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Metal detector finds medieval brooch worth thousands

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A brooch, thought have been lost by a baroness almost 550 years ago is going up for auction, after being found by a metal detector last year.

The rare 15th century penchant was discovered just outside the moat of Kirby Muxloe Castle in Leicestershire.

Auctioneers Charles Hanson will be selling the high carat jewel which is inlaid with white enamel and engraved with the medieval French inscription "honor et ioie," meaning Honour and Joy.

The rare 15th century penchant was discovered just outside the moat of Kirby Muxloe Castle in Leicestershire. Credit: English Heritage

Laura Headland, the Curator of Leicester Arts & Museums has been studying the brooch and the circumstances of its find:

Commenting on the find, Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers said:

'It is truly an object which we would love to ask the question ' if it could talk what could it tell us?'. The brooch for all its romance from such a turbulent time in British history gives me goose pimples. It is the type of historical item which this medieval tale of its ownership is built on."

– Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers.
Credit: ITV News.

Kirby Muxloe Castle in Leicestershire, where the item was found, was built by William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, one of the most powerful men in England who inherited his father's seat at Kirby Muxloe in 1455.

William went on to become good friends with king Edward IV, fighting alongside him at the battle of Towton in 1461, where he was knighted on the field of the battle and served as his Master of the Mint and Lord Chamberlain. It is believed the jewel was gifted to his wife Katherine Neville.

He married Katherine, Baroness Hastings, also from a noble and powerful family in 1462.

Following the death of Edward IV, Hastings was summoned to a council meeting held in the Tower of London where he was executed. Credit: ITV News.

William and Katherine went on to have six children and lived at the castle at Kirby Muxloe from 1480.

Following the death of Edward IV, Hastings was summoned to a council meeting held in the Tower of London.

Richard Duke of York (later Richard III) accused William of treason and had him taken outside, where he was beheaded on the spot. Baroness Hastings lived at the castle until she died in 1504.

Charles Hanson with the rare brooch. Credit: Auctioneer Charles Hanson.

It's thought that the brooch fell from Katherine whilst strolling the castle grounds but may have come to be lost in other circumstances in the years following her husbands sudden demise.

This jewel goes under the hammer in Hansons Historica auction on 23rd August 2017 with a guide price of £6000 - £8000 with an already worldwide interest looking to place bids.