The Wold Newton Hoard


The Wold Newton Hoard


The Yorkshire museum appeal for funding to purchase this Roman Hoard of coins dating to the reign of York's own Roman emporer Constantine. Metal detectorist Dave Blakey and Andrew Wood, Curator of Numismatics. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

Metal detectorist Dave Blakey and Andrew Woods, Curator of Numismatics.
Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross


The Wold Newton hoard was discovered in 2014 and is now on display at the Yorkshire Museum. In the pot were 1,857 coins all dating from the Tetrarchic period apart from one radiate. Over a quarter of the coins in the hoard, exactly 500,  were struck at the London mint. These include 12 coins with the very rare LON mintmark. These are the first coins struck in London by Constantius after his defeat of Allectus and only 107 examples are known to us. The LON signature is also seen on the reverse of famous Arras medallion which symbolizes the recapture of the city by Constantius.


Soon the coins stopped carrying a mintmark and coins struck at London were unmarked and relatively common. Many of the 500 coins in the hoard struck in London are of this type. Later after the death of Constantius, Constantine reintroduced a mintmark PLN – P standing for pecunia (money in Latin) and LN for Londinium.


But the hoard also contains many rare London mint coins including three types that were previously unknown to us. We will shortly be publishing those coins here as part of the addenda to ‘The London Mint of Constantius and Constantine’ . The hoard has been catalogued at the British Museum and will be published in full in due course.


The London coins in the hoard also enable the date of its burial to be established quite precisely. Constantine was promoted from Caesar to Augustus on Christmas Day 307. The inscriptions on his coins were changed to reflect this. Only two coins in the hoard show this change, both from London. The fact that there are so few and none from mints further away suggests that the hoard was buried very soon after this change took place and before the new types could have travelled very far – so very late in 307 or early in 308.


We consider that the Wold Newton hoard is one of the most important hoards of its type and that it is essential for it to be kept together for future study and research. We would encourage people to donate to the Yorkshire Museums Trust to enable this hoard to be kept in Yorkshire. For details on how to donate please see below.


The Yorkshire museum appeal for funding to purchase this Roman Hoard of coins dating to the reign of York's own Roman emporer Constantine. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

The Wold Newton Hoard 
Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross


The following is an extract from the Yorkshire Museums Trust website reproduced with their permission:


The Hoard


The discovery of the Wold Newton Hoard is a rare opportunity to keep a very important Roman hoard in a public collection. If acquired and studied, the hoard will help to reshape our understanding of a crucial period in the history of York, Yorkshire and Europe.


The hoard can be dated quite precisely, with the latest coins in the hoard suggesting it was hidden in 307. This is shortly after the death of the emperor Constantius in York, and the rise to power of his son, Constantine the Great. The hoard provides a link to events which would reshape the empire and the history of Europe.


The Wold Newton hoard is the largest of that period found in northern Britain. It contains 1,857 copper coins which were concealed within a ceramic pot. This is a large store of wealth, roughly equivalent to a legionary’s annual salary, three year’s salary for a carpenter or six years for a farm labourer. It could buy 700 chickens, 2,000 of the finest fish or 11,000 pints of beer!


The Discovery


The hoard was found by metal detectorist David Blakey near the village of Wold Newton, East Yorkshire, in 2014.


He filmed its discovery and immediately reported it to the Portable Antiquities Scheme rather than emptying it out. This has allowed archaeologists the rare opportunity to excavate it in different layers to see how coins were added to the vessel.


Insect remains attached to some of the coins also offer another way of analysing the contents. All this means there is huge potential for getting a greater understanding of the period and why it was buried.


The Appeal


The Yorkshire Museum has four months to raise £44,200 to keep the hoard in Yorkshire and in public collections. The appeal was launched on July 25 – 1,710 years since the death of Constantius in York and his dying wish that Constantine should be his successor.


Andrew Woods, curator of numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum, said:


“This is an absolutely stunning find with a strong connection to one of the most significant periods in York’s Roman history. No hoard of this size from this period has ever been discovered in the north of England before.


“It contains coins minted in York from the time of Constantius who died in the city and then the first to feature Constantine, rising to power. This was a pivotal moment in York’s history but also the history of the western world. It was also a time of great uncertainty in the empire, as different Roman powers looked to challenge Constantine’s claim as emperor.


“We hope to now save the hoard to make sure it stays in Yorkshire for the public to enjoy but also so we can learn more about this fascinating period as well as why it was buried and to whom it might have belonged.”


To find out how you can help by making a donation please go to this page – Wold Newton Hoard