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Missing key returned to Norman tower 50 years after it disappeared

The 100-year-old key was posted to English Heritage customer services with a note apologising for the 48-year delay




The brass key, thought to be 100-years old, went missing in 1973   Credit: Jim Holden/English Heritage/PA Media

The key to an 11th-century tower has been returned to English Heritage, some 48 years after it disappeared.

The brass-key, which vanished in 1973, is thought to be over 100 years old and unlocked the doors of St Leonard’s Tower in West Malling in Kent, UK.

According to English Heritage, the key was returned with a ‘tantalising note’ in which the sender apologised for the delayed return.

“Dear English Heritage, Please find enclosed the large key to St Leonard’s Tower, West Malling, Kent. Borrowed 1973. Returned 2020. Sorry for the delay. Regards,” the note read.

The key still fits the keyholes at St Leonard’s, which has since been fitted with new locks, but no longer rotates.

Modern mystery

“It’s certainly one of the most puzzling packages we’ve ever received,” said English Heritage’s senior properties curator, Roy Porter.

“It’s a modern mystery to add to the historical questions posed by the tower.”

Constructed between 1077 and 1108, St Leonard’s is thought to be an early and well-preserved example of a freestanding Norman tower keep.

Very little is known about the building’s history or original purpose, some believe it originally formed part of a castle constructed by William the Conqueror's half-brother; Bishop Odo of Bayeux. While others think that the castle was built by Gundulf the Bishop of Rochester.

Returner reward

Hoping to offer a reward of a free membership, English Heritage is appealing for the key’s returner to come forward.

“We don’t know how it went missing. We have no idea who would’ve taken it. We are hoping that this person comes forward and helps us connect the dots” an English Heritage spokeswoman told the PA news agency.

“It was sent to the customer services team. Everyone was incredibly surprised about receiving this key and excited about it being returned after so long.”

English Heritage is hoping that the sender will reach out to its customer services team, on 0370 333 1181 or email customers@english-heritage.org.uk, claiming that “unlike library books, there is no fine for a late return.”


The key was returned with a ‘tantalising note’ apologising for the delayed return - Credit: Jim Holden/English Heritage/PA Media


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Home Opinion In depth Video
Missing key returned to Norman tower 50 years after it disappeared | Planet Attractions

news

Missing key returned to Norman tower 50 years after it disappeared

The 100-year-old key was posted to English Heritage customer services with a note apologising for the 48-year delay




The brass key, thought to be 100-years old, went missing in 1973   Credit: Jim Holden/English Heritage/PA Media

The key to an 11th-century tower has been returned to English Heritage, some 48 years after it disappeared.

The brass-key, which vanished in 1973, is thought to be over 100 years old and unlocked the doors of St Leonard’s Tower in West Malling in Kent, UK.

According to English Heritage, the key was returned with a ‘tantalising note’ in which the sender apologised for the delayed return.

“Dear English Heritage, Please find enclosed the large key to St Leonard’s Tower, West Malling, Kent. Borrowed 1973. Returned 2020. Sorry for the delay. Regards,” the note read.

The key still fits the keyholes at St Leonard’s, which has since been fitted with new locks, but no longer rotates.

Modern mystery

“It’s certainly one of the most puzzling packages we’ve ever received,” said English Heritage’s senior properties curator, Roy Porter.

“It’s a modern mystery to add to the historical questions posed by the tower.”

Constructed between 1077 and 1108, St Leonard’s is thought to be an early and well-preserved example of a freestanding Norman tower keep.

Very little is known about the building’s history or original purpose, some believe it originally formed part of a castle constructed by William the Conqueror's half-brother; Bishop Odo of Bayeux. While others think that the castle was built by Gundulf the Bishop of Rochester.

Returner reward

Hoping to offer a reward of a free membership, English Heritage is appealing for the key’s returner to come forward.

“We don’t know how it went missing. We have no idea who would’ve taken it. We are hoping that this person comes forward and helps us connect the dots” an English Heritage spokeswoman told the PA news agency.

“It was sent to the customer services team. Everyone was incredibly surprised about receiving this key and excited about it being returned after so long.”

English Heritage is hoping that the sender will reach out to its customer services team, on 0370 333 1181 or email customers@english-heritage.org.uk, claiming that “unlike library books, there is no fine for a late return.”


The key was returned with a ‘tantalising note’ apologising for the delayed return - Credit: Jim Holden/English Heritage/PA Media


 
© Planet Attractions 2020