That there [Howmuch?] has found treasure. He actually found it in a charity bookshop in Lichfield, but his golden find actually pointed to a farmyard near Grove Hill, near Lower Stonnall/Thornes, in 1824. There was bronze in that there hill.
What our intrepid trawler of the history record found was that on the 12th of February, 1824, farm labourers extending a rickyard at what is now Gainsborough Hill Farm, excavated what was considered in 1967 to be the most significant Bronze-age discovery made in Staffordshire.
The find included human remains, spearheads and other objects. What’s most remarkable is that the fate of the entire hoard is apparently still unknown, presumably nicked.
The find appears to have been made under the right hand limb of the uppermost, ‘L’ shaped building on the Google image below.
[Howmuch?] found all this out after he purchased an interesting, but nondescript-looking secondhand book for the princely sum of £2. It was the book of Transactions for 1967-8 of The Lichfield and South Staffordshire Archeological and Historical Society. These volumes were like an ‘Annual’, and are still published today.
I have heard this find alluded to previously, but never discussed in any detail. In my article Hoard Oeuvre, written in May, 2010, I feature a comment spotted on the now defunct Walsall Advertiser website, by one ‘slote’. I now believe this may have been by local historian Sue Lote. In a comment that makes some sketchy assertions, the writer asks:
…I remember a geography lesson many years ago where we were told of the remains of an ancient prince being discovered in a field near Stonnall complete with grave goods – where has this find disappeared to?
I was quite scathing about this at the time, but it seems that they were mostly right, and ask a good question. I’ve learned to be a bit more careful with my own assertions since then…
The paper I feature here is a fully referenced, academic (but easy to read) description of the find, it’s nature and appearance. It was written by David Coombs with an introduction by Lily F. Chetty, O.B.E., F.S.A. In short, it’s everything known about what must have been the first Staffordshire Hoard, and it’s a remarkable thing indeed.
I have scanned the paper in question (and I’m well aware that from the included contents list, some local history types may want others scanning, so just shout up), and I present it here to read and discuss in PDF form.
Here’s part of the section relating to the collection’s disappearance:
The fate both of the objects found and of the original drawings is unknown and enquiries made by Mr. J. T. Gould, F.S.A. (in preparation for his Men of Aldridge, 1957) have so far proved fruitless. ‘Father Frank’ addressed an enquiry on the whereabouts of the hoard to the Birmingham Weekly Post, 9 August 1879, but no reply is recorded. Even in 1824 no owner of the hoard itself was specifically named, neither is it clear whether the actual bronzes were submitted to the Society of Antiquaries or only drawings of them; there is no record that either were exhibited at the meeting of the Society of Antiquaries on 1 April 1824. In 1860, Miss Bracken quotes from correspondence communicated by Major Tennant, but at the end of the list of drawings she states that ‘These are in the possession of Captain Tennant, R.N.’ From William Hamper’s letter it could be inferred that the implements found were the property of William Tennant (of Little Aston, Aldridge, Staffs.) as owner of the estate and that they had been sent by his permission for Dr. Meyrick’s examination. Indeed, from Meyrick’s description of the two ‘cylindrical boxes’ Nos. 10 and 11 , one might assume that he was handling the objects themselves, while in referring to the sword No. 1, he mentions rivet-holes in the hilt of the dagger which are not noted by Hamper; likewise the long ferrules Nos. 5 and 6, ‘the hollow rod of office broken in two.’ His suggestion that specimens should be engraved for the Society of Antiquaries was apparently not followed up.
This is a remarkable paper, and I’m immensely grateful to [Howmuch?] for both spotting it and letting me scan it for you readers. I look forward to the discussion that will hopefully ensue.
I know this will be of use and interest to the Stonnall historians – like the aerial photos featured here previously. Please feel free to download and discuss, but please, Julian, if you want to use it, grow a set of balls and give credit for the origin. Lichfield District Council were good enough to donate the aerial photos you clearly found so useful recently, the least you can do is credit Gareth Thomas who went to the rouble of scanning them and sending them to the blog. Thanks.