Oswestry field gives metal detectorist ‘one-in-a-million’ find


A metal detectorist who unearthed a Victorian locket with a woman's photo inside was stunned to hear from her relative after posting images of it.

Adam Guiel shared the images in the hope of dating his find from a field in near Oswestry earlier this month.

But he was shocked to get a response from a man in Staffordshire who had a matching photograph and claimed she was his great, great, great-grandmother.

"It's truly surreal... a one in a million thing," Mr Guiel said.

The 37-year-old, who has been metal detecting for about 10 years, said he came across the copper alloy, glass-fronted locket in a field near Oswestry on 2 November.

He and his friend put images of it on their social media accounts and received a reply from Chris Brown in Tamworth, who by chance follows Mr Guiel's friend's account.

"I was flicking through photos, like you do, and I thought she looked familiar," Mr Brown said.

Also interested in family history, he remembered a book of photos his grandfather had given him and found the same photo of his great, great, great-grandmother - who stared back at him from the locket.

Mr Brown found the original photo of Annie Robertson in a book his grandfather gave him

"It's staggering really," he said.

"Not only to have the photo taken, but to be be lost for 100 years underground and to have survived without being ploughed up."

He said he had only recently become interested in metal detecting and started following the account just two months ago.

Mr Guiel said he did not take Mr Brown seriously at first, but when he saw the original photo agreed it was the same person.

"You can really see it's the same woman, the hair, the lighting. It's the same," he said.

Mr Brown said the woman pictured was Annie Robertson, who was born in 1843 in Alnwick, in the North East of England and died in 1914 at the age of 71.

She married an amateur photographer and organist at St Nicolas Cathedral in Newcastle and the couple had seven children and moved to Birmingham and eventually settled in London.

But the mystery of how the locket ended up near Oswestry is yet to be solved.

Mr Brown said the closest link was through one of her sons who lived in Kings Norton, in Birmingham.

The pair plan to put the fragile locket on display in Oswestry Town Museum.

Picture credit: Chris Langston.

  • Published on 20th November 2020