Boy, four, unearths 16th Century gold pendant in Essex

James Hyatt James Hyatt was with his father when he made the discovery

A four-year-old boy from Essex using a metal detector with his father unearthed a gold pendant believed to date from the 16th Century.

James Hyatt, of Billericay, found the reliquary while searching in a field in Hockley in May last year, a treasure trove inquest in Essex heard.

It is believed to be worth up to £2.5m, a sum the Hyatt family would share with the landowner if the pendant is sold.

His father, Jason, said: "We dug down... and got a flash of gold."

Virgin Mary

He added: "All of a sudden we got a buzz from the metal detector, quite a strong buzz.

Pendant believed to be worth up to £2.5m

"We dug six to eight inches down and lo and behold, we got a flash of gold.

"I moved the earth around and brought it to the surface and there it was."

The locket was declared treasure trove at the inquest.

The British Museum examined the locket, which it said weighs a third of an ounce (8.68g) and has a gold content of up to 73%.

It said the image engraved upon it is probably that of the Virgin Mary, and the speckles on the cross she is supporting could signify blood.

The back panel no longer slides out but would have revealed a cavity, probably designed to contain a relic, the museum said.

It is decorated with the five wounds of Christ.

"Devotion to the blood and wounds of Christ was one of the hallmarks of late medieval piety," a letter from the museum to the coroner stated.

As in all treasure trove cases, any proceeds from a sale is split between the landowner and the person or people who discovered it.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Essex

Weather

Chelmsford

20 °C 15 °C

Features

  • Cesc FabregasFair price?

    Have some football clubs overpaid for their new players?


  • Woman and hairdryerBlow back

    Would banning high-power appliances actually save energy?


  • Members of staff at James Stevenson Flags hold a Union Jack and Saltire flag UK minus Scotland

    Does the rest of the UK care if the Scots become independent?


  • Women doing ice bucket challengeChill factor

    How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge achieved?


  • Women in front of Windows XP posterUpgrade angst

    Readers share their experiences of replacing their operating system


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.