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Dressed in Silver: Treasure found in South-West Wales

Four treasure finds, including a Post Medieval silver pendant and a Post Medieval silver thimble, were declared treasure on Wednesday 13th March by H.M. Acting Senior Coroner for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, Paul Bennett.  

A Post Medieval silver pendant (Treasure Case 20.12) was found by Mr Nicholas Davies while metal detecting in Llansteffan Community, Carmarthenshire in July 2020.  As a treasure find, the pendant was safely deposited to Amgueddfa Cymru for identification and reporting by Sian Iles, Curator of Medieval and Later Archaeology.  

Post Medieval thimble 


This double-sided medallion shows the profile of King Charles I on one side, facing right and with the Latin inscription ‘CAROLVS. D. G. MAG. B[RI. FR.]ET. HIB. RX’  around the outer border. The reverse side depicts Queen Henrietta Maria in profile, facing left. The inscription around the border this time reads ‘HENRIETTA MARIA. D.G. M.A.G. BRITAIN. FRAN. ET. HIB. REG’. The name ‘T. Rawlins’ is stamped beneath her bust. Both portraits are in a plain frame, with a suspension loop at the top and a single knop at each side.  

Commemorative Royalist pendants such as this date from the 17th century. They were likely given to friends and supporters of Charles I throughout the Civil War. Almost identical examples can be found in the collections of the British Museum and the Royal Collections Trust, also with the mark of Thomas Rawlins. Rawlins was an engraver and medallist in the court of Charles I and was re-established in his post by Charles II following the Restoration.  

The finder, Nick Davies, said:  

“I visited the field on a particularly warm and dry July morning, which can often limit the amount of finds that you discover. However, this time I received a confident reading on the metal detector. As I un-earthed the signal from the hole, I gently revealed a silver oval item with the striking bust of an elegant lady.  

Taking in the precious moment, I sat down holding this truly magnificent find whilst trying to imagine the story that it would tell. Who had dropped it? What connections did they have to it? How did they come about this item?” 

Sian Iles, Curator of Medieval and Later Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales, said:  

“The Civil Wars in Wales were a time of opposing loyalties between supporters of the King and Parliament. This silver badge bearing portraits of King Charles I and his Queen Henrietta would have been worn by a Royalist supporter; an outward sign of their loyalty to the King and his cause and evidence of Royalist sympathies in Wales”. 

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism - Councillor Hazel Evans said:  

“The discovery of this object is another great example of how collaboration between metal detectorists, PAS Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru can benefit communities. This beautiful silver pendant shines a light on Carmarthenshire’s fascinating Seventeenth Century history. Showing the name of the engraver, it enables CofGâr to bring to life stories not just of the Stuart monarchy, but those of ordinary people with extraordinary skills who will amaze today’s audiences.” 

Carmarthenshire Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring this find for its collection after it has been independently valued by via the Treasure Valuation Committee. 

A Post Medieval thimble (Treasure Case 22.12) was found by Mr Robert Edwards while metal detecting in Carew Community, Pembrokeshire in November 2020. The find was first handed in to Mark Lodwick, Finds Co-ordinator for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru), before being deposited with expert Amgueddfa Cymru curators at National Museum Cardiff for identification and reporting.  

The thimble is tall, narrow but heavy. It has a two piece construction, with the rounded top soldered to the main body. Six transverse bands are set in a zig-zag pattern around the body, layered over an incised brickwork or basket-weave pattern. Engraving in the band at the base reads ‘ *LYKE STIL AND LOVE EVER ’ in serifed Roman capitals.  

‘Posy’ inscriptions can be seen on several 17th century silver thimbles from across England and Wales. Examples from Cardiff, Kent, and Hampshire have all been reported through the Treasure Act 1996. Romantic passages such as this are very similar to those seen on contemporary posy rings. Perhaps thimbles, worn on the finger during needlework, were considered an intimate (and therefore romantic) possession, suitable as a gift between lovers.  

The finder, Rob Edwards, said:  

“I was out detecting under the shade of an oak tree and was having no luck, until I changed the program and found a great crisp signal. At first I thought it may be a sixpence, but to my surprise it was something silver – and not a coin! It wasn’t until later when I saw the similar waffle pattern on another thimble that I knew I had found something special. To be honest, my cousin (who is also my detecting partner) was a little jealous!  

“I like to think about who used it. Was it used in the castle I could see over the way? Did someone get in trouble when it was lost? I’m very happy that I’ve been able to share it with the rest of you.”  

Tenby Museum & Art Gallery has expressed an interest in acquiring this find for its collection after it has been independently valued by via the Treasure Valuation Committee. 

Also declared treasure were: 

  • A Bronze Age hoard comprising 4 copper-alloy fragments, all likely from axe-heads (Treasure Case 22.01). This was found by Mr Tony Narbett and Mr Jake Webster in January 2022 while metal detecting in Llawhaden Community, Pembrokeshire. Haverfordwest Town Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring this find for its collection after it has been independently valued by via the Treasure Valuation Committee. 
  • A medieval silver seal matrix (Treasure Case 22.04) was found by Mr Jake Webster while metal detecting in Llawhaden Community, Pembrokeshire. Tenby Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring this find for its collection after it has been independently valued by via the Treasure Valuation Committee. 

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