’I Never Dreamed of Finding Something Like This’: Woman Finds Treasure Chest During Beach Cleanup

A mom of two from England who always hoped of finding a treasure has had her dream realized after she dug up a chest during a beach cleanup event.

Jennie Fitzgerald, 38, was with her litter grabbers and bucket for an hour on March 20, when she spotted the domed lid of a wooden chest poking out of the sand between Cart Gap and Happisburgh in Norfolk.

She used her hands to dig down and hauled out the padlocked prize, which was about the size of a shoebox.

Jennie Fitzgerald with her treasure that was found at a beach cleanup. (SWNS)

Jennie, who is a mother to Harrison, 9, and Darcey, 6, was with her litter grabbers when she lugged the chest a mile and a half back along the coast to meet her IT consultant husband, James, 40.

Back at their caravan in Sea Palling, the family from Norwich pulled off the wood from the bottom of the box only to discover 108 coins inside it.

Jennie thinks they are mainly Victorian pennies and a few medieval groats.

“I never dreamed of finding something like this,” Jennie said. “I’m always on the beach with my eyes down and hoping to find a couple of coins, but this is on another level.”

Darcey 6, Harrison 9, and their father, James, get in on the discovery. (SWNS)

Still shocked by her find, Jennie said she keeps pinching herself as she hasn’t taken it all in yet.

“It’s amazingit’s a once-in-a-lifetime find,” she said. “What are the chances of that? It’s lucky really, I could so easily have gone past it. I’m buzzing.

“First I just liked the shape of this piece of wood in the sand and it drew me in. Then I heaved it out and realized it was like a proper pirate treasure chest.”

Jennie was initially worried that she had interfered with someone’s time capsule or geocachinga treasure-hunting game. However, after taking the treasure home, she and her children brushed away at the box with toothbrushes on the kitchen table.

The treasure chest. (SWNS)

The family couldn’t open the massive padlock but wood started coming away at the base and coins began to slide out, so they went at it with a screwdriver.

Apart from the coins, the treasure also included pieces of either cut glass or gemstones, plus a pocket watch, a signet ring, a giant old-fashioned key, and a fob with “Ernest” engraved on it.

Jennie, who works as a medical secretary, described the box as made of wood and probably iron, with a hidden lining that she thinks is intended to be waterproof.

(SWNS)
Some of the contents of the treasure chest. (SWNS)

Marking on the padlock says “VR” with a picture of a crown, so she thinks it could be Victorian.

Jennie has reported the find to the local liaison officer and has to take the treasure chest to a museum and inform the landowner of the beach where she found it.

Darcey and Harrison with the treasure chest. (SWNS)

“It’s a solid box and the padlock is still intact: someone really didn’t want us to get in,” Jennie shared.

Jennie found it so exciting that the treasure got the family thinking about the story behind it and whose Ernest it was. Meanwhile, she stated that her son thought the treasure is going to make them all rich.