A schoolgirl has discovered a 1,000-year-old coin from the time of William the Conqueror – in her school playground.
Year 9 pupil Vilte spotted what she first thought was a 5p coin but was stunned to learn she’d unearthed buried medieval treasure from a millennium ago.
The 13-year-old had been in the playground with friends one break time when she made the discovery on a strip of grass at Winstanley School in Braunstone, Leics.
With help from her history teacher, she discovered it was a penny from the time of William the Conqueror, dating back to around 1069.
It is believed the historic coin may have been disturbed when workmen dug up and replaced a lamppost on the school grounds last summer.
Vilte said she picked up what she thought was a five-pence piece but noticed it was much lighter and the markings were unfamiliar so took it to her teachers.
She told the BBC: “I was just talking to some friends and it caught my eye on the floor so I sort of picked it up.
“I took it to my history teacher’s room and said ‘do you know anything about this coin, because it looks really strange, and is definitely not your ordinary coin?’
“He started Googling about it and researching and we found it dated back to quite a long time ago.
“It was really shocking. You don’t expect to find that in your school, you know. It was just a little bit of a surprise.”
Headteacher Dave Bennett said the school had the coin’s identity confirmed by experts at Leicestershire County Council.
He said: “When Vilte found it we knew it was some interest and then when we did some more research it was verified it was from that time.
“Then we tried to work out why it was there and why Vilte had found it and nobody else had noticed it.
“We had just had some building work done, with a telegraph pole lifted out and back in, and it must have come from that.
“But for Vilte to find it, most people would have just ignored it I think.
“You think maybe you’d find something from the 1960s but to find something 1,000 years old is just amazing.
“At the moment it’s in the safe, but we don’t think it should stay there. We’d like it to be displayed in a museum with Vilte’s story.”
Samantha Curtis, from the school, added: “We believe that the coin was disturbed by some construction work which had been carried out, and was probably unearthed with some of the mud.
“Vilte found the coin in amongst the grass which makes finding it even more remarkable.
“We have spoken to various agencies for advice, Team Manager for Heritage at Leicestershire County Council said that the coin would have been a considerable loss for whoever had dropped it, probably from a pocket or coin purse, for a farm laborer or worker at the time it would have been of high value.
“At the time when the coin was in circulation, the school site would have been agricultural land or forest not far from the ancient settlement of Braunstone.
“Our location is close to the Fosse Way, a popular route for people traveling from Leicester to other locations.
“We hope that a local museum might be interested in the coin for one of their collections, with Vilte being credited for its discovery.
“But we are still currently seeking the best outcome so that the coin can be preserved in the correct atmospheric conditions to prevent corrosion.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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