Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Staffordshire Hoard millionaires in secret feud

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The metal detectorist who found the so-called Staffordshire Hoard (Terry Herbert) in a muddy field at Hammerwich, near Brownhills, on July 5 in 2009 and the landowner, (farmer Eric Johnson) are reported to be having a feud over the division of the Treasure payment (Adam Aspinall,'Staffordshire Hoard millionaires in secret feud', Sunday Mercury, Mar 20 2011). The rift reportedly began when Mr Herbert revealed a desire to search for more treasure on Mr Johnson’s land:
Fred, 67, labelled Terry ‘greedy’ and blasted: ‘‘I never want to see that fella on my land ever again – he’s banned. “I wish I‘d never met the man. It has caused me nothing but bother, all this.’’ [...] When the Sunday Mercury asked the farmer about the feud last week he exploded: “I’m fed up of him (Terry)! “To be honest I got fed-up of him from the start, I was fed up of his greed. ‘‘From the moment he found the Hoard all he wanted to talk about was how much money we were going to get for it and that, no matter what, we do we shouldn’t accept the first offer. “I couldn’t have cared less. ‘‘I wish I’d never let him on my land in the first place and I wish I had never met the man. It has caused me nothing but bother all of this. ‘It’s not like we were ever friends anyway, he was just very persistent so I let him on my land. “When I think of all the people who could have found that Hoard over the years and might have benefited from the money that came with it..." [...] When the Sunday Mercury asked the metal detectorist about the bad blood with the farmer, he could not hide his disappointment – and claimed money was at the root of it. He said: “Five years before I dug on that field I was warned off it because I was told Fred would want all of anything that was found.[...] “It’s a real shame Fred won’t let me on the fields any more because I am convinced there is more to be found on the site, but no one will listen to me,’’ he said. ‘‘I know for a fact there’s a lot more stuff to be found on those fields and if Fred just let people on to his fields they would eventually find it, and he’d be able to share in half the money again. “Even the archaeologists would not listen to me, even though I found artefacts 100 yards from where they investigated.
Narsty archies eh? They would not listen, but I bet the night'awks are. Note the treasure hunter stresses that if Farmer Brown would allow more people on his land he could share the munny, not find ("save") more 'istry.

See also David Wilkes, 'Sometimes I wish I'd never found that hoard': How sharing £3m find of Saxon gold led to a bitter feud', Daily Mail 22nd March 2011.

Hat tip to 'Mo' for drawing both articles to my attention.

5 comments:

heritageaction said...

Apart from the Gollumicity, this quote by the detectorist struck me -

"“Personally, I think he SHOULD have been given all the money from the Hoard, but I don’t make the law do I?’’

Ummm.... hand your share over then old sport. There's no law says you can't!

Paul Barford said...

just so there is clarity here, the metal detectorist quite clearly does not know the law. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/24/section/10
the law of course does not dictate anything of the kind.

Mo said...

I think that Fred has some friends that are upset that they did not get a look in. There was an article in the local rag some time ago and a friend of Fred's was speaking about missing out on the hoard.

This could be why Fred did not want any publicity and why he won't let Terry on his land.

Mo said...

Below is a comment made by Rita Madeley from an old article in the Sunday Times. There was a larger article in the local paper.

"Rita Madeley, Mr Johnson’s lifelong friend, said the find could have been hers had Mr Herbert not investigated the field first. “I was going to do that field next year, when I retired,” she said. “I’d sorted out my metal detector, which I bought years ago when I lost a ring in my garden. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it?” "

Mo said...

Paul,

You were right about night hawks targeting Fed Johnson's fields.

I guess that is why he is making the statement that there is no gold in his fields. (see article below).
http://www.sundaymercury.net/news/midlands-news/2011/03/27/staffordshire-hoard-farmer-denies-there-is-more-gold-in-his-field-66331-28409310/

I wonder whether these farmers fully understand the implications of letting detectorists loose on their land.

There certainly seems to be a sense of entitlement amongst the detectorists that there is an automatic 50/50 split.

My understanding is that any find belongs to the landowner subject to the Treasure Act.

I suppose that if they enter into an agreement then the proceeds would be shared but are the farmers aware of the law? Is this 50/50 split something that is being sold to them by the detectorists.

Reading previous articles about the hoard I wonder if Fred Robinson can read and write as he made a comment when asked to sign a guest book. If this is the case then I doubt that he was aware of the law and I wonder if any written agreement was in place.

 
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