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5. Hoards and site finds



5.1 Finds from the Viking Wintercamp at Torksey


5.2 Scandinavian hoard of arabic dirhams, 9th cent.

5.3 The Ashton (Essex) Hoard, 1984. Deposited c.895.

5.4 The Cuerdale (Lancs.) Hoard 5.5 Thurcaston (Leics.) Hoard, 1992-2000. Deposited c.925

5.6 The Beauworth Hoard and the Mints of Norman England


5.7 The Shillington (Beds.) Hoard




5.1 Finds from the Viking Wintercamp at Torksey


The great army of the Vikings spent the winter of 872/873 at Torksey, Lincolnshire. The previous year they been campaigning and over-wintered in London, and the following year they moved to Repton, Derbyshire, where they defeated the Mercian king, Burgred.
Finds from the site of the Viking camp suggest that the army and its followers were actively trading, using silver and gold bullion as well as coinage, and engaged in some metalworking in copper and perhaps silver.



Anglo-Saxon coins and fragments of Arabic dirhams





Hack-silver and hack-gold, cut from ingots and ornaments





Viking bullion weights





Lead gaming pieces of Viking type






Broken pieces of Anglo-Saxon metalwork, silver and bronze, probably to be used for metalworking



Various sources, including donations by Michael Bonser.



5.2 Scandinavian hoard of Arabic dirhams, 9th cent.



This group of whole and cut pieces of Umayyad and Abbasid dirhams is evidently part of a 9th-century hoard from Scandinavia. They had been in a private Scottish collection since the 1930s, and unfortunately lost their provenance. Many of the pieces have test marks to check the quality of the silver. Their state is typical of coinage that has been used in a bullion economy, cut into pieces to be weighed out in transactions.



Given by Dr and Mrs Marcus Phillips, 2000

CM.723.2000 - CM 761.2000




5.3 The Ashton (Essex) Hoard, 1984. Deposited c.895.



The 70 or so coins in this hoard were mainly Viking issues of the Southern Danelaw emulating Alfred's Two-Line type. Two Carolingian coins represent a small foreign element in the hoard.





5.4 Ingots and coins from the Cuerdale (Lancs.) hoard



One of the largest Viking silver hoards found in Europe, this treasure contained some 7,500 coins and three times their weight in ornaments and ingots. The coins, mainly issues of the York Vikings, the St Edmund coinage, Alfred's Anglo-Saxon issues and Carolingian coins, show that it was deposited c.905. The hoard demonstrates the survival of a bullion economy among the Vikings in England.

The hoard was found in 1840 on land belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster. After the British Museum had made a selection, the Duchy very generously distributed parcels from the hoard to museums and collectors in Britain and abroad. The 10 ingots here were presented to the Cambridge Antiquarian Society in 1844.

Cambridge Antiquarian Society transfer and various other sources




5.5 Thurcaston (Leics.) Hoard, 1992-2000. Deposited c.925.



This small hoard of twelve coins has a strong Viking character, containing seven Anglo-Scandinavian and three Anglo-Saxon pennies and fragments of two Arabic dirhams. Yet it was found in an area where only Anglo-Saxon coins should have been in circulation, since Leicestershire had been recovered by the Anglo-Saxons some seven years earlier.

The hoard suggests that Scandinavian culture and practices continued for a time after the reconquest in the East Midlands.






5.6 The Beauworth Hoard and the mints of Norman England


The largest hoard of silver pennies of Norman England ever found, containing at least 8.000 coins, was discovered at Beauworth, Hampshire, in 1833. Most of the coins in this great hoard belong to the PAXS type of William I or William II, minted in the late 1080s at sixty-five different mints in England and the parts of Wales under English control. Many of these mints are mentioned in the Domesday Book survey of 1086, which shows that some of them provided profits for churchmen.

William I or II pennies, PAXS type, mostly from the Beauworth hoard, struck at seven of the mints of the PAXS type: Bath, Durham, Hereford, Ipswich, Shrewsbury and York.




William II (1087-1100) granted the right to mint coins to the bishop of Bath.




The first coins of the bishop of Durham's mint belong to the PAXS type.




In 1086 Domesday Book recorded that Hereford had seven moneyers, one of whom worked for the bishop's profit.




In Domesday Book the Ipswich moneyers paid £20 a year to the king.




The Lincoln mint paid the king £75 a year.




Domesday Book states that the Shrewsbury moneyers paid £1 each for new dies when the type was changed.





5.7 The Shillington (Beds.) hoard



On 9 April 1871, workmen digging for coprolites (dinosaur faeces) to be used as a fertiliser put a pickaxe through a small pottery jar and several hundred silver Norman fell out of it. They were picked up by the men, and the works manager, Mr Weston, recovered as many as he could from the finders to give them to the Lord of the Manor, George Musgrave Musgrave (1799-1883). Five weeks later, on 12 May 1871, Mr Musgrave presented 15 of the coins to Trinity College, Cambridge. The College's acquisition register records the donation, and the 15 coins remain part of its collection, which since 1937 has been on deposit in the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The hoard is interesting because it has two parts. Most of the coins are of William II (1087-1100), and these seem to have been gathered together in about 1095. But about 30 coins are from the middle years of Henry I's reign, and these seem to have been added to the pot in about 1113. The register says that of the 15 coins, 10 were of William II and 5 were of Henry I, but in fact they were wrongly identified, and only two of the coins are of Henry.

Lent by Trinity College, 1937




© Department of Coins and Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum