Civil War Hoard

A hoard of coins dating up to 1644 was found at Ellershaw farm near Grewelthorpe in 1991.

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The hoard consisted of 302 silver coins including groats, six pences, shillings and half crowns.

Charles 1st Half Crown

This is a heavily clipped Charles I Half Crown of the sort which was part of the hoard. Image courtesy of

Pre Decimal that year an academic paper was published in the British Numismatic Journal on the coins and the pot that they were buried in.

C. P. BARCLAY, A Civil War hoard from Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire, in: BNJ 61, 1991, p. 76-81, pl. S.

JENNINGS, A Civil War hoard from Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire: the pottery, in: BNJ 61, 1991, p. 78-79

When a find of this sort takes place an inquest is held at a coroners court to establish ownership of the treasure. If the inquest decides that the find is ‘treasure trove’ then it belongs to the Crown and the finder is usually given a reward.

The Common Law of treasure trove was replaced in 1996 by The Treasure Act which defines exactly what treasure is and how the courts decide who it belongs to.What is treasure trove? Ripon Gazette reported, on 28th February 1992, that the coins were treasure trove and The Yorkshire Post reported in March 1993 that they had been bought by Harrogate Councils Museum Service for ’4,000. They were put on display at the Old Courthouse Museum in Knaresborough.Barclay calculated the face value of the coins to have been ’16-3s-6d.It is possible to date the coins fairly accurately and the latest date of the coins is an interesting co-incidence. The first English Civil War took place between 1642 and 1646. It is suggested that

Grewelthorpe ceased to be in Royalist control by April 1644 The battle of Marston Moor took place on 2nd July 1644 and of course the Royalists were defeated. Given the date of the latest coins in the hoard, which were all Royalist, and the dates by which the Civil War was close to Grewelthorpe it is suggested by Barclay that the Grewelthorpe hoard must have been buried in late spring of 1644.Knaresborough Castle , which had been held by the Royalists since the start of the War, fell in December 1644 and Parliament ordered that it be made unusable in 1646. They demolished most of it in 1648 leaving only the Kings Tower which was used as a prison, Courthouse and small parts of the walls and gateways.

Knaresborough Castle

Perhaps our hoard burier suspected that he may be forced to hand over money to the Roundheads and decided to hide it before they came knocking. But who was the person who hid his coin all those years ago?

There are deeds to the properties in the Bramley area from this period held at the North Yorkshire County Record Office and by the Yorkshire Archeological Society in Leeds.

The hoard was found within a few yards of Ellershaw House, an ancient property located at Bramley Grange. There survives a deed relating to this property (dated 1st September 1642), being an assignment of the remainder of a term of 1050 years by George Maultus, a spurrier of Hewicke upon the Bridge, and Ursula, his wife to the yeoman Richard Bayne of Bramley Grange and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, Richard Bayne must stand as the most likely depositor of the hoard.” Barclay 1991.

The Civil War was started on 22nd August 1642 when the King raised his standard at Nottingham. The King’s message read in Parliament on the 27th August 1642 was in effect a declaration of War. Within a week Richard Bayne was buying a farm in Bramley Grange. Perhaps he lived nearby and took the opportunity to purchase additional property at a knock down price as war was declared. Richard Bayne was named as a yeoman (a land holding farmer) of Bramley Grange in the deed and this would support the contention that he already owned other property there.In the 1640s England was still run along feudal lines and land was owned by Barons who had the right to extract rents and taxes from people who lived on their estate. Leonard Horseman was Bailiff to the Wyvell Estates at this time and there are records of the rents that he collected which are archived at the West Yorkshire Archive Service in Bradford. It would be interesting to look at these to put into context the value of the buried silver at the time. Interestingly Richard Baine (both spellings Bayne and Baine appear to have been used) junior was in trouble with the Masham Perculiar court. “28 August, 1663 at Massam against John INMAN and Richard BAINE junior for not paying their cesments to the church, being 1s 3d [Kirkby Malzeard].” Source.

There is a record of a summons to a Court Leet and Court Baron held by Sir Marmaduke Wyvell to the people of Grewelthorpe in 1647. Perhaps this will hold some further clues.