Rothbury and Coquetdale History Society

DETECTING HISTORY: Ian Glendinning showed members of Rothbury and Coquetdale History Society how metal detecting in Coquetdale over many years has revealed not only how ordinary people lived but how they were impinged upon by very many of the national and international events in history from the Neolithic to the 20th century.

Using PowerPoint, we saw Neolithic flints, a Bronze Age gold ring, an Iron Age/early Roman occupation two-horse chariot ring, a Roman period bell (often used to hang outside houses to ward off evil spirits), a gold coin minted in 1415 in Calais (the same year as Agincourt), a heraldic harness pendant thought to be linked to the Norman Conquest, one of the measuring weights introduced by Charles I or II (the first attempt to regularise merchants), a lead gunpowder flask from Cromwell’s New Model Army, Selby and Clennell families’ servants’ livery buttons, very many trouser buttons from clothes tailored by GR Turnbull of Harbottle (Tapestry Cottage), many metal shoe buckles and weights for spinning, often found in out-of-the-way places.

We saw samples of coin collections which reflect not only the history of the valley, but the history of coin minting through the ages, some from Newcastle and Berwick.

They were made of various metals, which reflected the rises and falls of wealth of the country, or, the need for the metals elsewhere.

He thought that the finds showed that the valley had been well populated, settled and confident following the horrors of the Reiver period.

Ian told us, however, that metal detecting and artefact spotting can be a tedious occupation, requiring very sharp eyes and faith, as almost all finds are very small and unrecognisable when first found, with the exception of flint and gold.

At the next talk, the subject will be the Northumbrian language and its dialect with the speaker Kim Bibby-Wilson. It is on tomorrow at the Jubilee Hall, Rothbury, at 7.30pm, all welcome (visitors £2).