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Britains Viking Treasure Hoard

Updated on August 22, 2013

The Cuerdale Hoard

The Cuerdale Hoard is a bigger find than the Vale of York hoard of 2007. The Cuerdale hoard is a hoard of more than 8,600 items including silver coins and gold bullion. It was discovered in May 1840 on the south bank of the River Ribble. the area it was found in is called Cuerdale and it is on the outskirts of the city of Preston, England.

The Cuerdale Hoard is the largest Viking silver hoard ever found outside of Russia ( Russian hoards are usually huge due to the Rus Vikings trade with the Muslim world back in the time period of 800-1100 A.D ). This find in Preston exceeds any hoard found in the Viking homeland of Scandinavia or any other western areas settled and colonized by the Vikings.

Viking Hoard
Viking Hoard

It is believed that the collection of coin's were buried in the early part of the tenth century AD ( possibly between 903 and 910 AD, It is thought the Vikings had been expelled from Dublin in or around 902 AD. At this point in history the Ribble Valley was an important Viking trade route between the Irish Sea and The Viking stronghold of Jorvik.

The presence of large numbers of newly minted Norse coins from Jorvik and large amounts of Irish Viking bullion has lead many people to assume that this may have been a war chest or spoils of war belonging to Irish Vikings in exile. What it was doing buried in the area is still a mystery to this day, maybe the exiles were intending to use the treasure to finance a campaign to reoccupy Dublin and the rest of their former lands. Maybe the Viking exiles felt that in the safety of the Ribble Estuary they could organize their fleets and supplies to reconquer their land.

During the Viking Age, similar vessels where common in British waters.
During the Viking Age, similar vessels where common in British waters.

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The actual hoard was discovered by workmen at Hall Farm, Cuerdale. a total of 1,000 oz (31 kg) of silver ingots and a large amount of Anglo-Saxon coins were found in a lead chest. The local folklore had spoken of its existence. Anyone who stood on the south bank of the River Ribble at Walton le Dale, and looked up river towards Ribchester, would be within sight of the richest treasure in England. Nobody knew how the tradition had originated or how old it was. Nobody knew what the treasure might consist of, or precisely where it might lie. The skeptical locals took great delight in the efforts of the diviners, the diviners paced the riverside meadows, with their divining rods in hands. The local legend was thought to be a red herring, or something to entertain the children. But one evening in 1840 the long-standing fiction was found out to be a very real and precious fact.



The hoard was found by a group of workmen repairing the embankment of the river. It was in a lead box, which shows evidence of the hoard having been parcelled into small bags or packages. After discovery it was quickly recovered by the landowner's bailiffs, ensuring it remained together, though the workmen managed to keep a coin each. The remainder was declared as Treasure Trove and was handed to the Monarch of England Queen Victoria, who also held the title Duke of Lancaster. The Duchy of Lancaster passed on the find to the British Museum in London. This is where the bulk of it remains today, although around 60 items selected from the hoard are held and displayed by a museum in Oxford.



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    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

      I love Viking history but I'm about 100 years behind you.

      Brian Boru is said to have expelled the Vikings from Ireland in or about the year 1000. First Limerick and then Dublin were retaken as I vaguely recall. Brian Boru was married to the ex-wife of a Dublin Viking King and he was murdered by her son. Cheers.

    • Asp52 profile image

      Asp52 7 years ago from England

      Both the Vikings and the Saxons have maybe left a small fortune in grave goods and bounty buried in the English ground.Its there just waiting to be discovered!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 7 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Vikings and buried treasure. Great stuff!

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Very Interesting!