by relevant references for each hoard, such that the researcher can pursue hoards of interest. References for each hoard include not only printed journal articles and relevant books, but also selected relevant online resources.  Hyperlinks are provided whenever possible. Comprehensive search fuctionality allows the user to filter in on particular hoard types of interest.

The vast majority of known hoards from the period of interest have already been entered into the database; a few which had not been uploaded at the time this website went live are now in the process of being added.  Furthermore, new hoards are being frequently found, and these will be added as soon as sufficient information becomes available. Progress in adding further hoards or software changes will be noted in the NEWS section. 

In a project such as this there are bound to be errors and omissions - please do contact the webmaster (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have a suggested change or addition.  

Hoard locations – where the location of a hoard has already been published in the public domain, then that location has been repeated here. For many hoards it has only been possible to give approximate locations, and for these an estimate is provided as to how accurate the location is.  For some hoards it has been considered necessary to disguise the true location in order to protect the site from illegal metal detecting.   Where a hoard's location is only vaguely known it has been included in this compilation if the county is known, however where a hoard's location is unknown to county level it has generally been omitted, as for example the 1993 Baldwin parcel.

Hoard deposition dates - the data inputter has used their judgement when published data are at variance in their interpretation of hoard deposition dates. Where users have alternate views based on their relevant detailed knowledge they are invited to contact us with their reasoning and we will usually be happy to update the hoard record accordingly. 

Acknowledgement : The summary comments and other data for each hoard have been gathered from the references quoted, and so acknowledgment is made to  the many numismatists, historians and others who have in the past contributed to the written hoard record.

 

[1] Andrews, M, 2019, “Coin Hoarding in Medieval England and Wales, c.973-1544: Behaviours, motivations, and mentalités”, BAR Publishing - British Archaeological Reports (Oxford) Ltd.