This story is about how coincidental certain aspects the 'permission game' can be.
A lot of coincidences have occurred over the last four years.
One of the most unusual ones was when we were on a cruise and met three farmers who had a considerable amount of land between them. They all said I could survey whenever I liked. This may sound great, but in fact goes against our ethos of 'research first'.
In the following article you will see that all the farms are coded so that we know which is which and can therefore account for what was found, as well as when and where.
The codes are made up from a combination of information regarding the landowner and farm combined (no pun intended). The major exceptions are for 'TS1', 'TS2' & 'TS3'. These, believe it or not, stand for 'Toy Soldier 1, 2 & 3' and are completely different permissions from each other. The codes below are hyperlinked so that it will take you straight to that particular farm and the finds that were recovered there.
Currently, we have 63 albums on Flickr as can be seen here.
Our first permission, coded as 'WH', was the first in a particular corner of the UK in which permission was granted. WH was farmed by a tenant farmer but the landowner was quite happy for us to survey there.
On every visit I politely waved at the farmer next door as he was busy ploughing, rolling and seeding his lovely fields. I thought It prudent to be polite as I may need to ask him for permission to survey there too.
He kindly reciprocated the 'gesture'..... or at least thats what I thought he was doing.
After quite a few visits I engaged the landowner in conversation whilst showing him what we'd found over a cup of tea. The moment seemed just right to ask him if the tenant farmer from next door would be approachable to the idea of surveying his land?
Imagine my horror when he replied "he's not the tenant, it's another farmer that lives a few miles away". I thought "Jeeps..all that waving for nothing!".
Anyway, I noted the tenant farmers name and realised it was the same farmer that actually owned land at 'TS1' where I'd researched but hadn't approached the landowner as of yet.
I rang the landowner at TS1 and explained that I was the guy surveying the land at WH. He said "no problem, have a look". Result!
TS1 resulted in some great Roman and Celtic finds with a few hammered coins too. The finds were recovered right up to a hedgerow with the other side of the hedge belonging to another landowner. Ummmm, there may be more Roman on the other side I thought.
With that, we obtained permission from the landowner at the other side of the hedge with 100 acres in the adjacent field.
We surveyed it without any Roman finds appearing whatsoever!
This is the reason why we don't have a code for this site...yet.
With shaking heads we went to see the landowner to report that we'd found nothing. He just laughed and commented that we must be keen.
I mentioned that we hoped for better luck at our next brand new permission, 'MC' and he said he went to agricultural college with the landowner!!! I couldn't believe it as MC is several miles away and odds were slim that he would have known him.
I rang the landowner at MC and he said that the landowner at the farm without a code I was talking to had called him to say we were "ok" guys.
As you can see, MC produced several Celtic and Roman items.
Meanwhile, I asked the landowner of TS1 who owned land near to land he owned and that we'd researched. These would be known as 'TS2' & 'TS3'
as their lands all meet at one point. I asked him about some other land he farmed a few miles away and he didn't own that one. This is the permission known as 'MFS'.
I rang the landowner at MFS and whilst chatting with her she said that she was best friends with he landowners mother-in-law at MC! She was great friends with the mother of the landowner at WH too!
Whilst surveying TS2 we met the tenant farmer and it turns out that he's the brother of the landowner there! He gave us permission to survey his farm at 'BH' which is right next door to WH which is the land we thought he farmed in the first place!!!
So.... perhaps all that waving wasn't wasted after all.