Hidden treasure in Epping Forest

Discovered in the Haining archive, this letter from someone called Lame Jack treasure letter 001D.L.Rolton of Ambleside, Cumbria, a fan of Haining’s The Fortune Hunter’s Guide. In ‘ gratefulness ‘ to the author for his ‘ useful and interesting ‘ book Rolton offers the following nugget of information regarding ‘ Lame Jack’s Fortune’.

I suggest you obtain ( borrow, beg or hire for one day ) a metal detector. On that fine day, try alongside the left side of the road, as one goes from Woodford to Epping —but only in the region of the fork that leads to Loughton ( diagram inserted ).

No! I am not being funny at all—I am most serious, and I don’t think you need to stray far from the side of the road. Try it !

Yours Sincerely,

D.L Rolton

It is not known where Rolton found the reference to Lame Jack’s treasure. It may be part of local folklore, although Lame Jack is not to be found using Google. It does not follow that because Rolton addressed his letter from Ambleside that he wasn’t acquainted with the site, which on the map is occupied by woodland named ‘ Reed’s Forest ‘. If any metal detectorist wishes to investigate the site, some research in the local history section of Loughton Library may yield clues. A study of W.R.Fisher’s The Forest of Essex (1887) could be also be useful. But be warned –it is over 40 years since Rolton sent the letter, and a huge amount of metal detecting has been done in this time. [R.M.Healey ]

2 thoughts on “Hidden treasure in Epping Forest

  1. Victoria Dean

    Derek L. Rolton was my Grandfather. He attended Manchester Grammar School and The University of Manchester.

    What is the Haning archive please I have never heard of it before. He had a keen interest in detecting. He made amateur excavations of Galava, the Roman fort at Ambleside. I have when younger seen pictures of him with the detector that my Grandma took. I’m sat typing this in front of his wedding picture. Have you seen the attached diagram? Could you please contact me.

    Mrs Victoria Dean

    1. R.M.Healey

      Peter Haining was a well known writer and anthologist on science fiction, the occult, the paranormal and detective fiction. He lived at Boxford, Suffolk and I interviewed him a few years ago for Book and Magazine Collector. When he died part of his archive, which included this letter from your uncle, was sold in Cambridge.


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