Fourteenth Century Gold Brooch, from Eldersfield

Eldersfield Brooch

This piece of treasure from the Worcestershire County museum collection is a small brooch with its original tapering pin. The brooch is of triangular section quartered by four evenly spaced quatrefoils in the form of bows or butterflies. One is split to house the pin.

Between each quatrefoil there are four letters, two on each of the sloping faces of the brooch. The letters seem to be V and an A repeated six times followed by an I and an O twice. One interpretation of the letters is that they may have had magical significance. Another is that this is an amatory piece – a lovers’ token – and that the six-times repeated letters are the loved one’s initials; the twice repeated letters those of the lover.

Thank you to David Kendrick for his research on this object.

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