A gold and shell cameo brooch, about 2 inch (5 cm) long, the back of which is a crystal enclosing human hair
It is engraved 'To Annie Adkins,a token of gratitude, Eydon, 1888'. The story of this brooch came to light after an American gentleman contacted EHRG's website with a description of the brooch which his wife had just bought.
Members of the group searched their records and found that Annie Adkins was a housekeeper to the Ivens family, farmers in Eydon from the mid 18th century. Village historian Syd Tyrrell remembered her, thinking as a child that she looked just as he would expect a witch to appear ...'a grim old lady ... a very formidable sort of person.' He also records that she took great care of John Henry Ivens in his last days, during the First Wold War..'some folk said for his mother's sake.'
We think it was for nursing and caring for his mother, Susannah Ivens, during her last illness in 1888 that this brooch was made. In which case the hair probably from the head of Susannah Ivens. The full story of the brooch and search for a history of Annie Adkins can be found in EHRG's sixth booklet of research reports, 'Poverty, Plots and the Palace' published in September 2010.
Photographer: Mr John Owen
Image lent by : Mr John Owen