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Category:Taunton civil war hoard

English: Treasure Case 2014 T735: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

A group of eighteen gold and silver coins found during ground disturbance in preparation for a garden building in Taunton, Somerset. All are official issues of the monarchs of Great Britain, issued in England (13), Scotland (4) and Ireland (1).

The find can be summarised as follows (a detailed catalogue is also attached).

English: Seven double crowns and one shilling of James I (1603-25),

Four shillings and one sixpence of Charles I (1625-49)

Irish: One shilling of James I

Scottish: Three sword and sceptre pieces and one half thistle merk of James VI of Scotland (later James I of England and Ireland)

Discovery: The coins were found while removing a tree, its roots and associated stones, in advance of building a garden shed in the back garden of a house on the outskirts of Taunton. The find was made by the householders son who reported that the first coin, a silver one, was found at approximately three foot in depth with a few about six inches lower and the remainder in a group about a foot deeper again, so about 4 and a half foot down. The scattered upper coins were described as being on the border between the topsoil and the clay subsoil and the main group as in the clay subsoil. The house is on a relatively modern housing estate and it is possible the depth of the upper soil may have been affected during building and also possible the hoard may have been disturbed by the building works or the trees roots. The finder searched the hole with a metal detector and probe and is confident that all the coins present were retrieved and that no other associated metalwork was present.

The finder reports no container was found with the main group and it is therefore likely they were in an organic container such as a leather or cloth purse.

The site of the find is on the edge of Taunton in an area which until recently was farmland but is about 40 metres from a trackway that has existed since at least the first detailed mapping of the area (1887) and the garden backs on to an ancient boundary known to have existed since at least the late Medieval period.

Discussion: The coins had a face value of £5 15s.3¾d. in the mid 17th century, including the Scottish and Irish coins in English value terms. This sum is equivalent to something like £450 in modern terms; perhaps 5 and a half months wages for a common soldier.

The coins belong to the reigns of James I and Charles I, and the period they cover and the denominations present, including Scottish and Irish coins, are very similar to many other recorded coin hoards from the mid-17th century, the period of the English Civil War. They are a highly selected group of good condition, high value coins and do not simply reflect the general coinage in circulation at the time.

The proportion of gold to silver issues is unusual as normally mixed hoards of this period are around 10% gold to 90% silver. The gold coins are earlier than the majority of the silver coins and were at least 25 years old at the time of deposition. It is possible they represent a previously collected group that were curated for some time before being deposited with silver coins which were saved later or acquired around the time of deposition.

The latest identifiable coin present in this find was issued sometime in the years 1644-5, so it is likely that the group was deposited on one occasion in or shortly after this period. Taunton and the surrounding area was the scene of several phases of fighting in the Civil War period including the siege of the castle in 1644-1645.

In my opinion the coins found at Taunton are all official issues of good metal and therefore more than 10% silver or gold and were deposited together as a group on a single occasion in the mid 1640s. I would suggest, therefore, that the find fulfils the criteria of Treasure according to the terms of the Act.

Laura Burnett, Somerset Finds Liaison Officer, 28th October 2014

Taunton coin find:

Catalogue

ENGLISH COINS

Denomination Initial mark Date Bust North. Weight (g)

James I (1603-25)

Second Coinage (1604-19)

Gold

1. Double crown coronet 1607-9 fourth 2087 4.83

2. Double crown coronet 1607-9 fourth 2087 4.97 Double struck

3. Double crown tower 1612-3 fifth 2088 4.93 Double struck

4. Double crown tun 1615-16 fifth 2087 5.00 Double struck

5. Double crown tun 1615-16 fifth 2087 5.01 Double struck

6. Double crown plain cross 1618-9 fifth (var.) 2089 4.98 Double struck

7. Double crown plain cross 1618-9 fifth (var.) 2089 5.03 Double struck

Third coinage (1619-1625)

Silver

8. Shilling lis 1623-4 sixth 2124 5.98 Double struck

Charles I (1625-1649)

Tower mint

9. Shilling triangle-in- 1641-3 sixth 2231 5.90

circle

10. Shilling triangle-in- 1641-3 sixth 2231 5.99

circle

11. Shilling P in brackets 1643-4 sixth 2231 6.07

12. Shilling R in brackets 1644-5 sixth 2231 6.07

13. Sixpence Anchor 1628-9 fifth 2245 3.14

IRISH COINS

Denomination Initial mark Date Bust Spink Weight (g)

James I (1603-25)

First coinage (1603-4)

Silver

14. Shilling martlet 1604 Second 6513 4.20

SCOTTISH COINS

Denomination Date Bust Spink Weight (g)

James I (1603-25)

Eighth coinage (1601-4)

Gold

15. Sword and sceptre piece 1601 - 5460 4.84

16. Sword and sceptre piece 1602 - 5460 4.97

17. Sword and sceptre piece 1602 - 5460 4.94

Silver

18. Half thistle-merk 160(2) Second 5498 3.01

Notes:

Dr. Edward Besley has kindly commented (pers comm 18/05/15):

The composition is indeed somewhat unusual in the high gold:silver proportion; if you want a parallel, there is the Painswick hoard (D21 (D.F Allen and R.H.M. Dolley, 'Painswick treasure trove (1941)', BNJ 27 (1952), 219-2)) (also western and included Scottish gold, though this was part of the circulating medium, anyway).

I would suspect the contemporary face value would have been £5 - 16 - 9¾d, with the Sword-and-Sceptre pieces current at 11 shillings in line with the double crowns, since 1611. However I don't know whether these were raised formally to 11s.

Media in category "Taunton civil war hoard"

The following 20 files are in this category, out of 20 total.