The Wednesbury hoard
Could there be a hoard of gold buried at Wednesbury, undiscovered for nearly a thousand years? Ethelfleda or Æthelflæd was known as the Lady of the Mercians and was a warrior princess who fought against the Vikings. Her younger brother Edward also led the fight against the Vikings throughout Staffordshire and beyond. It is said the hoard of gold now known as the ‘Staffordshire hoard’ belonged to Edward, given to him by their father King Alfred. But what happened to the hoard of his sister, Ethelfleda?
Ethelfleda built a fortress on the site that the parish church, St Bartholomew’s now stands. Wednesbury would have been a tiny village in those days and protected by the fortress and its warrior princess. Wednesbury seems to have been important to those Anglo Saxons and they even named the town after their God of War, Woden. Some people say the stories are a myth, but the street past the church is named after Ethelfleda and there is lots of references in the history of the town to the God, Woden.
They say that a tunnel existed from the fortress on Church Hill to Dudley Castle, but I think that is unlikely because of the terrain. It seems more likely that a lime stone mine acted as an escape tunnel from the fortress should it be overrun. Was the Wednesbury hoard of gold hidden in a lime stone mine?
It would appear after the death of Ethelfleda, they searched for the hoard and the grounds of many houses were searched and dug up. Where were these big houses? There was one, possibly where the school is now, the site of a Manor House in Manor House road. That was a popular site it seems because it had a spring and water was a an important resource in those days.
It seems the River Tame was important to the warrior princess, Ethelfleda. That could be why she built a fortress at Wednesbury and it seems certain that was why she built at Tamworth; where a statute of her now stands outside Tamworth castle.
From her Fortress on the hill she would see the river to the East and the south offering some protection from the invading Vikings. To the south there would be the river too and a ready supply of food in the form of water fowl. The ducks, swans and geese are evident today.
So where did they bury the treasure? Where is the Wednesbury hoard? I suspect that it could be somewhere at Toll End. There was a manor house there and that could be where the limestone mine began when they tunnelled under the fortress. Is the hoard at Toll End in the grounds of where the manor house once stood. It seems that archaeologists’ have excavated Church Hill, Oakswell and other places. The followers of Ethelfleda also searched and found nothing. It must be somewhere no one has looked!
With the technology of today, metal detectors and ground radar. Is it only a matter of time before someone, who cares to look, finds the Wednesbury hoard and a fortune in gold? But who will look?
There are more amazing blogs on the Home Page. Whether you’re treasure hunting or not today, have a great day. The sun’s shining and it bodes well on this first day of April for a month that is unseasonable warm, like last year.
- Wednesbury History in brief (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- I live in Wednesbury (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Black Country humour (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Neodigital Art | Changing scenes (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- The Black Country inferiority complex (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Neodigital Art | Apertures (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- Neodigital Art | A cold wet Monday (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- A chosen people? (mike10613.wordpress.com)