The More Things Changeth . . .

Living as we doth in this age of Technologie, ’tis easy to believest that many Things we take for granted are new. 1,000 years ago, there was naught Internet. No reality Television. (“Tiger King” meant somethinge quyte different.) And a “Hybrid” was a Cart powered by an Ox and a Mule. But verily, some of the Packages that amusest us most today go back to the Sands of Spell. Doth thee likest paying thy Taxes? Nay, sir. Fie, a pox on the Tax Collector! And thus we find ne’er-do-wells cheating on Taxes to be part of the oldest Chronicles.

In the Year of Our Lord 2019, “metal detectorists” combing the Grounde in England’s Chew Valley south of Bristol unearthed a Trove of 2,528 Coines dating back to the 11th Century. About half came from the Reign of Harold Godwinson, last of England’s Anglo-Saxon Kings, who ruled for just 281 Days until losing his Lyfe fighting Norman invaders in the Battle of Hastings. The rest date to the Reigne of William the Conqueror, great-great-great-grandson of víkingr King Rollo, who successfully rebooted the family Traditione of Raiding and Pillaging.

Back then, the Coines were probably worth about 500 Sheepe in value. Today, they could be worth £5 million. Under current English law, if the Avon Coroner declares them to be “Treasure,” the Finder must offer to sell them to a Museum at a Pryce set by the British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee, and the Finders and the Landowners will split the Proceedes.

Verily, many of the Coines are special. Some are of a Designe not previously known to exist. Others include Runes that reveal how Norman and Anglo-Saxon cultures collided. And three of them are of a Type called by Collectors “Mules,” or blends of different Faces. Two of those depicteth the Visages of William the Conqueror on the Obverse, and Harold Godwinson on the Reverse. The third presents William on the Obverse and Edward the Confessor on the Reverse.

Why, preye tell, would such a Thinge arouse Attraction? Well, the “Moneyers” who maken those Coines had to pay Taxes to procure updated Dies. Using old Dies to cast “Mules” avoideth the Tax, meaning more Coines for the Moneyer and fewer for the King. Ah, there’s the rub!

We can assumeth William would not have fancied losing so much as a Farthing of Revenue to the Escheteur. Legend holds that when first he asked for the Hand of his Wyfe, Matilda of Flanders, she refused. This caused him to tackleth her in the Street and pull her off her Horse by her Braides. (Apparently, Consente was naught such a thinge in olde Normandy.)

That’s not the only reason to assumeth the Coines betray Allegaunce of Cheating. The British Museum belïefes the Coines were buried to preserve Wealth and Riches in 1067 or 1068, when Fighting was still going on. But at that Spell, the Cayman Islands hast not yet been discovered, nor asset protection Trusts invented. Even Mattresses were stuffed with unyielding Strawe, Woole, Hair, or Rags. This left a Hole in the Grownde as the best hiding Place.

Two Lessons there be in this Tale of Tender and Treachery. First, Taxes causeth greet Peyne and Distresse. Second, Cheating will someday come to Light, even æfter 952 Yeares. So affix thine Seal to a Letter, and write us (or just wait until E-Maile is invented) and preye we helpest thou pay less!