Coroners and sudden death investigations in North Yorkshire and York

Information about deaths that are sudden, unexpected, violent or unnatural and those that occur in legal custody.

The role of a coroner

A coroner is an independent judicial office holder, appointed by a local council. Coroners usually have a legal background but will also be familiar with medical terms.

Coroners investigate deaths reported to them if it appears:

  • The death was violent or unnatural;
  • The cause of death is unknown; or
  • The person died in prison, police custody or another type of state detention.

In these cases coroners must investigate to find out, for the benefit of bereaved people and for official records, who has died and how, when and where they died.

Coroners also deal with finds that may be classified as treasure.

North Yorkshire and York Coroner

The Senior Coroner for both North Yorkshire and the City of York is Mr Jon Heath. Find the contact details for Mr Jon Heath.

Post-mortem examination

If a coroner decides an investigation is necessary, a pathologist will normally carry out a post-mortem examination of the body.

The coroner must release the body as soon as possible, after which you can arrange the funeral. You should let the coroner know in writing if you wish to take the body outside of England and Wales.

If the post-mortem examination shows the cause of death, the coroner will send a form to the registrar of births and deaths stating the cause of death. You can then make an appointment to register the death.

Inquest

If it was not possible to find out the cause of death from the post-mortem examination, or the death is found to be unnatural, the coroner must hold an inquest. An inquest is a public court hearing held by the coroner to establish who died and where, when and how they died.

The inquest will be held as soon as possible and normally within six months of the death if at all possible. The coroner will notify you if more time is needed and what to expect in your case.

If the death occurred in prison or custody, or if it resulted from an accident at work, the inquest will usually have a jury.

At the end of the inquest

The coroner or jury comes to a conclusion at the end of an inquest. This includes the legal determination, which states who died and where, when and how they died. The coroner or jury also makes 'findings' to allow the cause of death to be registered. The coroner or jury may use one of the following terms when recording the cause:

  • accident or misadventure;
  • alcohol / drug related;
  • industrial disease;
  • lawful killing;
  • natural causes;
  • open;
  • road traffic collision;
  • stillbirth; 
  • suicide; or
  • unlawful killing.

The coroner or jury may also make a brief 'narrative' conclusion to provide more detail about facts surrounding the death and explain the reasons for the decision.

The coroner will send a form to the registrar after the inquest is complete. The registrar will then register the death based on the coroner's findings. You do not need to visit our office for this to occur. Copies of the death certificate can be ordered here four to five days after the inquest.

Frequently asked questions

Details of upcoming coroners' inquests in North Yorkshire can be found below.

Date, location and time Name Further details
Wednesday 28 September 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing at 9:30am)  
Mark Hemingway Died aged 56 on 19 July 2022 at Harrogate
Joyce Shilleto Died aged 88 on 4 September 2022 at York Hospital
David Robson Died aged 83 on 4 September 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Mary Conway Died aged 66 on 8 July 2022 at Sutton in Craven
David John Tate Died aged 83 on 6 September 2022 at Scarborough General Hospital
Charles Hartley Foster Died aged 71 on 14 June 2022 at Filey
Myles George Ashworth Died aged 47 on 4 July 2022 at Harrogate
Paul David Craine Died aged 54 on 3 June 2022 at Scarborough
Inquests  
Oliver Corbett (commencing at 10am) Died aged 36 on 31 March 2022 at Dishforth
Edith Mary Crompton (commencing at 10.30am) Died aged 95 on 5 July 2022 at Scarborough General Hospital
Peter Sparks (commencing at 11am) Died aged 91 on 26 April 2022 at York Hospital
Jean Ovenden (commencing at 11.30am) Died aged 81 on 30 March 2022 at York
Leo Barnaby Marshall (commencing at 12pm) Died aged 35 on 2 April 2022 at Scarborough
Richard James Long (commencing at 1.30pm) Died aged 46 on 19 April 2022 at Boroughbridge
Graham Dutton (commencing at 2pm) Died aged 60 on 20 December 2021 at Malton
Maria Kaliszer (commencing at 2:45pm) Died aged 99 on 10 July 2022 at York Hospital
Jean Silverman (commencing at 3pm) Died aged 91 on 7 May 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Thursday 29 September 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing at 9:30am)  
Grahame Frank Hatfield Died aged 81 on 2 September 2022 at York Hospital
Nigel Roderick Morley Died aged 67 on 4 September 2022 at Thirsk
Peter John Smith Died aged 82 on 3 September 2022 at Scarborough General Hospital
Louise Atkinson Died aged 55 on 24 July 2022 at Italy
James John Christian Mccroy Died aged 50 on 15 August 2022 at York
David Lewis Rees Died aged 78 on 11 August 2022 at York
Michael Charles Sherry Died aged 50 on 8 May 2022 at Thirkelby
William Fenton Surtees Died aged 84 on 26 September 2022 at York Hospital
Michael Lupton Died aged 84 on 14 August 2022 at James Cook University Hospital
Andrew Steven Swan Died aged 47 on 13 July 2022 at Dunnington  
Inquests  
Richard Paul Mullen (commencing at 11am) Died aged 47 on 14 May 2022 at Scarborough
Stanley Gosley (commencing at 11:30am) Died aged 91 on 11 March 2022 at York Hospital
Eva Marjorie Shield (commencing at 12pm) Died aged 95 on 4 May 2022 York Hospital
Thomas Peter Beevers (commencing at 12:20pm) Died aged 32 on 31 December 2021 at Acomb
Friday 30 September 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing at 9:30am)  
Michael John Milns Died aged 78 on 20 September 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
John Kenneth Sugden Died aged 80 on 11 September 2022 at Sinnington
Doris Rosemary Tissman Died aged 75 on 20 September 2022 at York Hospital
James Roberts Died aged 92 on 8 September 2022 at  Airedale General Hospital
John Barrie Sygrove Died aged 43 on 26 June 2022 at Scarborough Hospital
Mark Brian Seddon Died aged 58 on 22 July 2022 at Sherburn
Harrison Patrick Jamie Willis Died aged 25 on 27 August 2022 at Rawcliffe
Eric Alan Stubbs Died aged 22 on 11 October 1944 at Bransdale
Peter Simon Houghton Died aged 59 on 18 September 2022 at Hull Royal Infirmary
Inquests  
Ian Muir (commencing at 10am) Died aged 61 on 27 November 2021 at York
Joan Freda Pearson (commencing at 1:30pm) Died aged 83 on 3 May 2022 at York Hospital
Geoffrey Lawrence Herrington (commencing at 1:50pm) Died aged 78 on 12 August 2022 at York Hospital
Adam Emanuel Brooklyn Angels (commencing at 2.15pm) Died aged 24 on 29 May 2022 at Skipton
Tuesday 4 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing at 9:30am)  
Shane Radcliffe Died aged 49 on 27 August 2022 at York
Jae Benjamin Bell Died aged 23 on 30 June 2022 at Leeds
Margaret Caroline Manners Died aged 94 on 15 September 2022 at York Hospital
Peter Frederick Ross Died aged 94 on 13 September 2022 at York Hospital
Valeria Rose Shipley Died aged 78 on 17 June 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Irene Mabel Ball Died aged 92 on 9 September 2022 at York Hospital
Graham Craven Died aged 72 on 13 September 2022 at York Hospital
Inquests  
Ian Donald Hughes (commencing at 10am) Died aged 54 on 12 January 2021 at James Cook University Hospital
Nicholas Michael Dobinson (commencing at 1pm) Died aged 57 on 24 October 2021 at Catterick Garrison
Elsie Brown (commencing at 2.30pm) Died aged 84 on 31 January 2022 at York
Ann Patricia Barton (commencing at 3pm) Died aged 86 on 15 May 2022 at York
Wednesday 5 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing 9:30am)  
Joseph Brian Garbutt Died aged 84 on 29 August 2022 at York
Harrison Patrick Jamie Willis Died aged 25 on 27 August 2022 at York
Margaret Ingleson Died aged 83 on 06 September 2022 at Scarborough General Hospital
Andrew Holden Died aged 44 on 12 September 2022 at Scarborough
James Henry Coleman Died aged 31 on 10 September 2022 at Catterick Garrison
Raymond Green Died aged 39 on 05 September 2022 at York Hospital
Daniel James Edwin Norman Died aged 34 on 14 August 2022 at York
Michael Stephen Webster Died aged 74 on 01 September 2022 at York
Inquests  
Nathan Edwards (commencing at 10am) Died aged 30 on 17 May 2022 at York
Wendy Heaton (commencing at 10:45am) Died aged 77 on 26 January 2022 at York Hospital
Malcolm Herbert Patrick Grace (commencing at 11:30am) Died aged 83 on 5 April 2022 at York Hospital
John Willie Richardson (commencing 12pm) Died aged 94 on 3 April 2022 at Scarborough General Hospital
Alexander Angus Buchan (commencing at 1:30pm) Died aged 30 on 13 April 2022 at Ripon
Friday 7 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Pre Inquest Review Hearing
Robinson Lowther (commencing at 10am) Died aged 52 on 18 December 2021 at Stockton on Forest
Inquest openings (commencing 9:30am)  
Gerald Johnston Died aged 89 on 7 June 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
John Raymond Andrews Died aged 78 on 21 September 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Joan Loudon Died aged 87 on 13 September 2022 at Ripon
Margaret Elizabeth Salisbury Died aged 93 on 20 September 2022 at York Hospital
Mary Horsey Died aged 73 on 23 September 2022 at Bedale
Inquests  
Aaron Joseph Bertenshaw (commencing at 11am) Died aged 26 on 2 December 2021 at Harrogate
Janet Cameron Marshall (commencing at 11:45am) Died aged 52 on 6 December 2021 at Harrogate
Eileen Mary Smith (commencing at 1:30pm) Died aged 91 on 30 November 2021 at Scarborough General Hospital
Nicola Margaret Scott (commencing at 1:50pm) Died aged 50 on 25 March 2022 at Malton
George Philip James Allen (commencing at 2:30pm) Died aged 95 on 2 January 2022 at Scarborough
Paul Simon Layfield (commencing at 3pm) Died aged 42 on 14 March 2022 at Masham
Monday 10 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings
No current openings  
Inquests
Benoni Joel Stamp (commencing at 10am) Died aged 25 on 20 July 2020 at Escrick
Wednesday 12 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings
No current openings  
Inquests
Benoni Joel Stamp (commencing at 10am) Died aged 25 on 20 July 2020 at Escrick
Thursday 13 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Benoni Joel Stamp;(commencing at 10am) Died aged 25 on 20 July 2020 at Escrick
Friday 14 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings (commencing at 9:30am)  
Richard Paul Campbell Died aged 46 on 17 September 2022 at Hull Royal Infirmary
Susan Elizabeth Kiernan Died aged 69 on 20 September 2022 at Skipton
James Fowler Swanson Died aged 89 on 20 September 2022 at York Hospital
Wendy Whorlton Died aged 60 on 11 August 2022 at Northallerton
Inquests  
Elaine Taylor (commencing at 10am) Died aged 73 on 5 April 2022 at York
Raymond Gerard Curtis (commencing at 10:45am) Died aged 79 on 30 May 2022 at York Hospital
Bryan William Harradine (commencing at 11:45am) Died aged 86 on 29 March 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Colin Lauder Leggat (commencing at 1pm) Died aged 75 on 7 March 2022 at Thirsk
Monday 17 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Dorothy Garthwaite (commencing at 10am) Died aged 81 on 7 December 2021 at Harrogate District Hospital
Joan Nora Crane (commencing 2pm) Died aged 90 on 22 July 2022 at Selby
Tuesday 18 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
David Paul George Windras (commencing 1pm) Died aged 37 on 23 February 2022 at Leavening
Thursday 20 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Claire Frances Ranklin (commencing 10am) Died aged 75 on 31 January 2022 at York
Richard Charles William Stainthorp (commencing 2pm) Died aged 45 on 27 March 2022 at Richmond
John Stuart Marsh (commencing 2:30pm) Died aged 84 on 26 January 2022 at Pinderfields Hospital Wakefield
Monday 24 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Elaine Mary Sanderson (commencing 10am) Died aged 58 on 8 July 2021 at York Hospital
Tuesday 25 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Pre inquest review hearing  
Nicholas James Hart (commencing at 10am) Died aged 33 on 5 February 2022 at Catterick Garrison
Wednesday 26 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Hugh Samuel Alan Mccormack (commencing at 10am) Died aged 60 on 16 June 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Audrey May Boyes (commencing at 11:30am) Died aged 93 on 25 April 2022 at York
Thursday 27 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Stella Mary Hughes (commencing at 10am) Died aged 96 on 4 April 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Carl Aubrey Welburn (commencing at 10.30am) Died aged 47 on 26 October 2021 at Leyburn
Thursday 28 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Maurice Hendleman (commencing at 10am) Died aged 27 on 14 December 2021 at Leeds General Infirmary
Steven Kenneth Pearson (commencing at 11:15am) Died aged 36 on 23 May 2022 at Harrogate
Monday 31 October 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Pre inquest review hearing  
Veronica Devlin (commencing at 10am) Died aged 39 on 25 December 2021 at Harrogate
Inquests  
Gary Coughlan (commencing at 1pm) Died aged 60 on 15 May 2021 at Scarborough
Wednesday 2 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
John Arthur Spurling (commencing at 10am) Died aged 74 on 12 March 2020 at Leyburn
Thursday 3 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Leslie Mohammed (commencing at 10:45am) Died aged 52 on 22 October 2020 at Whitby
Thursday 10 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Justine Copsey (commencing at 10am) Died aged 51 on 13 December 2021 at Settle
Pauline Rosemary Isherwood (commencing at 10:45am) Died aged 88 on  5 January 2022 at Harrogate District Hospital
Monday 14 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Jean Marie Stuart (commencing at 10am) Died aged 82 on 12 July 2021 at Harrogate District Hospital
Gordon Stuart (commencing at 10am) Died aged 84 on 25 July 2021 at Harrogate District Hospital
Wednesday 16 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Andrew Marshall (commencing at 10am) Died aged 30 on 2 January 2022 at Whitby
Friday 18 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Simon John Muir (commencing at 10am) Died aged 46 on 22 April 2022 at Scarborough
Tuesday 22 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Thomas Ferguson Died aged 18 on 27 September 2021 at Great Thirkleby
Monday 28 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Adam Dalglish Watson Died aged 19 on 21 June 2022 at Knaresborough
Wednesday 30 November 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Richard Arthur Stockdale (commencing at 10am) Died aged 88 on 9 November 2021 at Leeds General Infirmary
James Robert Leslie Fisk (commencing at 1:30pm) Died aged 86 on 9 February 2022 at York Hospital
Thursday 1 December 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Scott Lewis Hurst (commencing at 10am) Died aged 33 on 16 March 2022 at York
Friday 2 December 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Philip Michael Corner Died aged 36 on 12 July 2022 at Harrogate
Monday 5 December 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings  
No current openings  
Inquests  
Michael James Dempsey (commencing at 10am) Died aged 39 on 25 December 2021 at Spofforth
Wednesday 14 December 2022 at Coroners Court at 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton DL7 8QZ Inquest openings
No current openings  
Inquests
Peter James Winfield (commencing at 10am) Died aged 30 May 2021 at Sherburn in Elmet

Any timings given for individual inquests are approximate.

In most cases a death will not need to be reported to a coroner. A hospital doctor or GP can certify the medical cause of death and the death can be registered by the registrar in the usual way.

The police, a registrar, doctor or other person must report deaths to the coroner in the following circumstances:

  • During the last illness a doctor did not attend the deceased or the doctor treating the deceased had not seen him or her either after death or within the 14 days before death;
  • The death was violent, unnatural or occurred under suspicious circumstances;
  • The cause of death is not known or uncertain;
  • The death was caused by an industrial disease or related in any way to the deceased's employment;
  • The death occurred in prison or police custody;
  • The deceased was detained under the Mental Health Act;
  • The death may be linked to an accident (wherever it occurred);
  • If there is any question of self-neglect or neglect by others;
  • The death may have been contributed to by the actions of the deceased (such as an overdose, self-injury, drug or solvent abuse);
  • The deceased was receiving any form of war pension or industrial disability pensions unless the death can be shown to be wholly unconnected;
  • The death took place within 24 hours of admission to hospital;
  • The death may be related to a medical procedure or treatment (whether invasive or not);
  • The death may be due to a lack of medical care;
  • The death occurred while the patient was undergoing an operation or did not recover from the anaesthetic;
  • The death was linked to an abortion;
  • Where there are any allegations of medical mis-management; or
  • The case has any other unusual or disturbing features.

Organ donation

If you wish to consider organ donation, you will need immediate advice. This can be sought from a hospital or doctor, or from the coroner's officer. The coroner must be told and must agree before organs can be removed. In some cases, organ donation may not be possible for medical reasons or because of delays when a death has to be investigated.

Anyone considering applying to move a body that has been interred should, in the first instance, discuss their proposals with the appropriate local church official or undertaker.

The person applying for consent to disinter remains needs to show:

  • The presumed intention of those who committed the body or ashes to a last resting place is to be disregarded or overborne; and
  • The length of time since the interment has been considered (a prompt application is stronger than one made where the remains have been undisturbed for many months or years).

In every case, the arguments for consent will be weighed against these general principles and against the desire to maintain the churchyard or place set aside for the interment or cremated remains.

If you wish to take the body abroad, you must give written notice to the coroner, who will tell you within four days whether further enquiries are needed. You can  give written notice to the coroner using this form (pdf / 120 KB).

If you wish to bring the body back to England or Wales, the coroner may need to be involved. In certain circumstances, an inquest may be necessary. You can ask for advice from your local coroner's office.

An 'interested person' can apply to the coroner after the inquest for copies of documents. The coroner will have told you whether you are an 'interested person' before the inquest.

There may be a fee payable for copies of documents:

Document Cost
Document disclosed by email Free
Document of ten pages or less disclosed as a paper copy £5
Each subsequent page above ten disclosed as a paper copy  £0.50 per page
Document disclosed by any other means other than email or paper £5 per document
Transcription of an inquest consisting of 360 words or less £6.20
Transcription of an inquest consisting of between 361 and 1,439 words £13.10
Transcription of an inquest consisting of 1,440 words or more (for the first 1,440 words) £13.10
Transcription of an inquest consisting of 1,440 words or more (each additional 72 words or part thereof) £0.70

In the first instance, please contact a coroners' officer by emailing coroner@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk.

For all enquiries about the listing of Inquests,  payment of invoices, witness and juror expenses and historical cases please email coronersadmin@northyorks.gov.uk 

Coroner - Mr J R Heath

The Old Courtroom
3 Racecourse Lane
Northallerton
North Yorkshire
DL7 8QZ

Tel: 01609 533843

Coroners' officers contact details

Senior coroners officer - Rachel Davies

Email: rachel.davies@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk 

The North Yorkshire coroners' officers are located in the following police stations:

Area Coroners' officers address
Harrogate Harrogate Police Station
Beckwith Head Road
Beckwith
Harrogate
HG3 1FR
Scarborough Scarborough Police Station
Northway 
Scarborough 
YO12 7AD
Selby Selby Police Station
Portholme Road
Selby
North Yorkshire
YO8 4QQ
Skipton Skipton Police Station
Otley Road
Skipton
North Yorkshire
BD23 1EZ
York York Police Station
Fulford Road 
York 
YO10 4BY

If you find something that may be treasure you must report all finds to the coroner within:

  • 14 days after the day you made the find; or
  • 14 days after the day you realised the find might be treasure (for example, as a result of having it identified).

Everyone is required to report finds, including archaeologists.

The definition of treasure

The following finds are classed as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996:

Coins

All coins from the same find count as treasure if they are at least 300 years old when found. If the coins contain less than ten per cent of gold or silver, there must be at least ten of them to count as treasure.

Objects other than coins

Any other object may count as treasure if it contains at least ten per cent of gold or silver and is at least 300 years old when found. Note that objects with gold or silver plating normally have less than ten per cent of precious metal.

An object or coin is part of the same find as another object or coin if it is found in the same place as, or had previously been left together with, the other object. Finds may have become scattered since they were originally deposited in the ground.

Only the following groups of coins will normally be regarded as coming from the same find:

  • Hoards that have been deliberately hidden;
  • Smaller groups of coins, such as the contents of purses, that may have been dropped or lost; and
  • Votive or ritual deposits.

Objects that would have been treasure trove

An object that would previously have been treasure trove, but does not fall within the specific categories given, must be made substantially of gold or silver and have been buried with the intention of recovery. You must be also be unable to trace the object's owner or their heirs.

Associated objects

An associated object, whatever it is made of, is found in the same place as, or had previously been together with, another object that is treasure.

The following types of find are not treasure:

  • Objects whose owners can be traced;
  • Unworked natural objects, including human and animal remains, even if they are found in association with treasure; and
  • Objects from the foreshore, which are wreck.

If you are in doubt about whether an object counts as treasure, it is safest to report your find.

How to report a find of treasure

You may report your find to the coroner in person or by letter or telephone. The coroner's officer will send you an acknowledgement and tell you where you should take your find.

Where to take your find

You will normally be asked to take your find to a local museum or archaeological body. The person who receives the find on behalf of the coroner will give you a receipt. They will need to know where you made the find, but they will keep this information confidential if you (or the landowner) wish. You should also keep the information confidential.

The person receiving the find will notify the Sites and Monuments Record as soon as possible (if that has not already happened) so archaeologists can investigate the site if necessary.

If you fail to report a find of treasure

If you fail to report a find of treasure you could be imprisoned for up to three months or receive a fine of up to £5,000, or both. You will not be breaking the law if you do not report a find because you do not initially recognise it may be treasure, but you should report it once you do realise this.

If the find is not treasure

If the object is clearly not treasure, the museum or archaeological body will inform the coroner.

If the find is treasure

If the museum curator or archaeologist believes the find may be treasure, they will inform the British Museum. The museum will then decide whether they or any other museum may wish to acquire it.

If no museum wishes to acquire the find, the coroner will usually notify the occupier and landowner the office intends to return the object to the finder after 28 days unless an objection is received. If the coroner receives an objection, the find will be retained until the dispute has been settled.

If a museum wants to acquire the find

If a museum wants to acquire part or all of a find, the coroner will hold an inquest to decide whether it is treasure. The coroner will inform the finder, occupier and landowner and they will be able to question witnesses at the inquest. Treasure inquests will normally be held without a jury.

If the find is declared to be treasure, it will be taken to the British Museum so it can be valued.

Receiving a fair price for the find

Any find of treasure a museum wishes to acquire must be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee, which consists of independent experts who will commission a valuation. You, together with the museum that wishes to acquire the find and any other interested party, will have an opportunity to comment on the valuation and to send in a separate valuation of your own, before the committee makes its recommendation. If you are dissatisfied you can appeal to the Secretary of State.

Loss or damage to the find

The coroner or museum is required to take reasonable steps to ensure the find is not lost or damaged. In the unlikely event this happens, you should be compensated.

Receiving the reward

The person who receives the reward is set out in detail in a Code of Practice. To summarise:

  • Those eligible to receive rewards are the finder(s) and landowner and / or occupier. Where the finder has permission to search for and remove artefacts on the land where the find was made, the finder will receive their full share of the reward. The finder is responsible to prove permission was granted. It is normal practice to divide rewards equally between the finder and landowner on a 50:50 basis unless another agreement has been reached between them. If the finder makes an agreement with the landowner/occupier to share a reward, the Secretary of State will normally follow it.
  • If the finder does not remove the whole of a find from the ground but allows archaeologists to excavate the remainder of the find, the original finder will normally be eligible for a reward for the whole find.
  • Rewards will not normally be payable when an archaeologist makes the find.
  • Where the finder has committed an offence regarding to a find, has trespassed, or has not followed best practice as set out in the Code of Practice, they may expect no reward at all or a reduced reward. Landowners and occupiers will be eligible for rewards in such cases.

The Code of Practice states you should receive a reward within one year of you having delivered your find, although this may take longer in the case of very large finds or those that present special difficulties.

An inquest can be a traumatic experience for anyone involved and we understand that the Coroners Court can be a bewildering place to attend.

The Coroners Courts Support Service

On the day of the inquest there will be a volunteer from the Coroners Courts Support Service. This is an independent Charity founded in 2003 and they provide trained volunteers offering free confidential emotional support to bereaved families, witnesses and others attending an inquest at the Coroners Court.

They can also signpost you to other appropriate organisations and prior to the inquest they can give you support and information. You call call their helpline on 03001112141 (open from 9am to 7pm weekdays and 9am to 2pm on Saturday) or email helpline@ccss.org.uk.

For more information visit the Coroners Courts Support Service website.

The Guide to coroner services

The Guide to coroner services is intended for bereaved people and others who may be affected by a coroner investigation or are attending a coroner’s inquest.

For more information visit the Guide to coroner services website.