The most significant Tudor find in 25 years

April 12, 2023


Ever wondered if those amateur metal detector hopefuls wandering along the beach or in the woods in expectation of finding something valuable have any luck? Well, in the United Kingdom a gentleman literally struck gold when he hit upon a 16th century pendant with links to King Henry VIII.

Charlie Clarke was using his metal detector on a friend’s property in the Warwickshire countryside, when the machine picked up a target. Clarke unearthed the object and to his surprise found a heart-shaped gold pendant attached to a gold chain. Ornate script on the reverse of the 2.1-inch pendant spelled the initials “H” and “K,” which could be linked to Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.

The pendant was logged with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a program headed by the British government in partnership with the British Museum to document archaeological finds by members of the public. According to Rachel King, the British Museum’s curator of Renaissance Europe, Clarke’s discovery represents the most significant find in the institution’s 25-year history, especially since most objects associated with Katherine of Aragon have been lost. 

A study by the museum has found that the artefact dates to about 1521, likely created in honour of Henry VIII’s first marriage.