Terry Herbert - The Staffordshire Hoard

Terry HERBERT was born in 1954 and is an unemployed keen metal detectorist from Burntwood. He has been metal detecting for 18 years. On the 5th July 2009 Terry was to make his biggest find, using a metal detector that he bought at a car boot sale 14 years earlier for £2.50. Before Terry starts a search, he says to himself “Spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear”', but after his find that day he changed the word ‘coins’ to ‘gold’. He was searching an area of farmland in Hammerwich near Burntwood, with the permission of the landowner, Fred JOHNSON, when he discovered a large amount of gold, silver and copper Anglo-Saxon objects, popularly known as the Staffordshire Hoard.


                                     Terry HERBERT                                                                                                                                                                                               Fred JOHNSON

The farm where the discovery was made is near to Barracks Lane, immediately south of Watling Street, and only 2.5 miles (4.0 km) west of the Roman staging post of Letocetum. Watling Street at Wall, was a major Roman road that would have seen continued use in the Anglo-Saxon period. For five days, Terry scanned a small area of the field measuring 5m x 3m with his metal detector and discovered more. objects each day. Fortunately Terry stored the items without cleaning them, preserving their history. He didn't really understand the significance of what he had found until he contacted the right people.


An object from the hoard engraved with a (Miss-spelt in places) biblical inscription which reads..... 'Rise up, O lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate the be driven from thy face'. The Finds Liaison Officer for the Staffordshire and West Midlands Portable Antiquities Scheme was informed. Fred gave permission for an excavation to see if any more objects could be found and work began conducted by Birmingham Archaeology. On 24 September 2009, the coroner for South Staffordshire declared the hoard to be treasure, which meant that it belonged to the Crown, and the discovery was made public. 

The hoard of 1,662 objects is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver found to date. It consists of 712 pieces of gold, 707 pieces of silver, 73 pieces of copper alloy and 93 other materials, weighing up to 5 kg (11 lb) of gold and 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) of silver. All items appear to be military related, as there were no domestic or feminine objects. The hoard was valued by the Treasure Valuatrion Committee at £3.285 million and it was bought jointly by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum Art Gallery following an appeal to raise funds. The sum was paid equally to Terry Herbert and Fred Johnson


The items have been on display at numerous venues but are now permanently on display at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. Around 40 of the 1,662 recovered objects from the Staffordshire (Hammerwich) Hoard were displayed in the Chapter House of Lichfield Cathedral in The Close, Lichfield from Saturday 30th July 2011 until Sunday 21st August 2011. Entry was be free to the 15,000 peole who had requested tickets, and all tickets had been allocated prior to the opening of the event. The hoard was on display in glass exhibition cases for three weeks in the Chapter House. The items were complemented by a display of replica Anglo Saxon helmets and swords. From Lichfield Cathedral, the display moved on to Tamworth Castle. The hoard was displayed between 27th August and 18th September 2011 during the Tamworth Summer Festival. From October 2009 for four months, 100 items from the Hammerwich Hoard were on display in Washington DC. Since then, the items have been displayed all over the world.

Figures recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme managed by the British Museum, show there were 90,146 finds recorded in 2010. This was an increase of more than a third on 2009. Perhaps Terry has inspired new amateur archaeologists to take up metal detecting! In 2012 further excavations were conducted in the immediate area were the hoard was discovered, and other similar objects recovered. Over 4,300 objects have now been recovered with an estimated value of £3,285,000,000