The Tealby Hoard
What was it, who found it and when, the story behind this famous Lincolnshire archaeological find.
There have been a few historic hoards found in Lincolnshire, notably The Killingholme Hoard found by friend of the site Chris Keyworth, the pot of coins found at Tealby however did not fall to a metal detector - it would have been tricky given it was unearthed in 1807 !
It was found by a farm worker who was preparing a field with a plough and team of horses, he saw a pot in the ground which somehow had escaped the plough shears over the years and remained unbroken - lifting it out of the ground . . . coins spilled out !
The name of the man who found this fabulous treasure appears to be lost to history, what is known is that it was found on the land of George Tennyson, of Bayons Manor fame. Once in his hands the importance of the find soon became clear - it was perhaps the most important hoard of coins found to that date - eventually gaining world renown amongst numismatists.
The Stamford Mercury newspaper was the first to report the find on 6th November 1807 claiming
‘the coarse glazed earthen pot contained about 5,000 silver pennies of Henry I and Henry II of various mint and some in excellent preservation’
A contemporaneous report states that the hoard was very quickly dealt with with some going to the British Museum, some going‘to enrich private collections, particularly that of Sir Joseph Banks’ with the rest remaining in Tennyson’s possession.
A paper presented to the Royal Society in 1814 gave more accurate and learned information. The number of coins totalled over 5,700, they were English Silver Pennies and came from the reign of Henry II.
The size of the hoard proved invaluable to researchers as it added another 17 names of Mint Towns previously unknown.
The paper goes on to say that the best examples went to the Banks Collection and the British Museum plus a few to private collectors, the remaining 5,127 coins were . . . ‘melted at the tower’
It was a remarkable find but what does seem a little surprising is the way in which it was dealt with, in a couple of weeks or so it was gone, done and dusted !
I believe there is a donated coin in the Usher Gallery and that the jar, shown above left, reputed to have contained the coins, 3rd Century Roman, was donated to the Lincoln Museum in 1946 by a relative of Tennyson, Mrs Ruth Tennyson d’Eyncourt.
English Heritage state the the ‘Medieval Coin Hoard was acquired by Sir Joseph Banks’ that clearly suggests that Tennyson sold him the lot and that he was responsible for the rapid disposal, this is slightly at odds with the above contemporaneous report.
If you know of anything related to this then please do leave a comment, especially if you’ve found any Silver Pennies at Tealby, now known in in some circles as Tealby Pennies - we’d love to hear of any more so if you’re a metal detectorist who’s found any others at Tealby please do leave a comment, totally anonymous should you wish of course.
All the best