Friday, 7 February 2020

Iron Box of Jewels #2

There are three supporting documents with the Inventory of the Iron Box of Jewels we showed you in the first blogpost. Here are their transcriptions:


"I William Craigy of Gairsay by these presents doe declare and testifi that James Keath somtime Laird of Benholme in the moneth of May 1654 did give me a verball order to go to the deceast* Elspeth Paplay my mother and to require and receave of her ane iron or steel box which wes locked (and wherof he had the key) and that I should keep the samyne, until such time as he should require me to delyver it bak againe to him: conforme to the which his order and desire I did receave the samyne locked box from my said mother and did keep the samyne by me until such time as it was called for by the present Governor of Orknay Major Henry Ronnall his order in August last; And then it wes broken up in presence of Charles Earle of Dumferling the said Major Henry Ronnall and Patrick Blair Shirreff of Orknay and the particullars found therin inventoried and consignd in the hands of William Stewart of Maynes at the said Earle of Dunfermling and Major Ronnall then desires in presence of severall famous witnesses both officers of the guarrison and honest countrymen As severall testificatts signed by them as that time doth evidence: I declare likewayes that in July last the saids James Keith of Benholme did two severall time send a servant of his named Robert Douglas from the ile of Stronsay to the ile of Rousay (being sixteen or eighteen myeles of sea) to require the box from me. Bot I being ignorant on what tearmes he stood with his Heighnes the Lord Protector and the state did both times refuse to delyver it, whereupon the said Major did send for it and disposs of it as above said Att which I witness to be reall trueth by this my subscription at Kirkwall the second day of December 1654
W Craigy

*We're pretty sure this means that his mother was alive at the time he asked her for the box and that she had died by the time he wrote the declaration. (We hope.)


GD150/2531/3 page 1

Dalkeith the 18th Jan 1654            
For Major Henry Ronnall Governor of Orknay
"I received yo[u]rs of the 9th December conteining the jewells in the iron chist belonging to the Laird of Benholme and desired yow that yow will secure the same till forder (further) order I have writtin to the Comissio[n]ers for sequestration concerning the same whose directions therin I sould have yow observe. I likeweell yow and yo[u]r concurers (conquerors) caire in ordering the keeping of the fast the first of November in regaird my letters came to yow after the day of the observation of it heer and in England.
I remaine   yo[u]r very loving friend and servant
Subscryved this George Monck
Dalkeith the 18th Jan 1654
For Major Henry Ronnall Governor of Orknay
At Kirkwall the 6th March 1655 yeers the whilk day in presence of Patrick Blair of Litlblair [-------?] Shirreff prin[cipa]ll of Orknay and Zetland and Major Henry Ronnall Governor and Shirreff Deputy of Orknay compeired personally Williame Stewart of Maynes and Williame Craigy of Gairsay and desired that the letter abovewrittin might be transumed* and the saids Shirreffs ther judiciall act interponit therto And the samyne transumpt be the saids Shirreffs their decreet ordained to be delyvered to the saids Williame Stewart and Williame Craigy And to make faith in judgment conforme to the said letter. They which desire the said Shirreffs thought reasonable: and therefore have ordained and ordaines the said letter to be transumed and have interponed** and interpones ther judicall act and decreet therto. And to make faith in judgment in all tyme coming, which transumpt wes dewly collationed with the said prin[cipa]ll letter be me James Georgsone Shirreff Clerk of Orknay witnessing my signe and subscription manuell
Ja Georgson

GD150/2531/3 page 2
Leith 4th Feb 1654       For Major Ronnall Deputy Governor of Orknay

"In my last about ten dayes since, I desired yow to send these jewells belonging to the Laird of Benholme to Leith by the first responsible hand that would bring them safe to us: since which tyme being giwin (given) to understand that the pasing (passing?) friggat is to sail fra Orknay and to return further againe speedily: And conceaving it a good opportunity to have them sent by her: I desire yow to delyver them to Capitan Alexander Fairlay commander of the said friggat who hes a warrand from the Generall for that purpose in a boxe sealed with your seal he first seing (seeing) them inventoried a coppy wherof under your hand yow may please to send allong with him, And ane other copy yow may please to let him signe a recept upon for your oune (own) discharge which being done yow may driess (address?) them to us And give it him in speciall charge to be carefull of them that they may come saffe to our hands This is all I have to trouble yow with at present sawe (save) that I am...
                                                     ...Your very affectionat friend to serve yow

                                                                                                     Ed: Syller 
Att Kirkwall the 6th of March 1655 yeers The which day in presence of Patrick Blair of Litlblair [------?] Shirreff prin[cipa]ll of Orknay and Zetland and Major Henry Ronnall Governor and Shirreff deputy of Orknay compeared personally Williame Stewart of Maynes and Williame Craigy of Gairsay and desyred the letter abovewrittin might be transumed* and the said Shirreffs ther judiciall act interponed therto and the samyn transumpt be the said Shirreffs ther decriet ordained to be delyvered to the saids Williame Stewart and Williame Craigy and to make faith in judgement conforme to the samen letter the whilk desire the saids Shirreffs thought reasonable And therfore have ordained and ordaines the said letter to be transumed and have interponit and interpones ther judicial act and decrie[t] therto and to make faith in judgment in all tyme coming whilk transumpt wes duely collationat with the said prin[cipa]ll letter be me James Georgsone Shirreff Clerk of Orknay witnesing this my signe and sub[scrip]t manuell Ja Georgeson"

*Transume - to transcribe a legal document
**Interpone - to intervene [to prevent something]


GD150/2531/4 page 1
March 6th 1655
"I Major Henry Ronnall Governor of Orknay grants me by thir presents to have receaved from the hands of Willliam Stewart of Maynes the particullar jewels and uther underwrittin 
(To Witt) Imprimis (first item) one rose or round heart of small diamonds wherin ther is fourteen peece with a cross of small leser diamonds therin 
Item fyfteen roses of pearles containing four pearles in every peece.
Item ane carrat of small sparks of diamonds containing thirtty thrie small diamonds therof upon a threed of blak silk
Item ane string of small seed pearles containing three yards long of therabouts
Item ane ring sett round with round diamonds lacking thrie peece of diamonds
Item eighteen peece of peared (paired) amatists (amethysts) or grannatts (garnets) 
Item a [piketooth/pikworth?] case of gold with two gold [piketooths/pikworths?] 
Item on[e] two strings one hundreth and nyne blood beads
Item one smal dow (dove) of mother of pearle with gold wings lacking the head
contained within one steell box wherin particullars and box above writtin were formerly take out of the hands of William Craigy of Garsay by Charles Earl of Dumfermling and me And of mutuall consent of us both deposited in the hands of William Stewart of Maynes until such tyme as it should be cleared that they belonged to the Earl of Morton As a subscrybed paper by us and diverse otheres of the daitt at Kirkwall the fyfteenth day of August 1654 yeres-
And now I haveing receaved order from General Monck Commander in Chief of the Forces of Scotland of the date the [blank] day of February last bypast to secure them and to dispose of them as I shall be advised by the commissioners of sequestration at Leith. Also ane other order from Collonell Syller one of the saids Commissioners dated the 29th of February last pybast: Willing me to send the same fourth to him and the rest of the commissioners As the said two orders judicially transumed before the Shirreffs of Orknay at [----?] proports, in obedience to the which orders and conforme therto I have cald at this time for the said particullars and accordingly receaved the same from the said William Stewart of Maynes wherof as a grant the recept and discharge him of the samyne to Ja[me]s Governor of the place in name of the [State?] obliedge me by veilue of the said Generall and Comissioners orders to keep harmles and skaithles (undamaged) the saids Williame Stewart of Maynes and Williame Craigy of Gairsay for ther delywering of the [squire?] on my order, at the hands of all haveing interest or pretending to have the same because the same being consigned upon perill of the ouner I have by order of the Commissioners at Leith sent the same to them where the Earl of Morton or any other pretending interest to them may plead their rights and receave the samed they being only seased on now as belonging to the Laird of Benholm delinquent and farther I am content that these presents be inseirt on any publick register in this Nation therin to remayne for future memory and to receave all due execution constituting.
GD150/2531/4 page 2

My procurator for that effort in witness wherof thir presents are by Capt Robert Irving and sub[scribi]t by me at Kirkwall the sixth day of March 1655-
Peeres befor these witnesses
Patrick Blair of Litlblair Shirreff of Orknay
Andrew Young sometime servitor to the Earl of Morton
and James Georgson Shirreff Clerk of Orknay
and the said Capt Robert Irving
subscribed thus
Pa: Blair witnes
Henry Ronnall
An Young witnes
Ja:Georgson witnes
Robert:Irving witnes"

So there you have all the documents we have which are connected with the Iron Box of Jewels. If you have any comments, transcription corrections or suggestions, please add them below or on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. Or you can email us at The next blogpost will be about our interpretation of the documents and background evidence we have collected so far. Click on the label "Iron Box of Jewels" below to find all blogposts about this subject.

For those of you helping to figure out what the word piktooth/piketooth/pikwoth actually is here are a couple of close-ups from Gd150/2531/4 above.


  1. Hmmm. Now that I've read this post, I'm not so sure about the substitution of Pennyworth for Pikworth. I'll see if I can get my daughter to take a look at this, too. Maybe she'll have more ideas.

  2. It's me again--I can't enlarge the image to see the "Pikesworth" better, so I'm not sure we'll be much help. But we'll try!

    1. I've added a couple of close-ups for you. Thanks for looking!

  3. Thanks! I've let my daughter know. It sure looks like Pikesworth or Pikworth to me. Maybe Rachel will have an idea. I could imagine that the first letter is a capital L, not a P, on the first mystery word (after the word Item) but the second time the word appears it is a lower case p. Looks like pi(h or k)owor (t or h) es: pihowortes or pikoworhes. Neither one makes much sense. I'll let you know if Rachel has any ideas. And I'm waiting with bated breath to hear what you researchers have decided! ^_^

  4. Ok, here's what Rachel found. Perhaps we're looking at gold toothpicks in a gold case:

    1. Thank you so much, and thank Rachel too! I'm sure that is what it is. Here is a link to an image of one

  5. That was fun! Thanks for the adventure, Dusty and everyone at the Archives. ^_^


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