Having written about William, Lord Hastings and Katherine Neville in THE GOLDEN WIDOWS, it was a delight to hear about the heart brooch found through a metal detector in the grounds of Lord Hastings’ castle at Kirby Muxloe earlier this year.

It’s a gorgeous piece inlaid with white enamel and with the words ‘honor et joie’ inscribed on it. The trouble with jewellery, however, is that unless it is mentioned in a will (and it wouldn’t be if it was lost) then it’s guesswork who owned it and when they lost it. The Times and the BBC jumped to the conclusion that it had belonged to Katherine, especially as they could mention that her husband was beheaded by Richard III.

Well, yes, it could have been Katherine’s. When Kirby Muxloe was being rebuilt in 1483, she would probably have ridden down from Ashby de la Zouche, which was their other castle, to oversee what was happening, and the duty would have most likely fallen to her since Hastings spent most of his time at court as chamberlain to Kings Edward IV and Edward V before he was beheaded.

Could the jewel have belonged to Katherine’s daughter by her first marriage, Cecily Bonville, who married Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s oldest son, Thomas Grey? Another possibility is William and Katherine’s daughter, Anne (c.1471–1520) who became Countess of Shrewsbury and served as a lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon. Or it could have been a noble lady visiting Kirby before the castle was renovated. Maybe more research will find the motto ‘honor et joie’ in connection with one of these ladies. Click here to read The Times article.

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