Friday, 30 December 2011

The Yearby Hoard (NZ600210)

In 1954, the sleepy hamlet of Yearby, a little to the south of Redcar, hit the headlines when the remains of two ceramic vessels were unearthed during ploughing. The pottery was nothing more than rather coarse seventeenth century tableware, but what was contained within caused a bit of a stir: a total of 1,197 silver coins dating from 1551-1697.

The find was quickly declared as ‘Treasure Trove’ and packed off to the British Museum – though I understand the hoard is now held by the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough.  The question is: what was it doing under a farmer’s field in Cleveland?

The general consensus seems to be that it was an illegally acquired ‘stash’ of some kind – possibly connected to the activities surrounding a former landmark thereabouts. For a large and ancient pigeon cote once adorned the hamlet*, and this would have been used to breed and house birds for the sport of shooting. The theory goes that at one such gathering of the local gentry, some local thief may have made off with a ‘gambling pot’, hid it … then lost it!

More amusing Yearby yarns can be perused here (upon part of which the above article was based).

* I understand this building has now been demolished – can anyone confirm this? Or does it still exist? Is the dovecote shown here a modern incarnation?


  1. Hello-The dovecote is a modern building and was erected as a garden structure/ornament.Sadly, the original pigeon cote was bulldozed by a local farmer.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, 'Anonymous'.