Library and Archives
Library and Archives - Time Team v The X-Files
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May 4, 2012
Time Team v The X-Files

The Wash Research CommitteeEric Everatt, MIET, has been volunteering for the IET Archives since 2009. For the past 6 months he has been cataloguing the collection of Evershed & Vignoles (E&V), an electrical testing equipment manufacturer, and unveiling some mysterious records, as he writes below…


 ‘The year is 1216. The place is the Wash estuary in Lincolnshire. The lost treasure belongs to King John who was engaged in a running fight with the Barons. King John was heading North with his army and baggage train and was assembled in Kings Lynn. The baggage train with the treasure made their way separately across the Wash probably via a Causeway. However, they were overtaken by the tide and the baggage train and everyone with it were lost. Prior to this disaster King John was in the habit of depositing his treasures with various monasteries and the Abbots received receipts for the articles handed over.


Trolley used for locating position of the Causeway across the Wash estuary.Fast forward to the year 1956.  The Wash Research Committee, during the previous 50 years, had made an exhaustive study of all available evidence, historical and geographical, and decided that the evidence in favour of the disaster was very strong. At this point enter the firm of E&V who manufactured Earth Testers. E&V were tasked by the Wash Research Committee with trying to find the position of the Causeway across the Wash estuary. This was not as simple as it sounds because over the years the estuary had been gradually filled in as the Wash receded. In 1956 there was only arable land where the Causeway was thought to be. The research team put together by E&V was led by G. F. Tagg, BSc, PhD, MIEE, FInstP 


The research team provided a summary of their work in which they wrote: ‘When carrying out tests in a particular field, parallel lines of electrodes were laid out, and measurements made at successive stations along the line, the trolley being pulled from one station to the next. For some of the time a tractor was employed to do the pulling, particularly on ploughed fields, a van was used at other times when working on grass fields and the trolley was pulled by man power in awkward situations such as orchard farms.


Map showing 1216 coastline and 1950's coastline of the Causeway.The various farmers were very co-operative and a total of about 200 traverses were run, requiring about 6000 instrument readings. As a result of this work, there is definite evidence of the existence of a formation below the surface which might quite well be the pathway in question. This evidence is now in the hands of the Wash Research Committee, and the exact location cannot yet be made public.’


So why ‘X-Files’ in the title? The E&V records only say so much, and provoke more questions than answers: Who sat on the ‘shadowy’ Wash Research Committee and  was the treasure ever found? Was there a sudden move to remote tax havens? The records are silent however and so the mystery lives on.’



Written by Eric Everatt, MIET, Archives Volunteer

Edited: 04 May 2012 at 11:31 AM by Hazel Jones


    Posted By: Hazel Jones @ 04 May 2012 10:50 AM     General  

May 8, 2012


Loved this article, ties in with the book I have recently read called The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick and was about the treasure of King John going missing whilst being transported through tidal pathways. This book was well worth reading if you like historical fiction

 Posted By: Dawn White @ 08 May 2012 10:17 AM   :  Post a reply

May 10, 2012

There is also an interesting article about the Wash on the Digital Library that can be accessed once logged in on the website:

 Posted By: Hazel Jones @ 10 May 2012 01:38 PM   :  Post a reply

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