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Was Brooch For The Queen Of Carroll’s Heart?

Published on: 1 Apr, 2012
Updated on: 2 Apr, 2012

by Pauline Pinch

A Victorian brooch found by a treasure hunter may point to a secret Guildford sweetheart for the writer Lewis Carroll.

Castle Cliffe Gardens with 'Chestnuts' close by - Photo Paul Punch

The man found the item while metal detecting in the Castle Cliffe gardens. It has an interesting inscription linking it to the author of the famous Alice books.
The tiny brooch features a heart-shaped ruby as its centrepiece. Engraved on the reverse side are the words: “To my special Guildford admirer – my ‘Queen of Hearts’. LC.”

The remarkably pristine brooch

Carroll’s real name was the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Previously known to have been a confirmed bachelor, this Oxford don often visited Guildford, primarily, it was thought, to see his six unmarried sisters who lived at ‘Chestnuts’ – a house directly opposite the Castle Cliffe gardens. Now it is suspected he was coming here to see his lover instead!

The theory is that the recipient of the brooch have lost it when walking in the Castle Cliffe gardens one day, or perhaps she threw it away in anger when their relationship ended.
Carroll was a wealthy man, but he appears to have bought the love token from one of the high street’s more economy sector jewellers: it is marked ‘Ratner – bespoke jewellery etc’.
The finder of the brooch, an eccentric local character who occasionally sports a tall hat, and who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve been grinning like a Cheshire cat since I found it. I think it must belong to that Carroll bloke who wrote that book ‘Alice goes to Disneyland’.”
This article was published on 1st April 2012

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Responses to Was Brooch For The Queen Of Carroll’s Heart?

  1. Alison Liddell

    April 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

    How exciting!
    I think the brooch should be put on public display.

  2. Mad Hatter

    April 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Oh my paws and whiskers! I lost that when I fell cown the Rabbit Hole!