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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Woman unearths ancient love token
Metal detector
The tiny gold brooch was found on south Devon farmland
A Devon treasure trove inquest heard on Monday how a retired school secretary struck gold when she discovered a 13th century brooch with her metal detector.

Adina Parnell, 66, found the piece of medieval jewellery while searching for metal on south Devon farmland last May.

After digging just six inches below the surface she unearthed the tiny golden brooch.

After telling the tenant farmer and the local coroner about her discovery Mrs Parnell of Bovey Tracey took the brooch to Exeter Museum.

All I really want is for the brooch to go to Exeter Museum
Adina Parnell

"Precious metal does comes up looking clean, so I knew straight away it was probably gold," said Mrs Parnell, a member of the Torbay Metal Detector Club.

The brooch, which measures three-quarters of an inch across, was sent to the British Museum in London where experts confirmed it dated from the 13th century.

The distinctive piece of jewellery - thought to be a love token - has nine petals engraved with Latin lettering, while a 10th petal acts as a clasp.

South Devon coroner Hamish Turner confirmed it was "treasure trove" under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996.

A spokeswoman for the British Museum, where the brooch is still stored, said the item's treasure trove status meant it would be valued by an independent adjudicator.

Brooch offered

"The object is then offered to museums who may wish to buy it," she said.

"Once that process has happened the money is usually split between the finder and the landowner."

The British Museum has offered the brooch to Exeter Museum, provided it has the money to pay for it.

Mrs Parnell said she had no idea what her discovery could be worth.

"All I really want is for the brooch to go to Exeter Museum," she said.

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