The secret weapons Mystery of thousands of swords 300 years ago – now they could
THERE could be an incredibly rare and immensely valuable cache of weapons hidden more than 300 years ago in the earth below the very centre of Birmingham.
And this is not just Brummie folklore if the historians are to be believed.
It could be just question of time before the cache of swords is uncovered under Digbeth as plans for the extension of the Midlands Metro line through the area take shape.
If they are discovered, it will be a find of huge significance.
Details of the hidden treasure has been uncovered by The Midland Metro Alliance (MMA), a consortium of organisations engaged in a decade-long project to create the West Midlands’ tram network.
It is a body comprising Auctus Management Group, Barhale, Bouygues UK, Colas Rail, Colas, Egis, Pell Frishman, Tony Gee and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
During the painstaking work, historians and experts tasked with discovering the lay of the land tripped upon exciting details of the buried cache.
When bulldozers move in and concrete is ripped up, the mass of swords and muskets could well be uncovered.
MMA historian Jamie Harris, who studied at Leicester and Lancaster Universities, told the Post: “In brief, buried treasure exists somewhere under Digbeth and the redevelopment of the area in the coming years by various schemes could lead to its discovery.”
There is an intriguing tale behind the weaponry.
In 1745, a few Digbeth residents massproduced weapons for the Jacobite Uprising against the British Crown.
But they were never used and were later buried under the ground, where they were forgotten.
Jamie Harris has now found old documents that tell of the cache.
One important reference can be found in The Dictionary of Birmingham, a bulky 1885 tome by historian Thomas T Harman. He was commissioned to write it by local brewery boss Walter Showell.
Under the section entitled “Mysteries of Past History”, Harman wrote: “It was believed that a quantity of arms were provided here by certain gentlemen favourable to the Pretender’s (Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie) Jacobite cause in 1745, and that, on the rebels failing to reach Birmingham, the said arms were buried on the premises of a certain manufacturer, who for the good of his health fled to Portugal.
“The fact of the weapons being hidden came to the knowledge of the Gov-
A depiction of the The Battle of Culloden – the final confrontation of the Jacobite Uprising where Bonnie Prince Charlie was decisively defeated