Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Mildenhall Treasure


Doesn't this word intrigue? Doesn't it bring with it mystery, and anticipation, and promise? Did you ever dream that a quiet and kindly farmer might be the one to find it?

Well. He did.

Not many Americans have had the privilege of living in or near Mildenhall, a small market town tucked away amongst the farmlands of the United Kingdom. That is, unless you were in the Air Force, which we were. And then, anything can become possible!

I spoke with you about the discovery of author Roald Dahl, in 1990 (Further Glimpses, December 5 post). And about the beginnings of a search for him, only to find he had recently died. Two small children and I quietly grieved our loss, and then we pulled out his books. And read. And listened to them in the car. It was inevitable that we should come across his (true) tale of The Mildenhall Treasure. 

We were enthralled to learn about British law regarding the finding of 'treasure trove'; then we learned that a hard-working man with a plough came innocently upon one such trove; and to our horror we learned how a duplicitous farmer, our man's boss, contrived to keep the treasure for himself. Shocking!

To our delight we discovered that Mildenhall itself was only a few miles from the military base we lived near. And that the very field which had hidden this massive treasure trove actually existed and could actually be seen.

The story, you must read. We found it in a compilation of Roald Dahl's short stories (some not so very short!) with the title The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (1977). Look for it! 

And be prepared for Quirkiness as you make your way through these stories. Wherever there is a Dahl, you will find the ever-so-slightly peculiar. But there will also be the worthy sparkle so sadly lacking in many books. If you would like another way to bond with your children through books, certainly a Dahl will be an admirable beginning.

He may be gone, but can never be forgotten. He is, after all, England's very own treasure trove.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

See you along the way!
the SconeLady


  1. I read that story, but never dreamed one could actually visit and view the treasure! I didn't know it was a true story.

  2. Yes! The treasure resides in the British Museum, and we visit it whenever we can while in London. In 1946 Roald Dahl interviewed (and became friends with) Gordon Butcher, the farmer who made the discovery. This is one of the few non fiction stories Dahl published. Such fun!