King John’s Treasure


king johnIt was briefly reported the other day that while digging for dams on the sand banks at Gedney Drove End, the fringe of the Wash a few miles from King’s Lynn, Wisbech publican at the latter end of last year found, about eighteen inches below the surface, a cup, which he believed to be of no value, took it home and threw it amongst the timber.

Further particulars published in to-day’s Daily Chronicle show that the publican gave no further thought his find until last week, when in the course of removal to another residence the relic came to the notice of Mr. H. Tann, a builder, who was carrying out some repairs at the house. ”You’ve got a funny old thing there,” said Mr. Tann to the publican. ” What do you want for it?”

He offered a shilling for the soil-stained cup, and this was accepted. Mr Tann noticed at time thai the cup was beautifully chased, but he was unaware of its value, and carelessly threw it into a cart with some lumber and told his men to take it home for him.

Two days later Mr. Tann, in a spare moment, took the cup and attempted to remove some the filth from it. The cup appeared be made of silver, and thinking that possibly it might be of some value he took it to a jewellers to ask his opinion. Much to his surprise the jeweller offered Mr. Tann a substantial sum for tne relic silver, but the builder did not part with it, and the cup is now awaiting further investigation.

It is firmly believed that the cup formed part of the treasure lost by King John, as it was a spot which was believed to be in the direct track taken by the Monarch and his followers their fateful journey.

The cup underwent thorough examination on Saturday, and a date 1162 was found very plainly marked on the cup, which stands about eight high, and weight slightly over 2 1/2 lb. Although tarnished and green, the cup is seen bo richly ornamented. The vessel, apparently a loving-cup, is handsome in shape and design, and is chased with lions’ heads and scroll work in repousse silver. The treasure considerable national importance, continues the Daily Chronicle.

King John was retreating from the French with his army into Lincolnshire, and during the march from King’s Lynn over the sands the Wash the army was , overtaken by the tide, and the Royal crown, regalia, the archives the kingdom, and many valuables were lost.

The announcement will of particular interest to Nottinghamshire antiquarians, for it was at a meeting the Thoroton Society, held a few weeks ago that Mr. John Hope, the famous archaeologist propounded the theory that, King John’s treasure, which believed to have included the Crown jewels, was recoverable. Mr. Hope suggested that shafts should be sunk the neighbourhood of Sutton Bridge, his belief. founded on close measurement and calculations of tides, being that it was this spot, long since converted into dry land, that the Royal disaster occurred.

At that period this portion of the Wash abounded with quicksands, beneath which were many feet of silt, and Mr. Hope contended that the heavy baggage train would go on sinking until it became embedded the lower strata.

Source: Nottingham Evening Post – Monday 23 April 1906


A London syndicate has been formed for the purpose of trying to discover King John’s treasure —including the crown and regalia —which was lost in what was then the Wash. The land has since been reclaimed. It is believed that the Royal property disappeared in a journey from King’s Lynn to Crowland.

Source: Nottingham Evening Post – Saturday 25 April 1914


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