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Harness pendant of Richard of Cornwall

This find was unearthed by John Ruczynski as far back as 1986. It was identified by West Berkshire Heritage as being associated with Richard of Cornwall, who was the second son of King John.

Richard, who was born in 1209 and died in 1272, was the first Earl of Cornwall (created 1226) and became King of the Romans in 1257. Though often rebellious and at odds with his brother (Henry III), Richard became immensely rich. With the income from the Cornish estates and from other sources, he had a lavish lifestyle. Richard’s income was his own, whereas that of his brother Henry went towards the support of the government of England.

John’s find falls into the generic category of harness pendants. However, even though these things often formed part of the harness furniture of horses, they could also have been used as personal adornments on the dress and armour of retainers. This one is in the shape of an eagle with its head facing left. It is heavily gilded and most of the gold is still intact. It also has its suspension bar and a couple of rivets, which would originally have held it in place.


Harness pendants dating from the later medieval period aren’t particularly scarce but this one is in really outstanding condition.  These things don’t fetch as much as they used to do but this one is attractive and in well above average condition, so my price range would be £150 – £180.

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