In 1820 a mole-catcher made an amazing discovery, despite the significance of this discovery it was made by pure chance and luck than anything else. The mole-catcher was simply carrying out his day to day work, and don’t forget this was well before the days of Geophysics, the Internet, and Time Team. Although a Roman period gravel bank which was possibly part of a direct route to another settlement had been discovered close by the area during the opening of a water course, there wouldn’t have been any other signs that one of the areas most significant discoveries to date was about to be made.
The Mole-Catcher who is described at the time as to be working in Brereton (we would now refer to this area as exactly the Bradwall/Brerton parish border) struck his paddle or spade on something that looked like a mass of fused metal contained in a decayed box. Upon further inspection it was confirmed that the mole-catcher had actually found approximately a thousand roman coins that over time had been fused together by rust and displayed a patina coating.
Later information surfaced years after the discovery. Dr Ormerod who was not only a local historian but also a relative of the landowner where the coins were discovered, later acquired the coins and recorded the find to the Archaeologia Cambrensis (Vol ii page 181) He stated that round 600 of the coins were in his possession. Although some were broken and partly corroded there were good specimens of Denarii of Gallienus, Claudius II, Tetricus, Victorinus, and Diocletian coins.
Ormerod stated that 570 of the coins were presented to the museum of Historic society of Lancashire and Cheshire at Liverpool in 1850. A 1972 publication ‘History of the Ancient Parish of Sandbach, Co. Chester’ confirmed that only 140 were still present and being preserved there.