Bill Wyman: Amateur Historian and Would-Be Archivist

This article is not genealogy-related but it does deal with history. I also found it interesting.

79-year-old Bill Wyman is an amateur historian and a metal detector enthusiast. Treasure detecting adventures in the British Isles are detailed in Wyman’s 2005 illustrated book, Treasure Islands, co-written with Richard Havers.

“I’ve found 200 old coins, Roman brooches and an axe from 1700 BC. I’ve discovered Roman sites, all manner of 15th-century artifacts, all of which are verified by the British Museum.”


Bill Wyman also designed and markets a patented “Bill Wyman signature metal detector.” See for details.

Wyman says that he should have been an archivist. However, he missed his calling and did not follow that career path. Instead, he spent the past 55 years as a singer, guitarist, and organist. He was a member of the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. He also played with the Stones at the band’s 50th anniversary shows at the O2 Arena in 2012.

In a related note, a former member of the Rolling Stones is now 79 years old! (gasp)


Isn’t that something? I actually helped the late William Retweissner trace the ancestry of his former bandmates, Mick Jagger. It is still on his page.


By the way, his real name is William perks and I’ve been a little tracing and I could trace his family into the early 1800s.


For a hilarious view of the UK metal detector scene, I recommend the excellent BBC sitcom “The Detectorists” (Netflix).


Agree about the Detectorists.
Most family history researchers come to history and archives late after a career doing something totally unrelated – good to see Bill Wyman is much the same. Although again the reminder that he is 79 was unwelcome given this year’s track record of musician deaths!


I saw an interview with Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music fame) and he was VERY interested about his family history. Who knew? Wonder how many other “rock stars” have been likewise interested. I went looking for info online about my ancestor William Southcombe (of Devon, England) and William Southcombe Lloyd Webber popped up! Can’t help but wonder if we might be related even in some round about way. William Southcombe was a farm laborer in Devon in the 1851 British census. In the household with him WAS another laborer surnamed Webber.


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