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Plantagenet coins and tales of the Great War

History Exhibition at Victory Hall, Balcombe. Bernard and Hilary Ede with the 14c jug and coins that were found by Bernards ancestors in Balcombe. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140305-145740001

History Exhibition at Victory Hall, Balcombe. Bernard and Hilary Ede with the 14c jug and coins that were found by Bernards ancestors in Balcombe. Pic Steve Robards SUS-140305-145740001

Reminders of the blood-thirsty era of the Plantagenet kings went on display at an exhibition that attracted nearly 230 people at the weekend.

Coins that were minted between 1272 and 1339 in the time of Edward 1, Edward 11, Edward 111 and Richard 11 were part of the Balcombe History Society event at the World War One commemorative Victory Hall on Saturday.

The coins were in the haul of 742 silver and 12 gold coins that were found in the 19th century buried in a bronze water jug in a field in Balcombe by a workman called James Jenkins.

The jug, which was dated to the 14th century and had one of its legs missing, contained the coins wrapped up in a piece of canvas cloth.

They were known as nobles, groats, half-groats, pennies and half pennies and an inquest held at the Half Moon pub at the time declared them as treasure trove.

Some are now in the British Museum while others have been sold but those on display are in the private collection of Hilary and Bernard Ede from Kent, the modern day ancestors of Mr Jenkins.

The so-called ‘Balcombe find’ was only one of the attractions at the exhibition staged by the Balcombe History Society, membership of which has grown to 150 in the five years since it was founded.

Other exhibits included a collection of World War One medals, which had been lent to the society, plus albums of photographs, newspaper cuttings and other documentation of buildings, places and people from the village, many compiled by former parish council chairman Joan Dutton MBE.

Army veteran Lieutenant Colonel Harry Malthouse, who was born in Balcombe in 1923, the year the Victory Hall was opened, and who has lived there all his life, was on duty selling copies of his publication entitled ‘Some Memories of Shops and Businesses in Balcombe in the 1930s’.

The event was also the launch pad for a new book written by three society members: Roy Bliss. Jasmine Waters and Richard Davison.

Entitled ‘Balcombe at War 1914-1918’, it documents the men from the village who served in the Great War including their ages, where they were born and lived and their occupations before the war.

A main tranche of the book is the information discovered by the authors of the lives of the 43 men who died in service during the conflict, including where they died and where they are remembered.

Four Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones can be seen in the churchyard of Balcombe’s parish church of St Mary’s.

More than 100 copies of ‘Balcombe at War’ have been sold so far, the majority on Saturday, and inquiries about how to obtain a copy (price £5 + postage) can be made by email to Roy Bliss at royshirleyb@btinternet.com.

More information on Balcombe History Society and its programme of events is available on the village website at www.balcombevillage.co.uk

History society chairman Alan Dearden said members were delighted with the support for Saturday’s exhibition and the interest shown in its work and aims.

He said: “We have had more than 220 people through the doors today and they are still coming in.

“There is a lot of interest in the history of this area, especially this year, which marks the commemoration of World War One. We have a display of World War One medals, which have been loaned to us, and we have had the presence today of the Balcombe haul of coins, which I doubt will be on display again.”

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