The pendant of a nobleman stabbed to death by Robert the Bruce has been found in a boggy field in Kinross by a metal detecting enthusiast.
The ancient red and gold badge is more than 700 years old and in such good condition the man who found it assumed it had been discarded by a local school prefect, The Scotsman reports.
However it was soon discovered the medieval pendant was much more precious and had once adorned the horse of Sir John Comyn, the Lord of Badenoch, one of the claimants for the Scots throne in 1306. Clan symbols on bridles were considered a sign of status.
The precious find, which features the sheaves of the Comyn family
Known as 'Red Comyn' the nobleman met a grisly end at the point of Robert the Bruce's dagger as they fought inside a church in Dumfries. According to legend, Bruce had stabbed Comyn, but in legend finished off by a Kirkpatrick, who said to Bruce: "You doubt. I'll mac siccar [I make sure]"
It is not known exactly how or why Lord Badenoch was finally dispatched, but it was known there was no love lost between the two men. A letter from the English court to the Pope said: "Bruce rose against King Edward as a traitor, and murdered Sir John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, because John would not assent to the treason which Bruce planned, to resume war and make himself king of Scotland." Bruce was crowned King of Scotland six weeks after Badenoch's death.
John Eldridge from North Berwick found the pendant, as he was whirring his metal detector near Loch Leven Castle in Kinrosshire. According to the 67-year-old the badge was only two or three inches down in the soil.
The precious artefact is now in the hands of Treasure Trove Scotland, which ensures that significant objects from Scotland's past are preserved in museums for public benefit.