Workers uncover £5,000 haul of 400-year-old coins

David Robson (left) and Shane McDonald with the find of old coins at East Shaftoe Farm near Belsay.
REF 1305141894

David Robson (left) and Shane McDonald with the find of old coins at East Shaftoe Farm near Belsay. REF 1305141894

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A company installing a renewable energy system at a farm near Belsay got more than they bargained for when work started.

Calibrate Energy, based near Alnwick, was called in to install a ground source heat pump in the old mill pond at David Robson’s business.

But when a 14-tonne digger was put to use this week a load of coins, dating back to the 1600s, were discovered.

Pipes were set to be put into the ground for the ground source pump, but work had to stop when the coins – of which there are 26 in total – were discovered.

A variety of different shapes and sizes the oldest dates back to 1618 while the youngest is from the 1940s.

And while proper investigation is still to take place, it is estimated that the haul is worth around £5,000.

Mr Robson said: “Our family has lived in this 12th century farmhouse for over 110 years.

“It is great to uncover more of our family history and a testament to Calibrate Energy’s respect and care for the site that such small coins were discovered when you take into account the large scale of this project.”

Shane McDonald, director of Calibrate Energy, said: “The owners have been fantastic to deal with throughout,

“Finding this piece of family history has topped off a successful project.”

And it is a double bonus for the farm owners.

One of the reasons they decided to install the ground source heat pump was the income that they would generate from maximising their renewables tariff.

They thought this, along with cost savings, would be the main benefit of the project. But the coin discovery has added an even bigger ‘saving’ to it.

The law says that when coins, or other historical treasure, more than 300 years old are uncovered, a treasure inquest is held to determine if they are treasure and if so public museums are given the opportunity to take ownership – with the finder paid for them as a reward.

Inquests discover if the coins are deliberately hidden or not.

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