18th June 2024

Largest gold nugget ever found in England discovered in Shropshire with faulty metal detector

Englands Largest Gold Nuggett

Photograph: Mullock Jones/SWNS

A metal detectorist in Shropshire has unearthed England’s largest-ever gold nugget worth an estimated £30,000 – despite turning up an hour late for the dig with a faulty metal detector. Richard Brock, 67, travelled three and a half hours from his home in Somerset to join an organized expedition on farmland in the Shropshire Hills last May but arrived late. He also had a problem with his metal detecting kit and was forced to use an older machine that was not working properly.

“I arrived about an hour late, thinking I’d missed the action,” said Brock, who has been metal-detecting for 35 years. “Everyone there had all this up-to-date kit, and I turned up with three old machines, and one of them packed in there and then. At first, I found only a few rusty old tent pegs with this backup detector, which had a fading screen display.”

But just 20 minutes later, Brock unearthed a huge 64.8g golden nugget buried about 13–15cm (5–6in) underground. The metal, which has been named Hiro’s Nugget, is now expected to fetch at least £30,000 at auction and is believed to be the biggest find of its kind on English soil.

“The machine I was using was pretty much kaput – it was only half working,” said Brock. “It just goes to show that it doesn’t really matter what equipment you use. If you are walking over the find and are alert enough to what might be lurking underneath the soil, that makes all the difference.”

Photograph: Mullock Jones/SWNS

He was quickly surrounded by fellow detectorists who began scanning the same area, eager to emulate Brock’s success. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I turned up late, was only there a matter of minutes, and this treasure-hunting expedition was supposed to last all day.”

The nugget was found on a site near the village of Much Wenlock believed to have been an old track with railway lines running through, containing stone possibly distributed from Wales – an area known to be rich in gold.

Brock said research suggested the only bigger gold nuggets found in the UK have been in Wales and Scotland. A nugget weighing 97.12g was found in Anglesey/Ynys Môn, Wales, while the Reunion Nugget, at 121.3g, was found in Scotland in 2019.

The previous biggest rock uncovered in England weighed 54g. “We’re pretty confident it is the biggest found on English soil,” said Brock, a retired cameraman. “I’m going to split whatever it sells for with the landowner.”

The nugget was put on sale by auctioneers Mullock Jones in a timed auction that ran until 1 April, with an estimated price of £30,000. The closing bid, however, was £12,000.



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