Race is on to keep historic Lindisfarne coins hoard in the North East

A plea for public help to raise £7,000 has gone out in order to help buy treasure found in the foundations of a house on Lindisfarne

Part of the Lindisfarne coin hoard and the jug in which it was found
Part of the Lindisfarne coin horad and the jug in which it was found

The race is on to keep a coin hoard, which was discovered in one of the North East’s most historic locations, in the region.

The gold and silver coins, ranging in date from the 1420s to 1562, were in a jug found by a builder as he worked on the foundations of a building on Lindisfarne in Northumberland.

The hoard has been valued at £30,900 by a committee of experts in London and has been declared as treasure.

This has given the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (SANT) the chance to buy the coins, with applications being made to various national funding bodies.

But a grants condition is that a proportion of the price must be raised locally.

With the coins currently held in the British Museum, the North East public has just six weeks to find the £7,000 needed.

“This is a remarkable discovery and in light of the recent success of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region it would be very sad to see this treasure leave the North East,” said Dr Rob Collins, portable antiquities finds liaison officer for the North East.

A 15th Century German Bartmann jug and a selection of gold and silver coins uncovered by Richard Mason
A 15th Century German Bartmann jug and gold and silver coins uncovered by Richard Mason

“This hoard is visually stunning and from an interesting time in the region’s history when the Border Reivers were raiding to and from and there was a military presence on Lindisfarne.”

One of the coins alone makes up half of the valuation. The gold scudo of Pope Clement VII (1523-34) is only the third such coin known in the world.

SANT already owns a similar jug containing a hoard of 50 silver English and Scottish coins, also of Elizabethan date, which was found in 1962 at the same property on Lindisfarne.

If the new hoard is purchased it is planned to reunite both in a display at the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

People can donate by sending a cheque to: Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, Great North Museum, Claremont Road, Newcastle upon Tyne (cheques to be made out to SANT), or by visiting www.newcastle-antiquaries.org.uk to donate on-line, or in person in the allocated box at the museum.

The jug was found in 2003 by Northumberland builder Richard Mason, who put it in his garage and did not start to clean it out until 2011.

Richard Mason and his father Tom, from Rothbury, who discovered a jar containing ancient coins, while working on Holy Island
Richard Mason and his father Tom, from Rothbury

In such circumstances it is usual for the value of a hoard to be divided between finder and land owner.

The coins stretch across the reigns of Henry VI, VII, VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Others come from France, the Netherlands and Saxony.

Dr Collins said:”It looks like the original owner of the jugs was organising the money into the English and Scots silver coins and the rest, like having two bank accounts.”

Dr Sarah Glynn, manager of the Great North Museum: Hancock said: “We urge everybody to, help support the preservation and retention of our region’s fascinating history.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Please help ‘Save the Hoard’.”


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