The Roseberry Hoard

1826, George IV is on the throne and the Stockton and Darlington Railway is just one year old. Airey Holme Farm including Roseberry Topping is under the ownership of George Jackson of Stokesley. An agricultural labourer is under instruction to clear away rocks and rough vegetation on the slope below the summerhouse prior to ploughing so as to increase the area of cultivated land. In the photo this would be before the tree and to the left near the old hedge line.

In a cleft in the rock the labourer sees something shining and discovers a collection of bronze objects. This was to become known as the Roseberry Hoard. George Jackson recognises them as being valuable but having no interest in antiquities just stores them. By all accounts the hoard consists of about twenty pieces, axe heads, gouges, a two piece mould and a curved knife; and since dated to the end of the Bronze Age, about 700 BC. It is not unusual to find hoards like this. Yorkshire alone has recorded 40 or so, out of over a 100 in the whole of Britain and Ireland. It is speculated that the hoard was hidden for safekeeping but never recovered possibly because new technology had arrived, iron. Maybe the bronze smith, who may have been an itinerant worker, came to grief before he could pass his knowledge onto his son.

So after some years Mr Jackson passes the hoard onto a William Nicholson of Egglesciffe who eventually sells 9 pieces to a Thomas Bateman of Derbyshire. Bateman is building a collection of antiquities which is purchase when he dies by Sheffield Museum. The whereabouts of the missing pieces is unknown. And that’s why the Roseberry Hoard is now in the Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. I know how the Greeks feel about the Elgin Marbles now.

Locally we have to be content with a replica set of the hoard. This is in the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough.

The photo was taken in the first light of the morning sun from near the summerhouse looking south toward Cliff Ridge.


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