Monday, July 22, 2024

Essex Freemasons want you to check for buried treasure in Thurrock


ESSEX Freemasons are appealing to landowners across the County to help with a massive and offbeat fund raising initiative in a bid to raise money for dozens of local charities and potentially uncover buried treasure at the same time.

Landowners are needed who are willing to allow supervised individuals with metal detectors to use their fields or pastures for a one day or weekend event. No payment would be offered to local farmers but in the event of a major find they would qualify for 50% of the value of any discovery.

“Freemasons in Essex donate around £1 million every year to local charities and we are always looking for new, innovative and fun ways to raise money,” said Colin Felton, Provincial Grand Charity Steward. “If we can find landowners willing for us to use their fields then we will invite members of the National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD) and the Federation of Independent Detectorists (FID) to search for valuable and historic finds.”

“Their members have public liability insurance so that the landowner is protected at all times in the event of any problem. They will also provide Marshalls to ensure the attendees are properly supervised. Members will pay a fee to the charity to search on the land, which is how we shall raise money but it cannot work unless landowners are willing to help and if they can I would be grateful if they could e-mail me at to find out more”

Such is the level of responsibility that the organisers concerned will also forewarn Natural England about any planned events to ensure that all the requirements of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme are met if any farmers or landowners have registered their land under the scheme

Finds with a potential value of under £500 would remain the sole property of the finder but, in the event that an item exceeds that value the balance would be split with the landowner. Additionally, if an item of potential treasure or a hoard is found then the laws of Treasure Trove or Treasure Act 1996 are automatically triggered.

This is the law of the land and cannot be circumvented. Usually the value such finds is split between the finder and landowner which could run to hundreds of thousand so of pounds. The recent Staffordshire hoard benefitted the finder and landowner by over £1.5m each!

The events would be run under the auspices of Essex Freemasons with no additional costs to the landowner. Assurance has also been given that any rubbish will be collected and taken away at the end of the day or weekend – depending on the length of the event.

So are you a local landowner and can you help?




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