Morecambe metal detectorist finds 800-year-old coin in Carnforth field

Eight hundred years ago, a coin was dropped in a field near Carnforth, only to be found recently by an off-duty charge nurse from Morecambe.

By Louise Bryning
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 5:58 pm

Matthew Hepworth has been a keen metal detectorist for three decades but the hammered silver Short Cross Penny he discovered is only the second of that type which he has found in all that time.

“I knew exactly what it was when I dug it up,” said Matthew, who lives in Bare.

“It was near a gateway to a field I’ve visited before so I must have walked over it countless times. It just goes to show what you can miss.”

The silver Short Cross Penny dating back to 1222-1236.

The coin, minted in Canterbury during Henry III’s reign, dates back to between 1222-1236 and is quite an early coin to be found in the local area.

Although Matthew’s main purpose for metal detecting is to save heritage, the coin is probably worth between £100-£150 and, should he want to sell it, he would share the proceeds with the landowner even though single coins are not covered by the Treasure Act. However, all historical finds are reported to Lancashire and Cumbria’s finds liaison officer.

Matthew has had quite a run of luck with discoveries in the past few years and just last week found an Iron Age brooch.

“I’ve always been interested in history and got into metal detecting when I was 16. It’s nice to research items I’ve found, it paints a picture of the past,” said Matthew, who’s a member of Lune Valley Detecting Club.

The silver Short Cross Penny from the reign of Henry III.

However, his detecting isn’t just confined to historic artefacts, he has helped to reunite people with their sentimental items too. He’s found wedding rings on Morecambe beach and the Vale of Lune rugby pitch and a diamond ring which had been lost in someone’s garden.

Matthew also uses metal detecting as a form of exercise and it provides plenty of fresh air for the charge nurse, who has been working on the respiratory ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary during the Covid pandemic.

Matthew Hepworth with one of his latest finds.