Next Talk: 21 September 2017 at Stickford History Group (Stickford Community Centre) 19.30 start time.
‘England’s Vanished Crown Jewels’: Well, the show I was involved in the filming of (in November 2016) was broadcast in the States on 15 March 2017. I watched it on line and it was disappointing in the extreme.
When demonstrating a dredging technique to search for treasure on a possible crossing point of the Wash, the ‘host’ Josh Gates, claimed to find a lead seal, possibly a royal seal and possibly from the period of King John (what are the chances?). However, the location of this segment of film was actually the Little Ouse River near Santon Downham in Thetford Forest, some 50km southeast of the site of the Wellstream Estuary (I know this because it was also the setting of the filming of the carriage and re-enactors used in the programme during which I was present – see photo below).
Mr Gates went to proclaim that the site could therefore be the crossing point in the Wash for the baggage train. One has to ask; was this just ignorance in thinking the whole of East Anglia was formerly the Wash, or was it a blatant lie for the sake of putting on a show of finding some treasure (I know which I think)?
Regrettably, knowing the truth behind that particular misrepresentation casts doubt on the integrity of the whole show, it certainly casts doubt on any authenticity of the supposed seal.
Two more finds of interest were then shown being made by metal detectorists (another seal and a possible buckle pin with a representation of a king’s head on it), but these were uncovered at a very shallow depth, which appeared to be about 8” below field level. With the knowledge that the other find was some what contrived I would have to question the legitimacy of those finds too.
Along with lies about the ‘recent’ discovery of King John’s rolls, I find my self thinking the show was a very poor production indeed and sincerely hope it is never aired in the UK.
TV Documentary Appearance: In November 2016 I was contacted by an American TV company making a documentary about King john’s treasure. The whole process seemed quite hurried and decisions about what to film where seemed a little ‘on the hoof’ but I enjoyed working with them and visiting them filming on location here in the UK. At the end of November they filmed me chatting with the host and it is hoped they’ll include parts of that in the finished show.
Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to disclose the name or content of the show until after it has been aired (which should be April/May 2017 in the States), so can’t say much more about it, other than it was a very interesting experience and something very different form my ‘day job’!
The Swineshead pageant was a great weekend. My partner and I, and a few friends from Lincoln Archers, had great fun ‘losing’ King John’s treasure (in the form of chocolate coins) to the many children of Swineshead! Many thanks to the organisers for inviting me to be king for a day, and to the Transportedarts people for all their work promoting the event, I think it was a great success (and managed to sell a few books).
Swineshead 800 Years celebration: The good folk of Swineshead are holding a mediaeval themed weekend on the 25th and 26th June 2016. The weekend will start with a pageant, commencing at 10.30am and I am most priviledged to have been asked to play King John. I hope to make my role a bit of fun and will be doing a short sketch at the end of the procession about the loss of the treasure and poisoning of the king. There will be falconry, mediaeval pottery demonstrations, the re-enactment group the Knights of Skribeck, traditional archery demonstrations and have-a-go archery and lots of other attractions – all are welcome to come along.
Next Talk: March 21st 2016. I have been invited to do a talk at Frampton West on the 21st March at the church hall behind St Michael’s church (post code is PE20 1QZ for satnavvers). It starts at 7.30pm and I am sure you would be welcome to join the hosts, the Frampton History Group.
2016: This year marks the 800th anniversary of the events in the book. The people of Swineshead are going to mark the occasion with a weekend of mediaeval themed activities. I’ll be there with some of my fellow Lincoln Archers displaying traditional bows and archery (and hope to sell a few books too!).
Upcoming Talks; I have been invited to give illustrated talks on the Lost Treasure at the following venues;- – the Coningsby, Tattershall and District History Society on the 11th November 2015, starting at 7.30pm at the Coningsby Methodist Church. – the Boston Preservation Trust on the 20th November 2015, starting at 7.30pm at Fydell House, Boston. – Vale Probus on the 3rd of December 2015, starting at 2pm at Costessey Park Golf Club, Old Costessey, nr Norwich. I’m sure guests will be welcomed to the first of these two events, if you are interested in attending the third one, please let me know and I will find out from the organisers if guests can come along.
Book Launch update; The launch took place as planned on 15th January 2015 and was very well attended by the good people of Swineshead and surrounding area. My thanks to Sean and Sarah for hosting the event at the Wheatsheaf Hotel, and to Richard Burton for his promotional efforts. Regrettably there were no retailers at the event, but it was an enjoyable evening and my partner and I met some really nice folk with some interesting stories to tell.
Press Coverage: In Dec 2014 the book was reviewed in the Spalding Guardian and the Newark Advertiser, closely followed in January 2015 by the Boston Standard and the Boston Target. On 7th of January, the lovely people at BBC Radio Lincolnshire invited me into the studio for an interview with Melvyn Prior which went out live. I’m always nervous about talking on the radio but Melvyn is very good at putting the interviewee at ease, and I think it all went ok!
Book Launch Advance Advertisement: The Wheatsheaf Hotel at Swineshead have kindly offered to host a book launch for the third edition. The launch will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 15th January 2015.
Feel free to join us for a complimentary glass of wine (or soft drink if you prefer).
Signed copies of the book will be available with a small discount on the normal retail price.