In Shropshire heritage and history are all around – and beneath our feet. There is, quite literally, undiscovered treasure buried in Shropshire which, from time to time, is uncovered.
In Shropshire heritage and history are all around – and beneath our feet. There is, quite literally, undiscovered treasure buried in Shropshire which, from time to time, is uncovered as a reminder of a sometimes turbulent past.
A coin hoard found on farmland in the Bitterley area has officially been declared treasure trove at an inquest. Like many such finds nowadays, the discoverer was a metal detector enthusiast, Howard Murphy.
Full marks to Mr Murphy for resisting the temptation to dig it up himself, which could have destroyed any surrounding historic context, something archaeologists abhor. Instead he did the right thing and reported it to the local finds liaison officer with Shropshire Museums, who organised a proper excavation.
Such finds always throw up the same questions – why somebody years ago would have buried a large amount of money, and why they never recovered it later. This hoard seems to have been buried during the English Civil War. To hide it from marauding, plundering troops, perhaps?
On that, we can only speculate. What we do know is that it is part of the greater Shropshire story, and an insight into the life of Salopians from centuries ago.
It includes a gold coin and 137 silver coins, so will have an appreciable monetary value. But it has a wider value than that for the county.
Now the issue arises of what should be the most appropriate future for this intriguing slice of Shropshire’s past.
The answer is obvious. It should be kept in Shropshire and ideally put on display in Shropshire – the hope is to include it as part of a 17th century gallery at the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.
Money will have to be found for that. But Shropshire’s heritage is precious, belongs to Salopians, and should stay in Shropshire.