Could a pot found in Fens 40 years ago be part of King John’s treasure?

Lew Gray and (pictured) Alan have an archeological discovery that was found in the Fens, close to wh

Lew Gray and (pictured) Alan have an archeological discovery that was found in the Fens, close to where King John's treasure is thought to have gone missing. Picture: Ian Burt

Through the centuries it has been a legend every bit as murky as the muddy waters of the Wash.

Lew Gray with the pot which will now be examined by experts. Picture: Ian Burt

Lew Gray with the pot which will now be examined by experts. Picture: Ian Burt

Now, 800 years on, could we really be closer to solving one of Britain’s greatest unsolved mysteries – the whereabouts of the treasure lost by King John while crossing the Fens in 1216?

A new tantalising clue has been unearthed, and with it a saga worthy of a medieval chronicle.

Two workmen believe they may have come across the missing haul while carrying out excavation work as part of an engineering project during the 1970s.

At the time, they were only able to recover one pot, before the rest of it was covered over by colleagues.

Portrait of King John. Picture supplied by Stories of Lynn.

Portrait of King John. Picture supplied by Stories of Lynn. - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


Now, four decades later, the pair – Lew Gray and Alan Rowe – remain convinced of the authenticity of their find and are to hand it over to a Norfolk museum to have it dated and identified. They hope others will get involved in the project, if the test results are positive.

Mr Gray, 77, from Downham Market said: “I remember the day we found this pot very well. I said to Alan when he picked me up for work that morning ‘We’re going to find King John’s treasure today, Alan’. The strange thing is, the more I think about it, I really think we may have come across the king’s carts from the baggage train.

Most Read

“We went our separate ways after the job finished, and I was thinking about our find and everything came back to me. I phoned Alan and asked what happened to that old pot – and he found it in his garage.”

He added: “It would be wonderful to get archaeologists back to the site to see if we really had come across something. The legend behind the treasure and where we found it match up.”

Fields around West Walton, Norfolk. Picture: Steve Williams,

Fields around West Walton, Norfolk. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

Mr Gray and Mr Rowe, 67, who lives in Shouldham, were part of a team building a sewerage network when they came across the spot. They were using specialist equipment to dig a deep hole on land near West Walton and heard a loud crunch around 18ft down.

Water shot into the air and the workmen thought they had hit a bog oak. But they also found pieces of pottery, including the pot which is being identified. Mr Rowe said: “All sorts of pieces were laying about but we had to move on from that site so other guys could come in and sort out the problem. When we went back, it had been cleared up.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter