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22 July 2024

Dorset Couple Unearths 17th-Century Treasure Hoard During Kitchen Renovation

By E247

Renovating a kitchen can be a costly endeavor, but for Betty and Robert Fooks from Dorset, it turned out to be a highly profitable one. While renovating their farmhouse, they stumbled upon an unexpected windfall: over **1,000 17th-century coins** concealed beneath the kitchen floor.

Robert Fooks, an agricultural engineer, made the remarkable discovery when he was removing the concrete floor to create more ceiling height. Hidden within a smashed glazed pottery bowl were these ancient coins, dating back 400 years.

The Fooks promptly reported their find to the local finds liaison officer, who sent the treasure to the British Museum for cleaning and identification. Known as the **'Poorton coin hoard'**, these coins are now slated for auction at Duke’s auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, with an estimated value of around **£35,000**.

Betty Fooks, an NHS health visitor, shared her excitement: “Our house is centuries old, so there was plenty of work to be done. As we stripped away floors and ceilings, revealing the original stone walls, we decided to lower the ground floor for more ceiling space."

"One evening," she continued, "while I was with the children, my husband was digging with a pickaxe. He called out to say they’d found something extraordinary. He gathered all the coins into a bucket. Had we not lowered the floor, they might still be hidden there. I imagine the original owner intended to retrieve them but never had the chance.”

The hoard, discovered in October 2019, boasts an assortment of coins, including James I and Charles I gold coins, silver half crowns, shillings, and sixpences. Additionally, there are silver shillings and sixpences from the reigns of Elizabeth I and Philip and Mary.

Julian Smith, a specialist at Duke’s auctioneers, shed light on the historical context: “The cottage, nestled in a small hamlet in west Dorset, is a 17th-century long-house. The current owners purchased the property in 2019 and embarked on an extensive renovation project. During this process, the modern concrete floor was removed, and the ground was excavated nearly 2 feet deeper, revealing this remarkable treasure.