The cosy Dorset town of Sherborne is not usually associated with bloody revolution and armed struggle, but Sherborne-based Charterhouse Auctioneers have unearthed two items redolent with memories of the American Revolution.
The objects concerned, a brooch and a ring, are both items of
Georgian mourning jewellery. Worked in gold and set with seed
pearls, the brooch contains locks of hair from Grace Growden
Galloway, a heroine, albeit on the losing side, of the American
Grace, whose diaries and poetry are preserved in the Library of
Congress, has become a major figure both in American Colonial
history and Women's history. Deserted by her husband, a prominent
Loyalist and British Civil Commissioner in Philadelphia, she was
left to the mercy of the advancing Rebel forces under George
Washington after the British fled from Philadelphia in June
Although initially under the protection of Major General Benedict
Arnold, now an American byword for treachery but then a Rebel
commander, she was driven from her house and estate and made
virtually destitute. Legend has it that she assisted Arnold in his
abrupt defection to the British cause by smuggling letters hidden
in a hollow quill pen. She died in 1782, as the locket is
That she was unimpressed by her husband's behaviour is suggested
by one of her surviving poems: "Never get tyed to a man, for once
when you are yoked, tis all a mere joke, of seeing your freedom
Charterhouse valuer Chris Copson said: "We are delighted to have
these two pieces which really are quite extraordinary links with
this fascinating period. They were brought in by a well-known
Dorset family and may well have come to the county via the
Nickelson family who had connections with the Growdens. She was
also romantically involved with a Mr Milner, who was an Excise
officer in Poole."
These two pieces of Georgian jewellery, estimated at £600-1000,
are being sold as part of the Charterhouse two-day sale on November
10-11. Contact 01935 812277 for further information.
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