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Buried Treasure in Husborne Crawley

The church from the south-east January 2011
The church from the south-east January 2011

A strange thing happened at Husborne Crawley in 1228 when assorted pieces of gold and other valuables were dug up in the churchyard whilst digging at grave. The account is translated thus in Bedfordshire Historical Records Society volume III of 1916 by the first County Archivist, George Herbert Fowler: "Concerning the finding of treasure. It happened on Saint Stephen's day [26th December] after that the Justices departed from Bedford that when Roger Crudel and Stephen son of Gilbert had made by night a certain grave to bury a certain corpse in the graveyard of Husseborne, they found a certain brazen plate and under the plate a certain earthen pot, and in the pot six plates of gold and one chain of gold and one cross partly of gold and partly of silver and two brooches of gold. And these are weighed: and the weight of the brooches is thirty six shillings six pence, the weight of the six plates and of one brooch and of [a certain?] piece of gold six shillings, the weight of the chain four shillings two pence. And the cross is viewed, and there are two pieces partly of gold and partly of silver, the weight of which with small pieces is fourteen shillings two pence". A total of £3/0/10 – a very considerable sum.

This treasure, if reference to a cross was accurate, is not likely to have been much more than five hundred years old or so at that time and might, of course, have been very much more recent and might either have been the proceeds of a robbery of have been hidden during turbulent times, such as the years of Viking raids (the boundary of the Danelaw ran in a straight line from Luton to Bedford) or during the difficult year of 1066 and immediately thereafter. At any rate the material was declared treasure trove and used by King Henry III to found a new hospital in Dover.