Shropshire

Shropshire coin hoard declared treasure trove

Bitterley hoard
Image caption The hoard of 137 silver coins and a single gold coin were buried less than 12 inches below the surface

A hoard of English Civil War coins found in south Shropshire has been declared treasure.

The 138 coins, dating back more than 350 years, were found in Bitterley, near Ludlow, by metal detectorist Howard Murphy last year.

They are believed to be worth thousands of pounds.

Shropshire coroner John Ellery declared them treasure trove, which means ownership reverts to the Crown and museums have the right to buy them.

The coins will now be valued by the British Museum and Shropshire Council said it hoped to find the funding to acquire them for the county.

Mr Murphy can expect to receive a percentage of their value.

'Turbulent period'

He said he realised they were an important discovery when he saw the coins in a pottery vessel less than 12 inches beneath the surface.

Image caption Finds Liaison Officer Peter Reaville said the dig had revealed the coins were "buried in a hurry"

The site was excavated by a team from the British Museum, who said the coins were neatly stacked in a leather purse inside a glazed Tyg drinking vessel.

Initial research suggests the hoard, made up of 137 silver coins and a single gold coin which would have been worth more than £9 at the time, were buried shortly after 1644, probably during the Civil War.

Finds Liaison Officer Peter Reaville said the dig had revealed the coins were "buried in a hurry" and the soil immediately around it had not been disturbed in 350 years.

Councillor Mike Owen said the hoard had "thrown a light on a dark and turbulent period" in Shropshire's past.

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