The Cheapside Hoard

I’ve just got back from a very interesting lecture on “The Cheapside Hoard – A World Encompassed”, organised by the City of London Archaeological Society, and delivered by Hazel Forsyth, a Senior Curator at the Museum of London, and the author of “The Cheapside Hoard – London’s Lost Jewels”, published by the MoL.

Stafford intaglio - dating evidence for the Cheapside Hoard

Stafford intaglio – dating evidence for the Cheapside Hoard

The Hoard, of some 500 precious and semi-precious jewels and items of jewelry from all around the world, was discovered in a cellar in “Goldsmiths’ Row” in Cheapside in 1912.  It includes an agate cameo of Elizabeth I dating to around 1600; two watches, one set inside an exquisitely –  and extremely skilfully – cut Colombian emerald, dating to 1600-1620; and a carnelian intaglio  bearing the arms of William Howard, First Viscount Stafford, dating to sometime  after his ennoblement in 1640.

It tells us a great deal about London on the eve of the English Civil War as a centre of world trade, craftsmanship,  conspicuous consumption and ostentation – but  leaves tantalisingly unanswered the question of who buried it, and why he or she never returned to recover it …

Readers may be interested to know that there is currently an associated exhibition on “The Cheapside Hoard” at the MoL.   Mike Paterson of the London Historians has written a review of it on the LH web-site, link below:

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