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The Claverley Hoard: Roman coins found in Shropshire are declared treasure

Bridgnorth | News | Published:

This hoard of Roman coins, unearthed by a metal detectorist in Shropshire, has been declared treasure by a coroner.

The coins, which will be known as The Claverley Hoard, were found on private farm land in 2013 by Christopher Rowley of Beckbury, near Bridgnorth.

He was searching in the field with a fellow detectorist when he stumbled across the hoard of 21 base metal coins, which date back to the fourth century.

For those Salopians of a thousand years or more ago, we have mere fragments – coins and artefacts dug up from the ground, the remnants of one or two buildings and structures, and so on, from which we try to construct an idea of what they were like and how they lived.

A man with a metal detector came across a clue in a field near Claverley. The Claverley Hoard, which has been declared treasure by a coroner, comprises 21 Roman coins from the fourth century.

It is the prospect of making such a find which spurs on those with metal detectors. Alas, with such finds, there is always a mystery. How and why did the original owner of those coins come to lose them in the first place?

At an inquest held yesterday at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Mr John Ellery deemed that the coins, some of which were the size of a £2 coin, were treasure and said they were of interest to museums.

Mr Ellery said that Mr Rowley was using his metal detector on farmland close to the village of Claverley, near Bridgnorth in late 2013 when it picked up signs of the buried treasure. Mr Rowley uncovered the coins and then notified the finds liaison officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire who in turn contacted the British Museum.

In a report from the British Museum, which Mr Ellery read out, a specialist said the coins, which were Roman in origin and made of a copper alloy, ranged in date from AD270 to AD337 and had been made in the reign of Constantine the Great.

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The exact location of the find was not disclosed but they had been found while Mr Rowley was metal detecting in the Claverley area on land belonging to private landowner Oliver Eaton.

The British Museum report added that the find was of historical importance and would be of interest to museums.

Mr Ellery added: "The coins were found in the Claverley area. Mr Rowley was in the area in 2013 looking for potential finds and on one field in particular found a small hoard of copper alloy coins, dating from the fourth century. There were 21 coins altogether.

"He referred the coins to the finds liaison officer for Shropshire and Herefordshire with a view that they were likely to be treasure based on the fact that there were more than 10 and they were over 300 years old.

"The finds liaison officer then referred them on to a team of experts at the British Museum. A subsequent report from the British Museum confirmed that the coins are treasure and there is museum interest in acquiring the find. Hence the need for an inquest.

"These coins belong together and shall be known as The Claverley Hoard. They are made of a base metal and formed part of the Roman currency system. I declare it treasure."

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