Henry VIII sovereign found by Kempston metal detector

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A Henry the Eighth sovereign penny has been unearthed in Kempston by a local metal detecting enthusiast.

Keith White began ‘detecting’ almost a year ago after being inspired by TV series ‘The Detectorists’.

Experts say that the sovereign could have been in the Bedfordshire field, where it was found by Keith, for more than 450 years.

Keith hopes to work with the Kempston History Society and would like to search the area on behalf of Kempston Town Council to see what else can be found.

He feels if he was doing it on behalf of the council, he would have a better response from landowners allowing him to search.

Keith said: “Metal detecting is not really about ‘treasure hunting’ as some people call it, it’s really about finding interesting items of history and rescuing them from the soil beneath our feet.

“It’s amazing to think that this sovereign penny was just five inches down in a Bedfordshire field after more than 450 years.

“The thing that makes detecting difficult, is you must always have the land owner’s permission to search.

“There is a law which says items of gold must be declared to the coroner or local museum, and then there is the Portable Antiquities Scheme which records finds like the Sovereign Penny and adds them to a national data base.”

Keith joined a local metal detecting club, the A1 Searchers, who meet on Sundays and attend organised digs.

Keith added: “Metal detecting combines getting out in the countryside, getting good exercise, making new friends and occasionally finding things that really do take your breath away.”