The Middleham Jewel and Richard III….


Among the treasures going on display at the Yorkshire Museum is the Middleham Jewel (see above). Of course, the National Portrait Gallery painting of Richard III (see below) is also going on display, because Yorkshire has a great attachment to the king who, as Duke of Gloucester, lived there for many years.

The Middleham Jewel is a gold reliquary of great beauty, and boasts a magnificent sapphire. The lozenge shape is associated with women It was discovered by a detectorist at Middleham in 1985, and hence the suggestion that it might in some way be connected to Richard:

“….Richard was without doubt a man of his time who loved jewelry. The portrait [below] shows him with numerous bejeweled rings, chains and a cap badge. He is not wearing anything quite as sacred as the reliquary pictured above, which was probably owned by the king’s wife, mother or mother-in-law….”

Yes, the jewel’s provenance is really unknown, but going by its value and beauty, it was owned by a lady of high rank, and its apparent age certainly places it in Richard’s period, but the heading of this article is very misleading.

It states quite clearly that the jewel belonged to Richard, and although it goes on to clarify that it was more likely possessed by a lady around him, the fact remains that the heading itself is a brazen hook. To say it was the property of some unknown 15th-century lady is interesting, but to suggest it was the property of Richard III himself is super-interesting. So don’t be mislead. The Middleham Jewel, while a magnificent treasure, cannot be linked directly to Richard. It’s only a possibility, not a probability.


  1. I think that’s what they call ‘clickbait’. A heading that’s very misleading that draws you in to read more.
    It is beautiful though, and although we can always surmise, I wish we knew who it actually belonged to.

    Liked by 1 person

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