Winter 2007



Artefact Find Of The Year 2006/7 Award

  Richard Northey, club chairman, presenting the Find of the Year Award for the best artefact found during the 2006/7 club year to John Radford. John was awarded the shield for his outstanding find, on a club search, of a silver gilt post medieval cap hook dated 1500-1590.

The cap hook was declared under the 'Treasure Act' and, after the usual enquiries, it was returned as being disclaimed. Even though only one other has ever been recorded as being found in England.

Find Of The Month June 2007


Henry III

Cut Halfpenny

Found By : John Radford



Found By : Bill French


Find Of The Month July 2007


Elizabeth I

Hammered 3/4 d

Found By : Dave Hallam


Roman Trumpet Brooch

Found By : Eric Purseglove


Find Of The Month August 2007



Silver Penny

Found By : Bill French


Gold Pendant

Found By : Duncan Walters


Find Of The Month September 2007


Henry VII

Half Groat

Found By : Bill French


Medieval Buckle

Found By : John Wardle


Find Of The Month October 2007



Silver Penny

Found By : Richard Northey


9th Century

Saxon Silver Strap End

Found By : John Radford


A selection of some of the many other interesting finds made by club members since the publication of the last newsletter

  Medieval Turret Brooch  
This medieval 14th., century copper alloy brooch was found by John Radford on a recent club search.

It is a ring brooch with eight inlaid turrets spaced around the ring. At one time it would have been set with glass or stones in the top of the turrets. In between the larger turrets are seven smaller turrets. One of these has the remnants of a reddish stone. The pin is still present although this appears to be made of a different copper alloy than the body of the brooch.

It has been recorded by the Finds Liaison Officer.

  George III Penny  

Possibly the best George III penny to be found on a club search.

Soho mint fourth issue dated 1807

Found By : Bill Severn

Hoard of Buckles
The six 17th., century buckles pictured here were found in the same approximately 25 meter area that numerous other buckles of the same age have been found. All the buckles appear to be in mint condition.

How they came to be lost in the same small area may never be known.

ANTONINUS PIUS 138 - 161 A.D. Silver Denarius

The reverse is of two clasped hands holding a caduceus, with two ears of corn. Also known as a caduceum, a wand or rod entwined at one end with serpents, each of whose bodies folds again in the form of two half circles, whilst the head passes above the wand. Usually an attribute peculiar to Mercury. Nowadays the caduceus is associated with the medical profession.

Found By : David Hallam



Obverse. ANCVS below the diademed head of Ancus Marcius. Lituus behind head.

Reverse. Retrograde PHILIPPVS behind equestrian statue facing right standing on an arcade of seven arches containing AQVAMRC.

The Marcia gens (family) were descended from Ancus Marcius the fourth king of Rome. He built the first aqueduct to supply Rome with water. Plinny says of him, "The most renown of all waters (conveyed by aqueducts) for the merit of coolness and wholesome qualities is that of Marcia". The equestrian statue is that of Q. Marcius Rex who, in 144 BC, restored the aqueduct. This aqueduct is known as the Aqua Marcia.
This coin was minted in Rome about two years before Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 54/55BC.

Found By : John Gough

Iron Age Potin

Cast copper alloy potin 'Class 1' type 2nd. to 1st. Century B.C.

Reference, Richard Hobbs 'Iron Age Coins in the British Museum'

Obverse:- Stylised head in profile facing right. No Inscription.

Reverse:- Stylised bull (?) butting left (?) two crescents above and a pellet below

Potin coins were made in Britain or Gaul from the 2nd century B.C. onward. They were cast rather than struck. The word potin comes from the French for a bronze alloy containing about 25% tin.

This unusual coin was found on a club search by Dave Hallam

Things Are Not Always What They Seem !

This coin was found by John Radford on a club search. When he tried to identify it he was puzzled because he could not find it listed under the coins of Vespasian as the inscription stated. Although it has Vespasian ( 69-79 AD.) in retrograde letters on the obverse it was issued by Titus ( 79-81 AD.) before he became emperor whilst he was assisting his father, Vespasian to rule the empire.
Titus Flavius Vespasianus, born in A.D. 40, was the son of Vespasian, He served in Germany and Britain and commanded a legion in the Palestine campaign. When Vespasian left to take up the purple Titus remained to carry on the war and captured Jerusalem in A.D. 70. On his return to Rome he was promoted and helped his father rule the empire. On his father's death (79AD.) he automatically succeeded him, but he died two years later. He was extremely popular (although he looked miserable on his coins) and his death caused great sorrow. Two disasters occurred during his short reign, the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 and then the plague and fire of Rome in AD 80.

The coin is a denarius (the first one John has found).

Obverse:- Titus, laureate head facing right, with the retrograde inscription T. CAESAR IMP. VESPASIANVS.

Reverse:- Jupiter standing facing, holding sceptre and patera over a low garlanded altar which is on the left.

Inscription, IOVI CVSTOS, (meaning Jove or Jupiter the preserver) .

The coin was minted in Rome between A.D.74 and A.D. 79. There is a note that some of these coins were silver plated.

Norman Daynes

Norman in action on a bitterly cold day   Croatal bell found by Norman on a recent club search


Norman before the club meeting
Norman Daynes in 1994 was one of the founding members of the Ashfield Metal Detecting Club. Although Norman is over eighty years of age he still attends all the club meetings and many of the searches.
Especially, his favourites, car boot sale sites!

English Clay Pipes

Quite often a metal detectorist can find in the fields, by 'eyes only' of course, a piece of broken clay pipe stem or if lucky a clay pipe bowl. A clay pipe stem can be roughly dated by the nature of the hole running through it. A wide off-centre hole usually means that it can be dated 17th. to late 18th. century, after this the hole is central and narrower as a result of the introduction of machines and moulds. Clay pipe bowls can be dated by size and shape, some examples from 1620 to 1890 are given in the drawings below.

During the first half of the 18th. century designs appeared on the bowls, for instance the Prince of Wales's feathers and City arms. In the 1750's Masonic emblems, names of regiments and public houses were used. In the Victorian era decorations became popular, all manner of designs could be had, fruits, flowers, fish, slogans, clubs, societies, sports, pastimes, the heads of jockeys, boxers and actors, to name but a few. These were usually called fancies or fancy clays.

The first clay pipes were probably used by the American Indians. In England they were made from just after the introduction of tobacco in 1558. All classes of society indulged, including women and children, the only restriction being the cost of tobacco. At first the act of smoking was called 'drinking tobacco'. In 1573 this was described as 'The Indian herb called 'tobaco' taken by an instrument formed like a little ladell wherby it passeth from the mouth into the head and stomach, is gretlie taken up and used in England against rewmes and some other diseases ingendered by the longes and inward parts....' . In 1599 Thomas Platter in his book 'Travels in England' wrote 'In the alehouses, tobacco or a wound wart are obtainable - the powder is lit in a small pipe, the smoke sucked into the mouth, and the saliva is allowed to run freely, after which a good draught of Spanish wine follows.' I bet it does !

The first pipes used in England had small bowls which only held a pinch of tobacco. Pipe bowls remained small for many years even though the supply of tobacco increased. The main reason for this was the cost, in particular the increases in tax on tobacco, from about 2d. a pound in the reign of Elizabeth I to 6s.10d. in the reign of James I, later in George III's time it fell to just over 6d. a pound.

Points of interest:-

* The word nicotine came from the name of a French diplomat, Jean Nicot, who was so enthused by tobacco that he recommended it to the French court in Paris.
* Smoking was encouraged during the great plague in an effort to ward off the disease.
* In the 19th. century working men smoked a short clay pipe usually supplied with a pint by the innkeeper.
* The short pipe could be smoked whilst working and often pipes bought of a longer length had the stem broken to suit the needs of the smoker.
* Often the short pipe was called a 'nose warmer'.
* Sometimes a small metal trouser button would be put in the bottom of the pipe to act as a filter or to decrease the amount of tobacco used in each fill.
* In the Napoleonic wars pipes were used as an emergency powder measure for loading muskets.
* Clay pipes were used on fairgrounds as targets in side shows.
* Until recently they were used by children for blowing soap bubbles.

Bowl Shapes

1620 to 1890

Horn Books

The Brassington Horn Book This fragment of a horn book was found at Cotgrave on a club search
The Brassington horn book was found during alterations to the Tudor House, Brassington, Derbyshire. This fine example has both the obverse and reverse sides shown in the above illustration. It is quite small measuring 51mm. in length, 38mm. in width and weighs 38g.

Horn books were used by children to learn to read and write. Usually they were just made of an oblong of wood with a paper printed with the letters of the alphabet on it, in turn the paper was covered with a sheet of transparent horn to keep it clean. The three layers were then fastened with a brass strip on each side and nailed with brass tacks. A feature in common was a handle with a hole in it and a cord threaded through to enable the child to hang it around the neck or on a belt for safety.

The Brassington horn book is made of cast lead complete with the usual handle. As for its date a clue can be found in the Tudor rose and crown with the letters E.R. on either side. Indicating that it possibly dates to the reign of Elizabeth I.

The fragment found at Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire is also made of lead. It is close to the width of the Brassington one, unfortunately the reverse is blank. The recovery of this artefact shows the importance of examining all scraps of lead before disposing of them.

Finds Liaison Officer At Work

  Anja Rohde the Finds Liaison Officer for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire intently examining a find made by club member Bill French. Bill, however, is more keen on posing for the camera and can be heard asking, 'would I be better in profile ?'

Anja attends the club about every two months and records details of all finds reported by club members. She also accepts the declaration of any find being subject to 'Treasure' under the 'Treasure Act' and takes charge of the item.

The number of finds recorded by her is considerable and the club members are delighted with her 'on the spot' identifications. Finds sent for further examination (not 'Treasure') are usually returned on her next visit to the club.


In this issue of the newsletter I would like to tell you about a book I bought in the late 1980s, regrettably at the full retail price of 20, it is FAIRBAIRN'S CRESTS. The book is now out of print but copies are for sale at priced from 37 to 78.

I have found it useful when attempting to identify livery buttons although even in a volume of over 750 pages, many crests are not represented.

I was going to describe the contents but the description on the back cover says it all far better than I could.

Fairbairn's Crests


Late Bronze Age Axe

  Late bronze age socketed axe found in two pieces by two different people, the finder of the larger portion being Dennis Brown. The decoration consists of ribs on each side not quite equal in length or distance apart, with ring dot terminals. Found in the Gotham area. Description by R. C. (Bob) Alvey, Nottingham University.
Medieval Buckle Found By : John Wardle

Roman Influences

David Hallam

When the Romans invaded Britannia no one could have imagined that the changes they brought would be so significant that they would endure the demise of the Roman Empire and all the efforts of our subsequent invaders. Their influence would endure to become permanent additions to our language and culture. Most people know that Latin is still used today by our legal profession and scientific profession but many modern words derived from our conquerors are used by us today. The Romans gave our country a name and that name still exist today Britannia - Great Britain

Prior to that invasion later iron-age Britain was predominantly rural with a few large settlements in south-east England. Emperor Vespasian used the word oppidum to describe these settled communities, a word used to indicate cities in the Celtic world. Under Romanisation, a newly conquered area would be under the control of an Imperial Governor who would allow self governing communities called civitates to govern. Most of us recognise the word CIVITAS from our hammered and milled coinage through to Elizabeth I (1603) when trying to identify where the coin was minted. Other words used to indicate communities were colonia, municipium, vicus and urb so we can easily recognise our modern extrapolation to colonial municipal and urban.

With government came Taxes and even in Roman times there was a Poll Tax (tributum capitis) a tax on property, other than land, which was used for trade or commerce plus another tax on land and fixed property (tributum soli) so once again we can see where the words tribute/tributary and capital arrived from.

Justice was the responsibility of two senior magistrates (duoviri jurdicundo) appointed from the administration or council called (ordo) which was made up of up to 100 elected citizens so once again we can see where the words duo, judiciary and order originate from. Anybody who uses the internet recognises the word forum as a meeting place and so they were in Roman times, an open market place used for both public and administrative meetings.

Bathing was an important part of Roman life as the public baths were used for exercising, gambling, gossiping and socialising. Baths allowed mixed bathing although some emperors did ban this due to the licentious behaviour of some and regulate the hours that men and women could bathe.

The usual sequence of bathing was:-

1 Undress in the apodyterium  
2 Enter the frigidarium a room with a cold plunge bath Fridge
3 Then on to the tepidarium a room of medium heat Tepid
4 Then to the caldarium a room of intense heat Cauldron

One of the responsibilities of the ordo was to provide the Roman Imperial Post Service cursus publicus with staging posts in towns and cities so accommodation was provided at inns by offering mansiones for men and horses. You don't have to be a mastermind to see where public, maisonette or curse comes from.

These are just a few examples of Latin words that have survived the Roman Invasion by being adapted into our language.

Damp Beds

Clean sheets are not remarkably common at common inns, where, I am informed, that the practice is to take them from the bed, sprinkle them with water, to fold them down, and then put them in a press. When they are wanted again, they are, literally speaking, shewn to the fire, and in a reeking state laid on the bed. The traveller is tired and sleepy, dreams of that pleasure or that business which brought him from home, and the remotest thing from his mind is, that from the very repose which he fancies has refreshed him, he has received the rheumatism. The receipt, therefore, to sleep comfortably at inns, is to take your own sheets, to have plenty of flannel gowns, and to promise, and take care to pay, a handsome consideration for the liberty of choosing your beds.

Damp beds are oftenest found in inns that are least visited; they ought to be carefully avoided, for they not only produce dreadful disorders, but have often proved the death of the person who has had the misfortune to sleep in them. Especially in winter, not only examine the beds, to see whether they are quite dry, but have the bedclothes in your presence put before the fire. Just before you go to bed, order a pan of hot coals to be run through it, then place a clean tumbler inverted between the sheets, and let it remain there for a few minutes; - if on withdrawing it the slightest cloud is observable on the inner surface, be certain that either the bed or the sheets are damp: sleeping in the blankets is a disagreeable, but the safest way of escaping such danger: there are many persons in the habit of travelling, who make it a constant practice. A wash leather sheet, about 8 feet by 5, is not an unpleasant substitute for linen.

The only absolutely safe plan is, to sleep in a bed which you are sure has been occupied the night before; and that, must be the best-aired bed which was slept in by the best-aired person !

Advice given in the eighteenth century publication, 'The Traveller's Oracle'.

Great Seal Of The King Of England

William II. 1087-1100

Raffle Winner

The club chairman, Richard Northey, presenting raffle winner Mark Islip with a pair of binoculars.

They were donated by :
Evergreen Detectors, Montgomery

Written by John Gough

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