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04.02.2021

Fishpool Hoard

In 1966, workers at a construction site near today's Cambourne Gardens in Ravenshead discovered Fishpool's hoard of 1,237 15th-century gold coins, four rings and four other pieces of jewelry, and two lengths of gold chain. Nottinghamshire, England, an area then known as Fishpool. This is the largest hoard of medieval coins ever found in Britain. Judging by the dates of the coins, the hoard was probably buried in a hurry at some time between the winter of 1463 and the summer of 1464, perhaps by someone fleeing south after the Battle of Hexham in May 1464, during the early stages of the English Civil War between the aristocratic factions, the Wars of the Roses. The Fisherman's Hoard, on display in Room 40 of the British Museum in London, was included in 2003 in "Ten Treasures of Our Treasure," a special episode of the BBC television series "Meet the Ancestors," which featured the ten most important treasures ever discovered in Britain by a British Museum expert panel. The British Museum estimated the nominal value of the treasure at the time of delivery to be about £400, the equivalent of about £300,000 today.

The composition of the coinage, as well as the dating of the hoard, showed that the light mintage of 1412 did not completely eliminate earlier gold coins. Among the coins were several nearly modern gilt fake coins from the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461).

All of the decorations are made of gold, some of them decorated with precious stones or enamel. In addition to the four rings there are three pendants and a heart-shaped brooch on which, as on several other pieces, is inscribed a "love phrase", in this case "je suys vostre sans de partier" (I am all yours). One of the pendants is a tiny enamel lock inscribed "de tout" on one side and "mon cuer" on the other (all...my heart). The turquoise stone on one ring was reputed to have protective powers for the wearer against drowning, poisoning and riding accidents. The rings are believed to have been English, but other items may have been made in Flanders.

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