Grittleton Charity Event
18th February 2018
Grittleton 2018 – the Best in the West ?
Whilst Chippenham & District Metal Detecting Club (C&DMDC) is not a large club (12 full members), we like to think we punch well above our weight, due entirely to the energy and commitment of the Committee, the hard work and dedication of the membership, and the almost organisational skills and powers of persuasion of our Chairman, Terry. Securing 80 acres of previously undetected land in such a grand and picturesque setting, then organising and staffing the event from such a small team was nothing short of a minor miracle. Even the rain of the previous week relented in enough time to give almost ideal detecting conditions on the day.
Aware that some participants were travelling from afar a field as Newton Abbott and South Wales, Bev, Paul and Tony made sure that registration (masterfully handled by Lorraine) was accompanied by complimentary hot drinks and biscuits, with sausage baps also available to those needing additional sustenance. The friendliness and camaraderie really set the scene throughout the rest of the day, and even the temporary unavailability of raffle tickets when the first book prematurely sold out didn’t cause too much disruption.
With cars, trucks and vans parked expertly on the House driveway and forecourt and everyone fuelled and registered, it was time to receive the obligatory but light hearted Health & Safety talk given by Andy, and a few words of encouragement from Terry - and then the event was on!
Of course, undetected land comes with no guarantee of quality finds. Of the three fields at our disposal, those nearest the Fosse Way (Roman Road) were probably the most challenging. Visible evidence of ancient pottery and even worked flint soon got the detecting juices flowing, however, whilst they gave up a selection of Georgian and Victorian coins, medieval buckles, a fibula brooch and even a single Roman copper alloy coin, any other non-ferrous treasures remained stubbornly hidden.
But the pasture field behind Grittleton House itself was far more generous. The old coaching path predictably drew most attention, but in reality the finds came from all over the field. As expected from a rural estate setting, coins were prolific - Victorian and Georgian penny’s and farthings being supplemented by a considerable selection of milled silver coins, and some much older hammereds, perhaps originating from the site’s earlier incarnation. A large Roman bronze coin also emerged, and then there were the artefacts - decorated buttons, badges, buckles, a toy cannon, finger rings and numerous other items – finds covering a huge period in history, Roman to present day, all saw the light of day again after their time in the soil.
The owners of the Grittleton House had kindly let us take over the staff kitchen and general breakout area on the ground floor, as well as having use of the indoor toilet facilities. At lunchtime, once again Bev, Paul and Tony rolled up their sleeves and this time served hot soup and crusty rolls, homemade cakes and brownies (all prepared by club members and friends of the club the night before) and additional teas, coffees and cold drinks.
The afternoon session subsided into more careful and methodical detecting, and by about 3.00pm most detectorists had homed in on the pasture field behind the House. But even then detecting was not crowded, and indeed it appeared large areas of the field did not receive a lot of attention.
As the day drew to a close, people gathered in the breakout area for the “raffle of raffles”. Through local support, the club had assembled a fantastic array of prizes, metal detecting related and not - vouchers, books, magazines, detecting accessories, chocolate, cakes and alcohol. Our main sponsors, the smashing people at Unearthed, kindly donated a number of wonderful prizes, including the star prizes - two metal detectors. Terry kicked off the raffle, the first ticket being drawn for the first of the metal detectors. The lucky winner, Brian Langley from the Gwent club, collected his prize, and a flurry of ticket drawing followed, with the other metal detector being saved until last. And in an incredible bit of luck, that final lucky ticket drawn belonged to – Brian Langley again !
The final act was to judge the winning find of the day, this difficult task falling to the landowner’s wife, Katherine. After some careful consideration she chose a Georgian pipe tamp, found by Pete Whitney of Swindon Artifact Searchers. Pete was delighted, and received a tasteful glass trophy and a bottle of wine.
As well as thanking all the C&DMDC members and friends for their support, Grittleton House for the use of their facilities and all our sponsors for providing fantastic raffle prizes, our heartfelt gratitude goes to the landowner, without whose previous objection to metal detecting (and Terry’s subsequent hard work converting him), none of this would have been possible. And finally, a word of praise to our nominated charity, the Air Ambulance, who have touched many of our lives indirectly and sometimes directly, and without whom our rural communities would be at a distinct disadvantage.
Written by Peter Amer
Photos by Richie Bennett
"On behalf of the 5 of us that came down to the Grittleton event from Newton Abbot I'd like to extend our thanks. We all had a great day, the organisation was superb and fellow detectors and Marshals all very friendly."
Newton Abbot & District MDC
"Thanks again for an excellent day and great organisation."
Severn Vale Historical Research And Detecting Society
"Many thanks to the Marshals they all did a great job. Do you know they even gave lifts from the sites back to the house? Very grateful, altogether a very successful event."
Swindon Artefact Searchers
"The Swindon artefact searchers would like to thank all concerned with planning and running the event..."
Swindon Artefact Searchers
"Thanks for the invite on Sunday I had a great day."
"I just wanted to write to thank you very much for the great day we had. We have to say how well organised the dig was and what a fabulous venue. Not only that everyone was so helpful and welcoming, it was great to be greeted with a cup of tea, have lunch provided and toilet facilities..."
Geraldine 'Jellybeans' Deayton
and a final note from andy stanley...
After the Circus has left!
On the Sunday following the Chippenham Event, the Chairman, Treasurer and two others returned to the pasture field. Obviously on the day, they had been too busy to get any chance of detecting themselves. Starting after lunch, as Terry had not got over the shock of getting up early the previous week, it was a bright but cold day. The field is behind the main house and is a lovely location. Grittleton House itself is not of any great age, dating back to Victorian times.
What was missed! Using a Deus and Teknetics machine we had four hours of pleasant detecting. In that time, two Edward 1 hammered pennies were found, also Georgian coins, sixpences and a threepence.There were also buttons, pin fire cartridges and miscellaneous junk. I always think that with many detectors operating in an area, many on the same frequencies they must have some degree of interference, possibly masking signals.
It was re assuring to see that holes had been filled in well, although there were a few with signals still remaining.
Terry likes to give as well as take, and before we had got to the fence to start, he had managed to lose his spade, fortunately quickly found. However, on leaving, he realised he had lost his car keys, this delayed their return home, waiting for duplicate keys to arrive. The keys were found the next day.
Thats how the future detectorist gets his finds!