After 400 years of mysterious disappearance. The missing jewel of Henry VIII's crown worth £2m has been found under a tree in a field near Market Harborough thanks to a metal detector

After 400 years of mysterious disappearance. The missing jewel of Henry VIII’s crown worth £2m has been found under a tree in a field near Market Harborough thanks to a metal detector

A metal detectorist has found the centrepiece jewel of Henry VIII’s lost crown buried under a tree 400 years after it went missing.

Kevin Duckett, 49, made the startling discovery while walking through a field near Market Harborough in Northamptonshire.

The two-and-a-half inch jewel, which could be worth up to £2million, is now at the British Museum.

Mr Duckett said he first thought the jewel was some crumpled tin foil from the wrapping of a Mr Kipling cake.

He told The Sun: ‘It was lodged in the side of a hole just a few inches down. I carefully removed it and knew by its colour and weight that it was solid gold.’

Kevin Duckett, 49, made the startling discovery while walking through a field near Market Harborough in Northamptonshire

Historians have feared the jewel was lost forever when Oliver Cromwell ordered the crown to be melted down and sold as coins after he abolished the monarchy in 1649 and beheaded Charles I.

 

Mr Duckett (pictured) said he first thought the jewel was some crumpled tin foil from the wrapping of a Mr Kipling cake

The 344 precious stones encrusted on the crown, valued by the then Parliament at £1,100, were sold individually.

Mr Duckett, who lives in Fleckney, Leicestershire, took the lump of gold, which also appeared to have an enamel figure on it, home and cleaned it.

He became convinced that the figure was Henry VI after he saw SH inscribed on the base.

The figurine featured five fleur-de-lys – a stylised lily linked to royalty  – originally had three figures of Christ, one of St George and one of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.

But Henry VIII removed the figures of Christ and replaced them with three saint kings of England – St Edmund, Edward the Confessor and Henry VI.

The two-and-a-half inch jewel, which could be worth up to £2million, is now at the British Museum

 

Mr Duckett said he first thought the jewel was some crumpled tin foil from the wrapping of a Mr Kipling cake

And the crown was used at the coronation of Charles I.

When he fled from Oliver Cromwell after the Battle of Naseby in 1645 they travelled past the spot where Mr Duckett found the jewel.

Experts believe it may have fallen from the crown in Charles’s haste or that he decided to bury it.

A spokesperson at the British Museum said: `As required by the Treasure process a British Museum expert has examined the piece and identified it as dating from the late Middle Ages.

`It is a gold enamelled figure showing Henry VI as a saint and appears to have been used as a badge, or attached by means of the loop on its reverse, to another object.

`We are delighted this object was declared Treasure at the Coroner’s inquest, and the British Museum hopes to acquire it in due course through the Treasure process, which will make it available to public and scholars to study in perpetuity.’

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