Easton-on-the-Hill: lost gold

The starting point is the lane where the Jurassic Way enters the village, and adjacent to this is All Saints church – the sundial with the inscription hora pars vitae, dates the church as 1791.
A service is in progress so we circumnavigate the graveyard. I photograph several of the
beautiful stone carved head-stones, those that depict child deaths are particularly poignant.

07door and sun dial

As we walk into the village, on a large manor house is a sign saying ‘Captain Lancelot Skynner RN – HMS Lutine lived here circa 1775’. Above the front door is another sundial – this one
proclaiming Fear the Lord always. Research discovers that the house is a former rectory
occupied for many years by Skynner’s father who was the rector. Research about the HMS
Lutine finds that in 1799, whilst crossing from Yarmouth to Cuxhaven (Germany), carrying
approximately 1.2million in gold bullion, the ship under Skynner’s command, was drawn onto a sandbank during a gale and all but one of her 240 passengers and crew perished, the gold was never recovered.

There is also a signpost to the Priest’s House – now a National Trust property – their website explains that it was “built by John Stokes, Rector of Easton from 1456 to 1495. Subsequently the house was used as a school by Revd John Skynner, who was the father of Lancelot Skynner, captain of HMS Lutine”.

It’s an interesting coincidence that the two buildings I chose to photograph have a common connection.


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