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The Fishpool hoard

  • Jewellery

    Jewellery

 

CM 1968.4-12.1-1135

Room 40: Medieval Europe

    The Fishpool hoard

    Deposited about AD 1463-64
    Found at Fishpool, Nottinghamshire, England

    The biggest find of gold coins ever made in Britain

    On 22 March 1966 an unusual hoard was discovered on a building site at the village of Fishpool. It comprises 1,237 coins, four rings, four pieces of jewellery and two lengths of chain. It was probably deposited some time between winter 1463 and summer 1464, during a rebellion against the Yorkist king Edward IV (reigned 1460-83) on behalf of the Lancastrian Henry VI, in the first decade of the Wars of the Roses (1455-85).

    Most of the coins in the hoard were English nobles, half-nobles and quarter-nobles, ranging in date from the reign of Edward III (1327-77) to the latest coins in the group: 63 coins of Edward IV, of a type issued between 1460 and August 1464. The hoard also included 223 foreign coins: issues of James II of Scotland (1436-60), Charles VII of France (1422-61) and Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy (1419-67), who dominated the Netherlands. Margaret of Anjou was raising money in these areas on behalf of her husband Henry VI in 1461-63.

    The face value of the hoard when deposited was about £400, equivalent to around £300,000 today. Medieval coin hoards generally consist of much smaller sums, since the rich and powerful never needed to resort to hiding their treasure in the ground. Thus, the Fishpool hoard must have been deposited in a very unusual, emergency situation, in the circumstances of the failed revolt of 1464. It may have formed part of the Lancastrian royal treasury, entrusted to someone fleeing south after the Battle of Hexham (15 May 1464) and concealed by him deep inside Sherwood Forest.

    From the collection of the British Museum

    M.M. Archibald, 'The Fishpool, Blidworth (Notts.), 1966 hoard', Numismatic Chronicle-11, 7th series, 7 (1967), pp. 133-145

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