The Lost Crown Jewels of King John in 1216

King John ‘the Bad’ was particularly fond of collecting (stealing) jewellery and gold plate for himself and coinage for his guards, soldiers and court followers. John inherited the crown of Britain thanks mostly to the crusades by his brother Richard. But in the autumn of 1216, his powers have sunk and he lost his lands to the French king. He was forced to sign the Magna Carta, a document that further reduced the power of the king and the Crown. 

In October 1216 King John travelled to Bishops Lynn in Norfolk where he arrived on the 9th October. He started feeling ill with dysentery while he was in Lynn but he decided to head back to Lincolnshire to Newark Castle via Wisbech, a city the King and those around him considered safer. 

On October 12th he took the slower and safer route around The Wash. According to the story, John crossed the bay at Wisbech. While the King managed to cross the bay, his soldiers and carts full of his personal possessions, including the crown jewels he had inherited from his grandmother the Empress of Germany, took the shorter route through the marshes. Trapped by the tide they were drowned - possibly close to Sutton Bridge. The treasure carts were lost and never recovered. 

John organized a search for his baggage train, but it was never found. The ill fortune caused John even more stress, and the King was became sicker and sicker with each passing day. Historians believe he was taken to the monastery in Lincolnshire, a place where he spent his last days and died on October 18th 1216 at Newark. 

Many people around the world, remember the name King John as the arch-villain king in the Robin Hood story. He is known as the Bad King John, the one who instituted a number of taxes, making the population extremely poor and helpless. But he is also known as one of the richest kings and monarchs in the history of Great Britain. 

King John’s treasure is considered one of the largest treasures in the world. The treasure contains crown jewels, silver plates, gold goblets, the sword of Tristram, golden wand with a dove and many, many gold coins. The treasure was lost in 1216 and it is yet to be found.

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