Archive for June, 2012

After hunting for buried treasure for three decades – and not finding a great deal – even the most diligent of us might have given up.

But not Reg Mead and Richard Miles. The two amateur metal detectors kept up their search of the same area throughout the decades and have finally struck gold – or rather silver.

A coin in the hand: Archaeologists believe the hoard, found by two metal detectors, is worth about £10million

A coin in the hand: Archaeologists believe the hoard, found by two metal detectors, is worth about £10million


They have unearthed the largest hoard of Celtic coins ever found. Each one of the 30,000–50,000 coins is estimated to be worth around £200 each, putting the value of the haul at up to £10milion

  • Coins were buried to protect them from Julius Caesar
  • Three-quarter ton hoard estimated to be worth £10m
  • Two enthusiasts searched for three decades in field in Jersey

They are thought to be from the first century BC and were found buried 3ft deep under a hedge in a farmer’s field on Jersey.

Two thousand years ago the Channel Island – which remains a popular spot to stash large sums of money –  was a refuge for tribes fleeing what is now northern France from the invading Roman armies.

As the legions of Julius Ceasar drew closer, the treasure is thought to have been buried by a Celtic tribe called the Coriosolitae, in the hope it could be dug up once the danger had passed.

And there the coins – packed in clay and weighing a ton – have remained undisturbed until last week.

The men who discovered them, Mr Mead, 70, and Mr Miles, a customs officer in his 40s, suspected treasure was in the area three decades ago, when they heard rumours a farmer had found some silver pieces on his land. After a series of largely unsuccessful forays in the area, they unearthed a stash of 120 coins in February.

Mr Mead, a grandfather who lives with wife Ruth in St Clement, Jersey, said: ‘Richard found the first one and it was amazing – when you see him raising his hand above his head (saying) “got one”.’

The pair used a powerful metal detector known as a deepseeker to search for more treasure in the field and struck lucky last week

‘The machine picked up a really strong signal – so we immediately got in touch with professional archaeologists,’ Mr Mead said. ‘They started digging and we could not believe how many coins there were.

‘All of them were stuck together. I have been searching for things like this since 1959 and never found anything on this scale before.

‘We had been searching that land for 30 years.’

After four days of careful digging the hoard was hauled to the surface by crane. It will now be subject of an inquest to determine ownership rights

Mr Mead added: ‘I am absolutely numb at the moment. To find one haul of coins in a lifetime is rare, but to find two is just unheard of.’

The location of the find is being kept secret.

Neil Mahrer of Jersey Heritage Museum, who helped to excavate the money, said: ‘This is the biggest Celtic coin hoard ever found which is tremendously exciting.’

The previous record find was in 1935 at La Marquanderie in Jersey when more than 11,000 were discovered.

Mr Mahrer added that the coins, which are called staters and quarter staters, weigh as much as a 50p piece.

‘All the coins are silver and a common theme is a picture of a man or god’s head on one side of the coin and a horse on the other,’ he said. ‘They are covered in green corrosion because the silver is mixed with copper and copper corrodes. But they should come up again in a good condition.’

Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University, said: ‘The find is very significant. It will add a huge amount of new information, not just about the coins themselves, but the people who were using them.’

Article by By COLIN FERNANDEZ – Daily Mail

The Best Tours in British History

Read Full Post »

Chalke Valley History Festival near Salisbury is Britain’s biggest festival devoted entirely to history.

The 2012venue is the second such festival to be held in a 22 acre field set amongst the gentle downs of the Chalke Valley, surely one of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain, 12 miles south-west of Salisbury.

Chalke Valley History Festival

Chalke Valley History Festival

The Chalke Valley History Festival is in its second year now & really getting into its stride. The festival is being held just outside Ebbesbourne Wake, one of the villages within the Wilton Community Area. As well as literary talks covering an amazing variety of topics & periods in history, there are also other activities to get involved in. Among the impressive line-up of speakers at the festival, there are many household names such as Sir Max Hastings, Amanda Vickery, Jeremy Paxman, Michael Morpurgo, Ian and Victoria Hislop, Tom Holland, Dan Snow and Michael Wood.

If you’re interested in history, this is an event you won’t want to miss: “The Chalke Valley History Festival is Britain’s biggest festival devoted entirely to history. This is our second Festival and we are much bigger this year with over fifty events and an extraordinary array of speakers. Joining us are some of this country’s most popular and influential historians who are shaping our understanding of the past and setting the context for understanding the future.”

Check out the Chalke Valley History Festival website for more information & to buy tickets. http://www.cvhf.org.uk/

Another good reason to visit Wiltshire…………………..

HisTOURries UK
Mystical Landscape, Magical Tours.

Read Full Post »

More than ever, this Jubilee weekend will be a tribute to her.

Queen Elizabeth II has been the UK’s head of state for longer than most of its citizens can remember.

People in the UK have embraced the Diamond Jubilee, more so than in past years

People in the UK have embraced the Diamond Jubilee, more so than in past years

For 60 years she has fulfilled the role of constitutional monarch, a figure separate from politics but always in touch with events.

The person who has embodied Britain to the wider world and been a focus for unity within the country’s increasingly diverse communities.

For all of those reasons and others – not least her unflagging commitment to her role – there is perhaps a greater sense of personal regard for her than at any time since the early years of her reign back in the 1950s.

Crowds came out

Twenty-five years into her reign in 1977, Britain celebrated her Silver Jubilee – 25 years after that, in 2002, came the Golden Jubilee.

Both those jubilees started sluggishly. The 1970s was a decade of economic austerity and social transition.

The Queen had lost the glamour of her youth and Britain had lost its sense of deference to the monarchy.

“She conveys a sense of history the like of which we have not seen in Britain since the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria”

Voices were raised against the cost of the Silver Jubilee. There were concerns in the then Labour government of James Callaghan that it might be something of a damp squib.

It was not.

When the day of the main Jubilee celebrations arrived, the Queen came out in shocking pink and the crowds in their hundreds of thousands.

By 2002 at the time of the Golden Jubilee, the Queen had recently emerged from her most difficult time, the 1990s.

The decade brought family divisions, the death of a much-loved princess and an unprecedented degree of criticism that the monarchy was out-of-touch with public sentiment.

Courtiers at Buckingham Palace were concerned over how Britain felt about its monarchy after the recent passage of such troubled times.

They need not have worried. After another slow start – when sections of the media fretted that the Jubilee was failing to take off – the crowds again proved the doubters wrong.

Warm reception

And so to 2012, and for this Jubilee the doubters seem to have been almost completely absent.

From the first Diamond Jubilee visit in early March to the multi-cultural city of Leicester, there has been a heightened degree of interest and real warmth in the receptions the Queen has received.

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles on a visit to De Mont fort University in Leicester, at the start of the Jubilee tour

The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles on a visit to De Mont fort University in Leicester, at the start of the Jubilee tour

True, in Leicester she brought the Duchess of Cambridge with her.

A shrewd move which linked the Queen very publicly with her grand-daughter-in-law, but notwithstanding the interest in Kate, it

was the Queen whom most people seemed keenest to see.And so it will be this Jubilee weekend. She is 86 now and has been monarch for 60 years.

She conveys a sense of history the like of which we have not seen in Britain since the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria, the only other British sovereign to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee.We know that not everyone is a monarchist. Not everyone will – literally or metaphorically – be raising a glass this weekend.But all the evidence suggests that Britain remains a nation which is overwhelmingly comfortable with the monarchy, and which feels that the qualities offered by a queen such as Elizabeth II are qualities which it values and would not wish to lose.

For those reasons, on the River Thames on Sunday, outside Buckingham Palace on Monday; at St Paul’s Cathedral and along the route back to the Palace on Tuesday, and at countless street parties and beacon lightings, Britain will reaffirm its commitment and gratitude to its Queen.

Article by By Nicholas Witchell – Royal correspondent

HisTOURies UK 
Proud to be British 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: