Blog Subscription via

May 25, 2021

Arundel Castle Theft: Among the losses, Mary, Queen of Scots rosary beads, once carried at her execution

Execution Of Mary Queen Of Scots, 8 February 1587 by William Aubrey
On May 21, at approximately 10:30 pm, an alarm sounded at the medieval castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England.  Despite responding within minutes of the alarm going off, Sussex police arrived to find a burnt-out car, thought to be connected to the heist, and a display cabinet in the dining room
at Arundel Castle stripped of £1 million worth of historic gold and silver artefacts, many of great historical significance.

The objects stolen from the ancestral home of the Dukes of Norfolk include:

A 16th Century set of gold and enamel rosary beads made up of a crucifix and a string of five decades made up of small beads, with five larger beads.   The fleur-de-lis in the design serve to create the circle of the Celtic cross, and the vine shapes on the shaft end in three small pearl drops

This rosary was carried by Mary Queen of Scots to her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587 and was bequeathed by her to Anne, Countess of Arundel, wife of St. Philip Howard.  

Several coronation cups given by Mary to the Earl Marshal of the day, and other gold and silver treasures not itemized by the Sussex police in their public report.

Confined for most of the time between 1568 and her death, Mary's rosary was complete and undamaged prior to the theft.   The total value of the stolen items from the Duke of Norfolk’s collection is listed as £1 million, however they have immeasurably greater historic importance. 

Anyone with information about the theft or these pieces can contact Detective Constable Molly O'Malley of Chichester CID either online or by calling 101, quoting Operation Deuce.

quoting Operation Deuce or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously in the UK at 0800 555 111.