Lenborough Hoard

The Lenborough Hoard is a hoard of more than 5,000 late Anglo-Saxon silver coins, dating to the eleventh century, that was found at Lenborough in Buckinghamshire, England in 2014. It is believed to be one of the largest hoards of Anglo-Saxon coins ever found in Britain.[1]

Lenborough Hoard
Size5,252 silver coins
Discovered21 December 2014
Lenborough, Buckinghamshire
51.977°N 0.981°W / 51.977; -0.981


The hoard was discovered, on 21 December 2014, on farmland in the Buckinghamshire hamlet of Lenborough, between Buckingham and Padbury, during a metal detectorist rally organised by the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club involving approximately one hundred people. One of the participants, Paul Coleman, located the coins inside a lead container buried 2 feet (0.61 m) under the ground.[2]

Coleman said that he "found a piece of lead and thought it was junk. But then I looked back in the hole and saw one shiny coin. Then I lifted a larger piece of lead and saw row upon row of coins stacked neatly."[3] According to Pete Welch, the founder of the club, the coins were in remarkably good condition: "They're like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down. It looks as though only two people have handled these coins, the person who made them and the person who buried them."[1] They were found covered in clay and silt that had seeped though holes in the lead, but otherwise, they were pristine.[4]

Buckinghamshire County Museum archaeologist Ros Tyrell, the Buckinghamshire Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, was present during the rally to record any objects discovered, and excavated the hoard immediately after it was found. The hoard was taken to the British Museum for examination and conservation.[5]


The hoard consists of 5,252 silver coins, of which 5,251 are whole and one is a portion of a coin that had been cut in half. They date from the first half of the eleventh century, and include many coins from the reigns of two Anglo-Saxon kings, Æthelred the Unready (reigned 978–1013 and 1014–1016) and Cnut the Great (reigned 1016–1035).[2] The coins were wrapped in a sheet of lead.[6]

As the hoard consists of precious metal more than 300 years old, it will be assessed by a coroner under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996 to determine whether it is treasure. If found to be so, the hoard will be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee, and a museum may apply to acquire it by paying the amount of the valuation, which will be shared equally by the discoverer and the landowner.[7][5] The coins are in such good condition that their total value has been estimated at possibly as much as £1.3 million.[3]

The reasons for the burial of the hoard are unknown. Simon Keynes, Professor of Anglo Saxon at Cambridge University, calls the hoard "difficult to explain" at present, and he wonders whether it is "a hoard of a Viking—his accumulated wealth" or something else. A fuller explanation may be possible when the coins have all been cleaned and it is clearer from which reigns the coins date.[4]


The Lenborough hoard has now been valued at £1.35 million. Bucks County Museum hopes to save the hoard for the public and must raise the money. It has started an online appeal (see external links).

See also


  1. Smith, Lewis (2 January 2015). "£1m Anglo-Saxon silver haul dug up on Buckinghamshire farmland". The Independent. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  2. "Thousands of ancient coins discovered in Buckinghamshire field". BBC News. 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  3. Lovett, Lorcan (2 January 2014). "Metal detector fan unearths 5,000 Anglo-Saxon coins in Buckinghamshire field". Getbucks. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  4. Levy, Andrew; Mullin, Gemma (1 January 2015). "Amateur treasure hunter finds £1million hoard of 1,000-year-old Anglo Saxon coins – after a whip-round for petrol to get there". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  5. "Silver coins worth £1m found on farm". Buckinghamshire Advertiser & Review. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. "Largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard tops list of latest nationwide treasure finds". Portable Antiquities Scheme. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  7. "Advice for museums on funding Treasure acquisitions". Portable Antiquities Scheme. Retrieved 3 January 2015.

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