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Historic plaque dug up on farmland reconnects Fife family with its past

Historic find that had reconnected a Fife family across the globe.
Historic find that had reconnected a Fife family across the globe.

A discarded lump of metal unearthed in a farmer’s field in Fife has unlocked a family history that is set to bring relatives from across the globe closer together.

Metal detectorist, Willie Scott initially thought his find on farmland on the outskirts of Kilconquhar last month was just another piece of twisted piece of scrap.

However, as he cleaned the fragment, he found it was inscribed with a name which in turn triggered a detective hunt to find out just who the mystery person was.

Fiona Clarke with Willie Scott at the grave of Peter Given.

“Back home I straightened it out and realised it was a plaque inscribed Peter Given Elie No1,” he said.

“It got my mind racing as to just who this person was, and more importantly, could I track down his descendants.”

Willie, 35, uploaded photos of his find to a local Elie history Facebook page hoping someone could shed light on the plaque’s original owner.

He was delighted when Elie Historical Society contacted him with a full life history.

Fiona with the plaque a the house in Elie where her great, great uncle Peter Given lived more than 120 years ago.

Peter Given was a general merchant who lived at 1 Williamsburg, Elie. He died at the age of 72 and is buried in the village’s parish church graveyard.

“It was great to learn more but the real thrill was being contacted by Fiona Clarke, Peter Given’s great, great niece,” Willie said.

Fiona contacted Willie after a family member saw the find on social media and the pair arranged to meet at the graveside at Elie church, where Willie returned the little piece of family history to its rightful owners, more than 120 years after Peter Given’s death.

The plaque proved to be one of Willie’s more unusual finds after he previously unearthed a gold coin in the same field and a valuable Tudor ring which now resides in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

He said handing back the find to the family was one of the highlights in his six years of detecting.

“I’ve been lucky to have had some incredible finds however this one has probably been the most rewarding as it’s reconnected a family back to their past,” he said.

Fiona is equally thrilled.

“This find has reconnected us to the past in more ways than we could ever imagine, it’s wonderful,” she said.

“We’ve learned so much about Peter’s life that we didn’t know before and that’s been passed on to the extended family across the world.

“We had planned a clan gathering in 2020 which is rescheduled for this year hopefully.

“Over 180 family coming from America and Australia are already excited and eager to see the plaque.”

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