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01.02.2021

Colchester Hoards

Two thirteenth-century hoards from Colchester High Street and an empty container of a third.
Two coin hoards and another possibly empty container for a third hoard were found in a 20-meter square along High Street in Colchester, Essex County, between 1902 and 2000. 

The first hoard (Colchester 1) was found in the back garden of 25 High Street on July 5, 1902. It consisted of 11,000 to 12,00 English silver short cross pennies and modern Scottish and Irish coins buried in a head vessel; the closing date was c.1237. 

A second hoard (Colchester 2) was discovered at the same site in 1969. It consisted of 14,065 silver pennies buried in a lead canister with a lid, mostly English annulled long cross-shaped along with modern Scottish and Irish issues. Most of the coins were minted before 1256, and several additional coins were added 16-22 years later, giving a deposit date of about 1278. 

An empty lead container was discovered near where the two hoards were found in 2000. with one invalid long cross penny minted 1247-1248. It has been suggested that this container contained another hoard similar to the other two, which was discovered during the medieval period.

The Colchester hoards were probably the property of a Jewish financier. Moreover, their non-return may be directly related to the pogroms of the late thirteenth century, culminating in the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. We know from contemporary documentary evidence that there were several stone houses on this site belonging to the Jewish community. where hoards were found in the 1270s. Moreover, the date of the Colchester II hoard burial seems to agree very well with the pogrom of 1278, when many Jews were arrested and executed as a result of Edward I's Statutum de Judaismo of 1275.

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