Thursday, 10 May 2018

Elizabeth 1 sixpence surfaces 
   "You lucky devil, I don't believe it," or words to that effect said Mike Burt in disbelief. He was giving me some lessons with my new found metal detecting hobby on Goostrey's old tennis club courts when we struck silver. Not just
any odd coin left behind when villagers spent summer days between the wars battling with racquets on the manicured surface.
 A beep, beep from my Garrett Ace 250 detector signalled treasure below but Mike using a much superior machine quickly pinpointed the spot where he urged me to dig.
 And even the veteran detectorist was quite excited when up from the ground popped an Elizabethan silver sixpence bright as the day it was minted. 
Unearthed coins obverse and other finds
."I can go out for weeks spending hours searching and never find anything like this," added Mike, eagerly fingering off 500 years of dirt to find the date.
The hammered coin is battered and only one side is legible and it's not worth a lot but what the hell it is a priceless piece of local history to me. Whoever lost it from a pouch secured at their side would have felt the financial squeeze for a week or more because then it was a significant sum. 
While the Queen had an income of £60,000 per annum in 1580 country folk eked out an existence. A field worker earned less than half a sixpence a day, a thatcher 2s (four sixpences) for five days labour, a ploughman one shilling (two sixpences) a week with his board, and the parson whose income was 20 shillings per annum (forty sixpences) was among the poorest of the flock.
It was my first real find not far from the spot at Bridge House where
Detected coins with sixpence clearly showing a shield
daughter Emma uncovered only inches below the turf a lead spindle whorl from Anglo-Saxon or Medieval times in a period when Domesday Book said Goostrey was a kind of waste and of little value to the Norman conquerors. Excitement mounted as we swept an acre or so for more finds, and alas silver was in short supply but from the land, we got several Georgian halfpennies, a Queen Elizabeth 11 penny I probably dropped, a Victorian button and an intriguing coin-like item still to be identified but possibly from a horse harness. 
Mike, a member of Crewe and Nantwich Detecting Society noted as among the elite of the fraternity, is not always searching ploughed fields and meadows for hidden treasures lying deep into the earth, some from before the rise of Christianity. He is often called in to recover lost jewellery and keys
by desperate householders and farmers who lose valuable bits from machinery
Anglo-Saxon or medieval spindle whorl
working in their fields and crops. As for me, I'm still in pursuit off Goostrey's golden hoard...
PICTURES click to enlarge