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Local youngster unearths 200-year-old soldier's button at Gordon Castle Walled Garden made to mark Duke of Wellington's Waterloo victory


By Lorna Thompson

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A LOCAL youngster has made a rare find while volunteering at Gordon Castle's walled garden.

Home-educated Tilly Roberts (13), who lives near Aberlour, volunteers at the eight-acre Fochabers garden a day a week under the instruction of head gardener Ed Bollom.

While weeding and preparing flower beds on Tuesday, April 27, she unearthed what she thought at first was an old coin.

Tilly took it upon herself to research her find at home, putting it under the microscope and doing some Google investigations.

She was amazed to discover that what she had uncovered was in fact a 200-year-old Wellington backmark button.

These were made in 1815 for soldiers to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo after the Duke of Wellington's victory.

Paula Roberts, Tilly's mum, said she simply assumed the button had come off a Wellington boot.

She said: "Tilly managed to make out the word 'Wellington' and I thought oh, it's just something that has fallen off a welly boot!

"Tilly brought it home, cleaned it up and put it under a microscope.

"She found out the proper name of it, Googled it and found out that it was a couple of hundred years old and the whole back story to it, how it was given to commanders after the Battle of Waterloo.

Tilly Roberts with the rare Wellington button she found while volunteering at Gordon Castle Walled Garden. Picture: Becky Saunderson.
Tilly Roberts with the rare Wellington button she found while volunteering at Gordon Castle Walled Garden. Picture: Becky Saunderson.

"When she found out what it was she was over the moon. She handed it over to Zara Gordon Lennox, castle owner.

"Zara was thrilled to bits. They had had archaeologists there before and they hadn't found anything."

Tilly said: "It was just lying there in the soil.

"I thought it was an old worn coin but it was a Wellington button. It was so cool."

Her mum added: "Tilly's normal thing is finding animal skulls in woodland and such like. She often rakes around and finds old bottles and bits of bone, so this was slightly different. She's a bit of an archaeologist in her own way.

"She collects all sorts. We're just about to build her a workshop as we need some of these finds out of the house!"

Tilly has been educated at home for the last four years since the closure of Inveravon Primary School at Ballindalloch.

Her mum added: "She went and researched this herself, off her own back. And it was a great history lesson for her."


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