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The Colchester Hoards of English Silver Pennies (Buried c.1237 - c.1278)
Two thirteenth century hoards from Colchester High Street and the empty container of a third.
Two coin hoards and another possible empty container of a third hoard have all been found within a 20m square area along High Street in Colchester, Essex between 1902 and 2000. The first hoard (Colchester 1) was discovered in the back garden of 25 high Street, on July 5th, 1902. It consisted of 11,000 - 12,00 English silver short cross pennies and contemporary Scottish and Irish issues buried in a lead vessel; the closing date was c.1237. The second hoard (Colchester 2) was discovered within the same house plot in 1969. It consisted of 14,065 silver pennies buried in a lidded lead canister, mainly of the English voided long cross type alongside contemporary Scottish and Irish issues. The majority of the coins were struck before 1256, with a few additional coins added 16 to 22 years later, giving a date of deposition of around 1278. Close by the find spots of the two hoards, an empty lead container was discovered in 2000 along with a single voided long cross penny, struck 1247-1248. It has been postulated that this container held another hoard of similar nature to the other two, that was  recovered in the medieval period.
 
Were the hoards the property of Colchester's Jewish Community?
The Colchester hoards are likely to have been the property of a Jewish financier. Moreover, their non-recovery maybe directly connected to the pogroms of the late thirteenth century that culminated in the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. It is known from contemporary documentary evidence that several stone houses belonging to the Jewish community stood on the site where the hoards were found in the 1270's. Moreover, the deposition date of the Colchester II hoard would seem to tie in very well with the pogrom of 1278, when many Jews were arrested and executed, as result of Edward I's 1275 "Statutum de Judaismo,". Whilst there is no absolute proof connecting the deposition and non-recovery of what were then very large amounts of money, the connection with Colchester's Jewish community is indeed a very likely one.
 
Reference:
Brooks, H; Crummy, N; Archibald, M, "A Medieval Lead Canister from Colchester High Street: Hoard Container, or Floor Safe?",  Medieval Archaeology, 2004, pp. 131-142(12)