‘Mining gold has changed, it has turned my life upside down,’ says amateur treasure hunter after ‘one in a million’ find near Harborough

Brilliant amateur treasure hunter Kev Duckett has made international headlines after finding the stunning solid gold centerpiece of King Henry VIII's long-lost crown on the outskirts of Market Harborough.
Brilliant amateur treasure hunter Kev Duckett has made international headlines after finding the stunning solid gold centerpiece of King Henry VIII’s long-lost crown on the outskirts of Market Harborough.

In January 2021, we reported on Kev Duckett’s incredible “one in 10 million” discovery when he found the gold centerpiece of King Henry VIII’s long-lost crown on the edge of Market Harborough. Two months later, we spoke to the amateur treasure hunter to see how the discovery changed his life.

Brilliant amateur treasure hunter Kev Duckett has made international headlines after finding the stunning solid gold centerpiece of King Henry VIII’s long-lost crown on the outskirts of Market Harborough.

Amazed Kev, 50, made his incredible ‘one in 10 million’ found under a tree in a field at the back of Market Harborough Golf Club near the deserted medieval village of Little Oxendon.

Brilliant amateur treasure hunter Kev Duckett has made international headlines after finding the stunning solid gold centerpiece of King Henry VIII’s long-lost crown on the outskirts of Market Harborough.

And he worked tirelessly to meticulously research the priceless 1.4-inch-tall 24-karat gold enamel figurine showing King Henry VI as a saint after the staggering story of January 2021.

Kev, from Fleckney, told the Harborough Mail: ‘I am totally dedicated to finding out as much as I can about this beautiful crown, its historical background and how it ended up in the countryside near Market Harborough.

“It’s an amazing saga with King Henry VIII at the heart of it stretching back over 500 years.

“I am determined to find out as much as possible about this extraordinary royal mystery right here on our doorstep.

“Finding this exquisite piece of jewelry has turned my life upside down – and even supported it in some ways,” said Kev, a dedicated detective of more than 30 years who made his breakthrough discovery in September 2017.

“I’ve spent time every day for at least the last year trying to learn more about this unique figure.

“I read book after book to try to put this puzzle together.

“The information and the resources are there, but no one has looked for them or put in the legs and the hard yards,” said Kev, a classic car restorer.

“I will continue to do all the detective work, but I don’t know where it will all end.

“It really is a huge labor of love for me.”

He skimmed through a mini-mountain of royal inventories and sent hundreds of emails to scholars, historians, researchers and experts across the country.

“There is a stack of additional information and tons and tons of inventories from that time and contemporary documents.

“They are just piled up in our museums.

“I just wish I had a lot more time to explore all the many different material sources,” Kev said.

The coronation crown was originally adorned with three figures of Christ, one of St George and one of the Virgin and Child.

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

The iconic king wore the crown at his coronation in 1509 and when he married Anne of Cleves, the fourth of his six wives, in 1540.

“The gold content of the jewel gives clues as to why it was made.

“Pure gold has not been mixed with any other metal.

“The jewelry is 98% gold, which is extremely unusual,” Kev said.

“That would suggest that it would never be in a place where it is very detailed and fragile elements could have been damaged.

“The cross on the top of the jewel is about the thickness of a sewing needle, so the slightest blow would have damaged it.

“I started researching King Henry VI and realized it was done during the period of Henry VIII in the first half of the 16th century.

“I found out that he had three jewels specially made to be added to the state crown because of the Reformation as he separated from the Catholic Church,” Kev said.

“Henry wanted everyone to know he was more powerful than the Church.”

Kev believes the totemic piece of royal history ended up less than a mile or two from Market Harborough after the crucial Battle of Naseby in the English Civil War in June 1645.

King Charles I is believed to have lost his crown as he fled after being routed by Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian forces during the epic military confrontation.

You can read more about Kev’s fascinating and intriguing detective royal quest on his Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/henry8crownjewel/

The solid gold figurine is still in the British Museum in London as its future slowly but surely takes shape.

“I send all my work and research to the British Museum, so we’ll see how it all turns out.

“This kind of complex process often takes years, so it could still be a while before the fate of the biggest, most magical historical discovery I make is decided,” Kev said.

A British Museum spokeswoman told the Mail last year: ‘As required by the treasure process, the British Museum’s expert has examined the piece and identified it as late medieval.

“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 buckle of its lapel, to some other object.”

She said the next steps in the long process of finding treasures will be:

– The find is declared Treasure by the Coroner (the object has just passed this stage)

– The find is provisionally evaluated by one or more independent expert experts.

– The find is seen at a Treasure Appraisal Committee meeting where it is reviewed alongside the draft appraisal(s).

– The Treasure Appraisal Committee recommends a value for the find. Interested parties are asked if they are satisfied.

– The Museum is charged the recommended amount.

– The Museum must pay within four months of invoicing.

– Upon receipt of the invoiced amount, the reward is paid to the interested parties (the landowner and the finder in general).

Alternatively, the reward can be given to the Museum, allowing it to acquire the find.

About Timothy Cheatham

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