SCOTTIS H coin vaults buried in the fifteenth century are rare enough to attract attention, regardless of their exact contents. On examination, it quickly became clear that the more than one hundred coins discovered by Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Jope at Glenlus Sands, Wigtownshire, in July 1956 were of great significance as treasure in every sense. Mr. and Mrs. Jope, both experienced archaeologists, were passing through Wigtownshire, walking on the sands at Glenlus when they noticed something green lying on the surface. They discovered that it was a group of heavily oxidized coins glued together.
Realizing the importance of their find, they investigated the site. Eventually they collected 112 coins, some broken pottery, pieces of lead for window panes, metal fragments, and one piece of glass. There was no sign of a container, but one group of three coins had a piece of cloth attached to it, which appears to be part of the linen bag or purse in which the coins were originally placed.
After a careful study of the archaeological material and the fauna collected from at Glenlus, Mr. Jop concluded that the treasure was
probably under the floor of a wooden house that had been buried in sand and heather in the course of time. Unfortunately, the area is the subject of changing surface contours, and the condition of the site does not suggest that further investigation would be profitable.
Returning south, the searchers took the coins to Mr. J.D. Thompson at the
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. The Queen and Lord Treasurer of Monuments was notified through Mr. R.B.C. Stevenson, Curator of the
National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, and allowed the coins to remain in Oxford for cleaning and identification. Mr. Thompson put considerable effort and skill into this, which was a long and delicate process, for many of them. The coins turned out to be very fragile. One or two small and very corrosive fragments failed the ammonia treatment, but the plates show how
successful Mr. Thompson was with most of the coins.
The discovery of the Glenlus hoard provides a cumulative proof of the state of coinage and currency in fifteenth-century Scotland.
Mr. J.D. A. Thompson's Inventory of British Coin Hoards, A.D. 600. - 1500 shows that only a few hoards buried in Scotland in the fifteenth century. Those excavated varied greatly in composition, but some general trends can be established that follow, more or less, from hoard to hoard.
By the fifteenth century, the great preponderance of English money in Scotland, outnumbered Scottish coins by more than 20:1. In the reign of Edward I, there was a reduction, but English coinage was at its best and consistently acceptable.