Centuries ago, storming a castle was usually considered an act of war, attempted power grab, or perhaps a way of seeking revenge. Great Britain is dotted with castles throughout its lands, but none have seen much action for quite some time, other than tourists shuffling in and out with cameras in tow — until now.
Last Friday, thieves broke into Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England, and stole over $1.4 million worth of artifacts, including the “irreplaceable” gold rosary set that Mary, Queen of Scots, carried when she was beheaded for treason in 1587.
Other items taken from the castle — home to the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for 850 years — include coronation cups given by the 16th-century Scottish queen to the Earl Marshal, as well as several gold and silver items. All of these historical artifacts were nabbed from a public display case in an area of the castle that’s open to visitors.
According to The Guardian, a burglar alarm was set off at Arundel Castle around 10:30 p.m. on Friday. Staff was alerted and police officers were sent to the scene, but the thieves had already escaped. Now, British police are on the hunt for these stolen items, as well as the thieves who took them.
“The stolen items have significant monetary value, but as unique artifacts of the Duke of Norfolk’s collection have immeasurably greater and priceless historical importance,” said a spokesperson for the Arundel Castle Trustees. “We therefore urge anyone with information to come forward to the police to assist them in returning these treasures back where they belong.”
According to The Guardian, the police appear to have few leads as for now, but an abandoned burnt-out car found nearby is thought to have been involved in the raid.